Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ceviche, B*ylis style

Ceviche is a raw fish salad, but can also be made with shrimp or scallops. I prefer shrimp (which is cooked), but I also very much like it with white fish.
Tonight we're having shrimp, because I had 2 pounds of frozen, cooked shrimp in the freezer.
Recipe from my parents. My father's very funny notes in parenthesis.

White fish or shrimp
Lemon juice to cover fish overnight
Drain lemon juice

Add:
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup white wine (no whining)
1 tbs olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 red onion diced
1 fresh tomato (check expiration date)
Coriander to taste
3 or 4 jalapeño slices (or whole jalapeño diced if you’re not a wimp) and some jalapeño juice to taste (if you don’t use whole jalapeño)
Hot sauce to taste

Mix it all together, serve with tortillas or tortilla chips

Marinated mushrooms, B*ylis style

This is how my parents always make their marinated mushrooms. I'm guessing the recipe probably originated from my grandparents, but no clue where it came from before that.
All I know is that Ernie loves mushrooms, and he loves it when I marinate them like this.


1 pound mushrooms
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 shallot or scallion, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 dash pepper
1 cup red wine
2 garlic cloves, smashed

Combine all ingredients. Heat in a saucepan, but do not boil, for about 15 minutes. Remove and cool. Place the mushrooms and the marinade in the fridge for several hours before serving.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spritz Cookies (butter cookies)

Adapted from: Allrecipes

My mom and I made spritz cookies every year at Christmas, using our electric cookie press. Every year the first batch came flying out of the cookie press like the chocolates in that I L0ve Lucy episode in the chocolate factory. We had to scoop up the dough and start again. I now have a manual cookie press, and this was the first cookie I made with it. If you don't have a cookie press you could also use this dough to make thumbprint cookies filled with raspberry or apricot jam. I used almond extract instead of the orange zest called for. You could play around with the flavors or even add food coloring to make green Christmas trees, etc.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup butter
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest (or 1 1/2 tsp almond extract)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and egg yolk; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and orange zest (or almond extract). Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Fill a cookie press or pastry bag with dough, and form cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cookies are golden brown on the peaks and on the bottoms. Remove from cookie sheets at once to cool on wire racks.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Caramelized onion and gruyere tart appetizers

I just made this up, based on the full-sized Rustic Onion Tart recipe that I posted here awhile back. I wanted to turn that delicious main dish into an appetizer, so I just adapted it this way. I don't have exact measurements, sizes or times, but there should be enough info here for you to get the point. I'll try to pay more attention next time.

3 large red onions, halved cross-wise and sliced thinly
splash of balsamic vinegar
gruyere cheese, shredded or sliced into small, thin squares
pie crust dough (store-bought or homemade

Saute the onions over medium heat until well browned. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for a few more minutes.

Unroll your pie dough onto a flat surface. Using a small round cookie cutter (or the mouth of a small drinking glass), cut the pie dough into circles that will fit nicely into a mini-muffin pan. I have a water glass that makes the perfect sized circles for my muffin pan. Press the dough into the muffin tin. Place a small amount of cheese in the bottom of each cup. Fill to the top of each cup with onions. Add additional cheese on top of the onions. Bake at 350 until lightly golden brown. (I don't remember how long they took - somewhere in the 20 min vicinity?)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Low-Fat Spinach and Gruyere Quiche with Brown Rice Crust

Adapted from Weight Watchers and Closet Cooking.

Here we are, about to leave for Hawaii and the last thing I want to do is bring home fresh produce with the possibility of not being able to eat it all before we leave. Also, I've been on a mission to eat up the goodies in my freezer and this is a good way to it.

For the crust:
2 cups cooked brown rice (I cook a whole bunch at a time and then freeze left overs)
1 egg
1/4 C finely grated cheese

For the quiche-y goodness:
4 whole eggs
12 oz fat free evaporated milk
1/2 C fat free cottage cheese
1/2 C (or so) finely grated gruyere cheese
10 oz chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry (or 8 C fresh spinach, cooked, squeezed dry and chopped)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Combine ingredients for crust and press into a pie pan. Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Whisk together remaining ingredients except spinach. Scatter spinach in bottom of crust and pour over egg mixture. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes then turn down the heat to 350 and bake for another 20 minutes or until set. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into 9-10 servings. Calorie count for 10 servings is 245 kcals, 1.9 g fiber, 12.9 g protein.

cake pops

I wish I'd taken a photo of these before I distributed them at work... they are sort of ridiculously cute. My friend Amanda showed me how to do this, based on Bakerella's recipe except a bit simpler, and it's pretty fun. She prefers chocolate cake mix with cream cheese frosting, but I'm sure it would be good in other ways.

We also dipped the pops into white chocolate and put shiny white sprinkles on them, so they looked like snowballs, and then did some more traditional ones with regular chocolate and different colors of sprinkles. Cute and good.

1. Make a store-bought cake according to the directions on the box. Make sure you don't overcook at all so that the edges are not crispy at all -- it should all be as soft as possible.

2. Crumble up the cake into crumbs, basically. There can be some chunks but the more uniform the better.

3. Mix in most a tub of store-bought frosting, leaving maybe 6 T or so still in the container. Form the mixture into balls with your hands. They don't have to be a uniform size, but they shouldn't be bigger than a ping-pong ball or smaller than a quarter.

4. Get some of those candy melts -- the ones that look like wafers and are available at JoAnn's or Michael's -- and pop them in the microwave until it's melted evenly through but not runny.

5. Take a lollipop stick and dip about half an inch into the melted chocolate, and stick it in about 3/4 of the way through each pop.

6. Put all of them in the fridge or freezer until they feel solid.

7. Re-melt the chocolate (it's OK to microwave it multiple times) and then dip the pop in, coating it the whole way around. This is the only tricky part -- Amanda sort of puts the ball in and then pulls it up to get it to coat the sides... you might just have to figure out how it works best for you with the consistency of your chocolate.

8. Before the chocolate dries, throw on some sprinkles.

9. Stick the pop somewhere upright to dry -- Amanda has a styrofoam brick-type thing, but any way you can think to do this is fine.

10. Once it's dry, put a baggie or plastic around the top and secure with a twist tie.

11. Ta da!

Monday, December 21, 2009

better-than-from-a-bakery granola

From Everybody Likes Sandwiches, with some fairly major modifications in the ingredients but not the technique.

The author gets very excited about the fact that this granola clumps successfully, and she is right -- it is totally excitement-worthy. Also, I don't think I've ever made anything in my life (not cookies, not fresh bread, nothing) that's made our apartment smell this good. It got J. out of bed this morning, seeking the source of the amazingness.

2 c organic large-flake rolled oats
1 t cinnamon (I used more than this)
pinch of nutmeg (I added a pinch of cloves too)
1/2 t salt
3 T plus 1 t canola oil
1/4 c honey (I did half maple syrup)
1/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract
2/3 c whole almonds (I skipped)
2/3 c raisins (I substituted a handful of chopped mixed fruit and some chopped crystallized ginger)

Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large bowl, toss oats with cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla until blended. Pour the wet mixture in with the dry and use your hands to combine the two until everything is well coated and your hands are gooey. Lick them if you must, but wash your hands right after.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the mixture over top. Spread it out evenly, but also keep in mind clumping is a good, good thing. Bake for 10 minutes and then use a spatula to gently flip the granola over. Sprinkle with almonds and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Add raisins and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan. Use your hands to break up the granola...but again, don't go overboard (remember the clumps!). Place in a tightly lidded container.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rocky road brownies

Know what makes from a mix brownies even better? More chocolate. And marshmallows.

adapted from Cookie Madness

1 box “Family Style” brownies
eggs, water, oil, in the proportions your mix calls for
2 cups mini marshmallows
2/3 cups toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts or toasted walnut “nuggets” (I used hazlenuts, they were good, too)
1 1/3 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13×9 inch pan with cooking spray.
Mix the brownie mix, eggs, oil, and water together in a mixing bowl and beat for 50-60 strokes or until mixed. Pour into pan and set timer for 5 minutes less than total baking time on box.
While brownies cook, mix together the marshmallows, walnuts and a little less than a cup of the chocolate chips (you’ll be saving some for the end).
Pull brownies from the oven, quickly sprinkle with marshmallow mixture, then return to oven for last 5 minutes so that marshmallows can melt.
Remove from oven. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over top of hot brownies and if you’d like, sprinkle on some more walnuts so that everything appears balanced. Let cool at room temperature for about an hour. Transfer to the refrigerator for another hour to set the chips.
Lift the brownies from the pan and cut into 16 large squares.

**The marshmallows get puffy and melt, but they don’t really brown after 5 minutes. It’s important not to keep the brownies in the oven too long because you don’t want to overcook them. If you really want brown marshmallows you can throw them under the broiler for about a minute after the 5 minutes of oven cooking.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mint meringues

More cookies! These are so incredibly easy and take so little time that I don't know why I haven't made them before. I am not atwitter with all the possibilities, because really, the base is the same and it's just the extract/add-ins that would change.
And look -- no fat! It's positively a cookie that's healthy for you. Sort of.

from Serious Eats


Meringue Cookies

2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional) I used 1/4 and they were perfect, I thought.
4 drops green food coloring (optional)

Heat oven to 225°F and line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil.
Using a StandMixer or good hand mixer, beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar and keep beating until stiff peaks form. (DO NOT underbeat.) If using extract and food coloring, add at the end and beat for another 2 or 3 minutes.
Spoon mixture into a plastic bag (or piping press, which I --ridiculously -- own and use all the time) and squeeze out most of the air. Cut off one small corner of the bag and pipe cookie-sized dollops of meringue on to cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart.
Bake cookies for 90 minutes, making sure they don't brown. When done baking, kill the heat, open the oven door slightly, and let everything cool down completely, about 45 to 60 minutes. Serve.

Really good steak marinade

I'm not sure if you could use this marinade for anything else, because I've only ever used it for steak (flank steak, to be specific), but I bet it works well for chicken, too.

1/4 c. soy sauce
3/4 c. oil (use whatever kind you like. I use a blend of olive, sesame and corn oils, usually)
2 Tbsp. honey (or a couple of really good squirts from the honey bottle)
1 clove garlic, mashed (I used 3 cloves roasted garlic today)
1 green onion, chopped
1 tsp. ginger powder
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger (or more)

Mix everything together, pour over meat. Marinate for at least 8 hours, up to 12. (probably less than 8 if you're using chicken)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

spicy pumpkin pecan raisin muffins

I don't usually bake with nuts, because J. can't eat them, but I have a bag and a half of leftover pecans and they were way too expensive to waste. These will be coming to a potluck with me tomorrow, provided that I don't eat them all first... they really are quite nicely spiced, as the name implies, and very delicious. (I would have used Sundry's insanely good recipe but we are inexplicably out of white sugar, and also I probably wouldn't have been able to keep the chocolate out, and for once, I'm glad I did.)

Also, Farmgirl Susan points out that filling the cups really full gives nice big muffins without spilling out into the oven, and she's right.

Makes about 18 large muffins

1 cup raisins [I used currants, because I like how they're small and get into every bite. also I didn't have any raisins. I should go grocery shopping sometime this month...]
3/4 cup orange juice [I used apple cider]

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder (make sure it's fresh!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (a little less if freshly grated)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup (2 sticks/8 ounces) trans-fat free vegetable oil sticks
(I use Earth Balance) or butter, melted* [I used one of butter and one of no-cholesterol stuff, but did not go for the lower-fat option]
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup honey
3 eggs
1 15-ounce can packed pumpkin (or 1 pound fresh pumpkin purée)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted if desired

Heat oven to 350°. Place raisins and orange juice in a small bowl and microwave for 2 minutes; set aside. Grease muffin tins.

Combine flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl and set aside. Combine margarine, brown sugar, honey, and eggs in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in pumpkin. Gently fold in dry ingredients, alternating with the raisin/juice mixture. Stir in the pecans.

Generously fill muffin tins. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. (Bake baby muffins about 15 minutes.) Cool muffins in tins for 15 minutes, then remove from tins and serve warm, or let cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container for up to three days or freeze.

*Lower fat version: Simply omit 1/2 cup (1 stick) of the margarine or butter.

Garlic scallion noodles

Oh my word, these are so good. We all devoured them tonight, and if there'd been more, we would have eaten them, too. My advice? Makes twice what the recipe calls for, because you'll want them.
This is my adaptation, based on what I had in the house.
For the original recipe, go to the amazing Steamy Kitchen.

half a package rice noodles
1/4 cup chopped scallions
5 roasted garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
3-4 tablespoons butter

Soak noodles in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain.
Fry the aromatics: In wok or large sauté pan, heat about 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Before the butter gets too hot, add the scallions and garlic. Fry until fragrant, but careful not to let it burn. Slowly frying on med-low heat will flavor the butter. Add brown sugar, fish sauce and oyster sauce. Stir.
Fry the noodles: Add the drained noodles. Fry for 2 minutes until the noodles are done.

Apple caramel pie

Oh hi. Look, it's me with another dessert recipe.
Are you surprised? You really shouldn't be.
In any case, I promise to post something non-desserty soon. It's just that...it's winter...and it's cold...and there's nothing (in my opinion) nicer than curling up with a cup of hot tea and something sweet.
Like maybe this apple pie.

adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 whole Pie Crust
6 cups (to 7 Cups) Peeled And Sliced Granny Smith Apples
½ whole (juice Of) Lemon
½ cups Sugar
4 Tablespoons Flour
¼ teaspoons Salt
1 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice (Penzey's makes a really good one, FYI)
½ cups Flour
1-½ stick Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
½ cups Quick Oats
¼ teaspoons Salt
½ cups Pecans, Chopped
1 jar Caramel Topping

In a bowl mix peeled apples, lemon juice, sugar, flour, apple pie spice and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside. For crumb topping, cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter, then add in brown sugar, oats, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
Add apples to prepared pie shell and top with crumb topping. Cover crust edges with aluminum foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil from crust and place back into the oven for another 30 minutes. Chop pecans, and when five minutes remain, sprinkle them over the pie.
Remove the pie from the oven and pour caramel topping (PW recommends 1/2 jar, I used more like 3/4) over the top. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Stuffed Zucchini

Liberally adapted from Vegetarian Times.

2 large zucchini (mine weighed 14.5 oz each!)
1 medium tomato, finely diced
1/2 large onion, finely diced
3 oz feta, crumbled
small handful of oil-cured olives, chopped
1/2 C panko
2 cloves garlic, minced
big pinch of red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 375. Wash zucchinis and halve lengthwise. If your zukes are unstable, peel off a very thin slice from tip to end so that they don't rock about in the pan. Scrape out flesh to make a long, narrow channel down each half and reserve. I left about 1/4" of flesh all around. Finely chop about 2/3 of scooped out flesh and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, saute onions and garlic until translucent and fragrant. Add chopped zucchini flesh to pan. Saute until cooked through. Pour into a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and taste for seasoning. I added a pinch of dried basil but would have preferred oregano.

In a 9 x 13 dish, spray with cooking spray and place zuke halves inside. Sprinkle with S&P before filling with stuffing mixture. Evenly distribute mixture and pour in 1/2 C water into bottom of baking dish before placing in the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes or until zuke halves are cooked through and tender when pierced with a knife. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. I served these with a tossed salad but had planned to serve with garlicky sauteed chard. Except I forgot to prepare the chard. Oops. Either way, it turned out well and made for tasty leftovers today.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Crystal's pretzel sandwiches

My good friend Crystal made these lovely pretzel sandwiches, and I immediately had to ask her how she did it. If you're looking for something easy to make this holiday season, this fits the bill.

Square pretzels
1 bag rolos
chocolate for dipping (I used both white and milk)
Sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350.
Arrange the pretzels on a baking sheet, and remove wrappers from all of the rolos. Place one candy on top of each pretzel.
Place in oven for 3-6 minutes, until the chocolate gets shiny. (watch them close, you don't want them to melt)
Take out of oven, place another pretzel on top of candy and press down to squish slightly. Let cool.
Then melt chocolate, and dip the whole pretzel sandwich. Decorate as you see fit.

Chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies

No bake cookies are a hit in our house, because it frees up the oven for other things...like baking cookies.
Because seriously, when this time of year rolls around? I get a little obsessive about the baking.

This is a Food Network recipe

2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
Waxed paper

In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil, the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Let boil for 1 minute then add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. On a sheet of waxed paper, drop mixture by the teaspoonfuls, until cooled and hardened.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

English cottage pie

I did a search for recipes a few weeks ago using Guinness...I bought a 6-pack this summer to make that cake (which was fantastic), but we don't drink Guinness. It's been sitting in my fridge since then.
This was a good recipe, then, because it got rid of some of the Guinness, and also our leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving. And, it was totally easy and really tasty.

