Sunday, November 29, 2009

Amy's Fresno Chicken Enchiladas

Amy came over and cooked us Fresno-style enchiladas tonight... fabulous. These were so good.

Served with pinto beans and a corn/red pepper salad.
Todd's Enchiladas (in Amy's words)


oil (vegetable or olive oil)
1 med-large onion (white or yellow)
2 cloves garlic
4 tbsp. flour
4 c. chicken broth
8+ tbsp. chile powder
1+ tbsp. cumin
1+ tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2-1 c. tomato sauce (or half can 8 oz. tomato paste)
salt/pepper to taste

1 broiler chicken (5-6 lbs.) (baked or boiled)
Mexican crema (not Salvadoran or Guatemalan!) or sour cream
1 small can diced green chiles (drained) (optional)
1 package shredded cheese (spicy/Mexican flavors best or Monterey Jack)
salt/pepper to taste
optional flavors: dried oregano or fresh cilantro

1 package large flour tortillas
1 package shredded cheese
optional additional toppings: sliced black olives, diced green chiles, crema/sour cream (post-oven), what ever else sounds good!

1. Shred chicken and mix with green chiles, crema until wet, a sprinkle of smoked paprika and cumin, and salt/pepper to taste. (Be careful it's not too salty--cheese and sauce will add to saltiness.) Set aside.

2. Pre-heat oven to 350F.

3. Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add flour and brown. Add chicken broth, chile powder, smoked paprika, and cumin and stir with whisk until dissolved. Add tomato sauce, sugar, and salt/pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then shimmer on lower heat until thickened (approx. 20+ minutes).

4. Put thin layer of sauce on bottom of baking dish (prevents burning). Roll chicken filling with cheese in tortillas and neatly line dish with them. Cover tortillas with remaining sauce, layer on cheese, and top with olives or green chiles, if interested.

5. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and allow top to brown.

6. Now enjoy those tasty motherfuckers with Mexican beers with lime, corn (frozen or canned corn, w/cumin, red pepper, red onion, butter, salt/pepper, and fresh cilantro stirred in at the end), Mexican rice, etc.!!!!

(serves approx 6)

Leftover Ginger Cranberry Sauce on Cream Cheese, with Crackers

As Lindsay suggested, I warmed up some of the leftover ginger cranberry sauce and threw it on top of some cream cheese. Served with crackers = excellent.

Cookie Extravaganza!

Chuck and I, with the help of Mark and Leah, made about a thousand cookies to put in Christmas tins and hand out to friends. Here are the recipes!

Pecan Tassies: mini pecan pies, made with the tart press that Martha stuck in my stocking one year.

Matcha (Green Tea) Cookies: sugar cookies with green tea powder mixed in.

Turtle Thumbprints: chocolate, pecan and caramel goodness.

Ginger Chewies: gingery soft and chewy cookies with raw sugar on top for crunch.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats: No photo, but you can imagine...

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons: another Ina recipe, dipped in semi-sweet chocolate.

Jam-Filled Cream Cheese Cookies
A Martha Stewart Every Day Food recipe that I can't find online, but that's probably ok because they were a FAIL anyway... they were supposed to look like this (which about 2 of ours did):
But the vast majority of them looked like starfish writhing on the ocean floor as they bleed to death:
Pistachio Refrigerator Cookies
Not sure where Martha got the recipe, but here it is:
2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup finely chopped pistachios
non pareils
green food coloring

Mix dry ingredients. Cream butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix.

Using 1 cup of dough, add green food coloring, then add chopped nuts. Shape into a 10” roll. Wrap in waxed paper and freeze for 10 minutes.

Roll remaining dough into a 10x6 rectangle. Place other roll of dough on the rectangle and gently wrap the dough around the nut dough and seal it.

Roll the whole log in nonpareils sprinkled on waxed paper.
Wrap the dough in the waxed paper. Freeze for about 20 minutes. Slice about 1/8” thick. Place about 2” apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for about 8 to 10 minutes. Makes about 6 dozen.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dark and Stormy Cocktail

Heather brought the makings for Dark and Stormy cocktails to Thanksgiving dinner, but we never got around to drinking them- we stuck to wine and champagne. So we gave the cocktail a try tonight... really good! Ginger beer, lime and dark rum. Esquire had advice on the ratios.

