Saturday, April 30, 2011

Coconut Pecan Icing

I am not really a cake fan. I'll admit, sometimes it's good..but usually in moderation. The exception in my book is German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Icing. Delicious. This homemade icing doesn't disappoint.

Coconut Pecan Icing
(Courtesy of Cooks Illustrated)

4 egg yolks
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/3 cups (7 oz) sweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted (either in 350 degree oven until browned about 8 minutes, or on the stove top in a frying pan)

1. Whisk yolks in medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in evaporated milk. Add sugars, butter and salt and cook over medium high heat whisking constantly until mixture is boiling, frothy and slightly thickened (about 6 minutes).

2. Transfer mixture to bowl, whisk in vanilla, then stir in coconut. Cool until just warm, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool or cold, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

3. Stir in pecans just before cake assembly.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Black Bean Stew

Black Bean Stew

(Thanks for the recipe Debbie!)

1 large diced onion
1-3 minced cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp thyme
2 cans chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 small can diced green chilies
1 (14 oz) can stewed tomatoes (plain flavor)
1 (28 oz) can (or two 16 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
Cooked rice (I used brown)
Cilantro, chopped
Avocado, diced
Sour cream
Lime slices

1. In a dutch oven, saute onion, garlic and pepper flakes in olive oil. Add herbs, broth and chilies and bring to boil.
2. Add tomatoes and beans. Simmer one hour.
3. Remove 1/2 of stew, cool slightly and puree until smooth. Add pureed mixture back into pot and stir to combine.
4. Serve stew over rice with fresh cilantro, avocado, sour cream and lime slices.

Almond Crusted Chicken

Almond Crusted Chicken
(Courtesy of Cooks Illustrated)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt
1 cup roughly chopped almonds (I think mine were too big, I would have gone smaller)
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 Tbsp)
1 cup panko (Japanese style bread crumbs)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves (I just used dry)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 large eggs
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup all purpose flour

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Using fork, poke thickest half of chicken breast 5-6 times. Sprinkle evenly with salt. Refrigerate, uncovered while preparing coating.

2. Process nuts in food processor until they resemble course meal. (I left mine too chunky and everyone said they tasted delicious, the texture just resembled soft gravel. Next time I will process them to a finer texture). Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan constantly until butter turns golden brown and has a nutty aroma (4-5 minutes). Add shallot and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Cook stirring constantly until just beginning to brown (2 minutes). Reduce heat to medium low. Add panko and ground nuts. Cook stirring frequently until golden brown (10-12 minutes). Transfer panko mixture to shallow dish or pie plate and stir in lemon zest, thyme and cayenne.

3. Lightly beat eggs, mustard and black pepper in a second shallow dish or pie plate. Place flour in a third shallow dish or pie plate. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Work with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken breast in flour, shaking off excess, then coat with egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Coat all sides with panko mixture, pressing gently so that crumbs adhere. Transfer breaded chicken to clean wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken.

4. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees (20-25 minutes). Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Parmesan Risotto

Parmesan Risotto

1 Tbsp butter
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 an onion, diced
8 cups water (with chicken bouillon cubes or chicken base) or Chicken Stock
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan bring 8 cups of stock (or water with base or bouillon cubes) to boil. Keep at a simmer the entire time. In a large skillet or frying pan with tall sides heat 1 Tbsp butter until melted. Add onion and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add rice. Stir until coated. Now it's time for the cooking process.

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. You will probably have some liquid left over. Once the rice is fully cooked, add the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter. Stir until melted. Add Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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