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, dinced
3 carrots, diced
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. thyme
1 c. beef broth
1 c. Guinness
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 lb. cheddar cheese
mashed potatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef for a few minutes. Add carrots and onions and sauté until the beef is cooked through. Mix in flour and herbs. In a bowl, combine the beef broth, Guinness and tomato paste. Add to the skillet, and simmer for 15 minutes. Spoon into a 9-inch pie pan, and top with mashed potatoes. Top with grated cheddar cheese and bake for 25 minutes.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey and rice soup

Um, yum. Really, that's all. We all devoured this.

from Alton Brown (really, can you go wrong with an Alton Brown recipe?)

2 quarts vegetable broth
1 turkey carcass
1 10-ounce box frozen vegetable medley
1/2 cup long-grain white rice, uncooked
2 cups turkey meat, cubed or torn into small pieces
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
2 teaspoons dried thyme (oops, I forgot this. It was totally fine without)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put the broth and carcass in an 8-quart pot over low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook and cover for 1 hour.
Remove the carcass.
Add the vegetables, rice, turkey meat, Old Bay, and thyme to the pot and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Sweet potato casserole

I like my sweet potatoes to taste like sweet potatoes, with a little bit of stuff added in. So when I looked at the recipe my Gran wanted me to use this year, it looked too sweet to me. I went searching, realized they were probably all to sweet for my liking, and so I adapted this one.

from Pioneer Woman

6 to 8 cups sweet potatoes (I microwaved mine, then scooped out the flesh until I had 8 cups. Took 4-5 sweet potatoes)
1 c. milk
1/2-1 c. sugar (I used 3/4 c. sugar, will probably reduce to 1/2 c. next time. PW calls for 1 c.)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
3/4 stick butter
1 c. pecans
1/2 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar

Add sugar to the sweet potatoes. Now add 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mash with potato masher.
Now, in a separate bowl, add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup pecans, chopped (that means measure a cup of pecans, then chop them), 1/2 cup flour, and 3/4 stick of butter.
With a pastry cutter or fork, mash together until thoroughly combined.
Spread the sweet potato mixture in a regular baking dish, then sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Best turkey brine -- ever

If you're not brining your turkey at Thanksgiving/Christmas/insert holiday here, I make a plea to your cooking sensibilities that you give this a shot next time you need to roast/fry/smoke some poultry.
So, so good. Ernie fried the bird this year, and it was moist and flavorful and generally wonderful all around.

adapted from Emeril

1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 oranges, quartered
2 lemons, quartered
6 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
2-3 sprigs sage (note: I bought one of those little containers of Poultry Seasoning fresh herbs...and just dumped the whole thing in the brine)
1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey

Mix the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water. Add rest of ingredients, then pour over turkey. Let sit overnight in the fridge.
Then drain, rinse, pat dry, and cook the way you'd like.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Roasted garlic

This is really more about procedure than a recipe. I'm using it today for roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Can also be spread on bread, or mixed with pasta and parm cheese. Or, you know, whatever you'd like to do with your garlic.

Whole head of garlic
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel away outer layers of paper on garlic, but leave skin on each clove intact. Cut a little bit off the top.
Put in muffin pans or on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, cover each head with foil.
Roast 30-40 minutes, until soft. Let cool, then can pop each clove from its skin. Yum.

Old fashioned pumpkin pie

This is my go-to pumpkin pie recipe, which might have been helpful BEFORE Thanksgiving. In any case, here you go. Good at any time of year, honestly.

adapted from Simply Recipes


2 cups of pumpkin purée
1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 good crust (see pâte brisée recipe)

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Mix sugars, salt and spices in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Stir in milk. Whisk all together until well incorporated.
Pour into pie shell and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Pecan pralines

Adapted from Paula Deen

4 cups whole pecans
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. cinnamon
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl combine pecans, brown sugar, and heavy cream. Spread into a square baking pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until coating is dry, and slightly crystallized, stirring once. Remove from oven to cool and stir once more. If not serving immediately, store in an airtight container.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Pineapple Rice with Arugula

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks. This was really good, relatively easy and lower in fat with some modifications of the original recipe. Heidi says it makes good leftovers but as it isn't lunchtime yet, I can't say for certain but I'm sure it will be good.

8 oz can crushed pineapple in 100% juice
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp or so of chili paste (I use Sambal Olek)
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1' piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

4 handfuls arugula

2 cups cooked brown rice, room temperature (I use TJs frozen rice)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 medium red onion (or use shallots), peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup cashews, roasted/toasted and chopped
4 ounces tempeh, cut into little bits and pan-fried (shrimp would be excellent here)
2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1" cubes

Combine first 6 ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and warm gently without boiling or simmering. In a large bowl, add the arugula and splash of the pineapple sauce. Stir until leaves are well-coated.

In a large frying pan, spray with cooking spray and add tempeh. Cook until browned and set aside. In same pan, add red onions and sautee until slightly translucent and lightly browned. Add pineapple and cook until heated through and lightly browned. Add rice, cashews, seitan and reserved sauce. Stir to coat all ingredients and pour over arugula. Stir well to combine and serve immediately. This would be good a room temp but we ate it hot. Serves 4 with 553 kcals and 6 g fiber.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Granola with Almonds and Dried Fruit

Adapted from Mark Bittman and Nigella Lawson.

5 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup millet (uncooked)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup slivered almonds
1 Tbs cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
dash salt
1/2 cup maple syrup (I used grade A--it's the only kind I have)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tbs canola oil
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried currants

Preheat oven to 310 degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet (or 2, I probably should have used 2) with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients down to the salt and mix well. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together oil, syrup and applesauce. Pour over oat mixture and stir well to coat. Pour granola onto baking sheet(s) and spread out into an even layer. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes to promote even browning. If you use only one baking sheet, it will take about 30 minutes. Pour in dried fruits and stir. Return baking sheet to oven for another 10 minutes and check for doneness. You want it toasty and brown but not burnt. Return to oven for additional 10 minutes if need be. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month. 16 half-cup servings: 220 kcals and 4.8 grams of fiber.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Festive Cranberry-Pineapple Salad

From: Kraft Foods

I'm not usually a big fan of Jello salads, but my mom made this a couple of times last year around the holidays and it was really good. This could be a dessert or a side dish. It would also make a good dish for a pot-luck and is a nice twist on the traditional cranberry sauce.

1 can (20oz) crushed pineapple
2 pkg (4-servings each) or 1 pkg (8 servings) Raspberry or Cherry Jello mix
1 can (16 oz) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 medium apple, small dice
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Drain pineapple, reserving liquid in a 1-qt measuring cup. Remove 1 Tbsp of the crushed pineapple and set aside for garnish. Add enough cold water to reserved liquid to measure 3 cups; pour into large saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Add gelatin; stir at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add cranberry sauce; stir until well blended. Pour into a large bowl. Refrigerate 1.5 hours or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg white).

Stir in remaining pineapple, apples and walnuts; stir gently until well blended. Pour into medium serving bowl.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Top with reserved crushed pineapple just before serving.

Pumpkin Ravioli in Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Here's the secret to this recipe: use won ton wrappers to make the ravioli. I'm sure I could have found pasta sheets at Whole Foods or something but won ton skins are already pre-cut into little squares making it very easy to assemble your raviolis.

1 cup pureed pumpkin, or butternut squash
1 teaspoon light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated parmessan cheese
Pinch of nutmeg (freshly grated if you can)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pkg won ton wrappers (I used NaSoya)
1/2 stick unsalted butter (next time I'll cut back to 3 tbs)
1 tablespoon freshly chopped sage leaves

For the ravioli filling: combine pumpkin/squash puree, egg, S&P, nutmeg, cheese and brown sugar and whisk to combine; set aside. On a large cutting board, remove 4 skins and place 1 tsp of filling in the center of each skin. Lightly brush water on the around the filling and gently place a won ton skin on top. Press gently around the filling and try to allow air bubbles to escape without squishing the filling out the side. Use decorative cookie cutter (I used a fluted cutter) to cut raviolis and remove excess won ton skin. Place ravioli on a wax paper-lined tray in a single layer. Once all raviolis are assembled and cut to your liking, place them in the freezer for 30 minutes.

