Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Breaded Chicken with Roasted Garlic Peppercorn Sauce


My latest chicken adventure was one that didn’t even begin with chicken. I’ve been dabbling in sauces a bit lately, and upon discovering a tasty sounding recipe for roasted garlic peppercorn sauce, the next task was to find something to pour it on. Chicken seemed appropriate to me, so I opted for a breaded chicken recipe, using Panko to create a satisfying crunch.

I served the chicken with mashed potatoes and steamed cauliflower, but I’m only going to list recipes for the chicken and sauce here. Mashed potatoes can be made any number of ways and there’s nothing particularly special about the way I do them, and steamed vegetables are easy. Plus, who am I to tell you what to serve as your side dish? Go nuts!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dulce de Leche Brownies


Over the weekend, I hosted a pretty successful barbeque. I arranged a tostada bar with carne asada, steak, chicken, and pork, honey sesame chicken drumsticks, and some Smokin’ Scovilles elk chili. Unfortunately, in my rush to have everything done on time, I didn’t get to take a lot of pictures. However, I did manage to document one of the desserts I featured - dulce de leche brownies.

The original recipe actually calls for these brownies to be salted, but I chose not to since the salted dulce de leche on the inside already provides the necessary contrast in flavors. It also calls for a box of brownie mix, but that’s not how I roll – I made the mix from scratch. While not an especially tough recipe, it does take a while from start to finish, so be sure to set aside an afternoon to make them.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Kickin’ Crinkles – Crinkle Cookies With Attitude


Rich, chocolatey, and coated with powdered sugar, Crinkle cookies are chewy, decadent piles of goodness whose surface looks like a delicious reenactment of continental drift. I’d been meaning to make myself a batch of crinkle cookies for some time now, but was always off put by the fact that most crinkle cookie recipes require the dough to sit in the refrigerator for hours before it’s ready to use. Not this recipe!

You also may be wondering why I say these crinkle cookies have got attitude. You see, back before I started this blog, I made a batch of cookies called Aztec cookies. These featured a spicy aftertaste, thanks to the additions of ginger and cayenne pepper. Well, I decided crinkle cookies could benefit from a little bit of that kick, so each cookie comes with a slightly spicy aftertaste to really wake up your taste buds.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Steak Fajitas


Steak. Who doesn’t love steak? Well, vegetarians and vegans, I guess, but I can’t be bothered with those who deny their human nature. For this steak adventure, I decided to make fajitas, with peppers, onions, spicy sour cream, and Spanish rice made from scratch. The meat comes out with a citrusy flavor which, to be honest, is a flavor I don’t necessarily prefer when it comes to meat. Everyone else seemed to love it though, so that’s good enough for me to recommend this recipe.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Skyrim Sweet Rolls


If you’ve played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you’ve probably heard the line “Let me guess, somebody stole your sweet roll”. Well, if the sweet rolls could taste as good in game as they do in real life, I would not blame someone for attempting to do so. Those who know me are well aware that my other passion in life is video games. I’ve been working in that industry for years, and even write for a video game website in addition to maintaining this blog. So come with me as my worlds collide in this fairly labor intensive but still relatively easy and very tasty recipe.

Also, be sure to check the “Additional details” section at the bottom of this post, as there were a few extra steps I needed to take which may be of use to some of you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Eye of Round Roast


Going into my first roast was a bit intimidating. A big chunk of meat and instructions that call for the oven to remain closed for nearly 3 hours? “What have I gotten myself into?”, I wondered. Turns out my worries were mostly unfounded, as the recipe calls for little preparation and a lot of anxious sitting around. Follow this recipe and you too can enjoy a delicious roast that requires almost zero actual effort.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Easy Chocolate Soufflé


