Friday, January 29, 2010

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

This is my wonderful mother in law's recipe. My mother in law is an awesome lady...kind, loving and she can bake a darn good cookie. This recipe is simply wonderful and I was so excited to recieve the recipe as part of my Christmas gift this year! My husband and I just go crazy over these cookies...they are soft, chewy and have the perfect amount of chocolatey sweetness. They are by far our favorite cookie.

This is certainly a recipe I'll cherish forever, and I hope you will love it as much as our family does!

Source: My mother in law

1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups unsifted all purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped nuts (optional...I don't use them because my husband doesn't like nuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter until light and pale in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add sugar and continue to mix well. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Mix toghether with a spoon. On low speed, add flour mixture into the creamed egg mixture just until it comes together. Stir in chocolate chunks and nuts (if you are using them). Drop by teaspoon onto the lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until soft and puffed up. Cool on cookie sheet until set up, about a minute or two. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oven Poached Salmon with Lentils

I recently discovered how much I like lentils. Lentil soup, lentil sides. Lentils simply taste great and are good for you. So when I found this recipe I was combines two of my "new found" favorite health foods...salmon and lentils!

My husband and I both really enjoyed this. The salmon pairs perfectly with the lentils and makes for a hearty, healthy meal. I love oven poaching the's so easy and results in a flavorful, tender fish. This entire recipe is also very easy to prepare which makes it great for a weeknight.

Lentils adapted from Simply...Gluten Free
Salmon adapted from Eating Well

1 cup green lentils, rinsed thoroughly
2 cups chicken stock (for lentils)
1 tbsp. chicken stock (for salmon)
5 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 small shallot, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced in about ¼ inch dice
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
2 – 8 ounce salmon fillets
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Put lentils in a medium saucepan with the chicken stock and garlic gloves, season with about 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly ajar and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes or until the lentils are almost tender and the chicken stock has evaporated. Set aside when done.

While the lentils are cooking, place salmon, skin-side (or skinned-side) down, in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the salmon with chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper, and just a bit of fresh lemon juice. Cover with foil and bake until opaque in the center and starting to flake, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on thickness.

While salmon is baking and after the lentils are cooked, in a medium skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Then add the carrots and cook for 5-10 minutes, until carrots are tender. Add the shallot and a pinch or two of salt and pepper and cook for about 3 minutes or until the shallots just start to brown

Fish the garlic cloves out of the lentils and mash with a fork. Add to the skillet with the carrots and shallot and mix well. Add the lentils and cook for another 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Add lemon juice and stir.

Spoon a mound of lentils on each plate, top with the cooked salmon and serve with some lemon wedges if desired.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins

I've really been in the mood for a good muffin lately. A super healthy, packed with goodness muffin that I can have for a weekday breakfast on the go without feeling bad about questionable ingredients. So when I found this recipe I was anxious to try it out.

After I made a few modifications to bump up the health factor, I was SO pleased with how this muffin came out. Carrots, apples, golden raisins, and whole wheat flour are only a few of the healthful ingredients in this muffin. I actually feel good about eating it because not only is it just delicious tasting, I know that it's packed with goodness.

The muffin itself is perfectly sweet (using agave nectar, not white sugar) and very moist. The almonds add wonderful texture and the cinnamon is a great addition to the flavor of the muffin.

All in all, I absolutely loved this muffin, as did my co-workers...who could not believe it was actually healthy. Which is fine by me.

Adapted from

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup agave nectar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 apple (I used granny smith), peeled, cored and diced
1 cup golden raisins
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1 cup applesauce
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 small handfuls of Raw Almonds, chopped finely and divided
about 4+ tbsp. wheat germ, divided


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly oil a muffin tin
with nonstick spray, or use paper cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, applesauce, agave nectar, vanilla extract and almond extract. Set bowl aside.

In a large bowl, stir together whole wheat and all purpose flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and about 2 tbsp. wheat germ. Stir in carrots, apples, 1 small handful of chopped almonds and raisins. Then stir in egg mixture until just moistened. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.

In a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, combine the rest of the chopped almonds and 2 tbsp wheat germ. Heat until wheat germ is very lightly toasted, and then top the muffins with the toasted wheat germ and almonds.

Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.

I yielded 24 muffins that were on the smaller side.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Oven Roasted Chickpeas

I've seen this recipe time after time around the internet. A healthy snack that tastes great. So I decided to give in and try them once and for all.

