Saturday, September 29, 2012

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob with Garlic Parsley Butter

The farmer's market is my best friend. Me at a farmer's market is like a kid in a candy store. I want to buy everything. I randomly stumbled upon one the other day when I was driving a friend home who lives in Bloomfield (Pittsburgh's Little Italy). We were driving down her street just about to get to her house when we both spotted the familiar white tents and trailers in an empty lot on her block. "Is that a farmer's market?!" we both screamed. Indeed it was. The monsoon that was pouring down on us at the time did not stop us from walking down the street and admiring all the beautiful vegetables and fruits and herbs and flowers that adorned the tables. There were buckets of butternut squashes the size of a small child. My friend had to hold me back. She knows, along with most people that know me, that I have a butternut squash addiction. Next time, I told myself. Next time. I came home with some onions and garlic instead.

I should have bought more garlic.
I use a lot of both of these when I cook, so I knew neither would go to waste. For some reason the man I bought these from also threw in three ears of sweet corn. I don't normally buy sweet corn, but I willingly accepted it since he made me taste it and it. was. amazing.

I've always been intrigued by flavored butters, but I've never actually made my own. I thought a flavored butter would be a delicious way to enjoy the corn cobs for dinner. I had some leftover fresh parsley that I bought the other day, so I got that out of the fridge and got to work.

Grab a stick of softened butter, a few cloves of garlic (I used 3, but I reallllllllly like garlic, so you can tone it down if you'd like), a small handful of fresh parsley, and some salt.

Look how pretty.
Chop that parsley and those garlic cloves like crazy. Throw everything into a bowl with the butter, then sprinkle with some salt.

This is the only salt I use when I'm cooking. Love it.
Stir, stir, stir, stir, stir. Stir until everything is combined and looks delicious.

Take a quick taste to make sure all your amounts of ingredients are to your liking. Need more salt? Add more salt. Need more garlic? You always need more garlic. You can never have too much garlic. Throw in a little more garlic.

Transfer your delicious creation into a container to put in the fridge so you can use it over and over again.

You get to live in the fridge, now. You're going to make some nice friends in there. Tell the Greek yogurt on the bottom shelf I said hi.
The great thing about flavored butters is that they are so versatile. Brush some melted butter over breadsticks before baking. Use it to jazz up some steamed vegetables or plain pasta. Spread some on some toast for a super easy garlic bread.

You might have to use your roommate's bread because you suck at grocery shopping and forgot to buy your own, but it's ok because you're going to share the butter with him.
Once you finish making the butter and realize how delicious it tastes and smells, you almost forget that the reason you made it is to eat with the corn on the cob. Make sure you get out that corn on the cob.

FDR was guarding the corn for you, don't worry.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Go crack open a beer and turn on some Jake Owen because you're about to eat corn on the cob so you want it to feel like summer. And what makes summer feel more like summer than drinking beer and listening to a little Barefoot Blue Jean Night.

Once the oven is all hot and bothered (sorry) put the ears of corn directly on the oven rack. It sounds scary, but it's going to be ok. Roast them for about 30 minutes or so, or until the kernels are soft. Let them sit for a bit.

Once they've cooled down a little and you don't get third degree burns when you pick them up, shuck those bad boys.

Built in handles!

Get your delicious butter and smother your corn with it. Throw some more salt on there too, since you're all about eating healthy.

Eat all of the corn you made and curse yourself for not coming home with more corn from the farmer's market because that was one of the most delicious things you've ever eaten. Stand in front of your pantry and spice cupboard brainstorming at least 15 more different types of flavored butter you can make because it was way too easy and you're definitely going to be trying that again soon.


Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob with Garlic Parsley Butter

  • Ears of fresh corn
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1-3 cloves garlic (depending on preference), chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine butter, parsley, garlic, and salt in a bowl. Stir to combine.
  3. Place ears of corn, husks included, directly on oven racks. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until soft.
  4. Once they cool for about 5 minutes, shuck the ears of corn. Spread butter over the kernels and serve.
  5. Put leftover butter in a covered container and store in the fridge.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

 The zoo in the fall gets really boring and lonely and staff gets restless and bored. I've gotta do something. What better way to boost morale than to bake cookies for all my cashiers? COOKIES FOR EVERYBODY BECAUSE I'M OUT OF CONTROL. And I'm pretty much the best manager ever. I brought up the 1803567 cookie recipes I have bookmarked and picked out Mexican hot chocolate cookies. I've been wanting to make these for so long. But I sometimes hate making cookies because I know I'm going to eat 45 of them in one day and hate myself for the next week. But these are for sharing, so I justify it. And because they're for sharing, I only ate about 23.

