Monday, October 25, 2010

Chocolate Mint Cookies


Mark's birthday is always a great excuse to find a new mint chocolate recipe!

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
36 chocolate mint wafer candies (I only need one small package)

In a large pan over low heat, cook butter, sugar and water until butter is melted. Add chocolate chips and stir until partially melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Pour into a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes to cool off slightly.
At high speed, beat in eggs, one at a time into chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, beating until blended. Chill dough about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Roll dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. While cookies are baking unwrap mints and divide each in half. When cookies are brought out of the oven, put 1/2 mint on top of each cookie. Let the mint sit for up to 5 minutes until melted, then spread the mint on top of the cookie. Eat and enjoy!

Roast Pumpkin and Feta Risotto


I found this recipe in my search for something to bring to Jaime's Annual Pumpkin Party. It was simple but tasty. It was my first time roasting a pumpkin so I found these instructions to be helpful.

3 1/4 cups peeled, cubed pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
1 onion, diced
1 cup baby spinach leaves
6 ounces feta cheese, cubed
salt and pepper
2 cups Arborio rice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Brush a baking dish with olive oil.
Place pumpkin in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm. Transfer pumpkin to baking dish, and brush with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saucepan. Cook onion and garlic until tender. Stir in rice, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add vegetable broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing all the liquid to be absorbed before adding more broth. Continue cooking until the rice is tender to the tooth, and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
When the pumpkin is almost done, place feta on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven until the cheese is hot, and is beginning to melt along the edges.
Mash 1/2 of the pumpkin, and stir into the risotto with the spinach. Ladle risotto into bowls, and top with remaining pumpkin cubes and heated feta.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Squash in a crockpot


Nikki gave me the idea of cooking squash in a crockpot. I used these instructions and did mine in the crockpot on high for 2 hours. It turned out perfect!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Individual Chocolate Soufflés


Wow this recipe was SOOOO good! YUUUUUUUUUUUM Thank you Kryssa for the use of your iPhone!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon powdered instant coffee (luckily I had a free sample of VIA!)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (1/2 pint) whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease and sugar eight 6-ounce ramekins.
In large mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Scald milk. Remove from heat and add powdered coffee, stirring until dissolved.
Stir together flour, cocoa and baking powder. Add alternately with milk mixture to butter mixture. Beat 1 minute on medium.
Divide batter evenly among ramekins.
Place ramekins in 2 8-inch square pans. Pour hot water in bottom of pans to 1/8 inch deep and place pans in oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Remove pans from oven and let ramekins stand in water for 5 minutes.
Remove ramekins from water and let cool slightly.
You can serve in dish or invert onto dessert plates.
For topping: beat whipping cream and powdered sugar in small mixing bowl until stiff and spoon onto warm soufflés.

Arroz Con Pollo

Dutch Oven recipe #4

Although this was very good, I had to rate it a 3 because of HOW MUCH WORK it was! I guess I should expect that from Cook's Illustrated but it was ridiculous. I cooked for at least 2 hours and it was good- but not out of this world. I really enjoy being in the kitchen and I can definitely put in a couple hours but it has to be worth it. I'll look for an easier recipe next time.

6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
Table salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar plus 2 additional teaspoons
Ground black pepper
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin and fat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 small green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup water
3 cups medium-grain rice (if you use long-grain add 1/2 c. more water)
1/2 cup green olives (manzanilla), pitted and halved
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 cup jarred pimentos, cut into 1/4 by 2-inch strips
Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic and 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; using rubber spatula, mix to make smooth paste. Add oregano, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to garlic-salt mixture; stir to combine. Place chicken in bowl with marinade. Coat chicken pieces evenly with marinade; set aside for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, green pepper, and pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, 4 to 8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro; stir to combine. Push vegetables to sides of pot and increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to clearing in center of pot, skin side down, in even layer. Cook, without moving chicken, until outer layer of meat becomes opaque, 2 to 4 minutes. (If chicken begins to brown, reduce heat to medium). Using tongs, flip chicken and cook on second side until opaque, 2 to 4 minutes more. Add tomato sauce, broth, and water; stir to combine. Bring to simmer; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add rice, olives, capers, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; stir well. Bring to simmer, cover, and place pot in oven. After 10 minutes, remove pot from oven and stir chicken and rice once from bottom up. Return pot to oven. After another 10 minutes, stir once more, adding 1/4 cup water if rice appears dry and bottom of pot is beginning to burn. Cover and return pot to oven; cook until rice has absorbed all liquid and is tender but still holds its shape and temperature of chicken registers 175 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes longer.

Using tongs, remove chicken from pot; replace lid and set pot aside. Remove and discard chicken skin; using 2 spoons, pull meat off bones into large chunks. Using fingers, remove remaining fat or dark veins from chicken pieces. Place chicken in large bowl and toss with remaining tablespoon olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro, and pimentos; season with salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken on top of rice, cover, and let stand until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

(Originally Published in the September 2006 Edition of Cooks Illustrated Magazine)

Chile Verde


Dutch oven recipe #3

I like my dad's chile verde better. In fact, I convinced him to ship me some frozen roasted green chilies from AZ because the canned kind are not cutting it! Once they arrive, I'll make that recipe and post it! But, if next year I'm without fresh chilies, I'll make this again.

1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
5 garlic cloves, not peeled
2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles (optional)- I used a can of diced green chilies
1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork shoulder (also called pork butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 yellow onions
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp of chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp of dried oregano
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
Pinch of ground cloves

METHOD
1 Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well. Cut in half and place cut side down, along with 5 unpeeled garlic cloves, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin. Remove from oven, let cool enough to handle.
If you want the additional flavor of chiles other than jalapenos, you can add a couple Anaheim or poblano chiles. Either use canned green chiles or roast fresh chilies over a gas flame or under the broiler until blackened all around. Let cool in a bag, remove the skin, seeds, and stem.
2 Place tomatillos, skins included, into blender. Remove the now roasted garlic cloves from their skins, add them to the blender. Add chopped Jalapeño peppers, other chilies (if you are using them), and cilantro to the blender. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.
3 Season the pork cubes generously with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (or dutch oven) over medium high heat and brown pork chunks well on all sides. Work in batches so that the pork is not crowded in the pan and has a better chance to brown well. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, lift pork out of pan and place in bowl, set aside.
4 Pour off excess fat, anything beyond a tablespoon, and place the onions and garlic in the same skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until limp, about 5 minutes. If your skillet is large enough to cook the entire batch of chile verde, with the sauce and meat, then add the pork back to the pan. If not, get a large soup pot and add the onion mixture and the pork to it. Add the oregano to the pan. Add the tomatillo chile verde sauce to the pork and onions. Add the chicken stock (enough to cover the meat). Add a pinch of ground cloves. Add a little salt and pepper. (Not too much as the chile verde will continue to cook down and concentrate a bit.)
5 Bring to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours uncovered or until the pork is fork tender.
Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with Spanish rice and warmed flour tortillas or freshly made corn tortillas.

Peach/Blueberry Cobbler


Dutch oven recipe #2

2 (16-ounce) cans sliced peaches in heavy or light syrup, or in fruit juice, your choice
1 pint fresh blueberries, optional (I used thawed berries that had been frozen)
1/2 cup baking mix (recommended: Bisquick)
1/3 cup sugar
Ground cinnamon

Topping:
2 1/4 cups baking mix (recommended: Bisquick)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
Cinnamon sugar (1/4 cup sugar combined with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon; store in an empty spice shaker jar; shake well before each use)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a Dutch oven with vegetable oil cooking spray

Drain 1 can of the peaches. Combine both cans of peaches, including the juice from the undrained can, the blueberries, if using, the baking mix, sugar, and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Place this mixture into the Dutch oven.

To make the topping: Combine the biscuit mix, sugar, butter, and milk in a resealable plastic bag. Drop bits of dough, using your fingers, on top of the peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Place the Dutch oven into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and crusty.

Braised Beef with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Dutch Oven Recipe #1
Bethany put this yummy recipe in my birthday cookbook. My picture did not look nearly as appetizing as this one from cooking light! I had to cut out 30min of the simmer time because I was running late so it wasn't as tender as it could have been. I think I will try this next time in a slow cooker.

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium onions, vertically sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup less-sodium beef broth
1 cup sun-dried tomato halves, packed without oil, cut into strips (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preparation
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Add sliced onion; cook for 7 minutes or until onion is softened, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in water and next 9 ingredients (through bay leaf). Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 1 hour. Uncover and simmer 30 minutes or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle each serving with parsley.

Thanksgiving in Iceland!


This year Mark and I will be taking off for our first trip without kids over Thanksgiving. We're going to Iceland and my mom will be flying up to watch the kids. I'm super excited to explore a new country with my hubbie- hopefully we will see some Northern Lights. I've never been out of the country for a major holiday and there are things about Thanksgiving at home that I will miss. Like having an excuse to bust out my drop leaf table, my china, praline sweet potatoes and having my house full of friends and family. Lamb is really big in Iceland so maybe that will be a part of our Thanksgiving feast! Have you started to think about your Thanksgiving menu?

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