Chocolate Chip Cookies

I needed to find a recipe that was easy to double and didn’t use a ton of butter. Butter is expensive! The kids both needed cookies for school – one for a cookie exchange, and the other for after their Christmas program. You can make this dough up to a full day in advance and they’ll taste even better than if you just bake them off right away. I baked off about half the dough last night, so I will get to test that theory! ūüôā I don’t really like using shortening at all, but I had it on hand. The flavor of the cookies is definitely different than all butter, which I prefer. The good thing about shortening is that the cookies remain soft even after sitting out for several hours.

Verdict: I’m happy to report that the cookies taste so much better once the dough has chilled for at least 24 hours. It’s like a completely different cookie. The flavors had a chance to meld overnight and completely changed my opinion of this recipe once baked. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies – adapted from King Arthur Flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375¬įF. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

1) In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, salt, vanilla and almond extracts, vinegar, and baking soda, beating until smooth and creamy.

2) Beat in the egg, again beating till smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.

3) Mix in the flour, then the chips.

4) Use a spoon (or a tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1 1/4″ balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2″ between them on all sides; they’ll spread.

5) Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, till their edges are chestnut brown and their tops are light golden brown, almost blonde. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan till they’ve set enough to move without breaking. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Advertisements

Lemony Yellowfin Tuna Over Pasta

Quick Post: This was pretty good, but I will definitely modify the recipe for next time. I had slightly more than one pound of yellow fin tuna ¬†and I seasoned it according to the recipe, which I should have changed. I will make sure to add more lemon, chili flakes and white wine and probably even some lemon zest to the foil packet. Also, I’ll make sure to use a sharper cheese, like the Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. It has great potential to be really flavorful, but it was my fault that I didn’t compensate for the amount of food I made. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Lemony Ahi Tuna & Olive Oil Pasta – adapted from Simply Scratch

  • 10-12 ounces fresh or frozen Wild Caught Ahi Tuna Steaks{thawed if frozen}
  • 3/4 of a pound of Fettuccine or Linguine
  • 1 Lemon, sliced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, pressed through a garlic press or minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1/4 cup Parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Reserved Pasta Water
  • Salt and Fresh Black Pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and bring a large pot of water to boil. Season the water with lots of kosher salt.

On a piece of parchment or foil, lay a few of the lemon slices. Place the tuna on top and season with salt, pepper and top with more lemon slices.

In a small bowl; combine pressed garlic, red pepper flakes, wine and oil. Whisk it together and pour over lemons and tuna. Seal up the parchment or foil to eliminate any steam from escaping and place the foil pack on a rimmed sheet pan. Place pan on the middle rack in your oven and cook for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your tuna. {The tuna is done when a toothpick glides easily through the thickest part without meeting any resistance.}

After 10 minutes have elapsed since the fish has been in the oven, drop the pasta into the seasoned water and cook as directed on the package. Pastas have different cooking times so adjust your times accordingly. When the pasta is al dente, reserve a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water then drain the pasta and transfer pasta to a large bowl

When the fish has finished cooking, carefully open the foil pack from the top and remove the fish, being careful to keep the juices from spilling. Break apart the tuna into bite size pieces. And combine the cooking liquids with the pasta water. To the pasta; add the parsley, tuna and sauce liquids. Season with more salt, pepper and shaved cheese.

Toss and serve immediately!

Finally: Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

“Finally” because I saw this recipe on Tastespotting back in March! ūüôā December is a great excuse to make all the decadent goodies that don’t really need a “special” occasion to be made. I have eaten way too many cookies this month – too many carbs, period! Top that off with no gym time this month…this is why it’s so popular to have that “lose weight” New Year resolution! ¬†ūüėČ

While this was baking, it smelled wonderful as you may imagine! Who doesn’t love the warm yeast bread/cinnamon smell? It looks like it wants to climb out of the pan…(and into my belly) while it’s baking. It’s not as pretty as it was before the proofing, but looks don’t matter all that much because it tastes so amazing! Be sure to let it cool for at least 20 minutes (your patience will be rewarded, and your mouth will thank you). I used a piece of buttered parchment paper to make for easier removal of the loaf. This 9×5 pan is notoriously sticky and I’m looking forward to buying a couple of new USA Pans in this size to replace my old, junky ones. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread – adapted from Annie’s Eats via ¬†Joy the Baker

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 ounces unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

In a large mixing bowl (I used just the bowl of my stand mixer) whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky.  That’s just right.

