Sunday, July 19, 2015

Double Chocolate Coffee Cookies

Do you need a reason to make cookies? Of course not.

Notes: I love coffee desserts, so these are cookies after my own heart. Everything about them is delicious.

If you like your cookies sweeter, you could use regular chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.

Some nuts in here would be great, too, if you're so inclined. Just add a 1/2 cup of your favorite when you add the chocolate chips.

2 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coffee grounds
1/2 cup prepared coffee
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg


Melt butter in the microwave. In a stand mixer, add butter and both sugars and mix on medium speed until well combined. Turn the mixer to low. Pour in coffee and add egg. Add in the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, coffee grounds, and salt). Mix until just combined. Gentely fold in the chocolate chips.

Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.

Heat oven to 350. Scoop large tablespoons of dough onto two parchment or foil lined cookie sheets. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the outsides look dry.

Enjoy--with milk or coffee!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Salami and Swiss Scrambled Eggs (for One)

I might have mentioned this a few dozen times, but my husband is not a breakfast person. He doesn't have many flaws, but his lackluster attitude toward breakfast food is one of them. So when I'm in the mood to make something for breakfast, I'm usually flying solo (unless it's biscuits and gravy).

Too bad for him, because this was delicious!

Notes: This dish was born because I had leftover deli meat and cheese in my fridge. The cooking muse speaks to you for different reasons and one of those is using things up.

I used a pizza cutter to make small pieces of salami and cheese, which worked out fabulously.

2 eggs
3 thin slices of salami
2 slices Swiss cheese


Cut the salami and cheese slices into small pieces. Crack your eggs in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and beat them lightly with a fork.

Heat a small non-stick skillet on medium. Add in the salami and allow some of its fat to render in the pan. Once it starts to get a little crisp, add in your eggs and stir gently.

When the eggs are almost done, put the cheese on top. Turn off the heat and cover the pan either with the plate you're planning to use or a piece of foil. Let the cheese melt, then serve and enjoy your single-serving salami and swiss scramble!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Coffee Frozen Yogurt: No Ice Cream Maker Necessary!

I have wanted to try homemade ice cream FOREVER. OK, not forever, but since I started cooking.

The trouble is I have no ice cream maker.

I could always get one, I know. But I've had a series of small kitchens and extra equipment that only does one job takes up space that I can't afford to lose. Also, what I am supposed to do with ice cream salt? Plus, people have been making ice cream way before personal ice cream makers. If they can make it, so can I.

Notes: I used this base recipe to make my coffee frozen yogurt. I think it turned out AMAZING. Be aware: if you're expecting it to taste like the kind of frozen yogurt that comes out of the machines at those yogurt shops, it won't. It will still be tangy like non-frozen yogurt. But I think it's super refreshing. The coffee flavor is rich and the chocolate chips add a great little crunch.

If you have crushed-up chocolate covered espresso beans, you could use those instead of chocolate chips.

While you're mixing this every 30 minutes, you'll need a couple of different tools. I started out with a metal whisk, which worked great. Once the mixture becomes more solid, you'll need something like a strong spatula or wooden spoon. Remember to scrape the sides down. I poured my mix into a glass loaf pan and that worked really well.

2 cups plain Greek yogurt (NOT low fat)
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons coffee grounds
1 cup prepared cooled coffee
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions: You'll need to mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chips. You can blend them in a stand mixer, a blender, or in a large bowl with an immersion blender (I did it the last way).

Pour the mixture into a deep glass baking dish or freezer-safe bowl. Freeze for 2-3 hours. While the mixture freezes, stir it every 30 minutes using a whisk or a heavy spatula to break it up. Once the mixture become thicker, add in the chocolate chips and continue stirring as before. The mixture freeze similarly to ice cream.

