Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Blogiversary! + Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Oreos

Today marks Hey Who Cut the Cheese?'s first birthday!  It's hard to believe, since this past year has simply flown by.  I have had such a good time with this blog.  It has allowed me to connect with some really amazing and creative people, share one of my favorite hobbies with you all, and has prompted me to be a little more creative in the kitchen than I would have been otherwise.  

Thank you to everyone who has supported this little venture!  It seriously makes my day when someone tells me that they tried and enjoyed a recipe that I posted, or when someone swings by and leaves a comment.  Thank you so much for reading!!

Recipe from the blog Picky Palate.  Makes ~32 cookies (or more, depending on how much dough you use for each cookie).

You'll need:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
32 Oreo cookies (have some extras on hand, just in case)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars together for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well-combined.  

Little by little, add the dry ingredients to the wet until everything is combined.  Add the chocolate chips, mixing until just combined.

Separate the Oreo cookies, and place the non cream side onto your prepared baking sheet.  Spoon 1 tbs dough onto each Oreo half, and bake for 8-9 minutes, or until baked through.  If your dough has baked over the edge of the Oreo, you can use a knife to push it back on.  Gently press the cream sided Oreo on top of the warm cookie, and allow it to cool for ~10 minutes (if you can manage!) before serving. 

Check out how the Oreo cream gets all melty!  Yum.  Enjoy these!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Baked Kale Chips

Though it's not over represented on this blog, I love kale.  It probably doesn't come up as much because I tend to keep eating the same kale dishes over and over again (see this one, this one, and this one).

So, anyway, kale chips are nothing new.  I've just finally hopped on the bandwagon and decided to try them out.  I got the initial idea for these kale chips from my friend Megan, and her blog: Cooking in the Cloud.

You'll need:

1 bunch kale leaves, washed very well
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
any other seasonings you're into (I used garlic powder)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

De-stem the kale and rip or cut the leaves into chip-sized pieces (I'll let you decide how to define "chip-sized").  Put the kale in a large bowl, drizzle the olive oil over and toss everything around until each piece is well-coated.

Lay the kale, in a single layer, on baking sheets.  Sprinkle the salt and pepper (and whatever other seasonings you'd like) evenly over the kale.

 Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes (mine took 17) until kale is crispy, and slightly browned.  Feel free to either rotate the pan(s) or flip each kale chip over with some tongs approximately halfway through the cooking time.

And this is what you're left with!  Seriously, these are addicting.  Sean and I ate all of them in one evening.  Fortunately, you don't have to feel too guilty about hoovering through a bunch of them.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chocolate Mint Fizz

It's time for the next installment of Thirsty Thursday.  Today I'm spotlighting the Chocolate Mint Fizz.  As the name implies, I used some of my chocolate mint to make this drink.  Although if you don't have chocolate mint, you can surely use any variety of mint that you like/have available to you.

I found this recipe on a blog called Noshing with the Nolands.

You'll need:

Simple Syrup
1 1/2 cups mint
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

The Cocktail
1 oz chocolate vodka (we used Three Olives brand)
1/2 oz mint simple syrup
ginger ale (the original used 7 Up)
mint, for garnish

To make the simple syrup, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.  Let it come to a low boil and then remove the sauce pan from the heat.  Add the mint, stems and all, to the syrup and allow it to steep for about 20 minutes.  Strain the syrup and allow it to cool.  You can stash it in the fridge if you like.

Later, when your simple syrup is cool, you can go ahead and assemble the cocktail.  Just add the vodka and simple syrup to a glass with ice, top with ginger ale, and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Enjoy this sweet and refreshing drink with friends!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Basil Pesto

I've been talking about it for half the summer, and any time someone sees my basil plants they have the same reaction: "You should make pesto!".  So here I am, finally making some pesto.

You'll need:

At least 2 cups of basil (I probably used nearly double that)
1-2 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup slivered/sliced almonds, toasted (or whatever kind of nuts you'd like)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil, depending on how much basil you use (I used an amount in between)
1-2 tbs water (again depending on how much basil you use)
salt and pepper, to taste

In your food processor (or blender), pulse the basil, garlic, nuts, and cheese until things have broken down a bit.

With the food processor on, stream in the olive oil and water.

Taste, and season with salt and pepper.  And voila!

You can do any number of things with your new pesto: add it to pasta, slather it atop some fish or chicken, use it as a spread on sandwiches, etc.  I've chosen to freeze mine (after consuming a spoon-ful straight from the bowl!) in ice cube trays and save it for later use.  Once it's frozen, I'll pop the cubes out, and stash them in a ziploc bag.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thirsty Thursday: Whole Fruit Margaritas

Hello everyone, and welcome to my inaugural Thirsty Thursday blog post!  Thank you to everyone who voiced their feedback regarding Thirsty Thursday on Facebook.  I'm glad to hear that you were interested!  As I had mentioned before (here), this is The Summer of the Cocktail.  Accordingly, a smallish group has been meeting pretty regularly to enjoy cocktails, snacks, and good company.  This was the drink prepared for last week's gathering.