Eggs Benedict with Leftover Stuffing, Turkey and Brussel Sprouts

I saw this idea for reimagining Thanksgiving leftovers a couple years ago in a Daily Candy email:
  • Form your leftover stuffing into little patties and fry them in a little olive oil until warmed through and a little crispy on the outside.

  • Top with warmed shredded turkey (I splashed a little chicken broth on mine to keep it moist, then popped it in the microwave for a minute).

  • Throw on some greens- sauteed spinach, or, in our case, leftover brussel sprouts

  • Top with a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce (I used the Washington Post's blender hollandaise sauce).

An awesome way to transform the leftovers into something new and edible. Essential for me since, as you know, I hate leftovers (particularly mixed grill).

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: The Sides and Desserts

The side dishes and desserts served at our Thanksgiving were provided by the gracious guests:
Butternut Squash Risotto, handmade by Ms. Guitar as a main dish for the vegetarians in the group.
Sourdough Bread Stuffing, by the always jovial Jenny (she switched it up a little by omitting the mushrooms, using veggie stock and adding more of everything else!).
Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Lemon, expertly executed by Heather.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes, peeled by Meg, but made delicious by Chuck.
Scalloped Corn, a delicious Yehl family recipe made with loving attention to detail by Mark:
" I usually make the corn in that Corningware dish of mine- I think it's a 3 qt. I use 4 or 5 cans of regular corn- not cream- drained. Put in 1 cup of milk. If it's not soupy- put in another 1/4 cup. Sprinkle breadcrumbs across the entire top lightly and then do it again. Mix it up. Beat one egg for each can of corn. Pour in and mix it up. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper.Okay here's the hard part- now I kind of play with it. If it's too dry I add a little more milk. If the breadcrumb doesn't seem to be enough to not make it dry but where you can really see it and it has thickened the consistency of the corn, I add more a little at a time. Put a teaspoon of butter or margarine- whatever you use- close to each corner and in the middle. Bake at 350 for at least 45 minutes. It needs to be cooked, but not dried out. You've seen and made it before, so hopefully you can tell the right consistency and know if it is done or not. Remember it seems to dry out a little more after you take it out of the oven."

Traditional Pumpkin Pies, possibly one of the last desserts to come out of Amy's New Hampshire Avenue kitchen.

Apple/Pear Galette, a rustic treat from Jenny.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: The Cranberry Sauce

Mmmm... cranberry sauce. This one is a super simple citrusy-gingery version from Ming Tsai via the Boston Globe.
I cooked it a little longer than the recommended 10 minutes in order to break the cranberries down a little and cook off some of the liquid.
This recipe makes a ton of sauce... I'd say way more than 8 peoples' worth, for sure. We had probably an extra quart at the end of the day. I'm researching creative ways to use up leftover cranberry sauce (beyond putting it on a turkey sandwich, I mean.) The lovely Lindsay recommends heating it up a little and pouring it over goat cheese or cream cheese and serving with crackers. Sounds good to me! I shall report back soon.

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: The Soup

Again, another traditional Thanksgiving ingredient done a slightly different way to keep it interesting, yet not freak people out: Thai-style butternut squash soup, care of Mark Bittman, The Minimalist.
Bittman advertised this soup as one of his make-ahead Thanksgiving sides, and while I didn't make it all ahead, I definitely did the time-consuming butternut chopping ahead. Super easy and really tasty... people seemed to like it, and the leftovers were good for lunch today!
Bittman's recipe read: "Simmer cubed winter squash, minced garlic, chili and ginger in coconut milk, plus stock or water to cover, until soft. Purée if you like. Just before serving, add chopped cilantro, lime juice and zest, and toasted chopped peanuts."
I did pretty much just that: equal parts ginger, garlic and chilis (about 3 TBS each), 2 butternut squashes, 2 cans of coconut milk, about 1- 1.5 C veggie broth, plus salt and white pepper. I squirted in some Sriracha at the end because I decided it wasn't quite spicy enough. I bet this would benefit from some fish sauce, but I left it out because of the vegetarians at the table. The garnishes are key though. Lots of lime!

