May 17, 2013
May 5, 2013
Dear Readers, I ask for your strength during this trying time. I've decided to give up dairy for a little while, in order to see if it has any effect on my skin. This decision was not made lightly, as I
love ADORE all things dairy, especially cheese, but I need to figure this out. I've suffered from eczema since I was a baby, but in the past 2 years, it's gotten progressively worse. No skin ointment, pill, or moisturizer seems to make any difference, so I decided to look inwards, instead of piling things on outward. Apparently, dairy can be the biggest trigger of eczema outbreaks! You should have seen my face when I read that. Sad Beth. But, if it works, I'm willing to try almost anything. Therefore, the next series of recipes will be mainly dairy-free.
I ventured into the online blogosphere of veganism and some parts of it are scary. "Cheese" sauce made from cashews and yeast? "Milk" from soaked almonds? It was too much. So I started with baby steps, and will taste-test my way through this. I think you'll enjoy my first attempt!
What better place to start with than chocolate? I knew this recipe would be good, as I'd attempted something similar a few years ago as part of the Daring Bakers (I really miss having time for that group!). This was whizzed together quickly with some leftover silken tofu and a stash of incredibly indulgent dark chocolate morsels imported from San Francisco, via mother-in-law. The end result was amazingly rich, incredibly decadent and very very satisfying.
Silken Chocolate Tofu Mousse
Adapted from Food.com
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (Generic brands are typically dairy-free, but Nestles and Hersheys are not, so read the labels!)
Melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan or double boiler with a tablespoon of water over medium heat. Or, if you're lazy like me, melt them in a heatproof bowl in the microwave, in 45-second spurts, stirring after each round.
Transfer the melted chocolate to the container of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the tofu and process until smooth. Add the brown sugar, honey, or rice syrup to taste, and sprinkle in the nutmeg. Process again until velvety smooth. Stir in the sliced banana, if desired.
Divide the pudding among 6 dessert cups and chill until needed
April 22, 2013
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons light brown, dark brown or granulated sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk or 2 tablespoons each of milk and plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini (from about 1 1/2 medium zucchini)
1 cup all-purpose flour (half of this can be swapped with a whole wheat flour. Make them even healthier, right?)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
Butter or oil, for coating skillet
I practice the Alton Brown method of pancake-storage: Place pancakes on a plate and cover with a clean dishcloth to keep warm. It makes for easy taste-testing access while you're cooking more!
Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Once hot, melt a pat of butter in pan and swirl it around until it sizzles. Scoop scant 1/4-cup dollops of batter in pan so the puddles do not touch. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook another minute or two, until golden underneath. Serve warm.
To flash freeze leftovers: Arrange pancakes in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and place into the freezer for an hour. Once they are frozen, remove pancakes and store them in the freezer in a tightly sealed bag. The flash process will ensure that they don't stick together!
April 21, 2013
Sometimes, the best new recipes are old ones. I received a Southern Living slow-cooker cookbook from my friend many years ago, but never really made anything from it. While the recipes all sounded delicious, they were pretty intricate, which defeated the purpose of slow-cookers! However, I decided to dust it off last month and take another look. I am *SO* glad I did, because I found this gem of a recipe.
Chickpeas in Curried Coconut Broth
Adapted from Southern Living Cookbook
2 teaspoons canola oil
April 8, 2013
One of my big ones is that I can not properly boil and peel an egg. I wind up with a shredded egg, shell covered counter, and an increasingly frustrated toddler who was promised an egg 5 minutes ago (eternity in toddler-time).
Another one is that I buy large bags of frozen tilapia fillets. Like the skimpy probably-farmed-in-horrible-conditions fillets that cost $8.99 for 20 servings. It's cheap, it keeps for a long time, and it's a really easy dinner when I am meal planning. I know some foodies are gasping in horror at the grossness of this, but hey - I've got a family that likes to eat every day! The nerve.
One of my favorite ways to cook them is also shamefully easy.You can do it while the fillets are still frozen, if you like, but I prefer to defrost them in a bowl of water beforehand. This recipe even includes vegetables, so you pretty much have a well-balanced meal within 25 minutes. Ain't no shame in that, right?
Adapted from Allrecipes
4 (4 ounce) fillets tilapia
Old Bay, to taste (if you don't have Old Bay, you're missing out! But you can use Seasoned Salt instead)
Garlic powder, to taste
1 lemon, sliced
1 package frozen vegetables (I like broccoli or cauliflower)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees F). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Place the tilapia fillets in the bottom of the baking dish and dot with butter. Season with Old Bay seasoning and garlic. Top each one with a slice or two of lemon. Arrange the frozen mixed vegetables around the fish, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Cover the dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until vegetables are tender and fish flakes easily with a fork.
April 7, 2013
Adapted from For the Love of Cooking
2 TBS olive oil (divided)
1 large sweet yellow onion cut in half and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 russet potatoes, unpeeled and sliced 1/4 thick
1 zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 large Roma tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Dried thyme, to taste
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Heat 1 TBS of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 60 seconds. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the greased baking dish.
Layer potatoes, zucchini, squash and tomatoes alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly into a spiral, making only one layer. (I didn't have a round dish, so I just did rows in a rectangular dish. Still tasty!) Season with sea salt, black pepper and dried thyme, to taste. Drizzle the last tablespoon of olive oil over the top.
Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Uncover and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until browned. Enjoy.
April 6, 2013
So, I took a step back because I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue blogging. However, I miss it! I try new recipes every week, and I miss sharing them with people...so Brina's Kitchen is back!
I have a slew of new recipes and pics to share, and a bunch of recipes that I didn't capture on film, but I know you'll love them anyways.
