March 31, 2004

Lemon Garlic Chicken

I've been traveling a lot, so my online spaces have been overly quiet the last couple of weeks. Hopefully that'll correct itself with a little time actually spent at home -- and in the kitchen! I did - however - cook once while at ACUS.

Crockpot Lemon Garlic Chicken with Wild Rice
Recipe courtesy Kathleen Daelemans
via Pete Wheeler via Foodnetwork

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded (3 to 4 ounces meat per person)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup wild rice blend
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 1/4 cups water
10 fresh parsley sprigs

Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of a slow cooker. Add the garlic and rice. Add the lemon juice to the water and stir. Pour this mixture over the rice and chicken. Stir once to coat. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours. To plate, place a serving of the rice on each plate and top with 1 chicken breast. Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs.

Notes: I skipped the parsley. Oh, and added about 1/4 cup of green onions instead (at the same time as the garlic). Also -- I would've preferred to substitute a can of chicken stock in for some of the water, but had limited access to a decent grocery store. I'll have to try that next time. I had also wanted to toss a couple of fresh rosemary sprigs on top and just let them sit during the cooking. But that wasn't available either. I got a comment that it was too garlicky, a comment it was too lemony, and a comment that it was just right. Go fig. Many thanks to Pete for making this for me (and I thought it was great) a couple weeks ago so I'd have something new to try out on my ACUS victims, er.... dinner guests.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)
March 16, 2004

James Beard 2004

The James Beard 2004 award nominees have been announced. You can see a full list here.

Among them, and already on my shopping list:

*The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion (Baking Category)
*From Curries to Kebabs, Madhur Jaffrey (International Category)
*Alton Brown’s Gear For Your Kitchen (Tools and Techniques)

That's two years in a row for the king of Good Eats...

Posted by Jennifer at 4:59 PM | Comments (0)
March 12, 2004

Steak w/ Tomato & Cilantro

Sirloin Steak with Tomato and Cilantro Sauce
Bon Appetit (June 2001)

1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1 1/4-pound top sirloin steak, about 1 inch thick
3 TBSP olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 pound plum tomatoes, seeded, diced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Rub cumin and chili powder onto both sides of steak, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 TBSP oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak to skillet and sauté until cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to plate. Add remaining TBSP oil to skillet. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cilantro. Cook until tomatoes begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Cut steak crosswise into thin slices. Arrange slices on platter. Mix any steak juices into sauce. Spoon sauce over steak.

Notes: Used blade steaks instead of sirloin since that's what I had on hand. Any tender cut should do, I would think. Also -- added about 1/4 cup red wine to the pan to deglaze just after the garlic went in. Tomatoes came out ever so roasty and good. Wouldn't make this if you're not a fan of cilantro. though it wasn't near as strong as in Pechugas de Pollo al Cilantro.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:53 PM | Comments (0)
March 11, 2004

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Chocolate Chip Biscotti
also from Mrs. Fields

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 TBSP unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 TBSP grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Gradually mix in dry ingredients and orange zest until fully incorporated. Mix in chips.

Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a log 9 inches long and 3 inches wide. Place on prepared baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes or until set. Transfer to rack and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 200 F.

Place still-warm logs on cutting board and slice with serrated knife on a diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Lay slices on baking sheet and cook for 5 minutes. Turn biscotti and cook another 10 minutes or until crisp. Transfer to rack to cool.

Notes: You may be sensing a theme here... can you say chocolate? I knew you could. Yes -- it was a very chocolate weekend. And normally I don't have much of a sweet tooth -- or at least not a very deep one. In any case -- this was the first time that either of us had made biscotti and we had some trouble with the dough. It came out far too crumbly and we ended up adding about 4 TBSP of water at the end to get it to stay together for the first baking. Subsequent research revealed that most other recipes in my cooking library had twice the amount of butter in them. So, I think that's what we'd try the next time. Still, they came out fairly well, and we had some fun dipping about half the batch in the Ghiardelli melting chocolate.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:36 AM | Comments (0)
March 10, 2004

Double-Dipped Shortbread

Double-Dipped Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
from Mrs. Fields I Love Chocolate Cookbook

3 ounces semisweet chocolate -- minced
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt

4 ounces white chocolate -- minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces semisweet chocolate -- minced

Melt semisweet chocolate over hot (not simmering) water in double boiler. Set aside to cool to lukewarm. In large bowl, cream butter with mixer. Beat in melted chocolate. Beat in vanilla, flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt. Wrap and chill dough 30 mins or until firm enough to roll into balls. Preheat oven 350 F. Roll dough into 1" balls, then roll each ball into a thick log. Place on ungreased cookie sheet; press dough into a 1/4" thickness with the tines of a fork, keeping cookies oval in shape. Bake 8-10 mins or until just set. Do not overbake. Transfer to wire rack.

Dipping Cookies:
In small bowl set over a saucepan of hot water, melt white chocolate with 1/4 cup cream, stir until smooth. Keep mixture over hot water so it will be liquid for dipping. In another small bowl set over a saucepan of hot water, melt semisweet chocolate with the remaining 1/4 cup cream; stir until smooth. Keep warm. Dip one end of a cookie in the white chocolate and the other end in the dark chocolate; return to cooling racks so the chocolate can set. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Notes: Due to our own predilections we switched the dipping ingredients and used melted raspberry chips for one side and the lovely Ghiardelli melting chocolate that Deb brought along for the other.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:24 AM | Comments (3)
March 9, 2004

Fudgey Raspberry Brownies

I was lucky over the weekend to get a visit from Deb AKA Tryslora and her daughter AKA my god-daughter, Dani. We made it a girls only club and everyone else was banished (or kept) from the household on Saturday. Among other things (like painting each others nails - Dani's first time; and making Deb the Pecan Crusted Pork Chops by request), we baked. Here's one of the recipes, with more to come....

Fudgey Raspberry Brownies
from Hershey's Bake Shoppe Cookies

1 2/3 cup (10 ounce package) Raspberry Chips
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350F. Grease 8 inch square baking pan.

In medium saucepan, combine raspberry chips and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted. Remove from heat. Add eggs and vanilla; stir until well blended. Add flour, sugar, and baking soda; stir until well blended. Stir in nuts, if desired. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Notes: God-daughters are phenomenal at stirring constantly. We tempered the eggs a bit before adding them in, and in retrospect would have let them come to room temperature first anyway because they reconstituted some of the chocolate. We also added a 1/2 cup of Ghiardelli dark chips to the final batter (instead of nuts).

Dani (6) and Michael (not 6 except when it comes to baked goods), both declared them too raspberry, and it was decided in the future to melt 1/2 the quantity of raspberry chips along with 5 ounces of Ghiardelli double dark chips together with the butter.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:40 AM | Comments (0)