Recipes from Joy of Cooking rewritten so they're possible in a small kitchen on a small budget. Enjoy.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chocolate Mousse

I don’t know what do to this time, so why not chocolate mousse?

Here’s a tip for this: use an electric mixer. It can be one of those little hand mixers, I think you can get one from Target or Walmart for $20 or so. It’s a very useful tool to have.

Me, I’m going to my boyfriend’s house and borrowing his mom’s nice stand mixer. I’ve been craving a KitchenAid for years, but borrowing one is good too.

When I made this, I actually spilled half of it on the floor. Disappointing. But the other half turned out great!

Chocolate Mousse

6 oz semisweet chocolate
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs, separated (that means separate the yolks from the whites. For the best way to do this, see the notes)
¼ cup plus 3 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup heavy cream

In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water, combine the chocolate, butter, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir with a wooden spoon until chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and set it aside.
In a second heatproof bowl over boiling water, combine the yolks of the eggs, 3 tablespoons of water, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Whisk constantly until thick and puffy.
Add the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, and whisk to combine.
As this cools to room temperature, beat the egg whites using an electric mixer.
When the egg whites are foamy, add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. This means when you lift the beater out, a peak will form but the tip will fall over.
Gradually beat in the ¼ cup of sugar. If you add it all at once, it will fly out of the bowl and make a mess, so add a bit at a time. Beat until you have stiff peaks—that means the tips don’t fall over anymore.
Add ¼ of the egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir thoroughly. Then add the rest of the egg whites, but fold them in. This means stir very gently, ideally with a spatula, the very minimum amount you can for the two mixtures to be combined.
Using the mixer, beat the cream until you have soft peaks. If you’re using the same bowl as you did for the egg whites, thoroughly wash it first.
Fold the cream into the chocolate mixture.
Refrigerate for at least four hours before eating.

The best and easiest way to separate eggs is to do them one at a time. You should have three bowls. Let’s call them A, B, and C. 
Gently crack the shell of the first egg. You want two neat halves, not a shattered mess. Pour the white into bowl A. Carefully pour the yolk between the two shell halves, letting some of the white fall between them into the bowl. It’s easy enough if you go slowly.
Dump the yolk into bowl B and pour the white into bowl C. Repeat with each egg.
The use of the third bowl as the workspace is so that if you mess up one egg, you can throw it out and not ruin everything. A tiny bit of fat in the egg whites will ruin this.
For those of you concerned about using raw eggs, don’t be. You are cooking the egg yolks just enough to lose any risk. Also, the egg whites do not contain any bacteria.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Roasted Garlic Soup

This week, my wisdom teeth come out.
I need soup. It’s all I can eat.

Roasted Garlic Soup

6 heads of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
3 14oz cans chicken broth
3 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp paprika or red pepper
Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325.
Do not peel the garlic, but cut off the top—the pointy bit where the outer skins meet. This exposes the cloves inside.
Put the garlic in a baking pan--one large enough to hold all 6 heads and has deep sides. Add water to the pan to come up to 1/3 the level of the garlic heads. Drizzle the olive oil over the top.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for one hour until soft and tender.
Set it aside until it is cool enough to handle, but not cold.
Pull each clove out from the skins and put them in a bowl. Check them as you’re doing this and make sure none of them are rotting. If some are, just throw out that one clove, not the whole head. Mash them together with a fork. They should be very soft and you should have no trouble mashing them
In a large saucepan, pour in the chicken broth. Add the mashed garlic. Using a whisk or a wooden spoon, stir everything together.
Put the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Add the rest of the ingredients, mix them together, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes before serving.

To be honest, this isn’t the best recipe in Joy of Cooking. It’s very garlicky. If you love garlic, that’s great for you!
If you feel the soup needs more bulk, add some chopped cooked chicken into the broth.
Also, be warned that excess garlic can cause intestinal distress. Even if you think you really love garlic and you can handle it, this is a lot. So just be warned.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

St Patrick’s Day is this week. I’m not Irish but a lot of people who live around here are.

So, something Irish I guess. I don’t even like Irish food really, so I guess this’ll be a good challenge to create something that I like. And that’s still easy enough for all my loyal if nonexistent readers to create.

Shepherd’s Pie

The biggest hurdle for me is that to make a true shepherd’s pie, it needs to be made with lamb. I can’t eat lamb, but substituting ground beef as I plan to do makes this something called ‘cottage pie’.

So I’ll tell you to use lamb. But you can substitute ground beef if you want.

