Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hot Crab Dip

This is another recipe adapted from, you guessed it! I's Rest. & Deli. But whatever, the recipes are good and if they weren't, I would never have bothered to copy them. Anyway, this was a very popular item on the catering menu and I can't believe I've never posted it here until now. Note: this dip does not have to be served hot. Room temp is fine but I wouldn't serve it cold straight-outta-the-fridge. It just doesn't taste as good.

8 oz. block cream cheese (I used 1/3 reduced fat)
3/4 C sour cream (also 1/3 reduced fat)
1 T grated horseradish (I prefer Long's from Central Market but use what you have)
1 T Old Bay Seasoning
1 T lemon juice
1/4 C finely minced red onion or shallot
6 oz lump crab meat (if using canned, be sure to pick thru for pieces of shell first)
cut veggies or toast points or crackers for serving

In a large microwave safe bowl, add cream cheese and microwave in 30 sec. intervals until soft and creamy. Add in sour cream and beat with a whisk until smooth and no lumps remain. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the crab and stir well to combine. Gently fold in the crab. At this point you can put it in the fridge until you want to serve it or if you're planning to serve it right away, you can warm it gently in the microwave or over a pan of boiling water. You can also serve this in a fondue pot or a small crock pot set to warm. It is good at room temp which is pretty much how I serve it. Really, it's whatever works for you. You can easily double this recipe if you are having a large party. I used to make this for our annual holiday open house and we never had any left over. Then again, it's probably because my father-in-law would eat it all if he could.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

This isn't really a recipe as much as it's a technique. We had friends over last night for a crab boil and I wanted to serve sweet potato fries but I wanted crispy fries that weren't fried in oil. Kind of a tall order for a juicy sweet potato, I know. So, here's the deal:

*cut your potatoes into 1/4" half moons and toss them into a big bowl (we used about 2lbs)
*drizzle over about 2 Tbs canola oil
*sprinkle in about a pinch of the following: salt, freshly ground pepper, cinnamon and cayenne pepper (this is to taste--add more if you see fit)
*toss to combine and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 375 (preheat for at least 30 minutes) and line a large baking pan with foil and place in the oven while preheating. When oven is fully preheated, remove pan and spray foil with cooking spray. Spread potatoes in an even layer and return to oven. Bake for 12 minutes and then, using a spatula, turn potatoes. Return to oven for about 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 200. Allow potatoes to remain in the oven undisturbed for about 15 min. Remove from oven and serve.

Sweet potatoes that are oven fried are difficult to make crispy so preheating the baking pan helps as does leaving them in the oven at a lower temp which allows them to dry out a bit. They still won't be crispy like a white potato but they were very good. These would be good with a dipping sauce and served as an appetizer but we served them as side dish. Also, you can cut them into more of a "fry" shape but I was too lazy to do that. This served 4 people and we had a small amount left over.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Caramel Chocolate Pie

Whoa me-oh-my. This is one delicious pie. A very candy bar-like pie. Not an every-day pie at all. Holy moly, rich, dense, gooey, not too sweet (surprisingly). Beautiful, presents very well. Perfectly balanced between sweet, salty, crunchy, chocolately, perfect. Once again, my supervisor hits a home-run in the dessert department. She made this for my birthday and everyone LOVED it. You want to make this.

From: King Arthur

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) soft unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces) glazing or confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup (3/4 ounce) Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or dutch-process cocoa
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped pecans, toasted

Caramel Filling
2 cups (12 ounces) caramel (about 35 individually-wrapped caramels)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
1 cup (6 ounes) white chocolate

Chocolate Glaze
1 cup (6 ounces) chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) corn syrup
1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped pecans, toasted (Karen used pecan halves, not chopped)

Crust: In a medium-sized bowl beat the butter until fluffy. Add the salt, vanilla, sugar and cocoa, and blend until smooth. Add the flour and stir to blend. Finally, add the nuts; the mixture will be dry.

Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan (a deep-dish pie pan works well). Press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake it in a preheated 400°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until it's set. (The dark color makes it hard to tell, but it's done when you can just begin to smell the chocolate.) Remove the crust from the oven and set it aside to cool.

Filling: In a medium-sized saucepan set over low heat (or in the microwave), stir together the caramel, heavy cream and white chocolate till they're melted and smooth. Pour the filling into the cooled crust, and set it aside to firm while making the glaze.

Glaze: Melt the chocolate with the cream and corn syrup over low heat (or in a microwave), stirring till smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the filling, and sprinkle with the toasted pecans. Refrigerate the pie for 1 hour or more before serving. It's best served chilled but not cold; remove the pie from the refrigerator about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Yield: 1 pie, about 12 servings.

*To toast the, pecans, butter a baking sheet. Place the pecans on the pan in a single layer. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toast for 7 to 8 minutes in a 350°F oven, tossing the pecans around to be sure the salt is evenly distributed. The bit of salt really sets off the very sweet nature of this pie.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pork Tenderloin Smothered in Onion and Mustard

Geoff and I had this last night, and it was really good. We used 2 pounds of pork tenderloin, since that was the packaged weight, and we didn't feel like reserving 1/2 pound for some other use. More leftovers!

