This Week in the Kitchen

TikTok really has been showing me all these fun recipes and tricks. I feel like half of the things I’ve made in the kitchen lately have been from some TikTok.

Recipes/Experiments

Honeycomb Crispies: Switching out Honeycomb seemed like a delicious idea but adding the honey changed the texture of the

Lebanese Hummus: Another TikTok recipe. Absolutely amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever had hummus that tasted this good. I thought adding water would make it runny but it was a perfect smooth, thick texture. I am never buying Sabra hummus again.

Foodie Fails

I tried to make an omelette (fritatta?) from of a TikTok video. It used enoki mushrooms, which I love, but mine were thicker and bigger so the texture didn’t look as nice. Then I forgot to use my non-stick pan and ended up with scrambled eggs instead…

Around the World

I tried boba milk tea from a can. The milk tea wasn’t bad but the boba were awful!

Yuanyang Tea: This is a Hong Kong style beverage made from black tea and coffee. I need to figure out the right balance.

Foodie Media

Currently Watching: Best Baker in America

Currently Reading: Brew. This is going to turn me into SUCH a coffee snob I swear.

Restaurants Tried

I drove out to H-Mart in Mesa. Husband and I ate lunch at the food court. I had black bean noodles and he ordered Korean fried chicken from Left Wing.

Would you guys like me to write a guide to their Food Court?

Red Wine Spaghetti

Buzzfeed is full of links to tasty recipes, lists of foods to try, and now Buzzfeed Tasty even gives us their own recipes. I’ve been on a wine kick, so I bought some red wines and got cooking. I’m surprised I never really thought about it, but you can boil spaghetti in wine! It’s a liquid so that makes sense right? Like when you boil rice in chicken broth to add extra flavor. I tend to drink sparkling wines, roses, and whites, but I’ll never turn down a good Malbec or red blend. Beware wine lovers, you’ll be using a whole bottle for this!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup parsley (optional)

Instructions:

1) Measure 1/4 cup wine and set aside.

2) Combine water and the rest of the wine in a large pot. Bring to a boil.

3) Once boiling, add the spaghetti. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 7 minutes.

Be careful! When you add the spaghetti it will bubble up!

4) Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid and drain the spaghetti.

5) In a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes. Cook for about 2 minutes.

6) Add reserved cooking liquid and the 1/4 cup of wine. Bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and toss.

7) Add the butter, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and parsley.

Final Thoughts: I’m not sure if I’m impressed with this or not. The idea is really interesting, and it is not much more difficult than making pasta normally. There’s a subtle hint of flavor that might be better with a stronger wine, because it seems like a waste to use a whole bottle of wine for just a little flavor. I also didn’t quite care for the texture of the Parmesan with the noodles. The noodles seemed drier and with the addition of the parmesan and olive oil, seemed to get oily quite quickly. Maybe I just need a different recipe? Have you guys tried this?

Easy Sopapilla Cheesecake

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Living in Arizona, the holiday is celebrated by our resident Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. I’ve never been one to take part of “Cinco de Drinko,” as that’s not why the holiday is celebrated. The holiday marks the anniversary of the Mexican Army’s victory against the French in 1862. It is not Mexican Independence Day.

In the US, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican-American culture. Mexico has a rich, diverse food culture outside of the “Tex-Mex” often mistaken for true Mexican food. Though tacos, burritos and the like have Mexican counterparts, I wanted to make food that incorporated traditional Mexican foods.

Sopapillas are a popular dessert in northern Mexico and Latin America, the result of Spanish influence. Sweet dough is fried into a pillowy pastry that is then covered in cinnamon and sugar. I’m still not quite comfortable with frying, so I found this recipe for a faux-sopapilla cheesecake.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 8 oz. bricks of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 + 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Notes about Ingredients: Frozen puff pastry takes about 30-45 minutes to defrost. For the best results in your baking, your ingredients (egg, cream cheese, sour cream, and butter) should be at room temperature.

Instructions:

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9×13 in. baking dish. Lay the first sheet of puff pastry flat in the bottom of the dish. Do not trim any extra dough. Gently press the pastry to the sides of the dish.

2) Poke holes in the puff pastry with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes.

3) Beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of the sugar. Add the egg, sour cream, and vanilla. Be careful not to overmix.

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4) Remove the crust from the oven. Let it sit for 5 minutes, especially to deflate. Pour the cheesecake mix over the crust.

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5) Top the cream cheese mixture with the other sheet of puff pastry. Gently tuck or press the sides of both sheets together. Brush this pastry with the melted butter.

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6) Mix 1/4 cup sugar with cinnamon.  Sprinkle over the melted butter on the pastry sheet.

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7) Bake 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes at room temperature. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight.

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Final Thoughts: I’m not 100% sure this counts as sopapilla cheesecake, but it was tasty. It was less appealing once it had cooled, but it was sweet and tasty. Once I took the first piece, people were more willing to try (because it “looked weird”). By the end of our potluck, the entire cheesecake was gone.

 

3 Ingredient Tomato Soup with Pasta

At the front of every issue of Food Network magazine is a calendar with suggestions for simple meals that don’t really require a recipe. One of those recipes has become a staple for days when I’m tired and don’t really want to put that much effort into making dinner.

I used to be suspicious of 3-5 ingredient recipes because I assumed you were giving up something in order to make the dish easier to cook. This is not the case. Often getting back to basics brings food back to life. And sometimes, fewer ingredients means less work and less time consumed cooking. It’s the perfect answer for lazy nights.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • Pasta
  • Cheese

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The original recipe calls for three items: 1) a can of tomato soup, 2) orzo pasta, and 3) goat cheese. I have tried this with multiple cheeses, brands of soup, and types of pasta. It really is a combination that can be changed in any number of ways to suit your preferences. My favorite is Campbell’s tomato soup (I tried organic soups but found them too sweet), gnocchi, and goat cheese. The goat cheese really adds an extra creaminess so I would really recommend you give it a try!

On a lazy weekday night, I grabbed some gnocchi and a can of soup from the pantry and some shredded cheese. The pictures are here, but honestly it’s very simple.

1) Cook the pasta according to the package.

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I made gnocchi. You boil water, add the gnocchi, then remove the pasta with a slotted spoon when it starts to float. For 99% of other pastas, you’ll boil water, cook the pasta, and strain it.

2) Drain the water from the pot (if you haven’t already). Add the tomato soup and pasta.

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3) Mix in the goat cheese. Or sprinkle cheese into the hot soup.

The heat can be very low or off. If the pot is hot, it will melt the cheese.

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It’s not exactly “cooking” per se, but it is marginally more challenging than making a box of mac & cheese. Plus it gives you the chance to experiment. Add spices, try different cheeses, and different pastas for new flavors and textures. First, I’d really recommend the original orzo, tomato soup, and goat cheese combo if you’ve never tried it. Then make it your own! Share what you’ve added and I’ll try it on my own!

Gooey Grilled Cheese

Most American kids grew up on grilled cheese. It may not be a part of the most balanced diet, but it is easy (and cheap) to make. Though the concept is simple, it can very easily be customized and dressed up with different breads, cheeses, or even adding extra ingredients. For now we’ll be starting with a very basic plain grilled cheese. Once you’ve mastered the art of grilled cheese, try mixing it up!

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of sandwich bread
  • 2-3 slices of cheese, room tempera
  • Butter or margarine, softened

You can use virtually any kind of bread. I’d recommend starting with large pieces of sandwich bread. You can also choose any kind of cheese. For this blog post, I chose Havarti, and my boyfriend chose smoked Cheddar. Most often, I use gouda.

Instructions:

1) Spread the butter or margarine onto your bread. I only did one side (because there’s less mess), but many people I’ve met prefer to butter both sides. You’ll want to thoroughly coat the bread.

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2) Heat up a skillet over medium to medium-high heat.

3) Place one piece of bread butter side down in the skillet. Place your cheese on top of the bread. Add the second piece of bread, butter-side up.

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Some people like to add extra butter to the pan, but I find that makes my grilled cheese soggy and greasy.

4) Let the one side cook for a bit (depending on how dark you like the bread). I usually wait until the cheese droops and I can smell the butter. Using a spatula, quickly slide it under the bread and flip the sandwich to the other side.

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Don’t worry! You can flip it over as many times as you need to get the right done-ness.

5) Make more and serve!

Optional: Get creative with your grilled cheese! Add a condiment like mayo or mustard on the inside of the sandwich. Use mulitple kinds of cheese. Add bacon! Or even try different kinds of bread. We bought some garlic bread and made smaller grilled cheese packed with buttery, garlic, cheesey flavor!

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Now I realize that grilled cheese is not a full meal. I’ll be making tomato soup from scratch soon, but for now open up your favorite can or carton of soup and heat it up on the stove. Or even go buy some from the local deli, grocery, or restaurant (like Panera).

