Friday, May 27, 2011

"Swamp Thing" or "Cicadas Attack!"

You know that loud mouthed guy who keeps claiming that it's the rapture? Well sometimes (just for a second) I start to wonder if that might be a little bit true ( don't judge). Right on the heels of the winter that wouldn't end (cue a Game of Thrones monologue about ten year winters) is the insane plague of locusts aka the 13 year cicadas waking up and swarming everywhere like we're at war with the Pharaoh.

 They are absolutely everywhere, INSANELY loud and just big enough (around humming bird sized) to make you freak out if they land on your shirt...or hair... or face. Which they do, often. I flip flop between being enchanted with them (novelty and whatnot), or freaked out and disgusted because they're a swarm of alien faced dive-bombing squawkers.

Since they only show up every 13 years the enchanted part of me briefly considered whipping up a cicada themed recipe to mark the occasion, but at the same time... you know, ew.  So instead I'll tell you what I did cook while inside hiding from the apocalypse.

I finally finally got a free moment this week to look in some non internet places for recipes ( I also went to see Thor but that's another story) and I found (cue the angel voices) another recipe for soba noodles! I'm a total fangirl for soba noodles, I've been in love with them pretty much since last November when I discovered that they were actually edible and not in fact the mat you roll up sushi with.They're deliciously nutty, strangely colored and cook in four minutes! Perfect for a lazypants like me.

The sauce you put on them is sort of this weird peanuty chili sauce that's just funky enough to hang out with zee mighty soba. When you taste them together it's clear that they're besties from the same clique. It's spicy, it's peanuty, it tickles your mind's 'wtf' areas in all the right ways. Make this. It totally only takes 20 minutes.

A word of warning, this is a limited time only dish. DO NOT reheat it, it basically clumps into a lagoon creature in the microwave for some reason. I blame the peanut butter. It still tastes okay (nom!) but you'll definitely look like your downing a bowl of creepy crawlers. Hey we're back where we started!

Peanut Soba Noodles With Chicken

12 ounces Soba (buckwheat) noodles
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1/2 cup of your favorite peanut butter
3 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger
2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon Asian chili sauce (such as Sriracha or sambal oelek)
Kosher salt
1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup chopped scallions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and edamame and cook as the noodle label directs. Reserve 1cup cooking water, then drain the noodles and edamame and run under cold water until cool.
2. Whisk the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and chili sauce in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water and whisk until smooth. Add the noodles, edamame, season with salt and toss to combine (add more cooking water to loosen, if  needed). Divide among shallow bowls and top with the chicken , cucumber and scallions.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"A Scrumtrulescent Trip To Yumtown" or "Joy The Baker is My New Best friend (she just doesn't know it yet)"

I've been sort of in the dumps lately, and not just your regular lady dumps. More like the why is it still so cold and endlessly rainy summer will never get here?! dumps combined with your everyday lady dumps.
 And so far my only plan to knock it out: Cutting my t shirts into halters, watching an endless marathon of 30 Rock on netflix streaming,and poaching Joy's blog for recipes because Joy is awesome and I want to be her best friend and braid her hair.

One absolutely magnificent recipe I found on her blog was for a pretzel topped peanut butter fudge brownie, that was just too insane looking to ignore. And happytime bonus: if you're a girl having girl times you'll most likely have everything needed to make these brownies already in your pantry. Or lap depending on how badly things are going. And let me tell you this was definitely the kind of day where I was already eating chocolate, peanut butter and pretzels by the fist full. Oh and marshmallows, straight from the bag. But those aren't in the recipe so lets just say they weren't there. Okay?

I did happen to run into two problems, 1) I ate most of my chunky peanut butter before I decided to whip these babies up, so I subbed in a little Almond butter I had in the fridge. Fun fact: Peanut butter is kind of a tyrant and will basically nuke the almond butter flavor if you ever find yourself in the same boat. Peanut butter + Almond butter = vat of peanut butter. 2) Figuring out how to eat these without wedging my mouth open like a crocodile proved to be a little tricky. I might use the little square windows next time.

