Thursday, December 24, 2009

Egg Nog Panna Cotta

Here's another recipe for y'all, since I haven't shared many recipes lately. Two posts in one day! Can't say I don't love you.

This is another recipe I made up, and it turned out great on the first try. I usually follow a recipe for almost everything I make, but I came up with this idea for Egg Nog panna cotta for dessert at Christmas while watching Chef at Home. Michael Smith made a Pina Colada panna cotta, so I figured if he can make panna cotta with coconut milk, why not with egg nog? The only thing is, I couldn't think of what to serve this with- the only fruit I could come up with was banana, and even that doesn't seem right.

Although this dessert hasn't made the cut for Christmas dinner (the judges are very strict, and I think the Russian judge was paid off), I will keep this method in mind for other panna cotta flavors. Candied Bacon panna cotta anyone?

Makes 4-6 servings, depending on the size of ramekins
  • 2 cups egg nog
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 envelope gelatin powder
  • maple syrup, to serve

Heat egg nog, salt, sugars, spices, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat until mixture simmers. Meanwhile, dissolve gelatin in water. Once egg nog mixture simmers, remove from heat and whisk in gelatin. Pour into ramekins and refrigerate until set- about 4 hours. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the panna cotta and turn out onto the center of a plate and drizzle with maple syrup.

Long time no post

I have photos of food that I wanted to post, I just haven't gotten around to it lately. Bad blogger, bad! Along with moving, I've also been preparing things ahead of time for when Tyler's family comes to our place for dinner on Boxing Day and making homemade gifts for people. I know- excuses, excuses. I will have lots to share after the holidays though- the food and gifts I made will be posted.

Today I have a Tex-Mex lasagna that I made last week. I had started to follow a recipe for a casserole, but it morphed into this lasagna and it turned out great!

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 can tomato soup
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 tbsp adobo sauce (the sauce from a can of chipotle peppers)
  • 4 oz (about 1/2 a tub) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • 12 fresh or dried lasagna noodles (if using dried pour about 1/2 cup water over lasagna before putting in the oven)

Lasagna filling: Saute onion, pepper, garlic with olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until softened. Add black beans, stir to warm through. Add coriander, cumin, white pepper, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine and toast the spices a little. Add soup, salsa, cream cheese, sour cream. Stir until simmering and cream cheese is melted through. Add lime zest, stir to combine and turn off heat.

To assemble the lasagna: Spread 1/2 cup of the filling in the bottom of the lasagna pan. Place 4 noodles on top. Spread 1/3 of filling over noodles. Top with 1/3 of the grated cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times. Cover with foil, bake approx. 30 minutes, or until it feels cooked through when a knife inserted in the middle.

**In the photo I topped the lasagna with crispy tortilla pieces after baking. This was a bad idea- it didn't add anything to the flavor or texture because they got soft anyways.

Monday, December 14, 2009


We moved on Friday. Thank goodness that is over. Amazingly, we already have almost all the boxes unpacked. The kitchen, of course, was the first to get organized. In fact, I started on it as the movers were bringing in boxes. I am now the proud owner of a gas stove (!) and lots of cupboard space. I have an entire huge cupboard for all my baking stuff. Yay!

I haven't really cooked anything lately due to the move, but I wanted to share this cookbook that I found in a box that came from Tyler's mom. It's one of those school fundraiser jobbies where students/parents contribute recipes. If the flyleaf didn't say it was published in 1998 I'd swear it was put together in the '50's. Do people seriously eat this stuff? Most of the recipes seem to rely heavily on canned soup, Cheez Whiz, and Minute Rice. Some of the more questionable recipes include:

-Classy Chicken- made with chicken breasts, frozen broccoli, cream of chicken soup, mayo. Classy indeed
-Okanagan Cherry Squares under the section Okanagan Fruits. These squares, however, are make with canned cherry pie filling
-Tomato Aspic
-The ubiquitous Porcupine Meatballs- meatballs with rice in them? Why?
-Salmon Loaf- this seems to be like regular meatloaf, only made with salmon
-Sex in a Pan- I don't know whether the contributor of this recipe Shannon Greer was a parent (therefore obviously a MILF/cougar) or a student (that all the 13 year old boys worshiped), but either way this worries me

