Monday, July 27, 2009

Super Scrumptious Salmon

How many things are delicious and heart-healthy AND brain-healthy? Not many. Which is why salmon is basically the best food ever. I like to make it the night before big tests because I'm a full-fledged believer in the power of omega-3 fatty acids. And this salmon is super quick and easy so you can get back to studying for that test ;)

Salmon with Orange-Soy Glaze

-1 lb. salmon
-1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
-3 tbsp. brown sugar
-juice from one orange (~3 tbsp.)
-sprinkle of cayenne pepper

1. Make sure that salmon is skinned and deboned. (A useful trick for deboning fish is to use tweezers [like the kind you pluck your eyebrows with, just make sure you wash them before and after!]). Cut into individual-sized portions.

2. Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, orange juice, and cayenne pepper and stir until sugar is dissolved.

3. Dip salmon pieces into mixture (don't be afraid to slosh it around so it absorbs the marinade). You can also put salmon in a Ziplock bag with the marinade for 30 minutes beforehand if you have time.

4. Place salmon on a baking sheet covered with foil. Drizzle rest of marinade on top of salmon and bake for 16-20 minutes at 325 °F until salmon begins to flake. Serves 4.

Look out for Top Secret Brownies Recipe coming this weekend!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Everyone loves banana bread...

...and if you don't, then you're not anyone! Just kidding. But this banana bread is seriously awesome. The cream cheese makes it moist and delicious.

As college students, we tend to be forgetful. This means food (including bananas) will occasionally go bad. However, overripe bananas are the best for banana bread because they have the most banana flavor! That's why I started making it this year, and it was instantly a hit with my roommates (and neighbors! Our 2 1/2 year old neighbor Elena proudly ate 3 muffins in about 5 minutes, impressive!)

The other night my roommate's mom called us freaking out because she had an epic banana bread failure. To quote her mom, "the batter is baking over the pan, everything tastes like sugar, and I added an extra egg because I like egg but I don't know if that was a good idea." No fear Heidi, I have a foolproof recipe for you!

Cream Cheese Banana Bread with Orange Glaze

3/4 c. butter (softened)

1 package (8 oz.) plain cream cheese

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. mashed bananas (usually about 2 bananas)

1 c. chopped pecans (toasted)

Orange Glaze

3 tbsp. fresh orange juice

1 c. powdered sugar

1. Spread chopped pecans on baking sheet and lightly toast them.

2. Cream together butter and cream cheese at a medium speed in an electric mixer.

3. Gradually add sugar to butter and cream cheese until mixture is fluffy.

4. Add eggs one at a time until just blended.

5. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and add to mixer.

6. Add mashed bananas, pecans, and vanilla.

7. Pour batter into two 8' x 4' loaf pans (greased and floured/breadcrumbed) or two muffins pans (greased or with liners).

8. Bake at 350° F for one hour (for loaves) or 20-25 minutes (for muffins) or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

9. Mix together orange juice and powdered sugar and pour over warm bread/muffins. Sprinkle a few more toasted pecans on top if desired.

Makes 2 loaves or 24 muffins.

ps. shoutout to my sous-chef Karen and photographer Elisa and my #1 taste tester Danielle :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mexican Wedding Cookies...

...should really be called Mexican EVERYDAY cookies because that's how easy they are to make! You don't need any eggs (which means you can eat all the cookie dough you want without worrying about salmonella, yay!) Besides chopping the pecans, prep time is only 5-10 minutes. My mom always made these for my dad when he went on camping trips with his brothers because they're super-transportable. Some advice: make sure you make PLENTY of these (I usually make a double batch). One time one of my roommates was out of town when I made these and we only left her one and she was infuriated for days, no joke.

1 c. butter (use salted!)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 - 1 c. chopped pecans

1. Mix the butter and powdered sugar in an electric mixer.

2. Add the vanilla.

3. Sift the flour and salt together, then add to the mixer.

4. Add the chopped pecans.

5. Mix together just until the dough forms (you don't want the dough to get too tough from over-mixing!)

6. Roll 1" balls out of the dough using your palms.

7. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet @ 325° F for 18-20 minutes (don't over-bake them).

8. After they have cooled completely, put them in a ziploc bag with 1 c. of powdered sugar until they're completely covered. Makes ~40 cookies.

¡Buen provecho!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Welcome/Let's make lasagna!

Hello everyone! So this past year of college I started learning how to cook. I realized it was about time, seeing as I must have inherited some sort of cooking ability (my mom is from of a long line of fantastic cooks from Indiana, plus my dad is amazing at cooking Lebanese and Arabic food. Heck my dad's mother even started the first Arabic bakery in San Diego!) So I decided to trust my DNA and dive into the world of cooking. Much to the pleasure of my four roommates, I turned out to be pretty good at it! Here I'll share some of my favorite recipes and culinary adventures with you. Like our favorite rodent Ratatouille's mentor Chef Gusteau said, "anyone can cook!"


-1 package of lasagna noodles (at least one dozen noo
-1/2 cup parmesan
-1 lb. grated mozzarella

(for meat sauce)
-2 lbs. ground sirloin
-1/4 (3 slices) finely chopped onion
-1 tsp. olive oil
-large can tomatoes (petite diced)
-15 oz. can tomato sauce
-2 tbsp. parsley
-3 tbsp. sugar
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. basil

(for cheese mixture)
-large carton (~32 oz.) cottage cheese
-1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan
-1 tbsp. parsley
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. oregano

1. In a large pot, brown the sirloin then add the olive oil and chopped onion. When both onions and meat are lightly browned, add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, sugar, salt, and basil. Cook on stove over medium heat (stirring occasionally) for at least an hour (until water disappears).

2. For the cheese mixture, combine cottage cheese, parmesan, oregano, and salt in a bowl.

3. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions on package.

4. Alternate noodles, meat sauce, cheese mixture, and mozzarella in an 11"X14" glass baking dish like this: noodles, meat sauce, cheese mixture, mozzarella, noodles, meat sauce, cheese mixture, mozzarella, noodles, meat sauce, and finally 1/2 c. grated parmesan on top.

5. Bake for 45 min. (until bubbling) at 350 ° F.

You can always add a little garlic in the meat sauce if you like, but I never put it in because my mom is allergic to it. This lasagna is seriously the best I've ever had and is a favorite with the roomies. It's also equally (or maybe even more) awesome the next day. You can also cut it into individual squares and freeze them for busy times like finals. Enjoy!