Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday #3: Spanish Rice and a Cuisiner Giveaway

Now that Thanksgiving is over it is time to get back in the swing of things for my final three weeks of the semester (a.k.a. Worst three weeks ever!) These are the most stressful weeks of the year and it need all the energy I can get so it is time to eat healthy again.

So here’s what I ate on my way back on the healthy wagon:

Cup of English tea with splash of fat-free milk and a little sugar
Half of a red grapefruit with a little sugar

Snack in between class:
One bite-sized Snickers Bar

Leftover whole wheat penne with turkey sausage, sautéed spinach and onions, tomato sauce 
(Notice the stack of 8 books for my African Religions research paper)
One Pink Lady apple with one Jif To-Go cup
Three glasses of water

Homemade Spanish rice and two grilled Chicken and Red pepper fajitas
One glass of Green Tea with lime

Bite of non-fat fudge swirl frozen yogurt

The Homemade spanish rice I made was incredibly easy and reminded me of one of my favorite meals growing up. My dad used to take the leftover pork chop and make pork fajitas with Spanish rice probably about every other week when I was a kid. Alot has changed since then, mainly I no longer eat pork, but the rice is still just as good. I made extras for lunches with leftover fajita peppers and grilled chicken.

I found a really good recipe from Simply Recipes and the only thing I changed was more tomatoes. This is a good lowfat side dish and if you use vegetable broth/stock it is completely vegetarian. It is a very simple and easy recipe for a mid-week meal.

It is definitely time for good girl food behavior until Christmas so I can get through finals and the crazy papers I have to write!
But now for something more fun than papers…..

I’m so excited to have the first ever giveaway on the College Cuisiner!

I finally have my own Facebook page and I would love to get to the goal of 100 friends by December 23rd. If I get to 200 friends I will give two away! But I need you help! Please spread the news and tell your friends to like the ‘Cuisiner’ on Facebook! I’ll announce the winner(s) on Christmas Eve, December 24th!

I will be giving away a 5 inch Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Oval Gratin! It is perfect for potato or vegetable gratins, egg dishes, and desserts. This dish is really pretty and it is oven, broiler, microwave, and freezer safe—perfect for the busy cook or lazy college student!

You can pick your color: red or cobalt blue.

Here’s What You Have to Do:

1.  Leave a comment below on this post telling me what color gratin dish you would like and what you would cook in it if you won.

2.  ‘Like’ The College Cuisiner on Facebook and/or subscribe to the blog!

3. Leave a way for me to contact you.

4.  Share the love, post on your blog, Facebook, tweet, homing pigeon, etc.

Easy enough right? Let's see how far we can get! Thanks in advance!

The College Cuisiner

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Part 2: Jewish Apple Cake

One of my favorite desserts of all time is Jewish Apple Cake. I made it for the first time for Thanksgiving dinner and my aunt asked me, "what makes it 'Jewish' versus regular Apple cake."

Honestly, I have no idea but it is so good I don't really care!

We thought this would be a nice twist on the traditional apple pie to mix up our dessert selection this year.

The most work in this recipe is peeling and cutting the apples, but despite that it is a pretty simple cake to bring to all your holiday parties this season.

And all always, it isn't expensive.

This cake is dense, moist, and perfect with a cup of tea. When we get this at our favorite Jewish deli, I usually warm it up in the oven and serve it with non-fat frozen vanilla yogurt. But you don’t even to go to that much trouble to enjoy a slice.

Yesterday we ate the leftovers for a Sunday breakfast and it was delicious!
Trust me on this if you bring this to a party everyone will love it. It is beautiful and definitely a crowd pleaser. Since the cake is so dense it is hard to cook the center so I used an angel food cake pan because I didn’t have a Bundt pan. Either would work.
Don’t be shy try this delicious cake pronto!
Jewish Apple Cake: About 10 + Servings
6 tart baking apples (I used Jonagold but another favorite is Macintosh.)
1 tbsp. cinnamon
5 tbsp. sugar
2 ¾ sifted flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
¼ cup orange juice
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a tube pan with butter or cooking spray.
Peel, core, and chop apples into chunks. Mix with sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt together.
In a separate bowl mix oil, orange juice, sugar, and vanilla. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together.
Add eggs one at a time into the mixture. Scrape the bowl until the mixture is well blended.
Pour half of the batter into the pan. Spread half of the apple on top of the mixture. Pour the rest of the batter over the apples and then top with the remaining apples.
Bake for 1 ½ hours or until toothpick comes out clean. (Note that the top might appear a little undone even with a clean toothpick, you don’t want to overcook.)
Allow the cake to cool and then gently flip over with a plate and then flip again onto serving plate with apples side up.
Serve and enjoy at a holiday party or just at home with your loved ones!
The College Cuisiner
Stop by Wednesday when I reveal my first ever reader giveway!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011: Part 1

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, I know I did! A great day with great food and great company. We had an incredible dinner filled with delicious treats.