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Got any favorite unique additions to your grilled cheese? Comment your suggestions below!

Eggs Three Ways

Enough reviews and lists! Let’s get cooking!

Many of us eat breakfast at home. We make some toast or a bowl of cereal, something low effort. Some of us may head to Starbucks for a coffee and a morning coffee, just to avoid stepping foot in the kitchen.

Breakfast is supposed to be simple, a daily ritual that most people partake in. Breakfast can also be special. On Sundays, we get brunch. We pay for the food someone else made us. On Valentine’s Day or anniversaries, people make their significant others breakfast-in-bed. Mothers make their kids big breakfasts before important tests or sports games.

It seemed like a good idea to start with breakfast. We start our days with breakfast, so maybe we should start learning to cook breakfast first.

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Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs are pretty hard to mess up. It’s the easiest way to cook eggs.

You will need:

  • A few Tablespoons of butter
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • A frying pan & spatula

1) Break the desired amount of eggs into a bowl. Whisk with a fork to break the yolks. Keep stirring until you get a fairly consistent yellow color.

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Add some salt and pepper now or after they’re cooked. It’s up to you. I tend to flavor both so I get enough flavor.

2) If you want, add a few splashes of milk. You can add 2-3 Tbsp if you’d prefer a specific measurement.

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This supposedly helps make the eggs more fluffy. It’s how I’ve always eaten them, so that’s how I’ll be cooking them. Of course, you can omit the milk. The eggs will cook the same way.

3) Heat a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Once it’s warm, add a few Tablespoons of butter. Melt the butter in the pan.

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4) Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Let it sit for a minute. When it starts to solidify at the edges, gently push the eggs around the pan with a spatula.

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5) Continue pushing the eggs as they cook. Cook until the eggs are the desired consistency.

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The consistency depends on how much moisture is left in the eggs. If you can press down with a spatula, you should see some Eggs scrambled hard have less moisture. Master these and maybe we can try them the way Gordon Ramsey makes his scrambled eggs!

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Fried Eggs

These are “sunny side up” eggs or eggs “over easy.” You will need:

  • A few Tbsp of butter
  • Eggs
  • Skillet with a lid & spatula

1) Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 2-3 Tbsp of butter.

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Medium heat is a pretty important detail. My heat was cranked a little too high, so I ended up with burnt edges and browned butter.

2) When the butter stops foaming, crack an egg into the pan.

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It’s a habit for most people to crack an egg against a bowl or pan. Most chefs and recipes that I’ve seen recommend using a flat surface like a table or counter.

3) Cook for about 4 minutes. You can put a lid on the pan to help set the white quickly.

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Bonus: Over-Easy

Over-easy eggs are a type of fried eggs. Most recipes recommend flipping a fried egg with the yolk down. I’ve read something that makes it less dangerous and more accessible for those of us afraid to flip an egg.

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The technique is apparently called “blasting.” Use a spoon to scoop some of the hot butter from the pan onto the yolk.

Poached Eggs

This may be the most complicated technique for some people, but it is my favorite. I’ve posted a live video on my Instagram. For me, it’s easier than frying eggs, but I guess that’s up to personal preference. You will need:

  • A pot of water
  • Eggs
  • Small glass bowls

1) Crack an egg into a small bowl, preferably glass. Be careful not to break the yolk.

2) Bring a saucepan of water to a light boil. You can add a small splash of vinegar to the water if you’d like; it’s an old Julia Child trick.

3) As soon as the water boils, lower the heat to low or simmer. Stir the water gently to create a swirl.

4) Take the bowl of egg and gently lower the egg into the water while the water is swirling.

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You’ll want to get as close to the water as possible to avoid splashing or breaking the yolk. I find dipping the glass bowl into the water makes it easiest. The glass won’t break either.

The swirling will help the egg white wrap around the yolk.

5) Let the egg cook for 4-6 minutes at the low heat.

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You may need to experiment with time. Less time means a runnier yolk.

6) Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the after once they’re done.

You can put them on a towel or paper towel to help them dry. If you use a paper towel, the white may take on the shape from the texture of the paper.

7) Enjoy!

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Eggs may not be a complete breakfast, but it’s a start! Serve some eggs on top of some toast for a small meal for one. If you’re cooking for two or more, try microwaving some bacon. If you’re feeling confident, fry or bake some bacon instead. I can post instructions for cooking bacon if any one is interested.

How did your eggs turn out? Do you have any helpful tips? Post your progress, questions, and comments below!