Pies & Bass – Bexxie’s Food and Music Blog

Greek Pasta Salad

Posted in entree, pasta, salad, vegatarian by Bexxie on September 5, 2010
Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad

This has been my first summer living in Raleigh, NC and man, has it been relentlessly hot. It’s been pretty much in the high 90’s since mid-June. So the summer I’ve been making a lot of light food like salads. Of course, now that I’m finally getting around to posting a salad recipe, it’s finally starting to cool down. But I think I would make this Greek pasta salad all year round since it keeps well and I can eat it for lunch or use as a side for dinner.

Greek Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
1 cup of macaroni or whatever small pasta you want
1 tomato diced
1 cucumber diced
1 small can of black olives (I think I only used about half the can)
1/2 red onion
feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup) I just eyeballed it

Directions:
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the macaroni as according to the package. Once macaroni is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water til it cools down. When macaroni has cooled, transfer to a bowl. Mix with tomato, cucumber, black olives, red onion and feta cheese. Add lemon dijon vinaigrette and mix well.

Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
Source: Foodnetwork.com

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard (you can use less or more depending on how much of the mustard flavor you want)
1 teaspoon of dill
salt and pepper to taste

Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad

Vegan Cupcakes

Posted in cakes and cupcakes, dessert, vegatarian by Bexxie on May 31, 2010

I really missed my old food processor that I used when we lived in the UK for mixing dough, batter, frosting, etc. So I had mentioned to my husband that at some point when we had extra cash or for Christmas or something, I’d like to get a Kitchen Aid mixer. To my surprise, he had found a 4 1/2 qt white Kitchen Aid stand mixer from a local pawn shop for $150. What’s even more amazing about it was that it was never used! I’m not really sure why there was a KA mixer at a pawn shop, but I’m not gonna ask questions!

Here it is in all its white glossy glory:

White Kitchen Aid Mixer

White Kitchen Aid Mixer

Yesterday, I finally got back into the baking mood and wanted to try out the mixer. I bought “Vegan Cupcakes Takeover the World” ages ago and really wanted to try the basic vanilla cupcake recipe. Oh man, are these good! I think I prefer them to regular cupcakes. They’re so spongy and light as opposed to other cupcake recipes that I found to be quite heavy and dense. And the vegan buttercream frosting is super fluffy! The mixer blended the batter and frosting perfectly. No wonder people are always raving about these! I can’t wait to try more vegan cupcake recipes and use my new mixer!

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Golden Vanilla Cupcakes
Source:“Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero published by Marlowe & Company 2006

Ingredients:
1 cup of soy milk
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (I use Earth Balance)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. Whisk the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside a few minutes to get good and curdled.
3. Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and mix.
4. Cream the margarine and sugar together with a handheld or stand mixer for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Then, alternate beating soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.
5. Fill cupcake liners two thirds of the way and bake for 20-22 minutes till done. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting. Makes 12 cupcakes.

I used a mini cupcake tin so I adjusted the temperature to 325 and baked them for 18-20 minutes. Also I found that if using mini cupcakes, that its better to use a non-stick baking spray like Pam in the cupcake tin rather than using the liners. The mini cupcakes tended to stick to the liners.

Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting
Source:“Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero published by Marlowe & Company 2006

Ingredients:
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening (I found one called Spectrum Naturals, which was also organic)
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine (Again, Earth Balance)
3 1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar (I ended up using about 4 cups. I probably could have used more to get and even stiffer consistency)
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of plain soy milk or soy creamer

Directions:
Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and soy milk, beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy. Add food coloring if desired and mix well.

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Veggie Noodle Soup

Posted in soup, vegatarian by Bexxie on March 22, 2010
Veggie Noodle Soup with Cannellini Beans

Veggie Noodle Soup with Cannellini Beans

Continuing with my vegetarian theme, I converted one of my favorite foods, chicken noodle soup, into a vegetarian version. The key here is to find a stock that you like. I don’t really like veggie stock that’s a tomato base so I found these awesome vegan bouillon cubes from Whole Foods that really make a flavorful stock without all the crap like MSG in it. I also substituted chicken with cannellini beans to get some protein. Chick peas work really well too. Then, topped it off with some macaroni but any kind of pasta/noodle will do.

Vegetable Noodle Soup
Source: Myself

Ingredients:
5 cups of vegetable stock
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 carrots chopped
3-4 celery stalks chopped (add some of the leaves for extra flavor if you like)
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste
1 can of cannellini beans
1 cup of cooked macaroni

Directions:

Add some oil to a stock pot on medium to high heat. Add the garlic and coat in oil for about 30 seconds. Then add the rest of the veggies. Coat in oil and saute for a couple minutes. Add in stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, turn heat down to medium and season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add the beans and let simmer for another couple of minutes until beans are heated through.