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: The Appetizer

We weren't starting Thanksgiving too early in the day since Chuck and Mark were working, so I had to throw at least one appetizer out there to satiate the drunken/drinking masses. I saw this sweet potato "hummus" from Kim O'Donnel and thought it would be fun to serve a traditional Thanksgiving ingredient in a different way. We served the dip with pita chips.
Pretty good, although I think maybe it needed something else. Garlic? That would definitely bring it closer to true hummus. Perhaps roasted garlic. I shall try again sometime. Mark loved it, though, and that's enough for me.

Thanksgiving Extravaganza: The Turkey

So, here is the first of several recipes served at our pot-luck Thanksgiving: the main course was, of course, the turkey.
Our turkey was a farmer's market find, a broad-breasted bronze from Groff's Content Farm. We had a little bit of a panic earlier this week, when, after picking up said 19 pounder, our fridge crapped out. Luckily, Chuck and Tim were home and were able to scramble to transfer the turkey and our other perishables to Barbara's fridge, and the responsive folks from Trust appliance repair came to our rescue ASAP and fixed it up.
I used this dry-brine recipe from the New York Times Dining & Wine section... it appealed to me because of its simplicity and its lack of messy, sloshy brining liquid. Several other reliable sources also advertised dry brine recipes this year, so I figured it was worth a try. In the end, I may have overcooked the turkey a bit, but nothing a little gravy couldn't fix.

Cajun Spiced Scallops with a Sour Cream/Brown Sugar/Lemon Sauce on Sauteed Kale

For Martha's birthday dinner, Mike was searing Cajun-seasoned scallops and making a sour cream, brown sugar, and lemon sauce for them while I was sauteeing some kale in olive oil, garlic and a splash of chicken stock. At some point along the way, as we jostled each other for elbow room at the cooktop, we decided that the scallops and sauce might be best served on top of the kale. It worked out perfectly!

Neither of us used recipes, so I can't link you, but the basic idea was thus: sprinkle scallops with Cajun seasoning and sear in a cast iron pan, saute the kale with minced garlic and olive oil, then splash the chicken broth in and cover it for a few minutes to soften the tough veggie. The sauce is a mystery to me... Mike? My only input was "Add more lemon juice."

Whole Wheat Bagels!

I've had homemade bagels on my list of things to bake for months and months, but just haven't gotten around to it. This past weekend I went home for Martha's birthday, and brought her the latest book from Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg, the authors of our beloved "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day." Their latest book is "Healthy Breads in 5 Minutes a Day," which focuses more on whole grains, vegetables and other healthy ingredients.

Anywho... back to bagels: there was a whole wheat bagel recipe in the new bread cookbook that used the basic whole wheat bread dough recipe, so Martha and I gave it a try. Pretty tasty!

Martha and I made the mistake of cooking the bagels on parchment paper on the baking stone... we should have pulled the parchment out earlier so the bagels would be directly on the stone, because the bottoms of the bagels were a little raw/mushy. Next time. Perhaps an egg wash would be good, too, to get the shiny coating that bagels normally have.

No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chewies

Chuck and I decided to taste-test a cookie we were considering making as part of our Christmas cookie experiment... we thought this one looked good because it combined peanut butter and chocolate and was a no-bake, so we figured we could make it at the same time as another cookie and not have them compete for oven time and space.

This cookie is perfectly easy. Perfect to satisfy a random weeknight chocolate craving, for sure.

Alas, it's not quite perfect for our purposes... not what we were looking for in a Christmas cookie. Too soft in consistency and not pretty enough to stand up to the other, flashier cookies we're planning to make.

Turkey Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes...chocolate frosting...candy corn beaks and tail feathers...marshmallow eyes (with red gel) and chocolate sprinkles for flare!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sesame-Coated Chicken With Broccoli

I'm totally on a stir fry kick of late. Not sure why, but so far it's been good to us.

This Food & Wine recipe was good- the sesamed-coated chicken pieces got a little crispy, and the sauce was gingery and a little spicy. Very nice.

Monday, November 16, 2009



So I had 100 wings to cook and four recipes...

The sesame ones had a bit too many sesame seeds and were a little rubbery (nothing a few minutes under the broiler couldn't fix in the future).I put the asian ones under the broiler for a few minutes after getting them out of the slow cooker...The BBQ ones were good...and the spicy ones weren't all that spicy so I poured some extra Franks on them. It was a fun day of cooking and eating. Too bad the Patriots blew it!

