Friday, January 29, 2010

A Roasted Dinner

The dinner that accompanied the focaccia bread was filled with the word "roasted"... Parmesan Roasted Broccoli, Mustard Roasted Potatoes and Everyday Garlic Chicken (which was roasted...). I think I've mentioned the Parmesan Roasted Broccoli before (around Thanksgiving) but I don't think I've ever blogged the recipe... this time I didn't even take pictures of it (picture that is posted was from Thanksgiving). This is my to-go broccoli recipe- has yet to fail me. The potato recipe is very good as well... Danimal and I tend to just roast potatoes with garlic & olive oil so this is a nice change for us.

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
Ina Garten

4 to 5 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot. Serves 6.


Mustard Roasted Potatoes
Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home

2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
2 yellow onions
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line cookie sheet with tin foil.

Wash potatoes, cut them in halves or quarters, depending on their size. Place them on the cookie sheet. Peel onions, cut them in half and slice into rounds (about 1/4 inch thick). Toss onions and potatoes together on the sheet. Add olive oil, mustard, salt & pepper and toss to cover evenly.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until the potatoes are lightly browned. Toss the potatoes every 15 minutes so they brown evenly.

Serve with chopped parsley and a little extra salt.


Stay tuned next week for Everday Garlic Chicken!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I <3 King Arthur Flour. I've been stalking their website for the last few years. I love their store in Norwich, Vermont. I exclusively use their flour. I'm obsessed with their recipes. I came across their No-Fuss Focaccia bread a while ago and at that time, bread and yeast were a big mystery to me! I made dinner for friends a few weeks ago and decided it was time to test out this puppy. I found their directions to be a bit confusing, but head on over to their site because they blogged about the bread as well. I actually chatted online with their bakers hotline people who confirmed the directions were confusing!

No-Fuss Focaccia
King Arthur Flour

1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 teaspoons Pizza Dough Flavor, optional
1/4 cup Vermont cheese powder, optional
Pizza Seasoning, optional
~1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Italian Seasonings
Garlic Powder

1) Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.

2) Combine all of the ingredients (I added in 1 tbsp of olive oil-- the amount left over from drizzling the pan), and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.

3) Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it's become puffy.

4) While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

5) Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger.

6) Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with pizza seasoning, and/or the dried herbs of your choice, if desired.

7) Bake the bread till it's golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes
8) Slice into pieces and serve with dipping oils. I made up a dip with olive oil, chopped garlic, italian seasonings, parmesan & red pepper flakes. Enjoy!!



Monday, January 25, 2010

Do you Mandel?

I believe we've established that I like baked goods.. cookies, muffins, cakes... anything with chocolate. Today, I'm sharing Mandel Bread (Mandel Brot) with you. It's a traditional Jewish cookie that looks like biscotti but softer. Some recipes call for the cookie to be baked again after sliced but I like mine soft so no second bake for me. My recipe comes from our dear family friend, Nana Millie.

Mandel Bread
Recipe from Nana Millie

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup almonds, ground up or chopped into small pieces
1 6oz pkg chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder. In a small bowl, add the oil, egg and vanilla and whisk to combine. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredienets and stir by hand until incorporated. Fold in the almonds and chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325°. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper (or nonstick cookie sheet). Divide the batter into three or four pieces depending on how large you want the cookies to be. With well oiled hands, form each piece into a log pressing down so that the dough is about an inch in height. The logs should be placed along the width of the sheet, about 2-3 inches apart.

Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Let logs cool and then slice crosswise 1/2 to 1 inch slices.
Keep in airtight container at room temperature for up to a week-- ours never last the day though!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dessert Addiction

Hi, I'm addicted to desserts. I love chocolate. I love to bake. I love anything to do with chocolate. I saw a recipe on one of the blogs I follow a while ago that I knew I needed to try out. It looked pretty awesome. On New Years Eve, I had to work a normal day and we had plans to go over to a friend's house afterwards to celebrate the New Year. I knew I wouldn't have a lot of time to get a dessert together and this recipe is actually pretty quick to pull together! I used store-bought cookie dough and a brownie mix to save time (but I'm sure it's even more decadent with real homemade cookies & brownies as well!) Enjoy :)

Glenn's Stargazer Pie
Adapted from Dozen Flours


1 16.5 oz tube of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough, softened

Brownie Layer
1 box of Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie mix (or any kind you want)
1/2 cup of cocoa powder, sifted
3 tablespoons of lukewarm water
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or almond extract- which I don't have)

Cream Cheese Truffle Layer (I doubled this from original recipe)
2 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped
6 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped then melted
8 oz of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Layer
2 cups of whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (give or take) of chocolate curls or other garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 or 9 1/2 inch springform pan with butter.