Ladle soup into bowls and add some of the cooked macaroni. Serves four.

Black Bean & Corn Enchiladas

Posted in entree, music, vegatarian by Bexxie on January 30, 2010

So I’ve been on a vegetarian kick lately (you couldn’t really tell from my last post though!), trying to turn all my fave dishes into veggie versions. I love enchiladas so I thought I would try a black bean and corn version. It’s really simple and easy to make.

Black Bean & Corn Enchiladas

Black Bean & Corn Enchiladas

Black Bean & Corn Enchiladas
Source: Myself

Ingredients:
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of vegetable stock
1 teaspoon of cumin
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon of ground red pepper
8 flour tortillas (we used whole wheat)
1 cup of mexican-blend cheeses

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put some vegetable oil in pan on medium-high heat. Saute the garlic and onions for about a minute. Add the black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, vegetable stock and spices. You can add more red pepper depending how spicy you want it. Let the enchilada filling simmer for about 10 minutes covered on medium heat letting the tomatoes break down. If the stock hasn’t boiled down yet, then let simmer for another 5 minutes uncovered.

Add about 1/2 of the cheese into the mixture. Then spoon the mixture into tortillas (I like to microwave them for 30 seconds before using as it makes them easier to work with), roll up and add to an oiled baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. You can also top with salsa or your fave enchilada sauce and then cheese. I forgot to do this when I made it but they were still good!

Put this dish in the oven and bake until cheese has melted about 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream and pico de gallo or salsa.

Black Bean Enchiladas

Black Bean Enchiladas

And now here is some music to go with the food…

I’ve been listening to Iron and Wine a lot lately. My husband got me into him since he’s really into modern folk, which seems to be pretty popular these days. I never though I would be into any sort of folk, but Iron and Wine combine soft, ethereal male vocals with classical guitar type strumming into some really catchy music. Watch this video for “Boy With a Coin.” Claps are the main driving percussion and it features beautiful Flamenco dancing.

Happy New Decade!

Posted in beef, entree by Bexxie on January 2, 2010

Wow its been so long! The past couple of years have been really busy – one of the reasons for the lack of posts on this blog. Left England, moved to the States, went back to school, bought a house in Raleigh, NC. So I am starting to feel settled again and the urge to cook has returned. So for NYE, hubby and I decided to have a quiet one in but thought I would still try to cook something decadent. I went for bacon-wrapped filet mignons. They were fun to make and soooo good!

Raw bacon-wrapped filet mignon

Raw bacon-wrapped filet mignon

They’re really easy to make. First, let your filets sit out for about 20-30 min to bring them to room temperature. Then, check them over to see if there’s any silver skin or fat to be cut off. Then, rub some olive oil into them and season generously with sea salt and black pepper. Once you’ve finished seasoning them, wrap one piece of bacon around the filet and secure with a toothpick. Insert the toothpick where the bacon overlaps. Don’t wrap them too snug or too loose otherwise they will come apart.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, put some butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the foam of the butter subsides, put the filets in. Brown them on the top and bottom (about 3-4 min each side). Once browned, transfer them to baking safe dish and put in oven. You will want to check them in 5-10 min intervals with a meat thermometer. Rare is about 120-125, medium is around 140-150 and well done is 160-170. Once done to your liking, take them out of the oven and let them sit for about 5 min.

Bacon-wrapped filet mignon with sauteed veggies

Bacon-wrapped filet mignon with sauteed veggies

I served mine with baked potatoes and asparagus and portabello mushrooms sauteed in olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper.

Hope everyone had a safe and happy new year! I look forward to a year of more cooking, baking and food blogging!

Veggie Noodle Soup

Posted in asian, entree, soup, vegatarian by Bexxie on May 13, 2009

I love noodles and I love soup. Together they make the ultimate combination…kind of like chocolate and peanut butter. I love making quick and healthy noodle soups that are also really filling. I also love the Asian supermarket near my house. The produce section is amazing. You can actually smell the fresh fruits and veggies as you walk by them as opposed to Stop and Shop which just smells like the mini Starbucks they have in the corner of their produce section :P

Vegetable Noodle Soup

Vegetable Noodle Soup

So like I said, this soup is really quick and easy to make. Just find whatever veggies you want and whatever noodles you prefer and throw them in with some broth. My measurements aren’t very accurate because I just eye-balled it, but here is how I made mine:

