Friday, September 30, 2011

Best basic chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are such a perennial favorite and American classic, possibly one of my favorite desserts. There's just something about a cookie fresh from the oven, with little pockets of chocolatey perfection embedded in the buttery dough. They are also very hard to stop eating once you've started.
I've been making these cookies for a while now, and have found the recipe to be nearly perfect. They are a definite crowd pleaser and a family favorite, and I always make them for my little brother's teachers.

Also another great (though guilty) thing about chocolate chip cookies:

The dough! Frozen cookie dough? Such a comfort food, and always great to have on hand for a quick guilt trip or for the kids to make themselves.

RECIPE: (Batch of 4 dozen cookies)
*1 cup butter, softened
*1 cup white sugar (I usually use half a cup)
*1 cup packed brown sugar
*2 eggs
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*3 cups all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*2 teaspoons hot water
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*2 cups chocolate chips (To really get it mixed well and have chocolate chips in every bite, I like to add an extra 1/2 cup)
* 1 cup walnuts (I substituted macadamian nuts because I like them better)

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit
2.) Cream together butter and sugar
3.) Beat eggs and stir in with vanilla
4.) Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add in with eggs and vanilla
5.) Whisk in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts
6.) Dollop onto ungreased pans
7.) Bake for about 10 minutes or until cookies are nicely brown around the edges

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Photo of the day #4: doggone tired

I swear, my lazy dog Lulu personifies (or to be technical, "animalizes..." ; is that the right word?) everything I'm feeling right now, and here's the short list:
  • Tired as hell
  • Tired of being tired
  • Any desire to get anything done absolutely lost
  • Annoying cold and eternal stuffy nose, for which the infallible remedy is strong mint balm and lots of chicken soup with tons of garlic. Oh yeah, and while we're in a dream world whee I have the time or energy to make chicken soup or to sniff mint balm, I might as well add a good nap to the list as well
To quickly put a recap on the last two days, as I haven't been able to really post-

SUNDAY:As a method of procrastination from doing my homework, I decided to go with my parents to a dinner party at the house of a family from Bangledesh. After the typical "how tough immigrants have it" and "we do everything for our children" talk, we had a lovely feast of traditional Bangledeshian dishes. For dessert, there was homemade, freshly fermented sweet cheese, which was pretty much just thickened milk, water, and sugar. White cheese curds are my mom's favorite dessert, and she finally got ahold of the recipe that night. I have a feeling lots of milk and sugar shall be wasted in the near future! All in all, it was a lovely night and though I stayed up late finishing homework, the food was definitely worth it.

MONDAY: Had a tennis match. Too tired to exist.

Now more pics of the star!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Apple Bread

First off, I would like to apologize for not posting as often as I would like; between school, tennis, music, homework, various extracurriculars, and volunteering, I don't exactly have a lot of spare time. However, this makes me treasure the little free time I do have, and I try to make the most of it.
They say "time moves slowly, but passes quickly." I can't help but agree- after all, it seems like summer was just yesterday but feels like my immense school workload has been on my shoulders forever! And as the time so quickly passes, it's almost October. Thank god apples are still in season though, because they are one of my favorite ingredients to cook with. Apples and pumpkins are kind of like how peaches, watermelon, and tomatoes are to me in the summer. Last weekend I made one of my favorite baked apple recipes; a quick and easy apple bread that is extremely versatile and can be spread with cream cheese and enjoyed as breakfast, baked into muffins, or, with the help of some honey or extra sugar, be served as dessert.

My warning about this bread; eat with caution, for even when the bread part may seem cool enough, the baked-in apple bits are like little heat bombs! The same warning applies to blueberry muffins.

*3 cups all-purpose flour
*2 teaspoons cinnamon
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 cup vegetable oil
*2 cups sugar
*2 eggs, beaten
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla
*2 cups apples (peeled, cored, roughly chopped)
*1 cup walnuts or chopped

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.) In a large bowl, combine cinnamon, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt
3.) In another bowl, combine vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, and sugar
4.) Stir the two together, then stir in apples

5.) Divide mixture between two 8 inch by 4 inch pans
6.) Bake for 40-45 minutes, then let cool

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chinese-style pasta

Stir-fried tomatoes and scrambled eggs with noodles is like the Chinese version of marinara sauce and pasta. Though originally the noodles are supposed to be hand-pulled, I hadn't had much time today (or the skill, really) to hand-pull the noodles, so I just boiled some angel-hair noodles.
It took took only twenty or thirty minutes to make, and brought back many flashbacks of my early childhood. I feel like this is another classic dish that really personifies simple asian home cooking, and a dish even pickier kids are garanteed to love.

Serves 4

*2-3 medium sized ripe tomatoes
*5 oz angel-hair pasta
*2 stalks green onion
*7-8 eggs
*2 teaspoons salt
*2 teaspoons pepper
*1 tablespoon dried shrimp
*2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1.) Dice tomatoes to pieces about the size of the first joint of the knuckle of your thumb, and dice green onion.