I thought they were really good! A light, crunchy snack that will take away the hunger pangs without ruining your diet. I had no problem getting them nice and crunchy when I let them sit in the oven after turning it off. I also did not use any oil to save some calories/fat. For seasoning, I just used a bit of salt and some herbs de Provence after they came out of the oven. The seasoning doesn't stick great to the dry chickpeas, but it gave them a subtle flavoring that was perfect for me. But if you want them more seasoned, I'd imagine some oil would do the trick. Overall I thought this was a great little snack.


Adapted from

1 12 oz. can chickpeas, drained
kosher salt
herbs de Provence


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pat chickpeas dry with a paper towel and spread on a foil lined baking sheet (without any cooking spray or oil). Roast for about 40-50 minutes, tossing them once or twice during baking time to prevent them sticking to the foil. After they are slightly crunchy on the outside, turn off the oven and let them sit in the oven for about an hour or two. After this, they should be very crunchy.

Put chick peas into a bowl and sprinkle with salt and herbs de Provence to taste. I used about 1 tsp. of each. Toss to combine and serve or store for later snacking.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cauliflower Leek Soup

I have to admit, the main reason I decided to try this soup was because I wanted to use my immersion blender. I've had it for over a year now and have never really had the opportunity to use it! So I decided to look for a recipe where I could use my sort of new immersion blender.

When I found this soup, I thought it would be perfect for my immersion blender test run. It looked super healthy and the ingredients were all things that I like. And what really got me was that it looked like a creamy soup (my favorite) without cream! So I was sold on it!

This soup was just great! I turned it into a "one pot" meal which worked perfectly and made for very little clean up. It was easy to make and tasted just great. My husband even liked it...and he was a bit skeptical at first. It tasted just like a cream based soup but happily there was no cream! This is a healthy, satisfying and just plain delicious soup.

Source: My Man's Belly

1 Medium Head Cauliflower (roughly chopped)
2 Leeks, White and Light Green Part Only (cut in half lengthwise) (I used one leek)
6 Cloves Garlic
1/2 onion, diced (I added this)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 14 Ounce Cans Chicken Stock (I used about 1 carton of chicken stock)
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a stove/oven safe dutch oven (I used enameled cast iron), put in cauliflower, leeks, garlic and onions. Drizzle olive oil over everything and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss together so the veggies are coated in the olive oil.

Roast uncovered in oven for 40-45 minutes, stirring vegetables after about 20 minutes. After about 45 minutes or so, vegetables should be brown on edges and slightly softened.

Transfer dutch oven to the stovetop and add 2 cans of chicken stock. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Using an immersion blender (stick blender), thoroughly puree all contents of the saucepan. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender. Just be careful putting hot liquids in a blender as they can cause the lid to come flying off sending your yummy soup all over your kitchen. (You can vent the lid a little to help reduce the chance of this happening.)

Add more salt and pepper if needed and serve.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Salmon with Lemon Ginger Sauce

I found this recipe at Mon Petit Peche Mignon when I was looking for a new salmon recipe to try. I think this recipe pushed me from an "I don't like salmon" kind of girl to an "I like salmon" girl. This was a great recipe. As per the comments on the blog, I cut the sauce recipe in half and even then I still had a ton of sauce! But the sauce was so good, I'm glad I had a lot. But I definitely suggest cutting the sauce in half if you are only making one or two filets. This recipe was fresh, light and healthful. I really enjoyed it and will certainly be making it again.
Source: Mon Petit Peche Mignon

Skin on salmon filets (however many you need; I just used one for myself)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
juice of one lemon
1 cup chicken stock
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger (I used 1 tsp. ground ginger as that was all I had on hand)
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce (I omitted)
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp cold water
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper
handful of fresh cilantro or chive (I used thyme)
Prepare Salmon as you normally would. I preheat oven to 425°F, coat a baking dish with cooking spray and place salmon, skin-side (or skinned-side) down, in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with a bit of low sodium chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper, cover with foil and bake until opaque in the center and starting to flake, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on thickness.

To make the sauce, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan, add onion and cook until onion starts to get translucent. Add lemon juice and continue cooking 1 minute over low heat. Pour in chicken stock, Tabasco, ginger, and season well. Bring to a boil. Mix cornstarch with water in a small dish and then stir into sauce and cook for 1 minute over low heat. Add milk- if your milk is cold, spoon some of the hot sauce into it before adding to the pot so that it does not curdle. Bring to a quick boil, then remove from heat. Throw a handful of cilantro or other fresh herb into the pot and stir to distribute.

Correct the seasoning and spoon generously over salmon.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Couscous with Butternut Squash and Sage

I found this recipe on foodgawker and thought it would be a great side dish for dinner. I was excited about it because I love the squash/sage combination but didn't really think to put it with couscous. But turns out, it works out SO well! It was a really hearty side dish that was totally healthy (after I doctored the original recipe at least). This is one that my husband and I both liked very much and will certainly be making again.

