Did you know that the very first Get Baked ever was exactly one year ago, for Valentine’s Day 2010? I know, I know, it was so long ago: we look back on that time fondly, with our funny haircuts and chubby baby cheeks and the clothes that our parents picked out for us. Those were heady days of triple chocolate brownies and homemade Oreos. Back then, our wise words to you were as follows:
We all understand that Valentine’s Day is the second-most contrived of all of American ‘holidays,’ coming in just behind Grandparents’ Day. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun and hopefully get laid! You’re going to need a Fun Plan, though, and that’s where we come in.
We stand by those words this year, but with an addendum: it’s still ok if you’re not getting laid, or even if you do not yet have a Fun Plan. Having fun is the only thing you should be giving a fuck about, and that is not contingent upon your getting laid/having a date/having a girlfriend/ever having had a girlfriend/buying yourself your own Russell Stover box of chocolates. We’re not saying it’s contingent upon a really good mac n’ cheese recipe either; but we’re also not saying it isn’t.
We’re giving you permission this year to treat yourself to a steamy nigh of putting stuff in the oven and then taking it out later to eat, and having that stuff be delicious and warm and full of carbohydrates. This isn’t your consolation for not spending $25 on sexy chocolate-espresso-rosewater gourmet cupcakes for a lady; this is the blue-ribbon first prize you get for being awesome all year round.
And if you are in a relationship? I’m just saying, I have never loved anyone more than when they have put homemade bread pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in front of me. Keep your money in your pocket, not Hallmark’s, this year; settle in with your lady and your taco soup and your sour cream biscuits for an X Files marathon. Let’s be honest, that’s not a decision you’re ever going to regret.
1. Sour Cream Biscuits, by Abby’s Mom
2. Chocolate Bread Pudding, by Abby
3. Taco Soup, by bcw
4. Squash Kibbeh, by Rachel
5. Stuffed Shells, by Laura
6. The Perfect Sandwich, by Emily
7. Vegan Mac and Cheese #1, by Stef
8. Vegan Mac and Cheese #2, by Rachel
1. Sour Cream Biscuits
by Abby’s Mom
I am going to share with you a recipe that I only share with my nearest and dearest friends because Valentine’s Day is coming up, and let’s be honest, I heart Autostraddle. Y’all, my family and our closest friends have had years of serious bonding sessions over these sour cream biscuits. No, really, my bro and I have competitions over who can eat the most.
And so now I am sharing: here is my warm, southern hug to you. I recommend you eat these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
1 cup butter, room temperature
8 oz. sour cream (if you get low-fat, you’re missing out)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Muffin tin needed (minis are my fave! you can consume more biscuits, and it’s ok!)
Preheat your oven to 350F. Do you have your muffin tin? Well, you should – ahem -grease it.
In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients and then add the butter. Stir/cut in the butter until things are crumbly. Southerners accomplish this with their hands. Remember how we talked about stirring all the things in the soup post? No need to over-do it. Add the sour cream, mix until it’s just blended, and then stop.
If you have a mini muffin tin, put 2 teaspoons of batter in each, and bake for about 20 minutes or until just golden brown. If you only have the large muffin tin, I’d put a heaping tablespoon of batter in each and bake for about 26 minutes. They’re best when they’re not over-baked. Feast!
2. Chocolate Bread Pudding
1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons milk
1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 oz bittersweet dark chocolate (70%, if you can find it)
3 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
Medium sized loaf of bread (16 oz.) – brioche or challah work the best, but any kind will do
2 Medium bowls
9 X 13-inch baking dish, greased
Rubber spatula or wooden spoon
Yay, prep! Start by trimming the crust off your bread. Then, cut slices that are 1-inch thick and cut each slice into cubes. Put the cubed bread in a medium bowl. Also, combine your egg yolks + eggs in another small/medium bowl. Put these both aside.
