Monday, December 31, 2012

Belated Holiday Cookies

Happy Holidays, everyone!

If my resolution for 2012 was to blog recipes more often... I may have failed. So, what have we been up to lately? Still working at the knit shop; Josh busy with his grown-up job. Room-momming Halloween and Holiday parties; chaperoning field trips to the Smithsonian and a whole bunch of other stuff. 
Still cooking, though! Always. Here are two of this year's Christmas cookie hits, both adapted from Bon Apetit recipes. And if you're like me, and you sometimes bake "after-Christmas" cookies for the kids' teachers because you were maybe a bit over-commited before the fact, then these will come in handy for you! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lemon poppy seed scones

I'm renaming this blog, And the Scone....

These are super-flaky, light and fluffy, and crispy in all the right places. I recommend not overworking the dough (don't knead it so long that it all sticks together - let it crumble a bit as you pat it into place); the envelope-fold is crucial for flakiness and so is patting. No rolling pins! Also, try lining your pan with foil -shiny side up. I did this instead of my usual parchment lining, and I felt like the bottoms of the scones were crispier for it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spiced pumpkin seeds

I made these several weeks ago to garnish butternut squash soup, and they'd do just as well atop pretty much any fall dish. Or with your morning yogurt & granola? Plus, they make a tasty snack all by themselves and with garam masala (quite possibly my favorite spice blend), your house is gonna smell great.

I will admit to buying pumpkin seeds in the bulk section. But you can make use of your jack-o-lantern innards, too. You're gonna want to rinse then simmer those fresh seeds in salted water (about 2 c. water for every 1/2 c. of seeds) for about 10 minutes, then drain and proceed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oven-roasted sweet potatoes

Served over rice with crumbled bacon.
Well over a month. Wow. Well, I'm keeping it simple as I dip my toes back into the blogging world. It doesn't get much easier than this!

And I won't bore you with all the details of what's been keeping me busy.

Okay, maybe I will just a little (it's all good stuff):

I got to spend a child-free (Thanks Gma & Gpa!!) weekend in Chicago with this guy:

On the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier.
...for a really fun wedding (Thanks and CONGRATS Caroline & Steve!!):
Don't ask how many gin & tonics I'd had at this point ;)

I've been crafty as all get-out...
Pattern here.

Re-usable sandwich & snack bags from this online tutorial.

A cardigan I knit.
And of course, the kids started school! They're doing great. Second grade, kindergarten and nursery school. (I can barely say that out loud.)

Now, on to the super-simple recipe. Quick -- before another month passes me by!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Olive Oil Drop Biscuits

Omigosh. I swear to you that we here do not live on baked goods alone. I actually wanted to blog about this really pretty good and extremely healthy soup I made out of roasted beets and carrots and fennel, sweetened with just a little maple syrup, then blended until smooth with a little chicken stock. But it wasn't great... Josh added some lemon juice to the leftovers and it was better. It needed the tang. I love the idea of just tossing roughly chopped healthy stuff into the oven, then pureeing it into dinner. But that recipe needs tweaking before I post it. I will post it, though, and I will post other healthy stuff. I will, I will.

Roasted Beet Soup

We've also been very into salads lately, because they're so easy. A baby greens & herbs salad, on top of a slice of toast, with a lightly-poached egg and a pinch of salt and pepper. That's healthy, right? We eat stuff like that, too.

But for now: Biscuits. Tasty, tasty baking powder biscuits with olive oil instead of butter. See? I am totally concerned about your HDL.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Scones

Yesterday morning I lay in bed, awake though resolutely opposed to appearing so, having stayed up past midnight glued to cliffhanger episodes of Breaking Bad on Netflix. Anyway, right on time (that is just shy of 7 am) the two year old comes to me as I lay in bed and asks, "Stuck?" I pretend to be asleep.

A little louder now, "Mama stuck?" I pretend harder. She digs for my hand under the covers, tucked under my legs, and grimaces mightily as she pulls. And puuuullls. She sounds too cute not to open my eyes, just a little, but then the jig is up... and so am I.

After getting everyone settled with juice or milk, pouring my coffee and sitting down to a row or two of contemplative knitting, I remember a promise made, to provide a homemade breakfast dish to the kids' school. In honor of the teachers' first official day back. To be delivered by 8:15. Whoops. I immediately think about just grabbing a box of donut holes or something... anything... I just wanna sit and drink my coffee!