Two 12-ounce pork tenderloins, cut into 2-inch lengths and pounded 1 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grainy mustard (we used a coarse ground dijon)
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (we used more, because I had some that needed to be used)
Buttered noodles, for serving (we served it with roasted sweet potato)

Season the pork with salt and pepper and dust with flour. In a medium, deep skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the pork and cook over high heat, turning once, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.

Add the onion to the skillet, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the mustard and the 1 teaspoon of flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Nestle the pork in the onion sauce. Cover and simmer over moderate heat until the pork is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pork to plates. Stir the chopped dill into the sauce and spoon over the pork. Serve with buttered noodles.

Source: Food & Wine, February 2010

Pork chops with mushroom bourbon sauce

This was really, really good and not that hard to make.

adapted from Simply Recipes

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound sliced button mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped red onions
3 large garlic cloves, chopped (or through the garlic press)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup bourbon whisky
Salt and pepper

1 large egg
2 Tbsp water
4 pork chops
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
granulated garlic
vegetable or peanut oil

Sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms in 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat until the mushrooms are browned - about 10-15 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and boil down until the liquid is reduced to almost a glaze, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bourbon, boil until reduced by two thirds. Add the cream and simmer several minutes until the sauce thickens.
Whisk an egg and 2 Tbsp of water in a shallow baking dish. Dip chops egg mixture, then breadcrumbs (seasoned with garlic), coating completely. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and cook until brown.
When about to serve the pork, bring the sauce to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Crescia al Formaggio -- in the breadmaker

Or, you could call it cheese bread. Really good cheese bread. Your preference.

From the same cookbook.

for a 2-lb loaf (I think. The directions say: for a 1 1/2 or 2-pound loaf, which is unhelpful when you have settings for both. I went with 2 pound, because the amount of flour looked similar to other 2-pound loaf recipes)

1/2 c. plus 1 Tbsp. water
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 1/4 c. bread flour
3/4 c. grated Asiago or Locatelli cheese (mmm...Asiago...Parm, Romano, or a mixture of all three would work here, too)
1 1/2 Tbsp. nonfat dry milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. gluten (just an FYI -- if you've been looking for gluten, I found it in Whole Foods)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. bread machine yeast

Place all ingredients in the pan, based on manufacturer's instructions.
Set crust on medium, and program for Basic or Tender cycle. (tender? I have no tender cycle. I feel sad.)
When baking cycle ends, remove from pan and let cool before slicing.

Honey whole wheat bread -- in the breadmaker

This is also from "The Bread Lovers Bread Machine Cookbook." Eventually, I guess, I'll have to branch out, but there are 300 recipes in this book, which should keep me busy a good long time.
I made this recipe twice before I got it right. The first time I used the Basic setting, which is what the author called for, and the bread was dense and hadn't risen enough. Second time around, I used the Wheat setting, and it was just perfect. Good with our soup, and good for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches later on in the week.

for 2 lb. loaf

1/2 c. water
2/3 c. milk
1/3 c. honey
1 large egg
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
2 2/3 c. bread flour
1 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. gluten
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. bread machine yeast

Place all ingredients in the pan according to the manufacturer's instructions. Set crust on medium and program for Wheat cycle, press start.
When the baking cycle ends, immediately remove and place on a rack. Let cook before slicing.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Brazilian Shrimp Soup and Lemon Cake

Since both of these recipes were adapted from their original sources by Annie and Deb, respectively, and I didn't do my own adaptations, I'll just post the links.

Brazilian Shrimp Soup

Ina's Lemon Cake

Okay, I lied. I made a tiny adaptation to the soup. I had some leftover Thai jasmine rice in my freezer and I added that at the end of cooking instead of in the middle since, well, it was already cooked. Also, I thought it would go well with the tropical tone set by the coconut milk. Additionally, I used raw, shells-on shrimp and poached them in the soup until pink and then fished them out. I like the extra shrimpy flavor you get by using the shells. So, I let them cool, shelled them, cut them up into bite-sized pieces and then threw them back in to warm up. This soup was very good. I used lite coconut milk by Thai Kitchen, btw. Makes about 6 servings. I served with a mixed greens salad and whole wheat sourdough bread.

As for the cake, I made it as Deb presented it. I used her recipe over Ina's original over at food network b/c Deb used a smidge less sugar. I do love Ina's recipes but her desserts often have more sugar than I think is needed. I made mine in a bundt pan b/c I think it's prettier. I used a small toothpick to poke holes in the cake to increase the absorption of the lemon syrup. The glaze covers the holes nicely so I don't think presentation will be a problem. Michael and his boss loved dinner and dessert and I know that the rest of the cake will be long gone by the end of today once his co-workers find out about it. I served this with raspberry coulis made from frozen raspberries. Serves a lot and I don't even want to know the nutritional content of this recipe, thank you very much.

p.s. I used Meyer lemons in the cake. It is high citrus season here, after all.

Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti

Hi Heidi of 101cookbooks, love ya sometimes. ciao, hefk

This was delicious. I'm not sure I've ever cooked with fresh marjoram before and it smelled so fresh and fragrant that I might rub the last few leaves I have left over on the hub in the morning as his aftershave.

Use a short pasta here, I happened to have a farro strozzapreti, which was great, the sauce got caught up in its little curls. In the book Mona uses a ruffled edge farro pizzichi. [whole wheat rotini gave a nice texture and bite too]

3/4 cup / 3.5 oz / 100g walnuts
1 clove garlic, peeled, germ removed if garlic sprouted
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

2/3 cup / 5oz / 150ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons marjoram, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup / 1 oz / 30 g pecorino Romano, grated
salt & pepper
1 pound / 16 oz / 460g short farro pasta

Start by heating a large pot of water, it will take a while for it to come to a boil.

In the meantime, toast the walnuts in a 350F / 175C degree oven until they are golden, 8-10 minutes. While still warm, wrap them in a clean dish towel and rub off the skins.

Place the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle, and pound to a fine paste. Add the walnuts to the mortar and pestle and pound into a paste. Alternately, you can do this in a food processor. [yes you can.]

Transfer the nut mixture to a bowl. Stir in the olive oil, then add most of the herbs. Stir in the pecorino, taste, and adjust the seasoning. [I actually put all of it in the food processor to make it a pesto texture, just to keep it simple]

Salt the pasta water generously, and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and reserve a big cup of the pasta water. Toss the walnut pesto with the pasta, and thin out the sauce with the reserved water. Serve topped with a sprinkling of the remaining herbs.

Serves 6.

This recipe was adapted from Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs by Editors of Phaidon Press. Published by Phaidon Press (November 16, 2009).

Barley Risotto with Beans and Greens

Last Thursday when I made smittenkitchen's barley risotto, I had already attempted a Lydia Bastianich arborio risotto earlier that same week, and hadn't gotten it quite right. I had been assisted in the kitchen by a toddler and my husband had been happily discussing his new position at work. Distractions, folks? Not so good for rice risotto.

The barley risotto recipe was a different story. While I cooked, I played a game on the floor with my daughter, standing up occasionally to stir. Nothing bad happened. In fact, it was a really lovely dinner. I loved the texture of the barley - the barley remained individual, chewy grains instead of blowing up and getting fluffy on the outside like they do in soup sometimes. Even though I was skeptical, the barley indeed cooked beautifully in the 35 min smitten predicted. This is a fantastic recipe. Kev also liked that I made him two sausages on the side to put on top of his dish. I liked it as is and will make it many times in the future.

Adapted generously from Food and Wine

Be sure to use a low or no sodium broth; as the broth reduces and concentrates in flavor, a regular broth will yield a too-salty dish. I’ve learned the hard way many times! Only have a full salt broth or bouillon around? Swap some of the volume with water.

And do play around with this dish — try different broths, such as beef or mushroom. Skip the beans, swap a cooked vegetable. Use your favorite greens and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Add a clove of garlic, use shallots or leeks instead of onion. Use romano instead of parmesan, dollop in some crème fraîche at the end; use red wine or skip the wine. I know it can sometimes be overwhelming to have too many options but the possibilities here are really endless, and a little extra tinkering could make a staple out of this dish for you.

Serves 3 to 4 (most recipes would say 4; maybe we were just really hungry?) [we also ate it ALL]

5 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
1 cup pearled barley (7 ounces)
1 cup beans, canned or precooked (white would be great; I used some Red Nightfall Beans mostly because they were languishing in my cabinet)
3 cups chopped escarole
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.

In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Add the barley and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine if using and cook, stirring until absorbed, about one minute. Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook, stirring, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time in six additions — you’ll have a cup of stock left in the pot — stirring until it is nearly absorbed between additions. Most barley risottos are done when the barley is al dente and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce, about 35 minutes, however, I like to take this one a little “soupier” adding another half to one cup of stock. (This gives the beans something to drink up, and you a margin of error if you grains continue to absorb the stock once you think they are done.) Stir it in until the risotto is on the loose side, then add the beans and let them cook for a minute. Add the escarole and let it wilt and then cook for an additional minute. Stir in the 1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano and the butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve at once, passing more cheese at the table.

Do ahead: Although it’s not generally ideal to reheat rice risottos, I actually enjoyed this barley one reheated. Keep the flame low, splash in some more broth if it seems thick and slowly warm the dish, stirring. Top with extra cheese.

Bean cooking wonder! Cooked my beans in the slow-cooker — they were perfect. No presoaking, just put them in covered with 2 to 3 inches of water for 3 hours on high. (You may need up to 4 hours with larger beans.) I let them cool in their cooking water, which was by then quite flavorful. They were dreamy. [guess what. hefk opened a can of kidneys.]

