Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Chef: One Year Later

Name: Annie Capell
Age: 28
Weight: 127 (lost 5 pounds!)
Favorite Meal: Risotto
Favorite Dessert: Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Favorite Kitchen Tool: Heat Resistant Spatula
Least Favorite Kitchen Tool: Plastic Wrap
Least Favorite Foods: Bell Peppers, Pickles, Capers (I like mustard a little bit now…)
Favorite Foods: Avocados, Potatoes, Chicken, Strawberries
Favorite Thing to Make: Cheesecake
Least Favorite Thing to Make: Fried Shrimp
Favorite Kitchen Technique: Stirring
Least Favorite Kitchen Technique: Putting Pie Crust into the tins
Kind of Music During Cooking: Depends on the season and weather, but all kinds and a glass of wine or beer
Can People Taste While You Cook?: Yes, but just ask or give puppy eyes
Work Better Alone or With Others: Ive gotten better at working with others, more patient, but I like working alone, no one to blame but yourself
Favorite Restaurant: The Diner in Brooklyn NY, or Il Pastaio in Boulder, CO
Favorite Alcoholic Drink: Old Fashioned, Red Stripe, or Rose
Favorite Non Alcoholic Drink: Water or Root Beer, or dirty chai
Favorite Candy Bar: Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
Favorite Spice: Sage and cinnamon
Clean or Messy Kitchen: CLEAN! I Make mess per Stage, but Clean Before The Next One
Least Favorite Kitchen Appliance: Electric Stove, old sticky pots
Favorite Kitchen Appliance: Gas Stove/Honest Temperature Oven, perfectly greased cookie sheets
A Weird Kitchen Quark You Have: I like sliding with my socks from the oven to the refridge, and I like taking hot rolls out of the oven with my hands
Spicy, Salty, Sweet or Sour? Sweet, then spicy, salty, sour
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Rocky Road, Peanut Butter, Ben and Jerrys Vanilla with Peanut Butter cups/ pieces
Lease Favorite Thing about Cooking: Left overs I cant eat, not timing the food right so it comes out at different times, or knowing where I messed up but I cant fix it!
Favorite Thing About Cooking: Making people try weird things, and stirring, and being able to whip up something marvelous super fast. I like impressing people through food, including myself, and its also a nice way for me to clear my head
Words to Part With: Be Brave, Take Risks, Decorate to Hide Mistakes, Kill No One, and always have a Plan B. Also, smiling makes any messed up meal ok. Try weird things, WHY NOT?

Month 12

Annie’s Current Weight: 127
Pleasures: The biggest pleasure I can muster is the fact that I did it. 12 months, cooking every single day for 365 days, I did it. Not ONCE did I skip a day. Even if it was the dumbest recipe in the world and I had to make an argument as to why it was a recipe, I did it. I succeeded. Another huge pleasure is the people in my life during this project. At my party I couldn’t have asked for better friends or support. These United States surprised me, my parents came, emails and letters from family and friends all over the world, people flew down or drove up, just for ME. Just so show ME that they supported me and were proud of me. I cant be more grateful. Also, im not going to lie, this month has some killer recipes. My ginger toffee, the chicken tetrazzini, it was a pretty grand month and a way to go out blazing. I also didn’t gain any weight!! AND my brother had a baby! Things just couldn’t be better this month and I couldn’t be more thankful and happy at the way things turned out.
Pains: You know, I got pretty sad this month thinking about the project ending. There is the whole, what next, question you need to ask yourself when you have been doing something every day for a month. Also this month I did seem to spend a lot of money on food trying to get the best ending to a project ever. Also, I am sad some people couldn’t be here for the finale who were really star people in my project, mainly my roomies alley and Christina who were both out of town…so sad they couldn’t chare in the glory. There is also the whole looking back thinking I should have worked harder sometimes, been less lazy, I could have cooked something better but I chose to take the easy route and that makes me feel sick. I did a great job I know, but, I also know my potential and that sometimes I just slacked. Even though this month the pleasures outweighed the pains, they were still there and I know better…
Promises: I promise to not only keep cooking crazy things, but to keep up this blog. I have found I am not a very good blogger. I like being outside too much to want to sit at a computer and type my life story away. I also have trouble knowing what to say…do I stick to the recipe? Do I say how im feeling that day? What do people want to know! So I mixed it up in my blog, but tried to keep it about the food. Whatever future projects I decide to do (and I have some in mind) I will try to give the people what they want, a little of both worlds. Learn a little skill, get a little gossip. I also promise to keep in mind consistency. I didn’t blog every day, and sometimes not every week, so who knew when a new post would come. Ill try better to be more on top of that, at least a monthly update on whats going on, or where I have been.
Ponders: you know, this project was so grand and so personal its hard to ponder it because I ask myself, where do I BEGIN pondering it. Do I look at the commitment part? Where I pushed myself so hard and committed myself more fully that I ever have? Do I look at the creative part? That I made amazing new recipes that people are now using and trying out of friends or giving as gifts? That I did something in the world creative that others LIKE? Do I look at the social side? In the fact that I made more friends through cooking for them than ever before? That I fattened people up, and made people smile with their whole heart? Do I look at the computer side? Where I learned to type with correct form and how to blog and upload pictures, create files and make something people reference and want to see? Do I ponder the experience of eating something new every day using what I had around me, and doing something physical and grounding every day through hardships and beauty. Through bailing on going out to cook, or cooking so fast so I wouldn’t miss the beginning of something? There are so many ways to look at this project, so many people to thank, so much love both to others, food, and to myself I don’t even know what to say. When I push myself hard like this and succeed, I think, how much farther can I go? Its like a drug, and I have merely begun my addiction. I am so happy, and so grateful and so full of joy and food, that all I want is more more more, so what do I ponder? The future…the future of myself and my relationship not only to the world but to food. What next? Stay tuned for the next chapter in the life of annie…its all uphill from here!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 365: Key Lime Cheesecake

