Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gingerbread with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

From Mel's Kitchen Cafe who slightly adapted it from Lion House Recipes
*Serves 12

INGREDIENTS:
Gingerbread:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup very hot water

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13-inch baking pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs and molasses and blend again. Sift the dry ingredients together in a mesh strainer directly into the molasses/butter/sugar mixture and mix. Add the hot water and beat until the batter is smooth. It will be fairly thin.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don’t overbake or the gingerbread will be dry.

Serve the gingerbread warm or cold with cinnamon whipped cream and sliced bananas, if desired.

For the cinnamon whipped cream:
In a medium bowl, begin beating the whipped cream. After it starts to just slightly thicken, add the sugar and cinnamon and beat until medium-stiff peaks form.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mini Cornbread Muffins

from Favorites Cookbook.

2/3 cup cornmeal
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the oil and milk and stir just until moistened.  Spoon into mini-muffin tins sprayed with Pam, filling half full.  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown.  Makes 24 mini-muffins.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Acorn Squash with Apple

"Peeling an acorn squash is the key to this delicious dish that's cooked in a microwave. A fast and easy delight for busy families."

 PREP TIME  20 Min:    COOK TIME  15 Min:     READY IN  35 Min 

INGREDIENTS

1 acorn squash
2 apples, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


DIRECTIONS

To easily peel the acorn squash without losing a lot of vegetable, gently drop the squash in a large pot of boiling water, and boil for 15 minutes. Pour off the boiling water and fill with cold water and let sit 5 minutes to cool. When cool enough to handle, use a knife to slice off the peel on the ridges and use a teaspoon to dig out the peel in the valleys. Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds and stem. Then slice the halves into sections and finally cut into 1 inch chunks.

Place the squash chunks into a large microwave-safe bowl along with the apples. Dot with pieces of butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar, walnuts, salt and cinnamon over the top. Cover with plastic wrap, and poke a few holes in it for ventilation. Cook in the microwave for 7 1/2 minutes on full power. Remove, uncover, and stir. Return to the microwave, and cook for another 7 1/2 minutes on full power, until tender. Serve hot.

Variations

You could use butternut squash for variety. Pecans work well in this recipe instead of walnuts. Honey or maple syrup can used with or instead of the brown sugar.

If you prefer roasted squash, you can place the squash and apples (uncovered) in a 9x13 pan in the oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for just under an hour. But be sure to add 1/4 cup of water to the recipe before baking.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes

These cupcakes are not too heavy but still delicious.  They capture the wonderful fall flavors of pumpkin.  Adapted from Skinnytaste.com.

Ingredients:
1 Yellow or Golden Vanilla Cake Mix (18.25oz size)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/2 tsp ground ginger + 1/4 tsp ground allspice + 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg )
1 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
1 cup water
optional additions:  1 egg, chocolate chips, cream cheese frosting

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers.

Combine cake mix and pumpkin spice in a large bowl. Add pumpkin puree and water, mix about 2 minutes.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake about 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Makes 20-24 cupcakes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Chewy Sugar Cookies

A sugar cookie crisp at the edges, soft and chewy in the center, crackly-crisp on top, and richly flavorful!   Same amazing flavor as my mom's stir and drop sugar cookies.  Note: the final dough will be slightly softer than most cookie dough.  Adapted slightly from Cook's Illustrated.

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 ounces of cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup sugar (for rolling and sprinkling)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.  In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3.  In a large bowl place 1 1/2 cups of sugar and cream cheese.  Then pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small umps will remain, but will smooth out later).  Whisk in oil.  Then add egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth.
4.  Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.
5.  Divide dough into 2 dozen cookies (about 2 tablespoons each).  Roll into balls with your hands then roll into the reserved 1/4 cup of sugar in a shallow dish to coat.  Space cookies evenly on the baking sheet about 12 per sheet.  Flatten the dough balls using the bottom of a drinking glass.  Sprinkle the tops evely with remaining sugar form the dish or with decorative/colored sugar sprinkles.
6.  Bake until edges are just set and beginning to brown about 11-13 minutes, rotating after 7 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Variation: Spiced Sugar Cookies
In step 3 add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and pinch of ground black pepper to the sugar and cream cheese mixture.  Reduce the vanilla to 1 teaspoon.

Variation: Coconut-Lime Sugar Cookies
Whisk 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, chopped fine, into flour mixture in step 2.  Add 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest to sugar and cream cheese mixture in step 3 and substitute 1 tablespoon of lime juice for vanilla extract.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

“A soft cookie with a candy frosting." from Joy Deneen.  Penuche is a brown-sugar candy/fudge flavor popular in New England that really sets off the soft pumpkin cookies amazingly!

INGREDIENTS
Cookies:
1 C shortening
½ C packed brown sugar
½ C white sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1C chopped walnuts


Frosting:
3 tbsp butter
1/2 C packed brown sugar
¼ C milk
2 C confectioners’ sugar


DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, cream together shortening, ½ cup brown sugar, and white sugar. Mix in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; mix into the creamed mixture. Stir in walnuts. Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the 3 tablespoons butter and ½ cup brown sugar. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute, or until slightly thickened. Cool slightly, then stir in the milk, and beat until smooth. Gradually stir in 2 cups confectioners’ until frosting has reached desired consistency. Spread on cooled cookies.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Italian Bread Salad (Panzanella)

from Cook's Illustrated July & August 2011

6 cups rustic Italian or French bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt
pepper
1 1/2 pounds ripe in-season tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin
1 shallot sliced thing (you could use about 1/4 of a sweet onion)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the bread pieces with 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt; arrange bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Toast bread until pieces are just starting to turn light golden, turning after about 7-10 minutes.  Continue baking for another 7-10 minutes.  Set aside to let cool to room temperature.
2.  Gently toss tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl.  Transfer tomatoes to a colander set over the bowl and set it aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (This allows you to use some of the natural juices from the tomatoes in the dressing).
3.  Whisk remaining 6 T of olive oil, the vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper into the reserved tomato juices. Add bread pieces, toss to coat, and let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4.  Add tomatoes, cucumbers, shallot, and basil to bowl with bread pieces and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.  Serves 4.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Crock Pot Apple Butter

1- 48 - 50 oz jar unsweetened apple sauce or cinnamon apple sauce  storebought or homemade

3 lbs granny smith apples (peeled and diced into chips)
4 cups sugar
1 cup apple juice or cider
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice

Peel and cut apples into small chips. Place all ingredients in the crock pot and stir. Cover and cook on low overnight (eight to ten hours). In the morning remove cover, stir and taste. Add more spices or sugar if desired. Remove the lid and change the temperature to high continue cooking for about 4 more hours, uncovered, until some of the liquid is gone and the apple butter has cooked down a bit. Rule of thumb a wooden spoon should be able to stand upright when you place it in the apple butter. Pour into jars and refrigerate or process in a hot water bath.   Process half pints for 5 minutes and pints for 10 minutes. The time starts once the water comes to a boil.  Serve over hot biscuits, toast, scones, etc.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wholewheat Pancake Mix

These are my 2nd favorite all-time pancakes, but I think Baldy's #1 favorite.  I do love having this mix on-hand though.  From King Arthur Flour.

3 1/2 cups old-fashioned or quick rolled oats
4 cups whole wheat flour, traditional or white wheat
1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 cup vegetable oil

To make the mix: Grind the oats in a food processor until they're chopped fine, but not a powder. Combine the oats, flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed, and drizzle the oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running. When all the oil has been added, stop the mixer and squeeze a clump of the mix in your hand; if it holds together, it's just right. If it won't hold together, stir in 1 tablespoon of oil at a time, until it does. Store indefinitely in an airtight container in the freezer.

To make the pancakes: Whisk together 1 cup (4 3/8 ounces) mix, 1 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup each yogurt and milk), 1 tablespoon orange juice, and 1 large egg. Don't worry if the batter seems thin at first; it'll thicken as it stands. Let the batter stand for 15 minutes before cooking.

Heat your griddle or pan till a drop of water sputters when you drop it on the surface. Lightly grease, and pour pancake batter by the 1/4-cupful onto the griddle. A muffin scoop works well here. Cook the pancakes till they're golden brown on the bottom, flip them over, and cook till golden brown on the other side. Serve with butter and syrup; fresh fruit is a plus, of course. Yield: 10 medium-sized (3 1/2") pancakes.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

A good basic recipe.

Ingredients
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup milk
• 1 egg
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients and beat until well-mixed. Bake on a hot griddle and serve with fruit or syrup.

Eggs for a Crowd

I have fond memories of making this recipe with my mother-in-law for about 100 people at a Bylund Fest reunion. But it works well for crowds of signficantly smaller sizes as well.

Ingredients
• ½ cup butter
• 18 eggs
• ½ pound Ham, cut-up
• 1 cup sour cream*
• ¼ cup chives, chopped*  (*note: you can substitute ranch dip for the sour cream and chives).
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter in 9x13 pan in warm oven. Beat eggs, sour cream, and milk in mixer until well blended. Stir in chives and ham by hand. Bake at 325 for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese the last 5 minutes. (Note: you can easily half the recipe and make it in a 9x9 pan).

Salt Potatoes

Salt-encrusted baby potatoes a popular Rochester, NY side dish.


Ingredients
• 2 quarts of water (8 cups)
• 1 cup of salt
• 4½ lbs. small potatoes (white, red, or salt potatoes 1½-2 inches in diameter)
• ½ c. melted butter


1. In a large pot bring water and salt to boil. Add potatoes.
2. Boil about 20 minutes or until tender (red potatoes take a little longer).
3. Drain, but don’t rinse off salt. Serve hot with melted butter. Makes a great BBQ side dish.

Grandma Nibley’s Poppy Seed Dressing Salad

This salad and homemade dressing changed my life...probably the first salad I ever ate that I actually liked the dressing. From my friend Liz Cannon in college (that would be her Grandma Nibley).

Dressing
• ¾ T poppy seeds
• ¾ c f vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup vinegar
• 1 t salt
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 T honey mustard
Salad
• Fresh spinach
• Romaine lettuce
• Bacon pieces
• Sliced Mushrooms
• Red onions, diced

1. Beat together dressing ingredients with a wire whisk.
2. Wash spinach and lettuce, dry, then tear into small pieces. Toss all salad ingredients together.
3. Add dressing right before serving.

Lasagna Sandwiches

A great alternative to a basic grilled cheese. Great with fresh summer tomatoes. From Janessa Sealy at recipe swap.

Ingredients
• French bread
• 2 T butter
• ¼ cup sour cream
• ½ t oregano
• ½ t basil
• ¼ t seasoning salt
• 2 T dry chopped onion
• 8 slices of tomatoes
• 8 slices of bacon
• 4 slices of mozzarella


1. Slice fresh French bread. Butter one side of each slice.
2. Mix sour cream, oregano, basil, seasoning salt, and onion.
3. Spread sour cream mixture on the inside of a slice of bread, top with bacon, tomatoes, and cheese.
4. Grill sandwiches over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes on each side until golden.

Cranberry Chicken

Time: 5-10 minutes prep, 1 hour baking
Serves: 8-10

Ingredients
• 8-10 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 1 8oz bottle French salad dressing
• 1 16oz can whole cranberry sauce
• 1 package dry onion soup mix

Mix dressing, cranberry sauce and onion soup mix. Pour over chicken. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour. This recipe is easy to half or double and it always tastes great. Good served with rice or couscous.  (Note: this recipe does okay in the crockpot too).

Angel Hair Pasta

From Wendy Jones and good 'ole recipe swap. One of my all-time favorite quick dinners (about 15 minutes start to finish), and with almost all essentially shelf-stable ingredients...fresh basil and mozzarella really do add to it. Serves: 3-4

Ingredients
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 can 14.5 oz of Italian-style diced tomatoes
• ½ t oregano
• ½ cup shredded mozzarella
• 1 T fresh basil, chopped
• Salt and freshly-ground pepper
• Angel hair pasta

1. Heat a little olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant.
2. Add can of tomatoes (do not drain), breaking up larger chunks into smaller pieces. Stir in oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.
3. Meanwhile cook the angel hair pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
4. Serve tomato sauce on top of pasta. Garnish with mozzarella. Great with a green salad and garlic bread.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cauliflower Popcorn

This is our latest compromise on how to eat cauliflower--Curly's favorite vegetable.  She usually likes it steamed.  Baldy and I prefer it roasted.  But this version is a perfect blend of the two--lightly roasted to enhance flavor but still crisp-tender so Curly loves it.  Also the curry powder flavor is very understated.  From Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

1 medium head cauliflower
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Wash and core the cauliflower and cut the florets into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl. Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, salt and curry powder.

Turn out the cauliflower onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes, stirring every 6-7 minutes, until the cauliflower is browned in spots and is crisp-tender. Serve immediately.

Baked Brown Rice

Note:  This recipe creates a nice-textured brown rice that is not mushy!  This recipe easily doubles for a 9X13-inch pan.  I almost always make a double batch and freeze half of it for another meal in a quart size ziploc bag.  Then I put in the the fridge the night before to thaw (or defrost in the microwave), then warm up in the microwave by cooking it for 2-3 minute intervals stirring in between.

1 1/2 cups brown rice (our favorite is 1 cup rice, 1/2 cup unrinsed dry quinoa)
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water (if using water, add 1 teaspoon salt)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8X8-inch or 9X9-inch baking pan. Place the rice in the prepared pan and pour in the liquid. Stir to equally distribute the rice. Cover tightly with a double layer of aluminum foil and bake for 55-75 minutes (usually about 65-70 minutes). Keep your eye on it.  If your rice still has a bit of liquid on the bottom, then keep cooking it.  But don't over cook it and burn the bottom.   Remove from the oven when neither wet nor too dry and let sit for five minutes before removing the aluminum foil and fluffing with a fork. Keep your eye on it and make sure it doesn’t dry out and burn on the bottom  Makes about 3 1/2 cups of cooked rice.  From My Kitchen Cafe.


Variations:
Before baking, slice one small yellow onion into dices or half moons and caramelize and brown in 1 teaspoon of olive oil until golden and soft (about 10 minutes in a nonstick skillet). Stir onion into rice and broth mixture and bake according to recipe.

After removing rice from the oven and letting it sit for five minutes, remove aluminum foil and stir in the zest and juice from 1 lemon, 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 apple, finely diced.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (cupcakes)

These chocolate muffins are so moist!  They're delicious as a snack but rich enough for a dessert.  Heavenly served with fresh berries and cream.  Slightly adapted from skinnytaste.com.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch-process
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 cup chocolate chips, I prefer the mini ones
2 cups finely grated zucchini (1 medium)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray two standard 12-cup muffin tins or a mini-muffin pans with nonstick spray.

Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate in another large bowl until blended. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

For regular size muffins bake for 20-25 minutes (10-15 minutes for mini muffins) or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the outside of each muffin before inverting onto cooling rack.

NOTE:  This original recipe was for zucchini bread.  The recipe is the same, just pour batter in 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pans sprayed with nonstick spray.  Bake the loaves 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto rack and cool completely.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Grilled Rosemary-Garlic Chicken Kebabs

From Cooks Illustrated.

Rosemary-Garlic Marinade
·          ¾ cup buttermilk
·          2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
·          1 tablespoon olive oil
·          3 garlic cloves, minced
·          1½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
·          1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
·          1 teaspoon salt
·          ½ teaspoon pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, set aside.

Chicken Kebabs
·          1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3-4), trimmed and cut into 1¼-inch pieces
·          2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers—cut into 1-inch pieces
·          1 large zucchini (about 12 oz), sliced into ¼-inch rounds
·          1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch squares

1.  Combine the chicken and marinade in a large Ziploc.  Toss to coat and let marinate for at least one hour and up to 6 hours, flipping the bag occasionally.
2.  Thread marinated chicken, peppers, zucchini, and onion onto skewers in an alternating pattern.  Brush with the leftover marinade
3A.  For a gas grill: turn all the burners to high, cover, and preheat the grill until hot about 15 minutes.  Turn the burners down to medium-high.
3B.  For a charcoal grill:  Open the bottom grill vents completely.  Light a large chimney starter three-quarters full with charcoal briquettes (about 75 brisquettes).  When the coals are hot, pour them in an even layer over the grill.  Set the cooking grate in place, cover, and heat the grill until hot about 5 minutes. 
4.  Clean and oil the cooking grate on the grill.  Place the kebabs on the grill and cook (cover if using gas), turning as needed until the chicken and vegetables are lightly charred on all sides and chicken is done about 8-12 minutes.
5.  Transfer to a platter, tent the kebabs loosely with aluminum foil for about 5 minutes (this helps keep the veggies and chicken moist) before serving.

"Perfect" Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2009. This recipe does best making very large cookies. If you prefer smaller cookies reduce baking time 7-9 minutes.  These cookies really are AMAZING!!!  The brown butter adds this great caramel flavor to the cookie.  We love these cookies, but sometimes you want a smaller very chewy cookie so please note we don't make these exclusively no matter how "perfect" cooks illustrated claims them to be.

1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

3. Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whish for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use a #24 cookie scoop). One extra step to help increase the "perfect" texture is to make a jagged surface on the dough. Break the dough ball in half, rotate the jagged halves 90 degrees and smash them back together. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Remember these are BIG cookies).

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.


Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut and Toasted Almonds
Follow the recipe for Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, adding 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut and 1 cup toasted sliced almonds instead of the walnuts.

Black and White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans
Follow the recipe for Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, substituting 1/2 cup white chocolate chips for 1/2 cup of the semisweet chips. Add 1 cup chopped pecans instead of walnuts.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan


This is not your typical gloopy eggplant parmesan casserole.  This recipe is life-changing!  So take advantage of eggplant available at the farmers market or farm stands and try it!  It's hearty enough to please even the most die-hard of carnivores, yet lightened up enough by baking and using Panko bread crumbs to be diet-friendly too.  Serves 2 (can double).  Slightly adapted from Cooks Country August/September 2010.  Photo from the bittenword blog.

IMG_4218
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
½ cup panko bread crumbs
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
½ cup shredded provolone cheese

1.CUT EGGPLANT*. Cut two ¾-inch planks lengthwise from center of eggplant, halve each plank crosswise, and cut remaining eggplant into ½-inch dice.

2.  SET UP DREDGING STATION.  You will need 3 shallow plates/bowls.   Place flour in shallow dish. Beat egg in second shallow dish. Combine bread crumbs, ¼ cup Parmesan, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in third shallow dish. One at a time, coat eggplant slices lightly with flour, dip them in egg, and dredge in bread-crumb mixture, pressing to adhere. Transfer to wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet and let sit 5 minutes (or refrigerate up to 1 hour).

2. COOK EGGPLANT. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat ½ cup oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook -eggplant slices until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to wire rack set inside baking sheet and bake until eggplant is tender and deep golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

3. MAKE SAUCE. Meanwhile, pour off oil and wipe out skillet with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chopped eggplant and ¼ -teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining oil, garlic, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 -seconds. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until eggplant is tender and sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper; cover and keep warm.

4. ASSEMBLE. Combine remaining Parmesan and provolone in medium bowl. Top browned eggplant slices with cheese mixture and bake until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Transfer half of sauce to platter and top with eggplant slices. Spoon remaining sauce over eggplant. Serve.


*How to Cut the Eggplant
This recipe deviates from the traditional round circles you normally see in eggplant Parmesan.  Instead it uses heart ¾-inch planks to reduce the amount of batches you need to pan fry before baking.  Turn the eggplant so it is standing up tall and using a serrated knife, slice off the curved side of eggplant (reserve).  Then cut two ¾-inch planks from the center.  Cut planks in half crosswise so they’ll neatly fit into the pan for frying in a single batch (making 4 pieces).  Chop reserved side pieces into strips, then into ½-inch cubes, and set aside for building the tomato pan sauce.   (This website has great step by step photos but note they cubed the entire eggplant for a different recipe.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Berry Patriotic Trifle

I've been making this for the Fourth of July since college.  I've liberally modified the recipe which I originally got from here to better fit our preferences.  I love it with the raspberries as in the original recipe but my girls prefer strawberries and they do make it look more patriotic.

Ingredients
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1-2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
1 (4-serving size) package instant lemon flavor pudding mix
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 (8 oz.) containers of lite cool whip
1 (10 3/4 oz.) loaf frozen pound cake
3 pints of fresh blueberries
2 pounds (or 2 quarts) of fresh strawberries, sliced

Instructions
1.  With a fork or potato masher, smash about 1/2 a pint (about 1/2 cup) of blueberries in a small mixing bowl.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk and 1-2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice.
2.  Halve the pound cake horizontally.  Then cut lengthwise into 4 strips; cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces making 1-inch cubes.  Lightly toss the pound cake cubes in the smashed blueberry mixture until lightly coated (I found this easiest to do using about a quarter of the pound cake at a time).  Set aside.
3.  In a large mixing bowl combine the lemon pudding, milk, and remaining sweetened condensed milk with a wire whisk.  Add sour cream.  Let chill 5 minutes.  Then fold in cool whip one container at a time.  Put back into the fridge to chill while you prep berries.
4.  In a trifle dish layer half of the pound cake pieces.  The add the next layer of the lemon cream pudding.  Next add a thick layer of blueberries followed by more cream.  Then make another layer with the remaining pound cake pieces followed by a cream and then strawberry layer.  The on top add the remaining cream and berries.  (When you're finished the layers should be: cake, cream, blueberry, cream, cake, cream, strawberry, cream, topped with berries).
5.  Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Monday, June 20, 2011

More favorite berry recipes

This is my favorite recipe for strawberry shortcake.

And this berry recipe is definitely worth a re-post.  It's soooooooooo amazing!

Berry Patch Lemonade

This drink is always welcome anytime and especially at summer Bar-B-Ques & Picinics.  From Favorites.

• 1 pound berries, fresh or frozen (strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries)
• 1 can (12 oz) frozen lemonade concentrate
• 4 cans (12 oz) cold water
• Ice cubes
• Mint leaves (optional)

Puree berries in a blender. (Sometimes it helps to add a little bit of the water during this step for your blender’s sake). Strain if desired. Mix lemonade with water in a pitcher. Add pureed berries, blend and chill. Pour over ice in tall glasses and garnish with fresh mint leaves or more sliced berries.

Icebox Strawberry Pie

In step 1, it is imperative that the cooked strawberry mixture measures 2 cups; any more and the filling will be loose. If your fresh berries aren’t fully ripe, you may want to add extra sugar to taste in step 2. Use your favorite pie dough recipe. Chill the heavy cream in step 4 to help it whip more quickly.  From Cooks Illustrated*.  Serves 8

Filling
2 pounds frozen strawberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
1 (9-inch) pie shell , baked and cooled (see note)

Topping
4 ounces cream cheese , softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, chilled

1. COOK FROZEN BERRIES Cook frozen berries in large saucepan over medium-low heat until berries begin to release juice, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and jamlike, about 25 minutes (mixture should measure 2 cups exactly!).
2. ADD GELATIN Combine lemon juice, water, and gelatin in small bowl. Let stand until gelatin is softened and mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir gelatin mixture, sugar, and salt into cooked berry mixture and return to simmer, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
3. ADD FRESH BERRIES Fold fresh berries into filling. Spread evenly in pie shell and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. (Filled pie can be refrigerated for 24 hours.)
4. MAKE TOPPING With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, add cream and whip until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Serve pie with whipped cream topping.

*See this food blog for a similar recipes also from Cooks Illustrated.

"Kitchen Sink" Carrot Cake

Kitchen sink carrot cake? That's right; as in "everything but the..." While purists may argue over exactly what, beside carrots, is "allowed" in carrot cake, Baldy is a fan of a carrot cake with lots of add-ins.  So everything is welcome here--nuts, raisins, pineapple, etc.  Add some coconut or ginger too if you'd like.  This recipe halves beautifully to make a square cake as well.  Adapted from King Arthur Flour.

CAKE
·          4 large eggs
·          1 cup granulated sugar
·          3/4 cup brown sugar
·          2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·          3/4 cup melted butter
·          3/4 cup vegetable oil
·          2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
·          1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
·          1 teaspoon baking soda
·          1 1/2 teaspoons salt
·          2 teaspoons cinnamon
·          1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
·          1/8 teaspoon allspice
·          3 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
·          1 cup diced pecans or walnuts, toasted if desired
·          1 cup golden raisins
·          8 ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained and squeezed dry
  
FROSTING
·          6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
·          1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened  (note: if you substitute low-fat or fat free here the consistency of the frosting will be a bit more runny).
·          1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·          1/8 teaspoon salt
·          3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
·          2 tablespoons milk, or enough to make frosting spreadable

Directions
1)       Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.
2)       Beat the eggs, sugars, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl till smooth, about 2 minutes at medium-high speed.
3)       Mix the melted butter with the oil. With the beater running, add the oil mixture in a stream, beating till smooth.
4)       In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, leaveners, salt, and spices. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring to make a smooth batter.
5)       Stir in the carrots, nuts, coconut, and pineapple.
6)       Spoon the batter into the pan, spreading it to the edges.
7)       Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
8)       Remove the cake from the oven, and cool right in the pan.
9)       When it's completely cool, make the frosting.
10)    Combine the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt in a medium-sized bowl, and beat together until light and fluffy.
11)    Add the sugar gradually, beating well.
12)    Add the milk a little at a time, until the frosting is a spreadable consistency.
13)    Spread frosting over the cake. Garnish with minced crystallized ginger, if desired.
14)    Yield: 9" x 13" sheet cake, about 24 servings.

Recipe summary
Hands-on time: 20 mins. to 25 mins.  Baking time:  40 mins. to 50 mins.  Total time: 2 hrs 30 mins. to 2 hrs 45 mins.  Yield:  9" x 13" sheet cake, about 24 servings.

Oven Fries

"Take care to cut the potatoes into evenly sized wedges so that all of the pieces will cook at about the same rate. Although it isn't required, a nonstick baking sheet works particularly well for this recipe. It not only keeps the fries from sticking to the pan but, because of its dark color, encourages deep and even browning. Whether you choose a nonstick baking sheet or a regular baking sheet, make sure that it is heavy duty. The intense heat of the oven may cause lighter pans to warp.  Serves 3 to 4."  From Cook's Illustrated, Published January 1, 2004. 

INGREDIENTS
·          3 russet potatoes (about 8 ounces each), peeled, each potato cut lengthwise
            into 10 to 12 evenly sized wedges
·          5 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 475 degrees. Place potatoes in large bowl and cover with hot tap water; soak 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coat 18 by 12-inch heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet (see note) with 4 tablespoons oil and sprinkle evenly with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.

2. Drain potatoes. Spread potatoes out on triple layer of paper towels and thoroughly pat dry with additional paper towels. Rinse and wipe out now-empty bowl; return potatoes to bowl and toss with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet; cover tightly with foil and bake 5 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until bottoms of potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using metal spatula and tongs, scrape to loosen potatoes from pan, then flip each wedge, keeping potatoes in single layer. Continue baking until fries are golden and crisp, 5 to 15 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed if fries are browning unevenly.

3. Transfer fries to second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Black Bean and Chickpea Hummus

This is one of our favorite homemade hummus recipes.  The nonfat yogurt and black beans make it a bit healthier too.

Ingredients

o 1 cup canned black beans, drained
o 1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
o 1 T olive oil
o 2 T fresh lemon juice
o 2 T plain nonfat yogurt
o 2 T water
o 1 clove garlic, chopped
o 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
o Salt and pepper to taste


Directions
Place black beans, garbanzo beans, olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt, water, and garlic into a blender or food processor. Season with curry powder, salt, and pepper. Cover and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stir-Fried Shrimp and Snow Peas with Coconut Curry Sauce

Note: This come together super fast, so have all the ingredients prepped before cooking, including the sauce.

SHRIMP

·          1 pound extra-large shrimp (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined (I bought frozen ones and then peeled them.  They were already deveined)
·          2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
·          2 teaspoons Chinese rice cooking wine (Note:      I substituted 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of chicken broth, and 1 teaspoon of coconut milk).

STIR-FRY

·          3 scallions, minced
·          3 garlic cloves, minced
·          1 T grated fresh ginger
·          5 teaspoons canola oil (used 1-2 teaspoons at a time)
·          2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into matchsticks
·          1 recipe of Coconut Curry Sauce*

1.  For the shrimp:  Toss the shrimp in the soy sauce and rice vinegar mixture in a bowl and marinate for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour in the fridge.
2.  For the stir-fry:  Combine the scallions, garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon of oil in a bowl.  Set aside.
3.  Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking.  Add the shrimp, break up any shrimp that stick together and cook until lightly browned on all sides but not fully cooked about 1½ minutes.  Transfer to a bowl, cover, and set aside.
4.  Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the skillet and return to high heat until shimmering.  Add the bell peppers and cook until almost crisp-tender 2-3 minutes.  Add the snow peas (I also added shredded carrots) and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 1 minute longer.
5.  Clear the center of the skillet, add the garlic mixture and cook, mashing the mixture into the pan until fragrant 15-30 seconds.  Stir it into the vegetables.
6.  Return the shrimp, with any accumulated juice, to the skillet.  Whisk the sauce to recombine, and then add to the skillet.  Simmer, tossing constantly, until the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce has thickened 1-2 minutes.  Serve over rice or quinoa.  From The American’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.

Coconut Curry Sauce

These are Baldy's favorite flavors so I've been searching for the coconut curry sauce for our stir-fry dinners.  And I think I finally found it!

2/3 cup light coconut milk
6 tablespoons of chicken broth
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl and add to stir-fries at the end.

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

Note: This is a mild fish dish perfect, for non-fish eaters.

• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup butter, softened (I usually reduce this to 2 T)
• 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (low-fat or fat-free works)
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
• 1/8 teaspoon celery salt (I omitted this because I didn’t have it on hand)
• 2 pounds tilapia fillets

Preheat your oven's broiler. Line a pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.

Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side.

Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Watch closely and be careful not to over cook the fish.  Serves 8.   From allrecipes.com.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Magic in the Middle Cookies

Amazing!  Any peanut butter and chocolate fan will love these cookies--soft, rich chocolate flavor, with a warm peanut buttery middle.  Adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour.



INGREDIENTS
Chocolate Dough
1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar (plus extra for dredging)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ) brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

Peanut butter filling
3/4 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, your choice
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line with parchment two baking sheets (or use a nonstick mat).

To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.

To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and confectioners sugar until smooth. With floured hands or a teaspoon scoop, roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls.
To shape the cookies: Scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough (a lump about the size of a walnut), make an indentation in the center with your finger and place one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation.

Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together cover the center; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Roll each rounded cookie in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass, and use it to flatten each cookie to about 1/2-inch thick. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they’re set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, let cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before sliding the parchment with the cookies onto a cooling rack.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Best Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas are one of Baldy's favorite foods.  But those slimly green chiles floating in cream of chicken soup type of enchiladas totally turned me off to enchiladas for a long time.  I've tried TONS of recipes trying to find the REAL enchilada.  As I explored I realized that I prefer a simple filling mostly chicken and cheese.  I found that the sauce was one of my least favorite things--not liking green or red canned sauces.  I also discovered that a good sauce uses chili powder to get the color not just tomatoes.  And then I found recipe.  And I tried it.  And I knew my search was over.  These were the most amazing enchiladas to both an enchilada affecionado and an enchilada skeptic.  And do yourself a favor--make the sauce.  It's sooooooo worth it!  Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

 The Best Chicken Enchiladas
3 cups finely shredded or chopped cooked chicken (about 1.5 pounds)
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
2 ½ cups fast enchilada sauce*  (or use 20 oz canned)
1 can chopped green chiles, drained (for extra heat use 2 cans!)
12/ cup minced fresh cilantro
Salt
Pepper
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the chicken, 2 cups of the cheese, ½ cup of the enchilada sauce, the green chiles, and cilantro in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2.  Stack the corn tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 45-60 seconds.

3.  Spread the warm tortillas out on a clean counter.  Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixtures evenly down the center of each tortilla.  Tightly roll the tortilla around the filling, then lay seam-side down in a 9x13 baking dish lightly coated with vegetable oil spray.  (Note: you may need to lay 4 of the enchiladas on top if you’re making all 12.   *I usually make only half in an 8x8 pan and freeze the other 6 for another dinner).

4.  Lightly spray the enchiladas with vegetable oil spray.  Spread 1 cup of sauce over enchiladas to coat thoroughly.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese down the center.  Cover with foil and bake until heated through 20-25 minutes.  

5.  Remove foil and continue to bake until the cheese starts to brown about 5 more minutes.  Serve with any remaining sauce, lime wedges, sour cream, diced avocado, shredded lettuce, and salsa.


Fast Enchilada Sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chili powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons sugar
2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce
½ cup water

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chili powder, garlic, cumin, and sugar.  Cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Stir in the tomato sauce and water.  Bring to simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  (Note we love the sauce like this, but for a more authentic sauce that’s smooth, you’ll need to strain it through a fine mesh strainer first).


*To Make Ahead.  Assemble the enchiladas through 3, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days (or freeze by adding another layer of foil).  Let thaw if frozen at least 24 hours in the fridge.  Then top with sauce and cheese and baking as directed in steps 4 and 5.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crisp Roasted Potatoes

The steps of partially cooking the potatoes before roasting and tossing the potatoes with salt and oil until they are coated with starch are the keys to developing a crisp exterior and creamy interior. The potatoes should be just undercooked when they are removed from the boiling water.  From Cooks Illustrated.  Excellent served with Zippy Barbeque.


INGREDIENTS
• 2 ½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes , rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
• Table salt
• tablespoons olive oil
• Ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Place potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in Dutch oven; add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat and gently simmer until exteriors of potatoes have softened but centers offer resistance when pierced with paring knife, about 5 minutes. Drain potatoes well and transfer to large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt; using rubber spatula, toss to combine. Drizzle with another 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt; continue to toss until exteriors of potato slices are coated with starchy paste, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle remaining tablespoon oil over surface. Carefully transfer potatoes to baking sheet and spread into even layer (skin-side up if end piece). Bake until bottoms of potatoes are golden brown and crisp, 15 to 25 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes.

