Thursday, June 29, 2006

Triple Chocolate Cookies( Bon Appetite)

Robin bought me some back issues of Bon Appetite at a yard sale. I took the June- August 2005 with me when we went to the beach last weekend. As soon as I saw these cookies, I knew I had to make them. They featured them as an ice cream sandwich with strawberry ice cream( I hate chocolate and strawberry together), so I knew I wouldnt serve them that way.

Yesterday I went to MI and bought 3 half gallons of bryers( on sale for 1.99 each, they cost a whopping 7.99 in Ontario) I like the light mint chip and that flavor isnt availble here, plus even if it was, I wouldnt pay that ridiculous price.

I also found some perugina on clearance at Target. I bought 4 of the dark chocolate bars and used 3 of them and a small amount of Trader Joe's Bittersweet in the recipe for the cookies. The cookies were so good. So chocolatey. I could only eat 1 that I split in half. Robin had 2 made into a sandwich. The recipe suggests freezing them for a few days, but we couldnt wait that long.

Make these, you wont be sorry.


10 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir chopped chocolate in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth; remove from over water. Cool melted chocolate 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in another medium bowl until crumbly. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until mixture is light, pale, and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add lukewarm melted chocolate and vanilla and beat just until blended. Fold in dry ingredients, then chocolate chips.

Drop chocolate cookie batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 baking sheet at a time, until tops are evenly cracked but cookies are not yet firm to touch, about 16 minutes. Cool cookies completely on baking sheets. Using metal spatula, carefully transfer 4 cookies to each of 4 large resealable plastic bags, arranging in single layer. Freeze cookies overnight. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep frozen.)

Makes about 16.
Bon Appétit
July 2005
chef Tom Douglas

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Grilled Salmon Salad.....

I was checking out the foodblog's yesterday and came across this entry in Stephanie's blog. She didn't post the recipe but I though " no biggie", I can find it on the web. Wrong, I couldnt find it. I searched and searched to no avail. I decided to wing it and Robin said it was delicious. I wouldn't know, because I HATE SALMON!!. I feel so bad that I hardly ever cook salmon for Robin. She loves it, she even loves the canned salmon( that reminds me of cat food). Anyway, I knew it was on sale this week so I decided to make it for her.

I think the recipe was devised to use up leftover grilled salmon, but I was too lazy and tired( I just came from picking 3 quarts of strawberries) to go outside and fire up the grill for 1 fillet. So, I used my le cruset grill pan and to minimize cleanup for my wife, I threw a piece of the reynold's non-stick foil on top of the pan. I didn't get the fabulous grill marks I love, but it didn't matter because the salmon is cooled and flaked. I mixed it with a healthy portion of chopped dill, celery, and some red onions that I also grilled.( you could use them raw, but sometimes onion doesn't agree with Robin). Robin also hates capers so I left those out. I mixed it all up with some raspberry vinegar, EVOO, salt and pepper. I threw together a salad to go with it. My Mother-in-law's "gentleman friend" gave us a huge bag of home-grown lettuce. I ate the salad and some black bean lasagna ( cooking light) that we had frozen from last month's community kitchen.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Marble cheesecake.....

I used my new 9inch square cheesecake pan on Friday and made this cheescake to take to my MIL's house on Saturday. I used the recipe that came with the pan. It was simple( as are most cheesecake recipes) and even though I'm not crazy about Cheesecake( Robin loves it). I had a bite, and it was very good.

1 3/4 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
3tbls sugar
4tbls melted butter

1 1/2 cups semi sweet chips( I used a combination of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate( not chips)
3 bars of cream cheese
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2tsp vanilla

mix crumbs with melted butter and sugar. press into pan and bake for 10 min at 300f.

in small bowl melt chocolate, set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, process cream cheese. Add eggs one at a time, then sugar and sour cream and vanilla. Remove half and mix with melted cooled chocolate. Make dollops of vanilla and chocolate batter and then take a knife and run thru it to make marble. Bake for 1hr or until barely set. Cool and refridgerate overnight.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Anniversary Booty.....

We're back from our trip to Ann Arbor. We had a good time and fortunatly, we didnt hit severe weather. Robin bought me a really nice bamboo cutting board, an apron from Old Navy, an american themed dishtowel and a square analon springform pan. Of course I picked it all out, but still. We had a not so great meal on Monday night for our actual anniversary at Vinology in downtown AA and a fabulous meal at The Common Grill in Chelsea. I told Robin the meal on Tuesday was the best food I've had since moving to Canada. Wow, it was fantastic. I took pictures that I'll post in another entry.

Funny story that isnt food related at all. I was driving when we pulled up the the border going into MI. The car in front of us had 2 chihuahuas( sp?) in the back window. The customs officer put his hand in and was playing with them. We pull up and I said something like " cute dog" and the officer said " You're cuter". I said Thanks. He said " where are you two heading" and I said Ann Arbor, to see some friends. He said " Are these friends male? Huh Huh? He had a weird crazed horny look on his face. I said Yes( because I didnt want to go into the entire story of us being married, its our anniversary, etc). I guess you had to be there, but it was pretty funny. No one in our real lives would ever think Robin was going to meet a guy. She looks like a guy herself. We had a good laugh over it all weekend.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Turkey Burgers w/ Special sauce(CL).....

I've been a bad food blogger!! This past week I've worked for a caterer in London and when I get home the last thing I want to do is cook. Additionally, it's been hotter than hell here and I do not want to turn on the oven. Thursday night was our monthly community kitchen meeting. I worked all day in London, drove home, went to the supermarket and then cooked for 4 more hours. We've been eating the food we cooked there. Tonight was turkey burgers with special sauce. This recipe is from the latest issue of Cooking Light. I deviated from the recipe choosing to use half breast meat and half dark meat. Joe made these too and he used all white meat. As Joe said, the sauce is really good and it made a lot.

We had these bunless with some smoked provolone on top and some loaded baked potatoes on the side.

We're off to Ann Arbor for a few days of shopping and eating. Monday is our 3rd Wedding Anniversary. Happy Anniversary Robin, thanks for always cleaning up after me. I love you to bits!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Another Thai Curry....

Thai curry seems to be the meal I make when I can't think of anything else. It's so simple and I usually have all the ingredients( except for the veg). The funny thing is, I NEVER made this when I lived in California. If I wanted thai( rare because I usually ate chinese), I just ordered it in. Such a shame, because it's so simple and cheap to make. This version used tofu and shrimp. I used some panang curry because I wanted to try it, but really it tasted like red curry to me. I also didnt use that much so it was very mild. I used the light coconut milk that Christine brought me when we met for lunch on Monday. I threw in some brocoli and snap peas. I topped it with some breansprouts and cilantro and served it over jasmine rice.

I won't be doing much cooking at home this week. Thursday- Saturday I'm working for a caterer in London. I'm sure once I get home, cooking will be the last thing on my mind.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

banana-cinnamon waffles( cooking light)

I wanted to post about the dinner I made on Thursday night, but it seems I either forgot to take a picture or I accidentally deleted it. Bummer, cause it was easy and good. Nevertheless, I made some waffles tonight for my MIL. I originally made these a few months ago for a weekend breakfast. We also made them last month in the community kitchen and everyone loved them. My MIL asked me to make her a batch of these because she loved them. I can see why, they are really good and very healthy for you. One of the best kitchen items I've ever bought on Amazon is this waffle iron. It makes 2 square waffles that you can either leave together or break up into dipping stix. The waffle iron was also on sale for the ridiculously low price of 11.88. I've gotten my money's worth, thats for sure. I made a double batch and froze each serving individually. To serve, you just pop into the toaster straight from the freezer.

Banana-Cinnamon Waffles

Crown these lightly spiced waffles with cinnamon sugar, sliced bananas, and/or a drizzle of maple syrup. Buckwheat flour adds a somewhat tangy, robust nuttiness.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large ripe banana, mashed
Cooking spray

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, flaxseed, and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.Combine milk, butter, and eggs, stirring with a whisk; add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring until blended. Fold in mashed banana.

Preheat a waffle iron. Coat iron with cooking spray. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter per 4-inch waffle onto hot waffle iron, spreading batter to edges. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until steaming stops; repeat procedure with remaining batter.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 2 waffles)

CALORIES 215(31% from fat); FAT 7.4g (sat 3.3g,mono 1.9g,poly 1.4g); PROTEIN 7.3g; CHOLESTEROL 65mg; CALCIUM 133mg; SODIUM 205mg; FIBER 3.4g; IRON 1.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 31.1g

Friday, June 09, 2006

English Muffins from scratch.....

