AN ARRAY OF RECIPES AND TIPS

"IN THE STYLE OF" GRAHAM


2.27.2010

BAKERY STYLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES


This recipe intrigued me...I have baked a lot of chocolate chip cookies in my years but I have never baked a chocolate chip cookie with melted butter. And surprisingly, they turned out really good. Classic chocolate chip cookie...thick, crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.
Make sure you always use unsalted butter when you are baking because each stick has approximately 1/2 teaspoon of salt added. There can be more or less, so it will likely throw off your recipe.

Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook's "Big & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies"
Makes 24 big cookies

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 Tablespoons(2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugars until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Make sure you scrape down the bowl and beaters as needed.

Slowly mix in the flour mixture (or you willl have a cloud of flour in your kitchen) until the dough is formed, about 30 seconds. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Using a large cookie scoop (about 3 Tablespoons), scoop the dough and place on parchment lined baking sheets spaced about 2 1/2 inches apart.

Bake for about 18 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on a wire rack.

A wedge of geese (flying in 'V' formation) during sunset...spring is near.


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2.24.2010

COD BAKED IN FOIL WITH LEEKS AND CARROTS


I had no idea what I was missing...I had never cooked with leeks until last night. I was always too intimidated when I saw them at the market. They look like huge scallions (green onions) and they taste like really sweet mild onions. Simply delicious.
If you unfamiliar with leeks start by cutting off the root end about 1/4 inch up the white base. Cut the dark green leaves all the way down so you have about 2 inches of the light green left. Remove any rough outer leaves. You will be left with a stalk, about 4 inches, colored white and light green.
Leeks a dirt magnets, as you can see on the photo below. I just set it on the table and dirt was falling out. After you have removed the bulb and dark green leaves, clean and remove all the dirt. Do so by cutting the leek stalk in half lengthwise, right down the center. This will allow you remove the dirt in between all the layers of leaves by rinsing under cold running water.

Cod Baked in Foil with Leeks and Carrots
Adapted loosely from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine (March 2009)
Serves 4

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon; lemon cut into wedges
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick sized pieces(about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, washed, and cut into matchstick sized pieces (about 2 cups)
4 Tablespoons vermouth or dry white wine
4 cod fish fillets, 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick (about 6 ounces each), rinsed and patted dry

Combine butter, lemon zest, garlic, thyme in small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut 4 very large pieces of foil and arrange flat on counter.
Divide carrot and leek mixture among foil sheets, mounding in center of each. Season with salt and pepper and pour 1 Tablespoon vermouth over each mound of vegetables.

Season cod with salt and pepper and place one fillet on top of each vegetable mound. Spread quarter of butter mixture on top of each fillet.

Wrap fish up into a foil package, crimp edges together and fold over making sure no juices can escape. Place packets on baking sheet.
Bake packets 15 minutes (longer, if you have thicker fillets). Carefully open foil, allowing steam to escape away from you. Gently plate fish and vegetables with juices from packet. Serve immediately with a lemon wedge on the side of plate.


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2.23.2010

PASTA E' FAGIOLI


Pasta e' Fagioli, Italian for "Pasta and Beans" is a delicious comfort soup loaded with beans, pasta and veggies. It's an easy one pot meal, perfect to make on a weekend and last you through the week. Traditionally made without meat; however, this recipe calls for bacon (I used pancetta) which makes it all the better in my opinion. You could easily skip the bacon for a vegetarian soup and start with sauteing the vegetables in olive oil. Also you can substitute the cannellini beans for any white or red bean...I used pinto beans and it tasted great.

Pasta e' Fagioli
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
Serves 8

4 slices bacon or pancetta, chopped medium
1 white onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 15.5-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or any white bean)
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
Salt
1 3/4 cups orzo
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
Pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Extra virgin olive oil (for serving)

Cook the bacon/pancetta in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the onion, zucchini, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onion and zucchini are softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with juice, beans, broth, water, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the pasta and cook until just slightly underdone.


Off the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Top with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.


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2.22.2010

CARAMEL CORN


Carmel corn...forever my nemesis, until today. I have made 8 caramel corn recipes in the last 3 weeks...8! Call it insanity, call it an obsession but I was determined to get it right. I have failed 7 recipes of caramel corn which included ingredients such as: tequila, rum, agave nectar, white sugar, etc...until I finally found this winner.

CARAMEL CORN
Adapted from My Amish Friends Caramel Corn Recipe
Makes 28 cups

7 quarts plain popped popcorn(I prefer air popped)
2 cups dry roasted peanuts (optional)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the popped popcorn into two greased baking pans. You may use roasting pans, jelly roll pans, disposable roasting pans. (I find a 9x11 glass pan works the best to stir the popcorn in when baking). Add the peanuts to the popped corn if using. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend. Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 4-5 minutes while stirring constantly or if using a candy thermometer, when the thermometer reads 250 degrees.

Working quickly, remove from heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don't worry too much at this point about getting all of the popcorn coated.
Bake for 1 hour, removing every 15 minutes to give the popcorn a good stir. Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces.

Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or resealable bags. I love the look of caramel corn filled glass mason jars, great gift idea.

Note: This recipe will lightly coat all the popcorn pieces if you like a heavy coating use 6 quarts of popcorn instead of 7.

Do you have a favorite way to make caramel corn? I would love to hear about your recipe.

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2.21.2010

SPINACH AND MUSHROOM RAVIOLI


This is a delicious, light and satisfying meal. It has a few steps but it is overall an easy recipe to make. Stick with a light red sauce (store bought marinara or homemade, like 3 Ingredients: Tomato Sauce) or a butter cream sauce would compliment well. Also if you can't find egg roll wrappers use wonton wrappers if available.

Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli
Adapted loosely from Giada De Laurentiis
Makes 12 Large Ravioli

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons for boiling water
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 cup mascarpone
1/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnishing
6 egg roll wrappers (6 1/2 by 6 1/2-inch squares)
1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup mushroom (cremini, shiitake, button), finely chopped
2 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large saute pan heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. When almost smoking, add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms, about 6 minutes.

Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you get a coarse texture. Place in bowl and stir in mascarpone and Parmesan cheese. Add more salt and pepper, if needed and set aside.

In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of salted and oiled water.

Line up 3 wrappers on a cutting board. Brush with the egg and water mixture. Using a tablespoon, arrange 4 heaping tablespoon dollops of the filling on each wrapper – 2 on the first row and 2 on the second – 1-inch apart.

Place another wrapper directly on top, pressing around the filling and sealing the edges.

Using a fluted ravioli cutter, (or whatever you have on hand, I used my Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter) cut out squares of ravioli.

Each filled wrapper will yield 4 ravioli, giving you a total of 12 ravioli. Place ravioli onto a floured baking sheet and keep covered with a linen towel.

Carefully add small batches of ravioli to the boiling water, about 3 to 4 at a time. This will prevent them from crowding in the pot and sticking together. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a spider strainer, carefully remove the ravioli and place onto individual serving plates. (The ravioli will stick together that is why it is best to place them directly on the serving plates). Tent with foil to keep warm and continue cooking remaining ravioli.

In a saute pan, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. When almost smoking, add chopped mushrooms and saute until soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Carefully pour in tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.

Top ravioli with mushroom tomato sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.


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MIMOSAS


When I was little, sometimes on weekend mornings my mother would serve us orange juice in fancy champagne flutes or wine glasses and it always made my Fruity Pebbles seem so much more enjoyable. Tastes have changed a little (not much), I now enjoy coffee more than juice but there are the mornings when all the caffeine in the world just won't get a smile on my face and in that case I go back to my juice in wine glasses with a little something....Prosecco. Love my Mimosas!

Mimosas
1 bottle of Prosecco (or Brut Champagne)
25 ounces of Orange Juice (little under 1/4 gallon)

Pour and mix together in a large pitcher. I use a half-and half ratio but you can always go with less OJ and more Prosecco. Traditionally served in champagne flutes; in our house it's the white wine glasses.

Prosecco is an Italian wine...superb in almost any cocktail.

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2.19.2010

THE PERFECT HARD BOILED EGG- CLEAN EATING


I love hard boiled eggs; one of the few ways I enjoy eating eggs. Right when I get home from the store I will usually hard boil a dozen eggs while I am unloading groceries. When they are cooled I throw them right back into the egg carton and mark it "Hard Boiled". Perfect to have on hand for a snack, to throw on a salad or breakfast on the run.

HARD BOILED EGGS- CLEAN EATING

Place 3-5 large eggs in a medium sauce pan, fill with water, covering the eggs by about 1 inch. Cover with lid and bring water to boil. Once the water is boiling, immediately turn off heat and let eggs sit covered in pan for 10 minutes.

Drain the water in pan and run cold water over eggs until they have cooled down and you are able to handle them while peeling or store in fridge for up to 5 days.

Note: You can boil larger quantities but make sure you use a larger pan, you want the eggs in a single layer and don't crowd the eggs. You may have to adjust the time. Sacrifice an egg at 10 minutes: remove it from pan, crack it on counter and slice in half with knife to see if the yolk is cooked to your liking.

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2.17.2010

HOMEMADE SOFT OREOS


These cookies are amazing! Even if you don't like oreos you will probably like this cookie. The chocolate cookies are soft and chewy and the frosting is creamy and light. Perfect with a cold glass of milk. This could be a dangerous recipe to have on hand!

HOMEMADE SOFT OREOS
Adapted from Retro Desserts, Wayne Brachman
Makes 20 large cookies

Chocolate Cookie:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar [see recipe note]
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

Filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Bake the cookies:
Using a standing electric mixer on low speed, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
Add the butter, and then egg. The batter will look dry but continue to mix for about 3 minutes until dough forms.