I saw a number of comments re: using won ton skins in lieu of pasta and the concern about the raviolis falling apart in boiling water. Thus, I took the advice from many posts encouraging the use of a steamer for the raviolis. I would recommend that you spray the steamer basket with cooking spray before placing the raviolis on it because they may stick (also spray your tongs). Steam for 3-4 minutes and carefully place inside an oven-safe vessel (spray this, too) and put in an oven set on 250 degrees. While last batch of raviolis are steaming, place butter in a light-colored sautee pan and swirl over medium-high heat until browned. Remove from heat and add sage (be careful--it pops!) and gently add raviolis. Stir gently until all raviolis are coated in the butter sauce. Serve immediately. I sprinkled mine with a grating of parmesan cheese and served with a green salad and warm ciabatta rolls. Serves 4 (6 raviolis per person).

**Using this method of making raviolis with 2 won ton skins per ravioli results in leftover pumpkin filling. I put mine in the freezer to use at a later date. Next time I plan to use one won ton skin per ravioli and will fold over into a triangle and then cut with a fluted cookie cutter to make half moon-shaped raviolis. This will result in less wasting of won ton skin goodness and more raviolis to go around.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Turnip, Potato and Onion Soup

Adapted from: Simply Recipes, originally from Food and Wine Magazine

I know this might not SOUND like a tasty soup, but it was really good. It tasted like potato-leek soup, and was thick and creamy with a minimal amount of fat. I was sort of liberal with my adaptations with this, based on what I had in the house. I put the original recipe here so you can figure out what adaptations you want to make. I didn't have nearly the quantity of turnips called for, so I decreased the amount of chicken stock so it wouldn't be too thin. I had hakurai turnips, which are small and round, like white radishes. I'm not sure what the difference in flavor would be with regular turnips, but it was quite tasty the way I made it.


6 Tbsp unsalted butter (I used 2 Tbsp)
4 medium onions, thinly sliced (I used 2 softball-sized yellow onions)
3 pounds fresh, young turnips, peeled and thinly sliced (I used 2 small bunches of white hakurai turnips)
1 1/2 pounds of Russet baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (I used fingerling)
Salt
6 Cups of chicken stock* (I used 4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup finely shredded basil for garnish (I skipped)
Splash of cream

Method

1 In a large heavy stockpot or casserole, melt the butter until it foams. When the foam subsides, add the onions and cook over moderate heat until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the turnips and potatoes and stir to coat with the butter. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

2 Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.

3 Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until perfectly smooth (I used an immersion blender).(I added a splash of cream to the soup while I was blending it, because I had some on hand). Return the soup to the pot and season with salt and the nutmeg. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and garnish with the basil before serving.

Serves 8.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Apple Pear Cobbler

The former co-worker I got this recipe from labeled this a "breakfast cobbler" but I never seem to get my act together in time to put it in the slow cooker before I go to bed. And honestly, I've never seen any reason not to have this for dessert. Maybe with some vanilla ice cream.

3 apples
3 pears
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 c. apple cider
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. apple pie spice
2 Tbsp. butter
3 c. granola

Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Peel, core and slice the apples and pears into eighths. Put the prepared fruit into the crock pot.
In a jar with a tight fitting lid put the brown sugar, flour, lemon
juice, apple cider, and spices. Put the lid on the jar and shake the jar vigorously until there are no more lumps. Pour over fruit and stir to coat.
Dot the tops of apples and pears with 2 Tbsp. of butter. Spread the granola evenly over the fruit.
Cover, and cook on low 6-8 hours.
Turn off slow cooker, remove lid, and allow to cool 10 minutes before serving

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Coffee Crunch Bar Cookies

From Everybody Likes Sandwiches. I won't bother re-typing the recipe here since I didn't change a thing but you need to stop what you are doing and go make these right now. Gwen, I am talking to you. Well, I urge all of you to make these but especially Gwen because she is a coffee lover too and, oh my god, these are delicious. I made them as a thank you gift for the nurses at Home Health/Hospice and if I wasn't expected to show up with goodies tomorrow I would keep them at home for myself. So good.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Brownie Buttons

Source: "Baking" by Dorie Greenspan

From Becky: These things are truly awesome. Don't let the length of the recipe scare you; they're not difficult. Greenspan provides a lot of detail in the write-up.

From Greenspan:
These miniaturized brownies are a sensational after-school snack, a great half-time munchie or a dainty treat at teatime. To dress them up elegantly, dip the button tops in melted white chocolate and serve them in pretty little paper or foil cups. If snacking is more what you have in mind, skip the glaze and just pile them into a bowl.

Grated zest of 1/2 orange (optional)
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg

For the glaze (optional)
2 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 miniature muffin pans (I used cooking spray), each with a dozen cups, and place them on a baking sheet.

If you're using the orange zest, combine the zest and sugar in a small bowl, rubbing them between your fingertips to blend; set aside. Whisk together the flour and salt.

Melt the butter, chocolate and brown sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over very low heat, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula and keeping an eye on the pan so nothing overheats or burns. When the mixture is smooth, remove from the heat and cool for a minute or two.

Stir the vanilla, egg and the zest, if you're using it, into the chocolate mixture. When the mixture is well-blended, add the flour and stir only until it is incorporated. You should have a smooth, glossy batter.

Spoon the batter into 16 of the muffin cups, using about a teaspoon of batter to fill each cup three-quarters full. Put 1 teaspoon of water in each empty cup.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the tops of the buttons spring back when touched. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 3 minutes before carefully releasing the buttons (I put a wood toothpick between the brownie and the pan to wedge them out gently). Cool to room temperature on the racks.

To make the optional glaze: Melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. (I melted it in the microwave.) Stir constantly and don't leave the chocolate for even a minute - white chocolate scorches easily. As soon as the chocolate is smooth, remove from the heat.

One by one, dip the tops of the buttons into the chocolate, twirling the buttons so that you get a little swirl at the center of each one and the excess chocolate drips back into the bowl. Refrigerate the buttons for 15 minutes to set the glaze.

Serving: Serve these with milk, coffee or even snifters of single-malt Scotch.

Storing: Covered, these will keep at room temperature overnight (we've had ours out for 3 days now, and they're fine). If you wrap them airtight, you can freeze them for up to 2 months, glazed or not.

Playing around: Substitute lemon zest for the orange or try and equal amount of very finely chopped ginger instead or the zest.

Eggplant Caviar

Source: "The Art of Simple Food" by Alice Waters

Geoff and I served this with toasted slices of baguette.

Yield: 2 cups

Preheat the oven to 400.
Cut in half lengthwise:
2 medium eggplants

Sprinkle the cut surfaces with:
Salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
Olive oil


Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast until soft. Test for doneness at the stem end; the eggplant should be very soft. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scrape the flesh out of the skins into a bowl and stir vigorously to loosen into a puree.

Add:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled and pounded to a puree
2 to 4 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro (we used cilantro)


Mix well and taste, adding more salt and lemon as needed.

Variations:
* Use 2 tablespoons chopped mint in place of parsley or cilantro.
* Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed toasted coriander seeds. To toast, heat whole coriander seeds in a heavy pan over medium heat until slightly brown. Crush in a mortar and pestle or under a heavy pan.
* Add a pinch or two of dried chile flakes.
* For a smoky flavor, keep one eggplant whole and char it over hot coals or the open flame of a burner until tender. Cut in half, scrape out the flesh, and combine with the other ingredients.

Roasted Sweet Pepper and Lemon-Herb Goat Cheese Crostini

Source (roasted sweet peppers): "The Art of Simple Food" by Alice Waters

Preheat oven to 450.
Wash and dry:
3 whole medium fleshy bell peppers

Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet with at least a 1/2 inch of space between each pepper for even browning. Roast in the oven, checking every 5 minutes. Turn them as they begin to brown. Keep turning until the skin is blistered and black and the peppers are soft but not completely falling apart, about 35 minutes (note: it only took about 25 for me). If the skin is done but the pepper is still firm, place the pepper in a covered container to steam. Allow to cool.

Cut the peppers in half and scrape out the ribs and seeds. Peel off the skin. Tear or cut the flesh into 1/2 inch strips.

Marinate with:
* 1 small garlic clove, pounded to a puree
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 teaspoon vinegar
* 1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
* fresh ground black pepper
* salt to taste

Note: I let the peppers marinate overnight.

Source (lemon-herb goat cheese): Bon Appetit

* 5 oz soft goat cheese, room temperature
* 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
* 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
* 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Mix cheese, oregano, thyme, and lemon peel in medium bowl.

Roasted Sweet Peppers w/ Goat Cheese Crostinis
Cut 1/2 inch slices of french baguette, then toast.
Spread goat cheese spread on toasted baguette.
Finish with roasted peppers on top.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Florentine Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken

This makes A LOT, especially if you make it with the other recipes. We'll be eating leftovers for days. The good news is both Gaby and Katie liked it, which makes it kid-friendly.

Adapted from Rachael Ray

box frozen spinach, defrosted
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
Italian salt blend (had basil, oregano in it)
A few grates nutmeg
4 chicken breasts
4-6 slices prosciutto di Parma, 1/3 pound
3 to 4 tablespoons Italian dressing (I had one made with olive oil)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Wring out defrosted spinach in clean kitchen towel.
Toast nuts and combine with spinach in a bowl, mix in cheeses, garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Cut into and across but not all the way through the chicken breasts, opening them up like a book with a sharp knife. Fill each with a small mound of stuffing. Flap chicken breasts back over stuffing and wrap each breast with prosciutto to seal them, carefully covering the whole breast. Brush chicken all over with some Italian dressing and roast 18 to 25 minutes until cooked through.

Spinach Fettuccini with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

This was also really good. I've never cooked with gorgonzola before, but it was not nearly as strong as I thought it'd be.

adapted from Rachael Ray

1 1/2 (12-ounce) packages spinach fettuccini, 18 ounces total
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup half and half
8 ounces Gorgonzola, cut into small pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
4 handfuls baby spinach leaves

Heat water to a boil for pasta, cook pasta to al dente.
Heat butter in a large sauce pot with butter, add garlic, cook 2 minutes then whisk in flour, cook 1 minute. Whisk in stock then cream, bring to a bubble and stir in Gorgonzola, about 2 minutes until melted.
In a serving bowl toss hot pasta with sauce and fresh spinach to wilt in.

Puttanesca Tomato Salad with Fried Capers

I made this recipe because Ernie loves anything at all involving capers, but it is seriously good. We had it with the other recipes she featured on the show -- spinach fettuccini with gorgonzola sauce and Florentine prosciutto wrapped chicken -- and it would be perfect for a meal with company. In fact, I'm planning to serve it when my parents come to visit this Christmas.

Adapted from Rachael Ray

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 jar capers, drained well and patted dry
1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (don't be afraid of anchovy paste, you can't really taste it)
6 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 small red onion or 1/2 medium, very thinly sliced
A handful pitted good quality black olives ( I used kalamata)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, for seasoning

Heat 1/4 cup oil in small pan over medium-high heat. Add capers but be careful, they will spatter. Fry the capers 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until golden, drain on paper towels.
Combine remaining 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil with garlic and anchovy paste. Add tomatoes, onion and olives. Season with red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Garnish with capers and serve.

Crockpot Applesauce

This isn't much of a recipe, but I have made this two weekends in a row and it is delicious. Really simple and really good.

Cut up a bunch of apples (I used about 12-15). Put in crock pot. Pour in about a cup of water. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Sprinkle with 1-2 tsps of sugar. Add a few squeezes of lemon juice. Cook on high for 3 hours. It might look like nothing has happened, but when you stir it, the apples with suddenly break down and make a sauce.

This was really good for breakfast, with dinner, or as dessert. Last week I used a basket of apples that I picked up at a local farm (might have been Gala? I don't remember). This week I used a mix of Ida Reds, Mutsu and Golden Delicious.

Ham and Bean Soup

Adapted from: Closet Cooking and All Recipes

This was SO good. The two of us ate two bowls apiece. The "recipe" is kind of loose because I just used what I had and tweaked it as I went along, but this is the basic idea. I started with a ham bone that was frozen after Christmas last year - one of those spiral-cut honey-baked hams. So, the ham I used started with a lot of good flavor. I put the frozen ham bone in the pot and then after it simmered for awhile, I pulled off the bits of ham that were still on the bone. I had intended to add a cubed ham steak that I bought for the soup, but I ended up pulling enough ham off the bone that I didn't need to add any more. Add as much water as you want, depending on how thin you want the broth, and depending on how salty the broth ends up after you simmer the ham bone.

1 ham bone, fresh or frozen
4 cups chicken stock
2-4 cups of water, to taste
3 bay leaves
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
3 cups of cooked or canned beans (kidney, white beans, split peas, etc)
2 cups of chopped ham
3-4 small new potatoes,
1-2 tsp mustard powder

Put ham bone in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Pour chicken stock and water over the ham bone. Add bay leaves. Simmer for about 2 hours. Skim broth if necessary. Pick any remaining ham off bone if you have any; add to soup pot. If you don't have enough ham on the bone, add additional chopped ham. Saute carrots, celery and onion in a skillet until just softened; add to soup pot. Add beans (I added half of the beans to the pot whole, and I pureed the other half with the immersion blender to thicken up the soup a bit). Add mustard powder and potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve.

*Notes: I did not add any additional salt or pepper, but you might want to, depending on taste. Someone suggested adding a parmesan cheese rind to the simmering broth for added flavor, but I thought this had plenty of flavor without it.

You could also add some greens (such as kale) to the soup, or cut green beans.

Beef shanks butcher's style

Okay, this is something I never would have decided to make on my own, but I'm trying one new recipe from each of my cookbooks, and this is the one that caught my eye -- because I thought Ernie would love it.
The original recipe called for oxtails, but I mistakenly bought grass-fed beef shanks instead, so that's what I used. The recipe has a lot of ingredients and steps, but they are well worth it. The meat was really tender and flavorful, and although I thought I wouldn't be much of a fan -- I loved it. I'd definitely make this if I was having company over for dinner, and serve it with polenta and some sort of roasted veggie. We had it with green beans and pasta with butter/parm cheese, and that was fine, too.

Adapted from Molto Italiano, by The Man Mario Batali

5 pounds grass-fed beef shanks
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (you could substitute bacon here, but it wouldn't be quite as good)
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 c. dry white wine
5 ribs celery, stalks finely diced
salt and pepper to taste

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the shanks, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Drain the oxtails, reserving 2 cups of broth, and set aside. Dissolve the tomato paste into the reserved broth.
In a large dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil over high heat, until smoking. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown. Add the shanks, a few at a time, and brown on all sides, then transfer to a plate.
Add the onion, garlic, carrots and saute until the vegetables are browned. Return the shanks to the pan, add the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the wine is reduced by half.
Pour the tomato paste-broth mixture over the meat. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Add the celery, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the shanks to a pan to cool. Carefully remove the meat from the bones. Stir the meat into the sauce and bring to a boil, stirring occassionally.
Serve immediately.

Friday, October 23, 2009

filled pumpkin cookies

As though all of us really need another pumpkin recipe, right? Except we kind of do. As Shannon said, pumpkin loves us too.

These are basically miniature whoopie pies, and I doubled the recipe. They were quite good, but they would have been even better if they'd had more filling, so consider doubling the cream cheese. Cream cheese also loves us too, I think.

Ingredients:

* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* Dash nutmeg
* 4 ounces butter, softened
* 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/2 cup whole milk
* 3/4 cup canned pumpkin

* Filling:
* 6 tablespoons butter, softened
* 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 cups powdered sugar

Preparation:
Line baking sheet with a silicone mat or buttered parchment paper. Heat oven to 350°.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat 4 ounces butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well blended. Slowly beat in the milk and pumpkin, then add dry ingredients, beating just until blended.

With a tablespoon or cookie scoop, drop onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned and tops are firm. Cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet then loosen the bottoms with a spatula and let them cool completely.

Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl with an electric mixer. Beat well until the filling is smooth. Frost the bottom of a cookie, then press the bottom of another cookie on the filling to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies. Makes about 18 to 20 filled cookies.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkin cheesecake

Oh, how I love pumpkin. Pumpkin loves me, too, I think.
This cheesecake recipe came from my cousin Dana, and then I changed the directions around a little bit. It was super easy and smells super good, and if the taste I made of the batter is any indication, it's really good.
You should make one. You know you want to.

Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham crumbs
5 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. sugar

Filling:
3- 8oz.pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice

Mix crust ingredients together, just until wet. Press onto the bottom of a springform pan. Bake for 10 min. at 350. Set aside.
eggs one at a time, then pumpkin and spices, beat until smooth and creamy.Combine cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl, mix until smooth with an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, then pumpkin and spices. Pour into the crust. Bake for 60-70 min. or until the top turns a bit darker. Remove from oven and allow to come to room temperature, then refrigerate. After it has thoroughly chilled, remove the pan sides and cut. Serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

French Frisee Salad with Bacon and Poached Eggs

French frisee salad with bacon and poached eggs
Source: Cooking Light, July 2009

Also known as curly endive, frisée is a slightly bitter green with crisp, lacy leaves. If you can't find it, substitute a salad blend with frisée or radicchio. Put water on to boil while the croutons toast.

