Monday, May 30, 2011


It's too hot to cook plus this weekend has been one giant eating party. I decided to do something easy, not too heavy and munchy. Behold the make your own crostini bar!
Mozzarella, cheddar, smoked gouda, pepperoni, roasted peppers, pesto, bread, pickles, butter, fresh basil and a balsamic reduction.
It was pretty fun and the perfect amount. Some of our creations:
Mozzarella, Balsamic, and Basil
Roasted Pepper and Butter
Pesto and Cheddar

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chef Amanda!

It's been Chicken Pasta Salad for breakfast and Amanda's lasagna for dinner (and then leftover lasagna). I don't have the recipe but she made homemade sauce and use real lasagna noodles (not the no bake) and it was delicious!
Cheesy goodness!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pants on fire!

We cheated a bit to supplement our dinner of leftover Chicken Pasta Salad tonight. First we went to McCrossen's Tavern for a couple of pints in order to feel better about job rejections. It's a cute place but the Kite and Key still owns my heart. Although I hear they have great brunch for $20 with all you can drink mimosas/bloody mary's so we're going to have to check that out. After that we went to a new sushi place, Kansai,  that opened on our block and has gotten good reviews, we weren't disappointed. It was also cute and reasonably priced...oh yeah and BYOB. We split an eel avocado roll and a yellowtail scallion roll. Yummy.
Unflattering and dorky pictures follow.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chicken Pasta Salad

Mr. Lawyer used up the last of our leftover chicken to make a yummy Chicken Pasta Salad dish he got from his mom. I wasn't in the kitchen for this so I don't know the exact measurements and when I inquired the response was "I just splashed it in until it tasted right". He also thinks that his mom's is better but that's always the case! It always tastes better when someone else makes it!!
Chicken Pasta Salad
(from the kitchen of Mrs. T)
1 lb of pasta (we used bowties)
Chicken pieces (all of the leftover chicken...)
White balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Your veggies of choice (we added cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumber)
1. Boil the pasta. Parboil any veggies that should be cooked. We boiled the broccoli for 2-3 minutes and then shocked it in ice water. Cut veggies to the appropriate size and shape.
2. Mix the pasta with the veggies. Add in the olive oil and white balsamic (in secret increments). Salt and  pepper to taste.
3. You could eat it now (and we did) but Kevin says it's better the next day. Good thing we have a ton of leftovers.
Plus it was so pretty and summer looking.

Chicken, Chicken, Chicken

We had a lot of leftover chicken from our Perfect Roast Chicken so I decided to make some chicken and dumplings. My grandpa always makes this for me when I visit and it's one of my favorite comfort foods. I use chicken broth because I'm lazy but he makes his own stock from his leftover chicken. Actually, I don't like a lot of chicken in my dumplings and have even made it without chicken pieces.
Chicken and Dumplings
(From the kitchen of Grandpa Norm)
4 cups of chicken broth (I like lots of gravy, you can always use less)
Chicken (pieces or shredded)
2 cups bisquick
2/3 cup milk
Salt and pepper
1. Mix the bisquick and milk together to form a dough while you bring the broth and chicken to a boil.
2. Add spoonfuls of dough into the broth and bring it down to a simmer. Simmer it uncovered for 10 minutes and then covered for 10 more minutes (for a total of 20 minutes).
3. Serve in dishes, season with salt and pepper, and feel all homey.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Vanilla Pudding Cookies

I've been wanting to try these cookies for a couple of weeks and then yesterday the perfect opportunity presented itself: my bathroom sink broke in multiple ways! We had a slight problem with the sink the other month and Mr. Lawyer went through three, I kid you not, THREE bottles of liquid plumber. I was going to show that sink who was boss, plus we pay an outrageous apartment building rent for a reason: maintenance men. I'm a pro at writing enthralling maintenance request forms: the bathroom sink is clogged, bringing up grossness(!) and the pipes are leaking. Also, I know where the head maintenance man lives and I always chat up the guys in the hallway. They came up in three minutes. Problem solved. I then made these cookies in order to bribe thank them. Plus it gave me the chance to use my latest thrift store treasure: a giant old school pyrex bowl of yellow kitchen sunshine and awesomeness!
This recipe was simple and created a lovely cookie. It didn't taste like anything special, just an average chocolate chip cookie but the texture! These cookies are nice and soft and slightly chewy. You know how normal chocolate chip cookies are amazing out of the oven but then next day they are kind of hard and crispy? Not these cookies. They are amazing out of the oven or the next morning (Someone, who is not me, ate three of them for breakfast. No really, it was Mr. Lawyer. I only had one for breakfast!)
Vanilla Pudding Cookies
(From the Whisk Kid Blog)
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
3.4 oz pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beat in the pudding mix. Scrape the bowl again and add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition eggs. Add vanilla. Add half of the pre-mixed dry ingredients to the batter and mix just to combine. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining half, mixing until fully incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Using a tablespoon-size scoop, portion the cookies into balls. Place 2 1/2" apart on prepared baking sheets and bake 10-12 minutes, until slightly golden and set. Let cookies cool on sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool fully.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Orange you glad...