But, no. Scones are entirely too easy. And even if all you do is dump a cup of chocolate chips into them, they're delicious. (Plus, they looked damn fancy next to all the boxes of Munchkins at the staff breakfast!)

Today, the kids wanted some scones of their own, and well, I don't blame them. This version differs from yesterday's by using 1/2 whole wheat flour; adding in some flax seed meal; using brown instead of white sugar; and using 1/2 Crisco instead of all butter. Both versions are good. I guess I just have a hard time cooking the same scone twice.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer Peach Muffins w/ Bacon-Pecan Streusel Topping

I had a hard time naming this recipe. Fresh-picked peaches, pecans and... BACON. Enough said? It's no secret I'm a fan of fruit and fried pork. It is probably true that most things taste better with bacon. Peach muffins certainly do! 

I also had a hard time deciding whether these would be muffins or scones or what. This recipe makes a wet, sticky dough that is perfectly appropriate for drop-scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet, or - given a few kneads on a floured surface - shaped scones, too. You might mix the bacon in with the dough and just do a simple glaze on the top of shaped scones. The possibilities are endless! I chose to bake mine in a muffin tin and pack on as much bacon-y streusel goodness as humanly possible. So, calling them muffins instead of scones seemed appropriate.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Just Peachy! Margarita

Yessiree. It's Friday night, and I have a little treat for you. I just hope you have peaches on hand! (And tequila. And limeade. And agave.)

3 oz. silver tequila
6 oz. limeade
1/2 oz. agave nectar
1/2 of a ripe peach

Using an immersion blender, puree your 1/2 peach and transfer to a cocktail shaker. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake it up. Strain if you like, but I don't mind (natural) floaties in my cocktails. Enjoy! ...responsibly ;)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Honey-Basil Wheat Bread & Blueberry Marmalade

Time to hit the farmers market for the last blueberries of the season! (At least around here.) We got a good deal on a whole flat of them last week. It also happens to be time for some serious basil consumption. I planted a ton! And I'm getting (just a little) tired of pesto...

We happily ate nothing but this for dinner one night last week. My soon-to-be 5 year old helped quite a bit with both components, and was proud of his simple supper! I think if we'd had some chèvre to go between the bread and the jam, it would have been just perfect. It paired well with a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. Try this jam with anything herby, or slightly savory. Or you could try it atop warm brie...

Later in the week, we lopped it onto pork tenderloin for dinner (just think of the leftover pork sandwiches for lunch the next day... on honey-basil wheat bread, with chèvre and blueberry marmalade). YUM!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Maple-Sugar Glazed Carrots

How is it possible that it's been a month since my last post? 

How many bloggers do you think open with that question? (Probably not very many successful ones!)

I haven't even posted about my garden. Which, I planted back on Memorial Day weekend... It's huge now. The tomatillos have mounted a full-scale takeover of bed #1, while too many zucchini planted in bed #2 are quickly overpowering my poor, stunted peppers. In three years of backyard gardening in this locale, I've never grown a robust pepper. I should probably read up on what sort of soil everything likes, but I mostly just plant and pray. Don't get me wrong -- I have learned a bit here and there, and I call my green-thumbed mom for advice pretty often.  

Anyway... I wish I could say I grew these carrots! We grew them our first year here, in our deepest raised bed, but they came out small and stubby. I suppose we should have tilled the ground more, before installing the bed, but we were eager beavers. Not to mention spoiled by the Vermont farm soil we left behind. This year I planted: black zucchini, Brandywine tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, basil, cilantro, parsley and "fake" jalepenos (they are not supposed to be spicy). Maybe I'll get around to posting the garden pictures next month.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cherry Chocolate Pistachio Scones

Saturday evening, I stopped by the Whole Foods on my way home from work and grabbed a little bit of this, a little bit of that. You know how you do when you're foolish enough to walk into Whole Foods without a list. Now, Monday morning -- the first morning of all three kids home from school and camp (plus it's raining, so no pool), I'm hit with "What's for breakfast?" Only nobody's in the mood for the typical school-day menu (read: cereal, cinnamon toast or fruit & yogurt). After all, it is after 9 am, and we are still in our PJ's! No, this is definitely not a cereal morning. Instead, something special, preferably made from the ingredients that are already out the counter, will have to suffice. Scones are certainly simple, however I think the fact that these have chocolate and cherries and pistachios in them may have set a dangerous precedent for summer breakfast fare. Oh well... At least I've got plenty of helpers!

3 c. all purpose flour
3 TB granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

10 TB cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 c. cold buttermilk

3/4 c. fresh, sweet cherries, chopped away from the pits
1/4 c. roasted, unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
1/4 c. chopped dark chocolate (I used 70%)

1 egg white
1 TB water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Sunday, June 17, 2012


My favorite planter, outside the kitchen window...
and it's tenant. A wren?
(Plus, 3 or 4 more on the way.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Peachy Raw-Kale Salad

I'm beginning to think there are three culinary-types in this world: 

1.) Those who see another kale recipe and are genuinely delighted to try it. They "love" kale! (I'm totally jealous, btw.)

2.) Those of us who buy kale every other week or so because we know it's good for us. We don't not like it...

3.) "What's kale?"

I found this recipe last week, and was intrigued... Another way to use that kale in the fridge, and perhaps I'll even LOVE it.

Watch the video on the Food Network site -- Aarti says the kale will start to smell like bananas while you massage it (yes, massage it). And it's true! Weird, huh? This pampering serves to break down the fibers & cellulose in the kale, so you can actually enjoy it raw.

I changed up the original recipe quite a bit. Aside from the fact that I cannot leave well enough alone, I can't dice a mango to save my life. I don't know why. Maybe because I did not grow up eating them. Joshua manages the mango consumption in this house. I actually did have one on hand from last week's Green Grocer box, but I think it was too ripe to dice. I tried -- I really did -- to do that cool slice-it-in-the-skin-and-turn-it-inside-out thing, but it pretty much turned to mush. I put in in a bowl to save for my oldest daughter, who will be delighted, but it was obviously not meant for my version of Aarti's Massaged Kale Salad.

Now, peaches I can handle. And when I think peaches, I think pecans. Is that just the Texan in me? Instead of mango, I peeled and diced two small, still firm but slightly soft, white peaches, and nixed the pepitas (pumpkin seeds) in favor of chopped and pan-toasted pecans. After I dressed the salad and tossed it together, it was still missing something... so I added black beans. And red pepper flakes. (TEXAN!)

I am especially happy with this recipe because it involves very little cooking (just a quick pan-toast on the pecans) and the prep is far from arduous. Perfect summertime/swim-team-practice-every-night-at-5 fare. Whether or not you opt for the added spice is up to you, but I really think you ought to give this kale recipe a try. No matter which culinary type you are!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumb Cake

This morning's breakfast was a leap of faith. I studied my favorite classic Crumb Cake recipe (from Joy of Cooking) and revisited Mom's German Coffee Cake recipe, determined to incorporate at least a bit of the strawberries and rhubarb I picked up recently, in a fit of summer longing at the grocery store.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fast food

The sort of thing we eat on our busier nights.
In college, the first year Josh and I lived together, I'm not sure we ate anything BUT pasta and vegetables. We'd recently become vegetarians, as college students often do, and we were broke, as college students often are. Add to that a like, totally deep, moral opposition to the Man and McDonald's, and fast food was OUT.

Fast forward I-won't-say-how-many years, and we're not as broke, but we're definitely on a budget. I'm still slightly opposed to McDonald's, but often in need of a quick supper... Enter the old stand-by, once again (now with bacon).

The dinner pictured above is sautéed fennel and sweet onion on tricolor pasta w/ extra olive oil, fresh parsley and bacon. Basically, what was left in our fridge at the end of the week. And it was great!

This is not a recipe, but I wanted to note a couple of things here:

1. Trader Joe's (gluten-free) Brown Rice Pasta is the best. Everything else falls apart. Though, I do recommend rinsing it in cold water once it's done cooking, lest it get all gooey.

2. Fennel and bacon are awesome flavors together. Someone should put them in a scone.

What is your stand-by quick and easy supper?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Not gone, just quiet

It has been a MONTH since my last post. Whoops! Sorry. April & early May completely got away from me. Yes, that's my excuse.

Okay... I'll add to that working at the local yarn shop on the weekends, working from home a bit each day, for the same (and starting several/finishing a few knitting projects as a result of temptation presented by this position); resuming swim lessons x 3; continuing violin; school projects, birthdays and a husband traveling. Oh my!

We've been busy.

That's not to say I haven't been cooking, though...

Like, I finally made paneer!

Sooo easy -- I can't believe I put it off for so long.
Using a mixture of a WHOLE bunch of kale and spinach for the palak part...

The resulting palak paneer, served over rice, was really wonderful. I used this 101 cookbooks' recipe as a guide, then followed her advice to make a quesadilla out of the leftovers -- with a fried egg underneath the tortilla:

The kids thought it was weird, but they ate it. And, yes, that's too much cheese.

I thought it was great!
Anyway, we've cooked some other stuff, too. There are posts drafted for Citrus & Herb Yogurt Cake (which may just morph into a Mojito Cake one of these days - watch out!) and Swiss Chard & Sausage Breakfast Casserole, among others.

Tonight = Apple & Arugula Tarts, which will be much easier than they sound. Enter store-bought pie crusts.

But, you know, when a change in the daily routine comes along -- Not only have I started working just a bit, but Josh changed jobs, too (did I mention that?) -- it helps me to circle the wagons. Focus inward on the essentials. And, love this blog though I do, it is not that. 

However, if you'd click those tacky ads a bit more often...

OH, and donuts:

Bittersweet Chocolate-Chunk Donuts, to be exact.

Totally over the top.

I baked some, I fried some. I even considered chocolate biscuits. All in all, we liked the baked ones better, but the recipe needs some work before posting.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Coffee Cake Muffins

Growing up, there was a certain German Coffee Cake I would wake up smelling on special mornings. (But really, what morning isn't special when you wake up to homemade coffee cake?) One of Mom's (many) specialties, it's relatively easy and extremely tasty, and a recipe I reach for often. Especially when the kids are begging me to bake, early on a Saturday morning. If I haven't got the energy for rolling out and cutting biscuits or scones, or the patience to man the pancake station, it's a good bet I can still be convinced to get a coffee cake in the oven because of the smell alone. Very comforting. Very house-filling.

Mom's recipe came from Fredericksburg, Texas in the 1960's and it's a good one. This is not that recipe, exactly... Last week, on Morning 5 of drivemomcrazyweek -- I mean SPRING BREAK, I asked the kiddos what they wanted for breakfast (a practice I do not necessarily recommend), and was answered with a surprisingly united chant: "MUFFINS, MUFFINS, MUFFINS!" Like they had planned it or something.

We didn't have berries on hand, or bran cereal or poppy seeds or anything I usually put in a muffin. So, I immediately thought of Mom's German Coffee Cake. In muffin form! Quick and simple and satisfying. And because, apparently, I cannot leave well-enough alone, adapted. Just a little.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Caramelized Pear & Bacon Scones

You're welcome. (And, I'm sorry!)

I'm thinking my first cookbook will be Scones 101. I love 'em. Because, what can't you put in a scone and call a meal? And hold it all in one hand, no less. Breakfast, lunch, dinner? Scone. Snack? Scone. Fruit, grain, meat, dairy? Scone, scone, scone, scone.

Okay. Maybe not. But these are good, and I think you oughta try them.

6-8 slices bacon
3 firm D'Anjou pears, peeled, cored & diced
1 TB vegetable oil
2 TB brown sugar
2 c. all-purpouse flour
2 TB flaxseed meal
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
8 TB cold, unsalted butter, cubed
3/4 c. chilled cream or half & half

egg white (optional)
course sugar (optional)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Flour-less Mixed Nut Cookies

When I was around 7 or 8 years old, and already quite the bake-aholic, my granny sent me a recipe clipping for Easy Peanut Butter Cookies. The recipe went something like this:

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Mix, roll, flatten with a fork, and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Okay, it went exactly like that. And they're good, too! I relied on that recipe during college, to satisfy many a late-night, empty pantry, baking spree. I may run out of butter and flour, but I'm rarely out of butter and flour AND peanut butter, sugar and eggs, at the same time. It's a sad day, indeed, if I am.

Anyway, I love that simple recipe. This new one is kind of like Easy Peanut Butter Cookies -- All Grown Up. I used some leavening, added more nuts and nuanced flavor, and even some flaxseed meal. Simple and adaptable, I'm pretty sure you could substitute any kind of nut butter and chopped nuts, and end up with something wonderful. Let me know if you do!

And if your great mind thinks like mine... try drizzling melted dark chocolate over the tops, once they're cooled. I didn't because I'm married to someone who actually complains that I put chocolate in everything.... I know!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cucumber Fennel Risotto & Salmon en papillote

It sounds a little weird, I know. I had cucumbers on the brain yesterday like, three weeks ago when I started this post. And I figure, if you are craving a food, there's a reason. The reason in this case was beyond me, but I went out to buy some cucumbers anyway. (And no, I'm definitely NOT pregnant, for those of you that would ask.) I think I'm craving summer and a garden, more than anything. Cucumbers are one thing I can grow in abundance, without fail... Cucumbers and zucchini. In fact, there was a funny thing I heard more than one person say while we lived in Vermont, and that was, "If you have to buy zucchini in the summer, then you must not have any friends." A little harsh, perhaps, but totally true in a place like Vermont. Most people had more summer squash than they knew what to do with! We had them growing wild out of our compost pile.

