Friday, June 29, 2012

Double chocolate chip and bacon cookies

The jury is out on these. Half the people LOVED them, the other half thought they were just too weird!  I found the recipe at Simply Scratch, and I agree with Laurie's assessment that they need to be eaten within a few days.  Chewy limp bacon is just plain gross.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Save your money

The Acme International cherry pitter.  This is the grand total of cherries I was able to pit before it broke: yup, 13.  A baker's dozen.  Not nearly enough for the cherry pie I was planning.  Even though it's only $5, save your money.  That cost me 38 1/2 cent per cherry folks, not counting the original cost of the actual cherries!

Seriously though, I should have known better, right?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sweet peach salad

Sweet and heat together!  It's a hard-to-beat combination.

Sweet Peach Salad

3 - 4 c spring mix or herb mix of greens
3 - 4 peaches, sliced thin
2 small jalapeƱos, sliced thin
1 shallot, minced
2 T fresh mint leaves, chopped
3 - 4 T fresh basil, chopped

1/4 c orange juice
1/4 c lime juice
1 1/2 T coriander
3 T sugar

Make the dressing first.  Bring all ingredients to a boil until sugar dissolves.  Set aside and let it cool.  To make the salad, mix the sliced peaches, jalapeƱos, shallot, and mint with the dressing.  Let them soak for about 30 minutes.  Arrange the greens and basil in a serving bowl.  Remove the fruit mixture from the dressing with a slotted spoon and toss with the greens.  Drizzle over remaining dressing. 

Image: USDA

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Brussels sprouts with walnuts

Yet another easy and delicious recipe for sprouts!  Alternatively to cooking them in a pan, you could roast them and add the lemon juice and walnuts before serving.

Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts

1 lb Brussels sprouts, sliced thin
Salt and pepper
1 T lemon juice
1/2 c walnuts, chopped

Heat the butter in a nonstick skillet, add the sprouts, stir and cook, adding a few tablespoons of water from time to time to create steam.  Cook until sprouts are tender, about 8 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the lemon juice.  Add the walnuts just before serving.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Raisin cookies

Cookie image: WikimediaCommons, Joe Foodie

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chocolate truffles

 Next time I will shake them a bit better to remove excess coating, but these are the best I've ever made!

I've tried quite a few "fool proof" truffle recipes, and I guess I'm a bigger fool than I originally thought.  Am I the only one who ends up with more truffle mix on my warm hands than in the round balls?  And as far as scooping out a perfect ball with a melon baller...well, let's just not go there.

So I was so relieved when I came across a recipe from Cook's Illustrated that promised me I'd be able to cool their mixture to the perfect temperature and roll perfect truffles.  Ok, not so much, but I certainly did love the smooth creamy consistency of the ganache mixture, so I experimented to find a way that would actually work for me.  And I think I've found it.  In fact, it might very well work with all the different recipes that I've tried in the past, but for now I'm sticking with this one, because I love love love the taste and the texture.  The long slow cool-down keeps grainy crystals from forming.

Chocolate Truffles

Follow the recipe found at Cook's Illustrated, chilling the ganache for 2 hours

Make the coating found at the same recipe, from cocoa and confectioners' sugar.  Place in a cake pan.  Let the ganache sit out at room temperature for about 10 minutes and then cut it into squares.  Place 6 to 8 squares at a time into the powdered coating and shake the pan to cover.  Then shape them into balls with your hands.  Return to the pan and recoat with the powder.  Store in the refrigerator.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Chicken adobo, slow cooker style

There have to be dozens of ways (if not more) to make Chicken Adobo, the delicious tangy Filipino dinner.  I like making it in a slow cooker, since that allows the flavors to really merge.  Serve it in a shallow bowl so that you can slop the tasty sauce all over it and not lose any.  Bread sops it up really well.

Chicken Adobo

8 chicken thighs, skinless
1/3 c soy sauce

3/4 c cider vinegar
8 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 bay leaves
2 t freshly ground pepper
Chopped root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, or squash
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk 
1 scallion, sliced thinly

Soak the chicken in the soy sauce in a zip-loc bag for about an hour.  Place chicken and sauce in a slow cooker, along with the cider vinegar through the pepper.  Turn onto high and cook until just boiling.  Turn down and let cook for at least 3 hours.  Add vegetables 2 hours before serving.  About 10 to 15 minutes before serving, pour off most of the sauce into a non-stick skillet.  Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil, lower the heat and reduce the sauce.  Return it to the pot; serve with scallion garnish.

Friday, June 8, 2012

KJ's Airport Diner

In Shirley, Massachusetts.  How can you NOT like a diner with a breakfast menu like this?  KJ's Airport Diner

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kale and white bean lasagna

It was good, just not quite good enough to add to our permanent file!  You may feel differently however.  I loved the mix of greens, tomatoes, Parmesan, and mushrooms with the pasta.  It was just the white beans that were a little off-putting to me.  Not majorly, just not quite there.  Lasagna

Monday, June 4, 2012

Braised skinless chicken breasts

The slow cooker is often my fall-back position for skinless chicken breasts, since other methods are more likely to dry out the meat if you leave it in too long.  But there is a great alternative when you'd like to do it a bit faster (like half a day instead of all day!), and you don't want to have to worry about exact timing.

Braised Skinless Chicken Breasts

4 - 6 skinless chicken breast halves
Brine, 1/2 salt and 1/2 sugar
4 c chicken broth
1 c dry white wine
2 - 3 bay leaves
Fresh thyme sprigs

Onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, chopped in large pieces
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms

Brine the chicken pieces for a few hours.  Remove and rinse.  Place in a deep roasting pan or lasagna pan and add the broth, wine, herbs, and vegetables.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place on a low oven shelf, cooking at 325 for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Brussels sprouts with Parmesan and garlic

Can you have too many Brussels sprouts recipes?  No.  (I thought we already settled that!)

Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan and Garlic

Olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 lb Brussels sprouts, sliced thin
Salt and pepper
1/4 c fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet, add the garlic and pepper flakes, and cook until garlic is golden.  Remove from the pan to a paper towel-covered plate to drain.  Add the sprouts to the skillet with a bit more oil if needed.  Stir and cook, adding a few tablespoons of water from time to time to create steam, stirring until sprouts are tender, about 8 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the garlic mixture to the sprouts, tossing together just to heat through.  Add the cheese just before serving.