Spread the cookie dough into the bottom of the pan, making one big even cookie. It will be a little on the thin side, but don't worry, there will be enough. Use a fork to tamp it down. Stick it in the freezer.

Mix the brownie mix and the cocoa powder together in big bowl with a whisk or large fork. Add the water, oil, eggs, and almond extract and mix together until the dry ingredients are absorbed. Be careful not to over mix! The batter should be somewhat lumpy.

Remove the springform pan from the freezer and add the brownie batter right over the top. Bake for 34-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownie comes out almost clean.It should be a tad bit less baked than you would a normal brownie.

Remove it from the oven and promptly sprinkle about 2 oz of bittersweet chocolate over the top. Let it sit for a minute or two and once the chocolate chips are soft, evenly spread them over the top of brownie's surface. Let it cool on the counter. I didn't let mine cool enough- the chocolate should set before you add the cream cheese layer.

While the pie is cooling, microwave the remaining 6 oz of chocolate on low power (2 or 3) on 30 second intervals until it is melted, stirring well each time. Set aside. Cream the butter, and cream cheese together for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and stir again. Add the melted chocolate, one big teaspoonful at a time until it's totally incorporated into the cream cheese. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of the pie and store it uncovered in the refrigerator for an hour.

About an hour or two before you're ready to serve the pie (or when it's totally cooled off), whisk the whipping cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar and mix again until combined. Spread evenly over the top of the pie. Grate chocolate directly over the top, sprinkle chocolate curls, or embellish with chocolate sprinkles. Cover and put it back in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 an hour.

When you're ready to serve, run a thin knife or spatula to around the edge of the pan to free it from the outside ring. Gently remove the ring and serve let it come to room temperature at least a half an hour before serving. You'll know it's ready to serve when you're able to cut it from the center fairly easily.
I thought I had photographed a slice of pie but I guess I didn't! 
View from the side
Inside view of the pie

Monday, January 11, 2010

Yes, I like Muffins.

The other day I was shopping and starving... never a smart combination. I grabbed a muffin at the market and snacked on it on the drive home. I didn't really look at what I grabbed until I started eating it... and I loved it! Cranberries and walnuts... a great combination! The next time I went to the market, I picked up a bag of cranberries so I could be sure to make my own!

Cranberry Walnut Muffins
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp canola oil
1/2- 3/4 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Coat muffin cups with nonstick spray or line with paper baking cups.

2. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon & salt. In a medium bowl, combine egg, milk, sugar & oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture; stir just until combined. Fold in cranberries & toasted walnuts. Spoon into prepared muffin tin.

3. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.



Friday, January 8, 2010

Chocolate Pecan Goodness

I saw these puppies when they came across my google reader and wow, they were tempting! And they were pretty darn good! I chose to use semi-sweet and bitter-sweet chocolate instead of the milk chocolate that the recipe called for. I made them for my work holiday party and people really liked them! The recipe takes a little bit of time to prepare but it's definitely worth it!

Chocolate Pecan Diamonds
adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Pecan Dough
5 tbsp COLD unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces, plus 1 tbsp melted to coat pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup unsalted pecans, toasted & coarsely chopped
2 tbsp cold water

Pecan Filling
12 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1 tbsp pieces
2 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup light corn syrup
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
2 cups unsalted pecans, toasted & coarsely chopped
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
10 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

To make the dough:
Preheat oven to 325F.

Coat a 9 x 13 inch pan with the melted butter.

Sift together the flour and sugar and place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted the paddle attachment.

Add the cold butter one piece at a time while mixing on low, until mealy in texture, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks and mix on low until  the dough  forms around the paddle, about 30 seconds.

Add pecans and  mix on low for 30 seconds. I found that it wasn't forming into a dough so I added 2 tbsp of cold water and it came together at this point.

Remove dough from mixer and place in prepared pan. Use hands to flatten the dough evenly to cover the  bottom of the pan. Bake on center rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

To make the filling:
Bring butter, brown sugar, cream, and corn syrup to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the brown sugar. Boil for 3 minutes, until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat. Add the unsweetened chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted.

Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips. Pour filling over the baked dough. Use a spatula to spread evenly.

Bake on center rack for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees halfway through.

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the 10 ounces of bittersweet chocolate over the surface. Place pan back in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove from the oven, and use a spatula to smooth the chocolate. It kinds of makes a marbled effect with the chocolates.

Cool to room temperature for 30 minutes then refrigerate for an hour.