Yield: 1 9 inch cheesecake
Time (Start to Finish): 3 hours

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2-3 Tbsp sugar
¾ stick butter, melted(may need more or less)

20 oz cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup lime juice (you CAN use fresh if you want to keep squeezing)
1-2 drops green food dye
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
4 Tbsp flour

1. Preheat oven to 400F and grease your pan, which should be placed on a cookie sheet that has sides
2. In a bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar and mix with butter adding ¼ of it at a time and mixing until it sticks together when you grip it in your hands like moist sand
3. Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 2-3 min until you smell the graham crackers and take out, cool
4. Preheat the oven to 350F
5. In a mixer, combine the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth
6. Add the sugar and scrape the bowl
7. Add the lime juice, flour, and food dye
8. Scrape the bowl and add the eggs and mix until combined. Taste and if too tart add a drop of vanilla or a tad more sugar
9. Pour over the crust and bake in a water bath until it jiggles like jello not like water anymore, about an hour
10. Chill in the freezer or the fridge and serve cold. You can serve with whipped cream if you like

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: LAST RECIPE!!! I DID IT!!! WOOHOOO!!!! 365 RECIPES!! Last day, no more days, I did it I did it I did it!!!!! I also made peanut butter cheesecake (I used my white chocolate cheesecake recipe but added a cup of peanut butter instead in white chocolate) AND my white chocolate cheesecake, all for my big party tonight!! Out of the three, the key lime STOLE the show, thanks Alley for the idea! This is a great recipe, and it turned out light, marvelous and a huge hit. The party is going to be filled with snacks galore, but the cheesecake will be the highlight!! Stay tuned in my blog guys for the epilogue as well as STATS, top 10 lists, all sorts of things, but with all my heart, enjoy these recipes, and I did it!! No more days, today is the LAST day!! Wwhhhhaaat???

Day 364: Dark Chocolate Ginger Walnut Toffee

Yield: 12-15 pieces
Time (Start to Finish): 30 min

1 stick butter
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp dark corn syrup (light is fine)
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 tsp ground ginger
small pinch salt
8-10 oz GOOD dark chocolate, chopped up

1. Take a cookie sheet and spray it with cooking spray or grease it
2. Sprinkle the walnuts on top in a circle covering about half the cookie sheet, but right in the center (you are going to be pouring the caramel on top of it) make sure they are close together
3. Chop up the chocolate and sprinkle all over the top of the nuts
4. In a saucepot, melt the butter in med heat
5. Add the sugar, corn syrup and water and bring to a boil over med, stirring gently until the mixture turns a nice brown color. It should take about 15 min, and get it to the brown you would like, a nice toffee brown
6. Remove from the heat, stir in the ginger and the salt and immediately pour over the chocolate/nuts. Do not wait on this, it must be done right away
7. Let cool, or, like I did, stick in the freezer until the chocolate hardens
8. Break into pieces and serve

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: This came out of nowhere. I picked up my dear friend Lavinia from the airport and she had brought me a dark Brooklyn chocolate bar and hoped I would make something with it for my blog. I couldn’t think of what to make and while I was sleeping, I realized I had everything to make toffee in the kitchen. The ginger came out of my need to make it special and I saw the bottle. What a PERFECT choice!! It is such a great surprise when you bite in and all of a sudden taste the ginger after flavor!! Thanks Lavinia for this amazing inspiration!!! Get yourself some good chocolate for this, and no need to toast the nuts unless you want an extra touch of flavor…2 more days guys!!! Tomorrow is the end! Today is checked off the list and it is nothing but smooth sailing! How nervous am I!!!!!