Yield: 4 servings (it's easy to halve, though)

Ingredients

* 4 (1-ounce) slices rye bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 6 slices applewood-smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces (Geoff and I have used center-cut bacon)
* 1/3 cup white wine vinegar (we've subbed red wine vinegar...I'm not sure there's much of a difference)
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 head frisée, torn (about 8 ounces) (Geoff and I usually use spring mix)
* 1 tablespoon white vinegar
* 4 large eggs
* Cracked black pepper (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Arrange bread in a single layer on a baking sheet; bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until toasted, turning once. Cool.

3. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings; set bacon aside. Combine 1 tablespoon drippings, white wine vinegar, and next 4 ingredients (through ground pepper) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add croutons, bacon, and frisée, tossing to coat. Place 2 cups salad mixture on each of 4 plates.

4. Add water to a large skillet (Geoff and I use the same skillet that we cooked the bacon in), filling two-thirds full; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer. Add white vinegar. Break eggs into pan; cook 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. (Geoff and I like runny yolks for this, and 3 minutes is about right. Truth be told, this is pretty much the only time I like a runny yolk.) Carefully remove eggs from pan using a slotted spoon; top each serving with 1 poached egg. Sprinkle with cracked pepper, if desired.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Baingan Bhartaa "smoked spicy eggplant"

If you're like me, you're trying to replicate at home the indian food goodness found at your favorite indian restaurant. I have made lots of good dishes but they never taste the same as they do at the restaurant. This is another recipe I've tried in my quest to make some of my favorite indian dishes at home. Note: I got the recipe from Indian Home Cooking (which I highly recommend) but I also consulted the awesome ladies of Show Me the Curry who provide step-by-step videos for the recipes. I can't recommend them enough.

1 large eggplant (I used 2 large-ish b/c one didn't seem like enough)
3 tbs canola
1" piece of ginger, peeled and minced (I used my microplane for this)
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt, or to taste
3 cloves garlic, fined minced into a paste
1 tbs ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 fresh hot green chile, chopped (you can also use canned)
2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of half a lemon (I didn't have any)

If you have a gas stove you can roast the eggplant directly over the burner. If not, you can roast the eggplant in a 450 degree oven for an hour or so, depending on how fat your veg is. You want the skin nice a black and the flesh inside to be pulpy by still somewhat firm. Allow the eggplant to cool then remove skin and cut off stem. Place eggplant in a bowl and mash into a puree and set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over med-high heat. Add the ginger and cook 30 seconds. Add the onion and salt and stir often until the onion begins to brown around the edges (10 min or so). Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add all the spices and cook one minute. Add about a tablespoon of water, stirring constantly, until the onion begins to stick or about one minute. Add the tomatoes and eggplant and stir often. After about 5 minutes stir in the chile and 1 tbs of the cilantro. Stir in lemon juice if using and salt to taste. Garnish with remaining cilantro and serve hot. I served mine with brown rice and naan. Makes 4 dinner-size portions if serving with rice.

Shepherdess Pie

I know there are 2 shepherd's pie recipes on here already but I present you with a fabulous veggie version that is so good you won't miss the meat one bit. Not that traditional shepherd's pie isn't good or that meat is bad, lord knows I've been eating my fair share of meat these days. But this is a great way to take advantage of the autumnal goodies at the market.

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.

2 pounds Yukon gold or red potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup skim milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, diced
2 cups vegetable broth
15 oz. kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 handfuls of green beans, cut in 1" pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 tsp. dried)
1/4 teaspoon sage
3-4 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water (or veg. broth)
extra rosemary for garnish
veggie meat product of your choice, optional (I used half a pkg of smart ground I found in my freezer)
1/2 C or so of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Put potatoes on to boil, reduce to simmer and cook until done. Drain and reserve 1 cup of cooking water. In a large mixing bowl, mash potatoes with skim milk and S&P to taste. I also added about 1/2 C of parmesan. Once potatoes reach desired consistency (mashed vs. whipped, it's your preference), set aside in a warm place.

While potatoes are simmering, heat a large iron skillet or brazier over med-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until golden brown and carmelized. Add carrots and saute for 3-5 minutes and then add veggie broth, kidney beans, green beans, veggie meat (if adding) and herbs. Simmer for about 20 minutes on medium heat or until veggies are tender. Add S&P to taste. If all the liquid has cooked away, add a bit of the reserved potato cooking water and add spinach and stir until wilted. Make a slurry with the corn starch and water/veg broth and add to pan; stir until thickened. Spread potatoes over top and sprinkle with more cheese or rosemary. Place under a broiler for a few minutes to brown the top and warm the potatoes or just take to the table and serve. Susan said this serves 6 but we got 8 servings out of it. Without the veggie meat, each serving is 352 kcals and 14 g fiber.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Three Grannies' Apple Cake

Todd LOVES his Granny's apple cake. He and his cousin Danielle fight over it (yes, literally) whenever she makes one. Danielle once hid an apple cake in her washing machine so Todd couldn't find it and claim half. At my bridal shower I received a copy of Granny's apple cake recipe. And then I received a copy of MY grandmother's apple cake recipe (uh oh, what to do now?). AND, I already had my other grandmother's apple cake recipe, which I found when I claimed her recipe box after she died. I knew I could never make an apple cake without offending someone.

And then I looked at the recipes. They were all the same. One used apple juice instead of orange juice, but the quantities of all the ingredients were the same in each of the three recipes. Must be a winner. :) I'm making it for the first time tonight, and the kitchen smells delicious.

1 c. vegetable oil
3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. orange or apple juice
4-5 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Grease and flour a round tube pan.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix first 7 ingredients together (through juice). Place half the batter in the prepared pan. Layer in half the apples. Sprinkle with half the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Pour in the remaining batter. Layer with remaining apples. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 90 minutes.

* Tip - when you flip the cake out of the pan, turn it back over so that you see the apples on top.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin pie cupcakes

In case you hadn't noticed, I've got a thing for pumpkin. And on a day like today, when it's cold and rainy and decidedly fall-ish, it seemed like the perfect time for this recipe.
The best part? I had all the things on hand, and it was super quick to throw it together.
Only one drawback -- the cupcake really sticks to the paper and you lose a little when you pull the liner off. Just means you have to eat two instead of one.

from Baking Bites

2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup half and half (or evaporated milk)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice
In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and half and half until well combined. Add in dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth.
Fill each muffin cup with approximately 1/3 cup of batter.
Bake for 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan. They will sink as they cool.
Chill cupcakes before serving. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cincinnati Turkey Chili

Cincinnati chili is Gaby's favorite kind, so when I saw this recipe I knew we'd be having it. She pronounced it "the best ever" and then proceeded to eat so much she was almost sick.
It was pretty good.

adapted from a Sept. 2009 Cooking Light recipe

4 ounces uncooked spaghetti
Cooking spray
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 1/2 cups prechopped onion, divided
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
6 cloves minced (or pressed) garlic
1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped semisweet chocolate
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; set aside.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add turkey; cook 3 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add 1 cup onion, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in chili powder and next 5 ingredients (through allspice); cook 1 minute. Add broth and tomato sauce; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate and salt. Serve chili over spaghetti; top with remaining 1/2 cup onion and cheese.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash

Adapted from 101cookbooks.com.

I bookmarked this recipe the moment I read it and it did not disappoint. I did make a few changes but no matter which recipe you follow, be sure to try it out. If you don't have farro, barley would be a good substitute. All I know is that I'll be making this again and I can hardly wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow.

1 cup farro, rinsed and drained
4 cups water (or stock)
2 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice [I used a delicata squash]
1 large red onion cut into large dice
1 pint fresh mission figs, trimmed and quartered
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar [I used a blend of regular and 16 yo balsamic]
1/4 cup walnuts, deeply toasted then chopped
3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or olive oil)[optional]
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled [I totally forgot to add it--oops]
S&P to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Combine rinsed and drained farro and water/stock in a medium saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to simmer and check often to ensure you don't cook it into mush. Mine took about 30 minutes or so. Pour off any remaining water and set aside.

