Thursday, April 30, 2009

Puffed Rice Power Bars

Another recipe from my boyfriend, Alton Brown. I highly recommend you watch this episode if you are at all inclined to make your own power/granola bars.

3 ounces puffed brown rice, approximately 6 cups

3 tablespoons flax seed oil, plus extra for the pan (I used canola)

1 tablespoon orange blossom honey (I used blackberry honey)

7 ounces mini marshmallows, approximately 4 cups

3 ounces toasted slivered almonds, approximately 3/4 cup

1 1/2 ounces coarsely chopped dried cranberries, approximately 1/3 cup (I used raisins)

1 1/2 ounces coarsely chopped dried cherries, approximately 1/3 cup

1-ounce dried blueberries, approximately 1/3 cup
Lightly coat the inside of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch metal pan with oil and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Spread the brown puffed rice evenly on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the rice is toasting, prepare the marshmallow mixture.

Place the oil, honey, and marshmallows in a large mixing bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water (I put mine in the microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirred and back in again for 1 minute). Stir until the marshmallows are melted, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Once the marshmallows are melted, quickly add the toasted brown rice, almonds, and fruit and stir to combine. Coat your hands or a spatula with oil and spread the mixture evenly into the pan. Once the mixture has cooled completely, cut into squares and store in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Buttermilk Lemon Bars

Adapted from Baking Bites

Crust
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

Filling
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350F. Get out a 9×9-inch baking pan, and set it aside.
Make the crust. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Cut butter into chunks and add to flour mixture. Blend until mixture forms coarse, sandy crumbs. Pour into pan and press mixture down (with your fingers or the back of a spoon) into an even layer.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until just lightly browned around the edges.
While crust is baking, make filling. Whisk together all filling ingredients in a large bowl.
When the crust comes out of the oven and is still hot, pour in filling mixture.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until filling is set and does not jiggle when the pan is gently shaken.
Cool completely before slicing.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chilled Strawberry Soup

Yes, another recipe ripped off from Isaac's. However, when I worked there, we sold out of this recipe about as fast as any other. Seriously, it's good and so easy to make. Also a tasty treat to serve to dinner guests. The original recipe makes 5 gallons but I've quartered it for my (and your) convenience.

3 pints strawberries, cleaned and hulled
1.5 pints blueberries (I would omit them unless you are using fresh)
2 C sour cream or yogurt (I use yogurt - Greek if you have it)
4 oz 10X sugar (or to taste)
1 T cinnamon
1 T nutmeg
Half & half or milk to thin if desired
whipped cream for garnish

Roughly chop the strawberries in a food processor and dump into a mixing bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients except blueberries and mix well. Fold in blueberries and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with whipped cream. Serves a lot. Eat it for breakfast with muffin or granola, serve it as a starter course or serve it for dessert. You can't go wrong.

nutella self-frosting cake

OMG YOU GUYS SOMEONE BROUGHT THESE CUPCAKES TO A PARTY I WENT TO ON SATURDAY NIGHT AND I SWEAR THEY WERE THE BEST THINGS I'VE EVER EATEN SO I ASKED MY FRIEND TO SEND ME THE RECIPE AND SERIOUSLY YOU MUST TRY THEM OK YAY

From Carmen Cooks.

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup, 12 oz) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Nutella, approx. 1/3 cup

Preheat oven to 325F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners or grease the cups with some butter. Alternatively, butter an 8-inch round cake pan.

Cream together butter and sugar until light, 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Don’t worry if the batter doesn’t look smooth. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains.

Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full (or pour all the batter into the cake pan). The batter will be thick. Top each cake with a dollop (I used about 2 tsp per cupcake and about 1/3 cup dolloped in tablespoon measures for the cake round) of Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the nutella.

Bake cupcakes for about 20 minutes and the round cake for 25-30.

Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12 cupcakes or 1 8-inch round cake.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Beef Bulgogi

Have I mentioned that I got a new wok for Christmas? A real, cast-iron wok that I am having a lot of fun cooking with these days.
In an attempt to look for more things to cook in the wok, I stumbled across this recipe. I usually buy marinated beef at the Korean market down the road from our house -- I'll never do that again, this was much, much better. Especially with some kimchi.

Adapted from a recipe found on Serious Eats

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon mirin
1/2 medium onion, grated
1-2 Tbsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound rib eye, thinly sliced

Add the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, mirin, onion, garlic, ginger, and black pepper to a large bowl. Whisk until combined. Toss in the meat, cover, and set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat a cast iron pan or a wok to high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade, and then toss in the pan. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until nicely browned.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Feta Vinaigrette

This is a Cooking Light recipe I found online, and have been saving until I had all the ingredients. So, so good. I've even got enough stuff left over to make it again, which I'm sure I will once the bowl I just made is gone.


