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I am working mom who loves to cook and bake. I hope to keep track of recipes and share some of my better ones. In the process, hopefully my photography and cooking will get better and better!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cilantro Jalapeno Slaw

I know, slaw?  Really?  I rarely like creamy slaw, but I think that's because most slaw seems to have celery seed in it, and I have to say, I'm not a fan.  I am a big fan of this slaw, largely because I love the cilantro in it.  If you hate cilantro, and god knows you cilantro haters are out there, I would suggest adding 2 jalapenos.

I had this with homemade chicken salad, with pork carnitas, and also with grilled chicken.  It stayed crisp for DAYS.  I used a mandoline to slice it, and I like the thin strands of slaw, but it's definitely not necessary.  PW piles it on top of pulled pork.  Not a bad idea!

Cilantro Jalapeno Slaw
adapted from Pioneer Woman

1/2 head Cabbage, Sliced Thin
1/2 head Purple Cabbage, Sliced Thin
1 whole Jalapeno, Halved Lengthwise And Thinly Sliced
1/2 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 cups Cilantro Leaves, Barely Chopped

Combine shredded cabbage, cilantro, and sliced jalapenos in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Pour over cabbage. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate two hours to meld.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Dry Rub

In general, I dislike pork tenderloin, so when I tell you this recipe already has me wondering when we can make pork again, you know it's good!  We served this with a nice salad and some mashed lima beans.  It's just the tiniest bit spicy, and the allspice is a nice touch but does not detract from the savory nature of the dish.  Best of all, it's weeknight friendly.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with  Dry Rub

Adapted from Elly says Opa

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. cayenne

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Rub the pork tenderloin on all sides with the olive oil and lime juice. Whisk the remaining ingredients into a small prep bowl, and then rub the mixture all over the pork tenderloin.   This is good to do in a zip top bag the night before, for easy work day assembly.

Heat a  tablespoon extra of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tenderloin. Sear on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Place the whole pan in the oven to finish cooking the tenderloin, about 12-15 more minutes.  Your thermometer will register at 160F.

Rest for 5-10 minutes under a foil tent before slicing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hot Cocoa Mix

Happy Mardi Gras!  I love this hot cocoa mix.  The best part is, that the hot chocolate solid bits melt and leave a nice but of melted chocolate in the bottom of your cup!  It is great to make as gifts, and couldn't be easier.

Hot Cocoa Mix
Adapted from Confessions of a Foodie Bride

2 vanilla beans
4 cups granulated sugar
24 oz high-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
9 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups Dutch process cocoa

Split and scrape vanilla beans and place in a large bowl or jar with the sugar.
Work seeds into the sugar with your fingers. Submerge the pods under the sugar.

Cover tightly and let stand overnight (or for weeks) at room temperature.
In a food processor fitted with metal blade, process semisweet chocolate and dark chocolate until finely ground, using 4-second pulses. Process in batches, if necessary.  The chocolate should be as fine as you can.
Remove pod from sugar. Add ground chocolate and cocoa powder to sugar and whisk to blend, making sure to combine well.
Store mix airtight at room temperature for up to six months.
To serve, heat 2 Tbsp of mix with 8 oz of milk over medium heat.

This makes about 76 servings.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

We use a lot of chocolate syrup.  Although I am pretty sure any sugar you use is not so fabulous, somehow I feel better when it's not filled with high fructose corn syrup.  This homemade syrup fits the bill, and packs a good chocolate punch!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup
Adapted from Annie's Eats

1¼ cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 cup water
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and cocoa powder and whisk briefly to break up chunks of cocoa.  Stir in the water and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir in the vanilla.  Store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

King Cake

I can't even tell you the last time we had king cake, but it was probably Mardi Gras 2004.  So I may be wrong when I say this was every but as good (better, I dare say) than I remember it, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  I picked this recipe since all the recipes that were well rated were all...this recipe!

This is definitely one of those recipes where I was grateful to my husband for lying.  The cream cheese filling partially spilled out (darn my improper seal), and B asserted that every king cake he ever had the cream cheese filling was partially gushing out of the cake.   There's a reason we're still married.  : ) 

lundi gras edits: I fixed the cream cheese filling for you guys.  I added orange zest and lemon zest to the dough, and vanilla.  Yum!!

