Monthly Archives: June 2012

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies – Cookies for a Cure

If you’re going to make a cookie recipe from my blog..start with this one.  I have many rave reviews about this cookie.  This recipe is taken from Cook’s Illustrated “The New Best Recipe” cookbook.  I do not add the salt if I use salted butter. The 12 tablespoons of melted butter works out to be 2/3 of a cup.  I also only add the 1 cup of chocolate chips as the extra 1/2 a cup is just too much.  I also do not rotate my baking sheets.  I just cook one sheet at a time for 15 minutes.  

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm.
1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 – 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Adjust the oven racks to the upper and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.  
2.  Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
3.  Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended.  Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.  Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined.  Stir in the chips to taste.
4.. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves.  Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at the base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface.  Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.
5.  Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, the outer edges start to harden, and the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time.  Cool the cookies on the sheets.  Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a wide metal spatula.  
Makes about 18 large cookies

It’s been a year since I started my blog.  How time flies!  It doesn’t seem that long ago.  I tried to find an early picture of myself cooking in the kitchen, but all I could find was this picture of my sister Liz and I looking quite grumpy in our old house on 74 Granada Crescent. Oh wait, maybe it’s just me looking grumpy…

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Grapefruit Glaze

I make this recipe alot, and I am suprised I haven’t added it to my blog earlier. I love the grapefruit flavour with the chicken.  This recipe was taken from Food and Wine’s Magazines’s “Quick From Scratch Chicken Cookbook”.

1 teaspoon grapefruit zest (from about 1/2 grapefruit)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grapefruit juice (from 1 grapefruit)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
4 bone-in chicken breasts (about 2 1/4 pounds in all)

1.  Light the grill.  In a small bowl, combine the garlic, grapefruit zest, grapefruit juice, oil, honey, salt and pepper.
2. Grill the chicken breasts over moderately high heat, brushing frequently with the glaze, for 8 minutes.  Turn and cook, brushing with more glaze, until the chicken is just done, 10 to 12 minutes longer.  Remove.
3.  In a small stainless-steel saucepan, bring the remaning glaze to a boil.  Boil for about 1 minute, remove from the heat, and pour over the grilled chicken.

Summer Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables

This recipe is taken from The New Vegetarian Grill by Andrea Chesman.  I love the BBQ flavours in this pasta salad, along with the fresh basil!  A vegetable grill rack is a must in this recipe.

1 pound rotini, shells, or other short pasta shape
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium-size zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium-size onion, diced
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup black brined-cured olives, such as kalamata
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (basil, mint, oregano, summer savory, tarragon, thyme, or a combination)

1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in the grill with a lightly oiled vegetable grill rack in place. 
2.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until just tender.  Drain and rinse thoroughly to cool.  Transfer to a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
3.  Combine the zucchini, bell pepper, onion, and tomatoes in a large bowl.  Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste; toss to coat.
4.  Lift half of the vegetables out of the marinade with a slotted spoon or tongs and transfer to the grill rack.  Grill, tossing frequently with tongs or a couple of spatulas, until the vegetables are tender and grill-marked, 5 to 10 minutes.  Transfer to the bowl with the pasta.  Repeat with the remaining vegetables.
5.  Scrape any remaining marinade into the salad.  Add the olives and herbs.  Toss to mix well.  Season with salt and pepper and add additional lemon juice, if desired.  Serve immediately. 

Sher Ping Pancakes

Taken from Jamie’s America by Jamie Oliver, this recipe calls for bread flour, which I did not use.  I used all-purpose with not very good results.  The pancake turned out doughy.  The inside meaty part was outstanding though!!  I will be making this again with the bread flour.  We used lime juice, soy sauce and sweet chili sauce as condiments to these tasty little treats.  The recipe calls for ground pork, but I used chicken.  Jamie Oliver suggests to swap the fillings with pork, chicken or seafood. 

For the dough:
3 3/4 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
scant 1 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Sea salt and freashly ground black pepper

For the filling:
14 oz ground pork, the best quality you can afford
a handful of finely grated white cabbage
a small bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves and stalks finely chopped
a thumb-size piece of root ginger peeled and finely grated
4 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated
Sea salt
Freshly ground Szechuan pepper

To serve:
Sweet chilie or hot chilie sauce
Soy Sauce
2 limes, cut into wedges

Serves 4 (makes 8 pancakes)

1. Make the dough by mixing the flour, water, vegetable oil, and a bit of pepper, and a pinch of salt with a fork.  Then use your hands to knead it until smooth and elastic.  Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for a couple of hours.
2. When you’re ready to make your pancakes, mix all your filling ingredients together in a large bowl.  Use your hands to really scrunch everything together, and season well with a good pinch of salt and Szechuan pepper.
3.  Dust a clean surface with flour and cut the dough into 8. Divide your filling into 8 even piles.  Oil a sheet pan and your hands.  Pick up a piece of dough and create a patty like a mini pizza about 4 3/4 inches across and 1/2 inch thick.
4. Take one of your piles of filling and pop it into the middle of the dough.  Pat it flat with your fingers, then slowly stretch the edges of the dough out, folding them back in over the pork mixture.  Do this all the wall around and, once closed, press down on the stuffed pancake with your hand.  It should be about 1 inch thick and 3 1/4 inches across.
5. Do the same with the other 7 pancakes, then lay them on your oiled sheet pan and put them into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or so.  After that, get a large dry frying pan on a medium heat.  Add a tiny drizzle of vegetable oil and lay each pancake, folded side down, in the pan.  Gently push down on them with a spatula slice to flatten them slightly.  keep doing this until they’re about 1/2 inch thick and about 4 inches wide.  Be careful that the pan is not too hot, though, otherwise your pancakes will brown before they’re properly cooked through.
6.  After 4 minutes you’ll have a nice golden colour happening, so turn the pancakes over, push them down lightly, and cook them for 4 minutes on the other side.  Only push down once on this side.  When they’re golden and crisp, the meat should be perfectly cooked, but you can always break one open to check.
7. To serve, pour some chile sauce into one bowl and soy sauce into another.  Pop a few wedges of lime on the side for squeezing over, and dunk away in your sauces.  These pancakes hit all the right spots!

Corn and Potato Soup

This is another great soup recipe from Ken’s Soup Krazy by Ken Kostick.  This soup is super fast to make, boil your potatoes first, then get everything chopped and into your soup pot. I used my food processor instead of a hand blender with good results.

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups mashed or diced cooked potatoes
2 cups corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1.  in a large soup pot, combine the onion, garlic, potatoes, corn, red pepper, mustard, basil, chili powder, salt, white pepper and stock.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Using a hand blender, puree until smooth.  Serve hot. 
Serves 6

M & M Cookies

This recipe was taken from the back of the mini M&M’s baking bits package. My kid’s love these ones. I used salted butter and omitted the salt.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 275g package (1 1/2 cups) M&M’s Chocolate Mini Baking Bits.
3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla.  In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; blend into creamed mixture.  Stir in M&M’s and nuts, if using.  Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10-13 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned and centers are still soft.  Cool one minute on cookie sheets; cool completely on wire racks.  Store in tightly covered container.  Makes about 3 dozen 3-inch cookies.

Hamburger and Chili Soup

I’ve now decided to try the library for some new recipes and I found this gem of a cookbook, Ken’s Soup Krazy by Ken Kostick.  A chef known for his great soups!  Even though I have to take my great find back, I will always have the recipes here.  My husband said this was one of his favorites.  I used ground chicken since I don’t eat red meat, and ground turkey wasn’t available at my grocery store that day. 

1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 28-oz can stewed tomatoes, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 carrot, shredded
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup cooked red beans
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
7 cups low-fat vegetable stock
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander

1.  In a large soup pot, saute the ground beef for 5 minutes or until no longer pink.  Remove and drain on paper towel.  In the same pot, combine the stewed tomatoes and their juice, celery, red pepper, onion, carrot, garlic, beans, chili powder, basil, salt, black pepper, hot pepper flakes, bay leaf and stock.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf.  Garnish with coriander and serve immediately.  

Serves 8
Variation: Replace the lean ground beef with lean ground turkey.

Grilled Ratatouille

Ratatouille is my most favorite dinner.  I always make the recipe from my Moosewood Cookbook, but today I thought I’d try it on the BBQ.  It turned out wonderful and I loved the fresh basil in this recipe taken from The New Vegetarian Grill by Andrea Chesman.

1 large onion, quartered
1/2 garlic bulb, separated into cloves and peeled
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced 3/8 inch thick
1 green bell pepper, halved
6 medium-size tomatoes, halved
2 medium-size zucchini, sliced 3/8 inch thick
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in the grill.
2. Skewer the onion and garlic.  Brush the olive oil on the onion, garlic, eggplant, pepper, tomatoes, and zucchini.
3.  Grill the vegetables, turning occasionally, until tender and grill-marked, 10 to 15 minutes for the eggplant, onion, and garlic; about 10 minutes for the pepper and tomatoes; and 5 to 8 minutes for the zucchini.  Remove the vegetables from the grill as they are done.
4. Chop the grilled vegetables into 1/2-inch dice and combine in a saucepan with the basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 15 minutes on the grill or on the stove.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Serve hot or at room temperature.