No-Knead Bread

Pick a weekend to make this recipe when you'll be home quite a bit the second day. It's very little work, but the timing is important. I've never made bread I was more proud of than this recipe. It's a very pretty, very tasty loaf. I used flour in step 3, which means I only needed three ingredients. It feels like magic; you'll be so happy and so will everyone who lives with you.

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.


I had one of these Quebecois specialties when I was in Ottawa more than a year ago. (Yes, I know Ottawa is in Ontario.) I also had this dish at an Irish bar. So I'm not sure how authentic it was anyway. All I know is that it was delicious, and I hadn't been able to put my hands on a recipe...until the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Cooking Light. Thanks, CL!

This isn't a super-fast dish -- there's a lot of chopping and it takes a while for everything to be ready. I don't think this is a good candidate for a weeknight dinner. However, I think you could probably prep the meat pie filling one day, refrigerate it for a day, then top it off with crust and bake it.

Spiced meat pie dating back to the Middle Ages is a holiday tradition in Québec. The dish is often made in a pie plate with top and bottom crusts. Our version calls to bake individual pies in ramekins with just a top crust—a simple way to shave both fat and calories from each serving. If you don't have ramekins, simply spoon the pork mixture into a (9-inch) pie plate and top with the entire store-bought pastry.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 ramekin)

* Cooking spray
* 1 pound ground pork (Geoff and I used 1.25#, since that's how our grocery sold it)
* 1 teaspoon salt, divided (I'm not sure why it says to divide the salt, since the recipe doesn't say what to do with the second half)
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 cup finely chopped onion
* 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
* 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
* 1 (1-pound) russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
* 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
* 1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan. Sprinkle pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon red pepper, and cloves; sauté for 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Using a slotted spoon, remove pork from pan. Add olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add 1 cup onion, carrot, celery, and potato; sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return pork to pan. Stir in flour, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat; stir in chives.

3. Place 1 cup pork mixture into each of 6 (8-ounce) ramekins. Roll pie dough to an 11-inch circle. Cut 4 (5-inch) dough circles. Combine and re-roll dough scraps. Cut 2 (5-inch) circles. Place 1 dough circle on each ramekin, tucking edges inside. Cut an X in the top of each circle; coat lightly with cooking spray. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly. (Geoff and I let it stand for about 10 minutes before serving.)

Wine note: With traditional Canadian Tourtière, reach for the strong and spicy Québécois beer Maudite ($8.99/750 ml). Made in a Belgian style, Maudite has a peppery, spicy signature that echoes this dish's layers of cinnamon and clove. The beer is strong and full-flavored, with bold fruit, caramel, bready, and figgy flavors that work with the complex flavors of these meat pies, while remaining refreshingly drinkable. —Jeffery Lindenmuth

Linky link with picture here

Sunday, January 24, 2010

BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joes with Pickled Slaw Salad

Last week Gaby asked when she could cook dinner for everyone again, which had been part of a punishment she'd had a few months ago. I was surprised, but got out the cookbooks I use when she asks to cook -- and let her pick a recipe. This is the one she picked, and although the name of the cookbook (It's called Yum-O, and is by, you guessed it, Rachel Ray) makes me cringe a little, the recipe is remarkably solid. And easy for Gaby to make, which I suppose means it's easy for anyone to make.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 pounds ground chicken
1 tablespoon grill seasoning, such as McCormick brand Montreal Chicken Seasoning
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 can tomato sauce (14 ounces)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
4 crusty rolls, split and toasted
1 cup dill pickles, chopped

For the slaw:

1/3 cup pickle juice
1/4 cup honey (this was pretty sweet. If you want a more vinegar-y cole slaw, like I prefer, you might monkey with these ratios some)
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
4 cups, packed, shredded cabbage slaw salad mix (3/4 pound)
Salt and pepper

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, then add the EVOO. Add the ground chicken to the pan and, using the back of a wooden spoon or spatula, break it up into crumbles so that it can brown evenly. Season the chicken with grill seasoning blend.
Once the chicken begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes, add the onion and peppers and cook 5-6 minutes more to soften.
In a bowl, combine the vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce and hot sauce. Stir the sauce into the chicken and combine. Reduce heat to simmer, let mixture bubble and then combine for 5 minutes more.
For the slaw salad, combine about 1/3 cup pickle juice from the jar of pickles with the honey and canola or vegetable oil. Toss cabbage with dressing and season the slaw with salt and pepper, to taste.
Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, pile the sloppy chicken onto toasted bun bottoms, then top with chopped pickles and bun tops. Serve with slaw salad.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Italian Wedding Soup

I'm not feeling great, so a bowl of hot soup and a slice of homemade bread sounded really good tonight. So that's what I made.
The original recipe is from Ina Garten, but I found it here, adapted. And then I adapted it to fit our tastes, and based on what I had in the house. So good. All four of us devoured it.