Bottom line, make these. Short of snake oil and hard liquor, pretzel topped peanut butter brownies are pretty much a mood enhancing godsend. Just don't tell your cardiologist (he'll give you the stink eye) or your Zumba teacher (she already knows).

For the Brownie:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon  salt
coarse sea salt for topping
For the Peanut Butter Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter, smooth works the best but chunky and almond are okay too
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
large handful of pretzel sticks
 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.  Line with parchment paper so that it overhangs on two sides and grease the parchment paper too
In a bowl in the microwave  or a double boiler combine butter, unsweetened chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and coffee powder  and warm /stir/ warm  until chocolate and butter are melted. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool slightly. Stir in the vanilla extract.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk granulated sugar into the chocolate and butter mixture.  Make sure the chocolate mixture isn’t too hot (finger test yall) and whisk the eggs in the mixture one at a time.
Fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and spoon into prepared pan.
To make the Peanut Butter Filling, whisk together peanut butter, melted butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract until smooth. Depending on your peanut butter a little spin in the microwave might be needed to loosen it up enough to stir.
Pour the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie batter and use a butter knife to swirl the two together. Top the brownie batter with the pretzels (however you like. squareish shapes are easier to cut though)  Top with a few sprinkles of coarse sea salt and  bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes our mostly clean.
Let cool for about 1 hour before slicing and enjoying. It's delicious hot, but really crumbly so beware.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ben and Jerry's Run Down

I don't think I need to tell you that April was no friend of mine. Unlike the pizza wielding plucky news hound she was in the 80's the April of 2011 was pretty much a giant whore. A wellspring of natural disasters, cold snaps, wasp attacks and dead hard drives... thank god it's finally May.

Skipping to the good parts here are the unblogged ice cream flavors for April.

Ben and Jerry's Flavors # 57-60

Blueberry Cheesecake
Blueberry and cheesecake ice creams with a thick graham cracker swirl

 Blueberry Cheesecake, unlike it's sister flavor Strawberry Cheesecake this flavor didn't really hit all the notes like it could have. Not much blueberry in there besides the color and other than a tasty little graham cracker swirl, not much cheesecake flavor either. Definitely not terrible, but the boys have done better.

Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet Cake batter ice cream, with Red Velvet cake pieces and a cream cheese frosting swirl
An instant favorite with me (though probably not for the intended reason) it tastes just like Strawberry Jello Cake! I don't know that die hard red velvet cake fans would truly like this flavor since it's not exactly spot on, but whatever it's trying to be I certainly wouldn't kick it out of bed.

Peanut butter ice cream with caramel cluster pieces, marshmallow swirls & peanut buttery swirls
Ever put chunky peanut butter directly on a bowl of vanilla ice cream? It is amazing! And that is exactly what this flavor is like. I know Fluffernutters aren't exactly everyone's cup of tea (in fact it makes some people want to vom) but even if that's true for you, you should still give this flavor a try. It lacks some of the bigger ick factors of a marshmallow cream sandwich, and it is way way too good to miss out on.

Bonnaroo Buzz
Coffee and malt ice creams with whiskey caramel swirls and English toffee pieces
Okay I'll admit I was a little skeptical about the flavors they picked for a Bonnaroo themed ice cream. A coffee based ice cream for a hellishly hot summer festival just seemed like an odd pick, and really I'd still be thinking that if it didn't turn out to be a whiskey caramel ice cream with coffee as the backup dancer. Whiskey ice cream for a music festival held in the home state of Jack Daniels is a genius stand in  for the more accurate Bonnaroo Buzz flavor of weed and beer (an ice cream sold only in back alleys and/or California). The funny thing about it though is for an uppity stand in, the boozy cloud that hits your nose when you peel back the lid is unmistakable. I had the misfortune of finding this out while at work and tried to shove it back in the freezer before anyone else caught wind.(It turned out okay... I think)
 It doesn't taste boozy though, there's just enough of that whiskey funk to put an interesting edge the the sweet ( and enormous!) English toffee pieces and a frozen coffee base to make for one truly unique ice cream. It's intoxicatingly good, and just like the festival it's named after, it's quirky charm will worm it's way into your heart and call you back for more. Definitely added to my favorites list.