Thank You Michael for taking the picture!!!

Butternut Squash Parmesan Pasta Sauce

After cooking at cooking class all weekend, I didn't have a lot of energy to cook dinner at home, so my CSA produce has been piling up... I had approximately a thousand butternut squashes staring at me from the counter. OK, I exaggerate. There were 3. But that's a lot of butternut, yes?I saw this recipe for a simple butternut and parmesan pasta sauce on Simply Recipes and thought I would give it a try. It was pretty good... I made some changes, though:
- Rather than roast the squash whole, I cut it up and threw it on a cookie sheet to speed up the cooking process.

- I threw a minced clove of garlic in with the shallots because it seemed like natural addition to the recipe.

- The sauce was super thick, so I added probably 1/2 cup of chicken stock to thin it out at the end.

- I amped up the lemon juice a bit to contrast the sweetness of the squash-- added about 2 tablespoons.

- Threw some roasted broccoli on the side, which was also a good contrast to the sauce.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

L'Academie de Cuisine: Advanced Culinary Weekend

Jennifer, her friend Jim and I all took a fancy French cooking class this weekend at L'Academie de Cuisine... the course was taught by Patrice Olivon, a great French chef with experience cooking at the White House and sous-cheffing on Iron Chef America: Battle Dungeness Crab, among other things.
We cooked an elaborate 8 course meal and learned a lot of neat tricks and methods. Let me know if you want the recipes. I have to type them up. Our favorite was the shrimp bisque, followed closely by the basil ice cream. Check it out!

Smoked salon on brioche (canapes):
Phyllo dough stuffed with Merguez sausage and roasted red peppers:
Leek and sundried tomato terrine with champagne vinaigrette and black truffles:Shrimp bisque with seared scallops and shrimp, a crunchy Kataifi covered shrimp and chive oil:
Turkey breast stuffed with veal mousse, wild mushrooms and chestnuts, with sweet potato French fries and spinach flan
Garlic tuile piped with Roquefort/goat cheese mousse, frisee salad and caramelized walnuts: Tart tatin with irish creme caramel sauce and basil milk chocolate ice cream
Mini key lime pie (mignardises)Align Center

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Brussel Sprouts

Martha just got these at Trader Joes and I thought they were cool. So I took a picture and posted it. Check back later to see how they get prepared...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Makeshift "Blankie"

It was Friday night and Lucy was quite dismayed by the fact that she did not have her blankie with which she sleeps everynight. As her mother...I know that this was an act and that she was secretly elated at the fact that she was up past her bedtime.

In a panic, I ventured into Martha's sewing (or whetever it is she does in there) room. I might was well had been on Mars. I asked Lucy what specifications she needed. My four year old responded by informing me that it had to have a soft silky edge and a tag to put her finger through. I grabbed what fabric I could and got to work.

Sewing Machine One: I tried to slide the fabrics (silky edge & nemo fabric) through effortlessly, like Martha does. It wouldn't work until my six year old informed me that there was a 'gas' pedal. Duh. After some sliding, pushing and tugging (and some 'gas'), the silky edge was adhered and I proceeded to pull the half-made blanket out of the machine. This rendered the machine busted and I had to move on to machine two.

Sewing Machine Two: This was a complete bust...I could barely get it to work.

I then decided a good ole' needle and thread would be the best intervention. I sewed on the 'tag' the old-fashioned way. She grabbed it and crashed within fifteen minutes of completion!

Well...this is what I came up with:

To may seem like a 'fail'...but to me, whenever there is a happy is a success!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mushroom and Gruyere Tart

This mushroom and gruyere tart came together really quickly and was pretty tasty served alongside a salad...
It used the last sheet of puff pastry I had hanging around in the fridge, as well as a couple other odds and ends. Very cheesy... Tim was worried about the mushroominess of it, but he ended up liking it a lot- he ate 2 pieces.

