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Espresso cookies with chocolate and cherries

21 Apr

Because I needed an excuse to buy more coffee products.

These cookies are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, with a strong espresso taste up front. I like milk chocolate for the chips — it mellows out some of the bitterness of the coffee, and highlights the tartness of the dried cherries.

Read on for the recipe. Continue reading


Cookie comfort bars

29 Mar

Just to say it up front, I did these 8,000 percent wrong. Luckily, under-baked cookies continue to be cookies, and cookies are delicious:

I thought about fibbing on this one, and posting the recipe I meant to make, instead of the gooey-center crunchy-crust one pictured above. And believe me, the texture seen here is a vast improvement over the first out of the oven — essentially a pool of butter, not enough flour and undercooked eggs. Despite all that, the result here is a chewy, comforting, very buttery take on chocolate chip cookie bars.

Read on for the recipe.

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Pork noodles with sous-vide egg

11 Mar

So apparently, when you cook an egg at a low temperature in a water bath for about 50 minutes, magic happens.

That was the case with this experiment, which involved a temperature-regulator attached to a rice cooker (Happy Sous-Vide and/or Valentine’s Day present!); udon; pork; and various vegetables, spices and other happy-making ingredients. At a low temperature for a long time, the proteins in the egg transform in a way that makes the finished egg an instant tongue-coating (but not creamy) sauce when cracked over an otherwise basic bowl of noodles.

The most important information to have in this case can be found here, in Douglas Baldwin’s online guide to sous vide.

The rest is this: pork marinated in hoisin, soy, lime juice, honey and sriracha; then sauteed with garlic and chiles; then mixed with vegetables; then tossed with cooked udon noodles; then topped with the cracked egg; then stirred around a bit to make the sauce.

Banh mi = success

7 Mar

After an especially long and hunger-inducing shift at my favorite Steamboat Springs Tex-Mex restaurant, I came home to these, the most satisfying and amazing and salty and greasy Banh Mi sandwiches I have ever tasted. Kudos to Zach for knowing that fried ground pork is always the right choice.

Pork meatballs seasoned with a heavy dose of garlic, what may or may not have been too much salt, and a few bunches of basil; sriracha sauce with yogurt, honey, lime and soy; crusty French rolls; pickled carrots and red onion; diced cucumber. This sandwich made for even score against everything I have ever cooked (probably combined).

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Mediterranean potstickers

17 Feb

Dumplings are one of my favorite snacks/appetizers/things-t0-eat-as-meals-that-are-not-in-fact-meals. Steamed, pan-fried or deep-fried, they’re perfect little bites of meat, vegetables and seasoning, and make handy vehicles for any kind of semi-liquid sauce.

Pork is the general favorite way to go along the usual Asian-themed potsticker route. Those are a pretty common guest in our kitchen. But at some point, I get a little bored, and end up with something like this:

That’s chicken, artichoke heart, spinach, shallot, garlic and feta cheese, all chopped very fine, shoved into a dumpling wrapper, sealed, and fried.

Served with a Greek yogurt and roasted red pepper sauce, these little guys are creamy, salty, briny, citrus-y, and extremely delicious. Read on for the recipe.

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Accidental recipe: Coffee-hazelnut-chocolate-oatmeal cookies

23 Jan

For about three years living in Colorado, every cookie I baked was a grainy, mortar-textured hockey puck. For each recipe that worked in North Carolina, there was suddenly a useless, tooth-breaking counterpart.

Successful cookie-baking was completely elusive until a little treasure chest of high-altitude-friendly recipes entered my world in the form of the North Fork Ranch‘s family cookbook.

For the first week or so, I was convinced these recipes didn’t work — surely it was the shortening that was making them so crispy. Turns out I was baking everything for about 8 minutes longer than necessary. With adjusted timing, those recipes turned into springboards for chewy, slightly salty cookies that have countless adaptations.

This one was brought on by some leftover coffee and a very tempting bar of hazelnut-infused chocolate from one of Steamboat’s organic food stores, Bamboo Market.

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Accidental recipe: Char Siu BLT

10 Jan

Given too much time and access to the Internet, my charity dinner themes can tend to get a little inflated.

So back at the beginning of football season, ran a chicken wing contest:

That contest led to a finger-food themed menu, initially intended to include chicken wings and a vegetable item or two. But then we just happened to end up with pork belly. And then we just happened to end up making pulled pork egg rolls, pork dumplings, pork belly confit and pumpkin cheesecake-filled wontons. We were on a vaguely pan-Asian-themed, cholesterol-slicked roll.

And that led to one of our best charity dinner discoveries to date: the Char Siu BLT.

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