Stuff I’ve made recently, January 2012


  • Beer bread (Alton Brown): The ultimate weeknight bread recipe, for when you want something starchy/tasty to go with soup, etc. Super easy and super quick. My changes: used dried dill instead of fresh, subbed in part skim mozzarella cheese for cheddar, omitted the sunflower seeds. I also used Lagunitas IPA, with great results.
  • Carrot soup with miso and sesame (Smitten Kitchen): I have a long-standing hatred of carrots. So much so that it’s become a default joke with my loved ones. Something about the texture and the underlying sweetness just doesn’t work for me, despite my best efforts to overcome the distaste. I want to like them! Really! They’re so good for you! Despite all this, something about this recipe called to me, so I just ran with it. And you know what? It was pretty darn good, even for me. The miso helps offset the carrots’ sweetness, and the toasted sesame oil is just perfect. The texture still bothered me at times, but I ate three servings of it over the course of three days, so there you go.
  • Chicken lima bean soup (Taste of Home): I made this because I was dying to use my bag of Rancho Gordo Christmas lima beans, the recipe looked easy, and I wanted a nice sturdy soup after a whole holiday vacation of splurging on baked goods. It’s a very good soup, although I think the chicken may have been a tad overcooked. My changes: used Christmas limas, used kale instead of spinach, used dried parsley and other random seasonings instead of fresh.
  • Cottage cheese muffins (101 Cookbooks): Like every 101 Cookbooks recipe ever, these were really good. I made them for an office holiday potluck, but when I make them again, I’ll have them for breakfast instead.
  • Grapefruit yogurt cake (Smitten Kitchen): I had extra grapefruits, I had leftover yogurt that was threatening to go bad, I had everything else needed for this simple loaf cake. So I made it. And I’m really glad I did. It’s very, very good, and very, very easy. Next time, I’ll try the Ina Garten original lemon version, or a lime version with coconut milk yogurt and coconut oil. My changes: I used nonfat plain yogurt instead of whole milk.
  • Macaroni and cheese pizza (Food Network): For Jeffrey‘s birthday dinner! We used the Quick Beer Crust from King Arthur Flour, which is quickly becoming my favorite go-to pizza crust recipe. This is one of the more indulgent things I’ve ever made. Wow. We sort of winged it with this recipe – I don’t remember most of the changes that we made, however. The main thing is just stovetop mac and cheese, put on a pizza crust, and baked. Yum.
  • Meyer lemon fresh cranberry scones (Smitten Kitchen): I made these for my Bay Bridged comrades to enjoy while we set up for the Bay Brewed. They were a big hit. My changes: used regular lemons instead of Meyer.
  • Rustic lentil soup (Soup Addict): Delicious, hearty stew. That’s really all you need to know. Really, really good. My changes: I didn’t have any pancetta so I used more bacon instead, omitted the fish sauce, used 3 small leeks instead of celery, and used dried rosemary instead of fresh thyme.
  • And of course, I’ve made several more 30 before 30 items. Just need to actually sit down and write them all out!

Christmas lima bean soup with kale

Macaroni and cheese pizza


Beer bread with whole wheat flour, cheese and rosemary

Beer bread

I was randomly searching my Google Reader for recipes yesterday and came across beer bread via Everybody Likes Sandwiches. I made some alterations based on what was available at my parents’ house – using half whole wheat flour, regular cheddar cheese (as opposed to aged), and fresh rosemary instead of dried (since my mother’s garden is overflowing with fresh sprigs). For the beer, I used Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, which added a very strong beer taste that was a great compliment to the cheese and rosemary. Any beer will do, however.

The extra great thing about beer bread is that it’s so easy – measure out the dry ingredients, slowly add the beer and mix until just combined, bake, and it’s done.

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar [I only had access to powdered sugar, and it worked fine]
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 bottle/can of beer

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together all the dry ingredients (everything except the beer). Slowly pour in the beer and stir until just combined. Spread batter into a loaf pan (at least 8 inches – I think a 9 inch pan may have been a little better), greased with either butter/flour or cooking spray.

Optional step: I melted about 1/4 cup of butter and poured over the top of the batter after spreading the batter in the loaf plan.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the top of the loaf turns golden brown and a toothpick or knife inserted into the loaf comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes before removing loaf from pan, then let cool for a few additional minutes before enjoying.