Thursday, February 24, 2011

Truvia Shortbread Cookies

I experimented for the first time with baking with stevia leaf sweetener, my favorite sugar alternative. I found this recipe on Truvia's website. They came out sweet and tasty with a buttery texture.

Reduced Sugar Shortbread Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 Tbspn spoonalbe Truvia (or 12 packets)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbspn cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Place butter, Truvia, sugar, egg, and vanilla in bowl of electric mixer. Affix paddle attachment. Cream together for 1 1/2 minutes, set aside. Blend flour, cornstarch, and salt together in medium bowl. Fold dry ingredients into creamed mixture. Roll tablespoons of dough into 1-inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet approximately 2 inches apart. Flatten cookies gently with the bottom of a glass dipped in cornstarch. Bake in oven for 16-18 minutes or until edges of cookies are light golden brown. Place cookie sheet on cooling rack for 20-30 minutes before removing cookies. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Really not feeling up to thinking about food, but I am really excited that it is tulip season, so that's what I'm going to share with you today. Of course, no tulips we get down here can come close to even beginning to rival those from my beloved NW. But still. Tulips make me happy. So here's the life of my first tulips of '11.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Soup for Sickie

I have quite the stack of fun goodies to share with you, but only one thing sounded good to me today: Egg Drop Soup. It's my standard sick food and, alas, I find myself with a touch of the stomach flu. Unfortunately, we have not found a Chinese restaurant in SF that serves egg drop soup (not that I've scoured the city or anything). I knew I'd find my beloved crispy noodle chow mein in short supply in a land of actual Chinese food, but I had no idea my stand-by soup would be similarly offensive. I love wonton soup as much, if not more, and quite enjoy sizzling rice soup, but on some sick days nothing else will suffice. I had eggs and Better than Bouillon in the fridge, so I made my own. So there, real Chinese food.

Egg Drop Soup

4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp black or white pepper
2 1/2 - 3 Tblspn corn starch
2 eggs
1 egg yolk OR 1 egg white

In a pot, bring 3 3/4 cup broth to a boil. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir corn starch into the other 1/4 cup of broth. In another small bowl or cup, beat eggs with a fork. Add ginger, sugar, and pepper to boiling broth. Slowly add cornstarch liquid, stirring constantly. After soup has thickened, very slowly drizzle in beaten egg while slowly stirring. Egg should cook into ribbons instantly. Serve with soy sauce, if desired.

Add-in ideas: Toss in diced chives or green onion at the end for color and flavor. Add frozen peas, sliced mushrooms, and/or water chestnuts to boiling broth just before thickening. For vegetables that need time to cook, like chopped carrots, boil them in the broth until tender, 10-20 minutes, before adding other ingredients.

An aside: An improperly screwed on lid (packaging is my kryptonite) taught me that corn starch makes kitchen tiles feel quite silky under bare feet. And it's really quite hard to sweep up entirely and tends to cling to said bare feet.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Carne Asada Quesadilla

I considered making nachos with the rest of my carne asada, but instead went the quesadilla route. A couple tortillas, 2% cheese, pico de gallo, and a handful of meat made a pretty healthy, and quite tasty, meal using leftovers.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Easy Carne Asada Tacos

Tonight I used a cheap cut of meat and a simple marinade to bring the taqueria to me.

Tequila Lime Carne Asada

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tblspn tequila
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 tsp salt
few dashes Cholula or other hot sauce
1/2 lb. affordable steak (I used a boneless crossrib steak, but other cuts would work, too)
fresh ground black pepper

Mix together first five ingredients. Prick holes in the steak with a fork. Pour the tequila lime mixture over the steak and marinate for a 2-4 hours, turning occasionally if necessary to ensure full coverage. Preheat countertop grill to 400. Sprinkle steak with fresh ground black pepper and grill for about 5 minutes. Chop into bite sized pieces. Divide between warm taco-sized tortillas and top as desired. Pictured above with pico de gallo and guacamole. Makes 4 small tacos (or two, if you fill them with as much meat as the husband man would).

The lime and alcohol not only added great flavor, but helped make my affordable protein incredibly tender. This would also make a great filling in other favorite taqueria dishes, like quesadillas or burritos. I plan on using what was leftover after my two tacos as a topping for nachos tomorrow.

And I did it all with a few simple ingredients I had on hand.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Simple Pleasures: Salami & Cheese Cracker

Oftentimes it really is the simple dishes that please the most, especially when using the finest ingredients. For example, I took great delight munching this snack while watching the clouds roll in over the city, ending our annual February heat wave.

I topped a Mustard & Black Pepper flavor oat cracker with Molinari salame and an Amish cow's milk cheese (basically a complex cheddar) from the boutique cheese shop in Cole Valley. Sometimes that's all you need for perfection.