Asian Vegetable Noodle Soup (Recipe from my imagination)

Ingredients:
2 gloves of garlic chopped
1 cup of shitake mushrooms chopped
a handful of enoki mushrooms, reserve some for garnish
4 spring onions chopped, reserve some for garnish
a couple fistfuls of bean sprouts
a half package of pan-fried Hong Kong style egg noodles (rice noodles work well too)
4 cups of vegetable broth

Directions:

Put a tablespoon of canola oil into a sauce pan on medium high heat. Saute garlic and shitake mushrooms for a couple minutes until translucent. Pour in vegetable broth and add beansprouts. Bring to a boil, then add noodles, enoki mushrooms and some of the spring onions. Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes or until noodles have softened. Pour into bowls and garnish with spring onions and enoki mushrooms.

This should serve about 3-4 depending on big your bowls are.

Apologies for no music with this blog post but I have not heard anything worth mentioning recently. Will post something soon!

Broke A$$ Fettuccine Alfredo

Posted in entree, pasta by Bexxie on December 31, 2008

So hubby and I were scrounging around for food yesterday because we spent far too much money over the holidays as usual. So after finding a few bits in the pantry and fridge, I came up with fettuccine alfredo with bacon and broccoli. Usually, I make this meal with chicken and broccoli but not wanting to spend more money at the store, I decided to be resourceful instead. It worked out real well!

I love fettuccine alfredo because its so versatile. You can put just about any combination of veggies and/or meat in it or have it by itself and it always feels like you are eating a gourmet meal. Just add your favorite wine, salad and bread and you are good to go!

fettuccine alfredo

fettuccine alfredo

I just got a new lens for my camera too so I am still getting used to it. This picture could have used more contrast, but oh well…

Broke A$$ Fettuccini Alfredo

Adapted from a Williams Sonoma recipe

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

5 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

a pinch of nutmeg

1 lb. fettuccine

1/2 lb. frozen broccoli

6 strips of bacon

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the boiling water.

Meanwhile, while waiting for the water to boil, fry up your bacon in a pan or griddle on high heat until cooked, about 6-8 minutes depending on how crispy you like it. Put it on a plate with a paper towel on it to soak up the grease.

When the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging. Add broccoli to the boiling water about 5 minutes before the pasta has finished cooking. When pasta and broccoli have finished cooking, drain and then return to pot. Add crumbled bacon.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan over high heat, bring the cream and butter to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 minute. Add 6 Tbs. of the cheese and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper and a generous pinch of nutmeg. (Be judicious with the salt. Parmigiano-Reggiano is salty, so too much added salt will throw this creamy, sweet sauce out of balance.) Add sauce to pasta, broccoli and bacon and toss well.

Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a first course.

If you were only here for the food, then you can stop reading now, but if you want to find some new music to listen to then please read on…

So I’ve always been a fan of Postal Service and I’ve always known it was the same guys from Death Cab For Cutie but just never got into them until recently. I kept hearing this one song from their album Plans called “Soul Meets Body” and fell in love. The singer has a memorable voice and the lyrics could be classified as modern poetry. Check out the video…

And for a more electronic version of Death Cab, then check out Postal Service…

MeMe! And other things…

Posted in misc, Uncategorized by Bexxie on September 8, 2008

Wow its been ages…so much has happened and I have so many excuses for not posting!

First of all, I’ve moved back to the States last February. My husband and I decided we didn’t want to stay in England anymore but immigration issues have forced us to live apart. So he is in England still and I’m in the States. Thankfully the process is finally moving along and we’re hoping he will be able to live here by October. Anyway, so as you can imagine, I haven’t been in much of a mood to cook the past few months because, even though this might sound very 50’s housewife-ish and anti-feminist, I really got into cooking to begin with because I liked to cook for my husband among other reasons. So that really puts a damper on the whole blogging about cooking thing.

Also, I’ve decided to go back to school while working full-time so free time has been a luxury. But I will try my hardest to continue blogging again as I am really missing cooking and taking photos.

And my other excuse for not blogging is my shift key is broke! Ok, maybe thats not a great excuse but it really makes it more difficult to type.

Anyway onto the MeMe…

So a while ago I was tagged by Mrs. Presley from Good Eats N Sweet Treats. I’m sorry its taken me so long to post!

So I have to tag 5 other people.

Here are the MeMe rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Well as I have already shared quite a bit of personal info about myself, I guess it can’t hurt to share 5 more things.

