Monday, October 22, 2007
As Deb at Smitten Kitchen encouraged her readers to make this, I'll do the same. This galette isn't something you should pass up because it might look a little intimidating - believe me, it's easier than any single or double-crusted pie you'll ever make. And the results are just phenomenal. The crust in one word: absolute perfection. It's flakey, buttery, and light...and the filling is all that I expected it to be soft, sweet, savory, with a little bit of a bite from the gruyere that I used rather than the fontina the recipe calls for. I'll make this again and again, and am considering making it this weekend for my girls-night-in dinner party.
I did follow the directions as they were written: freezing the flour mixture and butter for an hour first then preparing the dough by hand and refrigerating it for another hour. While at first glance, this seems a little time consuming, there's not a whole lot of actual preparation going on, and the refrigeration time gave me plenty of time to roast the squash, caramelize the onions, and do a few dishes. ;) Overall, the recipe was quite simple but result was extraordinary!
Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
For the pastry:
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut intopieces
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup ice water
For the filling:
- 1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter (if you have only non-stick, the smaller amount will do)
- 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- ¾ cup fontina cheese (about 2½ ounces), grated or cut into small bits (I used gruyere)
- 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
- Make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a ½-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. (This took more like 30 minutes on low to medium-low heat) Stir in cayenne.
- Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.
- Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. (I used a piece of parchment paper on the sheet) Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.
- Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.
Active prep time: 40 minutes
Inactive prep time: 2 hrs
I broke out the crockpot yesterday afternoon, determined to get my money out of it (even though I got it on sale at Williams-Sonoma last winter for about 40 bucks), mixed up the quick spice rub, rubbed the chops down, and got them cooking. The result was more than worth the 6 hour wait for them. The chops came out with the meat falling off the bone and flavor was a nice mix between sweet and savory; the maple in the background of everything is what made this dish. I'll admit they did come out a little dry so next time I'll cook them for 5 to 5 1/2 hours rather than 6, but because they tasted as good as they did, a little dryness didn't matter all that much.
maple rub (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- splash of worchestershire sauce
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chicken stock for the bottom of the crockpot
- Combine above ingredients in a bowl. Consistency will slightly clumpy and paste like. Coat pork ribs with this paste using your hands - a basting brush isn't as effective.
- Place coated pork in a dutch oven or in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 3-4 hours OR Place coated pork in your crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. (I think 5 to 5 1/2hrs in the crockpot would be enough time)
Prep time: 5-10 mintues
Cook time: Oven: 3-4hrs Crockpot: 5 to 5 1/2hrs
Sunday, October 21, 2007
- 1 1/2 cups Gingersnaps
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 2 1/2/bs cream cheese
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 TBSP flour
- 5 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- For crust, combine the gingersnaps, and butter. Press onto the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes in 350F oven. Set aside.
- For the filling, cream the cheese until soft. Add in the sugar and mix well. Add in the flour and mix to blend.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping th bowl down after each addition. Add in the yolks and vanilla. Mix well.
- Remove 3 cups of the batter and place in a bowl. In a seperate bowl, combine the pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in the 3 cups of plain cheesecake batter.
- Layer the two batters in the springform pan starting with the plain batter. Do three layers plain batter and two of the pumpkin batter. Swirl the batters to create a marbelized look.
- Place the cake on a sheet pan. Place in the oven and pour in hot water to create a water bath. Bake the cheesecake at 350 F for approx. 2 hours. A thin knife inserted in the center should come out almost clean.
- Cool the cake and then chill. Let sit overnight before unmolding.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1hr 30min to 2hrs
Saturday, October 20, 2007
So as this was shortly before Christmas last year, I knew I'd have the perfect opportunity to attempt the recipe...and my family would be the guinea pigs...heh heh heh. My mom, being one of the world's foremost shortbread connoisseurs (kinda sorta but not really), would be the only person who would be able to honestly let me know if this recipe was on target or not. And of course it was...after all, it IS a Martha recipe!! These came out perfectly and were so incredibly easy to make it's stinkin' ridiculous! I just made them again today for a church function tomorrow and am having a wee bit (ok A LOT) of trouble keeping my hands off them. I hope they make it to church in the morning.......
