Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Magic in the middle cookies

Magic in the middle cookies:

Chocolate Dough
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar (plus extra for dredging)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

Peanut butter filling
3/4 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, your choice
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
2. To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
3. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.
5. To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and confectioners sugar until smooth.
6. With floured hands or a teaspoon scoop, roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls.
7. To shape the cookies: Scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough (a lump about the size of a walnut), make an indentation in the center with your finger and place one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation.
8. Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together cover the center; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
10. Roll each rounded cookie in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
11. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass, and use it to flatten each cookie to about 1/2-inch thick.
12. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they're set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

I got these from this website. Very tasty

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp flour
2 (8 ounce) bottles clam juice
4 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams, drain and reserve clam juice
1 cup water
6 russet potatoes scrubbed and diced medium
3 carrots
3 sticks celery
1/2 stick butter
3 large bay leaves
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley or 2 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Saute onions and garlic until softened. Add flour, whisk in and let cook for about 1 minute or until lightly colored. Gradually whisk in bottled clam juice, reserved clam juice and water. Add potatoes, carrots, celery, bay leaves and thyme. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Don't overcook the potatoes or they will become mushy after adding the cream and bringing to a simmer. Add clams, cream, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. (Be careful not to oversalt!) bring to a simmer, remove from heat and serve.

I served mine with dinner rolls. Yum!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mushroom Risotto

I really like risotto but it's a bit of a pain to make, and very easy to mess up. A lot of people, even professional chefs add too much broth and end up making the rice mushy. I am proud of the way mine turned out and it was not mushy! It was very very good and I will definitely be making it again. I served mine with Kacean's new favorite chicken, my spicy chicken.

3 mushroom risotto:

2 cups Arborio rice
Handful of button mushrooms
Handful of cremini mushrooms
Handful of shitaki mushrooms
1/2 an onion
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
8 cups water
6 bouillon cubes (I used vegetarian)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

In a saucepan bring 8 cups of water and 6 bouillon cubes to boil. Keep at a simmer the entire time. In a large skillet or frying pan with tall sides saute 1/2 the onion (so 1/4 of an entire onion) with all the mushrooms sliced up, 2 garlic cloves and salt and pepper in 1-2 Tbsps oil until the mushrooms are cooked the way you want them) When they are finished, set aside.

When the mushrooms are finished, saute remaining onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add rice and stir for about a minute. Add bay leaves and the process begins.

The annoying part about risotto is you have to stir it the entire time or it doesn't work out correctly. You need to add about 1 ladle full of hot broth to the rice at a time stirring until the rice absorbs it all. Once it is all absorbed add another ladle until rice is cooked, but not mushy. About halfway through cooking add the mushrooms so the rice can incorporate the mushroom flavor. Season with pepper and salt if needed. Usually the broth is salty enough.

Partway through the cooking process:

I was getting really hot sitting in front of the stove and was getting a little bored of stirring. :) It was worth it though!

Just about finished!

Finished product! When the rice if finished, pull out the bay leaves and toss. Enjoy!

Monday, June 1, 2009

More chicken

I know, I's yet another grilled chicken. I only know how to cook meat a couple ways, and grilling is my favorite. Plus, it keeps my house cooler in the summer to cook outside.

Spicy grilled chicken:

Chicken legs/thighs
Salt and pepper
Season salt
Mrs. Dash southwest chipotle seasoning
Olive oil

Toss chicken in a ziplock bag with olive oil to coat. It will help the seasonings stick to the chicken. Add salt and pepper and a good amount of both season salt and mrs. dash to coat. Grill on low until juicy.

Spinach, asparagus and romaine Italian grilled salad:

Romaine hearts
Fresh spinach
Italian dressing (I like to make mine fresh)

Cut romaine hearts in half and pour a good Italian dressing on one side. Grill on low until the edges start to get black but the inside is warm but still crunchy. Throw spinach and asparagus on a grill pan inside (or outside if you can figure out a way) and dump a little Italian dressing and salt and pepper. Cook until spinach starts to wilt and asparagus is tender. Cut asparagus into chunks, cut romaine hearts into chunks and toss. If it needs a little more dressing, salt or pepper add to taste.


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