1. At the moment, I work in HR but am going to school for web development and am hoping to do freelance web design work when I am done with school.

2. I have been dj’ing for 10 years. I don’t mean like a wedding dj or a radio dj. I dj at raves. Yes, those parties where kids where bright colored clothes and dance around with glow sticks in their hands to ‘techno’ music. I also produce my own music and went to school for Audio Engineering. That record I am holding in my blog picture is an actual piece of music that I made and we pressed to pink vinyl for a laugh.

3. Gossip Girl is my new guilty pleasure.

4. I am left-handed.

5. Halloween is my ‘quitting smoking’ anniversary. This year I will have been quit for 2 years.

So here is who I am tagging:

1. Alex at Just Cook It

2. Tracy at Vanilla Bean Cafe

3. Annie at Annie Can Haz Cheezburger

4. Aimei at Baking Cottage

5. Tarah at A Sweet Fantasy

Tagged with:

What to do with Rice Noodles – Part 2

Posted in asian, entree, music, soup by Bexxie on January 15, 2008

So I had to use up the last of my rice noodles and some chicken I had defrosted. So I decided to make Asian Chicken Noodle Soup. I wanted to make the sort of soup you get at Noodle Houses. I just love those sort of soups in the really big asian soup bowls that you slurp the noodles down with chopsticks.

I just sort of threw this one together as I did last time so the measurements are just estimates. Also, make sure to thinly slice up the chicken breast to ensure it cooks up quickly. Next time I will mess around with adding various other asian spices and veggies to this one when I have more time. I would have loved to use Enoki mushrooms if I could find them, but unfortunately my supermarket does not stock them. Feel free to add what veggies you like and mess around with the measurements to suit your tastes. Very healthy, filling and delicious!

asian chicken noodle soup

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut up into thin slices
8 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup (4 oz) of thin rice noodles
3/4 cup (6oz) of baby corn
6 green onions (green parts cut into 1 inch pieces, white parts cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
1 cup of bean sprouts
1 teaspoon of ground ginger

Directions:

Bring the 8 cups of chicken broth to a boil.

Throw in chicken, rice noodles, baby corn, green onions (reserving a couple tablespoons for garnish), bean sprouts and ground ginger.

Simmer for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (no pink).

Ladle into bowls and put remaining green onions on top. Eat with a chopstick if preferred along with a spoon.

Serves 2-4 depending on how big your bowls are.

Now for some music…

I don’t have much to review today but I did buy a couple more albums off of iTunes this weekend. One of them was Kate Havnevik – Melankton. This album isn’t that new. It came out in 2005 but I’ve heard a lot of her stuff on Grey’s Anatomy and finally got around to buying it. She reminds me of Bjork a bit. Her voice and songs are so lush. Here is a video of one of my favorite songs. Its called “Unlike Me”

What to do with Rice Noodles – Part 1

Posted in asian, entree, seafood by Bexxie on January 14, 2008

So I’m leaving to go back to the States next week and need to use up what’s in my pantry and fridge/freezer. Rice noodles happen to be one of those things, along with some frozen tiger prawns. So I decided to throw together a stir fry. I have to admit, I almost didn’t post this on my blog cause I didn’t really like it. It was okay but nothing special. But then I ate the leftovers the next day and ate it all up! I loved it! Maybe it needed some time for the flavors to meld together. Who knows?

Just so you know, I’ve estimated the measurements to the best of my ability since I wasn’t following a recipe. Also feel free to throw in whatever veggies you have on hand. Also you can easily make this vegetarian by omitting the prawns and chicken bouillon.

stir fry

Shrimp Stir Fry with Rice Noodles

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (2 oz) rice noodles
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
3-4 green onions (cut into 1 inch pieces on a diagonal)
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 cup of bean sprouts
1/2 pound of cooked tiger prawns (or medium or large shrimp)
tablespoon of soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
teaspoon of chicken bouillon
teaspoon of ground ginger
tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds (optional)
tablespoon of vegetable oil

Directions:

Soak the rice noodles in warm water for about 20 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok on medium high heat.

Add garlic, green onion (reserve about a tablespoon for garnish), onion, bean sprouts, pepper, rice noodles, soy sauce, ground ginger, and chicken bouillon.

Mix together well and saute for about 5 minutes if you like you’re veggies slightly more crunchy or ten minutes if you like them a bit softer.

Add the prawns until heated through. Mix in sesame seeds if using.

Put in a noodle bowl or on a plate and garnish with reserved green onions and coriander (cilantro) if you have some on hand.

Stay tuned for “What to do the Rice Noodles Part 2″…

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