1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta; about 8 ounces)
2 cups bagged prewashed baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
3/4 cup (3 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled and divided

Cook the orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; rinse with cold water. Combine orzo, spinach, and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl.
Drain artichokes, reserving marinade. Coarsely chop artichokes, and add artichokes, reserved marinade, and 1/2 cup feta cheese to orzo mixture, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle each serving with remaining feta cheese.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ziti with spinach, cherry tomatoes, and gorgonzola sauce

Geoff and I really liked the slight kick to the sauce that the crushed red pepper provided. It's made to serve 2, but could easily be doubled, tripled, etc. I think you could probably add some chicken to this, too.

Ziti with spinach, cherry tomatoes, and gorgonzola sauce
from Cooking Light, September 2008

Note from CL: Gorgonzola, an Italian blue cheese, gives this grown-up mac and cheese dish pungent flavor. If you'd like to make it more family-friendly, substitute your favorite blue or other creamy cheese. You can also substitute penne or rigatoni for ziti. Total time: 40 minutes.

Yield
2 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

Ingredients

4 ounces uncooked ziti
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
6 tablespoons half-and-half
3 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 cup fresh spinach

Preparation

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

2. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add cherry tomatoes, salt, crushed red pepper, and minced garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in half-and-half and Gorgonzola cheese; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in spinach and pasta; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts, tossing occasionally.

Yum...Becky

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring Asparagus Risotto

from Cooking Light, April 2009

Geoff and I had this for dinner last night, and it was really good. Cooking Light says this serves 8 (1-1/4 cups risotto with 1-1/2 teaspoons cheese), but I think 4 is more likely, especially if you're serving this as a main dish.

Note from Cooking Light: Clif Holt, chef-owner of Little Savannah in Birmingham, Alabama, prepares this classic risotto for harvest dinners at Jones Valley Urban Farm. For a vegetarian entrée, use vegetable broth.

4 cups (1-inch) slices asparagus (about 1 1/2 pounds), divided
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (we used a Viognier, since it was already open)
1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided (we used plain old Parmesan)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Place 1 cup asparagus and 1 cup broth in a blender; puree until smooth. Combine puree, remaining 2 cups broth, and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

2. Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup broth mixture; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining puree mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes total). Stir in remaining 3 cups asparagus; cook 2 minutes.

3. Stir in 3/4 cup cheese, cream, salt, and pepper. Transfer risotto to a bowl. Serve with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

thai curry mussels

This is from the v. funny Cook to Bang (and the recipe has a much more amusing name than the one I just posted).

Anyway, we made this last night and it was delicious. Not quite as good as the curry sauce at the awesome mussels place in D.C., but a passable substitute. Definitely find some good crusty bread to serve at the same time.

Ingredients (serves 2):
1. 1 tablespoon of olive oil
2. 1 cup of white wine
3. 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
4. 1 tablespoon of fish sauce (I omitted)
5. 1 can of coconut milk
6. 2 tablespoons of curry paste
7. 2-3 pounds of mussels
8. 1 tomato diced
9. 1 leek chopped coarsely (we used 2 small onions)
10. 2 garlic cloves minced
11. 2 handfuls of chopped cilantro
12. 1 lime worth of juice

Step 1
Warm up the olive oil in a stockpot on medium heat. Throw in the garlic, leeks, half the cilantro and tomatoes and sauté (approx 4 minutes). Add the curry paste, fish sauce, and brown sugar, mixing and cooking thoroughly (approx 2 minutes).

Step 2
Dump in the coconut milk, white wine and limejuice if you are so inclined. Mix it all up and bring to a boil for a solid 2 minutes covered.

Step 3
First pull out the beards from the mussels and clean the barnacles off the shells. Throw the mussels into the broth and cook them through (approx 8 minutes). Throw in the cilantro and squeeze more lime. Pour it all into one large serving bowl and set it in the middle with smaller bowls and a ladle.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Cream Sauce

From: Feelgood Eats

You can play around with the filling for this chicken. Maybe add a little spinach? Different types of cheese? I thought that a few mushrooms might be tasty in the sauce. It's really a simple and tasty recipe that you could play around with to suite your tastes, ingredients on hand, etc.

4 chicken breasts, with skin (I used skinless)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup grated mozzarella
4 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1/2 red onion, minced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375.

Wash and trim the chicken breasts and use a paper towel to pat dry. Using a small knife, carefully slice a notch into the side of the chicken breast. Work slowly, moving the knife back and forth to expand the pocket. If you break through to the surface, don’t worry, it will still work out. Stuff the pocket with the grated mozzarella (or your chosen filling) and press around the open edge to help seal the pocket. Season with a generous pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

In a large oven-proof, heavy-bottomed skillet (cast-iron is ideal) heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and add the chicken skin-side down (I used skinless and it was fine). Cook for about five minutes; you will see the chicken cook through by about half. Transfer the chicken to the oven (without flipping) and continue to cook until it is cooked through (internal temp of 165+), about 10 minutes.

While the chicken roasts in the oven, put together the sauce. In a small saucepan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the minced onion and a pinch of sea salt. Stir frequently and saute until the onion softens, about 3 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and saute for a minute, stirring to combine. Add the chicken stock and cream and bring to a simmer, allowing all of the ingredients to mingle. Remove from the heat and pour over cooked chicken breasts. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Mexican Bean Salad

I know this isn't really a recipe but it's really tasty and easy to throw together. We've been doing cultural presentations in school and every group has brought some sort of yumminess to class. This was so good that my friend and I ate our own servings and then swiped the serving of another classmate when she left the room. I'm planning to make some this week with goodies from the market. I think this would make a good side dish or a main dish served with quinoa.

Salad (8 servings)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel sweet corn, drained
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, each cut in half
1 cup chopped green bell pepper (1 medium)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (1 medium)
1/2 cup sliced green onions (8 medium)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp black pepper

Mix salad ingredients and dressing, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sloppy joes

This was super easy to put together, and while the tater tots baked in the oven, I threw the whole thing together. I'll never use a can of sloppy joe sauce again.
I can vouch for its tastiness with a nice British beer. Because really, after spending the amount of money I did at the vet today, I needed a nice British beer.

adapted from Simply Recipes

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced (or some granulated garlic)
1 1/4 lb ground beef (or ground turkey)
1/2 cup ketchup
2 cups tomato sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 turns of freshly ground black pepper
hamburger buns

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and bell pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove from heat. Remove vegetables from the pan to a medium sized bowl, set aside.
Using the same pan salt the bottom of the pan. Heat the pan on high. Brown the ground beef, then drain.
Return the cooked ground beef and vegetables to the pan. Add the ketchup, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and brown sugar to the pan. Stir to mix well. Add ground cloves and cayenne pepper. Lower the heat to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spinach Burritos

from The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cans (15 oz each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup mild salsa (you could definitely go medium on this), plus additional for serving
9 oz baby spinach
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
6 large flour or whole wheat tortillas
guacamole (optional)

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the beans and salsa and cook them for several minutes, stirring them occasionally.

In a loosely covered bowl, wilt the spinach in the microwave, about 2 minutes.

Add the spinach to the beans and salsa and stir it gently (you can also keep it separate if anyone in your house is afraid of green food). Remove the bean mixture from the heat and add the cheese. Stir it gently until the cheese is melted.

Warm the tortillas in the microwave (about 1 minute on high).

Put a scoop of the bean-spinach mixture in the lower middle of each tortilla. Add additional salsa and guacamole (optional), if desired. Fold half the tortilla up over the beans and roll it up to secure it.

Spanikopita

I've never worked with phyllo dough, but it was much easier than I expected. These are baking in the oven right now. Smell really, really good.

Adapted from Annie's Eats (based on what I had in the house)

Dinner Spanakopitas

2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. plain dry bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup small-crumbled feta cheese
12 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add the onion, and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, add the thawed and drained spinach to a large mixing bowl. When the onions are done, add them to the bowl. Mix in the eggs, Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 tablespoons bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Gently fold in the feta.
Place one sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface. Brush the dough lightly with butter. Working quickly, place another sheet of phyllo on top of the first, and brush it lightly with butter. Continue this process until you have a stack of 4 sheets of phyllo. Cut the stack of phyllo in half lengthwise (I found a pizza cutter useful for this step). Place 1/3 cup of the spinach filling on the shorter end and roll the phyllo up diagonally as if folding a flag. Then fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again. Continue folding the first diagonally and then straight until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed. Continue assembling phyllo layers and folding the filling until all of the filling is used. Place on a sheet pan, seam sides down. Brush the tops with melted butter, sprinkle with kosher salt and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Green bean and tofu stir-fry

This is also adapted from "Martin Yan Quick and Easy," based on what I had in the house. It was tasty.

Sauce:
1/2 c. vegetable broth
1 1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce (to make purely vegetarian, substitute soy sauce)
2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
1 tsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. veg oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3/4 green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
1/2 red pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 package firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes

To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
Place a stir-fry pan over high heat until hot. Add the oil, swirling to coat the sides. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until slightly soft, about 1 minute. Add the beans and stir-fry 3-4 minutes. Add a few drops of water if the pan is dry. Add the bell pepper, tofu and sauce and cook, stirring, until beans are tender, another 5 minutes.
Serve.