1 package instant mashed potatoes
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1 lb raw ground lamb
1 tbsp flour
¾ cup beef broth
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp rosemary
2 tbsp butter

Make the mashed potatoes according to the package directions.
Preheat oven to 400.
Chop the onion, carrot, and celery into small chunks. Place the pieces in a skillet with the vegetable oil. Cook over medium low heat until the vegetables just start to get tender.
Add the lamb and increase the heat to medium. Break up the lamb with a spoon and cook until it is no longer pink.
Add the flour and cook, stirring, for about two minutes. Add the broth, thyme, and rosemary, and cook on low heat for another ten minutes. The mixture should thicken as it cooks.
Transfer the mixture into a greased baking dish or pie plate. The size or material of this dish doesn’t matter, just make sure it’s oven safe.
Spread the prepared mashes potatoes over the top of the mixture.
Cut the butter into small pieces and spread over the top of the potatoes.
Bake in the oven about 30 minutes, until the potatoes are browned.

You can use whatever vegetables you like in this. Mike swears corn is one of the essential ingredients, I personally think it would taste odd.
All that’s really required for this dish is a layer of meat, a layer of vegetables, and a layer of potatoes. Whatever you want will work fine.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chocolate Sheet Cake

Maybe I should make a cake. Yummy cake.

Point of interest, Mike made me a cake for Valentine’s Day. Brownie batter baked in a graham cracker pie crust and marshmallows on top. So delicious. If only it was in the book so I could give you the full recipe.

Today’s cake will be Chocolate Sheet Cake with Quick Chocolate Butter Ice Cream

So, I now have some financial troubles. Lost out on a job opportunity. I need to be frugal about what I’m buying for these recipes. So therefore, I’m going to let you know how much everything cost, so if you’re budgeting, you can do the same.

For cake:
2 c sugar (I already had this—all ingredients I didn’t have to get will be marked with *)
2 c flour (*)
1 tsp baking soda (*)
½ tsp salt (*)
½ c vegetable oil (*)
½ c unsalted butter ($4.70)
½ c unsweetened cocoa powder (hot chocolate mix works for this) (*)
2 eggs ($1.30)
½ c buttermilk (or ½ c milk—not skim! Needs some fat—and ½ tbsp white vinegar) ($0.90 for the vinegar, stole the milk from the dining commons on campus)
1 tsp vanilla (*)
For frosting:
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped ($2.80)
3 oz unsalted butter (unsalted is important here. it’s a little more expensive, but not too much.)
¼ c hot coffee, cream, or milk (*)
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 c powdered sugar (*)

To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13x9 in pan (a glass one is good to have but you can get a disposable one at any grocery store for cheaper).
If you did not get buttermilk, at this point you should mix together the milk and vinegar. Let it sit out in room temperature.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a saucepan over medium heat, mix 1 cup of water with the oil, butter, and cocoa powder. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and then pour over the dry ingredients in the bowl. Stir everything together, and let cool for a few minutes.
Then add in the eggs, buttermilk or milk/vinegar mixture, and vanilla. Mix well.
Pour it into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife can be inserted into the center and come out clean.
Let cool completely before adding frosting.

To make the frosting:
Melt in a double boiler (if you have one of these, you’re lucky, but if not, use a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water) the chocolate and the butter.
Remove from the heat and stir in the coffee/cream/milk (whichever you used) and the vanilla.
Gradually add in the powdered sugar and beat until it’s smooth and spreadable.

This cake can also be made in two 8-inch round cake pans. That’s how I did it, and I used the frosting as a filling between the two layers, since it didn’t really make that much. If you want to use that frosting to cover an entire sheet cake, double the recipe, maybe triple it if you like lots of frosting.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Breaded Pork Chops, Lima Beans, & Fettucine Alfredo

So I want to do another bacon recipe for Mike.

But the only bacon recipe left? BLT. And no, I’m not bothering with that. If you don’t know how to make that, you fail.

So I’m gonna do a recipe for myself. My birthday’s this week anyways.

I should make a cake, but my birthday’s Wednesday which means I can spread out the cooking to two weekends.

I do have a traditional birthday dinner. Shake and Bake porkchops, lima beans, and angel hair pasta with alfredo sauce. I’ve liked this since I can remember. Weird, right? What little kid likes pork chops?

Anyways, I’m going to do what I can from this.

Breaded Pork Chops

Joy of Cooking really says this for the recipe: Prepare Breaded Veal Cutlets, substituting pork chops.

So I’m going to do the whole substitution for you! ooh. ahh.

4 pork loin chops
½ c flour
2 c bread crumbs (if you can use fresh, go for it. But that’s so much bread it is actually worth it to buy canned crumbs.)
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.
Spread the flour on a plate, and the bread crumbs on another plate.
Beat the eggs and the milk together in a bowl.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
One or two at a time, as many will fit in the skillet at once, prepare the pork chops. Coat them in the flour first, then dip in the egg/milk mixture, and then coat with the bread crumbs. Cook in the skillet for 3 to 4 minutes each side, until brown and crunchy.
Drain on paper towels before serving.

Lima Beans

Okay, I doubt you’ll find fresh lima beans and actually want to take the time to cook them, so here’s a way different recipe.

1 package frozen lima beans (as much as you want)
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried parsley.

Thaw the lima beans by microwaving them in a bowl with some water.
Stir in the butter, lemon juice, and parsley until the butter has melted.

Note: if you don’t like the taste of lemon too much, use less juice. That much is only a suggestion here.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Because angel hair pasta is traditional for me, that’s what I’ll be using. You can substitute whatever pasta you want.

1 pound angel hair pasta
½ c butter
1 c heavy cream
1 c grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water (4-6 quarts, with a pinch of salt to keep the pasta from sticking) until it is tender. The pasta package will give you guidelines on the time.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the skillet—or add the butter to the pasta if your skillet isn’t big enough.
Add the cream, Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Toss it all together over low heat.

Notes: When I made this, I accidentally added only ½ cup of cream and ¾ cup of Parmesan. It was still delicious, just with a more subtle flavor. Try this if you’re on a diet and want lower fat in this dish. 

also, is anyone reading this? Please comment if you are, I'm feeling invisible here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sauteed Apples With Bacon

This week, my boyfriend and I will be celebrating our anniversary. I chose this week’s recipe in his honor.

He likes bacon.

There are few recipes for bacon, most of the bacon entries are different methods of cooking it.

So I’m going to go with Sautéed Apples With Bacon. This sounds so weird, but it’s really really good. It’s best as a breakfast dish or a snack.

4 large apples
8 slices bacon (make sure they’re raw, not just cooked bacon you steal from the cafeteria)
2 to 4 tbsp sugar

Peel and core the apples, then cut them into ¾ inch wedges.
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy.
Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Pour all but 2-3 tablespoons of the grease out of the skillet.
Add the apples to the bacon grease, putting the skillet back over medium heat. Cook the apples until they start to get tender and slightly brown.
Sprinkle the apples with sugar, and arrange them on the plate with the bacon.

Make sure your apples are firm-fleshed. Granny Smiths are always good. My favorite is Golden Delicious, they’re a bit sweeter.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spicy Maple-Roasted Quail

So, it’s Valentine’s Day today. That means one more recipe from the Valentine’s list.

Spicy Maple-Roasted Quail

This serves 4-8 people. You can half it to serve less, or plan on having leftovers.
And we’re not using quail. Chicken’s way cheaper. If you can afford to buy 8 quails, go ahead, but I’m assuming you’re not doing that.

One whole chicken (about 4.5-5 pounds) or 8-10 chicken breasts (these can be boneless if you prefer to do less preparation) or 2 Cornish game hens
¼ cup maple syrup (“maple flavor” will work. Just won’t taste good.)
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp chili-garlic paste (if you can find it, that’s sometimes hard—to make some yourself, mix 2 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp Tabasco, and 1 tsp garlic powder)
8 cloves garlic, chopped finely (a clove is not the whole thing. A clove is one of the little bits inside. One head of garlic will easily have 8 cloves. If you’re unsure, Google it.)
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

If you have a whole bird, remove the innards. Giblets (if there are any) will be in a bag you can just pull out. Pop out the kidneys—they are just at the opening in the back, and you should easily be able to just pop them out.
Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper.
Combine in a bowl the syrup, soy sauce, vinegar, paste, garlic, cinnamon, and pepper. Place the chicken in this mixture and coat it.
Marinate the chicken in the mixture for 4-8 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 475°.
Drain the chicken, but keep the extra marinade. Place the chicken in a casserole dish or roasting pan. Lacking either of those, you can form some aluminum foil into a makeshift one. You just want it to be in a large pan with deep sides.
Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 400°.
Roast for a little over an hour (65 minutes plus 10 minutes per every pound over 3.5), or until you cut into the chicken and the flesh is white. As it’s roasting, you’ll want to baste it twice—pour some of the extra marinade over the chicken.
Remove from oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Note: this could turn out really tender. When I made it, the bones literally just slid out of the meat. (very nice, as I hate eating meat off the bone.)
Your roasting time will vary based on what kind of meat you have. Best idea, Google it if you’re unsure.