- 1 1/3 cups (2 sticks plus 6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-by-1-inch baking pan, and line bottom with parchment paper. (I didn't butter but just laid the parchment down in a dark non-stick pan.) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add salt and vanilla, and beat to combine. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until just combined.
- Press dough into prepared pan, leveling and smoothing the top. Using a dough scraper or the back of a knife, cut dough lengthwise into nine strips, each slightly less than 1 inch wide. Cut the strips crosswise into thirty-six 3-inch bars. Using the tines of a fork or a wooden skewer, create a decorative pattern on the surface.
- Bake shortbread until evenly pale golden, but not browned, 70 to 85 minutes. (With a dark pan, don't cook for more than 70 minutes.) Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. Invert pan, and remove parchment. Turn shortbread over, and carefully break, or cut with a serrated knife, into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I had a 5pm dentist appt after work to have what I thought was a small filling put in as a preventative measure, which didn't have me worried at all because I don't need any novacaine for these types of things. In fact, the last time I had novacaine was over 20 years ago. Well.....this procedure proved to be different. The dentist numbed me gum as soon as I got in the chair then came at me with the novacaine needle - ummm....what??? I thought this was a small procedure!! As it turns out, the "spot" they originally saw two months ago progressed to a full-blown cavity IN BETWEEN my teeth and the dentist ended up having to drill down damn close to the nerve ending. OK, so I felt nothing whatsoever during the procedure but the novacaine left me feeling weird and slightly disoriented. To make matters worse, when I got back in the car, I realized that I had broken my glasses when I made the tranisition from glasses to sunglasses earlier in the afternoon. GREAT. Alright, not so much of a big deal because I'm not totally blind without my glasses and it was still semi-light out so I could handle it.
If you're still reading, this, I commend you...and if you're wondering, yes, I do still have an egg on the top of my head. But I digress...the frittata was fabulous!! I used up some thawed out frozen spinach, chopped red peppers, sliced roasted garlic chicken sausage and fontina cheese (my favorite!) and I couldn't be more pleased with how this turned out. Seriously, if you have trouble getting your kids to eat their veggies, put them (the veggies, not your kids) in a frittata! All of the flavors came together beautifully and not a single veggie screams out "I'M A VEGETABLE!!" I told Kyle that I was considering making this frittata again for dinner tonight! :)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 eggs
- 2 tbsp heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black
- 2 chicken sausages, sliced
- 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed, and drained
- 3/4 cup red pepper, diced small
- 3 oz fontina cubed small
- In a large bowl, beat together eggs, cream, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- Turn oven on to broil. In a 9 or 10 inch non-stick, oven-safe skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Coat the sides of the pan with butter and oil mixture. Add spinach, peppers, and chicken sausage and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender crisp and heated through. Reduce heat to medium-low and add egg mixture then cheese. Cover and cook for 2 minutes until eggs have set but the top is still runny.
- Carefully move pan from stovetop to oven and broil for 4 minutes or until the top is browned and no longer runny. Remove from oven (handle will be hot!!) and let stand for 2 minutes. Loosen frittata with a non-stick spatula and slide onto serving plate.
Monday, October 15, 2007
The recipe sounded perfect except for adding chunks of bread which are supposed to aid in thickening the soup - to me it only sounded like soggy bread and I wasn't willing to risk another soup attempt on soggy bread. I've learned enough over the past couple of years about how to make substititions to recipes in order to make them "my own" and this would be another one of those times. Actually, my changes were minimal, only omitting the bread and adding about 1 1/2 tbsp of a cornstarch slurry, 1/2 cup heavy cream (I LOVE creamy tomato soup), and a package of fresh tortellini to really round out the soup as a meal. I also used my handy-dandy immersion blender before adding the tortellini and cream to smooth out the thick chunks of diced tomatoes as I knew Kyle would never try the soup with chunks of tomatoes floating around. If you don't have an immersion blender, you could puree the soup in a blender then return it to the pot.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 ounces pancetta, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- dash or 2 of dried crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper (I used about 1/2 tsp Kosher salt and maybe 1/4 tsp pepper)
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch plus 1 1/2 tbsp water, combined in a small bowl to make a slurry
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 12 oz tortellini, uncooked
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
- Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Puree soup with the immersion blender.
- Bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 3-5 minutes. Add cornstartch/water slurry and tortellini. Allow to cook, covered, for 7-8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in heavy cream. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add basil during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Reseason soup with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Stir the mascarpone and sour cream in a small bowl to blend. Ladle the soup into bowls. Spoon a dollop of the mascarpone mixture atop the soup and serve.
Friday, October 12, 2007
The result? ummm....YUM!!! This sauce really was one of the best vodka sauces I've ever had and it was so easy to put together! It was perfectly creamy and the vodka flavor really came through but wasn't at all overpowering. The recipe gives instruction for a homemade sauce but since I already had some on hand, I skipped that part and cut a good 45 minutes off the recipe. I halved the recipe and ended up freezing the 2 remaining servings in Ziploc bags layed flat in the freezer for the next time I have a craving for vodka sauce.
source: Giada De Laurentiis
- 1 quart Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce, blended until smooth
- 1 cup vodka
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 pound penne (I used tortellini)
- Simmer the tomato sauce and vodka in a heavy large skillet over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir the cream into the tomato and vodka sauce. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer it to the pan with the sauce, and toss to coat.
Simple Tomato Sauce:
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 4 to 6 basil leaves
- 2 dried bay leaves
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
- In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until thick.
- Remove bay leaves and taste for seasoning. If sauce tastes too acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to round out the flavor.
- Pour half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
- If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and then pour 1 to 2 cup portions into plastic freezer bags. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Without making sauce:
Prep time: 2 minutes (without making sauce)
Cook time: 25 minutes
Including making sauce:
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I used about 1 1/4lb ground beef)
- 1/2 a green bell pepper, finely chopped (I used a red pepper because it's what I had)
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (I didn't use oil because I cooked the peppers and onions in with the beef)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups chili gravy (recipe follows)
- 4 flour tortillas (1 1/4lb beef yielded enough filling for 6 tortillas)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used shredded cheddar with chipotle peppers made by Sargento)
- Preheat oven to 350. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add onion and peppers and cook for about 5 min. Add shredded chicken and stir. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Remove from pan and set aside. Using the same pan, make the chili gravy as follows.
- 1/4 cup lard (I used vegetable oil - so did I)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 tsp powdered garlic (I used closer to 2 tsp)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano (Mexican oregano is preferred if it’s available)
- 2 T chili powder (either homemade or a dark brand such as Gebhardt’s or Whole Foods or McCormick)
- 2 cups chicken broth (or water) (I used half water, half chicken stock)
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.
- Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients. Add chicken broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens. Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. (It took about 8 minutes for me) Add water to adjust the thickness. (didn't need extra water) Makes 2 cups.
- Once the chili gravy is done, add 1/2 a cup to the chicken mixture and stir. Spoon the chicken mixture into the flour tortilla shells and roll up. Spread another half cup of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish and place the rolled tortillas in the dish. Top with the remaining cup of sauce and shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 min. I baked for 20 minutes then took off the foil and broiled for 3-4 minutes. I topped with a dollop of sour cream and would have added a sprinkle of cilantro but it went bad on me this week and I had to toss it.
Prep time: 12-15 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Serves: 3 to 6 (depending on appetites)
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Overall, this really was one of the best meals I've had/made in a while. The cut of steak (I think it was a rib-eye) was just perfect, I didn't over-grill the steak (for once), the marinade was of course, fantastic, and the twice-baked potato was well...out of this world! The flavor of the gouda really came through and refined the consistency of the potato stuffing as it melted throughout. I'm not one to repeat meals from week to week, but since I'm having trouble thinking about much else as I prepare my menu for next week, I might just have to.
- 3/4 cup reduce-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup canola oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 scallions, chopped (I use 1 tbsp dried onion flakes)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 18 oz flank steak*
- Combine all ingredients except the steak in a large Ziploc bag. Close the zipper and squeeze ingredients to combine, making sure to incorporate the honey.
- Add the steak to the bag and release as much air as possible before closing the zipper.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight, remembering to turn the bag over every few hours.
- Grill to your liking.
* Note: I almost can never find flank steak so I use NY strip, rib-eye, or London broil. Usually London broil is a large cut of meat so I increase the marinade recipe by 1/2 or even double, if necessary.
