Just a nerd who likes to cook

Archive for July, 2011

Cooking with Awesome: Beer Pancakes

Yes, you heard me right: BEER pancakes. The thing here is the carbonation in the beer makes for an incredibly light and fluffy pancake. I remember last year I visited my friend Jarett in Chicago, and we hit up Drinks over Dearborn. They had an amazing selection of beer, one of which was banana flavored beer. Let me tell you, that made one tasty pancake!

“Instant” pancake mix
Prep time: 5 mins
Sift together:

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

I normally mix this together just before making pancakes, but if you prefer to store it (so it’s ready whenever), times recipe by 6 and stored for up to 3 months depending on how fresh your baking soda is. TIP: Baking soda starts to lose its punch after 3 months, so make sure you check when you bought it!


  • 1 cup “instant” pancakes mix
  • 1 1/4 cup beer
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted, cooled unsalted butter
  • 1 stick butter (for greasing the pan)


  1. Heat electric skillet or large pan to 350 degrees. TIP: Test the heat by dropping some water on the surface – if they dance around, that’s perfect. If they fry and disappear, turn the heat down.
  2. Place pancake mix in large bowl, set aside
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg into butter. MAKE SURE to butter has cooled to room temp before mixing otherwise you’ll heat the yoke and wide up with clumps
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix for 10 seconds ONLY. Over mixing will create gluten, and result in a chewy pancake, not a light fluffy one. There will be some small clumps, but those will cook out.
  5. When bubbles start to form in the batter (hooray for fresh baking soda!), ladle batter onto pan.  When bubbles start to set around the edges (about 2 minutes), it’s time to flip.
  6. To test when they’re done, touch the top of one of the pancakes. If it bounces back a little, then they’re done.

TIP: If you’re making a large batch of pancakes, place a baking sheet with a teatowel in an 200 degree oven and just store the pancakes there until you’re ready to eat. They will keep for up to 30 minutes.

Have leftovers? Stick them in an air tight container and freeze. When you’re ready to eat just pop them in the toaster.

Cooking with Awesome: Chili

Hello little chefs!

My friends agree, this chili is pretty damn amazing. The first batch I ever made was dubbed “Farmers Market Chili” due to the fact that I bought all the ingredients, chili power and all, at the Ferry Building famers market. I’d like to think that the thing that sets this chili apart from other chili’s I’ve tried is that fact that it contains copious amount of actual chili’s. Well, and the huge bottle of Chimay. I will never forget that day – my friends Eris and I spend most of the afternoon drinking mimosa’s and roasting peppers over my gas stove. And that’s how I’d recommend making this batch – with an awesome friend, drinking, and giggling.

The more I cook, the more I realize all my recipes include booze. I swear to god I’m not an alcoholic.


  • 3 pounds of top sirloin beef, chopped into cubs and dried with a paper towel
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 4 colves of garlic, minced
  • 3-4 bell peppers
  • 6 mild chili peppers, like Poblano’s, Hatch’s and Anaheim’s.
  • 1 can of beans (Kindey, black, or pinto)
  • 1 large can stewed tomatos, diced
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 oz dark chocolate
  • 20oz of high quality beer (Chimay recommended)
  • 1 packet of chili power

The heat – leave out for a mild chili

  • 2-5 Jalapenos or Chipotle peppers
  • 2-5 Serrano peppers
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper


  1. Cut the beef into bite size cubes then pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a large soup pot, add a tablespoon of oil and brown the meat in batches. Set aside.
  3. Chop the sweet onion and place in the soup pot over med-low heat. Add a large pinch of salt, and stir once every 10 minutes for 40 minutes to caramelize the onions
  4. In a large skillet, add a tablespoon of oil and pan fry all the peppers in batches until they are darkened. Chop (leave out the seeds for a milder chili) and set aside.
  5. Once the onions are done, add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes
  6. Then add the meat, chili’s, and all the spices. Stir well.
  7. Add in the canned tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, chocolate, chili powder and beer. Stir well. Cover and let simmer over low heat for 2 hours.
  8. If you are making the spicy version, add the jalapenos, chipotle’s, serrano’s and cayenne pepper 30 minutes before serving.
  9. Top with a dolop of sour cream, cheese, cilantro and avocado. Serve with a nice, cold beer and enjoy!

Awesome YouTube Find: Depression Cooking

I love this woman. She is just so cute to watch! Although I can’t imagine what it must have been like during the Great Depression. And I’ll really hoping this whole debt ceiling debacle will lead to finding out.

Watch the adorable Clara as she teaches you how to make pasta with peas!

And do you like my new header? The amazing @aimeetoons made it for me! <3

Cooking With Awesome: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

If I were to pick one thing I do really well, it’s these cookies. I spent close to 6 months perfecting the recipe (which my co-workers loved, btw), and I haven’t had a cookie that’s even come close to touching these. The secret is in the 1-to-1 sugar to flour ratio, and the orange zest. Try them and I’m sure you’ll agree!


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla (to taste)
  • 1 egg yoke
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • Zest of 1 orange (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of grand marnier (optional)
  • 2 cup bread floor
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 8oz bag of dark chocolate chip chunks
  • Sea salt


  1. Cream the melted butter and sugar together in stand mixer or with a hand beater. Beat until incorporated, about 5 minutes.
  2. Then add the eggs, milk and vanilla. If you’d like to add the orange zest and liquor to the batch, do so at this point.
  3. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together and add in 3 installments, waiting for the floor mixer to be completely incorporated before adding the next batch.
  4. When you’ve finished mixing add 8oz dark chocolate chips. (Personally, I like using the smaller dark chocolate chunks instead of actual chips that you can get at Whole Foods. Why? Because they taste better.) If you want to really spread the chocolate flavor throughout the cookies, beat on high for 5 minutes or until the batter begins to darken.
  5. When finish place mixing bowl into the fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably 24.
  6. When you’re ready to start baking, preheat oven to 350. Use a 20 or 15 scooper (depending on how big you want your cookies) and place on baking sheet (don’t forget the parchment paper!). Rotate the sheets after 5 minutes to ensure more even browning and remove when edges are golden brown and delicious; about another 5 minutes, but your oven many vary.
  7. IMMEDIATELY move the cookies to a drying rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

Awesome YouTube Find: You Deserve a Drink

The last installment of Harry Potter comes out today, and in honor of that I raise my glass of FLAMING butterbeer. Looks terrible, but the gal making it is harrylarious! ZING!!

Thanks to @aimeetoons for the awesome find!