For the meatballs:
3/4 lb. ground turkey
1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage (turkey Italian sausage would work, too)
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp. milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and black pepper

For the soup:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup 1/4-inch diced carrots
3/4 cup 1/4-inch diced celery
8 cups chicken broth (I used homemade)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta
2 Parmesan rinds
1 10-oz box frozen whole spinach

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, Italian sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Romano cheese, Parmesan cheese, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. Mix gently with a fork until well combined. Form the mixture into 1- to 1 1/4-inch meatballs and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add the chicken broth, wine and Parm rind and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6-8 minutes or until al dente. Add the meatballs and spinach, and cook until spinach is heated through. Taste for seasoning, and adjust salt and pepper as necessary. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Curried Sweet Potato and Apricot Soup

From: Mark Bittman/New York Times

Bittman suggests topping the soup with some chestnuts sauteed in butter. I did not do that, but I could imagine a topping like that going well with this dish. I love thick, creamy soups, especially those that don't use a lot of cream or butter to attain that consistency. I tasted a few spoonfuls out of the bowl and know this will be a satisfying lunch tomorrow. Also, it's quick and super easy. I used 2 tsp of a sweet curry powder, and it provided a mild curry flavor. I might increase the amount of curry next time, but adjust to taste and the type of curry you're using.


1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste
1 big or 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup dried apricots, about 1/2 pound
Salt to taste
4 cups chicken or other stock


1. Melt the butter in a casserole or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the curry, and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the sweet potatoes and apricots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are well mixed, a minute or so.
2. Season with salt. Add the stock. Turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the sweet potatoes are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. If time allows, cool.
3. Place mixture, in batches if necessary, into a blender, and purée until smooth. Thin with water or stock if necessary. (The recipe can be prepared a day or two in advance up to this point, allowed to cool, and then refrigerated.) To serve, reheat, and adjust seasoning.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup

Because there aren't enough sausage soup recipes on here already. Ok, seriously, I was in the mood for sausage and I knew I wanted to make soup. I also wanted that soup to have sweet potatoes and some sort of greens in it. I was also planning on some white beans, but you know what happens when you eat too many beans? Well, I left them out this time. This recipe is adapted from

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10- to 11-ounce fully cooked smoked Portuguese linguiça sausage or chorizo sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (I used a spicy chicken sausage)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (about 2 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 cups low-salt chicken broth (I used 4 C and 2 C water)
About 9 oz greens of your choice, washed and chopped (I used kale)
1 C rice, cook according to pkg directions or you can use minute rice and add at the end of cooking
S&P to taste
Cayenne or red pepper flakes to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain. Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using potato masher, mash some of potatoes in pot. Add browned sausage to soup. Stir in greens and simmer just until wilted, about 5 minutes. If you have pre-cooked rice, add it now or if using minute rice, add before greens and sausage. Season to taste and serve. This serves about 6-8; it's hearty so it goes a long way.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cherry Mountain Pie

I just love when you look at a recipe you've been making for a while and realize it says "serves 12-14" and know that you and your husband can polish off the whole thing in two nights.
Um, yeah. This is one of those. So simple, so good.
This is from a former co-worker named Stacey, and I thought for sure I'd posted it here before but when I went back through the archives, I couldn't find it. Make this. And, I'm sorry. Because you'll eat a whole bunch of it at once.

1/2 c. butter (you can use 1/4 c. instead, but it's not quite as good)
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk
1 can fruit (whatever kind you want. I often use sweet cherries or pineapple, but it's good with peaches or apricots, too)

Preheat oven to 350.
Melt butter in 9 by 13 pan. I just plop the butter in the pan and stick it in the oven until it all melts.
Mix together sugar, flour, baking powder, add milk. Pour over melted butter.
Do not mix the two together. Seriously.
Drop fruit by spoonfuls into batter. Pour a little of the juice, if you like, on the top.
Bake 30-40 minutes.

The fruit sinks to the bottom, the flour mixture forms a light little cake, and the edges get all crispy and delicious from the butter. Yum.

White chicken enchiladas

Okay, so I made this recipe harder (in the beginning) than it needed to be. But it was worth it in my mind.
You can read the original recipe (by Pioneer Woman) here.

So first things first.
Get a whole chicken, or chicken parts. Your choice. Roast it. Let it cool, take the meat off the bones and shred. Make stock with the bones. (in the crockpot, if you're lazy like me)
Or, alternately, buy an already-cooked rotissere chicken. And a couple cans of chicken broth.