I made more ice cream? Ha. Well, the scale might not be. And technically this batch was custard (sooo even worse!). So far I have made four ice creams this spring, three of them in my new ice cream machine. I had Mr. Lawyer rank them so you can have an unbiased opinion. From favorite to least favorite they are: Orange-Vanilla Frozen Custard, Chocolate Soft Serve, Cappuccino, and Cake Batter. Personally I would rank cake batter a little higher. Oh! And let's not forget about my little beautiful Lemon Basil Ice even though it's not an ice cream it is a cool refreshing treat. The orange-vanilla was very good. My only complaint with the recipe is the timing. It took much longer than 7 to 8 minutes to reach the desired consistency. It also did not agree with my ice cream maker and needed some extra time in the freezer to firm up. Look at that zest!
Orange-Vanilla Frozen Custard
(Food Network Magazine)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (I used orange juice and halved the amount)
4 teaspoons grated orange zest
1. Whisk the cornstarch and 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl until smooth. Whisk the eggs, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan; whisk in the cornstarch mixture and the remaining 1 cup milk until smooth.
2. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring, until thick enough to coat a spoon, 7 to 8 minutes (do not boil). Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Add the cream and stir until cool. Remove from the ice bath; stir in the vanilla, orange juice concentrate and orange zest. Cover and chill until cold.
3. Freeze the custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions (I'm skipping this part and just leaving it in the bowl and it's fine).

I did gooood!

The other month the Mother Unit brought me a chicken that has been taking up space in my freezer and mocking me. I have never cooked a whole chicken. In fact the largest thing I have ever cooked was a turkey breast in the crock pot, which is kind of cheating because it's a crock pot. Plus my semi-irrational fear of cooking meat and/or kitchen germs has limited my experimenting in the past. Eventually I came across this Martha Stewart recipe. Martha and I get along pretty well in the kitchen world but the craft world is another story. She got me pretty good with the Easter Egg Debacle of 2010. Psh. So I decided to give this recipe a go except that it was called the Perfect Roast Chicken. Bold Martha, Bold. That's a tall order is it not? But guess what? WIN.
I am my worst critic and can always find something wrong with my dishes but this was perfect. Nice, juicy, flavorful, looked beautiful, smelled amazing and it had veggies and gravy all built in. Granted the veggies were a bit heavy but that's because they cooked in chicken fat.
Perfect Roast Chicken
(Martha Stewart!)
1 six-pound roasting chicken
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick (I also added some carrots and potatoes)
1 lemon
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup chicken broth
1. Let chicken and 1 tablespoon butter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove and discard the plastic pop-up timer from chicken if there is one. Remove the giblets and excess fat from the chicken cavity. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body. Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and set aside.
2. In the center of a heavy-duty roasting pan, place onion slices in two rows, touching. Place the palm of your hand on top of lemon and, pressing down, roll lemon back and forth several times. This softens the lemon and allows the juice to flow more freely. Pierce entire surface of lemon with a fork. Using the side of a large knife, gently press on garlic cloves to open slightly. Insert garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and lemon into cavity. Place chicken in pan, on onion slices. Cut about 18 inches of kitchen twine, bring chicken legs forward, cross them, and tie together.
3. Spread the softened butter over entire surface of chicken, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place in the oven, and roast until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and the juices run clear when pierced, about 1.5 hours. When chicken seems done, insert an instant-read thermometer into the breast, then the thigh. The breast temperature should read 180 degrees.and the thigh 190 degrees.
4. Remove chicken from oven, and transfer to a cutting board with a well. Let chicken stand 10 to 15 minutes so the juices settle. Meanwhile, pour the pan drippings into a shallow bowl or fat separator, and leave onions in the pan. Leave any brown baked-on bits in the bottom of the roasting pan, and remove and discard any blackened bits. Using a large spoon or fat separator, skim off and discard as much fat as possible. Pour the remaining drippings and the juices that have collected under the resting chicken back into the roasting pan. Place on the stove over medium-high heat to cook, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock, raise heat to high, and, using a wooden spoon, stir up and combine the brown bits with the stock until the liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Strain the gravy into a small bowl, pressing on onions to extract any liquid. Discard onions, and stir in the remaining tablespoon of cold butter until melted and incorporated. (I did not do this step, I served up the onions, carrots and potatoes and they were yummy!) Untie the legs, and remove and discard garlic, thyme, and lemon. Carve, and serve gravy on the side.
Now please excuse me while I go disinfect my kitchen. I'm sure I missed a spot and it's now a salmonella haven.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yummy Repeat