I made several things for the meal including:
·         Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Crispy Prosciutto that I got from my friend Carrie  at Bakeaholic Mama.

·         Fresh Crantinis

·         Jewish Apple Cake

I ate so much of course and it was all delicious! We had so many amazing options between the 15 of us. Here is just a sampling of what I ate:
All three of these would make great additions to any holiday meal.

Mackenzie made these beautiful cranberry-quince jam party favors our all our guests.

The Fresh Cranberry Martinis I made were from Philadelphia’s own caterer, Peter Callahan's feature in House Beautiful magazine. His recipe called for straining cranberries, orange juice, and zest but instead I boiled the mixture and it was amazing!

Either way works but if you don’t have a food processor use my version. But for our purposes I should have made twice as much of the cranberry mixture since one batch made roughly 8 instead of the suggested 12.

These are so good and incredibly festive.
I love the frozen cranberry skewers and sugar rimmed glasses for extra flare. I used wooden skewers instead of swizzle sticks for convenience, and they look cute!
Fresh Crantinis: 8-12 servings
(Adapted from House Beautiful)

4 cups fresh cranberries
5 oranges, juice and zest
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
3 cups chilled vodka
Club soda

Cranberries and wooden skewers for garnish
Optional: orange twists
Extra sugar for rimmed glasses
Thread three cranberries on 12 half-cut wooden skewers or swizzle sticks and freeze until serving.
Juice and zest the five oranges and add with 4 cups of cranberries to a medium pot on medium-low heat.
Bring mixture to a boil until all the cranberries pop. Once mostly popped, add water and continue to boil for roughly 20-25 minutes.
Take off heat and strain the mixture in a large sieve or coffee filter. This should produce a thick strained juice, add sugar and mix. Chill in the fridge.
(This mixture can be made up to three days ahead of time.)
For actual cocktails mix vodka and cranberry orange juice together over ice.
Wet glasses with a cut orange and dip martini glass rims in sugar.
Add a splash of club soda to each glass and add equal amount of cranberry vodka mixture.
Top with another splash of club soda, an orange twist and one cranberry skewer.
Serve for holiday joy!

The College Cuisiner
Stop by this weekend for my Jewish apple Cake recipe!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Philly/Small Town:What I Ate Wednesday # 2

Here in College Land, my university kicks us out for the week starting Wednesday (I won't even go into the fact that most schools have been off since last Friday.) This means all "perishable" food items must be cleared from your fridge, so here comes fridge cleaning time! So I did my best to eat everything "perishable" before we left.

Get ready... because it's What I Ate Wednesday before Thanksgiving:


English Black tea with skim-milk and a dash of sugar

Half on one grapefruit sprinkled with sugar



1 Jonagold Apple

2 Italian Chocolates my boss brought back from Italy.

3 glasses of water


 Chicken and Asparagus in a Savory Lime sauce over Jasmine Rice


My favorite mixed drink: Disaronno and Ginger Ale with Lime

In my fridge cleaning attempt, I made a version of a Thai lime Chicken over Jasmine rice. I was out of regular rice and Aaron's mom was gracious enough to supply me with the box she had in her pantry.

My resources were limited to a chicken breast, one lime, a bunch of asparagus, onion, garlic, one packet of chicken gravy mix, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. (I didn't use the tomatoes)

For a Thai chicken recipe galore I would go all out with fresh ginger, cilantro, lemon, red bell pepper, etc. But the objective was to clear out the fridge not add to it.

I went on a search for a recipe that was simple enough that I could make a version of with my limited resources. This is the closest I could come to.

Originally I wasn't going to post the recipe but it was honestly really good and a great easy mid-week meal that took about 20 minutes to make. I am having a hard time naming this dish though…

It consisted of chicken, asparagus in a chicken gravy sauce with lime zest and juice (garlic, onion, etc. included.) Think chicken Piccatta.