Day 363: Rocky Road Rice Krispie Treats

Yield: 1 9 inch rectangle pan
Time (Start to Finish): 25 min

2 cups sliced toasted almonds
20 oz marshmallows, small or big
2 cups tiny marshmallows
3 Tbsp butter
6 cups cocoa krispies
1 bag chocolate chunks
2 tsp cinnamon

1. Grease your pan with cooking spray or butter
2. Toast the almonds and set aside
3. In a large pot put melt the butter on low heat
4. Add the 20 oz marshmallows and cinnamon and melt together until there are no more chunks and turn off the heat
5. Add the rice krispies and almonds and stir until almost combined
6. Add ¾ of the bag of chocolate chunks and stir just till combined, not oo much so they don’t melt a lot
7. Pour it into the pan and press down with your hand. If your hand sticks, wet it with water and press
8. Top with chocolate chunks and the small marshmallows and if you make sure they are touching the warm krispies, they will melt to the top
9. Let cool and cut and serve

Rating: 5 strawberries
Notes: Another 5!!!! Im going out with a bang!! This gets a five because of the reaction they got. Everyone LOVED them. I think I got proposed to like 4 times from people eating these. They are killer. The almonds taste great in this, and who doesn’t like extra marshmallows, and who would have thought, they are gluten free!! A must try for a twist on a classic, and for sure a winner…maybe for a bake sale??? 3 days to go!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I did it...

Ill blog about it later, but just so you know, I TOTALLY did it...365 recipes in 365 days...check it off the list!! stay with me for the epilogue...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 362: Checkerboard Hummus Tea Sandwiches

Yield: 4 sandwiches
Time (Start to Finish): 45 min

2 slices white bread
2 slices dark wheat bread

½ can garbanzo beans or chick peas
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp onion powder
salt and pepper
1 lemon zested
½ lemon juiced
olive oil (about ½ cup, maybe more)

1. To make the hummus, use a food processor
2. Add the chick peas, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest and turn on
3. Drizzle olive oil in until if becomes a paste. You will need to scrape it down half way through and taste to adjust seasoning. Add oil until it is spreadable like mayo
4. To make the checker sandwiches, take the 4 sliced of bread and stack them on top of each other
5. Put butter between each layer so they are stuck together and then cut the crusts off
6. Cut the bread stack into slices so there are layers of bread and butter
7. Take the slices and stack them using more butter. Look on the side and make sure that the white bread and the brown bread are alternating
8. You will slice these also so you will make a total of 8 slices, checkered together (sorry if this is confusing!!)
9. Spread hummus on the bread and put into 4 sandwiches and serve with tea!

Rating: 4 strawberries
Notes: These are just the cutest little sandwiches ever!! I am sorry if my explanation is a little confusing…I realized later that I should have taken photos of the process, but maybe I will for after my blog. The hummus is sooo good! My roomie alley just couldn’t stop eating it, and you can flavor it however you like…add some chipolte, or herbs and make it your own! These are great to serve at a tea or luncheon. 4 more days!!! AAAHHH!!

Day 361: Chicken Tetrazzini

Yield: 3-4 servings
Time (Start to Finish): 1 hour

3 cups cooked spaghetti noodles, salted water

2 cups sliced brown mushrooms
2 Tbsp butter
¼ cup white wine

1 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 ½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup white wine
1/8 cup flour
¼ tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken broth
½ lemon, juiced

1 ½ cup roasted chicken chopped up

½ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tbsp butter

1. Preheat the oven to 375F and get a square baking dish out and ready
2. Cook the pasta and set aside
3. In a skillet heat up the butter, mushrooms and wine and cool until the liquid is almost all gone and remove the mushrooms
4. Add the butter, chopped garlic to the pan
5. Add the flour and whisk together
6. Add the heavy cream, wine, and chicken broth and whisk until it becomes thick
7. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and lemon juice and taste to adjust seasonings
8. Add the mushrooms and the chicken and the noodles and stir all together
9. Pour into the baking dish and flatten
10. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top, and the bread crumbs on top of it
11. Take the last Tbsp of butter and cut into pieces and sprinkle them on top
12. Bake until the sauce begins to bubble and the top browns

