Mission Statement

Culinary Adventures in a College Kitchen

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

I like to pretend I'm vegan.

I also like to take vegan recipes and completely de-veganize them with creamy butter and smooth milk chocolate.

I'd like to say this is due to a strong desire to uphold the integrity of traditional cooking techniques.

(How dare a graham cracker crust not include real butter!)

But in reality, I just couldn't make myself run out and get Earth Balance for this recipe. So, in respect for all you vegans who might be reading this (and the pretend one inside of me) I have included the vegan ingredients below.

Regardless, vegan or butter-laden, these babies are good.

I shared with my friends. Made a few new ones because of them, too. The recipe is simple and it requires no baking. What's not to love?

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups


1/2 cup butter (or Earth Balance)
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (I used a few packages of 100 cal shortbread cookies)
1/4 cup maple sugar
1 cup chocolate chips (or carob)
1/4 non-dairy milk
1/4 cup chopped pecans, almonds, or peanuts (optional)


Line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and then add the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and peanut butter. Mix well and then pour equally into the muffin cups.

In another pan (or the same after a washing) melt the chocolate and non-dairy milk. Pour evenly over the butter-graham mixture.

Optional: Top with chopped nuts.

Place in the refrigerator and let them set for at least 2 hours.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew

Sometimes I make ugly food.

Sometimes that ugly food ends up not being half bad.

This is one of those times. Yes, this stew looks pretty dark and drab. However, it actually tastes pretty remarkable and if you add some cheese, well, cheese makes everything better.

I made this a few weeks ago when Chicago seemed to be getting rained in every day. Warm and hearty, it is the perfect thing to squeeze in during these last few days of cold weather.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Stew


2 sweet potatoes
1 15 oz can black beans
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cups of water


Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened, roughly 10 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, black beans, and water. Bring to a boil. Cook until the sweet potatoes are cooked all the way through, roughly 10-15 minutes. Drain and serve with cheddar cheese.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Shortbread Cookies with Fudge Icing

You know those posts where you hear all about the little foibles and idiosyncracies of the blogger? This is one of those posts. So..you've been warned ;)

I am a complete anglophile.

I own boxes and boxes of English Breakfast tea.

I love all things Colin Firth. Keira Knightley. Alan Rickman.

I follow the Royal Wedding like it's my job and yes, I fully intend on getting up at whatever ridiculous time it airs so that I can see the dress and oohh and aahhh.

I may occasionally speak in a British accent when I am alone.

Yes, I am nearly an embarrassment to my fellow statesiders. Go ahead and wince. If I met someone else like myself, I probably would as well. Being happily within the confines of my self, though, I think I'll just watch some Doctor Who instead and enjoy some tea and biscuits.

Carry on, then.

Shortbread Cookies with Fudge Icing

1 1/4 cup flour
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
pinch salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips


Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla. Carefully mix in the flour until a loose dough forms. Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log. Wrap in the plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.

Remove the dough and slice 1/4 inch thick on a diagonal. Place on lined cookie sheets and bake for roughly ten minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Let cool.

To make the icing, melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Spread the chocolate over the surface of the cookies, using a toothpick to spread. Let set at room temperature.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Caramelized Leek and Goat Cheese Frittata

I don't eat a lot of animal products, but every once in a while I go a little crazy at Whole Foods and end up coming back with cartons of eggs, cheese, and cream. This usually accompanies a week of heavy baking or copious readings of Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking.

This week I found myself with a fridge stocked with food hailing from one of my Whole-Foods-shopping-blackouts. There also were some leeks that I had bought for a forgotten risotto recipe chilling in my vegetable crisper.

Thinking cap perched on my head, I got to cooking.

Caramelized Leek and Goat Cheese Frittata

4 trimmed leeks
1/2 cup goat cheese
6 eggs
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar


Clean the leeks and slice in half. Chop the leeks and put to the side.

Heat a nonstick oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and add the brown sugar and leeks. Reduce heat and let the onions caramelize, roughly 2o minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, pepper, salt, and goat cheese.
You know you're a college student when you whisk eggs in red SOLO cups

Pour over the skillet and cover. Cook until the eggs are set but still slightly liquidy, roughly 15 minutes.

Put the skillet in the broiler (turned on, of course) and cook until the eggs are completely set, roughly 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and slice into four large portions.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Recent Eats

Wow. I feel like it has literally been ages since I have made a post. Happy Monday :) Unfortunately, my busy schedule has sort of prevented me from posting but I figured I should at least share some recent and very delicious eats I have been having. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sweet Basil Smoothie

Things I've learned studying in my library's Silent Reading Room:

1) I chew loudly.

2) I fidget.

3) I can never find my pen in my purse.

4) My phone's silent buzzer is in fact not silent.

5) People get irritated when you chew loudly, fidget, can't find your pen, and have a noisy phone.

6) I probably should not study in the Silent Reading Room.

7) Or blog about basil smoothies when the tapping of my keyboard garners glares.

Sweet Basil Smoothie

1 cup greek yogurt
1 cup basil
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar

Combine all ingredients in a blender until well blended. Garnish with basil leaf.

Btw- you should all follow me on Twitter. I occasionally say amusing things and fangirl over assorted television shows. Good times.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Salami Roll-Up with Fontina Cheese

A lot of my recipes come from just throwing stuff together. I usually get back to my apartment right after class, my stomach protesting too loudly for me to actually leaf through a cookbook. My favorite thing to make for lunch (besides Annie's Organic Indian Samosas, so good) are sandwiches.

I love creating sandwiches. They're quick, easy, and usually make a dent in all the random leftovers I have lurking in the refrigerator. This one is not too exotic, but it's still tasty! Salami is paired with smooth fontina cheese. Whole grain mustard is a must here. The extra bite works beautifully with the cheese.

Salami Roll-Up with Fontina Cheese


Fontina Cheese
Wrap (I used Ezekiel)
Whole Grain Mustard

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pine Nut Cookies

I just downloaded the 4th season of Dexter.

And now I want to marry Michael C. Hall.

The show is seriously addictive. I remember when I first discovered the first two seasons (free on Netflix instant-hollah!!) my bottom was practically glued to the couch. I swear I did little besides eat, sleep, and Dexter. Thank God I discovered it during break. It is not break now, though. Yet I have started a brand new season.

If this were a tweet, I would hashtag #Iamnevergraduating.

I like to think Dexter would enjoy these cookies. They're not overly sweet and feature only the greatest, most under-used nuts out there. Yes, Dexter would appreciate these.

Pine Nut Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground fennel
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup pine nuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, ground fennel, salt, and vanilla until well-mixed. Add the egg, mix until combined. Add the flour and mix together with a spatula. The dough will be loose. Pour out onto plastic wrap and form into an 8-inch log. Wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator and cut the log into 1/4 inch on a diagonal.

Place on a baking sheet and press the pine nuts decoratively on the top. Bake for roughly 15 minutes, until the edges are golden.

If you want to get really crazy, when eating smear the bottom with nutella. I did this randomly before going out for dinner. Yes, it spoiled my appetite. Yes, it was worth it.

Source: Giada DeLaurentiis "Everyday Italian"