Once the yogurt is frozen, scoop it just like regular ice cream. Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Q.E.D.: Chorizo with Rice and Peas

Tonite was one of those nights when you don't feel like going out and you don't feel like making anything complicated. I stood at my pantry and stared at the shelves trying to figure out if there was anything I could cobble together to feed Scott and myself. As it happened, I had some pre-cooked chorizo in the fridge that I planned to use later in the week. I had rice and I had frozen peas.

And you're looking at the delicious result.

Notes: This dish has SO many things going for it. It's comforting, so it would be perfect for a night when you're not feeling so good. It's a one-pot dish, so there's not much clean-up to do. It's made of things that you can keep on hand (even the chorizo keeps for awhile). And it will be ready for you before a pizza could show up at your house.

If you had the wherewithal, a little bit of onion would be great with this. I had no onion and no wherewithal.

You could replace the peas with any small veggie you like. If you had some frozen broccoli florets, that would be good too. Fresh veggies would work fine, just make sure it's chopped up fairly small so it cooks quickly. And add it at the same time you add the sausage.

If the 10 minutes is up and there's still water in the pan, turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. That should take care of any leftover moisture.

2 cups minute rice
2 cups water
1/2 bag frozen peas
1/2 pound pre-cooked chorizo sausage


Slice the chorizo. Heat a large skillet with a lid on medium-high. When the skillet is hot, add the chorizo. When the slices start to brown a little, add in the rice and toast it together with the sausage. Pour in the water and add the peas.

Cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the rice is tender and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Eat Food, Save Money: Making the Most of Summer Produce

We know that summer is the time of year when you can get the most fresh produce. A bunch of fruits and vegetables are at their peak. But fresh produce isn't cheap and there's no point in buying good stuff if it's just going to go bad on the counter or in the fridge. So, I thought I'd share some of the professor's tips for getting the most bang for your buck during the summer.

1. Watch for specials (plan, but be flexible): Before you buy produce, have a sense of what you're going to use it for. Is it for snacking, cooking, or baking? It's easy to impulse buy when everything in the produce section looks good, but try to avoid that. If you don't have a plan for what you buy, there's a greater chance that you won't use it.

During the summer, your supermarket is likely to have specials on produce. Keep an eye out for 2-for-1 deals and sales. If you go to the store for raspberries, but strawberries are on sale, you're better off changing your plans. If you're willing to be flexible with what you buy, you'll save more.

Also, check our your local farmer's markets. Often you can get a larger quantity of produce for your money. While your supermarket might have a pint of blueberries for $3.99, your farmer's market might have two pints for $4.50. If you're willing to get up a little earlier on a Saturday, you can save cash and get some really high-quality produce.

2. Store it right (for you!): I think one of the biggest obstacles people have to produce is that they don't know how to keep it once they have it. You'll see a billion different websites with a billion different kinds of advice. My storage tips are the methods that have worked best for me. Storing your fruits and veggies is really about what works best for how you want to eat and cook; there's no one-size-fits-all policy. So, I'll give you my tips and why they work for me.

FIRST, I wash ALL my produce when I get home from the store. I line the counter with clean kitchen towels and let everything air dry fully before I put it away. For me, having all my produce ready to cook or eat makes it much more likely that I'll use it before it goes bad.

SECOND, I have a collection of plastic food storage options at my disposal. I have small and large tupperware containers and small and large plastic bags. I use them all! You don't need anything fancy; the 4 pack of Ziploc will do just fine. They make my life so much easier.

Now, here are some examples of specific foods:

Berries: Berries are delicate and go bad quickly. I rinse them under cold water when I get them home and then let them air dry completely. I've had the best luck storing them in tupperware containers in one layer and with a paper towel lining the bottom of the container. I can keep blueberries for at least a week this way. I've kept blackberries about 5-6 days and raspberries 4-5 days. The exceptions are grapes and strawberries. Grapes I keep in a colander or bowl in the fridge. Strawberries I wash, dry, and then slice or quarter them (pictured above). I store those in one layer in tupperware with no paper towel.