King Cake
Adapted from Southern Living

1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 orange, zested aand zest only used
1 lemon, zested and zest only used
2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour
1/3 cup butter, softened

Creamy Glaze
Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles

Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.
Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand about 5-7 minutes.
Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, orange and lemon zests, vanilla, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic with dough hook (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.
Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk, roughly.

Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle.

Add the cream cheese filling, spreading around, but leaving 2 inches of bare dough.

Take each dough rectangle, at long sides, and join the two long sides together. join it into a circle.  You will have to  pinch the seam to keep the cream cheese filling from spilling it out.  Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Put a mason jar, lightly sprayed with cooking spray, in the center to keep the hole open.

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes). Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.

Creamy Glaze

3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons milk

Stir together first 4 ingredients. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk, adding additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until spreading consistency.

Cream Cheese Filling
adapted from Ina Garten

16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
beans scraped from one vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) and cream them together on low-medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the egg yolks,  vanilla, vanilla beans seeds, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don't whip it.

Sprinkle with colored sugars.  To make these, take some coarse sugar, and combine them with a few drops of each color (purple, green, and gold, baby!!!), then put on your king cakes.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cut Out Cookies

I am so happy to have mastered this recipe.  I originally made the sugarbelle recipe, but honestly, it drove me crazy.  There was no definite word on how much flour to use, so whenever I made it the potential was there, but it was too dry. Too hard to roll.  

That's the reason why I like baking- you can find recipes that are reliable, and when you weigh your ingredients, they never come out wrong.   Sadly, I just don't have the "feel" that experienced cookiers do to know when to lay off the flour, so I have no doubt it was my failure, not Sugarbelle's.  But I had to do something to the sugarbelle recipe to make it foolproof for me.

LilaLoa's chocolate cookie recipe is amazing, and last night before bed it hit me- just adapt that one into chocolate chip!  So today, I did, and it was perfect.  Perfect.  

Chocolate Chip Cut Out Cookies
A suppers at sunset original, inspired by Sugarbelle and LilaLoa

2 sticks unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup light brown sugar (162 gm, 5 3/4 oz)
3/4 cup sugar (163 gm, 5 3/4 oz)
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp baking powder
3 2/3 cups to 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour (505 gm if refrigerating, 575gm if using immediately)
2 cups (12 oz, 1 package) mini semisweet chocolate chips.

Cream together butter, shortening, and the sugars.  Add eggs, vanilla, vanilla bean seeds, and beat to combine.   Add flour and baking powder, beat to combine.   If you are going to refrigerate and use another day, use the lower amount of flour.  Stir in chips.  Do not beat in chips- as you cut these, you will get fragments of chip in the dough with re-rolling, so having them intact is a good thing.  

Heat oven to 375 F.   Roll 3/8" thick and cut as desired.  Because of the chips, small pieces to decoration are tough to get out intact (my T Rex cutter was a no go.)  But otherwise, there's no spreading.  Bake for 6/12 minutes, and remove from oven and let them cool on the sheet.  Do not overbake.  Top with chocolate royal icing.  

Black Bean and Beef Chili

I have a favorite chili recipe for "red" chili.  However, my husband has always commented that it's "sweet."  It's not, in my opinion, but everyone's entitiled.

Anyhoo, this chili is not sweet at all.  It's not spicy, either.  (warning: I have a high spice tolerance.)  It's savory and thick, and not overtly tomato-rich.   We have a new family favorite!  Expect a lot of winter recipes from me- it's getting cold!

Black Bean and Beef Chili
adapted from smells like home

3 cans (14 – 15 oz each) black beans
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 diced chipotle chili pepper (canned in adobo sauce) or a pinch of ground chipotle chile powder
1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb very lean ground beef (less than 10% fat)
1 medium red onion, very finely diced
1 tbsp regular chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp ancho chile powder
Pinch ground chipotle chile powder
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 cups beef stock or 1 (15 oz) can beef broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Drain 2 cans black beans into colander and rinse well. Let beans drain while you use a food processor to puree the third can of undrained beans, diced tomatoes and liquid, and the diced chipotle chile pepper (or chipotle powder). If undrained beans skeeve you out, you could add 1/3 cup water instead.  I got over it and used the liquid.

Process the beans and tomatoes about 1 minute, until they are smooth.

In bottom of heavy soup pot or large Dutch oven, heat 1 – 2 tsp olive oil and brown beef, using the back of the turner to break it into small pieces. Remove beef to bowl, then add a bit more olive oil and the onions. Lower heat a little and cook onions until they are softened but not starting to brown. Add all the chile powders and cumin and saute about 30 seconds.

