Jillpickle: This weekend, I made a tasty recipe from Cooking Light: Creamy Lentil Soup. I changed a few things in the recipe. I added celery, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, more chicken broth and 2 bay leaves. I did not add the milk since it tasted just fine without it. I also made popovers to go with it. A good, comforting meal in all!
Posted in Soup
Katie: I wanted to try something different that might appeal to a certain fast food fan, so I found this recipe for pulled chicken sandwiches. I replaced the ketchup with tomato sauce and a little honey to try to make it a little healthier. I had to almost double the amount of tomato sauce, since the mixture was too dry at first. I decided to try making my own buns using this recipe for whole wheat buns. As sides, I made roasted sweet potato wedges and roasted carrots with honey. It was a good meal! I think next time I would use a different recipe for the buns, since they were kind of dry, but I would use the other recipes again.
Update: In order to have enough buns for leftovers this week I tried using this recipe. I cut the recipe in half and used part whole wheat flour and part all-purpose flour. They turned out much lighter than the first recipe I tried.
Matthew: I decided to make a chocolately treat while watching the Olympics the other night. This recipe for molten chocolate cakes from the New York Times was easy enough that I could make it during the commercial breaks and not miss any of the action. I just used enough batter to fill two 3″ ramekins and refrigerated the rest for later. I figured these would be best right out of the oven for fresh eating! And, they were! A perfect pair for an exciting night of competition.
Bill: After eating lots of yummy treats last weekend it was time for some healthy soup. I made Creamy Red Pepper Soup from the Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis. The soup was pretty fast to make and tastes great with two special toppings. One is baguette croutons which are nice and crunchy and the final topping is a dollop of mascarpone cheese. The cheese is a nice sweet compliment to the soup.
Florian: I found some frozen fish in our freezer and since Katie is in a soup-mood lately, I decided to make Easy Fish Stew. The recipe wasn´t too hard to make and the stew really tasted good. If I had to do it again, I´d probably double the recipe to have more left-overs. But it was still enough for approx. 4-5 servings.
Matthew: Since I’m on a bread-making kick, I decided to try something different than my usual whole wheat sandwich loaf. I’ve had challah before from Whole Foods and thought it was wonderful for sandwiches and for french toast. Technically, it wasn’t much different from making regular bread, except for the braiding step, which I was able to accomplish by watching this video. The dough was softer and more smooth than regular dough with the added eggs and butter. And, to get the glossy crust, a beaten egg is brushed on just before baking. My loaf turned out really well and was very tasty. I’m excited to bring it in for my friends at work and to use it for french toast later!
Posted in Bread
Matthew: I traveled to Chicago last weekend to visit my good friend Anna. I wasn’t exactly sure what she had in store for us, but I was delighted to find out that our plans were centered around eating really great food. We started on Friday by meeting Bridget at Sultan’s Market, where we all had the falafel. It was one of the best falafel I’ve had and it was really inexpensive.
The next morning for brunch, we ventured to Anne Sathers, a Swedish-themed restaurant known for their cinnamon rolls. I had the Swedish waffles, which were good, although paled in comparison to the cinnamon roll which was perfectly tender and sweet, just out of the oven.
The highlight meal of the trip was definitely our dinner at XOCO, Rick Bayless’ new restaurant that features Mexican street food. Anna and I shared a salad with carnitas, crispy tortilla strips, and an avocado-lime dressing, and then a torta called ahodaga which was a sandwich with carnitas in a spicy tomato chile sauce. Both were delicious and we were happy with our decision to get carnitas twice. The meal was finished with churros and homemade soft serve. They were light on the inside, nicely crispy on the outside, and deliciously covered in cinnamon and sugar. The combination of fried dough and soft serve was perfect. To top off the whole experience, we saw Rick Bayless behind the counter, tasting the soups and just checking to make sure all of the food was up to his standards. This will be remembered as one of the top meals of my life so far!
To end my weekend, we visited Lula Cafe, one of Anna’s favorite brunch spots. I decided to try their strata with tapenade, roasted peppers, leeks, and french feta. This was from their rotating brunch special menu. I had never had a strata before, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was blown away by the combinations of textures and flavors. The egg layers were perfectly light and fluffy and contrasted by the various fillings inbetween and the slightly charred edges to the strata slice. I think I’m going to have to try and attempt a strata after discovering how delicious they can be!
So all-in-all, it was a great weekend of eating with exciting new dishes to try and reinventions of more familiar food.