My hunt for great desserts leads me to all kinds of interesting ideas. Most of my recent desserts use chocolate as a base, and in my attempt to branch out and diversify this time, I….made another chocolate dessert. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “easy” and “soufflé” don’t belong in the same sentence together. Normally, you’d be right. But this was my first attempt to bake a soufflé, and I assure you – it was easy and the results were perfect. Nevermind that I found this recipe in a cookbook even older than I am, this recipe works just as well today.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Baked Pesto Chicken


If I spent the rest of my life preparing only chicken, I still would not see every method the world has to offer. With so many options, I spend a few minutes feeling a little overwhelmed before I can come to a decision about how to prepare it. This time, I decided to go with pesto. I made the pesto from scratch and found a pretty simple recipe with which to use it, so give it a shot! You won’t be disappointed.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Juicy Lucy Meatballs


The Juicy Lucy. For those who have never heard of it, a Juicy Lucy is a burger that’s stuffed with cheese and any number of other ingredients, such as jalapenos or bacon. It’s my personal favorite way to make a burger, by far. But this time, I decided to change things up a bit. I took the basic premise of the Juicy Lucy and applied it to meatballs – to great success, I might add! I used ground turkey for these, but you can substitute it for pretty much any kind of ground meat, so go nuts!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spicy, Meaty, Everything Pasta


So there I was thinking to myself “what the hell should I have for dinner?”. Almost everything I had was frozen and, unfortunately, I didn’t realize that early enough in the day to let anything thaw. “Pasta!” I thought. Pasta is quick and easy, but then came the question of what to put IN the pasta. That was when it hit me – sausage. Sausage and bacon and whatever else I can find laying about.

The resulting meal was delicious and spicy. Lacking a proper name for it, I’m just going to call it Everything Pasta, and here’s how to make it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart


My first attempt at a tart was made a couple of months ago - before I started this blog. It was a pure chocolate tart, and it was a delicious hit with my friends and family. For my second tart, I decided to try something even more ambitious – salted caramel with chocolate ganache on top. Of course, everything, even the caramel, was made completely from scratch.

It’s a fairly labor intensive recipe, but I’d go as far as to call the process exciting. Making your own caramel from scratch is a perilous and exhilarating process – like working with molten lava in a pot. The whole salty & sweet combination is one that will not necessarily appeal to everyone. After all, it is a fairly strange concept. But with just the right amount of salt on top, the flavor of the rest of the tart really explodes with every bite.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Really Skinny Chocolate Cookies

Skinny Chocolate Cookies

Every now and then, I get an urge to bake without the desire to do something intricate or crazy. I have a tendency to tackle recipes that are way beyond my skill level, but sometimes, a simple recipe is just as effective. These cocoa powder cookies are simple, light, and easy to prepare. They’re also exceptionally thin and tasty. This blog may be called Screw Your Diet, but these skinny cookies are one dessert that definitely will not screw your diet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Stuffed Pork Loin and Garlic Hassleback Potatoes

My experience with pork has been pretty limited since I started getting into cooking. In fact, my Mongolian pork chops were probably the first time I ever attempted to work with pork. This time, I decided to get a little more ambitious and grill a huge, stuffed pork loin served alongside garlic hassleback potatoes and baby broccolini. It turned out to be quite the ordeal, with things going wrong at seemingly every possible opportunity. I guess that’s what I get for improvising so heavily! The end result, however, was far from disappointing, so hopefully you won’t run into as many problems as I did.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Many Faces of Shar-Pei Bread


My cinnamon pull apart bread recipe has been quite a hit amongst my friends and family. Based off the fact that I said that every loaf resembles a wrinkly Shar-Pei dog, most of them are now referring to this recipe as Shar-Pei Bread. So there you have it – pull apart bread is now Shar-Pei bread. I have spoken!

Since my original post, I’ve been tinkering with the cinnamon sugar version to the point where I have created what I feel can be called the “definitive” version of the recipe. Not content to make it the same way every time, however, I decided to test out the versatility of the Shar-Pei bread’s basic template to see if I could create some interesting variations. I’d say the results were a resounding success. So what we’ve got here is a trio of Shar-Pei Breads – cinnamon sugar, garlic parmesan, and honey herb. As always I’ve got detailed, step by step instructions for all 3 of them, so pick your favorite and get baking! These are just a few of the possible variations, and I’ll likely do other posts in the future as I experiment further.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Chocolate Swirled Cheesecake Bars


There’s one thing that should be readily apparent by now to those who follow this blog with any regularity – lately, I really like desserts that can be made in bar form. So I figured, what better way to present a cheesecake than in bar form? It’s a relatively simple recipe and doesn’t even require a cheesecake pan – perfect for someone like myself who has never made a cheesecake before. I’m happy to report that the results were delicious, but come on – it’s cheesecake. Did you expect anything less?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Seared Scallop BLT Mini-Sandwiches


Ah, the noble scallop – the tastiest brainless creature in the ocean. It sits in its clam-like shell at the bottom of the sea, just waiting to be scooped up and devoured. I’ve always loved scallops, and decided to make a meal of them for dinner. “But how to prepare them?” I asked myself. Fried? Baked? Maybe a nice scampi? Hell no!

What you see here instead are bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches, with an obvious twist – that’s not bread, those are sea scallops, seared and sliced in half. It’s a pretty labor intensive recipe with a lot of different steps, but it’s definitely a unique way to eat scallops, and well worth the effort. So follow along and get ready to experience scallops like never before!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Banana Bread Bars


Banana bread is one of those reliable old baking standbys that seems to please pretty much everybody. But that’s the thing – if I stuck to recipes that were old and reliable, this wouldn’t be a very interesting blog, now would it?

My original intent was to make a fairly standard banana bread, just to see how it goes. While searching for a good looking recipe, I came across something considerably more interesting and unique – banana bread in bar form, topped with a browned butter frosting. Almost brownie-like. I knew this was the recipe for me right away, so after a quick trip to the market for bananas, I set about the task of baking these suckers.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chicken Marsala


In general, I prefer working with beef or pork over chicken, but chicken is cheap and every bit as versatile – maybe more so. With a big bottle of Marsala wine sitting in the cupboard mostly unused, I decided I’d put it to good use and try my hand at chicken Marsala. The resulting dish was pretty tasty, if not exactly the most traditional rendition.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Where are the mushrooms?” Well, I’m no fan of mushrooms, so I left them out. I will, however, include the mushroom step from the original recipe so that you may add them yourself if you wish. Also, though the meal turned out to be delicious, I did make a few mistakes along the way, and I’ll detail them in the “Additional Notes” section at the bottom of the recipe so that you might avoid making those same mistakes.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mixed Berry Upside Down Cake


Having exhausted a large portion of my chocolate stores making the Hot Cocoa Cookies last weekend, I decided that the next dessert I bake ought to be something that doesn’t use any. I spent the better part of my day just figuring out what the hell I felt like making. I wanted something interesting, but simple and light as well. I had almost given up searching, nearly resigning myself to just making another cinnamon pull apart bread, when I came across a recipe for upside down cake. It was love at first sight.

Having never made (or even eaten) an upside down cake before, I really did not know what to expect going into this one. It came out with a texture somewhere between bread pudding and cake and, frankly, I’m not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to be. One thing I am sure of however, is that it tastes quite good.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Spicy Beef Rolls


Once again, I’ve gone and opted for an Asian style recipe when it comes to preparing meat. I don’t know what it is about the combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, etc., that I love so much, but that flavor is quickly becoming one of my favorites to work with. First it was beef bulgogi, then blackened ahi, then Mongolian porkchops, and now this!

This recipe began as something quite different than what it became. My original intent was to try my hand at beef negimaki, a Japanese dish where green onion is wrapped in beef. I decided it’d be more interesting to improvise with the ingredients and instructions a bit and put my own spin on it. The result was even tastier than I had hoped.