Add beef stock, browned ground beef, pureed bean mixture, drained beans, and tomato paste and simmer over low heat, uncovered, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Stir the chili occasionally to prevent any sticking on the bottom of the pot.  After 45 minutes, check the seasonings and add more chile powder, salt, and/or pepper as needed.

Just before serving chili, stir in the chopped cilantro and lime juice and cook about 5 minutes.  Serve chili hot with toppings of your choice.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken

This was a completely uninspired meal that turned out well.  I'm not saying it's earth shattering, but it's definitely tasty when you need to dress up some chicken breast in an effortless way.  It was just the ticket for a lazy wednesday night.

Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken
Adapted from Fake Ginger

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
juice of two large lemons
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
Combine the flour, paprika and sea salt in a shallow pan. Drop each chicken breast in the mixture and toss to coat completely.
Drop each chicken breast in the hot oil and brown on both sides (should take only about four minutes). Remove chicken breasts and keep warm on a plate.
Pour the lemon juice in the pan and stir to deglaze. Put chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour juice on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar and lemon zest.
Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until cooked through.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Do you ever forget which is your favorite recipe for some common things?  That happened to me with this hummus.  I was convinced it was any numbers of recipes, when meanwhile, it was Ina all along.  This is most garlicky, lemony hummus you could ever hope to meet.  It makes a great pre-dinner snack with fresh veggies!

Adapted from Ina Garten

4 garlic cloves
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
8 dashes hot sauce
Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it's minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Korean Beef BBQ tacos with cucumber slaw

This dish was a night-over-night winner.  Using the chuck roast makes it endlessly easier than using ribs.  And, it makes a cheap cut of meat fork tender.  The cucumber slaw gives a nice, refreshing crunch.  Next time I will definitely add bean sprouts, or even water chestnuts, because the crunch is such a nice thing.  My husband proceeded to eat the leftovers over anything else I served the next two nights!

Korean Beef Tacos and Cucumber Slaw
Adapted from Confessions of a foodie Bride

For the Korean beef:
~5 lbs beef  chuck roast
1 bottle (10 oz) low sodium soy sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp ginger, grated
6 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 Tbsp sriracha
1 1/2 cups water (optional)

For the Cucumber Slaw:
1 cucumber (seedless if you like)
Thinly sliced red onion rounds, about 1/3 cup
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
crushed red pepper flakes to taste

For the tacos:
homemade tortillas
bean sprouts
Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

To make the cucumber slaw, slice the cucumber very thinly.

Transfer to a bowl and toss with red onions, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Refrigerate until ready to use (leftovers get less and less crunchy as they sit but it can be made ahead, just pour off any accumulated liquid and toss with an additional 1-2 tsp vinegar to taste, if necessary).

To make the Korean beef for the tacos, spray your pot with non-stick cooking spray and add the chuck roast.
Whisk soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar with the garlic, ginger, sriracha, and oils.
Pour over the chuck roast in the crockpot. (Adding 1 1/2 cups of water if necessary to cover meat.)
Cook at 250 F  for roughly 6 hours.
If desired, remove 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid and skim the fat from the top. Pour the liquid into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by about half and pour over the shredded meat.
To assemble, serve the shredded meat on warmed tortillas topped a spoon of cucumber slaw, cilantro, bean sprouts, sriracha and a dollop of yogurt.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Deviled Eggs

Everyone needs a quick appetizer.  This is quick and classic, but definitely a hit or miss- you love or hate the egg.  We happen to love it, so this is a great one for us!

Deviled Eggs
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

7 large eggs (cold)
3/4 teaspoon grainy mustard
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Place eggs in medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill medium bowl with 1 quart cold water and about 14 ice cubes (one tray). Transfer eggs to ice water with slotted spoon; let sit 5 minutes.

Peel eggs and slice each in half lengthwise with paring knife. Remove yolks to small bowl. Arrange whites on serving platter, discarding two worst-looking halves. Mash yolks with fork until no large lumps remain. Add mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar, Worcestershire, and salt and pepper to taste; mix with rubber spatula, mashing mixture until smooth.

Fit pastry bag with large open-star tip, or use a zip lock. Fill bag with yolk mixture, twisting top of pastry bag to help push mixture toward tip of bag. Pipe yolk mixture into egg white halves, mounding filling about 1/2 inch above flat surface of whites. Serve at room temperature.