Adapted from Oui, Chef

1 cup couscous
1 1/2 cups water or chicken stock (I use a combo. of both)
1 small butternut squash, halved, peeled, seeded and cut into bite size cubes
4-6 fresh sage leaves, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Arrange butternut squash on sheet in a single layer, spray with a bit more cooking spray and top with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until squash is very tender.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water or stock to a boil. Add shallot, garlic, couscous and sage. Stir once, cover and set aside for about 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, remove cover from saucepan and fluff the couscous with a fork. Add cooked butternut squash. Stir everything together gently and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon

Confession: I decided I wanted to make this after having watched the movie Julie & Julia. After seeing this movie, I was totally inspired to make a Julia Child's recipe since I've never done so and the beef bourguignon looked like something I could actually handle.

This was simply really, really, really good beef stew (well, in my case a venison stew since I used venison). It was certainly much more complex then the beef stew that I usually make in the crock pot. It required careful timing and a good deal of prep work, but it certainly was a very manageable recipe. But I honestly have to say that my favorite part of the whole recipe was the brown braised onions. OH MY GOSH. Amazing is all I have to say. Those onions were melt in your mouth, perfectly cooked, flavorful perfection. I found myself picking the onions out of the stew to eat them by themselves. Yum.

But this really was a great recipe. I had a lot of fun making it, especially knowing how many other people have made it before me. Oh, and of course I skipped the mushrooms in this. Because we all know how I feel about mushrooms.

I found the link to the recipe on Pantry Raid and instead of typing the whole thing out, I'll just link you to the PDF so you can see the recipe right out of the book, and so I don't mess anything up by typing it. Enjoy!

Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon

Brown Braised Onions

Julia Child's Brown Braised Onions

I thought these needed a post to themselves. They were amazing in Beef Bourguignon, but they are also just a perfect side dish to I'd say just about any meal. They are just so amazing that I can't even describe how amazing they are. Did I mention they are amazing?! :)

And since this is a Julia Child's recipe, I'll link right to the PDF from the cookbook. Enjoy!

Brown Braised Onions

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bête noire

For as long as I can remember, this has been my absolute favorite dessert. Since my mom and dad brought me to a wonderful local French restaurant when I was just a girl, I just couldn't get enough bête noire. It's rich, dense and oh so chocolatey. Never did I think it was something I could make at home.

But I attempted it for a recent dinner party I hosted and I am SO glad I did!!! This amazing flourless chocolate cake was just perfect and just like I remember. You can also make this dessert up to two days ahead which is great for when you are entertaining. It it just so indulgent, and certainly a dessert to impress.

Source: Epicurious, Originally from Bon Appétit, September 2006

1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar

9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, diced
18 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used semisweet)
6 large eggs

1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used semisweet)


For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment round; butter parchment. Wrap 3 layers of heavy-duty foil around outside of pan, bringing foil to top of rim. Combine 1 cup water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate; cool slightly. Add eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake pan in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan.

Bake cake until center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken, about 50 minutes. Remove from water bath; transfer to rack. Cool completely in pan.

For ganache:
Bring whipping cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cake still in pan. Gently shake pan to distribute ganache evenly over top of cake. Refrigerate cake in pan until ganache is set, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.

Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake; release sides. Cut cake into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Bell peppers are something I don't eat much of. I don't hate them, but again I don't really love them either. But I always remember my professor in nutrition class telling us how bell peppers have more vitamin C then oranges. They certainly are good for you, especially when you stuff them with more good things.

To try something different from the traditional rice and beef stuffed pepper that my mom used to make, I decided to stuff my peppers with quinoa. I don't think I need to say how great quinoa is for's a great source of protein.

I really enjoyed this recipe. It was certainly different then the stuffed peppers I was used to, and was a great, filling vegetarian meal that is really comforting.

Adapted from The Kitchen Sink

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup low sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock to make it veg.)
1 bell pepper, halved and seeded
2 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup cannellini beans
1 small shallot, minced
1 tomato, diced
Aprox. 2 tbsp grated cheese (I used mozzarella)


Preheat oven to 350. Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray. Split the peppers in half and clean them out; place them in the baking dish. Roast for 20 minutes.

Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and reduce heat and cook until the broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally. During the last minute or two of cooking, add green onion, shallot and garlic to the quinoa.

In a medium bowl add tomatoes, beans and cooked quinoa. Mix together gently.