Now to the cooking. We are going to start by melting the chocolate with the milk/cream. Chop up your chocolate into small pieces and put it another medium bowl. Place the milk, cream, and sugar in a saucepan and heat this on medium until it just begins to simmer and turn off the heat. Pour the milk over the chocolate and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Add the salt and stir in outward circles from the center until homogenous and smooth. If the chocolate doesn’t melt all the way through, no need to panic, your bread pudding will survive. Before this cools down, move on to the next step!
Next, we are going to combine all the things and make a custard. Ladle or pour about 1/3 of your chocolate mixture into your eggs, and stir. Go back to the chocolate mixture, and while stirring it, pour in the warmed up eggs. Once it’s all blended together, you’ve made a custard! Hooray! Pour this concoction on top of your cubed bread. Gently stir, making sure that all of the bread is coated. You’re going to let this sit for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Heads up: if you don’t let your bread sit for a decent amount of time in the custard before putting it in the oven, the texture of your bread pudding will suffer. Boo.
Preheat your oven to 325F. Grease a 9 X 13-inch baking dish. Don’t have one of these? You can use what baking dish you have, but adjust the baking time accordingly. After an hour, pour everything in the bowl (bread + custard) into your baking dish, and bake it for 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. I bet your home smells amazing and that you’re ready to dig in, but let it cool completely, mkay?
Serving: bread pudding goes great with fruit, but let’s get serious, fresh fruit is probs slim pickings where you live around this time of year. I feel better when I choose something local and in season, like pears or oranges. Vanilla bean ice cream on top of the bread pudding does wonders. Also, if you have extra heavy cream on hand, whip that shit up and use it as garnish! Hungry yet?
If you are celebrating your singleness, are looking to woo a lady, or are spending the holiday with your girlfriend, I’d like to recommend Brachetto D’Acqui dessert wine with this bread pudding (Banfi Rosa Regale is stellar). It tastes like strawberries and isn’t usually more than $15 at most wine stores. It’s magic in a bottle, basically. Love to you all on this Valentines Day.
3. Taco Soup
“It’s a soup that tastes like tacos!”
Full disclosure, I had no idea what “taco soup” was when one of my friends from The South told me about her recipe a few years ago. Once I figured out what Rotel was (to her horror) and made it, it quickly became one of my go-to dinners. It’s delicious and comforting and super-easy (the comfort of ease!) I’ve also done a lot of camping in my day, and as a result I have a particular affinity for (/cooking skill almost limited to) one-pot meals. Plus this recipe yields a ton so it’s great for leftovers-as-work-lunches. And it tastes like tacos!
1 lb. lean ground beef (TVP or that crumbly veggie ground round works really well as a veggie sub-in)
One large yellow/cooking onion
One can pinto beans
One can whole kernel corn
One can Rotel (or diced tomatoes-with-green-chilis equivalent)
One can “mexican-style” diced tomatoes (They had these at my Safeway but then I moved and now they don’t have them at Berkeley Bowl, so now I just get whatever. It just needs a lot of diced tomatoes, I’m sure you can figure something out.)
One packet of taco seasoning
One packet of Hidden Valley Ranch original ranch dressing powder mix (this is key)
Optional: jalapeno or other hot pepper, small can diced green chilis, anything delicious that you want!
Tip: Take a backpack to the store when you shop for this meal, because all those cans are heavy, no joke. I always forget this and end up taking a wobbly bike ride home tenuously grasping a doubled paper bag in one hand and by the end my forearm is killing me. Learn from my mistakes! Also bringing your own bags to the grocery store is cool. If you don’t do it in California they actually kick you out of the state.
Chop the onion coarsely. This is the only chopping involved! Now you’re done chopping! Unless you want to add a jalapeno in which case chop that too, but remember to take the seeds out and for GOD’S SAKE don’t touch your eye again for like 24 hours.
