Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I stumbled upon this recipe at Allrecipes.com. Most of the time, if a recipe is rated highly by a large number of people on Allrecipes, it's pretty good. This one was rated highly by a large number, and I had all the ingredients I needed on hand, so I gave it a try.
The first batch I made tasted good, but didn't really wow me. I had read through the comments and done some of the things suggested, which included adding extra flour, and I think that ended up making that batch somewhat dry. I made them again today and followed the recipe exactly, and they came out moist, chewy, and delicious - there's just enough chocolate to get a chocolate fix, but it's not overpowering. They're also not insanely sweet - I like sweets, but I can't stand cookies that just have too much sugar in them.
One thing I did have to do was cook them 16-18 minutes, rather than the recommended 12. I have an oven thermometer, so I know it was at 325 degrees, but they were still gooey when I checked on them at 12 minutes.
I did all of this in the stand mixer (even the chocolate chips and walnuts) with no problem. Using a regular spoon to drop them onto the cookie sheets, I got 33 cookies out of the batter.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Saturday: Baked salmon, french onion soup, asparagus
Sunday: Stuffed Shells (subbing ground turkey), green beans, zucchini
Tuesday: Mexican Pizza
Wednesday: Chicken Fried Rice
Thursday: Chicken and rice casserole, corn, lima beans
Friday: Chicken and rice casserole, peas, roasted carrots
This second of this month's BB recipes was Easy Sticky Buns chosen by Melissa of Made By Melissa. I had noticed these in my BC Back to Basics cookbook, so I was excited to finally try them!
These were super-easy to make (once my puff pastry FINALLY thawed enough to work with - it took forever). But, seriously, this doesn't require much more work than popping open a can, and it tastes so much better. They were light and flaky, sweet and buttery and cinnamony. Bliss on a Saturday morning.
Unfortunately, we had a slight emergency when the cinnamon rolls were coming out of the oven (let's just suffice it to say that hands should not touch oven doors when hot), and don't have a picture. We were in running to the doctor crazy mode, so pics didn't happen. But when we got home, those rolls were still waiting for us and helped us come down from the adrenaline high.
I'll definitely make them again. In fact, they're so easy that they might just become somewhat of a tradition around here!
Easy Sticky Buns
From Barefoot Contessa's Back To Basics
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
for the filling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with half of the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.
Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon), and cool completely.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
This has been a very helpful tool for me - I no longer have to bookmark every recipe I find online, or store recipes on various sites (allrecipes, Food Network, Epicurious, etc...). I just copy and paste, and it's all stored in one place.
There's also a fantastic feature called the "Grocery List." Many food websites have this, but if you've saved recipes all over the web, you have to do this in several places. With this site, you just pick the recipes you want, they populate your grocery list, and then you can categorize them further if you wish. It's very handy.
Give it a try!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
2 lbs beef stew meat
Friday, January 9, 2009
I'm also making a lot of things that aren't too spicy this week. A lot of what I tend to cook has a kick of some sort (or wine), and I really want to start feeding the kiddo from the same things we're eating. So, this is also stuff I can (try to, anyway) feed him. I'll probably be sticking with things like this for a while - or things where I can add the spice in at the end, so that I can take his portion out early.
Saturday: Dinner out. Without kiddo. Yippee!
Sunday: Beefy Bello Soup in homemade bread bowls (if I have time) or French bread, salad
Monday: Pork Tenderloin, potatoes, zucchini
Tuesday: Leftover tenderloin
Wednesday: Shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches, salad
Friday: Homemade pizza
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Thanks to Karen of Something Sweet By Karen for choosing such a yummy recipe!
Banana Sour Cream Pancakes
Cookbook: 2003’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Show: Barefoot Contessa Episode: Back to School
1 1/2 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp milk
2 extra-large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving
Pure maple syrup
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan to make 3 or 4 pancakes. Distribute a rounded tablespoon of bananas on each pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until browned. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add more butter to the pan, and continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve with sliced bananas, butter and maple syrup.
Ignore the brown eggs. I'm freaky about not having any runniness in my scrambled eggs, so mine are always cooked to oblivion...
Sunday, January 4, 2009
These are easy as can be. They are quite sweet, so most people don't eat more than one or two at a time, despite the small size.
1 jar of lemon curd*
1 package of mini phyllo shells (or any other prepared mini shell - doesn't have to be phyllo)
Melted chocolate (I just used chocolate chips)
Berries for garnish
-Thaw phyllo shells if you've had them in the freezer.
-Melt chocolate (you could use pretty much any chocolate here) and brush a coating around each of the shells. Set in the freezer for 5 minutes, or fridge for about 10, for chocolate to harden.
-Once the chocolate has hardened, fill each shell with curd.
-Top with berries of choice.
*One full jar of curd will actually be enough for two boxes of shells (30 total).
I did take notes from the comments on the original recipe and made some modifications. Even with these, I still felt it was a little on the bland side - next time I'll add onions and bell pepper. Maybe even some crushed red pepper for a little heat.
Chicken With Tomatoes and Mushrooms
adapted from Everyday Food
1 package chicken tenderloin strips (about 1 lb)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
10 oz bag of mushrooms
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes
1/2 C red wine (I used a cabernet)
1/4-1/2 tsp dried oregano
-Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large saucepan or small dutch oven (I used my Le Creuset) and make sure it covers the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken, and cook on each side until golden (about 4-6 minutes/side). Transfer to a plate, and cover with aluminum foil.
-Turn down heat to medium-low and add garlic to saute for a minute or two (don't burn!).
-Add wine and deglaze pan* (if using a gas burner, remember to turn off while adding alcohol)
-Add stewed tomatoes, mushrooms and oregano, cover, and let cook until tomatoes are cooked down, about 15 minutes.
-Return chicken to pot and let it all simmer together for 10-15 minutes, with the lid on.**
*You could probably also use chicken stock if you didn't want to use wine, but I like the depth of flavor from the wine.
**If the sauce is thinner than you would like, you could add a cornstarch/water mixture. I did this and it helped thicken it up nicely.
Today I decided to try regular ciabatta, and so I used a trusty King Arthur Flour recipe. It came out with a nice crust and light and holey on the inside. Tastes fantastic. And easy as can be. The electric mixer does all the work.
One thing I have learned about baking over the last couple of months - it really is best to weigh ingredients, rather than just measure them. If I go by my measuring cups, I generally need 1/4 C less flour, so I now weigh critical things like that. There's a fantastic conversion chart in the front of the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion for measurement in volume to weight in ounces.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Saturday: Leftovers from Friday night's takeout
Sunday: Pork tenderloin, asparagus, roasted broccoli, rice
Monday: Leftover pork, rice, green beans, corn
Tuesday: Garlic-Lover's Shrimp, steamed veggies, brown rice
Thursday: Chicken With Tomatoes and Mushrooms, French bread, zucchini
Friday: Leftover chicken, French bread, whatever veggie I feel like