Stuff quinoa mixture into par-roasted peppers. Top with grated cheese and bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Serve hot.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Oven Poached Salmon with a Creamy Dill Sauce

This was a recipe I decided to try because it just looked really flavorful for being healthy. Like I said before, I'm not a huge salmon fan but it really is a healthy fish so I want to try and incorporate it into my diet as much as I can.

This was really a great recipe. I was surprised at how much I liked it honestly. It couldn't be much easier to make and the result was a super flavorful fish fillet that didn't taste too "salmon-ey".

I chose to top the fish with a creamy dill sauce that worked out wonderfully and really complimented the flavors of the fish. I will definitely be making salmon this way again.
Source: Eating Well
1 pound salmon fillet, cut into 4 portions, skin removed, if desired (I used one fillet, skin on)
2 tablespoons dry white wine (I used low sodium chicken stock)
Kosher Salt and Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot, (1 medium)
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Dill Sauce
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise (I omitted)
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt (I used Greek)
1 tbsp low fat sour cream (I added this)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill, or parsley
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a 9-inch glass pie pan or an 8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Place salmon, skin-side (or skinned-side) down, in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with wine. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with shallots. Cover with foil and bake until opaque in the center and starting to flake, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on thickness.

Meanwhile, to make the dill sauce combine mayonnaise (if using), yogurt, sour cream, scallions, lemon juice, dill (or parsley) and pepper in a small bowl and mix well.

When the salmon is ready, transfer to dinner plates. Spoon a little dill sauce over the salmon and serve with lemon wedges.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Stained Glass Pappardelle

We all have those recipes that sit in our archives for ages. Ones that we really want to make but for some reason never get around to. Well this is that recipe. This was posted on Good Things Catered literally over a year ago, but I hadn't forgotten it. It is much too pretty to forget.

So on the last Saturday before my 2010 diet starts I finally decided to make this. First of all I have to say that I love the basic recipe for the pasta dough from this recipe. For some reason I found it much easier to work with then my other recipe. Also, I didn't make the dough in a food processor like the recipe suggested. I'm one of those rare people who don't believe they need a food processor so I just did the old mound of flour on the counter top with a well for the egg mixture technique. This of course worked fine, but I'm going to keep the food processor instructions since most of the world has a food processor.

I just think this pasta is beyond impressive. Visually, this pasta is just so interesting that it makes it much more appealing then regular pasta. If you want a pasta to impress, this is most certainly it.

*Note - I served this pasta with some Alfredo Sauce I had leftover which was great. However, Good Things Catered has a Parmigiano-Reggiano Cream Sauce Recipe which looks just delicious!

Source: Good Things Catered

2 1/4 c. sifted all-purpose flour, divided
1 small pinch salt
4 large eggs
2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch of fresh parsley, leaves picked

-In bowl of food processor, add 2 c. flour and salt.
-Pulse to combine.
-Add eggs and olive oil and process until dough comes together fully, about 10-12 seconds.
-Remove top from processor and pinch dough with fingertips. You want a moist dough, but if it's too sticky, add flour 1 Tbsp at a time and process until dough is moist, but not sticky to the touch, should take an additional 30 seconds.
-Turn dough out onto well floured surface and knead for about 1 full minute, or until no streaks of flour remain and dough has come together cohesively.
-Turn dough into a ball and place on surface, under glass bowl for 30 minutes to let dough rest.
-After dough is rested, setup pasta roller.
-Divide dough in half.
-Roll half of pasta through thickest setting, fold in thirds, and then roll again.
-Repeat this rolling through thickest setting about 8 times or until pasta is completely uniform.
-Slowly decrease pasta roller width and take down to the thinnest setting.
-After you roll through the thinnest setting, set dough out on counter, sprinkle half of dough with small pieces of parsley leaves, fold other half of dough on top of parsley and press over to remove air pockets.
-Roll this through the pasta rollers one more time and set aside.
-Repeat rolling process with second half of dough.
-Take dough halves, cut into 12-16 inch sheets, fold each sheet and cut with a sharp knife into 1-inch strips, length wise.
-Place cut pasta out onto floured baking sheet to dry (15-20 minutes)while you bring large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
-Once water has come to rolling boil, pick all pasta up at the same time and drop into water.
-Boil until al dente, about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, depending on thickness.
-Drain pasta, reserving some pasta water, and place into desired sauce.
-Use pasta water to add to sauce, as desired.
-Plate and serve immediately.

Makes about 1 lb.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Smoked Salmon Pinwheels

Remember Jimmy? Well after I made Jimmy so many apple pies this past autumn, he graciously gave me a whole (huge!) smoked salmon that his son caught in a local lake as "payment" for a belly full of pie.

I absolutely love smoked salmon which is weird because I'm not a huge salmon lover. But that flaky smoked fish is just so delectable...I usually just eat it straight out of the freezer bag. I was just more then grateful that Jimmy was nice enough to give me this fish...I've been munching on it ever since.

So when New Years Eve came around and we had our annual office party, I really wanted to make something that incorporated the smoked salmon so Jimmy and the rest of the fish-lovers that work with me would be able to enjoy it as much as I have over the past few months. After searching around online I found a few recipes for Smoked Salmon Pinwheels and sort of combined two recipes to make my own version.

These were just delicious. When I say they went like hotcakes I mean it. One batch was gone before I had time to slice up another. My co workers were totally impressed and just raved over them. These were a delicious little appetizer that are sure to wow your guests.

Adapted from: Betty Crocker & Taste of Home

1 8oz package reduced fat cream cheese
2 tbsp reduced fat sour cream
2 green onions, chopped
aprox. 1 cup smoked salmon
1/2 cup fresh spinach, rinsed and dried
6 8" flour tortillas
Juice of half a lemon (don't get every bit of juice out of the lemon, just a slight squeeze will do)
1 tbsp (aprox. 3 springs) fresh dill weed, chopped
kosher salt
freshly ground peppper

Soften cream cheese in microwave on 30 second intervals until soft and easy to stir. Add sour cream, green onions, lemon juice, dill weed and salt and pepper to taste. Spread about 1/4 cup cream cheese mixture on each tortilla. Over the cream cheese, sprinkle on a generous layer of smoked salmon. Over that, spread spinach leaves. Roll tortilla tightly and, if necessary, use more cream cheese mixture to secure edges. Wrap tortilla "roll" in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours but no more then 24 hours. When ready to serve, cut tortilla into aprox. 1 inch pieces and serve on a tray, cut side up.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Twice Baked Potatoes with Tarragon

I made this recipe along with my Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding for Christmas dinner. This recipe paired perfectly with the beef and was such a wonderful diversion from a traditional mashed or baked potato. This is also a wonderful side dish that you can make a few hours ahead. You can get the potatoes ready in advance (filling and all), set them aside for a bit, and then put back in the oven right before you are ready to serve. If you are wanting a "different" potato dish to serve, I urge you to try this.

Source: Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook, page 180

4 medium russet potatoes (I used 5)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
3 Tbsp crème fraiche or sour cream (I used sour cream)
1/3 cup chopped fresh tarragon (I used a bit less then this)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick the potatoes with a fork and rub with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tbsp water. Wrap each potato in aluminum foil and bake for at least 1 hour or until the potatoes are fork tender. Remove the potatoes when ready and unwrap. Leave the oven on.

when the potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve them lengthwise. Scoop out flesh into a saucepan and set the skins aside. Mash the flesh with butter, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Reheat over low heat and stir in the Crème fraiche or sour cream. Remove from heat and stir in the tarragon.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with the mashed potato mixture. Pipe mashed potato mixture into each potato skin until filled evenly to the top. If you don't want to use a pastry bag, you can also fill the potato skins using a spoon. Place the filled potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until golden on top, about 15 minutes. Serve at once.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Whole Wheat Crackers with Herbs

If you're a regular reader of my blog I don't think I need to say that this is not exactly a healthy eating blog. I love to make really rich foods which is something I've gotten to be comfortable doing over the years. But it's completely caught up to me and my husband. So with the new year upon us and a trip to the beach a mere two months away, I'm really making an effort to eat "cleaner" and not so, uh, fatty.

So one of the first things I decided to make were these whole wheat crackers for my husband and I to bring to work during the week. I wanted to make them instead of buy them to avoid all the preservatives and other "unknowns" that are in store bought crackers.

These were very simple to make and you undoubtedly have everything for them in your pantry already. The base to this cracker is very simple and you can add whatever herbs and spices you want to make them your own. I chose this combination because I had all these herbs in my fridge but feel free to add whatever herbs you'd like.

These are great little crackers that are perfect to snack on during the day.

Adapted from Allrecipes

3 1/4 cups 100% whole wheat flour, I use King Arthur
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup water
kosher salt for sprinkling
2-3 springs fresh thyme, minced
5-6 fresh sage leaves, minced
2-4 sprigs rosemary, minced


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, 3/4 tsp teaspoon salt and minced herbs. Pour in the olive oil and water; mix until just blended.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough as thin as possible - no thicker than 1/8 inch (the thinner the better). Place dough on an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and mark squares out with a knife, but don't cut through. Prick each cracker with a fork a few times, and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for at least 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crisp and light brown. Baking time may be different depending on how thin your crackers are. When cool, remove from baking sheet, and separate into individual crackers.

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