I almost want to take the recipe that includes the most pre-packaged food and make it just to see how it turns out. But then Tyler will probably love it and I'll have to make it all the time.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spaghetti with Spaghetti Squash

This was going to be just spaghetti squash a la The Kitchen Sink, a blog from which I have bookmarked many a recipe. I had the squash roasting and was starting the sauce when Tyler called to say he'd be home soon. Here's how that conversation went:

Tyler: "What's for dinner?
Me: "Spaghetti squash"
T: "Spaghetti squash and what?"
M: "Spaghetti squash and... sauce..."
T: "Can we have spaghetti with it?"
M: "But it's like spaghetti, only it's squash"
T: "Have your squash, I'll just make some pasta when I get home then"

Hence the redundancy of spaghetti with spaghetti squash. It was really good, and I'll probably make it like this again. But one night when Tyler is out I will have Spaghetti Squash with NO Spaghetti and I will enjoy it all by myself. With a glass of wine. Or maybe two.

Serves 4
  • 2 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeds and pulp removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 oz dried spaghetti (angel hair pasta would work really well too)
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle squash with 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 45-50 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente, drain, and add back to pot. In a saucepan, saute shallots in remaining tbsp of olive oil over medium heat until softened. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, saute for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and lower heat, cooking until heated through. Add to drained pasta.

Scrape strands of cooked squash out of skins with a fork and add to pasta. Toss to combine everything. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top.


I made a new recipe that I had never tried before to bring in for a pot luck at work on Friday. I generally don't make new recipes for public consumption; I almost always test them first. I was also taking a risk bringing Spanakopita. Nobody knew what Spanakopita was when I put I wrote it on the sign up sheet, and people generally stick to what they know food-wise. There is nothing sadder than the pariah dish sitting alone and untouched at a pot luck. But I trusted the reviews on the Food Network and went ahead with the recipe. Success! They were all gone by the end of the day. One of my co-workers even ate three (that's my girl)!

One caveat, it took me two hours to make these, but I am slow at cooking for some reason. Rachael Ray's 30 minutes meals are 45 minute meals in my house. The recipe isn't hard to make, it's just time consuming to brush the phyllo sheets with butter, fold them up, bake, etc. You can, however, make Spanakopita in a pan, which would be quicker- just layer the sheets of phyllo with the spinach mixture instead of folding them up and cut into squares to serve. Baking time will be longer, but it's hands off time of course.

The recipe - here you go- calls for two pounds of baby spinach and one pound of phyllo dough. I used one pound of spinach and two packages of President's Choice frozen phyllo dough and the amounts worked out perfectly. Also, I didn't have quite enough butter, so I cut it with some olive oil, which turned out fine- I couldn't tell the difference. Sorry the photo isn't great- I forgot to take a photo until there was only half a Spanakopita left (dude, I was up until 11:30 at night making them and I had to get up at 6:30 am).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Spicy Cheese Dip

I made this dip on Sunday for tortilla chips instead of buying that jarred Cheez-Whiz-like nacho dip at the grocery store. My dip was 10 times better, cheaper, and not fake orange (fake orange is always a bad idea). I feel like this dip is akin to the Southern classic Pimento Cheese except that I've never had pimento cheese, therefore I can't say for sure.

This is also the filling for my antijitos that I always bring to pot lucks at work. I tried to bring something else once and I was almost lynched. To make antijitos don't warm up the dip, but spread it into tortillas, roll them up, and slice across into bite-sized pieces. You could also put the dip into an oven safe dish, top it with shredded cheese, and put it in the oven (say, at about 400 degrees F) until bubbly. I wonder if you could add chopped cooked spinach and chopped artichokes and call it Spinach and Artichoke dip... I'll have to try it next time.

I never measure this, so the amounts in this recipe are approximate- a little of one thing or less of another won't affect the overall result.


  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced pickled hot peppers
  • 1 250 g tub cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder

Chop peppers in a food processor. Add cheese and cream cheese, whiz until blended. Put in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until dip is warm and cheese is melted.