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: This is a dish I used to eat all the time as a kid, but the frozen kind. I have never made it from scratch before, and let me tell you, its not that bad. There are a lot of dishes to clean, but this tastes great hot out of the oven, and even better as leftovers for lunch. No one got to eat it but me, house to myself, but I did make the house smell amazing. 5 days left guys!!! Time to warm up the bellies!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 360: Chocolate Soufflé

Yield: 5-6 soufflés
Time (Start to Finish): 1 hour

¼ cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips
3 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch cream of tartar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp sugar

left over bananas foster

1. Preheat the oven to 400F
2. Take the butter (not the ¼ cup) and spread it generously in the 6 ramekins
3. Coat the butter with sugar and set on a cookie sheet. Make sure they aren’t touching
4. Melt the chocolate with the butter and put in a bog bowl
5. In a mixer take the egg yolks and the sugar and mix on high until they are light and fluffy, about 5 min. this can be done while the chocolate is melting
6. Stir together the chocolate and egg mixture until combined in the big bowl
7. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and stir
8. In a clean dry mixing bowl add the egg whites and cream of tartar
9. Put on high and once they begin to turn white add the Tbsp of sugar
10. Mix until they become stiff peaks
11. Add 1/3 of the whites to the chocolate mixture and mix together
12. Add the rest and fold together until smooth
13. Spoon into ramekins ¾ of the way and put in the center of the oven
14. You will be serving there IMMEDIATELY, so if you are not ready, cover them with plastic and you can store in the fridge for a couple of hours
15. Bake in the center of the rack for 10 min or until they poof up and the edges begin to crisp. Try not to over bake
16. Serve with the bananas foster in the center or on the side

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: Ok, so I was going to make molten chocolate cake, but messed up by not halving the recipe like I meant to, so it turned into chocolate soufflés! They are SOOO good! Thanks for sharing with me Audrey! She came in the door at just the right time. The bananas foster in the center makes it PERFECT. There is nothing more perfect than fruit and chocolate. This is SUCH a great treat. You have to serve it right out of the oven or the soufflé will fall, so make sure to be on top of that, have the plates ready and everyone seated. They still taste killer if they fall, so don’t worry about it. 6 days left guys!! The magic continues!

Day 359: Bananas Foster

Yield: 2 cups
Time (Start to Finish): 20 min

¼ stick butter (2 Tbsp)
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch salt
1 banana, sliced
¼ cup whiskey
½ cup pecan pieces, toasted

1. In a sauce pan, combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together and cook on med heat until the sugar melts
2. Add the sliced banana
3. Once the banana begins to soften and brown add the whiskey and cook until it becomes a smooth sauce, about 3 min
4. Add the pecans and pour over ice cream or pancakes!

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: Yummy!!! Nothing better than bananas and caramel! I am saving this for tomorrow’s recipe, but it is best over ice cream and served right away. It also makes the house smell unbelievable. The nuts should be toasted beforehand, and you can really add a number of fruits, apples, apricots, anything you like. It also doesn’t take much time at all. 7 more days guys, almost there…WOW!

Day 358: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Yield: 1 pie
Time (Start to Finish): 1 hour 30 min

2 pie crusts (day 289 or store bought)
1 ½ cup sugar
1 16 oz bag frozen strawberries
5-8 fresh strawberries, sliced
3 cups fresh rhubarb, about 6 stalks
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 lemon, zested and juiced
5 Tbsp corn starch
pinch salt
1 egg
splash buttermilk
decorating sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Line the bottom of the pie pan with one of the crusts, and cut the other one to make a lattice design. Look at day 358 to help
3. In a sauce pot, put the frozen strawberries, rhubarb cut into ½ inch pieces, lemon zest, juice, nutmeg, cinnamon, corn starch, salt. Do NOT put the fresh berries in here
4. Mix together until the frozen berries are melted and pour the mixture into the pie dish. You want it to be warm but not boiling
5. Add the fresh sliced strawberries on top
6. Lattice the top crust onto the pie and pinch the edges
7. In a bowl combine the egg and the buttermilk
8. Brush it on top of the pie, sprinkle with sugar, place on a cookie sheet for drips and bake for about an hour or until the crust is brown and the insides are bubbling.
9. Let cool and serve

Rating: 4 strawberries
Notes: Happy Birthday to my good friend Josh! His actual birthday is the same day as Kaylas, but we are celebrating today with oysters, mussels, and of course, pie. This is his favorite, so I had no choice!! I made it, brought it to his house, and it was eaten faster than I could put it down! I hear they made fresh churros when I left and dipped it in the left over pie filling…yummy!! I didn’t make the crust from scratch, I didn’t have time, so the rating isn’t higher, but it is still a great pie. Also, I may even add a little more corn starch, it was a bit runnier than I would want it to be. Either way, make this pie, shove it in your face, and enjoy guys!! 8 days left!!

