Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hipster Cupcake Friday

Coconut cupcake. I've been calling it a coconut macaroon cupcake but i'm not sure if that's officially what it was supposed to be. Either way, it was one of the best cupcakes i've ever had.

Stay tuned for a recipe in honor of Swedish Saturday (our made up holiday yesterday.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

the best noodles i've ever made

    I don't cook a lot of noodles because I find them a little boring. Sure, you can put tasty things on them (like butter) and give them flavor, but on their own they're really not that exciting. There are a few notable exceptions, like the homemade pasta at Pagliacci's downtown, but on the whole if I have a choice between eating a bowl of noodles or something with flavor, i'll choose the latter. This is an incredibly easy and delicious weeknight meal.

   "So Dan," you're thinking, "how did you actually make noodles that are delicious?" That's a great question, and one of the main reasons I like you. You always come up with intelligent questions, not to mention you're quite attractive. Well, I will share that with you right........ now.

chicken and linguine with grape tomatoes and mozzarella

serves 4, prep to table should be about 30ish mins.

What you need:
4 chicken breasts, seasoned and cooked (if you want my marinade which goes really well i'll put it after the pasta recipe.)
1 package Linguine (or your favorite pasta. Not sure if the capellini would work as well though.)
1 26 oz box of Chicken Stock
8-12 oz grape tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz fresh milk mozzarella (smoked mozzarella or gouda would go well also!)
Salt and Pepper

1. Turn the chicken on about medium low heat and let it cook as you're doing all of this. I'm not going to explain how to cook chicken because you should know that by now.

2. Preheat oven to 400º. Pour a bit of olive oil, approx. 1 tbsp, over the tomatoes in a bowl to evenly coat them. Season them liberally with salt and pepper. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, pour the coated tomatoes and place them in the hot oven for about 12 minutes to roast them until the skin looks like you've been in the bathtub far too long.

the poor, unsuspecting tomatoes.
they're so trusting.

3. Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan over medium/med high heat. In a skillet pan put the raw pasta and turn it on medium low to just gently warm the pasta. Once the chicken stock is boiling, pour it about 1 cup at a time over the noodles. Go ahead and turn that pasta pan up to medium now, too. As the pasta starts to soften KEEP STIRRING otherwise it may stick together. When the noodles have almost completely absorbed the first cup of liquid, add another. And once that's all absorbed, guess what? Add the rest and don't stop stirring and it will absorb all of the liquid.

4. Cut the mozzarella in to about 1" cubes and stir in to the pasta. It should start to get deliciously melty about now. Don't add the tomatoes first because they'd just fall apart while you're stirring and getting that cheese worked through the dish. Once you're satisfied with the meltiness (i just made that word up) of your cheese, gently fold in the tomatoes, plate up, top with the chicken breast, and enjoy!

Chicken Marinade, Re di Italia

This chicken marinade may or may not ACTUALLY be the king of Italy, but i'll let you decide. You can do this 15 minutes or 8 hours before, and the longer you let it marinade the more flavor you'll have imbued in to your breasts. Chicken breasts, that is. (Low brow joke #1 of the day.)

What you need:

1 1/4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic finely grated
2 tbsp dried Italian Herbs (I used Spice Islands brand blend which I found to be pretty tasty, but just about every brand consists of a mixture of Oregano, Marjoram, Savory, Thyme, Basil, Rosemary, and Sage)
1/4 cup olive oil (this is about the only way I will cook chicken anymore. Most homemade marinades require olive oil and it makes the chicken so moist and flavorful I highly recommend it.)
1 tbsp dijon mustard (sounds weird, but go with it)

Put these all in a zip lock bag and mix it up, add the chicken and let it flavor for as much time as you can afford. It'll take you 5 minutes to put this together and the payoff is tenfold.

With a meal so delicious and beautiful, you'll be able to fool anyone that you spent all day working on it. In fact, I recommend you don't dispel that idea either; they'll feel bad and do all the dishes.

Happy Cooking!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Saturday, July 9, 2011

D Bar desserts

    What's the best part of every meal? Dessert. That's why there are two s's... you always want more. At least that's what my 3rd grade teacher told us to help remember the difference between dessert and the desert. One of the best places to get dessert in all of Denver is definitely Food Network Chef Keegan Gerhard's culinary and pastry sanctuary, D Bar Desserts.

    As the kickoff night of Julia's 25th birthday weekend, we chose this as our destination du jour for a light snack and an incredible dessert. One of their small plate specials this weekend was stuffed squash flowers and they were out of this world good. They took the delicate squash flower, stuffed it with lobster and goat cheese, it was then lightly breaded and fried, and over the top was micro cilantro, chili oil for a little spiciness, and red pepper. Holy flavor, Batman, that's some good stuff, but as Sinatra sang, "the best is yet to come."

light, flavorful, and amazing.


    I love to bake. I've had a lot of successes, but i've definitely had a few failures. Starting with Julia Child's orange spongecake as my first recipe I ever really tried to make (after cookies with my mom... and maybe a spaghetti dinner I tried to make my parents when I was about 12 that has sauce that was more like soup...) and having that turn out well encouraged me to keep it up! My biggest failure to date is probably Soufflé. Even hearing the word makes me nervous. Seeing it on a restaurant's menu makes me freeze up and need a lingering hug.*
    Seeing it on D Bar dessert's menu, however, made me feel calm and excited. Especially seeing that it was paired with beignets. The trio of all stars on one plate: a Grand Marnier Soufflé, passion fruit beigniets, and passion-mango sorbet. I think every bite was better than the one before.

Imagine the best thing you've ever eaten.
Now multiply that by 10 and that's what this was like.

    All of this thinking about this food had made me hungry; I think I need a sandwich. Happy eating!

*souffle doesn't make me THAT nervous, but i'll still take that hug.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hipster Cupcake Fridays

Three years ago, I started a tradition of getting a delicious cupcake every Friday night over the summer at Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art and enjoying it on their amazing patio overlooking Coors Field. Last year, I started a photo-journal of these, so every Friday will be an installment of--as we like to call them--Hipster Cupcakes.

jack + coke cupcake