Brown the beef (or beef alternative!) in a pan with the onion. Drain. Throw the beef and onion in a big pot and add the beans, corn (drain the juice from these first), Rotel and diced tomatoes. Add 1.5 – 2 cans of water (I like to use the tomato cans because they have more tomatoey goodness left usually.)
Add the taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix. Stir!
That’s it! Let that shit simmer for like an hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally. It should thicken up a fair bit that’s what she said. When it’s ready, garnish with your choice of sour cream, grated cheese, and fresh cilantro. Serve with corn chips or a crusty white bread. I like to eat mine with Tostitos Hint of Lime, which is not so much a hint as a full-on assertion.
Indian takeout containers work great for single-serving leftovers; you can freeze it or refrigerate it and enjoy it all week! If you don’t freeze it it’ll keep for 2-3 days, though I have to admit that I’ve eaten too-old leftover taco soup before and totally not gotten sick or died. In fact I think I have to get rid of some weeks-old taco soup in my fridge tonight in order to make room for the new batch. Don’t judge.
4. Squash Kibbeh
This is technically called kibbeh fi’seeniyah b’yakteen, and it is from the fantastic cookbook A Fistful of Lentils by Jennifer Felicia Abadi. Kibbeh is usually made with meat, but always uses bulgur wheat and is a supersatisfying carb-laden casserole thing. This is a shared favorite of my roommate and I – I am “culturally Jewish” and she is “culturally queer” and we are both obsessed with chickpeas. Basically we could eat this and nothing else for the rest of our lives, and possibly will. (Photo credits to my other roommate, Heather, for this one, as well as credit for the supercute kibbeh heart.)
2 cups fine-grain bulgur wheat
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup matzoh meal or plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp paprika
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 tbsp oil plus more to coat
1 cup diced white/yellow onion
1 tsp salt
fresh black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cup chopped walnuts (I like them chopped pretty fine, that’s just me)
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup pumpkin or squash puree
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Boil some water while you put the bulgur in a bowl. When the water boils, pour enough over the bulgur to cover it so that it all soaks in. Set aside for 10 minutes, do something else in the meantime. Open a bottle of wine. Call your ex. Happy Valentine’s Day. After 10 minutes, stir in the salt, honey, and olive oil. Let it sit for another 10 minutes.
The recipe says to mix together the matzoh meal, flour, and paprika in another bowl. I would submit that it is also possible to just make a little well in the middle of the bulgur and put them in there. Mix that together, and then sprinkle in the water a little at a time while kneading with your hands. “Knead and press vigorously” until it is pretty wet. Har har. Set aside while you do other stuff.
Put the oil in a pan, and start to sautee the onions in it. After 3 or 4 minutes, add salt, pepper and cinnamon. Mix in with the onions for 30 seconds or so, then add the walnuts and cook for a few more minutes. Stir constantly so the walnuts don’t burn. That can happen. Add chickpeas and stir for 3 more minutes, then squash, lemon and sugar. You already had this all measured out, right? Of course. Anyways, mix it all together and take it off the stove. Preheat the oven to 350.
Find a pan, roughly 8×8, and put half the bulgur dough in the bottom of it. Pat it down so it forms a flat layer. Now put the squash mixture on top of that, smooth it out. Do you see where this is going. Now put on the rest of the bulgur, and smooth out the top so it looks nice. Traditionally, at this point you would want to take a knife or toothpick and score a crisscross diamond shape across the top. We went with hearts, because It’s Valentine’s Day! and also my roommate is good at drawing hearts. So there you go.
Put it in the oven uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top is golden and crispy. Cut into squares to serve. The recipe says to serve with pine nuts and a lemon wedge, but that shit sounds expensive. Maybe if someone bought you pine nuts as a Valentine’s present. Whatever.
Enjoy? I know it doesn’t look pretty, guys, but sometimes what matters is on the inside. Like squash and chickpeas.
Stuffed Shells, TWO KINDS OF VEGAN MACARONI & CHEESE and Emily Choo’s Perfect Sandwich!