Really Eating

Real Simple Chocolate Chocolate-Chunk Cookies

Posted in Recipes by Bethany on December 6, 2011

Real Simple did a cookie feature in the December issue where they featured 10 kinds of “base” cookies and then a few variations of each, yielding a total of 30 cookies. I read that article a few weeks before Thanksgiving and thought I would try to bake one kind every week until Christmas… yes, I was a little too ambitious! It took me about 4 weeks just to bake the first cookie, but now that it’s done, I’m a little more motivated to try another.

These cookies are DELICIOUS. They are pure chocolate-sugar-and-butter and were a hit with my co-workers. I think the marshmallow variation would probably be great too, if you’re a fan of marshmallows. Or you could toss in some almonds and make them rocky road cookies… yum!

One caveat -I didn’t have 24 oz of semisweet chocolate so I did half semi and half milk chocolate (after extensive Google searching to confirm it was okay). Another note- I switched up the order of some of the directions because they didn’t seem efficient to me… what’s the point of preheating the oven early if you’re going to have a 15 minute cooling period?! Unless you have a very slow oven, it would be a waste of power/energy/electricity/gas. The ingredients/directions below reflect what I actually used/did, but you can go to the website to get the original.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces (1 bag) semisweet chocolate chips, chopped roughly
  • 12 ounces (1 bag) milk chocolate chips, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

In another large microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and 12 ounces of the chocolate (I did half of each semi and milk chocolate). Microwave on high in 30-second intervals (uncovered), stirring between each, until melted and smooth. (I think I microwaved for a total of ~2.5 minutes). Let cool slightly (I think I let it sit for about 2 minutes). Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.

Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in the remaining 12 ounces of chocolate. Let cool for 15 minutes. I let mine sit out but in retrospect, I probably could have thrown it in the fridge to make the batter easier to work with.

During that cooling period, preheat the oven to 350° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use Silpat-type baking mats.

Once cooled, drop mounds of the dough (about 1 heaping tablespoon each) 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake until firm around the edges and cracked on the tops, 12 to 15 minutes.

Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. (Quick tip – pull off the parchment paper and stick the entire sheet on a cooling rack, run your baking sheet under cold water and then you’re ready to pop another batch in the oven!)

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The Cheesecake Factory Miso Salmon

Posted in Eating Out, Recipes by Bethany on October 23, 2011

My husband really, really likes the Cheesecake Factory. He loves the Chicken Bellagio and the brown wheat bread that comes out at the beginning of every meal and the consistent service. I think he secretly also likes going there because NBA players like going there too. Seriously!

I, on the other hand, could care less for the place. I’ve tried a handful of dishes over our many visits there and am usually underwhelmed. For the record, however, I like their french fries, I like their strawberry cheesecake dessert, and their Asian Chicken salad (minus all the deep fried toppings) is pretty good. My ambivalence toward the Cheesecake Factory was probably due to the fact that until recently, I hadn’t tried the Mis Salmon. Oh boy, I was missing out!

If you haven’t tried the Miso Salmon and you saw it at someone else’s table, you’d probably scoff at the simple bed of rice, humble steamed vegetables, and salmon fillet. I mean, everyone at the table with me commented that it looked like something you could make at home (which is partially true…). BUT, after trying it, after everyone taking more than just a bite of my dish, we were all sold.

Then, at home, I realized that there must be some truth to the whole “it looks like something you can make at home” sentiment. A few quick Googles proved me right! There were a few recipes circulated over and over on the Interwebs so I found the one that looked the simplest (my ambition comes second to my efficiency) and gave it a whirl. Note: I have not tried to make the sake butter yet… maybe I will, maybe I won’t. The salmon’s delicious without it, so don’t stress if you don’t make the butter either.

It’s a relatively easy recipe once you find miso. I assumed I could find it at a normal grocery store (checked Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, Trader Joes… nope!) so make sure to grab it the next time you’re at the Korean market or Mitsuwa. I didn’t really know which kind to buy, but apparently white miso is the most common type so I went with that.

Super quick prep time, super delicious pay off. Make this one!!

Miso Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons hot water
  • 2 Tablespoons miso
  • Salmon fillets
  • cooking spray
  • 1 Tablespoon chives or scallions, chopped

Directions

Move oven rack to top position and pre-heat broiler.

Combine first four ingredients, stirring with a whisk.

Arrange fish in shallow baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Spoon miso mixture over fish.

Broil 10 minutes, basting with miso mixture every 3-4 minutes.

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Banana Bread

Posted in Recipes by Bethany on October 22, 2011

This is my go-to recipe for banana bread. I’ve tried a handful of different recipes, often willing to see if a tweak in this ingredient or the additional of that ingredient will convert me from this one, but alas, I always come back to the original.