Active prep time: 5 minutes
Inactive prep time: 2 to 24hours
Cook time: approx 7 minutes per side, depending on weight
Serves: 2 - 6 (depending on cut of meat)
Gouda Twice-Baked Potato
- 2 large Russet or Idaho potatoes (10-12 oz each)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp shredded gouda cheese
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2-3 tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash and stick potatoes with a fork a couple of times. To cut down on oven cooking time, I pre-cook the potatoes in the microwave oven for about 7 minutes on high - depending on weight - then transfer them to the oven for 45 minutes, turning over once. The potatoes should be soft on the inside but the skin should be almost crispy. (You can also skip the microwave stage and bake potatoes for 45 minutes then turn over and bake for an additional 30 minutes.)
- Remove potatoes from oven and with a sharp knife, slice off the top of the potato. Scoop out potato into a medium bowl, being careful not to push through the skin and leaving enough potato so that the skin doesn't become floppy.
- Add only 1/2 cup gouda and all remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir until mixture becomes creamy - do not over stir. If mixture is too stiff, add a little more sour cream or a dash of milk.
- With a spoon, carefully refill potato skins with potato mixture. Sprinkle each potato with 1 tbsp remaining shredded gouda.
- Place potatoes on a baking sheet and return to hot oven. Bake for an additional 10 minutes then turn the broiler on for 2 minutes to melt and slightly brown cheese topping.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 stalks celery, chopped small
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1 1/2 medium onions
- 3/4 cup bean sprouts, washed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups chicken gravy (either homemade, jarred, or a combo of both)
- 1 chicken bouillon cube plus 1/2 cup water (I use 3/4 cup chicken stock)
- a good pinch of salt, freshly ground pepper, and garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 - 2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce (I used more like 2 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp sugar or molasses (I use sugar)
- 1 tsp gravy master if you don't use molasses
- 1 1/2 cups diced or nearly shredded cooked chicken (or pork)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water (if needed)
- In a large non-stick frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat, then add celery and carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Add onions and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until everything starts to soften.
- Add bean sprouts and stir to combine. Turn heat to medium-low. Add gravy and bouillon cube and water or chicken stock. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, ginger, and soy sauce. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in sugar or molasses and gravy master (again, if not using molasses). Cook for 3 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.
- Add in chicken (or pork) and cook until chicken is heated through and sauce is thick. If sauce doesn't thicken, add the cornstarch.
- Serve over rice or pasta. Freezes well (without pasta).
Prep time: 5-8 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Monday, October 8, 2007
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar (I used granulated)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced
- 2 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples (3 large)
- 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used 1/2 tsp)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
- For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (I chilled the dough for about 3 1/2 hours.)
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet.
- For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples into 8ths. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. Toss the chunks with the orange zest. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.
- Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.
- Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes (mine needed about 28-30 minutes), until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Active prep time: 20 minutes
Inactive prep time: 1 to 4 hours
Cook time: 25 - 30 minutes
So last night, I took to the kitchen and cooked up a pretty damn good pad thai dish! Kyle gave it an 8.5 (on the 'ol 10-point scale) and that was after he took a taste from the pan before it was finished cooking and made a God-awful face. (duh.) I do admit there was a bit of veggie prep (I highly recommended prepping everything before you start cooking this dish) but once things started moving, the cooking part was quite basic. And the results....MMMM!! I'll admit that I was a little skeptical while cooking because the recipe doesn't call for any spices but it really turned into a wonderful dish. I only very slightly modified the recipe which you can see in italics below but overall, I really stuck to the recipe. DEFINITELY give this one a shot!!
- 1/2 lb. dried rice ribbon noodles (I couldn't find ribbon so I used regular flat rice noodles)
- 2 Tbs. vegetable oil, or as needed
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, about 1/4 lb., cut into strips 1/8 inch thick (I used 1lb chicken)
- 1/4 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup minced shallot or yellow onion (I used shallot)
- 3 Tbs. tomato ketchup or tomato paste (I used tomato paste)
- 2 Tbs. plus 1 1/2 tsp. Thai fish sauce
- 2 Tbs. lime juice or rice vinegar
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1 egg
- Large pinch of red pepper flakes (small pinch for me)
- 4 Tbs. chicken stock (I used about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 lb. mung bean sprouts
- 6 green onions, including tender green portions, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts (omitted)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (for garnish - omitted - forgot)
- 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges (for garnish - omitted)
- Place the noodles in a bowl, add warm water to cover and soak until soft and pliable, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a nonstick wok (I used a 12 inch non-stick frying pan) over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the oil. Add the chicken and toss and stir until opaque, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and toss and stir until bright pink, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Return the wok to medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Add the garlic and shallot and toss and stir until golden, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to high and add the ketchup, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Toss and stir until thickened, about 30 seconds.