Tonight I made my fabulous turkey burgers again and once more they were delicious. I grilled up the rolls that Mr. Lawyer picked up from Reading Market and whipped up some Old Bay Mayo. This time I made regular sized burgers instead of sliders and actually had panko in my cupboard. I said it before and I will say it again: these are the only burgers I don't need to put ketchup on.
The Old Bay Mayo was delicious. Mr. Lawyer was skeptical about Old Bay and turkey but I thought it would be a good combination because turkey is a lighter meat. It did work very well and Mr. Lawyer did enjoy it. Of course, it would have been amazing on a fish sandwich or some kind of seafood dish.
Old Bay Mayo
(Food Network Magazine)
3/4 cup mayo
1 lemon (for zest and juice)
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (I added a little bit more)
1 minced scallion (I didn't have one and it was fine)
1. Mix it all together!

Bits of drink (and you?)

The other day my dad informed me that "you are what you drink" and for some reason I found that to be incredibly amusing and insightful. It may or may not have had something to do with the gin and tonic I was working on. I normally take pictures of our drinks but never have a real reason to post them until now. If you are what you drink then I'm dark (beer), sweet (wine) and off beat (gin). Mr. Lawyer would be light (beer), dry (wine), and fancy (scotch). Some odd truths there I think. Complete polar opposites when it comes to our beverage preferences and that's why it works so well (except when he steals my gin).
Mr. Lawyer's beer....My beer.
And just to prove it's not a fluke...
In fact, I like it when I can't find my beer.
I like my wines from New York.
Sweet, Sweet, Super Sweet, Alcoholic Grape Juice.
And if you've never tried my off beat gins, I'm okay with that. But you should give it a go.

Friday, May 13, 2011

French Breakfast Puffs

I jumped up early this morning to make a surprise breakfast treat for Mr. Lawyer today. Ashley's mother-in-law always made these for us whenever I stayed with them and they're pretty fabulous. I made half a batch which fills one mini muffin tray almost perfectly. Behold the french breakfast puff! And no, it's not just a mini cupcake as the lawyer so obviously pointed out. They're way better than that.
French Breakfast Puffs
(from the kitchen of Mrs. Dermitt)
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flours
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Melted butter and cinnamon sugar
1. Mix shortening, eggs, and sugar.
2. Stir in dry ingredients and add milk.
3. Pour into greased muffin tin (2/3 full)
4. Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes at 350.
5. Immediately roll in melted butter and then in cinnamon sugar.

Happy 3 Years!

Since Mr. Lawyer is taking me out to a fancy dinner Friday night I decided to make him a special dinner Thursday night. It was pretty decent although a little crispy around the edges. I made marinated tuna steak and served it with my standard yummy baked salt/pepper/garlic asparagus and some rice pilaf. We finished it off with some cappuccino ice cream. I had never had tuna steak before and therefore had never cooked it. I thought the marinade was a bit light, I would have like a more soy or citrusy flavor. However the lightness of the marinade did showcase the fish which was delicious. Best compliment ever: "God you can really do asparagus."
Marinated Tuna Steak
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 (4 ounce) tuna steaks
1. In a large non-reactive dish, mix together the orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, oregano, and pepper. Place the tuna steaks in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat grill for high heat.
3. Lightly oil grill grate. Cook the tuna steaks for 5 to 6 minutes, then turn and baste with the marinade. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or to desired doneness. 
Happy Dinner!