Peel, de-seed and cut squash into 1/2" cubes and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add onion and figs. Spritz with cooking spray and pour over balsamic and sprinkle with S&P; stir until contents are well coated. Set mixing bowl aside for later use. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and scatter veg into an even layer. Roast in oven for about 20 minutes, turning veg every 5-7 minutes.

Pour farro and veg into reserved mixing bowl. Add S&P to taste and mix in chopped walnuts. If you like, add some olive oil or a smidge of aged balsamic. Add crumbled goat cheese. Serves about 5 as a main course with a side salad and crusty bread. Each serving (without cheese) has 308 kcals and 12.3 g of fiber.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Adapted from epicurious.com.

This is a reduced-fat adaptation from the original. If you like to cook with cream, then by all means go for it. If not, this made a creamy, yummy soup and you won't miss the fat.

Serves 6-8. At 6 servings, kcals: 292 and dietary fiber: 5 g.

2 tbs olive oil
2 lbs fresh broccoli, stems and florets separated and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 large potato, 1/2" cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1/2 teaspoon dried (I didn't have any)
6 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used 4 cups and 2.5 cups water)
1 1/2 cups skim milk
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tbs dijon mustard (or to taste)
1 cup (packed) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
S&P to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes

In heavy medium pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil, broccoli stems, potato and onion; sauté until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and tarragon; sauté 1 minute. Add stock; bring to boil. Simmer uncovered until broccoli is tender, about 15 minutes. If you like your soup smooth vs. chunky, now is the time to break out the immersion blender (or use a counter top blender or food processor following the usual precautions associated with blending hot liquids).

In a separate pot, bring skim milk to a boil and add flour; whisk until smooth and thickened. Turn down heat and add dijon and cheese; whisk until well combined and cheese is melted. Whisk cheese sauce into soup. Add broccoli florets. Simmer until soup thickens and florets are tender, stirring frequently, about 5 - 10 minutes. Season to taste with S&P and pepper flakes.

Alternatively, you can leave the cheese out of the sauce and sprinkle it over individual servings and then place under a broiler until golden brown and delicious. I would not recommend making this in a crock pot unless you have a tried and true method of doing so. My prior attempt at this recipe using the crock pot turned out...sub-optimal.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

white bean and sage chowder

I made up this recipe based on a crockpot recipe from Alissa, I think. It's good! I will call it Bob.

1 can cannellini beans
1 can creamed corn (we have four cans of creamed corn hanging out in our pantry and I never have any idea what to do with them [and neither J. nor I remember buying them... maybe they came with the apartment?], so I was proud of myself for using one. regular corn or another can of beans would be fine)
1 potato, diced
1 onion, diced
some chopped garlic
some red pepper flakes (but not too many, since the crockpot intensifies dried spices like crazy)
bit of olive oil
4 c broth or water (I used low-sodium chicken broth)
several leaves of sage (I suspect bay leaves would be good too)

Pour olive oil on the bottom of the crockpot. Put in onion and garlic and stir around so they're coated.

Throw in all the rest of the stuff except the sage leaves. Float the sage leaves on top.

Cook on high for 8-10 hours.

Scoop out sage leaves before serving if you'd like. (It's a little weird to get a big chunk of sage in your mouth, but it's not the worst thing that could happen to a person.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pumpkin pie pancakes

Mmmm....just...mmmm....

Adapted from Sweetnicks

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter

Whisk together flours, salt, spices, sugar and baking powder in a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg, pumpkin and vegetable oil or melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Don’t worry if you have a few lumps. You don’t want to over beat the batter, it’ll produce tough pancakes.
Let the batter sit for 10 minutes while you heat the skillet. Over low-medium heat melt a tablespoon of butter or vegetable oil . Once skillet is hot, spoon 1/4 cup of batter per pancake into the skillet. When pancake starts to bubble slightly, carefully flip over.
Once browned and cooked through place pancakes on a oven proof plate and place in the oven set at 200 degrees F to keep warm while the rest of the pancakes are cooked.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Roasted garlic and white bean spread

So did you see over there that I turned 32 and one my goals was to make at least one new-to-me recipe from each of my cookbooks?
I have a lot of cookbooks. This is going to take a while.
So, anyway, I jumped right in today, one day after my birthday, and made this recipe. It's tasty, super easy, and I'm sure I'll be making it lots more.

Adapted from "Grazing" by Julie Van Rosendaal

1 large head garlic
2 cans cannelli beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil (eyeball it)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. fresh or dried rosemary (eyeball it)

Cut the top off the head of garlic, and wrap in foil. Roast in oven at 350 for about an hour.
In the bowl of a food processor, add garlic, beans, lemon juice, salt and rosemary. Squeeze in roasted garlic cloves. Blend to combine ingredients, drizzle olive oil in the top while on.
Serve with crostini, pita chips, breadsticks, crackers or veggies.

S'mores cake

S'mores! In cake form! Does anything sound better? I think not.
Okay, I can think of things that sound better, but this sounded pretty freaking good to me. And it was, even though it was sort of a pain to put together.

Adapted from Annie's Eats, because I am not as careful of a baker as she is. And not nearly creative enough to do the decorations she did on top of the cake.

For the cake:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
3 large eggs, separated
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk

For the filling:
Marshmallow fluff

For the milk chocolate glaze:
8 oz. milk chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
2 tbsp. light corn syrup

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease and flour the sides of two 9-inch round cake pans.In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; stir together and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Transfer to a separate bowl and set aside. Replace the mixer bowl and fit with the paddle attachment. Cream together the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the egg yolks until well combined. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk on low speed, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in about a third of the egg whites to lighten the batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until completely incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 5-10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
Once the cake has cooled completely, transfer one of the cake layers to a serving platter. Fill a piping bag with the marshmallow fluff, then spread a layer over the cake, not quite reaching the edges. Top with the remaining cake layer and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
To make the milk chocolate glaze, combine the chocolate, cream, butter and corn syrup in a heatproof bowl, microwave for 30 seconds at a time, on medium heat. Whisk the ingredients together until completely smooth. Pour glaze over the top of the chilled cake, allowing it to run down the sides in some places. Return to the refrigerator to chill until set.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Wild rice with apples

This is adapted from a Cooking Light Oct. 2009 recipe. Adapted, because I can't imagine any way to use the amount of liquid originally called for. Check the back of your wild rice box, I guess, and see what the rice/water ratio is, though, before you make.
Really good, really simple. And makes a bunch.

2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups chopped Pink Lady apple
1 cup chopped leek
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 cups uncooked wild rice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add apple; sauté 7 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Remove from pan.
Reduce heat to medium. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add leek; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring occasionally. Stir in broth, water, cider, and thyme; bring to a boil. Stir in rice; reduce heat, and simmer 55 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Return rice mixture to pan over medium heat. Stir in apple, pecans, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Apple cinnamon pork chops

My cousin Dana makes apple cinnamon pork chops and they always sound so good, and I have apples from picking with Gwen this weekend, so I asked for her recipe.
It uses canned apple pie filling. Which is fine and all, but doesn't make use of the beautiful apples I have in the house. So I made my own recipe.

4 pork loin chops
4 Tbsp. butter
6-7 apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
1/2 c. apple cider
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2-1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon

In a skillet, melt butter. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, let caramelize for about 2 minutes. Add apples stir to coat with butter and sugar mixture. Add apple cider. Cover with lid, simmer for about 15 minutes.
In a large pan, heat about 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil. Brown pork chops on both sides. Add apples, and simmer until apples are tender and pork chops are cooked through.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Magnolia Bakery's Famous Banana Pudding

Seriously unhealthy, which means AMAZING AND DELICIOUS!

We had this from the Magnolia Bakery in NYC, and it was so good that I set out to find the recipe.... which I did, thank you to the internets. I took this to a pot-luck dinner tonight and it was a huge hit. This recipe fits *exactly* into a standard trifle dish. I used 6 bananas (2 for each layer). I placed a single layer of cookies in each layer, but then stood cookies up around the edge, too, so that you could see the cookies through the glass and people would have a hint as to what was inside. Also, I chilled mine for 12 hours before serving, because I had to assemble it before work in the morning in order to have it be ready to take to the dinner when I got home from work. It was fine - don't worry if you can't serve it within the stated timeline. It will still be good.

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
3 cups heavy cream
1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)
4 cups sliced ripe bananas (I used 6 medium bananas)

In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.
To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours - or up to 8 hours, but no longer! - before serving.