- Crack the egg into the middle of the wok and lightly beat. Cook, without stirring, until set, about 20 seconds. Gently fold the egg into the sauce; tiny egg flecks should peek through the sauce. Add the noodles and red pepper flakes and, using tongs, toss to coat with the sauce.
- Add the stock, 2 Tbs. at a time, to moisten the stiff noodles, and cook until the noodles begin to cling together and are almost tender, about 3 minutes. Add the bean sprouts, green onions, carrot, chicken-shrimp mixture and half of the peanuts. Toss to combine and cook until the bean sprouts begin to wilt, about 3 minutes. (I probably cooked the dish for an extra 4 minutes or so while adding about 1/4 cup chicken stock at the end and letting it cook down in order to finish cooking the noodles. The noodles were al dente when I served up the pad thai.)
- Divide among individual plates and top with the remaining peanuts and the cilantro. Squeeze the lime wedges over the noodles. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Asian Flavors, by Joyce Jue (Time-Life Books, 1999).
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Pumpkin-Spice Cheesecake Brownies
source: Cara at Cara's Cravings
- 3/4 cup butter, melted (I used 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup applesauce)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 6 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp each ground ginger and ground cloves
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8" square metal baking pan.
- Beat together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time. Combine dry ingredients and then gradually stir into butter mixture with a wooden spoon. In separate bowl, beat together cheesecake batter ingredients.
- Spread about 2/3 of chocolate batter into prepared pan, and spoon cheesecake batter over. Dollop remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter. Swirl the batters together by running a butter knife (or toothpick) back and forth through the pan.
- Bake for 40 minutes (I baked for 35 minutes), or until center is set. Cool completely on wire rack and chill before cutting and serving.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35 - 40 minutes
Yields: 12 - 16 brownies
After I got home, I turned it back on low for 30 minutes to reheat and I was all set to go. Love it! And let me tell you...by the time I got home after having thought about this cooking all day, I couldn't wait to dig in! I had also made some mexican rice this morning while I got ready for work so that it would be ready for both of us when we were ready to eat. What a treat this whole meal was!!
- 2 or 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 jar salsa
- 1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground corinader (optional)
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- dash of chipotle chili powder (optional)
- Put chicken on the bottom of the crockpot. Cover with salsa then beans. Add water to bottom of the crockpot around the chicken. Sprinkle with dry spices.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
- Serve with rice, sour cream, shredded cheese and garnish with chopped cilantro. You can also shred the chicken and make burritos if you have tortillas in the fridge.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8hrs on low or 3 1/2 to 4hr on high
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
The ideas raced around my head during my 45 minute drive home and when I got in the house, I got right to work in the kitchen without even changing out of my work clothes. I was on a mission. Oh...did I mention this mission had to be lower in calories and fat since Kyle and I have started a healthy eating plan that involves only eating a certain amount of calories per day? Right...there would be no heavy cream in this sauce and instead skim milk, which I've always found works beautifully when making creamy sauces.
- Melt 1 - 2 tsp butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 tsp flour to melted butter and stir to make a liquidy roux. Stir in about 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Cook for 30-60 seconds.
- Turn heat to low and whisk in 1/2 to 3/4 cup skim milk, whisking until there are no lumps. Stir in 1/4 cup pumpkin puree until well-incorporated. Cook on low stirring frequently for 5-8 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency.
I cut up and heated one pre-cooked roasted garlic chicken sausage and served the sausage on top of whole wheat pasta and the pumpkin sauce. Before eating, I sprinkled another dash of cinnamon on top and garnished with a few strips of Parmesan cheese. This was SO good and SO easy!! The mix of flavors from the sweet pumpkin and cinnamon along with the savory chicken sausage and Parmesan cheese was just delightful. And knowing that the sauce was low cal/low fat made eating the meal so much more satisfying! This is definitely a keeper...and maybe next time I'll attempt it when Kyle IS home for dinner.