Iron Chef Mommy

The journey of a mother and wife in her very own kitchen stadium

Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

I admit it, I’m a snob. There, I said it.

Posted by ironchefmommy on February 12, 2010

I bet half the bitches that hate me, or read this blog just to get some info on what’s going on in my life are thinking, wow, she really is a snob. Well, sorry to crumble your cookie girls, but that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Cookies. Chocolate chip to be exact.

I like to think I’m not addicted to any sweets (lie #1). I basically ate nothing but ice cream through my whole pregnancy with Madeline and wondered why I gained so much weight. Thank goodness for genetics is all I have to say about that (and my darling mother, the personal trainer). I got to a point when I was pregnant that my mother (and husband) basically had to pry the ice cream spoon out of my hands. I was addicted. Then there’s chocolate. For a few years, I was like Kyra Sedgwick’s character in The Closer. I had chocolate everywhere. It was in my desk at work, in my car, in my purse, briefcase, in the freezer. Hell, I even kept a bag of Dove chocolates in my nightstand (because the 12 steps to the kitchen was just too far). It’s been awhile since I’ve had chocolate in my nightstand. I like to think that was the coping with the stress of my job. Now I just keep it in the freezer… and there’s way less of it.

But, I’m not actually a huge dessert person. If I’m out to eat, I can actually just have a bite or two of whatever is there and be fine. My sweet tooth is satisfied. Cheesecake, chocolate cake… just a few bites are enough for me. Ice cream is a different story… I probably could never completely give that up. Same goes for chocolate chip cookies.

I literally could eat a box of chocolate chip cookies in a sitting, no question. Luckily, I’ve stopped myself before doing so, but I’ve definitely sat my ass down and gobbled up 10 or 12. Sometimes it’s while I watch the Biggest Loser. Sometimes I feel bad while doing it, but then I remember that once I feel my pants get tight, everything gets cut out for 3 weeks and suddenly, I’m even lighter than before I started (thanks again Mom, for the rocking metabolism). Anyway, they are my guiltiest pleasure ever. I appreciate them even more now, and here’s why-

After Madeline was born, before I even left the hospital, my mom and I agreed (well, she said she was going to help me so I had no choice basically!) that I would listen to her nutrition plan for 6 weeks to drop most of the weight I had gained and keep the nutrients I needed since I was nursing and needed extra calories. I agreed and figured I could do anything for 6 weeks. Besides, I’d just eaten probably a ton of ice cream in the last 6 months or so (the first 3 was nothing but Chinese food… gross, I know. don’t ask. I rarely go near it now). I was all set… then we walked in my door. My mom’s oldest sister sent me a box of cookies from Chip ‘N Dipped. Well, these darling things were the last thing I needed. But now there were 2 dozen of them in front of me. Giant chocolate chip cookies, half dipped in chocolate. Holy shit. Well, she packed up half of them right away. Then she told me everytime I lost 10 pounds I could have a cookie. That was it. I asked her right away if I could have 2 since I dropped almost 20 pounds just at the hospital. No dice. So I had no choice but to listen. I wanted those cookies. So I lost the weight and those cookies were every bit worth the wait. I would dream about them. I could give up a lot of things… never chocolate chip cookies.

Since then I have been trying to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I will be the first to admit I never had a lot of luck with baking cookies. Either my pan wasn’t right or the oven was too hot or the rack was too low, take your pick. When those things weren’t an issue, it was the recipe itself. I never got that “whoa” taste from cookies I’d baked at home. I’m very picky about my cookies. I like them to have a bit of crispiness around the edges with a softer middle that leave you craving a huge glass of milk. Well, I found them. Finally. Not only did I find the perfect recipe, but my oven decided to work wonderfully, my racks were way at the top, and the cookies were literally perfection. I ate one right out of the oven and two more once they cooled. I’m ready to polish off about 10 more, but it’s almost midnight so I’m thinking that’s not the smartest idea. So, if you’re a cookie person, these are definitely for you.