Sichuan pickled cucumbers

This is adapted from "Martin Yan Quick and Easy." They are similar to cucumbers we eat at our favorite dim sum place, which automatically makes them a winner in my book. So good, and so easy.

1-2 cucumbers, thinly sliced (I used the mandoline)
1 Tbsp. salt
1 c. rice vinegar
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. red chili flakes (or, you can use 1-3 Tbsp. chili garlic paste, like I did)

In a bowl, cobine the cucumber and salt, toss to mix, and let stand for 10 minutes. Rinse, drain, pat dry, and place in a heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan, bring all the remaining ingredients to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour over the cucumbers, stir and cover with plastic wrap. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chocolate Ganache

This weekend I made Kelly's Guinness Chocolate Cake recipe (posted on this site) for my dad's birthday. Smitten Kitchen has a nearly-identical Chocolate Stout Cake recipe. I used the chocolate ganache from Smitten Kitchen's recipe, because I thought my dad would like it with the touch of coffee in the ganache. All around winner. VERY moist chocolate cake, and the ganache was delicious. Definitely making this cake again sometime. There was nothing left to bring back home. But this ganache would be excellent on almost any chocolate cake, and it was super easy and ready in just a couple of minutes.

Ingredients:

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over the top of cooled cake.

Garlic-herb mashed potatoes

This is adapted from a Rachel Ray recipe. We had it tonight with ham/turkey and roasted asparagus, and it was very good.

4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chunked
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup half-and-half or milk
8 ounces garlic and herb cheese (that soft cheese that is spreadable)
3 tablespoons chopped chives or, 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Boil potatoes until soft. Drain and return to pan. Mash (or whip with electric mixer) with half and half. Add cheese, stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with chives.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Buttermilk Waffles with Cherry Almond Sauce

From: Bon Appetit, March 2009

These were really good. I didn't have any frozen cherries in the house, so I just added a splash of almond extract to a cup or so of cherry preserves with whole cherries (Trader Joe's) and heated until it melted into a sauce. Still very tasty. top with yogurt for breakfast, or whipped cream or ice cream for dessert.

1 12-oz bag frozen pitted dark sweet cherries (do not thaw) (I didn't have this)
1 Cup cherry preserves
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp (scant) salt
2 cups buttermilk
9 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, divided
Lightly sweetened whipped cream or plain yogurt

Combine frozen cherries and preserves in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until cherries begin to thaw and juices form. Boil gently until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat; stir in almond extract.

Preheat oven to 300. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Whisk in buttermilk, then 6 Tbsp melted butter. Heat waffle iron according to manufacturers instructions. Brush waffle iron grids lightly on both sides with some of the remaining melted butter. Pour 1/2 cup waffle batter over each grid. Close waffle iron and cook until waffles are crisp and golden. Transfer waffles to rack and keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining batter until all waffles are made. Place waffle on plate and top with whipped cream and cherry sauce. (We skipped the whipped cream and topped with the cherry sauce and some powdered sugar.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

elise's chocolate mint cupcakes

I made these for a friend's birthday party last weekend and, because this friend researches crickets, J. had the brilliant idea to put plastic bugs on them. (The idea was first to put REAL bugs IN them, but yeah.)

I'm not going to copy over the recipe, because I didn't change a single thing about it and it was pretty perfect just the way it was. I wimped out and bought frosting and added mint extract to it -- I'm sure her frosting from scratch is better.

buttermilk & apple bread

In the oven now, smelling amazing. From Coconut & Lime.

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups flour (I did more like half and half with the flour and added 2T ground flaxseed, which had better not make it gross or I will be annoyed with all this healthy living crap; Kelly, I'm looking at you.)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup cubed apple (she recommends Cripps? I've never heard of them and used some old sad apple from the fridge)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I added more)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice (I substituted cloves and more cinnamon)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour one standard loaf pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, brown sugar, salt, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and baking soda. Then mix in the egg, buttermilk, and oil. Stir until a thick batter forms. Fold in the apple. Pour into the prepared pan and bake about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss

From: Rachel Ray

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/3 pounds chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped (I used 1 yellow onion)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup chicken broth or stock
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked to al dente
Chopped or snipped chives, for garnish


Heat a deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and the chicken to the pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken until lightly golden all over, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and return the skillet to the heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add another tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter, the garlic and shallots to the skillet. Saute garlic and shallots 3 minutes. Add flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in wine and reduce liquid 1 minute. Whisk lemon juice and broth into sauce. Stir in capers and parsley. When the liquid comes to a bubble, add remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to the sauce to give it a little shine. Add chicken back to the pan and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss hot pasta with chicken and sauce and serve. Adjust salt and pepper, to your taste. Top with fresh snipped chives.