2.) Heat oil in skillet and scramble eggs
3.) Throw in chopped tomatoes and green onions
4.) Sprinkle salt and pepper in skillet with the frying eggs and tomatoes
5.) Add the dried shrimp bits and mix well
6.) Boil pasta until soft and edible
7.) Drain and serve pasta with the eggs and tomatoes

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Even easier guacamole

I've posted a guacamole recipe before, but here's a recipe that's super simple, and possibly even tastier than I made before! I was looking and experimenting for a guacamole recipe that can be thrown together in minutes, and found it HERE.
Unfortunately, I had to borrow a pic off of someone else's site for this post, because my family gobbled it up before I could take a pic. About 99.5% of the pictures on my blog, especially the recipe ones, are original, but since I live with someone who's appetite is practically insatiable, occasionally there are times when the dish I made was eaten before I could take pictures. And since I am an extremely live-in-the-moment person, I often will not repeat the recipe again or will forget the recipe unless it was extremely sucessful, and even then I'll probably forget to blog about it.
Anyways, enjoy this quick and delicious guacamole recipe that you can serve as a snack, side dish, or even as a light meal.

RECIPE: Serves 4
3 avocados, peeled and chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mash together all ingredients and serve wth tortilla chips!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Stir-fried green beans; unglamorous home cooking

With so many pretty, perfect-looking dishes out there, (most of which taste fantastic, so I'm not hating by any means,) at the end of the day, I still prefer a home-made meal prepared by my mother. Stir-fried green beans is an extremely common dish in Chinese cuisine and I'm sure you've all had them before; whether made like southern-style collard greens, at a Chinese restauraunt, or perhaps at home.

This dish requires really only 4 ingredients, and I usually like to have it served with rice, as it is usually just a side dish, but you can serve it as a main course if you would like. Of course, you can add bacon, chicken, or pretty much anything else in it if you find just green beans too plain. Play around! This recipe is really just to establish kind of a base for anyone who wants to learn more about asian cuisine.

For the more health-conscious people out there,you can vary the amount of oil you want to use, but obviously with more oil it tastes better!

RECIPE: serves 2
*4 cups green beans
*2 tablespoons to 1/2 cup vegetable oil, depending on personal preference
*About 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons of salt, depending on taste
*3-5 cloves garlic, depending on taste

1.) Chop beans to about finger length
2.) Mince garlic
3.) Heat oil in skillet and fry the beans until they turn a darker color and are soft, which takes about five minutes. Toss in the garlic after the beans have cooked for about 2 minutes
4.) Serve with rice and enjoy!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Second trip to the fair!

Got a boatload of pics this time of my trip to the state fair with my kick-ass family! Please excuse all the exclamation mark as I just downed like 10 brownies after coming home from a good game of tennis and all that sugar is just buzzing in my system...
Anyways, enjoy!

Fried Bologna on a stick! Split this with my little bro. You've gotta start off with something to eat, right? The excess of oil and sodium made it taste great, but when it cooled it tasted like spam. Kinda like most fried foods at the fair...

Crab fritters stuffed with chopped veggies, crab meat, and egg, deep-fried in batter, then served with some SouthWestern sauce. Really nice, and some real traditional home-style cooking.

Something sweet! A frozen banana dipped in chocolate. And just to inform y'all out there, the reason I'm not clinically obese yet is due to the fact that I take nibbles of everything! So pretty much all the food in the pictures were either split with someone else, or my brother or dad was eating it and I tortured them by making them pause to snap a pic. 

Visiting the animals

 A real horse's ass. Okay, I know it's immature, but pictures of animal butts still never fail to amuse me, so please bear with me through the next couple butt-shots.

Cows in a row

Okay last cow butt picture, I promise! When I was little I used to think that chocolate milk came from chocolate cows. Guess that fantasy still hasn't been broached. Wonder where strawberry milk would come from then, since I've never seen a pink cow before.

Anemic-looking sheep. I'm pretty sure it ate some lady's hat...

Another animal butt picture! I'm sorry, but I cannot stop myself from thinking of bacon every time I see a pig. And yes, I realize the irony of posting farm animals that are very butcher-ready when I am such a carnivore.

Wilbur from Charlotte's Web, anybody?

Cutest little piglet! Only 13 days old... (And in my sick mind: not yet fully formed pork tenderloin.)

I milked a goat! It wasn't even mildly scary, as goats seem to be such stubborn and interesting creatures that we actually get along very well. Visions of Heidi drift in my mind.

Chicken Einstein

Placid-looking goose.

Ginormous turkey leg the size of my arm. And though I have short arms, let me tell ya; that's a big-ass turkey leg! Kinda felt guilty about eating it though after just seeing all those turkeys in the fowl building.

 Said turkey leg about 10 minutes later, gnawed clean by the combined efforts of me, my dad, and my brother.

Brisket sandwich for my brother, ordered at my fave southern-style food stand. Really greasy and flavorful, with the gravy soaked into it and the meat just coming apart in your mouth.

Ice cream machine from 1939

Refreshing strawberry ice cream freshly made from that machine

Ketchup and Mustard flavored lip balm! They handed them out for free somewhere in the fair, and I got super-obsessed trying to mix the two into the perfect orangey combo. The ketchup tastes more marinara sauce-like and almost cherry-ish, but the mustard was full-on mustard! Very interesting when I mixed the ketchup with my other french-fry flavored lip balm.

And that's the end of my state fair adventure! Until next year!