Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Maureen Johnson

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fat Chewy Delicious Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I can dig good cookies.  Big fat chewy cookies that make me belly up to the bar at 10:00 at night, with a glass of cold milk in hand.  That is my kind of cookie goodness.

Now you have heard me whine on my blog that my baking skills have a lot to be desired.  It was true, and it is still true.  Yet these cookies turned out near perfect.  I was feeling baking love.  I must have followed the directions which is almost always a leap for me.

I am odd man out in my house.  Delicious defined for me is rice pudding and cookies like oatmeal raisin, which at best gets a yawn.   It's okay, it rocks.  I have managed to eat  4-dozen cookies, and get my fair share of calcium with all the milk that I consumed.

Fat Chewy Delicious Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 2-dozen cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick or 115 grams) butter, softened
2/3 cup (125 grams) packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 (95 grams) cups all purpose-flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1-1/2 cups (120 grams) rolled oats
3/4 cup (120 grams) raisins
1/2 cup walnuts (65 grams), chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F (175 C)

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.  In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together.  Stir this into butter/sugar mixture.  Stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts, if using them.

At this point, you can either chill the dough for a bit in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them.  You could also bake them right away, if you're impatient, but I do find that they end up slightly less thick.

The cookies should be two inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top.  Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Alisha Randell-The Ardent Epicure

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Eating Down the Refrigerator: One-Skillet Sausage And Polenta Parmesan

While trying to reach the glory of eating down my refrigerator and pantry, I came across this recipe that makes for an easy weeknight meal.  This would not have likely made my radar,  but  I have odd and end ingredients scattered throughout my pantry, and it caught my eye.  It's a good thing because it is quite good.

I did not exactly follow the recipe ingredients.  I made the polenta fresh...Why? Because I have a bag of corn meal that I have never used.  I used goat cheese instead of mozzarella for the same reason.  I had a log in my cheese drawer that was screaming not to be wasted.

The recipe below is the original without my modifications.

Two steps up, and one step back in my effort to eat down the Refrigerator and pantry.

One-Skillet Sausage and Polenta Parmesan
Serves 4
Recipe from Food Network

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-17 ounce tube prepared polenta, sliced into 8 rounds
8-ounces sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
6-ounces cremini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-28 ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for topping
8-ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
2-tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat the broiler.  Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the polenta and fry until golden, about 3 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate.

2.  Add the sausage to the skillet and cook, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until just browned, about 3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.  Stir in the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and 12 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in parsley.

3.  Arrange the polenta rounds in the skillet on top of the sauce.  Place the mozzarella slices over the polenta and sprinkle with the parmesan.  Broil until the cheese is browned and bubbling, about 3 minutes.  Top with more parsley and pepper to taste.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Loek Vanvliet

Friday, August 10, 2012

Easy Classic Chicken Jambalaya

There are gazillion variations of jambalaya.  This one is simple, stays close to the classic style, and is easy to make for your family, or for a roaring hungry crowd.

There is more than chicken that fills the pot. Lots of andouille sausage and smoked ham too.

Classic Chicken Jambalaya
Serves 6-8
Recipe from Emeril

One 3-1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic1 pound andouille sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 pound boneless smoked ham, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 cups rice
2 cups Chicken stock 
1 cup canned whole tomatoes, drained and crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, plus more for serving
4 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons finely sliced green onions, for garnish

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Season the chicken with 2 tablespoons Essence and the salt.  heat the oil in a small Dutch oven or heavy lidded pot over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides, working in batches if necessary, 8 to 10 minutes per batch.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.  Add celery, bell peppers, and onions and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes.  add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the sausage and ham and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the rice, stir to blend, and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire, the remaining 1 teaspoon Essence, the hot pepper sauce, bay leaves, and thyme.  Stir to combine and return the chicken to the pot, nestling the pieces in the rice mixture.

3.  Cover the pot and bake until the chicken and rice are tender, about 40 minutes.  remove from oven and let stand, still covered, for 5 minutes.  Garnish with the green onions and serve with hot sauce.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo by Tomatoes on the Vine

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sweet Corn and Black Bean Salad

Proof that a few simple fresh ingredients tossed together is all that it takes to makes something delicious....

Sweet Corn and Black Bean Salad
Serves 6
Recipe from Whole Foods

2 cups fresh or frozen and thawed corn kernels
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups no-salt added cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
(note: I had extra Queso-fresco that I crumbled on top)

Bring  a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add corn and cook for 1 minute, then drain well, rinse in cold water and drain again. (If using frozen corn, skip this step).  Meanwhile, rinse onions in cold water to remove some of their sharp, acidic flavor; drain well and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, live oil, lime juice, salt and pepper to make a dressing.  Add beans, corn, onion and bell pepper and toss until just incorporated.  Cover and chill for about 2 hours.  Add cilantro and toss again before serving.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Krista Bjorn