Sunday, August 30, 2009

Orange-Apricot Pie

The College Cravings summertime hiatus is OVER! Finally.

Although there are no blog posts to prove it, all of us here have in fact been perfecting our kitchen skillz for this coming school year. And now that there is a functioning camera, a kitchen larger than Harry Potter's living quarters in book 1, and 11 hungry college students split between two off campus houses (with no meal plans) to ensure that our cooking never stops, we promise to actually update this blog regularly.

So here we go....

Over the course of the summer I became obsessed with two food items; onion rings and key-lime pie. And when I say obsessed I really mean psychologically addicted to. My cravings were equivalent to that of a pregnant woman....who smoked at least 3 joints. Why? I have no idea...but there were definitely way too many 1am trips made to various local diners for these gloriously satisfying foodz. So to commemorate the ending of a really great summer I decided to try my hand at making my own key-lime pie. I searched foodgawker to find the recipe that I thought would be best. I found it and the end result was primus.

And that's when I decided to get creative and sub out the key-limes for another citrus--oranges!--just to see if I had the ability to create my own dessert recipe. Surprisingly enough, I did.

So here it is: Orange-Apricot Pie...a delightfully sweet dessert that looks like, but tastes absolutely nothing like, Key-Lime Pie.


1 & 1/4 cup gram cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons butter, melted
5 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup apricot preserves (the chunkier the better)
2 tablespoons water


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Combine gram cracker crumbs, butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a bowl. Mix well and spread it into a 9in pie pan.
3. Bake for about 10min so that the crust is golden brown. Cool.
4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Combine the last 2 tablespoons of sugar, orange juice, orange zest, condensed milk, orange extract, and almond extract. Mix until all the ingredients are blended together.
6. Preheat the over to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Pour the pie filling over the crust and bake for about 30min. The pie should not be completely set, it should jiggle a little bit when you move it...but make sure it does not jiggle too much. If it does, continue baking until it has a nice amount of jiggle to it.
8. Place in fridge to cool.
9. Bring apricot preserves and water to a simmer in a skillet. Once it begins to simmer take it off the heat and pour the reduction over the pie evenly.
10. Place pie back in fridge until it is completely cooled.
11. Serve and enjoy!

Yours Truly,

photo credit: Dana Reinert

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Buffalo Salmon and Stephanie's Cornbread and a Quick Salad

Here's another salmon recipe since everyone has suddenly turned pescetarian (vegetarians who eat fish) on me! This buffalo salmon is so simple and quick, the only hard part is getting the panko breadcrumbs, Japanese crispy breadcrumbs, which you can make, but I get them at any Asian grocery store, (or probably Whole Foods international section).
As for the salmon itself, the rule of thumb is around 1/2 lb. of fish per person, in this recipe I used 2 lbs. (4 people) of fish and it worked great, but you could probably make as much as 3 lbs. with it. For a one or two servings, cut the recipe in half.

This is also really good cold, so you might want to make enough for leftovers. It keeps about 3 days in the fridge.

Buffalo Salmon
as adapted from Gourmet Magazine

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup hot sauce such as Frank's Redhot
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salmon fillet(s) with skin (I used 2 lbs.)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in upper third
2. Line baking pan with tin foil.
3. Melt butter with hot sauce and sprinkle of salt and pepper over medium heat.
4. Toss panko with oild in a bowl.
5. Put salmon, skin side down, on the baking tray, brush with sauce then sprinkle panko evenly over the fish. If there is extra sauce, you can keep it to pour on afterwards for more flavor.
6. Bake until the panko is golden, and cooked about 16-22 minutes.

Stephanie's Cornbread
as adapted from Starting Out

1 1/2 cups cornmeal (yellow or white, preferably stone-ground)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk, sour milk, or plain yogurt
1/4 cup melted butter or olive or canola oil
1 large egg
optional: 1 cup creamed corn makes it extra delicious

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Spray 8-inch round pan or cast iron skillet with nonstick spray.
3. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl
4. In another bowl, stir buttermilk, butter, egg (and creamed corn, if using)

5. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and combine
6. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown around the edges, and puffed and cracked on top.

We also made a quick salad with the basic vinagrette from the other entry with red peppers and feta.

The finished product:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Chicken with Ricotta and Roasted Asparagus

Ok, so we're sorry about not posting in a month, midterms have kept us from writing (though not from cooking!) But before schoolwork consumed us, though (and before Kelly gave up meat for Jesus) we made an excellent ricotta-herb stuffed chicken and roasted asparagus that we will write about here!