More ice cream!

This is time it's ice cream of the coffee variety. I made a double batch which is about half a pint, it was the perfect amount for a light dessert for two.
Cappuccino Ice Cream
(from the book)
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1/4 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup half and half
1. Combine all ingredients.
2. Throw it in the ice cream maker.

I scream! You scream!

We all scream for ice cream!
So dinner was a disaster. But it still tasted good soooo only a half disaster?
1. I forgot to trim the bottom of the asparagus which results in stringy chewy bits.
2. For the life of us we cannot master my grill pan for anything other than burgers or sausages. Steaks and pork chops always start to burn before they are cooked in the middle. High heat or low heat it doesn't seem to matter. I can cook better on a real grill. Or in a frying pan.
3. Mr. Lawyer's grand master plan for hollandaise sauce didn't come out too well. While it tasted good it separated and looked wretched. So bad in fact that he wouldn't let me post a picture (and I always listen to lawyers!).
I made ice cream to make us feel better. It was the first time using our new 4,200 arcade ticket ice maker and it was well worth all of those tickets. It came out pretty well for an under 10 minute ice cream. There was a nice chocolate bite to it.
Chocolate Soft Serve Ice Cream
(it came with the machine)
4 teaspoons unsweetened baking cocoa
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Combine cocoa and sugar and stir to mix.
2. Add a small amount of half-and-half and mix.
3. Add remaining half-and-half and vanilla. Stir until well mixed.
4. Put into your ice cream machine and hit the on button!
Our little blue ice cream machine hard at work.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bye Bye Woody...

Baseball is unhealthy.

Well we've finished up all our ham leftovers and I'm running off to Florida for a week so there hasn't been a lot going on in our Guinea Pig Kitchen. However we have had some exciting food adventures at the Phillies games! At my first real baseball game the boys made me eat a Schmitter sandwich which was amazing and disgusting all at once. It was some combination of cheese steak like steak, ham/salami/pork roll or something, cheese, tomato and special sauce. It was scary. And sloppy.
See the fear.
The boys were not as intimidated. Gross.
And last night was dollar dog night! So there was no need to make dinner. I think the final count was Brad 4, Kevin 3, and Jenni 2. Clearly I am the weak link (and my tums would agree with me).
Dollar Dog!
Next up on the list: Chickie's and Pete's Crab Fries! And um, a four dollar bag of cracker jacks. Because it's baseball.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Holy Ham!

Last night we had dill havarti and ham grilled cheeses with our pea soup. It was very dilly. I'm not sure I would get dill havarti again but now I can mark it off my list!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ham I am.

We've had scrambled eggs with cheese and ham. We've had ham sandwiches. We've had ham and veggies straight up. And now for the last journey of our Easter ham, we have split pea soup. This soup is wonderful, thick and creamy. Everything just melts in your mouth. I claim no responsibility for this dish other than my sweet, sweet knife cuts on the veggies. This is Mr. Lawyer's dish and I was merely his sous chef. He has made this dish three times and it's a crock pot recipe which is always marvelous. The first time (and this time) he used the leftover Easter ham bone which is the way to go. The second time he used a pork chop which was a complete let down. Disclaimer: There is no way on earth to make split pea soup look appetizing, even if you throw in a beautiful Portuguese roll.
Winter Split Pea Soup
(by Mr. Lawyer, from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Two)
1 2/3 cups green split peas
5 cups chicken broth
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium sized carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 bay leaf (always omitted by Mr. Lawyer because he thinks it's silly)
1 leftover bone from a small ham (or smoked pork chop)
1/2 cup frozen petit green peas, thawed
Salt to taste
1. Place split peas in the slow cooker; add the broth, onion, carrot, celery, and bay leaf. Stir to combine. Nestle bone or chop in the center of the crock. Cover and cook on LOW for 7.5 to 9.5 hours, until the split peas are completely tender.
2. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Remove the bone/chop and shred the meat off it. Stir the soup well for a chunky soup or puree in a blender for a smooth soup. Add the petit peas and cook for another 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt.