Thursday, January 28, 2010

CEiMB - Emerald Stir Fry with Chicken

Just the other day, I was yearning for a cookbook with easy, healthy, tasty recipes. Something fast I could throw together for dinner and not feel guilty for having a cookie afterward. Then I remembered Ellie Krieger's new cookbook So Easy and this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly pick, Emerald Stir Fry with Beef. Allysa at Allysa's Two Bites chose this one for us, and it was a great pick. I subbed chicken since I'm not a big beef fan, and used sugar snap peas and green beans instead of asparagus even though we love asparagus, but it isn't in season yet. I also subbed orange juice for the wine.

Make sure you transfer any leftovers from the pan immediately so the carry over cooking doesn't over cook your stir fry.

If you'd like the recipe, you can find it here. Thanks for hosting this week, Allysa!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

TWD - Cocoa-Nana Bread

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Cocoa-Nana Bread, chosen by Steph at Obsessed with Baking. I love Steph's blog, and she's such a fabulous baker. It's fascinating to me why people pick their recipes. It's a window into their personalities. I have over a year before I get to pick but I'm sure you'll learn something about me when that happens. I can't wait to read Steph's post and learn what about it spoke to her.

I love chocolate, and one of my coworkers' favorite Dorie recipes has been the banana bundt cake. This cake is the opposite of that one. The bundt cake smacked you with its banana-ness, and this one knocks you over with its chocolatey-ness. It was easy to put together, and it smelled amazing while it was baking (I imagine it made my Twitter buddy Kayte a little nauseous...she can't take chocolate). I used half white whole wheat flour, and there was no way you could tell with all that chocolate!

This recipe was a huge hit with my coworkers, one of whom declared it the best dessert he had ever had. I thought it was very good, but the small bits of banana distracted me from the simply incomparable chocolate flavor. I want to make this one again, but with less or no banana, because I want to enjoy the deep chocolate flavor without the distraction of the banana. I know, I know, I have a problem with chocolate.

Pop over to Steph's for the recipe, and check out what the other TWD bakers thought. You can find all 300+ of them here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sundays - Black Bottom Brownies

I've said it before: I love chocolate and I love cheesecake, but I don't love chocolate cheesecake. Would this week's Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe, Black Bottom Brownies, change that?

Fortunately, my copy of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book arrived this week so I wasn't squinting at the recipe preview on Amazon (and many thanks to my fellow SMS bakers Raeann and Hanaâ who offered to send me the recipe if the cookbook hadn't arrived). The recipe starts with a deep, dark brownie layer, with a thick and creamy cheesecake layer smoothed over it. Then came the part that left me scratching my head...scatter 2 cups of chocolate chips over the top of the cheesecake. It was probably done 5-10 minutes before I realized it and yanked it out of the oven, so mine had a little more color than I would have liked. After cooling, it went off to the fridge before cutting.

While this didn't change my mind about the chocolate/cheesecake combination, it was very popular at work. If I were to make it again, I'd make some changes, like shifting the chocolate chips to the brownie layer and maybe flavoring the cheesecake with espresso or extra vanilla.

Many thanks to Cynthia of Bakingtherapist's Blog for hosting this week. If you'd like the recipe, visit Cynthia or better yet, buy the book. It has dozens of sweet and delightful recipes like this one.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

TWD - Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars

Chocolate, peanuts, raisins and peanut butter in a crunchy oatmeal crust. What's not to love?!?

Lillian of Confectiona's Realm must have felt the same way, because she zeroed in on these delicious and addictive treats for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick. I made these with Kayte and Tracey. We tweeted our progress and questions and I had so much fun doing bake alongs with them.

This recipe was pretty easy to put together, and you put aside some of the crust to use for the topping. The middle layer is a chocolate and peanut butter concoction that has raisins and peanuts mixed in. Dorie points out that the topping is supposed to be fun, so not to obsess too much about making it uniform. So I just tossed chunks of the topping on the top and baked it. I should have taken more time to apply it evenly as it didn't melt down evenly. Dorie suggests the recipe makes 32 bars but they are so rich that I cut mine into 64 pieces.

Initially, I wasn't thrilled with these because they seemed too sweet, but as my taste buds adapted to the raisins, I had to admit they were good. They were very popular at work. If you'd like the recipe, Lillian will have it posted, or why don't you just buy the book?

Thanks, Lillian, for picking such a winner for us!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sundays - Lemon Walnut Sour Cream Pound Cake

Since I was already so far behind in all areas of my life, I decided it was time for another baking group. See, when the Sweet Melissa Sundays group was formed last year, I had no idea who this Melissa person was or what made her so darned special that my favorite bakers/bloggers wanted to make her recipes each week. Then I started seeing what they were making, and much like The Bread Baker's Apprentice event, I regretted not joining once I realized they were close to new members.

Until recently, that is. When I checked again the other day, lo and behold, they were taking new members! I emailed my request to join and ordered the cookbook, and when I found I was in, I got to work making this week's recipe, Lemon Walnut Sour Cream Pound Cake. I've had plain, chocolate, lemon, poppy seed and brown sugar versions of this quintessentially American cake, but never one with nuts. I made it early this morning to take to a gathering, and I made three mini loaves so it would bake more quickly. The recipe was chosen by Raeann of Basically, Baby Boots. I had to read it as a preview on Amazon but it came together quickly. To completely infuse the flavor, I rubbed the lemon zest into the sugar a la Dorie Greenspan. Although Melissa calls for butter and shortening, I only use butter so I used all butter and cut back 1 tablespoon on the sour cream. My mini loaves baked for 35 minutes. After waiting 20 minutes, I brushed on the lemon syrup and hurried out the door.

This pound cake was a huge hit at our gathering. The cake was absolutely delicious, so light and fluffy, and the walnuts gave it a nice crunch to compete with the tart and sweet lemon glaze. I'll make this one again and again, including suggestions I saw on the P&Q--clementines and pecans (Spike Bakes), orange and pecan, and maybe a few other variations. Check out what the other SMS bakers did with this'll find them all here. If you'd like the recipe, Raeann has it here.

To all the Sweet Melissa Sundays bakers who have been working through this wonderful cookbook from the beginning, thank you for letting me join you! I can't wait to delve into this wonderful soon as my copy arrives!

Friday, January 15, 2010

CEiMB and Barefoot Bloggers - Chicken and Pizza, But Not Together (but it would totally work!)

These two recipes, chosen for Craving Ellie in My Belly and Barefoot Bloggers, had the misfortune of being chosen while I was a little under the weather. So neither looks as great or will have the write up it deserves.

First up is Ina's Indonesian Ginger Chicken, chosen by Todd of A Cooking Dad. I looked at this recipe and thought "teriyaki." But it is so not in the same zip code as teriyaki chicken. Using fresh grated ginger, garlic, soy sauce and honey, you marinate the chicken overnight and bake it in the same pan. It makes a fabulous pan sauce and moist, delicious chicken. I chose to use boneless skinless breasts as that was what I had in the freezer so it looks a little uninspiring in the photos, but this had tons of taste. Even though I had made half the recipe, it made a ton, and since I wasn't keen on solid food at the time, I used a lot of it in a pot of chicken vegetable soup--and what great flavor it gave to the soup. This was another Ina recipe that was easy and surprisingly delicious. Todd's chicken looks glorious so make sure you visit him to see how well his turned out.

Next up is this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly, chosen by Maria at Half Meatball Half Matzoh Ball Children, is Arugula, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizzas. I was half dead when I made this recipe, coughing, etc. It was gross to me and I was doing it. As I mentioned above, food wasn't appealing to me (truthfully, it still isn't, though I hope my appetite will come back now that I've taken my last antibiotic), but for some strange reason I wanted to make this recipe. Maybe it was because Kayte was Tweeting about it. I had no red onions, my arugula was one day away from dead, and my goat cheese was one day past dead, but I made this anyway and subbed mozzarella and a yellow onion. And it came out great, was delicious, and was basically the only cooked food, other than that pot of chicken soup, that passed my lips in the last two weeks. Now THAT'S a ringing endorsement!

So there you have it, two great recipes, even if I am a day late posting!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

TWD - Mrs. Vogel's Scherben

I can't lie. I looked at the name of this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe and thought "Mrs. Whose What?" I had never even heard of scherben. But they involved deep frying. All of a sudden, I was anxious.

If you stop by here from time to time, you know that I don't always follow instructions to the letter, and that usually leads to drama. Ever hopeful, I persevere believing that one day I will learn my lesson. Deep frying involves large pots of bubbling oil over a flame which, if not properly monitored, can boil over, ignite and mess up your precious kitchen burn down your house. Caitlin of Engineer Baker successfully baked her scherben, and at one point I tweeted that I might do a side by side comparison of baked and fried.

I don't think I was the only one who looked at this recipe and had a visceral reaction of I'LL BURN DOWN THE HOUSE!!! but I didn't and these were simple to make. I literally made my 1/4 recipe in a large soup bowl. The frying was uneventful, so much so that I turned off the oven and fried all of them.

I don't own a little duster thingy, so I sprinkled on the cinnamon sugar with my fingers. I used regular sugar, and that gave it a nice crunch. M. pronounced them a success, but I may have neglected to tell him they were fried. Maybe even on purpose.

This week's recipe was picked by Teanna of Spork or Foon? Teanna is flat out one of the funniest bloggers out there, whether she's entertaining you with her preparation of Top Chef dishes, thousands of cookies or custom made ice cream. Trust Teanna to select a recipe that many of us might not have noticed until the very end. Thanks, Teanna!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lemon Rosemary Flatbread

This flatbread is a snap to prepare and is beyond versatile. I found this on Tracey's Culinary Adventures, and made it while tweeting with my Twitter buddy, Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table. Kayte made it with thyme, as did Tracey, but I went with rosemary as that's what I have in the garden. I also used lemon olive oil from my adopted tree, and sprinkled it with fleur de sel.

After combining flour, rosemary, salt and baking powder, you add water and olive oil to form a dough. After dividing the dough in three pieces, you roll out each piece of dough on a piece of parchment, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs and salt. Bake until browned and enjoy!

If you'd like the recipe, you can find it here or here or even here. Once you make it, you'll start thinking of all the ways you can change it up. Go ahead, give it a try!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

CEiMB - Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup

You know how fantastic this soup is?

I have bronchitis. And a sinus infection. I'm running a fever. I had to go out to buy peanut butter.

And I still made this soup.

Not much wisdom to impart for this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly except this:  When pureeing hot soup in the blender, just like the recipe says only fill it 1/3 of the way, and hold down the top with a dish towel before you blend. Unless you need to clean your kitchen cabinets. With the way I'm feeling, that wasn't at the top of my to do list. Now it is.

Pamela at Cookies With Boys mentioned it was very spicy with the 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne the recipe called for, and I thought about going easy on it. But we love it spicy and I figured it would help me breathe easier. It did. Plus it's loaded with sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, carrots and more, good nutrients to help me get better.

Thanks go to Mary at Popsicles and Sandy Feet for picking this one for us. I love Mary and her blog. She has a great sense of humor.

You'll find the recipe here. Make it soon. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

TWD's 2nd Birthday - Tarte Tatin

Two years ago, when Laurie at slush got Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan for Christmas, she put out a message on her blog. She planned to make one recipe from the book each week, and invited others to join her. Tuesdays with Dorie was born, and hundreds of us have glommed on to her idea and aspiration.

Two years ago, I really didn't know what a blog was (no, I hadn't been living under a rock). I found Tuesdays with Dorie six months later, and wished I could participate, but not only did I not have a blog, but I was about to be without a kitchen. That's when Laurie threw down the gauntlet...join by Oct. 31 2008 or forever be on the outside looking in.

Kitchen or no, blog or no, I knew I couldn't let TWD escape me. I set up my blog and joined. Two weeks later, my kitchen was demoed. Two months later, my dream kitchen was finished and I rejoined my online buddies in making recipes from the quintessential book for the discerning home baker. I never dreamed that blogging would merge my old love of writing with my perpetual love of baking and sharing.

As Laurie is nothing if not inclusive, she queried the group about which recipe should be chosen for the two year anniversary (Dorie herself chose the first anniversary recipe). Laurie ultimately picked two recipes for our second anniversary.

Now, if I could still fit into my favorite jeans, I would probably have made both of these recipes, but I chose the Tarte Tatin. After all, Dorie and I share a love of Paris and its food, and it's a dessert I've never made. For me,TWD has been all about trying new things and honing my craft and it just seemed right. Many of my fellow TWDers are making the Cocoa Buttermilk Birthday Cake, and some are even making both.

This dessert is (please don't throw things in my direction) pretty easy, unless you're forgetful like I am. It requires you to make caramel in a cast iron pan, layer apples and then top with puff pastry. I rolled out the puff pastry with the paper still on one side, and it was extremely hard to peel off after I set it on top of the tart. After baking, you face the most difficult step--flipping the tarte tatin onto a serving platter. Even that is manageable with your third hand. What, no third hand? No worries. You're certainly a neater flipper than I am. Seriously, this requires one pan and a knife to peel and cut the apples. The results are a spectacular, unctuously gooey caramel apple experience that will earn you many fans. Even over-caramelized like mine, the apples are the star. If you make this, think about sprinkling a little Vietnamese cinnamon on the apples before putting the puff pastry on. If you'd like the recipe, you'll find it here. Even better, buy the book and discover your baking muse.

Thank you, Laurie, for all you do for us. And especially for inviting us on this journey.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

BBA - Kaiser Rolls

Times are tough in the Lethally Delicious kitchen. I'm off work until January 5th. I know that sounds like a good reason for a big celebration, and I don't disagree. But it also means fewer people to dump share my baked goods with. But these Kaiser rolls, the next bread in the rotation for the Slow & Steady subgroup of the Bread Bakers' Apprentice blog event, don't create a gifting dilemma. The recipe yields a few rolls suitable for making sandwiches, not enough for sharing, but perfect for the freezer.

Even though it took 2 days, this recipe wasn't that hard, and I again tried, unsuccessfully, to screw it up. I was eager to make these because of the swirly tops, and I bought a Kaiser cutter to ensure a perfectly swirly top. My advice: don't bother with the cutter. Make these by hand as Peter Reinhart does in the book. Some of my swirls didn't and some did but only in the center of the rolls. I would have liked a shinier crust, so I'd advise you to use an egg wash in lieu of spraying the rolls with water before they go in the oven. This would also make the seeds stick to the rolls better. I'd also spray the walls of the oven with water a second time for a crisper crust.

Now I need you native New Yorker Kaiser roll purists to look away for a moment.

You could substitute some garlic butter for the vegetable oil, or use fruity olive oil and herbs d'Provence, or top them with caramelized onions. I know I've finally gone mad but these things all sound good to me.

While these were good, they didn't approach these or this or even this for flavor. So I probably won't make them again unless I do some flavor variations.

Next up:  Lavash crackers (I know! I can hardly wait!)