Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Great Burger-Off

I want to make sure you don't have your hopes up that this was an awesome cooking challenge I competed in or orchestrated.  This was something farrrrr more pathetic.  Chris and I decided, because I had a bunch of 2-for-1 coupons, to do a little fast food burger taste test.

The competitors were: Wendy's Dave's Hot 'n Juicy 1/4 lb, McDonald's Big Mac, and Burger King's Whopper, seen from left to right below.

In case you wanted to compare packaging as well, here's what they look like all locked up.  Burger King won for heaviest bag, seriously that thing was like 5 pounds.  Also let it be know that 1 in 4 really does win.  Out of our 4 tabs, we won 1 McFlurry. Success!

I would also like to let you all know that this was my first time consuming any of these products.  Since I thought I should mark the momentous occasion of my very first Big Mac, I had this lovely photo taken of me.

And now the moment you've all been waiting for... the winner is..... The Whopper!  We both decided that that flame broiled taste, which is probably painted on somehow, made this burger the most delicious.  This probably should come as no surprise, but the winner also happens to be the burger with the highest calories.

UPDATE: since we didn't have mayo on our Whoppers we saved a whopping 160 calories! Making the Whopper the burger with the LEAST calories.  Crazy world kids.  Just goes to show you, say no to the mayo.

The major disappointment and big time loser in this competition was the Big Mac.  Seriously that thing was just a wet, soggy, icky mess.  And shredded lettuce!? Ugh shredded lettuce is just asking for a mess, no thank you.  It was the only burger that I was totally finished with after 2 or 3 bites.

The Wendy's 1/4 lb. was a good competitor, it won best bun and some bonus points for using red onion instead of the harsher tasting white onion the other two used.

Here is a shot of the carnage strewn about the kitchen table.  Notice we got a fry at each place too.   Burger King fries were the hands down loser.  They tasted almost furry.  McDonald's fries are delicious but unfortunately 2 minutes after being out of the bag they were ice cold.  I might have to give Wendy's the crown for best fries, but don't hold me to it.

So yeaaaaaaaaaaaa my Friday night was probably way cooler than yours.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hanging on to the Last Shreds of Summer

I had absolutely no plan for dinner when I walked into the house on Wednesday night.  I was actually driving home from work hoping that an extravagantly meal was being prepared for me.  I thought wrong.

As a result I threw this little ditty together.  I apologize for its lack oh "wow" factor. Also, I took no photos of the preparation of this meal.  Seriously, this was really half-assed as is this post apparently.  I made an arugula basil pesto with orecchiette.  At least it sounds fancy, right?

I tossed in some broccoli rabe that had been expertly prepared the day before by my mother.

For dessert, apple crisp! (That I did not make, but greatly appreciated)  Check it out.

I swear I'm going to make some good stuff soon.....soon....

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sweet Potato Apple Soup

It's officially fall, let the soup making and apples commence!  Also I have been feeling a bit under the weather and really wanted a nice bowl of soup.  Fear not, my illness was not strong enough to stop me from blogging or from deciding to make a soup that requires an unfortunate amount of peeling and chopping.

The original recipe can be found here.  I did make some slight changes.

Here is the "meat" of the soup that demanded much peeling and chopping.

Here is the line up of spices I used to season the soup.  The recipe called for fresh thyme, allspice, cinnamon, and cumin.  You can see I did some improvising.

This is what the soup looks like when all the veggies have joined the pot.  Another alteration I made to the original recipe is I used apple juice instead of cider.

I was super psyched to whip out the immersion blender with this soup!  Check me out cookin' with gadgets like a pro.

I can't say this is the most attractive looking dish I ever cooked up, but it was delicious.  It was suggested that it would make a great soup course for Thanksgiving and it probably would, but let me also add that I hate having a soup course at Thanksgiving. 

I also wanted to give a shout out the this killer burger I had at the Craftsman Alehouse this weekend.  It had a pumpkin salsa on it! Incredible! Sorry it's mostly a photo of the salad. Behind it you can see part of my Flying Dog flight.  Oh Craftsman, why must you serve such delicious beer and food?

Hope you all have a fun fall weekend!  Keep checking back to see what other apple delights I conjure up...we do have 25 pounds of them...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Steak Sandwiches with the Greatest Onions of Your Life

This dinner does not revolve around a recipe or anything.  It's embarrassingly simple, but the food porn quotient is off the charts.

My main focus was caramelizing the onions as much as possible.  Below is a before photo of the onions, oil, and pepper.

Below you can see the after shot of some amazingly caramelized onions.  I cooked these babies for almost an hour and it was totally worth it.  Caramelized and crispy, exactly how I wanted them.

Here's an above shot of the sandwich.  The base: Texas toast!

And now the grand finale photo you've all been waiting for.....

Ta-da!  Let me tell you this shit was crazy good.  What made it even better was some leftover broccoli cheddar mashed potatoes.  Now what else can we make to put on some Texas toast?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Broccoli Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

I just want to warn you, I wasn't feeling funny when I sat down to write this post last night and I can't say I'm feeling incredibly humorous tonight either. I shall apologize for the straight forward un-entertaining post.

This is a side dish I made to go alongside some burgers.

I boiled the potatoes for a while and dropped the package of frozen broccoli in for the last few minutes.  You can see I kept the skins on, we like our mashed potatoes chunky and in the flesh.

I mashed up the broccoli and potatoes with butter, a splash of half and half, and sour cream.  Then I dumped in a cutting board load of cheddar cheese and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Things got fancy on Monday night: we put the potatoes in a serving dish instead of right outta the pot.  Classy stuff going on right here everyone.

The final image I leave you with is in the icky lighting portion of my kitchen.

It was nice to have the starchy side and the vegetable all in one dish.  These were a hit.  If you aren't the kind of cook that flies by the seat of their pants you can see some recipes that inspired me here and here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Baked Egg Boats

I'm going to start out by saying I'm in a bit of a mood.  I wanted a more interesting weekend and that is just not going to happen.  I didn't even make my dinner interesting enough for myself.  This has been a day of disappointments so I apologize for not being overly enthused about what I cooked.

I was told to use a loaf of Italian bread in my dinner plan because it wouldn't been good for another day.  I had this recipe for baked eggs in a baguette sitting in my food I want to make someday board on pinterest for a while so that is the rationalization of this meal.  My disappointment is that I already had an egg and cheese bagel today so this was going to be a pretty redundant meal for me.

Step 1: you hallow out that loaf of bread.  The original recipe uses mini-baguettes, but I just used a whole loaf and cut it in thirds when it was cooked.

Step 2: prepare the filling.  The recipe called for pancetta, gruyere, and green onions.  Being that I had none of these items I called upon my resourcefulness and used tomatoes, basil, and provolone and parmesan cheese to add to my egg filling.

Step 3:  Dump the filling into the bread boat.

Here she is whole, fresh outta the oven.  The eggs get nice and puffed up, the cheese all melty and wonderful.

Below you can see my third of the egg boat.

This was a good meal, and I must add that my choice in filling fixins was quite marvelous, but it did leave me wanting more. Not in the fact that it wasn't enough food to consume for dinner, but just more something....

And yes, this is what I have done on my Saturday night. Blah.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Best. Salad. Ever.

I know what you are thinking...a salad? really?  Yes, a salad.  Don't worry it's probably not the healthiest salad out there, but it's a damn good one.

I saw the Contessa make this salad and knew that it needed to find its way into my stomach one day.  The recipe for mache with warm brie and apples was simple enough.  Let's just get one thing straight though.  I have no idea what mache is.  I have no interest in finding out what mache is. And I think I can be pretty certain when I say I'm not going to be able to find it at A&P.  That being said the change I made to this recipe was that I just used regular salad greens.

Moving right along to a glamour shot of some key ingredients.

Below you will find the most wonderful salad ingredient you never heard of: warm brie with honey and pistachios.

I even followed Ina's plating instructions and fanned out the apple slices and placed them next to the baguette   slices.

I defy you to find a tastier salad.

P.S. I used some left over salad from the night before so some raisins and carrots found there way into this even though Ina did not instruct me to do so.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Starry Night

For the past 4 months I have been working on an incredibly difficult and amazingly frustrating 1,000 piece Starry Night puzzle.  You can see the completed project below.

It seemed only right that I honor or celebrate the completion of this beauty that has occupied my life for so long.  I give you: Starry Night puzzle cake!

These are the ingredients, I followed this recipe for a simple white cake.

I dyed the mix yellow and blue in attempts to mimic the painting. 

Then I swirled the two colors in another attempt to mimic the painting.

Then I did this ridiculously adorable piping to make it look like a puzzle!  I must admit I was pretty proud of myself for this bit.   Too cute right?

Here is a lovely close up of the completed cake.  Hooray for my puzzle being finished and for a delicious cake to eat!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cheez-It Chicken

When I saw this recipe from Winner Dinners it was love at first sight.  First off, Cheez-Its are amazing.  There's just no denying that.  Second of all, it requires barely any preparation and a mere 4 ingredients!

The 4 ingredients: Cheez-Its, sour cream, butter, chicken.

The sour cream is in place of where you would normally see eggs. I admit I was skeptical about this because in my mind sour cream is not a liquid, it's a solid, but it worked perfectly.

After you sour cream the chicken it gets dunked in the crushed up Cheez-Its.  Once in the pan the chicken gets drizzled with butter!
This dinner was a HUGE hit! So crispy, crunchy, easy, and best of all cheesy.  Make this for dinner tonight and I promise you your family will be eternally grateful.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and Hopefully 10,000 Blog Views

I made two things this weekend that I was hoping to make into 2 separate blog postings.  Unfortunately one of these items did not live up to it's expectations.  I didn't want to have a sad post about something I felt was a failure so I'm combining it with something wonderful.

Let's begin with the bad.  I found this recipe on pinterest for Crock Pot french toast.  It seemed like a wonder.  To really take things to the next level I found this pumpkin swirl bread at the supermarket.

The recipe is simple enough.  Scramble up some eggs, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and pour it on top of the loaf of bread.

Then I was lead to believe that I could set it and forget it for at least 6 hours.  This unfortunately was not true seeing as at 4am the french toast was already cooked and in fact a tad burnt.  Booooo. What a disappointment!

This is how it looks once cooked and scooped out of the Crock Pot.  It was tasty enough, but not something I would recommend anyone make unfortunately.

Now let's move on to the good!

There's the magical ingredient line-up right there.  I can't take much credit here for this one.  Boxed mix and tub icing?  Not a whole lot of actual baking going on here.  We did also put some espresso powder in the brownies as well.

Behold the wonder of the most delightful brownies in town!  They can instantly erase the bad taste of Crock Pot french toast!

These brownies are serious.  I want to eat the entire pan. Right now.  I just might...