Prepared by Sarah and Angela, from a recipe originally found in a Vitamix recipe book.  Recipe makes 1 pitcher.

You'll need: 

1/4 cup water
6-8 oz tequila
2 oz Gran Marnier or Triple Sec
1 orange, peeled and halved
1 lime, peeled and halved
1 lemon, peeled and halved
6 tbs granulated sugar
6 cups ice cubes

Add the ingredients, in the order listed, to your blender.  Blend everything up (preferably in a Vitamix, as this is one of their recipes, but I'm sure that this can be done in any other heavy duty blender) until it reaches your desired consistency  (see the recipe link above for Vitamix-specific instructions).  Imbibe!

These margaritas are perfect for enjoying out of doors on a warm summer's night with good company.  Really they're perfect for any occasion.  As Sarah told me, "A fail proof  margarita recipe is one of those things every body needs to be really successful in life."  Who can argue with that?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Masala Chai

I've never liked coffee.  Strange, but true.  It smells amazing, but no matter how I doctor it up, it just isn't palatable to me.  Instead, I'm a tea drinker.  Black tea, mostly.  But that's not to say that a glass of iced green tea isn't nice every now and then.

A while back, my aunt had sent me the perfect mix of spices for concocting a steaming mug of Masala Chai (thanks again, Juj!).  I've really been meaning to blog about this for some time, but never got around to it.  Since I'm working from home today, and feeling a little under the weather, I figured that this would be the perfect time to steep another mug and share it with you.

Anyone who has been to an Indian restaurant will likely be familiar with this tea.

Clockwise from the top: cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, black loose leaf tea, star anise.

Adapted from recipes found on Honey, What's Cooking? and Arctic Garden Studio.  Makes 2 8ish oz. cups of tea, or if you're like me, 1 gigantic cup.

You'll need:

2 cups water
3 cardamom pods, cracked
~3 inch cinnamon stick, broken
1 star anise, whole
3-4 tsp black tea leaves, loose*
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)**
sugar, to taste

Boil the water on medium heat in a pot.  Once little bubbles form in the pot, add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and star anise.  After a few minutes, add the tea leaves.

Stir the pot.  The water should be boiling at this point.  Add the milk and stir.  Watch for it to begin boiling again.  Stay close, because there's the possibility that the mixture might foam up and spill over.

Boil for a few minutes, and once the tea starts to foam up, or rise, take it off the heat.  Strain the tea into a cup.  Add sugar to taste, and enjoy!

For me, it doesn't get much better than this.  This tea is spicy, fragrant, and delicious.  Though it's a little more time consuming than brewing up a plain old cup of tea, it's definitely worth it.  Perfect for sipping leisurely while snuggling on the couch with your pup and watching Paranormal State for hours on end.  Or maybe that's just me? =) 

*I used the loose leaf English Breakfast from Teavana.  But really, I imagine you could open up some bags of black tea as well.

**You don't want to use anything with a lower fat content than 1% milk.  The consistency just won't be the same.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Two Healthy Smoothies!

So after ~6 years of not having a functioning blender, I recently bought The Ninja!!  I was (and still am) pretty excited, since anyone I spoke to who owns one had nothing but rave reviews to give.  Although you can definitely do all kinds of stuff with it, I bought it primarily for it's smoothie-making capabilities.  I'm trying to experiment a bit, and wanted to share with you a couple of the smoothies I've been enjoying.  

Healthy Chocolate-Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothie

Adapted from the recipe on Sterling Style.  Makes ~2 smoothies.

You'll need:

1/2 - 1 whole banana, frozen
2 tbs cocoa powder
2 tbs peanut butter
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk/almond milk, plus a splash more
a few ice cubes, depending on how thick you want it to be
honey, to taste (optional)

Toss everything into your blender (minus the honey) and blend away!  Give it a taste.  If it isn't sweet enough, add a drizzle of honey, then blend again.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Nectarine Smoothie

Adapted from the Baltic Maid.  Makes ~2 smoothies

You'll need:

1 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced and frozen
1 nectarine, cut into wedges and frozen
1 banana (mine was frozen)
1 1/2 cups milk/almond milk, maybe a bit more
1/2 cup quick oats
honey, optional

Toss it all, minus honey, in the blender.  Blend it up.  Add more milk if it's too thick.  Taste it for sweetness.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Roasted Sugar Snap Peas

I've recently discovered how delicious roasted vegetables can be, either as a component of the main dish or as a side.  Moreover, they're very convenient, as you just put them in the oven and maybe toss them around from time to time, leaving you free to work on other aspects of the meal.

This recipe comes from the blog Clean Green Simple.

You'll need:

1/2 pound sugar snap peas
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Set aside.

Toss the peas, oil, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic powder around in a zip top bag until everything is well-coated.  Spread the peas on the baking sheet and pop them in the oven for 8-12 minutes.  Mine were pretty much perfect at the 10 minute mark.