Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cappuccino Brownies

Slow baked at a low temp for an hour (yes an hour), these brownies have a delicate chocolate flavor with a hint of coffee, a dash of cinnamon and a base of sugar and milk. More cake like than fudgey, and not too sweet, they are still very much a brownie, with the wonderful soothing taste of  one of your favorite coffee drinks.

I replaced 1/4 cup of the sugar with  Espresso sugar from Artisano's Oils & Spices  in Indianapolis (they ship! and the espresso sugar is also wonderful in gingerbread and molasses cookies).  If you don't have, simply add another 1/4 cup sugar and 1 to 2 Tablespoons of espresso powder to your dry ingredients.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Butter a 10 inch square casserole dish (for thick brownies) or a 12 x 15 inch pan (for thinner brownies)

In a large bowl cream the following with hand held mixer:
1 stick butter (leave out at room temperature to soften for a bit)
1 and 2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup espresso sugar
2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla

Add in four eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

In small bowl mix:
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons high quality cocoa (I use Scharffen Berger unsweetened)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 pinches salt (roughly 1/8 teaspoon).

Add to wet ingredients and mix with a spoon by hand until blended, adding in 1/2 cup (not skim) milk 

Bake 1 hour (toothpick inserted  in center should come out dry)

Frost or glaze as desired (pictured, a simple glaze of powdered sugar, cocoa, a couple drops of vanilla, and just enough milk to make a soft glaze).

Friday, July 20, 2007

Korean Barbecue Sauce

Excellent brushed on grilled chicken or beef.

Makes a little more than a cup.

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons honey
1 and 1/2 teaspoons gochujant (Korean hot pepper paste, or mix an equal amount of miso paste and chili paste).
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 and 1/2 teaspoon finely mined onion
1/2 teaspoon  minced garlic
1 one inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or substitute 1/4 tsp dried ginger).
1 Tablespoon sesame oil

sesame seeds (for garnish)

 In a saucepan on medium, heat all ingredients except the sesame oil while whisking until blended.  When the sauce comes to a simmer, turn the heat down a keep at a very low simmer until it thickens (about 15-20 minutes)  Remove from heat and add sesame oil.  Use immediately.  Recipe easily doubles, but it only keeps in the fridge a couple of days.

Baste on chicken or beef after it is partially cooked.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds when cooked through and serve.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pot Pie

1/3 to 1/2  cup smoked ham or Canadian bacon, cut in fine pieces ( I used a good handful)
1 and 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 and 1/2 cups chopped veggies (I used broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, use your favorites)
1 tsp dried thyme
a sprig of chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 and 3/4 cups low salt chicken stock or broth
2 Tablespoons cooking Sherry
2/3 cup crème fraîche
2 and 2/3 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
a  pinch of red pepper and two  generous pinches of black
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Saute ham or Canadian Bacon in a bit of bacon grease until the edges are starting to get crisp.  Remove. Saute onion and garlic (adding additional fat if needed)  until tender and golden, about 7 minutes, Add broth, Sherry, thyme and rosemary and bring to low boil over medium/high  heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half stirring constantly. .Add in vegetables the last couple minutes of cooking if raw, or at the very end if already cooked..

Remove from heat and stir in crème fraîche, chicken, ham/bacon, red and black pepper and salt to taste. Add an additional tablespoon of broth or crème fraîche to get the consistency you prefer.  You can  also heat it in the pan once the meat is added to serve over baked potatoes instead of baking in a pie crust.  It's still very good.

Note: crème fraîche can be expensive. To make your own, combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover and let stand at room temperature (about 70°F) from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well, then cover and refrigerate  Keeps about 10 days.

Pastry   - 

2 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt3/4 cup cold lard 1/3 cup ice water 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar  Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.

Add the lard and with a blunt knife, cut the lard into small pieces. With 2 blunt knives or a pastry blender, work the lard into the flour until it forms tiny crumbs.

In a small bowl, mix the water and vinegar. Sprinkle the water mixture over the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to cut the liquid into the dry ingredients until the mixture forms large clumps.
Turn them out onto a  (lightly) floured board and knead lightly until smooth. Divide dough into the number of pieces you will use (this makes 2  crusts for a 9 inch or several small ramekin size).Shape each peace into a round flat cake size, wrap in Saran Wrap and put in fridge for 30 minutes.

 Roll the dough into desired shape, leaving a 1/2 inch overhang to shape and crimp the edges.   Bake  at 400 degrees F. 30-40 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling is starting to bubble up.

Cheesy Garlic Bread

1 small loaf French bread, split or sliced
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic (minced)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sweet onion, finely diced
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese 
1/3 cup mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
dash of pepper
dash of onion salt
generous teaspoon dried parsley
 3 to 4 Tablespoons cream (enough to make spreadable but still thick)
Mix everything but the bread,  butter, garlic and onion in a bowl.
Melt butter in big cast iron skillet, saute garlic and onion until softened and golden.  Remove. Place sliced french bread in pan and heat just until the bottom is a little toasty but not browning.

Spread cheese mixture on bread and put under the broiler 4-6 minutes until bubbly and the edges are golden brown. 

Friday, July 13, 2007

Breakfast Baking - Buttermilk scones

click to enlarge

What's left in the fridge is going into some eggs as a scramble.  But what to have with it?  Buttermilk Scones. Thick yet flaky, they aren't too sweet and go well with a number of dishes or just a nice cup of coffee.