I'll start as far back as December 2012, when we celebrated Eli's 2nd birthday. I can't believe it, but my little munchkin is growing up - and we have the bins of outgrown clothes to prove it! Eli loves (okay, is obsessed with) trucks and constructions, so we made that the theme of the party. I used Pinterest for inspiration, and was immediately struck with this construction tape striped cake. I don't know why I do this to myself, but once I see a cake challenge, I can't resist.
I found the blog, Fredellicious, and the blogger had kindly put together a step-by-step tutorial. It wasn't hard, per say, but just time consuming. If you're going to attempt this, I *HIGHLY* recommend that you make your cakes from scratch. Fredellicious warned me, but I didn't listen. Box mix cakes are just too soft and fluffy, and they broke often during the construction phase. There were many bad words muttered in Brina's kitchen.
You can use any favorite cake recipes you have in your recipe books, but I've included two of my favorites.
Basically, you bake a yellow cake and a black (dark chocolate) cake, carve them into rings, and then put them back together like a puzzle.
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
Adapted from Crumbly Cookies and Cook's Illustrated
This is a white cake recipe that will need yellow food gel
Nonstick cooking spray
2¼ cups cake flour (9 ounces), plus more for dusting the pans
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (¾ cup), at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¾ cups granulated sugar (12¼ ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), softened but still cool
Set oven rack in middle position. (If oven is too small to cook both layers on a single rack, set racks in upper-middle and lower-middle positions.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper rounds. Spray the paper rounds, dust the pans with flour, and invert pans and rap sharply to remove excess flour.
Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.
Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
Add all but ½ cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
Divide batter evenly between two prepared cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on separate racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.) Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.
Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire racks. Reinvert onto additional wire racks. Let cool completely, about 1½ hours.
Follow the rest of the instructions on Fredellicious's tutorial for the stripes. These can be done in any color! Use the white cake recipe with food color gel and have fun!
Posted by Beth at 3:06 PM
October 24, 2012
Well folks, the kitchen is *mostly* completed...however, our new stove has decided to be incredibly uncooperative. It died within the first 7 minutes of use when it was first installed. I'm frustrated because we did our research and bought based on reviews and brand reputation, among other things.
I miss cooking and baking, and I'm sorry I can't post any new recipes!
I don't normally do this, but I'm taking to social media outlets because I'm so frustrated. GE wants to repair the stove, but I do NOT feel safe using it. I'm worried that it's going to spark again and fry my circuits, or worse, cause a fire. Here is the email I sent them. We'll see if I get a response!
I guess my conclusion here is that GE stoves aren't worth the money or the stress. Seriously, not worth it. If I could just rewind 6 weeks, I'd go with another brand.
I'm writing to let you know about my experience with our new gas range (Model #JGBS18DETBB), purchased at the ********, Maryland Home Depot on 9/29/12. My husband and I were incredibly excited to remodel our kitchen, and after doing a lot of research about different appliance brands and models, we decided to purchase all 4 GE models (fridge, stove, dishwasher and microwave). We went with GE because of online reviews, reputation and price.
The new appliances were delivered on 10/9/12 and installed on 10/10/12. At that point, we'd been without a stove for 2 weeks for the remodel, and I was excited to start cooking again instead of living on take-out! However, after the stove had been running for 7 minutes, I went to turn on the inside oven light and it sparked. It then tripped the circuit breaker, turning off the stove and the fridge. I flipped the breaker back on, and while the fridge came back up immediately, the stove did not. I could light the burners, but the display board was off and I couldn't use the oven.
I immediately called our contractor and Home Depot to report this problem, and HD immediately reached out to you (GE). Each party blamed the other. Our contractor came to look at the stove and said it was a faulty unit. Home Depot and GE blamed the contractor and said it was installation error. Honestly, at that point, I didn't care. All I knew was that I spent $600 on a new stove and it didn't even last 7 minutes.
Over the next 2 weeks, I spent about 1 hour a day on the phone with either GE or HD, going back and forth over who was to blame and who was going to do something about it. No one could give me a straight answer. Finally, GE sent out someone to look at the stove last week. He checked the stove, the electrical outlet and the gas hookup. He then declared that he thought it was unrepairable and that we shouldn't use this one. We should demand a replacement. Well, we tried. Apparently this man was a plumber and not an official technician for gas stoves, so we had to wait ANOTHER week for that person to come out. He was at our house today, and declared that he just needed to replace the display board and we'd be okay. There is no way I feel safe using this stove. NO WAY.
Frankly, GE, I'm beyond frustrated. We spent $600 on a brand new stove and it FRIED ITSELF within 7 minutes. Not only are you NOT replacing it for me, but it will be 3+ weeks before it's repaired. Let me repeat, I DO NOT FEEL SAFE USING THIS STOVE. It fried itself and shorted out my kitchen circuits. It's a faulty stove. Who's to say this isn't going to happen again? Oh, but according to our repair technician, if it does, well, we just call and someone will repair it. No, thank you. I am NOT waiting another 3 weeks when it happens again. Do you need to wait until this causes a fire in my kitchen?
We bought GE because of your brand reputation. We invested $2700 of our hard-earned savings on new appliances and you can't even replace a stove that fried itself within the first 7 minutes? We can't even return this stove because GE won't accept it as an exchange (according to our Home Depot) because you all have now deemed that it's repairable. Would *YOU* feel safe using a gas stove like this?
I want this stove replaced, at no cost to us. We are within our warranty. I don't think it's an unreasonable expectation to want your brand new stove to work properly and not fry your circuits. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and I hope to hear from someone soon.
Posted by Beth at 1:36 PM
September 12, 2012
2 tablespoons sesame or canola oil (sesame is better for flavor!)
1 (16 ounce) package frozen baby carrots and green peas
3 green onions, chopped
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 Low sodium soy sauce to taste