World’s best chocolate chip cookies

You’ll need:

2 eggs
1 (12 oz bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

You’ll have to:

First, mix together flour and baking soda and set aside.
Cream butter, white and brown sugar, vanilla and water in electric mixer until creamy. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture a little at a time. Mix well until creamy. (You’ll want to make sure there are no lumps, but don’t overbeat… overbeating releases glutens in the flour and makes everything starchy and glumpy and weird). Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
Make little round balls, about 1 tsp apiece, and place onto well greased cookie sheet (I use Pam for Baking). Place on top rack in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove immediately from pans and cool on wire racks.

This recipe makes 36 cookies. Now, there’s nothing wrong with 36 cookies, except that I’d eat every single one of them. I halved the recipe and got 20 cookies.

They’re delicious– Even Madeline thought so when she tried to taste the cookie batter…..(or as she would say, “mmm….a-wishous!”)

Advertisements

Posted in Baking, Cookies, Miscellaneous, Musings, Quick, Sweet | Leave a Comment »

Superbowl (of food) Sunday…

Posted by ironchefmommy on February 10, 2010

Well, I’m a bit behind, of course. As noted in my last post, things are going to be changing around here in the next few weeks, so I’d ask those of you that do read to hang in there until they’re all finished. Posting is probably going to be slightly limited, only because I am one person and only have so many hours in a day to get shit done. I’ll do my best to have things go smoothly, but that’s never a sure thing with me. Ha.

So, Superbowl Sunday. My take on it? I usually don’t watch football during the season. I did in college because I would probably have been thrown out of my house if I wasn’t cheering for the resident team, our NY Giants (or Cattie’s Steelers). So, my Sunday’s in college consisted of beer and food, and whatever game happened to be on tv. We’re pretty much a baseball house. But, if an NY team happens to make it to the playoffs, will I watch? Maybe. Brett’s stepdad is a Giants fan as well, so if we’re up there on a Sunday, chances are that game is on.

Now, one of my closest, dearest, best friends is a New Orleans native. We have gone back and forth over the 10 years we’re friends, I should move south, she should move north… neither is likely, especially now that we have 2 feet of snow dumped on us and she’s what you would call a “tropical people.” I was glued to the tv during Katrina and the storms that have hit since, worrying about her and her family – since we’re friends we’ve been through quite a bit, husbands, children, and a whole lotta crap. I love her dearly. Anyway, her Saints made (and have since won, in case you’ve been living under a rock) the Superbowl. Of course I was happy for her – and my dad, who lived in NO for quite a few years, was beyond thrilled. Plus, I’m an Emeril fan. So we set out to cheer on the Saints and watch the game. Brett’s friend moved back into PA about a week or so ago from AZ, and it was an understatement that Brett was happy to have him back. So he came up for dinner (I made my Shepherd’s Pie at Brett’s request) and we enjoyed some snacks. I didn’t go overboard since Brett’s trying to eat a little healthier since we’ve started working out together. I made my famous 7 layer taco dip (more healthy than the other option, buffalo chicken dip) and I made wings. Baked, not fried, so slightly better, but I left the skin on. Yum. So, if you’re throwing a party, these are easy and yummy. Enjoy!

7 layer taco dip

You need:

9″ or 10″ pie plate
taco sauce or salsa 2-3 tablespoons
refried beans (1 can)
3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
taco seasoning envelope
chopped tomatoes
chopped scallions
sliced olives
cheddar/jack cheeses

Mix one can refried beans with 2-3 tablespoons of salsa or taco sauce and spread into bottom of pie plate. In a seperate dish, stir together sour cream and mayo. Spread on top of bean mixture. Layer 1/2 envelope of taco seasoning. Cover dish with shredded cheddar/jack cheese and top with chopped scallions, tomatoes, and olives. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Homemade buffalo wings

First get:
30 chicken wings
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup hot sauce (like RedHot)

Then:
Take flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt and mix in large ziploc bag. Drop wings into bag and shake to coat. Remove wings. On large baking sheet, place tinfoil then spray with cooking spray. Place wings on cooking sheet and refrigerate for one hour.

Remove wings from fridge. In small saucepan, combine butter and hot sauce. Add tabasco if needed. I added some honey and 2 tbs brown sugar because I thought it needed a little zing. Coat wings in sauce and place on baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, turning wings halfway through.

