Mocha Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted by on Jan 26, 2013 in Recipe | 0 comments

mocha pecan chocolate chip

Hello all! To start off: Happy Belated Holidays and Happy New Year and Happy Start of the New Semester!!!! (If you’re in school that is). Although the winter holidays are over, it is still absolutely freezing, with temperatures low enough to make my toes fall off. To heat you guys up, here’s a quick cookie recipe that I recently made. These mocha pecan chocolate chip cookies are absolutely delicious, with a hint of cayenne pepper to emphasize the hot melty chewy yumminess of the chocolate. I would love to pair these cookies with a glass of milk, or even better: hot chocolate! Unfortunately, silly me went and left the whole batch of cookies at home, and now I am stranded far far away from home with no cookies and nothing but me, myself, and my ramen. Thus, I shall live vicariously through you all who make these babies! They are so quick and easy to make, and the bit of coffee will perk you up :)

mocha pecan chocolate chip

Ingredients
(this recipe is adapted from So Hungry I Could Blog)

350 degrees, 10-12 minutes, 1 tbsp balls of dough make around 50 (in my case 53!) cookies

  • 2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground espresso
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cups crushed pecans

Making this cookie couldn’t be easier. Start off by creaming the butter and sugar until beautiful whipped peaks form. Add eggs one at a time and incorporate. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Then add the dry batch to the wet, in parts. The dough should become a wonderful chocolate-y color and the texture should be like fluffy chocolate mousse. Do not be tempted to eat! Finally, using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips and pecans. Place 1 tbsp balls of dough ~2 inches apart and pop in oven! Let cool, and devour while warm and melty, or eat when cool and chewy. :)

Enjoy!

– Jas

Photographs taken by Jasmine Hwang

Long Island Winter Farmer’s Market — January 6, 2013

Posted by on Jan 5, 2013 in Miscellaneous | 0 comments

Happy 2013 everyone! Wishing you all experience more good times than you can count with plenty of good food and company.

For those of you who follow us on Facebook, you’ll know that we’ve been busy-busy these last two weeks. After spending our Christmas with family, it was off to trek through the snowy cold of Quebec to eat our little hearts out (look forward to those posts!). Now, we’re back in NY and baking up a storm. Our kitchen’s a complete mess but it smells absolutely heavenly. Why? We’ll be at the Long Island Winter Farmer’s Market this Sunday (January 6, 2013) from 10 am to 2 pm selling our goodies for our fundraiser! Come stop by our table this weekend and help contribute to a great cause to start off your new year. 

Visit us at the Long Island Winter Farmer’s Market at:

155 Lowndes Ave.
Huntington Station, NY 11746

We’ll be selling matcha shortbread cookies, matcha langues de chat, a super simple variation of our tasty savory palmiersalmond biscotticarrot oatmeal surprise cookies, pecan thumbprint cookies, and chocolate lollipops! Or, if you can’t make it but would like to donate nevertheless, just click on the donate buttons in the sidebar.

~ AJ ~

P.S. I debated writing an actual post along with this little blurb but decided this was too important to be left as a side note to nommable foods. So I shall be leaving you all in suspense as to what sorts of deliciousness we have planned. ;) 

Cookie Swap 2012 (Carrot Oatmeal and Almond Biscotti)

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Recipe | 2 comments

Cooper says..."Be a Good Cookie...or else!"

Cooper says…
“Be a Good Cookie…or else!”

It’s that time of year again, when bells are a-jingling, lights are a-sparklin’, and spirits are spiraling downwards into depression as finals suck the life out of us…I mean, spirits are soaring with holiday cheer while everyone is frantically clogging up the mall to finish last minute shopping. Ahem.

Well! There’s no better way to kick the ba-humbug out of you than with some homemade cookies filled with good cheer. Or so I tell myself to ward off the guilt of inhaling sugary carbs with a disapprovingly high calorie count. Yum.

Before I manage to bring your spirits down further, as we’ve mentioned in a few posts, we’ve taken part in this year’s Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012! [insert cheers and applause here] This year, the cookie swap isn’t just contributing to the food blogger community but it’s also supporting the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’s cause. OXO will match donations to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for up to $100,000! In fact, OXO was kind enough to send us a nifty little “Good Cookie” spatula. How cute is that?

Does Cookies for Kids’ Cancer sound familiar? If you read our previous post, then you’d know that S.S.Munchies is also holding our own fundraiser until the end of January 2013 for Save the Children and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Read our post for more information on the fundraiser and help donate or spread the word!

Now, on to what you were actually waiting for…If you liked our cookies last year, we think you’ll love what we made this year — so make sure to try them out before the world ends next week! This year, I made some simple but tasty Almond Biscotti with Mint Chocolate and Jas has some special Carrot Oatmeal Surprise Cookies in store for you.

Hey guys, Jas finally making my reappearance today. It’s that time of year again: Cookie Swap! This called for me to drop all my work, roll up em sleeves, and finally get back to baking over this past Thanksgiving break. Mmmm what better way to procrastinate? This year, I definitely wanted to make a healthy, yet scrumptious oatmeal type cookie, as I have been a bit obsessive over oatmeal lately. Hey, as a poor college student what better quick breakfast than instant oatmeal and hot water? (plus rivers of honey and chunky bits of walnuts mmm). Yet, I wasn’t aiming for just any boring old typical oatmeal raisin. After browsing through recipes, I decided nothing fit into what I felt like making, and ended up doing a science experiment of sorts and winging it. The end result of my Carrot Oatmeal Surprise Cookies ended up beautifully mouthwatering with the perfect balance of salty, sweet, chewy, and crunchy. Yay for mad scientist Jas in the kitchen! Here’s the delectable (and super healthy) recipe below. Keep in mind that everything is free for variation of your own desires, as I pretty much eyeballed everything. (I have measuring lines in my eyeballs that tell me to stop pouring when it reaches the “delicious” level). Oh, and the carrots give the cookies such a lovely golden orange splash of color, definitely perfect for a gift cookie!

Carrot Oatmeal Surprise Cookies
(makes 36 small cookies)

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg (preferably room temperature)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (sea salt works nicely)
  • 1 ½ cup of oats (any kind is fine, I just used instant)
  • 2/3 cup nut of choice (I used 1/3 pecans and 1/3 walnut mix)
  • 1tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 cup finely grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup raisins (I used a Taiwanese variety har har har)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (I left this out as I couldn’t find it for the life of me)

Directions

Start off by preheating your oven to 350F and lining your baking pans/trays with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter and sugar until fluffy and add the vanilla extract and egg. Mix to incorporate. Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter in parts, mixing until just incorporated each time.

Then mix in the oats, carrots, and ginger. Finally, use a spatula to gently fold in the raisins and nuts to cocoon them into a soft blanket of deliciousness and you’re done!

So easy. Now just evenly place small teaspoon sized balls of dough on your trays (they will expand don’t worry) and pop them in the oven for 12-15 min.

Then let the babies cool, place on a pretty plate, and devour. 

The perfect taste of carrot cake in cookie form, studded with pecans and walnuts and elegantly spiced with cinnamon and the sweet taste of chewy raisins will make you smile, enjoy!

— Jas

Photographs taken by Jasmine Hwang

IMAG0813

Almond Biscotti with Mint Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped 
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp mint extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into medium bowl. Mix sugar, melted butter, 3 eggs, vanilla extract, orange liquer (I went with Grand Marnier) and zest in large bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir with wooden spoon until well blended. Mix in almonds.

Divide dough in half. Shape each dough half into flat logs and transfer both logs to a baking sheet. Whisk the egg white in small bowl until foamy and brush over the top and sides of each log.

IMAG0809

Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread slightly), about 30 minutes. Cool logs completely on sheet on rack, about 25 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Cut logs on a diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Turn over and bake about 8 minutes. This ensures extra crunch and gives a nice toasted color to the biscotti. 

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Optional: Melt your choice of chocolate and add mint extract. Smooth mint chocolate over top half of the biscotti. Let cool and enjoy~!

IMAG0814Now, just pack them up in some adorable boxes and share the cookie goodness!

This year, we sent our cookies to Icing on the Cake, Hearts in My Oven, and Shuffling Freckles. Hopefully our cookies made it to you safely. Check out their blogs to see what kinds of delicious cookies they whipped up for the cookie swap!

Also, we’ve received some addicting Lemon Honey Drop Cookies from Meal Planning Magic, fancy Anise and Brown Butter Maple Pizzelle from The Way to My Family’s Heart, and some incredibly fragrant Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from Wilde in the Kitchen. The cookies made it to us safely and were yummy in our tummies!

 

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang

Save the Children & Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Fundraiser!

Posted by on Dec 1, 2012 in Miscellaneous | 1 comment

Tis the season of giving, good cheer, and…fundraising!

Have you been spotting Santas ringing bells on street corners lately? Well, don’t worry, we can’t seem to find our Santa outfit anywhere. Instead of ringing and a-jingling, S.S.Munchies will be bringing you a variety of goodies through the months of December and January. From assorted cookies and cakes to the simplicity of jams and chocolate lollipops, everything will be (and is!) completely 100% homemade. No fear of ingesting strange additives and chemicals that you can’t pronounce!

We’re hoping to raise $1,000, but since it’s just the two of us, we’re taking baby-steps and hoping to achieve mini-goals as we go. All proceeds will be split between Save the Children and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer

Save the Children

…is most likely a charity that you’ve already heard of. The Save the Children Fund is an international organization that promotes children’s rights. They help provide relief  and help support children in developing countries. They offer several ways to donate, and if you’d like, you can even sponsor a child for just $28 a month!

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer

…is a relatively new 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2008 for pediatric cancer. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is committed to raising funds to support research for pediatric cancer.  There are several ways to give and you can even purchase cookies (and other products) to give away or share with others. But more importantly is getting the name out, so “Be a Good Cookie” and spread the word!

So what are you doing exactly?

Since we’d like to keep this post short and sweet, we won’t attempt to bribe bombard you with any delectable  photos of baked goods. We’ll simply whet your appetite and let your imaginations do the work!

During the months of December 2012 to January 2013, we’ll be offering 100% homemade goodies. What kind of goodies? Almond bark cookies, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate lollipops (including the pretzel variety), and matcha shortbread cookies are just a few!…That we’ve already shared with you before anyhow. As for the rest…well, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Hate being kept in the dark? Don’t worry, we’ll be posting up recipes of everything we make for the fundraiser so look forward to it! Yea, yea, about time we got around to sharing. I know. -attempts to look shamefaced-

All baked goods, like the few examples we just listed, can be yummy in your tummy for just $1 ~ $3 each.  Again, all of our goodies are 100% homemade with natural (and organic when we can get it) ingredients. 

From left to right:
Arugula Pesto, Apple Butter,
Mixed Berry Jam, Strawberry Jam

We are also giving away a limited amount of homemade pesto, jams, and fruit butters for $3 (2 oz jar) and $5 (4 oz jar). These jars may sound teeny, but you’d be surprised how much can fit inside and how much enjoyment they’ll bring to your tastebuds!

But how do we donate?

Jas and I will be toting our goods around with us and baking when we’re not! So just give us a poke when you see us. (FYI: Jas won’t actually be home to participate until the middle of December, so you’ll all have to content yourselves with poking me in the meantime.) 

If you’d simply like to donate, check out our shiny new ‘Donate’ buttons in the sidebar! We’ll be pooling all of the proceeds together and splitting it evenly between both organizations, but if you’d like to donate to one specifically we’ll keep it in mind and make sure your money goes to your preferred charity. 

There’s the option of donating directly through the official sites as well. If you do, please let us know! It won’t be added to the total of what we manage to raise, but it’s always nice to hear and knowing will keep us going strong.

If you’re not in the NYC area, we’d still love to send you stuff. Just let us know via email (ssmunchies@gmail.com). However, please be ready to pay a little extra for shipping and packaging. 

Is there any other way to help out?

Yes! Always. 

If you’d like to help bake, we’re desperate happy for the help! Just get in touch with us at ssmunchies@gmail.com to coordinate. But, if you’re not so savvy in the kitchen and can’t spare the cash despite wanting to, there are plenty of creative ways to give. Run a marathon, join a walk, help out at an event, or simply pass the message along…better yet, share this post with your friends and family!

Update:  Come look for us at the Long Island Winter Farmer’s Market on January 6, 2013 (from 10 am – 2 pm) at:

155 Lowndes Ave.
Huntington Station, NY 11746

Start the new year off by helping to contribute to a great cause! We’ll be selling matcha shortbread cookies, matcha langues de chat, a super simple variation of our tasty savory palmiersalmond biscotti, carrot oatmeal surprise cookies, pecan thumbprint cookies, and chocolate lollipops!

~ AJ ~

Rice Pudding

Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Recipe | 4 comments

Every year, right around Turkey Day (and that other day where children scream in delight or anguish as they viciously rip apart wrapping paper), there’s usually a cooking frenzy going on in the kitchen the day before and the day of right up to the last second before we finally sit down (or collapse) and dig in for dinner (like ravenous wolves).

This year wasn’t any different and once it was time for dessert (y’know, the most important part of a meal?) I was once again accosted reminded that I need to stop being a lazy ass neglecting our wonderful blog in favor of school work and share some regularly demanded recipes. 

And so I shall. Why? Because despite my selfishly wanting to hoard the recipe to myself and continue stringing you all along with my delicious desserts as I secretly brainwash you all into mindless followers to prepare an army of meat shields for the zombie apocaplyse…ahem, Jas has convinced me that sharing this information will be for the betterment of humankind. Yes, now all households (who read our tiny blog) may sit down and enjoy a delicious bowl of…rice pudding.

Mmm, rice pudding. That weird pudding that’s not quite pudding, shunned by all other smooth and velvety puddings due to its lumpy appearance. Fortunately, bread pudding is its best friend. 

Anywho, rice pudding’s a great comfort food and is mild in taste if you’re not a fan of overly sweet pudding. It’s easy to make, and if you follow this recipe, you’ll feel like you haven’t done any actual cooking at all.

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups water
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick (4-inches)
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 14 oz can condensed milk
  • 2 cups whole milk

Serve chilled! See what I mean about feeling like you haven’t cooked anything? I like to top it off with some homemade whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon powder. Makes me feel like I actually made it…even if I did. Does that make any sense?

Enjoy~!

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang

Peanut Butter S’mores Cups

Posted by on Nov 7, 2012 in Recipe | 0 comments

Happy Halloween!…Is what I would’ve said a week ago when I had intended to post this, but Sandy obviously had other plans in store. I hope everyone had a great Halloween despite Ms. Sandy’s breezy visit. Hopefully all of you are safe and sound, but most importantly, warm and with power! Because if you are, please email or leave your address in the comments below as we’ll be coming to visit shortly to take advantage of your electricity and hot shower bring you cookies. 

Speaking of cookies, sweets, and other good things, what is your favorite type of Halloween candy? My dad’s is Reeses, and mine would have to be a Twix or Kit Kat. I’m not crazy about peanut butter the way some people are, but I can definitely appreciate its appeal. I’d much rather have something sweet, but crunchy. 

So, I decided to try combining peanut butter and chocolate goodness with a crunchy cookie element. As I didn’t have any wafers on hand at home, I went with graham crackers (which we always seem to have around due to high cheesecake demand) and that made me think of s’mores. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 packet graham cracker crumbs (~ 1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
  • marshmallow fluff

 The graham cracker crust is literally the same as for when making a cheesecake crust. I like a bit of texture and wanted more of a crunch to the cookie portion of the treat so I crumbled it roughly with chunks.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the crumbs with 5 tbsp of melted butter and 1 tbsp of brown sugar. Spoon 1/2 tbsp of the mixture into each mini-cupcake lining and press down. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool before adding peanut butter.

The peanut butter filling took a bit of experimenting to get just right. Peanut butter straight out of the jar is too thick. Mix 1/2 cup of your favorite peanut butter with 1 tbsp of softened or melted butter. This should get it to a nice consistency. But! It’s not quite right without 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar for a bit of sweetness. We are attempting to make candy after all!

Spoon about 1/2 tbsp of the peanut butter mixture into each cup. I added a bit more, until nearly full, as I put a thinner layer of chocolate on top to prevent it from being too sweet. Smack your tin against a tabletop to level the peanut butter.

 

 

It’s best to let the peanut butter cool and solidify in the fridge before going on to add the chocolate layer on top.

 

 

Melt your preferred chocolate. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips since I wanted to stick to the Reeses theme but felt that milk chocolate may be too sweet. Dark chocolate would have probably been a nice alternative as well. As always, the double boiler method is preferred for melting chocolate to prevent any burnt chocolate. However, if you find it to be a hassle, simply melt it over your stove on low heat. 

 

 

Top off the cups with chocolate and smack the tin for smooth and level tops. Let cool in the fridge. 

 

 

Finally, on to the last, and totally optional, layer! The marshmallow top. Why? Because it’s not a s’more without marshmallow…and it’s fancy! You can make homemade marshmallows with some gelatin and sugar, but I took the shorter (and not so noble) route of buying some marshmallow fluff from the store. 

 

 

Whichever option you decide to choose, simply pipe the marshmallow on top of each cup like icing on a cupcake.

 

 

And of course, if you have marshmallows on a s’more, it needs to be toasted! If you have a handheld torch, then this is quick and easy and you’ll probably have pretty peaked lightly toasted tops. If you don’t have a handheld torch, or are just plain silly like me, then you’ll quickly realize that the marshmallows start to lose their pretty shape…and it doesn’t matter anyway because once it’s stuck under the broiler in the oven, it melts down.

If you used the handheld torch, then you’re done and am probably enjoying your tasty treat already. If you went with the broiler method, make sure to keep an eye on it because those marshmallows will start browning and then burning all too soon. Make sure to stick it back in the fridge before nomming!

For an extra Halloweeny touch, I sprayed a bit of orange icing on top…though I still haven’t wrapped my head around the idea of liquid spray on icing. 

Stay safe, stay warm, and enjoy~! For those of you still without power and heat, bundle up or grab the nearest warm body (fuzzy or not) and snuggle them into submission. No, unfortunately Cooper may not be borrowed. He’s busy acting as stand-in portable heater. 

~ AJ ~
Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang

Bermuda’s Sights & Delights

Posted by on Oct 20, 2012 in Miscellaneous | 0 comments

Midterms are quickly coming to haunt our dreams at night again, but at least we can look forward to the winter holidays to temporarily ease away the worries of imaginary horrible grades. It’s been a while since we’ve last posted and unfortunately, we don’t have anything new for you…yet. Instead, since many of you have asked about our (far too short) trip to Bermuda this summer, check out the beautiful sights and delicious foods we had! 

Also, for those of you who remember the Cookie Swap we participated in last year, look forward to some more awesome cookies being whipped up this year as we’ll be taking part in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012 edition! If you have any ideas or special requests, just leave us a comment (or poke us on Facebook) and let us know.

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 P.S. If the slideshow shows a picture and you have no idea what you’re looking at, it’s most likely because it’s only showing the top half of the photo. You can see the whole picture by simply clicking on it!

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie & Jasmine Hwang.
Special thanks to our mom as well!

Shepherd Pot Pie

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012 in Recipe | 0 comments

It’s that time of year again, when the warm summer days are dwindling far too quickly and you’re left sighing wistfully while staring out a nearby window as some monotonous lecture that you could care less about drones on in the background. Yes, it’s back to school in full swing now and we all know what that means: reacquainting ourselves with volumes of old and musty used textbooks with its pages (where practically every line is highlighted and margins are full of scribbles) nearly falling out of its spine, or its counterpart of stiff backed texts that still give you a whiff of new book smell when you flip its pages only for you to cringe every time your highlighter touches its flawless surface. 

But! You guys don’t care about that, all you care about is the fact that S.S.Munchies posts will now be slow (or slower) in coming due to the all-important school quickly consuming all of our free time and energy and social life (C’mon now, let’s not kid ourselves. Once school starts, your social life gets all whiny and begs for attention until it finally commits suicide by throwing itself off a cliff.) as we attempt to gain an education of sorts! Oh no!!! Before you start beating your fists against the table and wailing in desperation, don’t start writing that threatening email to us demanding more posts just yet! Well, not until you’ve read our latest reader submission anyhow. 

Without further ado, we shall commence baiting you with Dudel’s shepherd pot pie — a recipe that’s great for feeding a crowd and is easy to make as well. Shepherd pot pie is one of those recipes where you don’t really need exact measurements and can literally just dump ingredients into a giant baking dish and let it cook in the oven without worry. 

Image taken from Google

Ground turkey (not beef). Fry it with a little bit of black pepper. (Maybe salt but that’s a bit iffy depending on people’s diets.) Gotta break it up and make sure it’s brown everywhere. When fully cooked, you strain it. Need to get as much grease as possible out of it. (This is why no beef.)

A lot [of ground turkey]. Probably at least a half pound, if not more. We usually make enough to fill a large lasagna dish to feed a family of 4 through an entire week (or more).

Corn. We use a few cans, but it doesn’t really matter how you get it. Peas also. Any vegetable will work, really. May wish to use peppers.

Mashed potatoes. The more lumps, the more awkward the meal will be to bake. Instant potatoes will, flatly, not work. Too runny and flaky. They don’t bake right. You will want a LOT of mashed potatoes. Potatoes are cheap so we get many when possible. I like to add a bit of garlic powder to my potatoes.

Cheese. (We use yellow American but it don’t matter). Presliced for simplicity, but you can get a block of cheese and slice it yourself. :) I know a lot of people that use swiss cheese to give the pie a bit of “kick.”

Lets see, now!

We take the ground turkey, our large baking dish, and then dump the turkey in. Spread it out evenly as possible. This is layer one. The next few layers are your veggies. If canned, you’ll wanna make sure you get all (and I mean ALL) the water out before dumping veggies into layer #2, or #3, or whatever. Then we plop on the mashed potatoes. Thick. This is what, sadly, makes up the majority of your pie. Last we layer on cheese as evenly as possible.

Then we toss the thing in the oven at 350 degrees until the cheese is lightly brown. Not burnt. Just brown.

Hope you all enjoyed Dudel’s take on shepherd pot pie. There are several different ways to make shepherd pot pie so experiment and let us know what your favorite is! Personally, although mashed potatoes make a great and simple ‘cover’ for pot pies, I tend to replace it with some pastry dough for a lighter alternative. As for vegetables, carrots, peas, celery, and onion are all great traditional choices. For meat, it really depends on what you like. If you prefer beef or pork, then using mostly lean ground meat is always a better alternative since you don’t want your pie sopping wet from oil. Chicken is also a favorite, usually shredded or cubed. (For drier meats such as chicken and turkey, I would definitely suggest letting it cook in some broth for juiciness and simply more flavor.)

To the rest of you readers out there: Don’t be shy with sharing your recipes with us! Simply submit it as a comment in our Reader Recipes tab, or email it to us at ssmunchies@gmail.com! Psst, pictures are awesome, but not required. For other reader recipes check out Shane’s Leftover Roasted Chicken Soup and Teman H. Cooke’s Chili con Carne!

~ AJ ~

Pesto

Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in Recipe | 0 comments

Beautiful Bermuda
Photograph taken by Jasmine Hwang

Summer is quickly coming to a close and classes are beginning all too soon. In fact, mine already have. [insert dramatic sob here] Besides having to cut short our quiet days of lazing at the beach to pick up books that have been gathering dust the last few months, my little herb garden will soon be bowing down to the forces of mother nature as winter sets in. And so, I decided to pick everything while I could and put it to good use. 

For my basil, there was one easy option — making pesto. Homemade pesto was really the whole reason why I had even decided to try planting a small herb garden this summer and brave the swarms of bugs and insects to water the precious plants. Was it worth it? Totally. As I mentioned in an earlier post, fresh herbs really make a difference both in taste and smell. 

To make pesto, you’ll need quite a bit of fresh basil, which is why I had never bothered to make it before since buying even a small bunch of basil from the store is on the pricier side. It was cheaper to just settle for store bought pesto if I really needed it. If you love fresh basil, which is great for daily cooking, then I’d highly suggest you plant some. It’s fresh, it’s organic, and it’s a much cheaper alternative than the slightly wilted leaves you get from the store.

Pesto’s great for so many things. In pasta, with chicken, spread on bread or in a sandwich, or even made into a sauce. It’s super fragrant and it lasts for weeks in your fridge (or freezer if you don’t plan on using it for a while). Plus, it makes for a great gift alongside homemade jams. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (minimum) packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • ~ 1/2 bulb garlic 
  • ~ 1 cup EVOO 
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • salt, pepper

Note: I would highly suggest you make pesto with a food processor as it lets you pulse everything so there is still a nice texture to it. Since I didn’t have a food processor, I used my blender and was left with a very fine paste…which I remedied by adding more finely chopped garlic and nuts. 

Depending on how much basil you have, you’ll want to tweak the recipe to your own tastes. I had quite a bit, about 4-5 cups packed, so the amount of garlic I added may be too much for just 2 cups of packed basil. (I love the taste of garlic, so I added about 1 bulb.) If you don’t have pine nuts, using only walnuts are fine. Or you could probably substitute with almonds or some other nut as well. Pine nuts (lightly toasted) are preferable.

Quick and simple, that big jar of pesto has lasted me a few weeks now and I’ve been using it in sandwiches, on toasted buttered bread, in pasta, and giving them away in small jars to friends. One thing I found out, was that the pesto quickly begins to iodize and brown, so if you’re serving it to guests, it’s best to add it in last…just for presentation’s sake. 

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang

Peter Luger

Posted by on Jul 26, 2012 in Food Review, New York Eats | 0 comments

Have you ever — and I’m asking this as a totally serious question — been jealous of your dog? Not because they live the good life of eat, sleep, and play, but more specifically because they’re happily gnawing away on a bone and…you want that bone

Don’t look at me like that. Yes, I’m a glutton, but I wasn’t talking about the situation where I’m so hungry that I’d fight my dog over a measly bone or eat a can of his sirloin chow in front of him. No, I’m talking about wanting to fight your dog over a bone because you know it is just that damn good. 

But it’s not just any bone. I’m talking about a bone that comes from a Peter Luger steak. And while Cooper, who is a well-behaved little angel, would give me his bone if I tried to take it from him (while staring me down reproachfully the entire time), I haven’t quite descended to the level of stealing his half eaten treats yet.

Just look at all the meat left on the bone!

Peter Luger’s has long been known as one of — if not the best — steakhouse in New York. For over a 100 years, they have meticulously chosen their meat from a selection of the finest USDA prime meat available by picking out the choicest slabs after examining the color and marbling of the beef. They are so careful about serving only the best to their customers, that the responsibility of picking out the meat is given only to members of the family. How’s that for exclusive?

Rib Eye Steak ($44.95) – back,
Steak for Two ($91.90) – front

Afterwards, they dry age their selection for about 27 days. Some of you may remember that we had aged our own steak before as well. The aging process really breaks down the meat and tenderizes it, which means a beautifully succulent steak on your plate later. Other than that, when Peter Luger broils their steaks, they don’t season it with anything. Well, maybe a little bit of salt. But otherwise, all you’re eating is a delicious piece of meat that’s literally been broiled in its own juices. Yum-my.

Of course, this is the case for many other steak houses as well (picking out the best beef and dry-aging the meat for some time), but I’ve found that steaks are served very differently in Taiwan. In Taiwan, instead of simply enjoying the taste of the steak on its own, they mask and overpower it with different kinds of sauces and seasonings. It’s similar to how the Taiwanese eat salad, not for the sake of enjoying the veggies, but so they can slather the plate in dressing. This is great and all, but in the end, I prefer being able to taste everything in my food and Peter Luger makes sure that you know your steak is not only cooked exactly as you ordered, but introduces you to a world of just how mouth-wateringly juicy a piece of beef can be. While other steak houses may mimic their procedure, there is just something exceptional about Peter Luger’s that make other steaks pale in comparison.

Unfortunately, as you can see, the waiters are so quick and efficient that I didn’t have time to snap a picture before they’d already begun serving us. As yummy as the rib eye steak is, it’s the steak for two that’s really special. Since the steak for two is a t-bone steak, half of it is actually filet while the other half is sirloin — the two best slices on a cow, mm. 

Tomato and Onion for Two with Luger’s Own Sauce ($14.95)

While the steaks are the stars of the meal, the accompanying appetizers and sides help to lead up to and accentuate the meal. Their famous appetizer, simply slices (or slabs rather) of ripe red tomato and sweet onion, is special because it really brings out their unique sauce. The sauce tastes somewhat similar to cocktail sauce, but isn’t nearly as sweet. There is a distinct taste of horseradish and I suspect some more ‘traditional’ steak sauce had been added as well. Maybe it’s as simple as cocktail sauce + steak sauce + horseradish?…I think this calls for an experiment…

Their sauce is great on the tomato and onions. Even though the onions are sweet, they are still spicy if you eat too big a bite by itself. The sauce helps take the sting out of the kick, along with the tomatoes. On the other hand, the sauce tastes phenomenal with steak as well and I imagine a whole bunch of other tasty tidbits.

Creamed Spinach for Two ($9.95)

As for the sides, my absolute favorite would have to be their creamed spinach. I love creamed spinach in general, but the one they serve here…well, it’s just done right.

It’s not too rich, and it’s just creamy enough. Plus, you can still taste the spinach too. I don’t mean just the flavor of the spinach — which would just be wrong if it didn’t taste like spinach — but the texture of it as well. The spinach is still in pieces instead of the entire dish just being literally cream.

Did that make any sense? If not, let’s just stick with the simple explanation: It’s good. Get it.

And I almost forgot to mention, since I don’t have a picture of it, but if you decide to skip dessert, no worries! They make sure to send you on your way with a sweet end to a great meal with some chocolate coins. I’ve always enjoyed these due to their novelty, you get that little moment of nostalgia as you remember the trick-or-treating days. They are just so fun and sometimes quite cute, you almost don’t want to unwrap them to devour!

Point of this post: Peter Luger’s steaks are insanely delicious. Take us with you when you go please. Please! Actually, on second thought, just take me. Jas is fine with salivating over the pictures. I will resort to begging if I must!

For more information, check out their website.

Peter Luger, Inc.
178 Broadway
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11211
Reservations:
718-387-7400 
Peter Luger of Long Island, Inc.
255 Northern Blvd.
Great Neck, N.Y. 11021
Reservations:
516-487-8800 

 

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang