Saturday, February 28, 2009
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cups sugar, plus more for coating the cookies
2 tablespoons milk (I used fat free half-and-half)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup of strawberry jam, or any thick jam you have on hand
1. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger and salt.
3. Beat the butter until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and beat for a minute. Add the egg and beat for 2 minutes more. The mixture will be satiny. Add the milk and vanilla and beat just to combine. Don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled, it will even out shortly. Add the jam and beat for 1 minute more. Add the dry ingredients and mix only until they are incorporated.
4. Spoon the dough by the rounded teaspoonfuls into a dish of granulated sugar. Toss to coat and place on a baking sheet, leaving about an inch between the mounds.
5. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies will be only just firm, fairly pale and browned around the edges. Pull the sheets from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, the carefully transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.
2 bunches broccoli
4 garlic cloves, sliced
salt & pepper
zest of one lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
pine nuts, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Wash and pat the broccoli very dry. Cut into large florets. Toss with a glug of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and toss with lemon zest and lemon juice. Top with pine nuts and parmesan.
Note: The original recipe also calls for julienned basil but I have always omitted it.
Makes 4 servings.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Twice Baked Potatoes
2 large Russet potatoes
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 - 3 strips turkey bacon
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash and scrub the potatoes and dry with a paper towel. Prick the potatoes a few times with a fork. Rub with a little olive oil and sprinkle all over with kosher salt. Place on a baking sheet and bake for at least an hour and until the potatoes are cooked through.
2. In the meantime, heat the turkey bacon strips over medium heat until crispy. Crumble and set aside.
3. Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool somewhat for easy handling. Lower oven temperature to 350°F. Cut off top third of each potato. Scoop out insides but leave about 1/4 inch of potato all around so the potatoes hold their shape.
4. Mash the insides of the potatoes with light cream, salt, 3/4 of grated parmesan cheese, and 2/3 of the crumbled bacon. Add the ingredients to taste and don't overmix as the potato will get gluey.
5. Scoop the mashed potatoes back into the potato skins and top each with remaining turkey bacon crumbles and parmesan cheese. Bake for an additional 15 minutes before serving.
Makes 2 servings.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Harissa is one of my favorite ingredients though but, for some reason, I don't use it nearly often enough. The harissa I used for this recipe wasn't too spicy so I was able to use quite a bit for the sauce. I echo Heidi's advice to taste the harissa you intend to use first as pre-made harissa can vary greatly and many are extremely spicy. I also think whole wheat pasta works great for this recipe as it can stand up to bold flavors. I am a late convert to whole wheat pasta and still don't use it for every pasta recipe. However, I have been pleased with the taste and consistency of Trader Joe's Organic Whole Wheat Spaghetti. As usual, I have reproduced the recipe below with a few of my own alterations.
4 - 5 medium cloves garlic, peeled
a big pinch of fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp harissa (paste)
8-10 ounces (or a little more than 1/2 pound) whole wheat spaghetti
1 small bunch kale, well-washed, deveined, and torn into smaller pieces
1/2 cup oil-cured black olives pitted
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
zest of 1 lemon
squeeze of lemon
1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Whisk together the harissa and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil with a big pinch of salt and set aside.
2. Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add kale and a small pinch of salt and saute until softened. Add half the harissa/olive oil sauce and heat.
3. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Add the cooked spaghetti with a touch of pasta water to the heated sauce. Add the olives, lemon zest, and the remaining sauce and toss to combine. Add a squeeze of lemon and scatter the pine nuts.
Makes 4 servings.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
It is amazing how just a few ingredients combine and concentrate to create such heightened flavors. Don't be afraid of the amount of garlic this recipe calls for as the garlic really mellows out, becoming almost sweet, during the cooking process. Although the recipe states that the chicken is "bland" without the sauce, I found the chicken to be very chicken-y, in a good way. I briefly considered omitting the Cognac as it required buying an overpriced tiny bottle just for the recipe but I am glad that I ended up splurging because it adds a great dimension to the dish. I also recommend using fresh thyme, as the flavor was also very evident in the final product. Finally, make sure to season the chicken thoroughly and be very patient with the initial browning as that is when most of the flavor is developed (as in most if not all braising dishes). I served this dish with roasted baby potatoes, flavored with some of the remaining fresh thyme and the Christmas truffle salt, and roasted broccoli, which deserves and will soon get its own post.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths (I used just one chicken)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream (I used light cream)
1. Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside. (I cheated and used pre-peeled cloves of garlic I got from Trader Joe's, which did not hurt the flavor of the dish at all and saved me a ton of time and frustration.)
2. Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat (If you are making just one chicken like I did, use half the amount of butter and oil. The chicken will give off plenty of its own fat). In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate.
3. Add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.
4. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.
Makes 4-6 servings.
1 1/4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 cups unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
1. Preheat oven to 250°F with rack in middle.
2. Whisk together lime juice, oil, paprika, sea salt, and cayenne. Stir in peanuts to coat evenly.
3. Spread peanuts in a large shallow baking pan and bake until coating is dry and fragrant, about 30 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I probably should have mentioned before now that I do not own a stand mixer so every dessert I highlight on this blog easily can be made by hand. In fact, if a recipe seems to require a stand mixer, I tend to avoid it. This recipe, thankfully, does not call for a stand mixer or a huge list of ingredients. Just one tip -- I have found that grating the butter is the easiest way to incorporate it into the flour/sugar/baking powder mixture. The butter needs to be very cold before grating. The technique is a little messy but has never failed to produce perfect crumbly dough.
Blueberry Crumb Bars
½ cup white sugar
½ tsp baking powder
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cold butter (1 stick)
⅛ tsp salt
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
2 cups fresh blueberries
¼ cup white sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 8X8 inch square pan with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, stir together ½ cup sugar, 1½ cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
3. In another bowl, stir together ¼ cup sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
Makes about 12 squares.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
3 eggs, beaten
2 stalks green onion, minced
3 cups leftover rice, grains separated well
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I finally hit upon the perfect recipe for my husband's and my tastes when I took matters into my own hands and created a recipe that is a hybrid of two recipes -- a 2007 recipe from Gourmet highlighted on Smitten Kitchen and an America's Test Kitchen recipe. Both recipes had aspects I liked and disliked so I had a lot to draw from. My version of arroz con pollo, which I fully admit likely is not very authentic, makes a lot -- we ate this for 3 days straight and still had some leftover. This is the type of recipe that gets better overnight so leftovers are not a problem.
1 3 1/2 - 4lbs whole chicken, cut up into 8 pieces
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp distilled white vinegar
ground black pepper
3 1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 green, red, yellow, or orange pepper, chopped fine
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 3/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
3 cups long grain rice
1/2 cup green olives stuffed with jalepenos, halved
2 Tbsp capers
1/2 cup jarred pimentos, cut into strips
1. Mash one-half the minced garlic with 2 tsp of salt, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon oregano. Toss chicken with marinade until coated and marinate, covered and chilled, for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper, and the rest of the garlic. Saute until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add cumin, cayenne, oregano, paprika, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1 1/4 tsp salt, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons of cilantro and stir to combine.
4. Push vegetables to side of the pot and add half the chicken pieces skin side down. Increase heat to medium high heat. Cook without moving chicken, until outer layer becomes opaque, 2 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook on second side until opaque, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove chicken to a platter. Repeat same process with remaining chicken pieces.
5. Add rice to the vegetables and saute together for 30 seconds. Add broth, tomato sauce, and water; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer.
6. Lower heat to medium low heat. Scatter olives and capers. Nestle chicken pieces throughout the rice. Cover pot with parchment paper and a tight lid. Allow to cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. If liquid seems to evaporate too quickly, add a small amount of chicken broth.
7. Once the chicken and rice are cooked through, turn off heat. Remove chicken pieces from pot. Remove chicken skin and discard. Using two spoons, remove the meat from the bones and discard bones. Toss chicken meat with remaining cilantro, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons vinegar, and salt to taste.
8. Add the chicken back to the rice and stir. Scatter pimento strips. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste if necessary.