On Wednesday, Christine and I went to Port Huron. I have a PO box there for magazines, ordering goodies, etc. It's a lot cheaper to have something sent to MI, rather than Canada. Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I bought a new breadmachine. I had one when I lived in California, but in my haste of packing up my stuff, I didnt want to deal with shipping it here. Looking back,I wish I would have. I love baking bread, and I've always felt like a phony if I use the bread machine. But, with the horrible heat and humidity we've had here( although you wouldnt know it today, its around 68F) I've had no desire to turn on the oven.

I was perusing thru a breadmachine cookbook that I checked out of the library and I saw these english muffins. Bacon and Eggs is on the breakfast menu tomorrow and I knew these would be a perfect accompanyment. The recipe calls for AP flour, but I replaced half a cup of the white flour with WW flour. Next time, I'll replace more.

I don't think my biscuit cutter was big enough because I got about 20 muffins, even though the recipe says I'd get 12. I used the dough cycle and then I rolled them out and cooked them up in a cast iron fry pan. I've never had a homeade english muffin before and I'm somewhat stunned at how good they are.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Blueberry Blintzes( dairy meal)

When I was growing up, about once a week we had what my mom called " a diary dinner". Because I grew up in a Jewish home( but not kosher), we never ever drank milk with a non-diary dinner. For instance, if we had chicken or meat( I ate red meat back then) we drank a soda with our meals. Looking back, I can't believe my mom let us drink diet soda all those years. If we had macaroni and cheese or breakfast foods, we drank milk. I used to cringe when I'd go to non-jewish friends house and see them drinking milk with a hamburger.

Blintzes was one of our diary meals that mom made us about once a month. When I lived in California, I would buy some pre-made blintzes at Junior's in Westwood or another deli in Santa Monica. Sometimes, I'd even buy the boxes of frozen golden blintzes. Living here, no such luck. If I want something from my childhood, I have to make it myself.

I love making blintzes because its a totally make ahead meal and you could even eat it for breakfast although we never did, it was always a diary dinner.

The traditional cheese in blintzes is farmer's cheese. I can't find that here, but I can find dry cottage cheese in one of the supermarkets in London that has a large kosher section. I looked around on the net for a recipe and I decided to use the crepe portion of the blitze recipe from epicurious. The recipe is originally from Stage Deli.

Once you've made your basic crepes, I made a filling with the dry cottage cheese, some light cream cheese and a bit of sugar. I also made a blueberry sauce using fresh blueberries, sugar, cornstarch and some OJ.

I wrapped each one individually in waxed paper( use wax paper to seperate the crepes). To cook them, I melt about 1/2tbls of butter, plus 1 tsp of veg oil in the pan. Brown each side, then stick the entire skillet in the oven and bake until the filling is heated through. These are traditionally served with sour cream and cinnamon sugar( at least in my house they were).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Chicken and Dumplings ( Cook's Illustrated)

I'm currently typing this up in the library. Our 1yr old warranty just expired computer is in the shop. What did people do before the internet?

Anyway, I made this dish on Monday night. God only knows what I was thinking because it was 90F+ degrees out and humid as all get out. Totally the wrong thing to make, especially after Robin came in from mowing the lawn. The last thing she wanted to eat was a bowl of chicken stew.

I made this because I had made it 2 weeks ago for a client and I knew Robin would like it. I have a bi-monthly Saturday client who's house I cook at. They own a big farm and eat a big meal at noon on Saturday. This recipe makes a lot and calls for thigh meat(5lbs). Client bought drumsticks by accident. They loved it, but I wouldnt reccomend substituting. There was a lot of sinew and bone to sort through.

I made 2 half recipes of this, one pot using thigh and another with breast for me. It's obviously not meant for white meat as it was a bit chewy even though I careful with timing.

Don't use low-fat or fat-free milk in this recipe. Start the dumpling dough only when you're ready to top the stew with the dumplings.

Serve 6 to 8

5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Table salt and ground black pepper
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
4 carrots , peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 ribs celery , sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large onion , minced
6 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cup frozen green peas
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat (or unsalted butter)

Chicken Stew

1. For the Stew: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the browned skin. Pour off the chicken fat and reserve. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and the remaining chicken. Pour off and reserve any chicken fat.

2. Add the butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, milk, thyme, and bay leaves. Nestle the chicken, with any accumulated juices, into the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 1 hour.

3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon. Shred the chicken, discarding the bones, then return it to the stew.

4. For the Dumplings: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Microwave the milk and fat in a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm (do not over-heat), about 1 minute. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth.

5. Return the stew to a simmer, stir in the peas and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Following the photos below, drop golf-ball-sized dumplings over the top of the stew, about 1/4 inch apart (you should have about 18 dumplings). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve.