Hey all, we’re bringing out another rolled cookie that’s as christmassy as it gets. When I was baking these my apartment smelled amazing- and the cookies lived up to the hype!
A few things with gingerbread. Make sure you have all the spices listed and the molasses- if you try substitutions it just won’t taste right. The dough is meant to be dry, but you can add a little extra water if it’s too crumbly. The dough has to be cold enough to keep the butter from getting to soft, but if it’s too cold it won’t be pliable enough- just leave it sit on the counter for a few minutes while you get ready to roll. You can use cutters other than gingerbread people if you want, but just remember the bigger the cutter, the easier it is to get the cookie out. Here is the recipe.
Happy baking and merry Christmas. Remember, if it doesn’t taste good, don’t eat it!
Hey everyone. Today’s earlier post was on the serious side but not this one- sugar cookies! This one is a family recipe- just as holiday recipes should be. I give a basic recipe for sugar cookies that’s pretty foolproof, but the fun is in decorating! You can add raisins or colored sugar pressed into the cookies before baking, or drizzle on the glaze after they’re baked and cooled. If you’ve got kids around, go ahead and use some food coloring and make a few different batches of colored glaze. Give them some watercolor paintbrushes and let them go to town! The link to the recipes is here
I hope you make these cookies, they’re delicious, classic, and well worth a little effort. Remember, if it doesn’t taste good, don’t eat it!
I have a new post going up later today, but for right now I’d like to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart. “You are what you eat” is a very common quote and nobody knows exactly who said it, but think about it. Eat the things you want to resemble- things with life and color and personality. However, the sad truth is that if people are what we eat, so many of us would be genetically modified corn and hydrogenated oil.
I’m by no mean an expert on the subject, but I’ve been growing more and more alarmed by the food industry in America. The family farm has been reduced to a niche market. Genetically modified foods, produce bombarded with pesticides and meat packed with antibiotics are the norm- but how can this be normal? 90% of the soybeans grown in America are sprayed with the pesticide Round-Up. Yes, they’re ‘cleaned’ before being sent to market and processing, but do you really want to eat that? Really?
Food has gone from being a respected source of life to a technology- based business. So many foods out there are engineered, not grown. It’s not food anymore, it’s a food-type substance. The buzz about all this really began with Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” and has snowballed with documentaries like “Food, Inc.” and shows like “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” in addition to all the great literature out there. People are taking notice, and it’s time for those who haven’t to get with the program.
Now I am a realist in all this. I don’t pretend that everything in my pantry and refrigerator is organic, or that I eat so seasonally that I would never touch a strawberry in December. But the food industry has wreaked havoc on the American people- without us even noticing. Food has gotten cheaper and we’ve gotten fatter. So make a little change. We’re less than two hours from amazing farmer’s markets in Lancaster county, in addition to Headhouse Market, Reading Terminal, and many others in the area. Buy organic when you can, especially things like dairy, meat, and heavily sprayed produce. Eat seasonally- the more seasonally you eat, the more local you eat, which translates into less environmental impact and supporting the right people. There are a few links at the bottom of this post that can help you.
This is a cause close to my heart. Eat real food, give your children and family what’s best for them- even if it’s just a carrot instead of a cookie. Not to mention taste, the focus of this blog- real food tastes best!
So today we have my mom’s favorite: Coq au vin. Translated literally it means chicken in wine, but it’s much more than that. It’s a French country dish typically made with a rooster, and it’s homey and a perfect dish for hanging around in the kitchen on a fall weekend. This is the best recipe I’ve found for coq au vin; and it’s my advice to buy a double bottle of wine and drink what you don’t cook with. Serve with crusty bread, egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Bon Appetit!
Barefoot Contessa 2007, Food Network
4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths skin removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly (do not cook through). Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.
Add the carrots, onion, mushrooms, salt and pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and remove vegetables and chicken to a serving plate. Keep warm.
Place dutch oven on stovetop over medium heat. Mash butter and flour together until a smooth paste and stir into cooking juices. Reduce until thickened, approx. 5-10 minutes. Serves 4.
Hey all. We’ve got a double header this weekend. I’ve been doing a good bit of baking as the weather turns colder, and I’ve been needing a chocolate fix. We have two very different chocolate recipes here. First is the chocolate amaretto cheesecake, the second a chocolate honey cake.
First up, cheesecake. This was my first time making a chocolate cheesecake and I must say, I was pretty happy with it. This is definitely a rich dessert- it’s almost like eating fudge. If I was to make it again I think I would thin the heavy cream with some milk and whip the egg whites separately and fold them in at the end. It’s delicious but heavy.
Chocolate amaretto cheesecake. The Best Ever Chocolate 2003 Parragon Publishing.
4 oz graham crackers
2 oz amaretti cookies or biscotti
3 oz (6 tablespoons) butter, melted
8 oz semisweet chocolate
1 3/4 c. cream cheese
1/2 c. sugar
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. amaretto liqueur
1 Tbsp. amaretto liqueur
3/4 c. creme fraiche
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Start with eggs and all dairy ingredients (except creme fraiche) at room temperature. Crush the graham crackers and cookies with a rolling pin or in a food processor. Combine with melted butter and pat into the bottom of a greased 9 in. springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool to room temperature (I put mine in the freezer while i was making the filling.)
To make the filling, melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a heavy bottomed saucepan and let cool. Place the cream cheese in a bowl and beat until fluffy, then add the sugar, flour, and vanilla and beat together until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until well combined. Blend in the melted chocolate, cream, and amaretto liqueur. Pour over crust and place springform pan in a large roasting pan. Add water to roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the side of the springform. Bake for 75-90 minutes, or until cheesecake is almost set. Let cool to room temperature in the waterbath, then remove cheesecake and cool in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, in a small bowl combine the creme fraiche and amaretto liqueur. Run a knife around the inside of the springform pan to loosen the cheesecake and remove the ring. Spread the creme fraiche over the top and serve. Serves 10-12.
Ok, round two! This is a chocolate honey cake from Britain’s own domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson. I followed the recipe exactly, despite the slightly odd instructions, and it was a resounding success. She gives instructions on how to make yellow marzipan bees, but I didn’t feel the need to go quite that far. This cake is from the chapter entitled “Chocolate cake hall of fame” and it’s a damn near perfect chocolate cake. Moist and airy and addictive.
Chocolate honey cake, Feast by Nigella Lawson, Hyperion publishing 2004
For the cake:
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 c. light brown sugar
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
1 c. boiling water
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
For the glaze:
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. honey
6 oz. chocolate chips
1/2 c. plus 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
As usual, start with dairy and eggs at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 inch springform pan. Melt chocolate in the microwave or a heavy bottomed pan and let cool slightly. Beat butter and sugar together until creamy, then add the honey and combine. Add one of the eggs, beating it in with a tablespoon of the flour, and do the same with the second egg. Fold in the melted chocolate. Sift together the flour, baking soda and cocoa and add to the batter (I sift mine right into the bowl.) Add the boiling water, mix until smooth and pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 min- an hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
To make the glaze, bring the water and honey to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, and let melt. After a few minutes, add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. When your cake is cool, turn out onto a serving plate and spoon over the glaze, smoothing over the sides. The glaze takes some time to set up, but if you pop it in the fridge or the freezer it sets up faster. Serves 8-10.
So I’m doing a bit of a departure with this post, but I feel like it fits. I just finished a book by Gael Greene titled Insatiable. Gael Green was a restaurant critic for New York magazine for over 30 years and was among its first contributing editors.
The book is basically a collection of stories, in almost chronological order. In her many years as a critic Green watched the rise and fall of countless chefs and restaurants, the shift from backyard garden to global cuisine. She has many valuable insights and entertaining tales of how the food world works; everything from scouring Paris fish markets for sea urchin to escapades of the maniacal restaurant owner Elaine Kaufman.
I very much enjoyed reading this book, but it is an adults-only read. The subtitle is “Tales from a lifetime of delicious excess” and the excess is not confined to the dessert cart. Greene was around for the free-loving 70′s and details romps with many men. I feel as though the more adult scenes and language add a great deal to the book, but aren’t exactly for the shy. It’s a fascinating and entertaining book, one that’s hard to put down. Highly recommended!
So here’s a recipe courtesy of Good Housekeeping. It’s very simple, and perfect for a brunch. This serves 2-4, depending on how hungry you are.
6 strips bacon
1 lb asparagus, washed and ends trimmed
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay strips of bacon on a lipped cookie sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes, until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy. Remove from oven and place bacon on paper towels to drain. Drain excess fat from pan and toss asparagus in remaining bacon fat. Arrange asparagus in a single layer with spears touching, season with thyme. Bake for approx. 10 minutes, or until almost tender. Return bacon to pan, and carefully crack eggs over asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 4-6 minutes, or until whites or set and but the yolks are still runny. Serve immediately.
Hey everyone. As you may have noticed, there hasn’t been any new content in the past few weeks. Our producer/man who makes it happen is out of the country and won’t be back for a few weeks still. I’ll be putting up some comments and recipes, but the videos are on hold. Keep coming back, and I’ll spread the word when new videos are up!
This is one of those recipes that looks weird on paper but really sings. When I was a kid I saw a similar recipe on the back of a potato chip bag, my mom tried it and I was hooked. The salty chips and moist chicken are great together, and it was a favorite in my house. This is a “sometimes” kind of recipe- the saturated fat from the chips and mayonnaise is pretty formidable. But it’s easy and delicious, and right here.
This is a really easy recipe, and you probably have everything you need to make it right in your kitchen. A few tablespoons of mayonnaise, the crumbs from a bag of potato chips, and that’s pretty much it. This technique works well with other kinds of chips too, and I’ve even done it with saltine crackers. Just be careful not to over salt the chicken- the potato chips have more than enough salt to season it. I hope you try it- I’m sure it’ll be a favorite in no time!
So today is father’s day, and our weekend recipe trial is about my dad. We have adobo steak, which is just seasoned enough to eat by itself and no so seasoned it overpowers a sauce. Feel free to pour on the steak sauce, but I like it nice and simple.
4 new york strip steaks, about 6 oz each
Liberally season steaks on both sides with adobo seasoning. Leave to come up to room temperature while you prep grill. Preheat a gas grill or prep a charcoal grill. When hot, dampen a rolled up paper towel with canola oil and use a pair of tongs to brush grill. Don’t soak the towel- dripping oil will cause flair ups. Cook steak approximately 5 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness is reached. Cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes, and serve