Sunday, February 28, 2010

Snack Cake

I've been so busy at work that I'm dreaming of free time. The kind of free time that entails sitting around watching old movies, doing my nails, organizing my spices and perfecting the perfect buttercream frosting. But alas, time is fleeting so I'll stick to this wonderful pantry cake. No eggs or butter so your vegan friends (and I only have a few) will love it too! Double recipe for a 9x13 that's company worthy!

Angela's Chocolate Snack Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cold water

For us non-vegans - Ice cream or whipped cream, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease bottom and side of 9-inch round pan or 8-inch square pan with
non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a
small bowl, stir oil, vinegar and vanilla until well mixed. Vigorously
stir oil mixture and oil into flour mixture about 1 minute or until
well blended. Immediately pour into pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out
clean. Cool 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Serve warm or cool with ice cream.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Roast Chicken

We're on a family vacation at Disney and I'm on day four of Disney park food. While funnel cakes, taffy, corn dogs and the like are nirvana to my kids, I am missing home cooking. Right now I'm dreaming about my own bed and this chicken. It's a very basic recipe that has never let me down and fills your home with the smell of...well, home.

Roast Chicken

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spicy Soba Noodles

On a recent snowy Saturday we were cold, hungry and scouring the pantry for lunch ideas. Low and behold, I had everything on hand to make this spicy noodle dish for a quick lunch. Since my new favorite condiment is Sriracha, I'm just finding all sorts of ways to use it and bring a little more spice into my life. I've made many variations on this dish but this version comes together in a snap and is great to keep in the fridge to snack on during a cold weekend!

Spicy Soba Noodles

Kosher salt
8 ounces soba (buckwheat) noodles (can also use whole wheat pasta or whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (or smooth and just chop some peanuts in)
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Juice of one lime
2 to 3 teaspoons chili sauce (recommended: Sriracha and go easy and start with 2 tsp. and taste)
2 scallions - chopped
1 red pepper - chopped
(I added some chopped cooked pork tenderloin I had left over but could even add cooked chicken or leave vegetarian)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; overt high heat. Add a generous amount of salt and stir in the noodles. Cook according to package instructions; drain and rinse well under cold running water.

Meanwhile, whisk the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice and chili sauce in a large bowl until smooth. Add the drained noodles, scallions, red pepper and with tongs, toss until coated with the dressing. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. To serve cold, just loosen noodles with a touch of water.