Gingered Carrot-Sweet Potato Soup

from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Entertaining by Beth Hensperger

Slow cooker capacity: 3-4.5 quarts
Setting and cook time: Low for 9-11 hours

1 medium-size to large sweet potato
6 medium-size carrots
1 medium-size to large sweet onion, such as Walla Walla or Maui (we used a yellow onion)
One 1-inch-long piece of fresh ginger
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and white pepper to taste (we used black pepper)
Yogurt, creme fraiche, or heavy cream for garnish (we used plain Greek-style yogurt)

1. Peel the sweet potato and chop into pieces no larger than 1 inch on a side. Peel the carrots and chop into pieces no larger than 3/4 inch on a side. Peel the onion and chop into 3/4-inch pieces. Use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife to peel the ginger. Mince it finely. Place the sweet potato, carrots, onion, and ginger in the slow cooker and stir to combine. (This is where Geoff and I put the crock in the fridge until the next morning.) Add the broth. If you are using canned broth, do not add salt or pepper at this point. If you are using unseasoned homemade broth, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and a dash of white pepper. Cover and cook on LOW until the vegetables are quite tender, 9 to 11 hours.

2. Turn the slow cooker off, uncover, and allow the soup to cool for a few minutes, then puree in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, or use an immersion blender right in the crock. You will want to obtain the smoothest puree possible, so let the blender do its work for a few minutes. Check the seasonings and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve the soup hot or cold, garnished with a spoonful of yogurt, if desired.

panzanella (aka grilled bread salad)

I'd bookmarked this Bitten recipe to try a while ago, and when I realized I randomly had all the ingredients, I tried to just use the one in Bittman's How to Cook Everything instead of the one online. Turns out he's simplified things since the book was published and eliminated some annoying step about straining tomato seeds. I'd go with the online version (but definitely go with it, because it's tasty).

(Bittman's notes; I did it in the broiler and the crunchy/chewy magic totally worked.) If your bread isn't quite stale, you can dry the bread in the oven or use the grill or broiler. The latter method not only dries the bread more quickly but, by charring the edges slightly, also adds another dimension of flavor.

1 small baguette (about 8 ounces) or other crusty bread (before broiling, I rubbed the bread with the clove of raw garlic I was about to chop; not sure if it did anything!)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used about 1/8 c white balsamic instead)
2 tablespoons diced shallot, scallion or red onion
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic (optional)
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup or more roughly chopped basil or parsley

1. Start gas or charcoal grill, or preheat broiler; rack should be 4 to 6 inches from heat source. Cut bread lengthwise into quarters. Grill or broil the bread, watching carefully and turning as each side browns and chars slightly; total time will be less than 10 minutes. Remove, and set aside.

2. While bread cools, mix together next five ingredients in a large bowl. Mash tomatoes with back of a fork to release all of their juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut bread into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes (no larger), and toss them with the dressing.

3. Let bread sit for 20 to 30 minutes, tossing occasionally and tasting a piece every now and then. The salad is at its peak when the bread is fairly soft but some edges remain crisp, but you can serve it before or after it reaches that state. When it's ready, stir in basil or parsley, and serve.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

World Peace Cookies

From: Smitten Kitchen

Every time I see a Smitten Kitchen cookie recipe that looks good, she references the World Peace Cookies and comments on how well the current cookie recipe compares to the magnificence that is the World Peace Cookie. I wanted to bring a treat to work on Friday to celebrate the end of a very challenging work week. I thought it was time to haul out this recipe, and was happy to see that I already had all the ingredients. Of course, they were delicious, and addictive, and will be made again and again. A few of the commenters complained that the dough was too crumbly (solve this by making sure your butter is at room temperature - it is the only moisture in the cookie so it has to be soft to form a dough), or that their cookies melted into a big pool in the oven (I don't know, that didn't happen to me). I didn't have any problems with these and they came out exactly like they were supposed to.

Makes about 36 cookies

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons or 150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (120 grams) (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

Turn off the mixer. Pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours (I just put it in the freezer for 30 minutes, and it was fine). (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)

Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Working with a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about one inch between them.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Serving: The cookies can be eaten when they are warm or at room temperature — I prefer them at room temperature, when the textural difference between the crumbly cookie and the chocolate bits is greatest — and are best suited to cold milk or hot coffee. (Those were SK's notes, but I agree that they were better at room temp than they were warm).

Do ahead: Packed airtight, cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days (Deb note: not a chance); they can be frozen for up to 2 months. They can also be frozen in log form for months, and can be sliced and baked directly from the freezer, adding a couple minutes to the baking time.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

raisin challah

I brought this sweet honey-raisin challah to my parents' Rosh Hashanah dinner last week. I'm not going to recopy the recipe, because it's long (although the bread isn't complicated to make at all), but I wanted to share it with all of you because it is sweet and tasty and pretty much foolproof.

Woo, happy (Jewish) new year!

Fried Green Tomatoes

adapted from: Simply Recipes

We got a bag of green tomatoes in the CSA share this week, and if I had any tomatoes growing on my plants I might even consider pulling some off early to use in this recipe. Also, as the weather gets colder you might have extra tomatoes that won't have time to ripen on the vine, which would be good candidates for this recipe. I added a little more seasoning to the recipe, but it would probably be good as written, too. It had a lot of flavor. We ate them for lunch, but they would also be a good side dish.

Ingredients

3 medium, firm green tomatoes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
salt, pepper, a little chili powder
1/4 cup milk
2 beaten eggs
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs or cornmeal (I used seasoned bread crumbs)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
ranch dressing for dipping, opt

Method

1 Cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt and pepper. Let tomato slices stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place flour, milk, eggs, and bread crumbs in separate shallow dishes. (I added a bit of salt, pepper and chili powder to the flour to season it).

2 Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Dip tomato slices in milk, then flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs. In the skillet, fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time, for 4-6 minutes on each side or until brown. As you cook the rest of the tomatoes, add olive oil as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with ranch dressing for dipping.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Zucchini Pancakes with Yogurt Sauce

Adapted from Ina Garten and the NY Times.

For the pancakes:
3 medium zucchini, shredded
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
6 tbs flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (I used reduced-fat from Trader Joe's)
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (or anything oniony)
1/3 cup finely chopped dill (I used dried)
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed for frying

For the yogurt sauce:
2/3 cup plain yogurt (fat free)
2 medium or 1 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste

Shred the zucchini with a box grater or food processor and set aside in a bowl. You can sprinkle with salt and drain off the liquid but I skipped this step to save time. The batter might turn a bit watery but you can add a smidge more flour if need be and the pancakes still taste just as good. Combine remanining ingredients with zucchini and mix to combine. In a skillet over med-high heat, add oil and drop in 2 Tbs of batter at a time. I used my cookie scoop for this and got 12 pancakes. Cook on one side until edges begin to look done and bubbles have formed on the surface and then flip. Place pancakes on an oven-safe platter in a warm oven until remainder of batter is used up. While pancakes cook, make yogurt sauce and set aside. We ate these with hummus and pita and cherry tomatoes tossed with red wine vinegar, olive oil, basil and oregano.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Eastern European red lentil soup

From Veg Times (thanks, Kel!) I am not sure exactly what's Eastern European about this -- it seems more Indian to me with the curry and the cumin, but whatever. It's savory and tangy and a little sweet. It also let me pretend it was fall for a night, even though it's almost 80 degrees here at the moment, which is hotter than it was during most of the summer. Again, whatever.

Also, I like thick soups and cut down on the amount of water -- I probably used 6 cups instead of 7, and my tomato didn't have as much liquid as a whole can of chopped tomatoes would. I didn't need to thin it out in the final step, either, although I probably will when we reheat the leftovers.

2 T olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 T)
1 1/2 red lentils
2 T ground cumin (I added some curry powder; the recipe notes say you can replace the supplement with curry, thyme or paprika)
1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes with liquid (I just chopped a leftover tomato from the garden)
1 T honey
3 bay leaves (I omitted)
1 T red wine vinegar
yogurt for garnish

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in red lentils and spices, and cook 1 minute or until spices are fragrant and lentils are coated in oil. Stir in tomatoes with liquid, honey, bay leaves and 7 c water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

2. Cover pan, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until lentils are soft and falling apart and soup is thick. Add a little water to thin soup, if necessary. Remove bay leaves, stir in vinegar, and serve with dollops of yogurt.