Beef, Shrimp and Bok Choy Stir Fry

Remember that week where two days in a row I made recipes I have already made, but switched up the ingredients? It should be fresh in your mind because it's this week.
I made this stir-fry last week with beef and broccoli, and it was so easy and good, I decided to try it again this week with the bok choy I got in my CSA. I threw in about 10 shrimp for good measure and cooked the boy choy stems longer than the bok choy leaves, but otherwise followed Steamy Kitchen's method. Yum.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, Zucchini Salad with Garlic Lime Dressing

Remember how it was awesome?
Well, for those bell pepper haters in the group, leave them out. The recipe is awesome with zucchini, too. Throw some chopped zucchini into the oven with the sweet potato after it's been roasting for a while... then throw the whole mess on top of some lettuce.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

I still had apple bobbing apples (Macintoshes) left, but they weren't crisp enough for straight eating, so I had to come up with some more apple recipes. This King Arthur Flour recipe got the seal of approval from Smitten Kitchen as well as some other bloggers, and I had all the ingredients, so whole wheat apple muffins it was.
These are pretty good! Lots of apples, the muffins were moist. I added some chopped walnuts for texture. I also ended up making mini muffins- I cooked them at 450 for 5 minutes, then turned the heat down to 400 and cooked them for 8 more minutes. It made about 3 dozen mini muffins.

Butternut Squash Lasagna: Partial FAIL

Ug... I was trying this butternut squash lasagna recipe out, hoping that I could possibly serve it to the vegetarians this Thanksgiving, but it didn't quite work out. I made a half recipe, and made individual lasagnas for me and Chuck.
The flavors were really good, but I had some major noodle cooking issues- I think due to a lack of sauce, but I'm not sure. The bottom noodle wasn't fully cooked, and the sauce was sorta burnt onto the bottom of it, and the top noodle wasn't cooked on the edges.

I think my bechamel sauce got too thick maybe? I don't know- there just didn't seem to be enough of it. Also, cooking the diced squash in the frying pan on high heat was kinda odd, too. It burnt the squash and onions. I think next time I would dice it and then roast it.

Honey Goat Cheese Salad Dressing

This is a fun new (for us) salad dressing that's super tasty... basically, rather than sprinkling your salad with bits of goat cheese, this dressing has the goat cheese whizzed in. Really tasty and creamy.
This dressing is sweet because of the honey, but I bet you could make a savory version with tarragon and shallots.

We served it on Bibb lettuce, shredded apples and carrots, chopped walnuts and dried cranberries.

P.S.: Chuck made the salad and dressing. Good work!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Crispy Stuffed Potato Skins!

Crispy, cheesy, bacony... fantastic. I'm bringing these to a football party tonight.
This method from Simply Recipes is a little bit labor intensive, but not difficult. It involves 3 separate baking times: first to cook the whole potatos, then to crisp the scooped out skins, then to melt the cheese. Totally worth it, though.
I used chives instead of green onions, but otherwise followed the directions. Mmmm.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gingerbread-Apple Upside-Down Cake

I saw this recipe in today's New York Times food section and had to give it a try. I'm glad I did! This was a light and fluffy gingerbread cake with a caramely/appley topping... yum.
The only ingredient I didn't have in my pantry was buttermilk, but I improvised by using milk and lemon juice. I didn't want to make a whole cake since it was just me and Chuckie, so I halved the recipe and put it in some mini-springform pans (which may not have been the best choice since some of the caramel leaked onto the bottom of the oven). They were so cute, though! I cooked them for about 30 minutes... until a tester came out clean.

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

Yum... Steamy Kitchen (guest blogging at Simply Recipes) strikes again. I made this super easy beef and broccoli recipe, with only a few additions. I gave the sauce a big squirt of Sriracha for some heat, threw in some chopped scallions with the broccoli, and added an extra clove of garlic, because, well... duh. Served it on steamed white rice. Really tasty. Better than take-out Chinese.
My main recommendation is this: have all of the ingredients ready before you start cooking: pre-chopped, pre-measured and pre-mixed. Stir fry cooks so quickly, you don't have time to measure once the action starts.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sesame/Peanut Noodles with Tatsoi, Snow Peas and Yellow Pepper

I modified this simple Rachael Ray sesame noodles recipe to my liking, and it was really good!
- served it warm, not cold
- made the sauce as directed, but added some fresh orange juice to brighten it up
- used whole wheat spaghetti
- for veggies, I used raw shredded carrots, cilantro, scallions, yellow pepper slices, as well as snow peas and tatsoi (this week's CSA prize), both of which I blanched in the pasta water very briefly