Have you ever had Mexican hot chocolate? It's pretty much the best. I made some earlier. Before I made the cookies. I might turn into a Mexican. Or not. I don't think that's how it works.

Anyway. I got the recipe from here.

You'll need 2 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sift them all together in a big bowl.

It already looks delicious.

Get another bowl and beat together 2 sticks of butter with 1 1/2 cups of sugar until it looks fluffy and delicious. Add in 2 eggs.
Is it bad that I want to eat this?

Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat everything together until it looks like a giant bowl of chocolately goodness. Make sure you taste the batter before you put it into the oven. You, know, just to make sure everything is in there. And because if nobody is there to see you eat cookie dough, the cookie dough isn't actually eaten. Right?

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon chile powder. What's that? Chili powder? In a chocolate cookie? Don't get scared. Everything is going to be ok. I promise. Just go with it.

It smells delicious.

Start forming the cookie dough into tablespoon sized balls. Roll them around in the delicious sugar mixture.

Place each cookie about 3 inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Resist the urge to pop one in your mouth. (Or do it, because again, if nobody is around to see you eat it, it doesn't get eaten...)

Hey guys, you're about to go in the oven. It's gonna be really hot, but you're gonna be ok.
Pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes. When you take them out of the oven, you're going to be overwhelmed with amazing aromas. This is normal.

Let them sit for a minute or two before transferring them to a cooling rack. Tell yourself over and over again that these are not for you and that you have to save them for your cashiers at work and that you cannot eat them all. But all you want to do is get a giant glass of milk and a plate full of these cookies. Even though you don't even like milk.


Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate large bowl, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture and beat together on low speed until combined.
  5. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the sugar with the cinnamon and chili powder.
  6. Form dough into tablespoon sized balls. Roll each ball in the sugar mixture, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. 
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are set in the middle and begin to crack.
  8. Let cookies cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.
  9. Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lemon Parsley Chicken

Sometimes I feel like taking a nap. And sometimes when I lay on the couch I get the urge to try out a new recipe. Today was one of those times.

I got off the couch and browsed my fridge and pantry and brainstormed. Lemon parsley chicken! I love using fresh herbs when I cook, so I was excited to use the parsley I bought yesterday.

So gather your ingredients and follow along...

Chicken breasts. Fresh parsley. Lemon. Olive oil. Honey. Salt. Pepper. That's all you need.

Chop up a bunch of fresh parsley and put it in a bowl. Drizzle some olive oil over it, squeeze the juice out of a whole lemon into it, add a little bit of honey, and throw in some salt and pepper. Combine all of this together and pour over some chicken breasts in a shallow dish or container. Mix it all together and admire how pretty the chopped up parsley looks on the chicken.

Cover the dish and stick in the fridge for at least 15 minutes so all of the flavors can get inside the chicken.

While the chicken is marinating, maybe sneak in a quick nap. Or clean the bathroom that you've been telling yourself you would get to for the past 3 days. Or do some laundry. Or watch more Friends reruns, because let's face it, that's all you ever do anymore.

After the chicken has been marinating for about 15 minutes (or a few hours because you got distracted and went for a run after you watched a few episodes of Friends), take the chicken out of the fridge and place the breasts in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Make sure you pour all the remaining marinade over the chicken.

Put it in an oven that you had preheated at 400 degrees. Bake about 20 minutes-ish on each side. Take out of the oven and look how pretty!

When you put it on your plate, salt and pepper to taste, and pour a little of the marinade over it. Serve with some sesame sauteed carrots and oven roasted rosemary fries and enjoy!

How do you make the carrots and fries? Well I'm glad you asked! Both sides are ridiculously easy to make and ridiculously yummy.

For the fries, grab a couple potatoes, any kind. I used a sweet potato and a regular baking potato. Slice them up, then throw them in a bowl.