I put fresh berries on my yogurt & oats in the morning or I eat them with lunch just straight up. When they start to get less fresh, I bake them into muffins or scones.

Stone fruits and tomatoes: I put my stone fruits (plums, peaches, apricots) away whole. I put them in the veggie drawer in my fridge. Tomatoes I leave on the counter in a bowl. I think tomatoes keep their flavor longer on the counter. If I'm using them for sandwiches, however, I slice them and put them in tupperware in the fridge. It's way easier for me to pull the already sliced ones out than to have to slice them every time I want to eat one!

I eat my stone fruits whole just like an apple. I don't even bother to peel them--there's lots of good nutrients in the skins!

Snack veggies: I'm making a distinction here between snack veggies and cooking veggies. I usually take cut veggies in my lunch. My favorites are baby carrots, raw green beans, snap peas, snow peas, and cucumbers. If I'm planning to eat veggies with lunch or as a snack, I wash them with everything else, let them dry completely and then prep them so they are ready to eat straight from the fridge. I slice my cucumbers and put the slices in tupperware. I snap the ends off my green beans and put them in a tupperware container. Unlike berries, I don't line them with paper towel and I don't bother keeping them in one layer.

This way, I can literally reach in the fridge and eat them straight out of the container or put them in snack bags to go. Doing things this way helps me not only to use up my produce, but also eat much healthier. If the good stuff is in the fridge ready to go, I've got no excuses not to eat it!

Cooking veggies: If I'm planning to cook veggies later in the week, I wash them and dry them, but I don't prep them. Here's where things get a little complicated because it depends a great deal on which veggies I have. I keep asparagus and carrots in the fridge wrapped in a paper towel in a food storage bag, but I keep zucchini and fresh corn in a bowl on my counter. The key here is to do what works for you. Barring a few exceptions, most veggies are fine in the fridge, so if it's easier for you, throw them all in your veggie drawer.

If you have busy weeknights, it might work better for you to prep your veggies once they're dry. Planning on stir fry, for example? Why not go ahead and chop everything, put it all in one big container, and stick it in the fridge? Then it's ready for you when you need it.

3. Make friends with your freezer: Freezers help us slow down the aging process of our foods, so why not let them help you? If you have too many berries, toss them in a freezer bag. You can still put them on your yogurt in the morning if they're frozen. Chop up your stone fruits and do the same. I've thrown bagged spinach right smack in the freezer and used it pastas later (I wouldn't use it in a salad though--it's a bit too wilted). You may end up using your fruits and veggies in a different way than you intended, but they won't go to waste and you won't lose your hard-earned money in the process.

Enjoy the bounty of summer without breaking the bank!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Peach Vanilla Scones

Summer is a bounty of produce, especially fruit. And when you have lots of fruit you make fruit scones!

Notes: I used a muffin tin to make uniform-sized scones. They look a little like muffins for that reason. If you want the traditional triangles, you can pat the dough into a cake pan and then cut it. Or you could just make drop scones. They're all delicious. 

When you're putting the dough into the muffin tin, pat it down so that it's flat. The dough is sticky, so you might need to run your hand under the faucet first. Wet fingers won't stick to the dough as much. 

If you're using Greek yogurt, you can replace the 1/4 cup of extra yogurt with 1/4 cup of milk. Greek yogurt doesn't have as much liquid as regular yogurt and you need that liquid to get the dough to mix well. 

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1 small peach (will end up to be 1/2 cup small dice)
1 tablespoon vanilla 


Heat oven to 350. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Peel and finely dice the peach. It should give you about a 1/2 cup of diced peaches.  

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. 

Cube the cold butter and blend into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or your fingers. The butter should be the size of small peas. 

Add in the peaches and toss them to coat. Add in the yogurt and vanilla. Stir with your hands until the dough just comes together. Pinch off small handful and pat them down into the cups of the muffin tin. 

Bake for 18-20 minutes until they start to turn golden brown. Enjoy!