3 cups flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 half sticks unsalted butter
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk, minus one tablespoon which is replaced by 1 Tbsp vinegar and left to sit 10 minutes)

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and cut in the cutter using a pastry cutter, a knife and fork or your fingers until it it is a course meal.  Add buttermilk and still just until combined.

Transfer dough to a floured board and divide into 2 parts.. Roll each to a round  (OK, I got lazy and mine was sort of oblong) about an inch thick. Cut each piece of dough into rough wedges and place slightly separated on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15--18 minutes minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm with fresh butter.  It was great  with a morning scramble of eggs, cream, jalepenos, caramalized onions and Mexican blend cheese..

Sour Cream Chicken with Onions and Peppers

A blend of Hungarian and Tex Mex seasoning was a winner and makes an incredibly juicy chicken.

Sour Cream Range Chicken

6-8 pieces of chicken (thighs and legs)
olive oil
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and core removed and finely chopped
2 heaping teaspoons minced garlic
3/4 large sweet onion chopped
a pinch of sugar
2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (about 3 pinches).
1/4  teaspoon dried marjoram
3/4 cup plus 3 Tablespoons chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon Jane's Crazy salt (or sea salt)
several grinds of cracked black pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sour cream

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet until oil begins to shimmer on medium high heat. Cook chicken pieces, skin side down for 15 minutes, flip, salt with the Jane's Krazy Salt  and  cracked pepper and cook another 10 minutes until chicken is starting to brown (it will NOT be cooked through). Remove  chicken from pan and set aside..  Drain all but a couple teaspoons of drippings.  Cook garlic, onion and peppers  in the drippings with a pinch of sugar until softened (about 3 minutes).

Add chicken pieces, pour chicken broth around and bring to a boil, covering and cooking on medium low (a gentle simmer) partially covered for 25-35 minutes until chicken is done (use a thermometer - the temperature of chicken should be 160 F. before removing to set aside covered with foil)  Remove chicken pieces  to a plate and cover,  turning heat to low and adding sour cream  to the liquid, stirring until blended and warmed, adding heat as necessary but not letting it get to a boil.

Serve chicken over rice with some of the sauce, using a slotted spoon to get some of the pepper and onion bits, and an additional sprinkle of paprika and dried parsley.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Honey Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

Honey Cashew Chicken (click to enlarge photo)
This didn't start out as a blog recipe, it was just something I threw together from leftovers but it was so tasty I had to share.

Looking around my kitchen after a long day,  I had the following:

There were frozen chicken breasts in the freezer.
There was the bottom end of a bag of  Scwhans frozen veggies (2-3 cups)
jarred minced garlic
spices and the usual staples.
a tired onion
various nuts (not including us)
bulk container of rice

A cup of rice and two cups of water went into the steamer.  Then, two fairly small chicken breasts were defrosted  in the microwave and cut into bite sized pieces.  I  also diced half a large onion. As you all know, I  usually don't measure and go by the eyeball method but bakery type items, but here is the best guess of the amounts.
In a  cereal bowl I mixed:
5 Tablespoons honey
2 and 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
two pinches Penzey's Chinese 5 spice powder (or just a pinch of cinnamon and two pinches of ginger)
several shakes of black  pepper
several shakes of crushed red pepper

When the rice was about 15 minutes away from being done,I  added a Tablespoon of oil to a cast iron skilled on medium to medium high heat (you know your stove better than I do) and cooked the chicken pieces, with a heaping spoonful of minced garlic and the chopped onion until the chicken was done, covering partway through to cook the meat thoroughly without drying it out.

While that cooked, I  nuked the veggies just until defrosted (about 2 minutes).
I added the sauce and the veggies when the meat was done, stirring to finish the vegetables with the heat on medium.

Then  I mixed 2  teaspoons of corn starch into 1 Tablespoon of water and add,ed that to the pan, raising the heat slightly and stirring constantly while it thickened and the honey in the sauce started to caramelize.

Finally, I tossed  in a handful of cashew pieces, stirred and served over rice.  The sweetness was a nice balance to the peppers and the cashews added a nice crunch. It was a "write that down, that was good!" type of recipe and super easy to make.

Turkey Tzatziki and Tortilla Wrap

Mr. T - the Turkey, Tortilla and Tzatziki Roll Up

In small cup combine 3 Tablespoons of  sauteed until caramelized onion finely diced and 1 heaping teaspoon garlic
Add a splash of olive oil and the following:
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
two pinches crushed red pepper
a pinch of sugar (or a 1/8 tsp honey)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Jane's Krazy Salt (or sea salt).
a small squirt of lemon

Let sit on the counter for about 10 minutes for the flavors to blend.

Gently mix herb mixture into1 pound of ground turkey breast  (lamb would also be good) and cook over medium heat until done.

Serve on warm, fresh (yes, these are homemade) tortillas  (or flatbread of your choice) with Garlic Tzatziki and additional cucumbers  and/or sliced veggies of your choice

8 ounces Greek yogurt
a pinch of salt
1/2 medium English cucumber, peeled seeded and shredded
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2-3 mint leaves,  chopped
1 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill chopped.

To seed the cucumber, , after peeling, cut it in half lengthwise and use a teaspoon to scrap the seeds out.

After you have shredded it the cucumber, place it in paper towels and squeeze repeatedly over the sink to remove as much as the liquid as you can.  Combine with remainder of ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times and let let sit in refrigerator 2-3 hours (don't get in a hurry, it needs the sit time).  Keeps for a week (though stir before using)  and easily doubles.