Now you can roll and cutout chilled dough or simply use a small cookie scoop (about 1 Tablespoon) and drop dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheet about two inches apart.

Use a flat bottom glass to press the balls of dough into a nice rounded circle shape...not too flat though.

Bake for 10 minutes. When baked remove from baking pan to cooling rack.

Make the filling:
Beat butter and shortening with electric mixer on high speed until thoroughly combined about 2 minutes. Decrease speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Once blended, increase the speed to high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy.

Assemble the cookies:
Place frosting on the smooth side of one cookie and sandwich together with another cookie on top. Yummy.


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2.16.2010

ROSEMARY ROASTED POTATOES


This is one of my favorite ways to prepare potatoes. It is super easy and always tastes great!

ROSEMARY ROASTED POTATOES
Adapted from Ina Garten
3 to 4 servings

1 1/2 pounds small red or white-skinned potatoes
1/8 cup good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the potatoes in even bite-size pieces (about 1-inch) and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary; toss until the potatoes are well coated.

Pour the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into 1 layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste, and serve.

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2.14.2010

SALMON IN LEMON BRODETTO WITH PEA PUREE


This meal is so easy to prepare, makes a stunning presentation and tastes awesome! In fact this recipe is so good that my husband couldn't stop talking about it and he even did the dishes (without me asking)! I felt the original recipe was a little too salty and oily for my liking so I cut the salt and oil in half in the pea puree. I also halved the entire Lemon Brodetto recipe because it made too much and cut back on the lemon. If you want the original recipe you can find it at www.foodnetwork.com. It really is quite beautiful when plated.

Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree
Adapted loosely from Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4

Lemon Brodetto:
1 Tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 lemon, zested
1 cup chicken broth

Pea Puree:
2 cups frozen peas, thawed and cooked for a few minutes
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves (optional)
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh and finely grated Parmesan

Salmon:
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 (4 to 6-ounce) salmon fillets
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Make Lemon Brodetto:
Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest, and broth. Bring to a simmer, and keep warm, covered, over low heat.

Make the Pea Puree:
Microwave the peas for about 3 minutes or until just cooked. Combine the peas, mint, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and puree. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady drizzle and then add Parmesan. Transfer the pea puree to a small bowl, cover and set aside.

Make the Salmon:
Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Sear the salmon until a golden crust forms, about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side. Flip the fish and continue cooking about 2 minutes or more depending on the thickness of the fish.

To assemble:
Divide the Lemon Brodetto between 4 shallow dishes. Place a large spoonful of Pea Puree into the center of each dish. Place a salmon piece atop each mound of Pea Puree. Serve immediately.


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2.13.2010

ONE INGREDIENT: BANANA "SORBET / ICE CREAM" WITH RASPBERRY CHAMBORD SAUCE- CLEAN EATING


Don't you hate it when your bananas go brown? I never know what to do with them other than the typical answer...banana bread. I finally found a great alternative.

First off, you don't need an ice cream maker. This isn't really sorbet or ice cream...it's even better; simply frozen bananas that are pureed into a creamy texture identical to sorbet/ice cream. The texture is spot on, the taste is obviously 100% pure banana (no added sugar, cream, fat). I, of course, needed a little something to go with it...Raspberry Chambord Sauce sounded like a good choice.
Note: the sauce is also tasty on warm gingerbread, regular icecream, cake, about anything you can imagine!

The banana "sorbet / icecream" is perfect for the whole family! My daughter loved it, thought she was really getting ice cream and my baby was so cute with his first bite; very quick to do his sign language for "more".

ONE INGREDIENT: BANANA SORBET WITH RASPBERRY CHAMBORD SAUCE

One Ingredient: Banana "Sorbet / Ice Cream": CLEAN EATING
3 Bananas, overly ripe and frozen


Raspberry Chambord Sauce:
8 oz frozen raspberries, thawed
8 oz frozen strawberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 oz Chambord, Raspberry Liquor

Make the Raspberry Chambord Sauce:
In a pan, bring the raspberries, strawberries, sugar and lemon juice to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring continuously for about 10 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Take off heat and cool for 5 minutes. Add the Chambord and cool to room temperature. Store in fridge. Makes about 2 cups of sauce (more than enough for your banana "ice cream" and any other desserts (brownies, cake, ice cream, etc.). Keep refrigerated or freeze for later use. Tastes best when cold.

Make the banana "sorbet / ice cream":
Take the frozen bananas out of the freezer.

If they still have the peel on use a vegetable peeler to peel off, making sure you peel all the fibers off the banana. Work quickly so the bananas dont melt.

If they were frozen without the peel you can proceed and put the bananas in a food processor and puree.

I usually puree for about 5 minutes, stopping often to move larger pieces to the bottom of the food processor.

Once the texture is smooth you can serve or put in a Tupperware container and back into the freezer so it hardens and serve when ready. Makes about 1 1/2 - 2 cups.

If you like this recipe you will love Two Ingredients: Pineapple Whip

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