Pour some olive oil over the potato slices, then season with some salt, pepper, and dried rosemary. You could really use any herb you want. I've been on a rosemary kick lately, so that's what I went with. Toss everything together to combine, then spread the slices out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Throw in a 425 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes. Give the pan a shake a few times.

Enjoy a small snack while the fries are baking, silently cursing your roommate under your breath for leaving Hershey's bars on the kitchen table.

Once they're out of the oven and cooled, put them on a fancy plate so that you don't feel guilty about eating french fries for dinner.

For the carrots, slice up a couple carrot sticks. It's ok if they don't look pretty. They're still going to taste fantastic.

Heat a little olive oil over medium high heat on the stove. Toss in the carrot sticks and some sesame seeds (and a little salt and pepper) and sautee for about 10ish minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Once finished, drizzle a little honey over them.

Finish the dish with one of the chicken breasts.

You can now sit back and enjoy your dinner and relax. Until you realize that you still haven't cleaned your bathroom or done any laundry. Realize that you can either do those things now or watch more Friends reruns while finishing the last of your fries. Realize that you have a Friends addiction. Weep silently to yourself. Eat more fries. Everything will be ok.

Candied Bacon and Walnut Pancakes

It's a gloomy morning in Pittsburgh. I can't wait to get out of bed and have my morning coffee. It's my favorite part of the day.


I want to curl up on my couch in my footie pajamas and watch Friends reruns all day. Maybe grab a yogurt or pear for breakfast because I'm too lazy to cook. But wait. I remember I have bacon in the fridge. Yummy, delicious, thick-cut apple-smoked bacon from Trader Joe's (please go buy it right WILL thank me). I'm also kind of craving pancakes. Wait...


I've never made candied bacon before. But I've always been intrigued. You can never go wrong with bacon. And candied bacon? Have you ever seen a more beautiful combination of words in your life? Doubt it.

Apparently it's really easy to candy bacon. I might have to do this all the time. The possibilities for candied bacon are endless. Put it in cookies? Top cupcakes with it? By itself for a snack? I need to go buy more bacon.

To make the candied bacon, just line a baking sheet with some parchment paper. Lay your bacon on the sheet and season with a little pepper. Then sprinkle some brown sugar over the slices and BAM. DONE. Well, not quite. You still have to cook it.

Don't be scared, little slices of bacon. You're about to make magic,

But just place it in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 20 minutes or so (or until you cannot handle the delicious smell of brown sugar and bacon coming out of your oven any longer). Take it out of the oven and let it cool for a bit. It's going to crisp a little more while it cools. Resist the urge the eat all of the bacon. Or, plan ahead for this like I did  and make an extra slice to eat so you can put the rest in the pancakes.


Get your favorite pancake batter ready. You can use anything you want. I used a recipe from here. I love whole wheat pancakes, because I'm all about eating healthy. Now go back to your brown sugar covered bacon. Once the bacon is cool, chop it up or crumble it into little pieces and throw it in the batter.

It just seems so perfect.

 When I was looking through my pantry for ingredients earlier, I also found some chopped walnuts, and thought, "Why not?!" So throw some walnuts in there too if you wish. Go crazy. Dance like nobody is watching. Paint the town red. When in Rome. Sorry. I'll stop. Bacon makes me crazy.

Get your griddle nice and hot. Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto the griddle and cook a few minutes on each side.

(Ignore the fact that I'm terrible at flipping pancakes.)

Transfer to your fancy china (because you're fancy) and top with some pure maple syrup. Now sit on your couch and put on your footie pajamas and turn on some Friends reruns. The second part is optional, but I promise it will make the entire experience a lot more fun.


When your roommate comes home from work at the end of the day and he asks you how your day was, you tell him that you made bacon walnut pancakes and that there are none left for him. Or you can tell him that you actually made extra and that they're in the freezer and he can have them for breakfast tomorrow. (But don't tell him that they are the ugly ones that you flipped really badly.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Let's try this again...

I started a blog once. It lasted about 3 posts, I think. My goal for this one is at least 5 posts. Heh.

I love to cook. I love to experiment with new recipes. I love to create my own recipes. I love to try new foods. I would be perfectly content spending all day in my kitchen cooking. And I would love to share all of that with you. I'm not entirely sure what form this blog will take. Recipes, tips, advice, stories. Who knows. So stay tuned for the madness!