2-½ cups Cooked, Shredded Chicken
2 cups Reserved Broth From Chicken
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
12 whole Corn Tortillas
1 whole Large Onion, Diced
2 4 Oz Cans diced green chilis
1/2-1 whole Jalapeno, Seeded And Finely Diced (depending on how hot you like it)
1 teaspoon Paprika
½ cups Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Sour Cream
2-½ cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
Salt And Pepper, to taste
Picante Sauce (optional)
Cilantro, Chopped (also optional, IMO)

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Fry tortillas for no longer than 20 seconds, just to soften (do not allow to become crisp.) Place tortillas on a large towel or stack of paper towels to drain. (Alternate method, and the one I use -- microwave tortillas for 20-30 seconds, to soften)
Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in separate skillet over medium heat. Add onions and jalapenos and saute for 1 minute, just to start the cooking process. Add chicken, half of the green chilies, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Stir together. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and stir. Add cream and stir, allowing mixture to bubble and get hot. Turn off heat and set aside.
In a separate large skillet, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together and cook over medium heat for one minute. Pour in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Whisk together and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the other half of the chilies. Reduce heat, then stir in sour cream. Add 1 1/2 cups grated cheese and stir to melt. Add 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
To assemble, spoon chicken mixture on top of tortillas, one by one. Top with plenty of cheese and roll up. Place seam side down in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
Pour cheese mixture all over the top of the tortillas. Top with extra cheese if you’d like, then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle generously with chopped cilantro (optional).

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sausage, potato and mushroom roast

I adapted (barely) this recipe from one I found on Serious Eats. Super easy.

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into chunks
4 raw sausages (I used a chicken, artichoke, garlic sausage)
1 box white mushrooms, stems removed and halved
Olive oil as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
fresh rosemary, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash and scrub the potatoes and cut into bite-size chunks. Transfer to a roasting pan or dish that holds all the ingredients snugly. Douse the potatoes quite generously with olive oil and toss with salt, pepper and rosemary. Roast, undisturbed, for about 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and stir up the potatoes gently. Distribute the mushrooms into the pan and toss them to coat with the oil, then nestle the sausages near the center. Drizzle the sausages with a bit of oil and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the sausages and potato chunks.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve alone or perhaps with a little mustard.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Braised short ribs

Every once in a while I make something that is so incredibly good that I eat it, sit back from the table and think "I am a really good cook."
This was one of those things.

from Pioneer Woman

8 (or 10) whole Beef Short Ribs
Kosher Salt & Pepper To Taste
¼ cups All-purpose Flour
6 pieces Pancetta, Diced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
3 whole Carrots, Diced
2 whole Shallots, Peeled And Finely Minced
2 cups Red Or White Wine
2 cups Beef Or Chicken Broth (enough To Almost Cover Ribs)
2 sprigs Thyme
2 sprigs Rosemary

Season the flour with salt and pepper, then dredge the ribs. Set aside.
In a large dutch oven, cook pancetta over medium heat until complete crispy and all fat is rendered. Remove pancetta and set aside. Do not discard grease.
Add olive oil to pan with the pancetta grease, and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove ribs and set aside. Turn heat to medium.
Add onions, carrots, and shallots to pan and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan to release all the flavorful bits of glory. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.
Add broth. Taste and add salt if needed. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add cooked pancetta, thyme and rosemary sprigs (whole) to the liquid.
Put on the lid and place into the oven. Cook at 350 for 2 hours, then reduce heat to 325 and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes. Ribs should be fork-tender and falling off the bone. Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving. At the last minute, skim fat off the top of the liquid. (Can also refrigerate mixture, then remove solid fat from the top.)
Serve with polenta. (resist the urge to lick the plate.)

Creamy goat cheese polenta

I cannot say enough good things about this polenta. I ate two servings, Ernie ate two servings, Katie devoured hers (and some of mine) and Gaby liked it, too.
So, so good.

from Pioneer Woman

1 cup Yellow Cornmeal
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter
4 ounces, weight Goat Cheese (I probably used more like 6 or 8, because I like cheese)

Bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil.
Add cornmeal to the water in a thin stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, adding salt and extra tablespoons of water as needed.
When polenta is done, stir in butter and goat cheese. Check seasonings, and add salt to taste.

Friday, January 08, 2010

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

From The Joy of Cooking. Oh, my lord, these are delicious. And irresistible. And just what I wanted. And I can't recommend making them enough. Seriously. You should go make these right now.

2 1/2 sticks butter, softened but still cool (about 65 degrees)
1 1/3 C sugar
2/3 C packed brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
2 large eggs
1/2 t vanilla
2 1/2 C AP flour
1 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1 C mac nuts, chopped
1 C white chocolate chips

Turn oven to 325 and place rack in the center of the oven.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy and well-blended. Add eggs one at a time and then add vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and then add to mixer, stirring until just combined. Turn speed to low and add nuts and chocolate chips.

Line cookie sheets with parchment (or use a silpat) and drop by the tablespoon-full 1.5 inches apart. These cookies will spread and will run into each other so be sure to leave plenty of space between rows. I did 10 cookies per sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and allow to stand on cookie sheet until slightly firm. Transfer cookies to cooling rack. These cookies will be thin, slightly crisp and yet chewy. And did I mention how good they are?

These can also be made as "monster cookies" by dropping dough by the 1/3 cup-full but that seemed a bit excessive to me. You would bake these for 15-17 minutes--perhaps longer--and then follow the same directions re: cooling.

One note to consider: as you start to get to the bottom of the bowl as you scoop your cookies, be sure to scrape up the dough from the bottom and incorporate it with the remaining dough or you will end up with about 4 cookies that have no nuts or chips in them. They still taste really good but without the goodies in them, they are just plain cookies.

Christmas soup

I think, when I originally bookmarked this recipe, that Alton had said his family makes this soup around Christmastime. I also noticed it is red and green, which adds to the whole Christmas thing.
In any case, it's good soup.

The original recipe is here. I adapted it.

1 pound kielbasa, sliced 1/4-inch thick on bias (you could easily substitute another kind of sausage here)
Olive oil, as needed
8 cloves garlic, minced (really!)
1 pound red kidney beans, soaked at least 4 hours and up to overnight
2 quarts chicken broth
1 lb. potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used some fingerlings I had in the fridge)
6 ounces fresh kale, approximately 4 handfuls
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the kielbasa into a 7-quart Dutch oven and set over medium-low heat. Cook until the kielbasa has browned well and rendered its fat, approximately 15 minutes. If you do not have at least 2 teaspoons of fat, add enough oil to make 2 teaspoons. Remove the kielbasa from the pan and set aside.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the beans and the chicken broth and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, add the potatoes, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Wash, rinse and trim the kale and tear into bite size pieces. Add the kale to the pot, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or just until it is tender, but not mushy.
Add the red wine vinegar, keilbasa and black pepper and stir to combine. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

40-clove garlic chicken

It's freezing -- high of FOUR one day, seriously -- outside, and J and I have both been sick, so super-garlicky chicken in the crockopt seemed like the perfect thing. The amount of garlic seems insane, oh yes, but it comes out all mellow and fragrant.

Important note: You don't add water or any other kind of liquid to this. I must have read the recipe (including the crystal-clear sentence, "Do not add water.") 72 times to make sure, but it's true, and you don't need it. Onions or garlic or chicken or something magically produces plenty of cooking liquid.

3-4 pounds chicken [I used drumsticks, and this recipe is extra awesome because you do not have to touch the chicken. score.]
1 large onion, sliced [I used two]
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
20-40 garlic cloves, peeled, but intact [yes, this takes a long time, but is totally worth it]

Place onion slices on the bottom of the stoneware insert. In a large mixing bowl, toss chicken parts with olive oil, salt, paprika, pepper, and all of the garlic cloves. Pour into slow cooker, on top of the onion.

Do not add water.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6. [I did it on high for about 5 and I think it would have been fine for only 4.] [I also fished some of the roasted garlic out toward the end and sauteed it with some spinach as a side dish.]

Roasted Corn and Quinoa Chowder

Adapted from Vegetarian Times (because I can't leave well enough alone). This a great soup to make when you don't have a ton of time and I promise that both husbands and study partners will like it.

3/4 C quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 tsp cumin seed (or more)
2 1/2 C of roasted corn (frozen from TJs which requires one whole bag plus some)
1/3 of a medium red onion, finely diced
1 C fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into bite-size pieces
4 C veg broth
12 oz can fat free evaporated milk (you can use soy and make this a vegan soup)
1 medium bell pepper, finely diced
1 chile in adobo sauce, minced
S&P to taste

In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, toast quinoa and cumin seeds over med-high heat for 3-4 minutes or until it smells toasty and the quinoa takes on a golden color. Set aside and return empty pot to burner. Spray bottom of pot with cooking spray and add the onions, potatoes and corn. Saute until onions become translucent. Pour in veg broth and milk and bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa and cumin seeds and return to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low, put on a lid and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add bell pepper and chile and stir. Cover pot and simmer for another 5 minutes or until veg and quinoa are tender. Taste for seasoning and add S&P if desired. At this point, feel free to use your immersion blender (or not) to chowder-ize your soup. I chose not to use mine because I liked how it looked and liked the nubbliness of the corn. Please note that if you use roasted corn, as the soup cooks, the roasted bits make it look like your soup has lots of black specks. If you don't think you'll like the appearance of black specks, then by all means use regular corn. I really liked the smoky taste the roasted corn imparted and the addition of the chile makes it flavorful and a bit spicy. I garnished mine with TJs shredded lite mexican cheese blend with lime wedges on the side.

Serves 6, 235 kcals per serving and 4.2 g fiber. Also, delicious.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Semolina country bread -- bread maker

This bread was so, so good. We had it with pasta and I made a simple compound butter with roasted garlic, to eat on top. So, so tasty.

from "The bread lover's bread machine cookbook"

for 1 1/2 pound loaf

1 1/3 c. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 3/4 c. bread flour
1 1/4 c. semolina flour
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. gluten
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. bread machine yeast

Place all ingredients in th epan according to the order in the manufacturer's instructions. Set crust on dark and program for the French Bread setting and press start.
When the baking cycle ends, immediately remove the bread from the pan and place on a rack. Let it cook before slicing.

Pork, broccoli and rice casserole

I made this last night to use up some of the leftover pork in my freezer (from the girls' birthday party). It was easy to put together and pretty tasty. I think it'd be good with leftover chicken, too.

adapted from this recipe

2 c. cooked rice
1 1/2 pounds leftover roast pork, cubed
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup (cream of broccoli would be good, too)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 (10 ounce) package frozen broccoli, thawed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix together the cubed pork, rice and broccoli. Stir in the soup and sour cream/yogurt, then season with pepper and curry powder. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish, and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until evenly heated through. Remove the aluminum foil for the last 5 minutes in the oven.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Carrot Souffle

from Simply Recipes

I thought this was tasty and something different from our usual side dishes. Use the best carrots you can find. I used CSA carrots, and I didn't peel them - just gave them a good scrub with a vegetable brush before slicing into rounds. My adaptations are in parentheses.

2 lbs carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
Salt for salting cooking water
1 cup whole milk (I used 1%)
1 cup Saltine cracker crumbs (I used Ritz)
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup minced onion (I used caramelized onions)
1 Tbsp room temperature unsalted butter (I omitted)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 large eggs


1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.

2 Place carrots in a saucepan and cover with an inch of water. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Strain the carrots and purée in a food processor or with an immersion blender.

3 Place carrot purée in a large bowl. Slowly add in the milk, a little at a time, whisking after each addition so that the mixture stays smooth, not lumpy. Mix in the saltine cracker crumbs, the grated cheese, onion, butter, Kosher salt, cayenne, and black pepper.

4 In a separate bowl, whip up the eggs until frothy. Then whisk them into the carrot purée mixture.

5 Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until puffed up a bit and lightly golden.

Serves 8.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Oatmeal Pancakes

Barely adapted from Cooking in Season (thanks, Alissa!) These were a nice alternative to regular pancakes and it's a good way to use up milk that's languishing in the fridge. And it's low-fat to boot.

2 C rolled (old fashioned) oats
2 C buttermilk or plain yogurt (I used skim milk and added a glug or two of vinegar to sour it)

2 eggs lightly beaten
2 T canola oil

1/2 C flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour and AP flour)
2 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon (I used a smidge more than that)
1/4 t salt

The night before, mix together the milk and oats and put in the fridge. While you're at it, mix together the dry ingredients. In the morning, preheat your griddle and whisk together the eggs and oil and add to the oat mixture. Stir in the dry ingredients and make your pancakes. I served mine with chunky apple butter but served with butter and syrup would be tasty as well. Serves 3-4.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

smitten kitchen's chocolate chip cookies

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. The chocolate-to-cookie ratio here is delightfully low, even without the nuts. Original recipe here, and I didn't change much.

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) (115 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt or 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt (Deb option) [I just used regular]
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (130 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped [I skipped]

Adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven and preheat to 300F (150C). Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat the sugars and butters together until smooth. [Gwen's note: I'm not sure if it's just because I only have a crappy hand mixer or what, but this was really hard. The butter was super cold, the sugar was kind of hard, I had to smush some of the butter with my fingers to get it to blend at all... it seemed bad. But it was fine, and the cookies didn't spread out too much in the oven, and it was worth it.]

Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda.

Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon (5cm) balls and place 8 balls, spaced 4 inches (10cm) apart, on each of the baking sheets.

Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Good morning french toast

Made with my homemade brioche from yesterday. Mmm...
This is a really simple recipe, but it's also really good. Especially with homemade bread.

3 large eggs
3/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tbsp. butter, as needed
Four or five pieces of day-old bread

Using a whisk, beat the eggs, milk and vanilla together. Add the bread and soak both sides, until all the milk mixture is absorbed.
Melt the butter in a large skillet, and sauté the bread until it's a deep golden brown, 3-4 minutes on each side.
Serve with fruit sauce (see peaches below) or maple syrup.

Brioche -- in the bread maker

You guys! I got a brand new bread maker for Christmas!
I am, in the words of Gaby, in bread paradise.

from "The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook" by Beth Hensperger

for a 1 /2 pound loaf

1/3 c. milk
2 large eggs
2 c. bread flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. gluten
3/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. bread machine yeast
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Place the ingredients, except the butter, in the pan according to the order in the manufacturer's instructions. (for mine it's wet, dry, then yeast)
Set crust on medium and program for the Basic cycle. Press start.
About 10 minutes into the second knead, open the lid while the machine is still running. Add a piece or two of butter at a time, until it is all incorporated. Close the lid.
When the baking cycle ends, open the lid and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and cool to room temperature before slicing.

Peach sauce

I made this peach sauce this morning to go on top of french toast. It was pretty good.

1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 dash ground nutmeg
1 16-ounce bag frozen peaches
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Put the water, sugar, cornstarch and almond extract in a saucepan, and bring to boil. Add the peaches, and cook until peaches are warmed through (maybe 5 minutes?). Add nutmeg and serve on top of french toast (or waffles...or pancakes...or eat it straight out of the pan...)