"Of soup and love, the first is best."
Spanish Proverb

Monday, April 20, 2009

Peanut Sesame Noodles

So easy to make, kids love it, perfect for the warm weather ahead--yahhh!!!
Peanut Sesame Noodles
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Servings: Makes 6 side-dish or 4 vegetarian main-course servings.
For peanut dressing:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes or a splash of hot sauce
For noodles:
3/4 lb dried soba nooodles (I used whole wheat spaghetti)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips (optional)
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips (optional)
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 cup firm or extra-firm tofu, cubed (optional)
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Puree dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl.
Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until tender. Drain in a colander, then rinse well under cold water.
Add pasta, scallions, bell peppers, cucumber and tofu to dressing, tossing to combine. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nigella's Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

Nigella could even get Mark to watch a cooking show. She's definitely got the Domestic Goddess thing down. This is one of my favorite recipes of hers. Enjoy!

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) soft unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Grease and line the bottom of a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat in well. Next, fold in the melted and slightly cooled chocolate, blending well but not overbeating. Then gently add the flour, to which you’ve added the baking soda, alternately spoon by spoon, with the boiling water until you have a smooth fairly liquid batter. Pour into the lined loaf pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325ºF and cook for another 15 minutes. The cake will still be a bit squidgy inside, so an inserted cake tester or skewer won’t come out completely clean.
Place the loaf pan on a rack, and leave to get completely cold before turning it out.

Delicious on its own or sprinkled with powdered sugar or a drizzling of ganache. Makes 8-10 slices

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Homemade Nearly White Pizza with Arugula

First, you need pizza crust (or pita bread is a nice, quick cheat):
Pizza Dough
3 cups warm water
3 Tbl. yeast
1 Tbl. sugar
3 Tbl. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
about 6 1/2 - 7 cups flour (1/2 white, 1/2 wheat works great)

Dissolve yeast in warm water sprinkled with sugar and let sit and get fluffy, 5 minutes. Add olive oil, salt and flour and knead for about 5 minutes. Rub down a large bowl in olive oil, dump dough and with hands, form into a smooth ball. Let rise, covered with a towel, for about an hour until doubled and ginormous. Punch down and freeze or use.

Nearly White Pizza with Baby Arugula
I work a tennis ball sized ball of pizza dough in my oiled hands into a disc, and then spread it even thinner on a cookie sheet sprinkled lightly with cornmeal. Then, go crazy. I spread pesto as the base, but alfredo or a light tomato sauce would be lovely, followed by small dollups of seasoned ricotta cheese, handfuls of mozzerella cheese, a sprinkling of parmesan and a whirl of tomato sauce. Green onions or fresh basil would've been nice. Throw in a very hot 450* oven for about 10-12 minutes until golden and bubbly. Let sit about 5 minutes before cutting. I tossed baby arugula with olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, and then piled on top and served. So good.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am not a cookie person--give me cake, cake, cake!!!--but I married a cookie person. Not only that, but his mother was a fabulous, top-notch cookie baker. Crap. Almost ten years of trying and not quite getting it right, and finally, Marko liked these. So, these will be my/his cookies from now on; that is, when we're not eating cake.

Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour, minus 2 Tbl.
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbl. vanilla
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups mixed semi-sweet/milk chocolate chips
1 cup toasted pecans, optional but not if you're baking for a Purves

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.
3. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.
4. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time (for giant cookies) or a tablespoon at a time (for smaller cookies) onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
5. Bake larger cookies for 15 to 17 minutes, or 10 to 12 minutes for smaller ones (check your cookies before they’re done; depending on your scoop size, your baking time will vary) in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.