To serve:
Remove from fridge. Turn the pan over on to a clean, dry cutting surface, then turn the contents chocolate side up. Use a sharp knife, cut 1/4 inch off the edges and cut into squares. Serve at room temperature. Keep in refrigerator.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Snowy Day + Football Dinner

I'm in heaven right now... I've been wanting to make garlic knots for over a year now. I cannot figure out why I waited so long for these amazing rolls! They are incredible! I am in love! I paired them with chili and that was our nice, snowy- football watching meal. I tend to load as many vegetables into my chili as possible so that it's a nice inclusive meal.

Turkey Chili
My own concotion

1 package ground turkey meat
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 cup carrots, diced/ sliced
1 summer squash- cut in half lengthwise then sliced
1 cup (or more) spinach
1 cup (or more) mushrooms, sliced (Market Basket was out of mushrooms today)
zucchini, butternut squash, celery and whatever else you want can be added as well
2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
3+ tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth (reduced sodium)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed

In a large pot, saute onions until clear/ golden in color. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add turkey meat and cook until no longer pink. Once meat is cooked, add everything else and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 45 minutes or so. The seasonings are just an estimate of what I used-- I think this time I used more of everything.


Garlic Knots
Amber's Delectable Delights adapted from I Heart Food for Thought adapted from King Arthur Flour


3 cups + additional 1/4 cup as needed bread flour
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

2-4 cloves peeled, garlic
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon Pizza Seasoning or Italian seasoning, optional

1. For the dough - In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the dry ingredients together then add the olive oil, milk and water. Using the dough hook, mix and knead to form smooth, elastic dough, adding additional water or flour as needed. I added about 1/4 cup additional flour and no extra water. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, turn once and cover it, and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until it’s doubled in bulk. I spray the plastic wrap lightly as well.

2. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, and roll each into a rope about 10 inches long; tie each rope into a knot. Place the knots on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes to about an hour, until very puffy looking.
3. To make glaze - Unpeel garlic cloves. Chop the garlic in a food processor (or you can use a garlic press), with the melted butter.
4. To bake - Bake the knots in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes. They should be set, but only very lightly browned. Remove the knots from the oven, and brush or drizzle them with the seasoned butter.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Roasted Vegetables Rock

Christmas Day is spent at Danimal's aunt & uncle's house. I woke up (not early... but early for my in-laws!) and made this fresh for the day... before presents and breakfast! I really love this dish and could make it every week and not get sick of it! It's so easy to prepare and pretty to serve.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetable
adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients1 small eggplant, 3/4-inch diced
1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
plus additional veggies as desired
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta

For the dressing:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/3 cup good olive oil (I use less)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:

4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic (and whatever other veggies you want) with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

I tend to double-triple this recipe because it's so good. This last time, I used 2 eggplant, 3 red peppers, 3 yellow peppers, 2 onions, a lot of garlic, 1 green pepper, 1 container crimini mushrooms (quartered), and 1/2 butternut squash (cubed). I don't tend to add feta but LOVE the pine nuts so I used a whole bag (probably 1 lb). I don't measure the lemon juice that I add but I do cut back on the oil (probably 1/4 cup vs 1/3 cup).



Sunday, January 3, 2010

Neighborly Gifts Part III- The Conclusion

Part I
Part II

The last thing I included in my bag o'cookies for the neighbors was a handful of oreo truffles. For those who have not had these, you should definitely make them at some point! These are kind of like no-bake dessert-- the most time consuming part is dipping them in chocolate. Oreo truffles have been blogged about over and over. For fun ideas, check out! I've also made cake balls from bakerella's blog as well and those were equally delicious! Seriously, if you haven't yet, check this woman out!

Oreo Truffles
Bakerella (adapted from Kraft recipe)

1 package oreo cookies (divided… use cookie including the cream center)
1 8oz. package cream cheese (softened)
chocolate bark/ baking chocolate/ chocolate melts

1. Finely crush 7 cookies in a food processor or place them in a ziploc bag and crush into a fine consistency. Reserve for later.

2. Crush remaining cookies and stir in softened cream cheese. Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together.

3. Roll the mixture into 1″ balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet.

4. Melt chocolate as directed on the package and then dip balls into chocolate, tap off extra and set aside on wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry. You can sprinkle the tops with the 7 crushed cookies for decoration. (I usually eat mine before they make it to this stage.) I dipped mine in white chocolate and then drizzed red chocolate over them (add a few drops of canola oil to thin the chocolate out to drizzle). I also rolled a few in crushed oreo instead of dipping them in chocolate.

5. Once dry, refrigerate and enjoy!

Makes about 36 truffles.