Day 357: Trifecta Cake

Yield: 1 9 inch rectangle cake pan
Time (Start to Finish): 3 hours

1/3 recipe devils food cake
1/3 recipe angel food cake
1/3 recipe red velvet cake

1. If anyone is interested in making this cake, please look up good fast recipes for each of these cakes. I suggest making to red velvet first as it is the messiest
2. Preheat oven to 350
3. Take all three batters, pour the angel food into a greased sheet, add the other two batters on top in lines
4. With a fork swirl all the batters together to make any design you like
5. Bake for about 30 min or until a knife comes out clean in the middle

Rating: 3.5 strawberries
Notes: Ok, let me explain this weird one…my roomie alley’s aunt is having a baby, and she asked me to make mini cupcakes for her baby shower, which I of course said yes to. I make devils food, angel food and red velvet and had left over batter. I wanted to see what a cake would look like with all three and this is it! It is actually pretty tasty, but I don’t think it is worth the effort to make it on its own. If you need to make a lot of cupcakes, save a little batter and try this out. The cupcakes came out great by the way!!! And congrats alley’s aunt!! Im an aunt too!!! Oh, and 9 days left!!!

Day 356: Kayla’s Eggplant Parmesan

Yield: 1-2 servings
Time (Start to Finish): 30 min

4 slices eggplant
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 egg
¼ cup buttermilk
1 cup marinara sauce
½ cup asiago cheese, shredded
½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 string cheese sticks

1. Preheat a skillet to med/led high
2. Put bread crumbs in a bowl with salt, pepper, asiago, half of the parm, and cayenne
3. In another bowl put the egg and buttermilk and whisk together with a fork
4. Put olive oil in the pan
5. Dip the eggplant in the egg mixture, then the bread crumb and then put on the skillet
6. Cook until it begins to brown, flip and cook the other side
7. On a plate, but the marinara sauce
8. Place the cooked eggplant on the plate and sprinkle the rest of the parm on top
9. Add slices of the string cheese and serve

Rating: 4.5 strawberries
Notes: HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAYLA!!! I am an AUNT!! My brother had a baby girl today, perfect and beautiful, and to celebrate our new little eggplant, I cook up some eggplant. What I love about this recipe is that I got out of work at 730, biked home, cooked it and was sitting down eating it at 830. It is fast, super good, homey, warm, and just a perfect little dish. I know eggplant isn’t very nutritious, but it tastes good with sauce and cheese all over it. I cant believe I am an aunt today!!! This is a nice meal to serve up to a family also! Make it in no time and be sure to impress anyone. You can season the bread crumbs yourself if you like. I just got Italian seasoned. Oh, AND THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS!!! 10 days till my project is over!!!! WOOHOO!!!!

Day 355: Peanut Butter Apple Crisp

Yield: 1 4 inch pan
Time (Start to Finish): 1 hour

2 green apples, peeled and cubed
¼ cup brown sugar
1 lemon, zested
¼ cup flour
¼ cup rolled oats
½ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch salt
1 egg white
1 Tbsp butter, melted
¼ cup peanut butter
½ cup sliced almonds

1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. In a bowl mix the apples with brown sugar and lemon zest and pour into the pan
3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until smooth
4. Add the egg white, butter, and peanut butter and stir until combined. You can add more flour if it is too sticky
5. Spread over the top of the apple mixture and bake for about half an hour until the top is brown and the apples are cooked.

Rating: 4 strawberries
Notes: Sorry for the super bad photo! I thought it was better when I took it. This recipe gets a low rating because I didn’t have any ice cream with it! Peanut butter and apples is a snack I just LOVE to have. It fills me up and is pretty healthy. So why not find a way to make it into a dessert! This dish is just perfect. It is sweet, and has some nutrition with the peanut butter and almonds. You can make it with any fruit, or use almond butter if you prefer (I don’t really like the taste too much). I hope you guys like this dish, it is pretty awesomely perfect for a san fran summer.