What would you call that?

This actually happens to me a lot. I will come up with something out of all the random items in my pantry and be completely uncreative when it comes to actually naming the dish.

Despite its ambiguous name, it was quite delicious. The chicken was tender; the sauce was tangy but savory more than anything. So, if you find yourself in a fridge situation like me, try this dish. You won’t be sorry. Because it might be the day before Thanksgiving, but you still have to eat.

Chicken and Asparagus in a Savory Lime Sauce over Rice:
2 servings


As much rice as you’d like

1 chicken breast, cut into strips (1 inch wide, ¼-1/2 inch thick)

¼ cup of flour

1 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces

½ onion, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp. butter

Most of 1 packet of Roasted chicken gravy

1 ½ cup of water

1 tsp. salt

Ground pepper

Zest of one lime

Juice of ½ lime


Cook Jasmine Rice according to package.

Meanwhile, in a large pan begin to sautéed onions, garlic, ½ lime zest, and 1 tbsp. of butter.

Add asparagus and brown together.

In a small bowl mix together chicken slices and flour until chicken is evenly coated.

Add last tbsp. of butter and coated chicken to the pan and evenly brown each side of the chicken pieces.

Once chicken is cooked through (about 1 minute) in the pan gradually add 1 ½ cup water, gravy mix, lime juice, and the rest of the lime zest. Stir to break up gravy mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over cooked rice and enjoy!

Big Day Up Date:

Thanksgiving will be very hectic for us since we are having about 15 people including my family, Aaron's family, my sister's boyfriend's family etc.

Here's the menu so far:

Fresh Cranberry Martinis

Mulled Wine

Blue Cheese Stuffed Celery

Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts

etc. etc. (other vegetables and sides)

Cornbread Stuffing

Roasted Turkey

Jewish Apple Cake

Lemon Buttermilk Pie

Pumpkin Roll

Favorite Movie to Watch Thanksgiving Wednesday while cooking: Pocahontas

Note: as a History major I must add a disclaimer that this movie has little historical accuracy and has nothing to do with the Thanksgiving story. But how good is "Colors of the Wind"?!

Happy Thanksgiving!


The College Cuisiner

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving: Day After Turkey Dumpling Soup

With Thanksgiving coming in only a few days there are so many recipes floating around the blogging world for what to make on the big day. But what about the day after?
Black Friday is about much more than shopping but also about leftovers. In true Thanksgiving fashion, act like the Native Americans and use the whole turkey not just the leftover meat.

I for one love turkey sandwiches but there is so much more! Instead try the perfect chilly weather meal like: Turkey Dumpling Soup!

Don’t throw out the carcass but instead make a delicious soup to eat in between all of your holiday shopping and decorating!
As a poor and busy college student it is nearly impossible for me to “stage” recipes for blog’s sake. I couldn’t buy a whole turkey ahead of Thanksgiving so I used chicken breasts on the ribs instead. For your purposes you can use the leftover turkey carcass and cut meat for this soup. For the first step follow the recipe but only add the carcass. When it comes to “adding the meat” near the end, that’s when you should add the cut up turkey.

This recipe is a perfect cold weather meal whether you are using turkey or chicken. It also requires little actual cooking so it gives you a needed break from all of the festivities from the day before. The dumplings are very easy and are the perfect comfort touch without being too heavy. If you have leftover uncooked homemade piecrusts from the big day you could use those just as easily as the dumplings as well as any leftover veggies. Not to mention, this baby comes in at less than $ 2 for a me sized bowl (a.k.a. large.) And trust me, you do not need extra chicken broth, this stuff is awesome!
So when Friday comes curl up with a nice bowl of turkey (or chicken) dumpling soup while you get someone else to do the dishes. I’m talking to you boys!
Day After Turkey (or Chicken) Dumpling Soup: 8 or more servings

Turkey leftovers (or two split chicken breasts with skin and rib bones on)
8 cups water
¼ cup fat-free milk (the richer the milk, the richer the broth, but trust me it is rich enough)
3-4 large carrots, chopped
5 celery stocks, chopped
1 onion, in half
3-4 whole garlic cloves
2-3 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. ground black pepper

I used a packet of “soup herbs” from the grocery store. If you can find it, definitely use it, it is great: fresh thyme, parsley, oregano, a shallot, and a red pepper. If you don’t have it, use fresh parsley, ½ tsp. dried oregano, and a bay leaf.
Dumplings: Adapted from Mommie Cooks
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
¾ cup ice water                    

In a large soup pot add chicken (or turkey,) water, carrots, celery, garlic, pepper, soup herbs, and 2 tbsp. salt to a boil with lid on. Allow this to simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chicken meat is cooked. Stirring frequently.

While the soup is simmering, in a bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Gradually add ice water until dough starts to form.

Knead the dough for 5 minutes the set aside to rest.

Once chicken is cooked thoroughly remove from the pot but keep broth simmering.

Roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut into small squares.
Add to your soup. As the cook, they will rise to the top of the broth.

While dumplings are cooking, shred the meat. Once shredded add to the soup.

Mix together and finally add the milk. Take off heat add more pepper if necessary.

Serve in bowls hot and enjoy the warm goodness of a delicious bowl of soup!
Happy Thanksgiving!
The College Cuisiner

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Philly: Sweet Elizabeth's Cakes

For the past three weeks or so I have dying to go try Sweet Elizabeth’s Cakes in Manayunk (Philadelphia.) Every time I planned to go there was some obstacle such as my friend couldn’t go with me, I had a meeting I forgot about, or most depressingly: they are closed on Tuesdays, my only day off.

So finally after three weeks of waiting and dreaming, my friend Sara and I finally made it. It felt like it was meant to be.

We found a street parking spot a block away (if you have ever been to Manayunk, you know street parking is nearly impossible to find at all hours of the day.) So finally we walked in and discovered an adorable little shop.

I love their front windows filled with different kinds of cakes that buyers can commission.

Their wedding cake display was absolutely gorgeous. And once I tried their cupcakes, I wouldn’t hesitate choosing them for our wedding cake when the day comes down the road.

The shop itself is very inviting with five table set up for customers who’d like their cupcakes “for here” instead of boxed up until they get home. And trust me, those babies might not make it all the way home once you’ve tried one.

They change their flavors regularly but always have Red Velvet with Mascarpone Cream Cheese Icing and Carrot Cake with Gingered Pineapple Mascarpone Cream Cheese Icing. Personally, I really don’t like red velvet cake, but after looking at these babies I was curious. After a conversation with the baker herself she explained that she never liked it either but after finding a Depression-era recipe that uses red beets and no artificial coloring she was hooked.

She said these cupcakes weren’t overly sweet because of the beets and little sugar but you couldn’t even taste the beets and the red velvet remains their best seller. (Probably because there just so beautiful!) If you look around the foodie blogging world lately you might have noticed a few recipes for beets in chocolate cakes, so this isn’t really a stretch.

Sweet Elizabeth’s only uses all natural ingredients for their cakes and pies, etc. so there are just simply delicious. This week they also had a Wicked Chocolate cupcake with Nutella buttercream icing topped with hazelnuts, Pumpkin Spice cupcake with Cinnamon Buttercream, Pecan Praline, Caramel Drizzle, and probably the best cupcake I have ever had:

The 3 Friends: Chocolate Chip Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Raspberry Buttercream with chocolate shavings and drizzles.
Sara got this little beauty and it was sooo good!

I got the wicked chocolate cupcake. It was too tempting and delicious.
We were planning to stay a while and chat so I order a yummy Mexican hot chocolate and Sara got an herbal tea.

My hot chocolate was ready to go but since Sara’s took awhile and they were so generous to bring us another beautiful 3 Friends cupcake on the house. If the cupcakes didn’t convince this did, I will definitely be back.

After some good conversation and some great cupcakes we left this beautiful little shop but we will definitely be back for more!

Don’t worry! I brought back a couple for Aaron and his mom to share the magic.


Review: I love the feeling of this place, very inviting and everyone is so nice. I could definitely come three times a week if my budget allowed it. These aren’t “cheap” cupcakes by price or ingredients but they are well-worth the indulgence and the occasional trip. You can taste the quality and not even a hint of artificiality. They make cupcakes, cakes, cookies, pies, and more to order, even fresh cheesecake! Check out their website for a full list of drool worthy flavors.
If you are ever in Manayunk make sure you try Sweet Elizabeth’s Cakes you won’t be sorry!

Cupcake Playlist:
Short Skirt, Long Jacket- Cake (Who else?)
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies- Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Bittersweet Symphony- The Verve
So Sweet- Johnathan Rice
Sunday Best- Augustana

The College Cuisiner