Though it's so easy, I find cooking meat a pain because it involves some forethought (buying it in advance to make it on a set date), which rarely ends up panning for me, and I am left with a chicken breast that I ultimately forget about, then have to throw out in a week or so. This time, though, the stars aligned and the two chicken breasts I bought (with skin and bones) were utilized only a day after purchase.

Ricotta and Herb Stuffed Chicken
as adopted from The Way We Cook by Julie and Sheryl Riven

1 cup ricotta (we used part-skim to keep the fat down)
1/2 cup parmesan (we used sprinkle cheese we had in the fridge)
4 tbsp. dried herbs (we only have oregano, thyme, and basil, but you can use whatever tastes good together)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 chicken breasts with skin

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Combine ricotta, Parmesan, herbs, salt and pepper in bowl. Mix well.
3. Separate the skin from the chicken but without ripping it off. Just slide your hand under the skin and it separates really easily. It's not as gross as it seems.
4. Stuff the cheese mixture under the skin, evening it out when possible.
5. Put the chicken breasts in a large baking dish, skin side up, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you like a crispy chicken, you can rub the outside down with a little olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, then serve.

Roasted Asparagus
I love asparagus because it's the easiest thing in the world to make, and you essentially cannot mess it up. This being said, I have no standards when it comes to asparagus: I like it cooked perfectly or with the tips burnt so they're crispy. Whatever way you like them, you should check them to make sure they're still bright green (that means they're still firm).

Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1. Snap ends off of asparagus, they should break naturally right at the bottoms.
2. Lay asparagus on a baking tray, you can line the tray with tin foil so cleanup is easier.
3. Sprinkle with olive oil so asparagus are covered, though try not to drench them.
4. Bake in oven for around 10-15 minutes, turn them in the pan after 5 minutes so they don't burn on one side.
5. Serve!

We also made some couscous, just by cooking it in the pan with a little garlic and sauteed onions, but the meal would have been complete without it.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Honey Soy Glazed Salmon and Popovers

I've been craving salmon since Valentine's Day, when I decided against a soy-glazed fillet and opted instead for an aged goat cheese and pear tartine. Needless to say, I regretted it when my food came, and with it the overpowering scent of old socks mingled lightly with farts. But that could have just been my date...

Anyway, salmon it was, which also happens to be the only kind of fish I can cook (canned tuna does not, I think, count). Luckily for me, salmon is easy to prepare, and quick in the oven. It's arguably easier to cook than a cheeseburger, and is pretty inexpensive. At the grocery store, we bought 1.71 lbs. of whatever salmon they had, for $13. It's about 8 oz. (1/2 lb.) per person, but since there were just two of us, it is enough for about two days worth of dinner.

We found a good recipe for Oven-Roasted Salmon in Starting Out (a cookbook my mom got me before I went to college that has some great recipes and easy-to-follow instructions), with honey-soy glaze. While looking through some books, I found a recipe for bleu-cheese popovers that sounded excellent, but the smell of old feet still fresh in my mind, I found a plain popover recipe online instead. Then, we decided on a simple salad for a green vegetable.

The recipe for popovers we found on King Arthur Flour website, and has only 5 ingredients, and takes about 40 minutes, only about 5 of which are hands-on. I had thought one needs a special pan for popovers, but it turns out you can just use a regular muffin tin. The one we used has 12 large cups, and is nonstick, thanks to our early days in the apartment, making cupcakes regularly (another post entirely). Anyway, the popover recipe is on that website, and they explain it much better than I could. Because they took so long, we decided to make them first, which was fine, because the oven was preheated by the time we had to put the salmon in.

Oven Roasted Salmon (w/ Honey-Soy Glaze)
Salmon (use as much or as little as you want)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Line a baking sheet with foil, making sure to make edges in the foil, so the glaze doesn't pour into the dish, making cleaning difficult
3. Rinse and paper towel dry salmon, then put it on the baking sheet.
4. Mix together ingredients for the glaze, and spoon it onto the salmon. You can rub it in, but you don't need to.
5. Bake for about 10 minutes, though keep an eye on it. After 10 minutes, take it out, and stick a fork in the fattest part. If there is a deep pink that's not uniform with the cooked fish on top, put it in for a few minutes. If its only a little deep pink, you can take it out. Remember that salmon keeps cooking for a few minutes after you take it out of the oven, so make sure it's a little less done than you'd want, when you take it out.
Then serve!