3. Remove baking sheet from oven and, using metal spatula and tongs, loosen potatoes from pan, carefully flipping each slice. Continue to roast until second side is golden and crisp, 10 to 20 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed to ensure potatoes brown evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This is a favorite of mine that my mom used to bake.  I've changed the recipe a little using some whole-wheat flour and egg substitutes.  I adapted this from my mom's recipe as well as this one from a friend.

Time: 30-45 minutes prep, 2+ hours total rising, 30 minutes baking
Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients
• 6 cups of flour (I used 2 cups whole wheat flour)
• 5 T vital wheat gluten
• 7 T sugar
• 1½ t salt
• 1T instant yeast
• 1¼ cup milk
• 5 T butter
• ¾ cup warm water
• 3 eggs*
• ¼ cup butter, softened
• ½ cup white sugar
• ¼ cup light brown sugar
• 3 T cinnamon

1. In a large mixer bowl mix with a whisk combine flour, gluten, sugar, salt, and yeast.
2. In a saucepan combine butter and milk and water. Heat over low heat until liquid is warm (butter/margarine does not need to melt).  You can also do this in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds and checking when it's the right temperature.  Between 110-120 degrees is perfect.
3. Gradually add eggs* to dry ingredients and mix 1-2 minutes on low, scraping bowl occasionally.
4. Switch to the dough hook and add the liquid ingredients.  Let mix until all the flour is incorporated.  If the dough is sticking to the sides add a little flour at a time until it pulls away (about 1/4 cup at a time).
5. Knead 2 more minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Remove dough from hook.
6. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover; let rise in a warm place, free from a draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour (a little longer if using whole wheat flour)
7. Meanwhile combine sugar and cinnamon, and soften butter.
8. Punch down dough; turn out onto a lightly floured board. Divide dough in half. Roll half the dough into a 14x9 rectangle.
9. Rub lightly with softened butter. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the bread. Roll tightly from the 9-inch side jelly-roll style. Seat edge firmly. Seal end of loaf and tuck underneath.
10. Place loaf, seam side down, in a greased 9-inch bread loaf pan. Repeat with other loaf. Cover; let rise until doubled in bulk about another hour.  Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with any remaining cinnamon sugar.
11. Bake at 375ºF (or 350ºF if using dark non-stick pans) for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and turn out onto wire racks to cool.  If you can resist slicing into warm from the oven, serve when completely cooled.

*To make this a little less eggy for Little Red (she's almost outgrown her allergy, but still can't have a ton of eggs in food)...I substituted 2 T milled flax seed and 6 T of warm water for two of the eggs.  I love that flax seed also makes it a little healthier then eggs.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

French Hot Chocolate

This is a great make-ahead dessert. I often will make the chocolate mixture up the night before or in the morning. Then put the milk in a crock pot on the low setting for about an hour before serving, so no last-minute prep is needed! Everyone raves about this hot chocolate! I love the fluffy, light, yet rich chocolaty taste.  Not my everyday hot chocolate, but great for a special treat.  From Favorites.

 3 (1 oz) squares of Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate
 ½ cup water
 ½ teaspoon salt
 ¾ cut sugar

 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
 1 teaspoon vanilla
 Milk (about 1 gallon)


Cook chocolate and water over low heat until smooth and thick, stirring constantly—be careful not to burn the chocolate. Add salt and sugar; cook for 5 minutes more. Cool completely.

Whip heavy cram and add vanilla. (You could substitute almond or peppermint extract for a little different flavor). Fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Store in refrigerator. To serve, add a heaping tablespoon (or two) to a cup of hot milk. Stir and enjoy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Yeasted Waffles

From Cooks Illustrated March 2004

The batter must be made 12 to 24 hours in advance.  They prefer this recipe in a regular waffle iron but a Belgian waffle iron will also work it just makes fewer waffles (that's what we use).  These are best served fresh.  These waffles are quite rich so we usually skip the butter.  We love the crispiness and airiness the yeast creates.

INGREDIENTS
1¾ cups whole milk , or low-fat milk, or skim milk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 8 pieces
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1½ teaspoons instant yeast
2 large eggs
1teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat milk and butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat until butter is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool milk/butter mixture until warm to touch. Meanwhile, whisk flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in large bowl to combine. Gradually whisk warm milk/butter mixture into flour mixture; continue to whisk until batter is smooth. In small bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla until combined, then add egg mixture to batter and whisk until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 24 hours.

2. Preheat the waffle iron; remove waffle batter from refrigerator when waffle iron is hot (batter will be foamy and doubled in size). Whisk batter to recombine (batter will deflate). Bake waffles and serve immediately or hold in low temperature oven .  To do this, place them on a wire rack set above a baking sheet, cover them with a clean kitchen towel, and place the baking sheet in a 200-degree oven. When the final waffle is in the iron, remove the towel to allow the waffles to crisp for a few minutes in the oven before serving.