Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Double Chocolate Cookies

These are my favorite cookies at the moment. They are easy to make, quick to make, and delicious. Not only that, but they keep—and thus ship—well. However, don't even think about compromising on the quality of chocolate you use. That specified is my favorite eating chocolate, and it's perfect for this recipe.

Makes 32

¾ cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar plus ¼ cup or more for rolling 
2 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
¼ teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
½ cup cocoa 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
3.5-oz. bar Lindt 70% Cocoa Excellence, roughly chopped into ¼- to ½-inch pieces 

In a medium, microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt butter. 

Stir in 1 cup sugar. 

Beat in eggs, one at a time. 

Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla and stir well. 

Stir in cocoa. 

Add flour and chopped chocolate and stir until flour no longer shows and chocolate is distributed evenly. 

Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes but not too much longer. 

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls so that each ball has at least one chocolate chunk, which should be covered with dough. 

Put the remaining sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll each ball in sugar to coat. 

Place the balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in 350°F. oven for 8 minutes. 

Cool the cookies on the baking sheet until firm, about 5 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to a wire rack. 

NOTE: Even on an insulated baking sheet, these take only 8 minutes to bake.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bourbon Chicken


Serves 4

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 1.5 lbs. total
½ cup plus 1 teaspoon bourbon, divided
4 medium-sized shallots, minced
¾ teaspoon crumbled dried thyme, or to taste
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
½ cup whipping cream

1.   In a large skillet, heat butter and oil over moderately high heat.
2. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Brown chicken on both sides in hot fat.
4. Add ¼ cup bourbon to skillet and ignite it, shaking the skillet until the flames go out.
5. Remove the chicken to a plate. Add shallots and cook them for 1 minute.
6. Stir in the thyme, parsley, and ¼ cup bourbon.
7. Return chicken to skillet, cover, and cook over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, for 25 minutes, or until the juices run clear when pricked with a fork.
8. Transfer chicken to heated serving dish.
9. Add cream to skillet and simmer sauce, stirring, until it is thickened slightly.
10. Add remaining 1 teaspoon bourbon as well as salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

NOTE: Easy, elegant recipe. Delicious served with rice and a green vegetable such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Chili-Cheese Casserole

This casserole is terrific for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; it also reheats well in the microwave. Summer and fall are a great time to make this casserole if roasted chiles are available in your local farmers' market. In fact, use this casserole as an excuse for buying extra chiles and freezing them.

Chile-Cheese  Casserole
Serves 8

2 7-ounce cans Ortega whole green chiles, drained 
1 pound reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, grated 
2 green onions, thinly sliced 
1 ¼-ounce can sliced black olives, drained 
6 eggs 
1 13-ounce can evaporated skim milk 
Salt and pepper to taste 
½ pound reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, grated

Slit chiles and remove their seeds. It may help to rinse chiles in running water and then pat chiles dry with paper towels.
Spread half of chiles on bottom of lightly buttered 9x13-inch glass baking dish.  Cover chiles with half of Monterey Jack cheese.  Top with remaining chiles.  Sprinkle with green onions and olives.

In bowl, beat eggs well.  Add evaporated milk, salt, and pepper to beaten eggs and beat.  Pour egg mixture over casserole.  Sprinkle Cheddar cheese over the top of the casserole.  Bake uncovered in 325°F. oven just until set, about 1 hour. Let sit five to 10 minutes before serving.

- Use fresh roasted chiles if available. Peel and de-stem them before using. 
Or canned diced chiles may be used.  

- You may buy 10 or so olives at an olive bar and slice those rather than using canned or bottled olives.  
- Good served with corn or cornbread. However, adding corn to the casserole makes it too sweet for my taste.
- Recommend serving with room-temperature salsa. Sliced avocados are a nice accompaniment as well.

Karate Kickin' Chicken

With few ingredients and little preparation or cooking time, few main dishes are easier.

Karate  Kickin’  Chicken
Serves 4

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon hot-pepper sauce or more to taste
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 4-ounce skinned and boned chicken breast halves
Vegetable oil

Combine soy sauce, honey, hot-pepper sauce, sesame seeds, ginger, and garlic; set aside.

Flatten chicken evenly to about ¼-inch thick.

Coat a broiler pan or an outdoor-grill rack with a thin layer of vegetable oil.  Over medium heat, grill chicken 2 to 4 minutes on each side, basting frequently with soy-sauce mixture.

NOTE: May be garnished with strips of green onion on top. Chicken may be served on top of curly leaf lettuce.
*Quite sure I made these by broiling them rather than grilling them.

Pecan Pancakes

Enjoyed this new recipe for lunch today. My sweet tooth is in remission, so I'm happy to eat pancakes with real butter and no syrup. However, if you or yours enjoy syrup on your pancakes, please make sure it's the real McCoy—you know, maple syrup from trees—and warm it before you put it on the hot pancakes.

Pecan  Pancakes
Serves 6

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

In large bowl, whisk eggs well.  Add buttermilk and milk to eggs. Whisk well.  Add oil and whisk well.  Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk well.
Add whole-wheat flour and, using a wooden spoon, stir until partially combined.  Add pecans and stir until well-combined. 
Cook batter in lightly greased skillet over medium heat, turning once.

NOTE: Haven’t tried these as waffles but could be worth trying. If doing waffles, consider separating eggs. Then beat egg whites and fold them in as a last step before cooking the batter.

Sunset's Versatile Cornbread

Sunset Magazine's  Versatile Cornbread
Serves 6

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons to 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

In a bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar to taste, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, beat eggs.  Add buttermilk and melted butter to eggs and beat well.

Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and stir just until batter is evenly moistened.

Bake batter in buttered 8-inch square pan in a 400°F. oven until bread springs back when lightly pressed in the center and it begins to pull from the pan’s sides, about 25 minutes.

Cut bread into 9 squares. Lift from pan with a slender spatula. Serve hot or cool.

Yogurt may not be substituted for buttermilk here.
May use 6 mini-loaf pans instead of square pan.

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