It probably also has something to do with the fact that this recipe doesn’t call for any ingredients out of the ordinary–no sour cream, no buttermilk, etc. If anything, when I have a craving for banana bread, I sometimes don’t have the 3-4 over-ripe bananas I need to make it!

I buy a bunch of organic bananas almost every week and sometimes we can’t eat them fast enough to avoid the eventual over-sweet ripening from happening. Both of us like our bananas a little under-ripe (or just-ripe) so once they tip into that starting-to-brown territory, I just set them aside and let them ripen… and ripen… and ripen. If I have 3-4, I’ll make bread right then and there, but if it’s just a lone rang-er, banana, I’ll stick it in the freezer.

I never really understood what to do with frozen bananas, but I had always *knew* in the back of my head that they were re-usable. I finally did a quick Google and found out that:

  • You can definitely use frozen bananas in recipes. Some people even claim that they’re easier to cook with/taste better, maybe because of their mushy consistency.
  • You don’t have to defrost them, but sometimes they’re easier to use when slightly defrosted. I would suggest putting them in a plastic bag or container of some kind to protect the rest of the fridge from banana defrosting slime. You could also just leave them out on the counter for an hour or two (with your eggs and butter).
  • Some people claim that you can snip off the top of the bananas and squeeze out the insides… but I haven’t had any success with this method.
  • I use gloves to peel off the uh, peel, and minus cold fingers, works for me!
Original recipe was from the ever-reliable Simply Recipes, with a few tiny tweaks/additions below.

Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • Toppings/add-ins: Mini chocolate chips, chocolate chips, walnuts… whatever you have on hand

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Rub butter wrapper/butter over a 4×8 loaf pan (I like this one).

Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. With a wooden spoon or spatula, mix in the mashed bananas. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. (One bowl recipe, yes!)

*If you’re adding in any extras, fold them into batter gently at the end.

Pour mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool before serving.

Store in an air-tight container to keep the bread from drying out. A quick toast is a great way to re-heat for breakfast or snack.

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Rosemary-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Posted in Recipes by Bethany on October 21, 2011

This was my first experience with pork tenderloin. I had always seen it in the grocery store and mentioned here and there in recipes, but I finally made the leap! I caught it on sale for $3.99/lb and dug through old recipes to figure out what to do with it.

Most of the pork tenderloin recipes I see mention that they’re ~1.5 lb and I was surprised to see that the package I bought weighed in at ~3lb! I then proceeded to double the recipe ingredients, only to find later that when I actually opened up the tenderloin, there were two in my package! Well, into the freezer the extra went.

Overall pleased with the dish. The cut is very lean, but yet moist. I wish my instant read thermometer was working (ordered a new one today) because I think I slightly overcooked the pork. We didn’t love love love the seasoning so I’m going to look around for an alternative way to cook the second tenderloin now in my freezer.

Other than pseudo-doubling the recipe, I followed the basic guidelines I found in Real Simple.

Rosemary-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Pank0)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (I assume you can use dried, but use half as much)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

In a large plate (or shallow bowl) combine the first four ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Rub the pork with the olive oil, coat with bread crumb mixture, then place on a rimmed baking sheet (I covered mine with foil and lightly oiled it to ease clean-up).

Roast til cooked through, approximately 20-30 minutes. If my thermometer was working, I would have pulled it out at 145 degrees (so should you!).

Let rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Butter Roasted Cauliflower

Posted in Recipes by Bethany on April 6, 2011

Cauliflower is one of the vegetables I never liked. I was often faced with cauliflower at Yoshinoya where it’d sit next to my broccoli, tasteless and utterly unappetizing. I’m not sure why it is so often boiled or steamed beyond recognition, but I recently convinced myself to buy some at the farmers market and am happy I did.

One of my cookbooks (I think it was Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, which is one of THE BEST cookbooks out there… it’s been called “The Joy of Cooking” for our generation) … totally forgot where I was going with that. Oh yes. Cauliflower. From what I remember, Bittman recommends buying cauliflower wrapped in plastic without any brown spots visible on the pretty white florets, and with the green leaves tight around it. I found some that fit the bill at came home to look for a recipe.

I wanted to try something that would make it yummy, but allow the real flavors of cauliflower to come through, and this Smitten Kitchen adapted recipe by Joy the Baker did just that.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2  pound cauliflower florets
  • 2 tablespoons capers, coarsely chopped (I drained mine first to lighten the taste)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

In a roasting dish, toss together cauliflower with capers, garlic, oil and about 1/8 teaspoon salt.  Top with butter cubes and red pepper flakes.

Roast, stirring occasionally, until browned and delicious, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and toss hot cauliflower with lemon and fresh parsley.

Enjoy immediately with crusty bread to sop up the butter juices.