1 Apr
2011

Chicken With Red Cabbage and Mustard Vinaigrette – A Weight Watchers Dream

Soooo….yeah.  Weight Watchers.  I’m in my fifth week, and while I still feel a little odd about it, I think it’s working for me.  Mostly, it’s been a good way to balance my indulgences, and an extra motivator to help me decide if I really NEED that extra glass of wine or cookie on any given night.

It’s also making me cook more, and try new things.  This is actually a standby – my all time favorite dressing/marinade.  I’ve used it for chicken before, but decided for this to expand it to a dressing.  So I marinated chicken breasts overnight, then grilled them, and sliced them thin.  Shredded half a head of red cabbage, and dressed the whole thing with a few extra tablespoons of the dressing.  It’s stayed crispy in the fridge all week for my lunches and fast dinners.

Read on for the recipe »

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29 Mar
2011

Beer-Braised Beef Roast – A Two-Day Cooking Event

Despite the title of this post, this meal did not take two days to make. Well, I stretched it out that long – started the meat searing Sunday afternoon, and left it in the oven all evening. Then transfered it to a container in the fridge (not before grabbing a few delicious pieces), and let it sit overnight. Coming back in the morning, the fats had settled into a thick layer on the top, which I simply broke off and set aside. Then the meats and juices reheated and thickened, and a quick batch of egg noodles and some satueed kale later, I was in buisness for a Monday night dinner.

I love braised meats – the tenderness, the sauce, the long simmering time to anticipate their flavors. My local grocery store had beef chuck roasts on sale, and so I figured that would be an excellent piece to have on hand, as I had company coming this week.

I stumbled onto a recipe by one of my favorite food blogs, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, that braised this cut in beer with onions. Done.

For the beer, I had on hand a few Revolutionary Ales from the Philadelphia brewery Yards – this one a George Washington Tavern Porter. The mollasses in the beer gave such a rich, dark flavor, and balanced beautifully with the herbs and onions.

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22 Dec
2010

Speculaas – 2010 Cookie Challenge

Well THAT was a pain in the ass.

I was all excited to try making Speculaas.  Gingerbread-y cookies?  Great!  I get to order a new kitchen toy (the mold)?  Awesome!  I end up with pretty little cookies?  Even better!

Except that what had failed to occur to me was that the two rounds of dough I whipped up yesterday and left to take in the fridge were considerably larger than the indentations in the cookie mold.  And so therefore, after an hour of pressing the balls of dough into the floured mold and ever-so-gently trying to pry them out so they wouldn’t break, I had barely made a dent in the first one.

Not having six more hours to press the cookies, I did a cheat, as you can see on the left.  I rolled a single block of dough, about 1/2 inch thick, over the whole block.  Peeling it off, I cut it into three pieces, each with a pretty flower sticking out of the top.  Not as delicate or exacting, but as good as it was going to get.

The cookie mold will have a prominent place on my wall….but I’m not sure it’ll ever touch dough again.

And this is the last of my Saveur Cookie Challenge posts for this year!  I’m headed home for the holidays tomorrow, cookies in hand, and want to wish my fellow bakers (Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes, Courtney of Coco Cooks,Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook, Judy of No Fear Entertaining, Kelly of Sass & Veracity, Michelle of Big Black Dogs, RJ of Flamingo Musings, Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench, and Tiffany of The Nesting Project) and everyone else a Happy New Year!

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19 Dec
2010

Caramel Crumb Bars – 2010 Cookie Challenge

I had my doubts here…not that the combination of caramel and shortbread isn’t delicious, but frankly, caramel scares me.  I’ve washed far too many scortched pots as a cooking class assistant for it not to.  But, despite my trepidation, these actually turned out well.  I followed my fellow baker Judy’s lead suit and added nuts to half of them (walnuts in my case), which I think cut down on the pure ::SWEET:: sensation that comes with biting into one of these.

They ended up at both a holiday bake-off and another friends party, both to grand acclaim.  I can’t say they’ll make the cookie tray next year, but at least I’ve overcome some of my fear of caramel.

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10 Dec
2010

Vanilla Walnut Crescents – 2010 Cookie Challenge

Cookies and coffee.  One of my greatest pleasures.  I judge many cookies by how well they pair with a nice hot cup.  And these…oh, wow, these cookies.  Tender but not too crumbly, gently nutty, and dusted with powdered sugar.  I shared some with my coworkers, but the rest were just for me.

This was the second of the Cookies We Love challenge, baking recipes from Saveur. We’ll see if it stays the favorite.

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5 Dec
2010

Mexican Butter Cookies – 2010 Cookie Challenge

I’ve been a long time away from the blog, but there’s nothing like the holiday season to get me cooking again – especially when I have such lovely compatriots to inspire me into buttery deliciousness!  We stalwart cookie makers are cutting back a bit this year – one recipe for each week of December – but are trying out Saveur’s Best Cookies In The World as our choices for the Cookies We Love challenge!

I’m joined in the effort by: Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes, Courtney of Coco Cooks,Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook, Judy of No Fear Entertaining, Kelly of Sass & Veracity, Michelle of Big Black Dogs, RJ of Flamingo Musings, Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench, and Tiffany of The Nesting Project.

These Galletas con Chochitos (Mexican Butter Cookies) caught my eye right away – my double love for butter cookies and sprinkles would both be satisfied!  They are a very nice, easy cookie, and with the extra sparkle of my sprinkles, I think they make a festive addition.  I particularly like how the salt balances with the sweet – these will be hard to keep away from.

Read on for the recipe!

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21 Jul
2010

A wednesday market dinner

Mmmmmmm, fresh melon and prosciutto.  A cure for a hot day.

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17 Jun
2010

Savory Zucchini and Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

I love doing my saturday marketing, but it kills me when I can’t use everything before it spoils.   So this week I took sunday to cook up some things that I knew would get me through the days where a fresh dish just wouldn’t happen between work and swimming and other activites.

A few loaves of bread had been getting stale, so a bread pudding came to mind.  I’d had a rosemary bread pudding a few months ago at a fantastic local restaurant, and the memory is still in my taste buds.  For this one I used my market zucchini and a few sprigs of my window-box tarragon, and fresh Cherry Glen chevre  to top it off.

I know this will be a great lunch later this week, maybe with a bit of the arugula salad I have sitting on the top shelf of the fridge.

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13 Jun
2010

Strawberry Clafoutis

Summer desserts don’t take much work – the beautiful fruit of the season does most of it for you.  I was so sad to see the last few pints of strawberries on the tables at the farmers market this weekend (though all the cherries made up for it!) that I wanted to do something special with my last few perfect fruits.

The cherries put me in the mind of a clafoutis, where custard cushions and surrounds the delicious juicy fruit.  It only takes a tiny bit of sugar to fill the flavors out, and it makes a beautiful pie plate for any summer fruit.

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16 Mar
2010

Meyer Lemon Curd – A Sweet Tart Treat

I love lemon curd.  Love love love love.  Sweet, creamy, tart, lovely on scones or toast or in tarts.  And it is far easier to make than I would have ever imagined, so my little bag of Meyer lemons went to very good use.

I’ve been adding it to plain yogurt or spreading it on my breakfast most mornings.  I think pastry might be next.

Read on for the recipe »

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