Anyway, back to cucumbers:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sausage and Herb Biscuits

Josh received a most spectacular cookbook this past Christmas. Yet, it's SO MUCH MORE than a cookbook. The Professional Chef. I'm telling you: It's everything about everything involving food. Technique descriptions and ingredient reference; equipment evaluations and then some. It's the go-to reference for culinary school, I believe. And I love it. 

This biscuit recipe is adapted from their basic buttermilk biscuits. Now, the recipes in this book tend to assume you are cooking for a crowd. As in, 3.5 lbs of flour per batch of biscuits. Thankfully, it lists weights for each ingredient (actually, it only lists weights for most recipes), so I can easily quarter the recipe and get 20 biscuits instead of 80. Not that I wouldn't happily freeze the extra; I just don't have the energy to deal with that much dough early Saturday morning. 

Sandwich with extra-sharp cheddar for lunch.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pot-roasted Parsnips over Herbed Lentils with Warm Buttermilk Sauce

That's a long name! And I didn't even fit the element of truffles in there...

Josh and I both agreed we'd be more than happy to receive this as a vegetarian main at any good restaurant. This. Was. Gooooood. One day, when I meet that benevolent benefactor who is just dying to invest in our cafe (or actually save up all the money to invest in it ourselves... whichever comes first), we will happily serve this dish. (Can you tell I'm proud of this one?)

Of course, simply prepared meals with high-quality ingredients rarely go wrong. So, perhaps I can't take all the credit. I was just so happy to have the idea of this dish speak to me one afternoon, then be able to make it materialize in such a satisfying way.

Oh, and speaking of high-quality ingredients:

Yes, you should: You should definitely indulge in $10 salt and $15 oil. (Fleur de Sel and White Truffle Oil, that is.) You really should. The tiniest little bit goes a really long way, and takes the simplest dish right over the line from just good to downright Amazing. Even the humble omelette can benefit from their magic. Treat yourself! You won't be sorry.

The idea for pot-roasting root vegetables, and dousing them in buttermilk, came from this month's issue of Bon Apetit. There's a profile piece on Rene Redzepi, chef and forager behind Noma. Want to eat there the next time you're in Copenhagen? Get a reservation like two years ago.

Anyway, Chef Redzepi likes to pot-roast a whole celeriac (celery root), and dress it with warm buttermilk and olives. He even tosses a couple of coffee beans in for good measure. I, however, am not a Danish avant-garde forager/chef, and I opted out of the coffee bean variation. I chose potatoes and parsnips, dropped the olives, added the truffle oil... served over French (or Le Puy) lentils stewed with herbs and... Success.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chicken and Kale and Cauliflower, Oh My

Do I even need to say we've been busy around here lately? (Or does the lack of posts say it for me?)

I'm certainly not complaining: We've done some really fun stuff during the past week. My super awesome nephew spent his Winter Break with us, which was the perfect excuse to get out and enjoy a few of our area's attractions. We visited Huntley Meadows, the Smithsonian Air & Space museum and Natural History museum... the National Zoo. Visiting the museums during this "off season" is really great. By late March/early April, it will be Cherry Blossom time, and MUCH more crowded... until pretty much the end of fall. It was so nice to just park right around the corner from Air & Space. There is plenty of meter parking available before 11, and with the pay-to-park app on my phone -- it's a cinch. OH! and any visit to Air & Space ought to begin and/or end with a trip to Gravelly Point Park, just north of National Airport on the GW Parkway. You can sit right underneath the planes taking off and landing. (It also happens that my favorite bakery is on the way to this park, too.) Just so you know.

Hmm, what else? I used my mom's recipe for chicken fried steak on thin-sliced chicken breasts, and it turned out AWESOME. I also tossed some "fennel rings" in with the onion rings, Mom. It was really good. Going to have to do a whole other Chicken Fried Steak post another time. That meal is properly served, of course, with green beans and mashed potatoes. Cream gravy goes without saying. And any good CFS will cover most of the plate.

Anyway, the leftover chicken and rice made for excellent and easy burritos the next night. Gotta love that.

Never you mind that greasy paper towel! And the serious lack of green on this table. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

School of Fish Cupcakes

Tomorrow is Beach Day at preschool. The teacher asked me if I could provide a creative snack, and I think these should fit the bill. Luckily, they were super simple, as we have had a very busy week. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fried Rice

So, there's no set recipe for fried rice. I'm posting this as just an idea or suggestion. It's one of those lovely dishes that easily absorbs leftovers (in a good and appetizing way). Another kid-pleaser around here, too.

Here's what I do:

Scramble 2-3 eggs "Yankee Doodle" style (crack them in the skillet and stir) with about 1 TB peanut oil, over medium-high heat. Cook the eggs just until set, but not hard. Set aside.

Toss in your vegetables. I use about a cup of diced carrot and maybe 3/4 c. frozen peas, or whatever is on hand. Stir over medium heat until vegetables are warmed through -- or softened, in the case of uncooked veggies.

If you have leftover meat, shrimp or tofu, dice and toss it in and warm through. Add 2-3 c. leftover cooked rice, and sauté for a couple of minutes. Stir in 1 TB soy and/or oyster sauce. Top with green onions, if you've got them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sweet Ginger Chicken & Baked Brown Rice

This was so good, we dug right in and forgot to take a picture until it was almost gone.

It doesn't get much simpler than this. Perfect, easy weeknight staple. Serrve with a salad for a little bit of green. This was majorly satisfying and set us up nicely for fried rice leftovers tonight. Bonus points: It was a big hit with all the kids.

I used thin sliced chicken breasts from Trader Joe's. You could of course just slice your own. If you use whole breasts, they'll need to cook longer, and you'll need more oil & butter in the pan.

1 1/2 c. rinsed brown rice
2 1/2 c. low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth (or water)
1 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
5 medium carrots, sliced length-wise in half

1 lb. thin-sliced chicken breasts
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. soy sauce
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB minced fresh ginger

1 TB butter
1 TB olive oil
1/4 c. white wine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Stir to combine: honey, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts. Place in gallon freezer bag. Pour in the sauce (seal the bag!) and mush it all around. Refrigerate for at least one hour (or marinate for several hours, if time allows).

Bring broth (or water) just to boil on stovetop with salt and oil. Put the rice in a 8x8 oven-proof dish, coated with non-stick spray or butter. Place carrots on top of rice. As soon as liquid reaches boil, pour on top of rice & carrots. Give a little stir, cover tightly with foil, and pop in the oven for 1 hour. When finished cooking, uncover and fluff with fork.

Heat 1 TB olive oil and 1 TB butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken breasts in pan and cook about 3 minutes each side until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove breasts and place on top of dish of rice.

De-glaze the pan by adding 1/4 c. white wine. Cook until liquid reduces by about half, then pour over the chicken and rice. Serve immediately.

Save leftover rice for fried rice leftovers.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chocolate Pecan Truffles

There is more than one way to make a truffle. (That should be a saying, don't you think? Instead of the skinning-a-cat one?) In fact, if you do an internet search for truffle recipes, it's enough to make your head spin: truffles with coffee, truffles with tea, truffles with liquor, with cayenne; tempered chocolate, untempered chocolate, dutch-processed chocolate... The list goes on and on.

This is a basic chocolate truffle recipe. I don't temper the chocolate coating. It's not hard to do, just more effort than I think is required for homemade truffles. Without tempering, the coating will dry a little cloudy, and will melt at a lower temperature. Rolling them in chopped nuts fixes this. You could also roll them in dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder. (In all honesty, un-dipped ganache balls rolled in good cocoa make a damn fine truffle, too.) 

Why Dutch? Dutch processed cocoa just tastes better (milder, more delicate, less bitter -- important if you're using it as a truffle coating; less important in stuff like brownies that are loaded with other flavors). I didn't have any on hand, so I just used pecans. Usually I would coat some in cocoa and some in nuts. You can even coat in finely ground coffee. Oh, the possibilities!

Apple Oat Scones

These may sound healthy, but don't worry. They still taste quite good. There is no sugar in the dough; the sweetness comes from the apple -- so, I recommend a nice sweet one for this. I think I used a HoneyCrisp.

1 c. unbleached white flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 TB baking powder
2 TB ground flaxseed
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 stick butter, frozen
3/4 c. vanilla yogurt
1/4 c. milk
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 TB half & half
1 TB honey