Posted in Appetizer, Baking, Chicken, Dinner, Holiday, Meat, Miscellaneous, Quick, Vegetables | 1 Comment »

ch-ch-changes…

Posted by ironchefmommy on February 6, 2010

Well, it’s been a wonderful first month of 2010! Blogging is great, family is wonderful, and the kitchen smells fantastic! I must say, the craziness is wonderful and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, instead of trying to slow down, we’re going full steam ahead. Between home, school, family and everything in between, I’ve decided to throw some more fun into the mix! Stay tuned for some great updates and some new appearances for this blog in the coming weeks!

In the meantime, I will still be posting some recipes – especially this next week with the Superbowl (go Saints!) tomorrow and Valentine’s day and lots of playdates coming… be sure your cabinets are stocked – we’re going to be cooking fools!

Posted in Miscellaneous, Musings, Quick | 1 Comment »

Shameless Plug….. cause we’re super awesome

Posted by ironchefmommy on January 19, 2010

Well, I’ve had a week of craziness. I got a cold on Madeline’s birthday, then Brett got it waaaay worse (as in he’s still not better, poor guy) and had to miss her birthday party on Saturday. Things have been a bit crazy since classes also started on Friday. I got the genius idea to take 5 classes this semester… I know. I guess we’ll really see what I can handle, huh?

In the meantime, I hope to be back tomorrow with some yummy recipes from this past week and some musings on what’s going on.

Until then, check out our super awesome bookery cookery blog… Cooking The Books, since Gina added a new post about our book, Garlic & Sapphires. It’s awesome. The book, the blog, and Gina. Not necessarily in that order, because she’s pretty awesome. Enjoy, foodies!

Posted in Miscellaneous, Musings, Plugs, Quick | Leave a Comment »

Two years ago a princess was born

Posted by ironchefmommy on January 14, 2010

Well, my first order of business….

Happy Birthday Madeline!
Yup, my precious little girl is 2 today! I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I’m the mommy of a 2 year old – more so, I can’t believe I’m so lucky that she’s mine. She’s still (I think) too young to understand her birthday, but we had fun today none the less. It started at 3am when she ventured into our bed… so she did get a happy birthday from Brett before he left for work around 6. We got up and headed out this morning – we had a nice day together. We headed to get her 2 year pictures taken… much easier said than done. We did get some nice ones, but it was tiring! We did a bit of shopping, had some lunch, and I took her to Build A Bear where we built a dog for her birthday (against my better judgment because we have MORE than enough stuffed animals here), but she’s the birthday girl!

So what to make the birthday girl for dinner? Well, I had a request from a friend (Thanks Allison!) to please try to duplicate Panera’s $8 a bowl mac and cheese. I love it, so I thought that would be something great that I could try to make. I know that their mac and cheese is a mix of Vermont White Cheddar with a “hint of American” as noted on their menu, but that’s about all I knew. So I figured I had my work cut out for me. I tried to think of what went into my own mac and cheese, and here’s what I came up with:

First you need:

12oz pasta shells
4 tablespoons of butter
8 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk*
8-10 oz grated Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
2-3 oz grated American Cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Then you should:

Cook pasta about 2-3 minutes shorter than package directions and drain. They should still be a little harder than al dente.

In a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over med low heat. Slowly whisk in the flour, then slowly add milk a little at a time, whisking all the way. Bring to a boil for a minute or so, then turn heat down and add grated cheese, whisking in as the cheese melts. Add salt and pepper.

Pour pasta and cheese into oven safe pot or 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

**Now, for my edits. This was a really good first attempt, at least in my book, for not having any recipe to go off of, other than what cheeses were in it. I used 1% milk, but I bet whole milk would be better. You might want to either add another 1/2 cup of milk, or maybe beat an egg into the mixture to make it a little creamier.

The taste of it was pretty much there, but it wasn’t as creamy as I’d hoped. This could be either because of too little milk/butter, or the fact that when I pulled it out of the oven, I kept it covered and on the table for roughly 15 minutes to cool a bit before I started scooping it out. I wonder if I had dug into it right away if that would have made a difference. Well, I tried! If anyone makes this, feel free to add any edits/suggestions, because I plan on making this again soon. It was yummy!

Then came dessert for my baby girl. I had cupcakes from yesterday, but thought I should make fresh ones. It turns out it didn’t really matter, because she was so tired, she blew out the candle on a funfetti cupcake from yesterday and ate the frosting, then decided she was ready for bed. But since I didn’t know that was going to happen, I decided it was time for me to tackle something I’ve been dying to try to make – Red Velvet Cupcakes.

A note to all of you out there – be sure to read the WHOLE recipe when deciding to tackle it. I had the dry ingredients sifted before reading that I needed buttermilk. Shit. Shit. Luckily, I remembered someone on the food network saying you could actually whisk your own if you really really had to.

So who’s recipe did I make? One of my favorite chef’s – and yours – Bobby Flay!

Bobby Flay’s Red Velvet Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

* 15 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
* 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
* 1 1/4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
* 13 ounces granulated sugar
* 1 1/4 cups buttermilk***
* 3 eggs
*2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red food coloring
* 1 1/4 teaspoons vinegar (white or apple cider can both work)
* 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1/8 cup water

For the cream cheese frosting:

* 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
* 1 pound butter, room temperature
* 2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside.

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix oil, sugar, and buttermilk until combined. Add eggs, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla and water and mix well. Add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix on low, scraping down sides occasionally, and mix until just combined. Be sure not to over mix, or the batter will come out tough.

Line a 16-cup cupcake pan with paper liners, scoop the batter into the liners and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.
For the cream cheese frosting:

Whip the butter and cream cheese together in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until creamed. Gradually add powdered sugar to the mixture and scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.

The frosting can be used right away, or stored in the refrigerator up to a week.

Frost cooled cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.

***okay. So, a few things. I had no buttermilk. So I took 1 cup of milk and whisked about 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar into it. I think it worked well enough. I’ve also read that you could use milk and then substitute baking powder for baking soda. Good luck.
Also, you need a shitload of food coloring. I used all that I had and they weren’t quite dark red enough. But I have to say, they tasted awesome. And they look pretty good too, don’t you think?

Now that the birthday is over, kitchen is cleaned, I’m sitting down with yet another cupcake and watching Project Runway, while my poor husband, exhausted from a long day, is passed out on the couch. We’re having a family party for Madeline on Saturday so he’ll get that whole day with his baby girl.

Posted in Baking, Birthday, Cheese, Cooking, Cupcakes, Dessert, Dinner, Meal, Miscellaneous, Musings, Pasta, Savory, Stove-top | 1 Comment »

Welcome!

Posted by ironchefmommy on December 31, 2009

Hello and welcome!! Thanks for coming in to take a peek at my blog 🙂 A little background on why I started this-

I’ve always loved to cook. I never had the time to really take it seriously or get any good at it because I was constantly working. Since I’ve stopped working (July 2008) I’ve really gotten in the swing of cooking and baking, and really gotten to love it. I’m constantly looking for a new recipe to try and thoroughly enjoy the process of it all. I’ve had tons of people ask for my recipes and I’ve been told I should open up a bake shop. Obviously, that’s a bit more difficult than baking a few batches of cookies and cakes and desserts, so I thought of doing the next best thing. Starting a blog- and showing that with a little time and a lot of heart, anyone can cook!

Over the summer this past year, I got an email from an old friend of mine from good old SHA, Gina. She was thinking of starting a foodie book blog and would I be interested. Absolutely! Anyone who knows me knows I love to read. After a lot of back and forth emails between us and 2 other SHA-chicas, Jeanine and Marilla, Cooking The Bookswas born. We’ve been at it for a couple of months now and onto our second book and I’m loving it. I felt myself wanting to blog everything I tried in the kitchen, not just the recipes from the book, so here I am to launch my own blog.

Special Thanks to Marilla, for her advice on learning HTML and helping me find WordPress to get this all started. If you love cupcakes and all things yummy (which you do or you wouldn’t be here) check out her blog, Cupcake Rehab

Posted in Miscellaneous, Musings | 2 Comments »