For the salad, we just bought a head of lettuce (for $3, which will last at least 3 meals for 2 people). I really like garlic in my dressing, and a lot of balsamic vinegar.

Balsamic Vinaigrette of Sorts
1 clove garlic, minced, chopped, pressed, whatever
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbp honey
2 tbp lemon juice (reconstituted or fresh)
dash soy sauce
2 tbp Dijon Mustard

Mix that together with a fork. The proportions are all whatever I felt like making, but you can mess around with it if you like it sweeter or with more lemon. Watch out with the soy sauce, I added too much and it got too salty, so I added some honey to even it out.

Anyway, that was our dinner.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

White Chocolate Cran-Raspberry Rose Cheesecake

College usually doesn't involve decadent and pretentious desserts, but sometimes you just can't avoid the craving. When trips to places like Co Co. Sala can not be made on the regular....because of its devastating effects on a pint sized wallet and have to turn to the Internet and your own kitchen.

When I stumbled upon Lunacafe's white chocolate raspberry rose petal cheesecake, I knew that my disgustingly grandiose desires would be satisfied for Valentine's Day. So I adapted the recipe to fit my budget and ended up more than impressed with my amateur baking skillz.


Cookie Crust:
1/2 cup Nabisco's famous chocolate wafers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

The Cake:
2 packages cream cheese
6 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
6 ounces white chocolate
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup raspberry jam
1 tablespoon cranberry juice
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon rose water (I purchased mine at whole foods and although it somewhat pricey --3 dollars-- it was more than worth it. It literally made the cake and I plan on using it in more desserts)

1/2 ounce white chocolate (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Place about 5 or 6 cookies (to be honest, I forget exactly how many I used to get half a cup so use as many as you feel necessary) into a plastic baggie, then take a rolling pin (or a large pint glass like I did) and roll over cookies. This will crush them into tiny crumbs. You want them as small as possible. Pour the crumbs into a bowl and add the melted butter. Mix well and spread along to bottom of 9 inch spring form pan.
3. Crush up white chocolate and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir. If not fully melted put it back into the microwave for 10 second intervals until chocolate is creamy. DO NOT OVERHEAT or you will ruin the chocolate, so keep checking on it. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl add cream cheese and sugar and blend with a mixer until smooth.
5. Blend eggs and melted white chocolate into the cream cheese and sugar mixture.
6. Pour batter into the cookie-prepared spring form pan and put in the oven for about 17 minutes. Then, take out of the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes. The cake should not appear set.
7. While the cheesecake batter is in the oven in a small bowl whisk the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla together and let sit until sugar is completely dissolved.
8. After you have let the cheesecake batter rest for 5 minutes, slowly pour the sour cream mixture over top. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes, then remove from over and cool completely.
9. Place cheesecake in the fridge for at least 6 hours. I left it overnight.
10. To prepare the cran-raspberry topping, put the jam in a saucepan and bring to a slight simmer, whisk in water, cranberry juice, and rose water. If you want, you can pour the mixture through a small strainer to remove the seeds. I did not have a strainer and I thought the seeds added a nice texture. Let the mixture cool slightly, then pour over chilled cheesecake. Return to the fridge for about an hour to let topping set.
11. Finally, remove the cake from the spring form pan and grate the leftover white chocolate over top. Serve chillllled and enjoy!

Yours Truly,

Nerd Alert

We absolutely love food blogs. We love them. We love reading about what people are eating, and how they made it. We gossip about the food bloggers. Our problem was, a lot of the food they make is too difficult for a TINY kitchen (you walk in, turn around, and you're out again), and lack of supplies. We do have a few essentials (garlic press, muffin tin, salad spinner, and new spring form pan), but for the most part, we just want simple recipes that an idiot can make. Actually, 4 idiots.

We try to make things as vegetarian as possible, not just because we're trying to emulate our vegan neighbor, but because we have no idea how to cook meats. Also, we're broke.

So, this is our blog about cooking in a SMALL apartment kitchen on the budget of a college student with no income except for the love of our parents. We also have a lot of time on our hands, and spend it cooking and teaching our kitten to jump onto the top of the fridge from the ground.


Haley, Kelly, Stephanie, and Joani (The Vegan Voice)