Place the dough is a large,  greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning.  If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch  loaf pan.  Set that aside too.

Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out.  The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay.  Just roll it as large as the dough will go.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  It might seem like a lot of sugar.  Seriously?  Just go for it.

Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.   Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto  a clean board.

New England Clam Chowder

Quick Post:¬†Yesterday I had a brilliant idea – clam chowder in a bread bowl. I have never eaten clam chowder this way, but I knew that it would be worth making. This was rich, flavorful and a definite keeper! We enjoyed eating the bread bowl after because it soaked up so much of the broth, which also made the bread easier to eat (it’s pretty chewy – but perfect for this kind of soup). December is the best excuse for making this kind of meal ūüėČ So are all the other cookies and carb heavy recipes I have shamelessly eaten lately! Thanks for reading, enjoy!
New England Clam Chowder – adapted from Food Network
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks (reserve tender leaves) trimmed, quartered lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons AP flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 (10-ounce) cans chopped clams in juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sprigs of thyme
  • 1 pound Idaho potatoes, cut into 1/2 – inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions –

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and saute until softened, mixing often. Stir in the flour to distribute evenly. Add the stock, juice from 2 cans of chopped clams (reserve clams), cream, bay leaves, and potatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring consistently (the mixture will thicken), then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes, stirring often, until the potatoes are nice and tender. Then add clams and season to taste with salt and pepper, cook until clams are just firm, another 2 minutes.

Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie

I usually crave pumpkin pie this time of year, but sadly my husband doesn’t care for pumpkin flavored anything…but, luckily he does like apple pie with crumb topping. I haven’t made apple pie in years, and I’m not sure why. Hopefully this is worth the effort and mixing of two different recipes. I wanted the deep dish directions with a crumb topping and I had to improvise the baking time and technique.
Verdict: Pretty good, but I will continue to search for the perfect pie! I think I added too much lemon zest, but this definitely needed it. All that sweet needs the balance of citrus. I also am not a fan of making pie dough, but I used this recipe and it worked out well. It was buttery and flaky and easy to make. I need to practice rolling out pie dough – it’s such a pain! I have only done it one other time, so I guess I should give myself a break. Whenever the dough becomes too warm and starts to fall apart, put it in the fridge so the butter can firm up. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie Рadapted from The Galley Gourmet 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 1/2 to 5 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 8 – 10 medium), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
Topping

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine sugars, salt, zest, juice and cinnamon.  In a large dutch oven over high heat, melt the butter.  Add the apples and toss until the apple slices are coated with butter.  Reduce the heat to medium, cover tightly, and cook, stirring frequently until the apples are slightly softened, about 7-10 minutes.  Add the sugar mixture and increase the heat to high.  Cook the apples at a rapid boil, stirring frequently and gently until the juices become very thick and syrupy, about 7-10 minutes more.  Immediately spread the apples in a thin layer on a large baking sheet and allow to cool to room temperature.  Position a rack on the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 F.

Meanwhile, remove one disk of pastry to a lightly floured work sheet of parchment paper.  For the bottom crust, roll out pastry to a 13-inch circle  adding flour as needed.  Transfer pastry to a baking sheet and refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.  Once firm, invert 13-inch bottom pastry into a deep 9-inch pie plate; peel off parchment paper.  Ease pastry into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand and pressing into bottom edges of the pie plate with the other hand.  Allow overhang to remain in place.  Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
Make crumb topping and set aside in the fridge. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, carefully take the pie out of the oven and pour on the crumb topping then bake for another 40 to 45 minutes. ¬†If the top appears to be browning too quickly the last 15 minutes, place a sheet of aluminum foil on top (do not wrap) to prevent over browning. ¬†Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool completely, about 3 to 4 hours. ¬†To serve pie warm, reheat at 350¬ļ F for 15 minutes. ¬†Pie can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Bread Bowls

My son could not believe I made bread bowl – he was pretty impressed by these! He thought I came up with the idea all by myself ūüėČ I can’t take the credit, but whoever thought of this is a genius.¬†These were so easy to make, they’re basically a giant roll. I weighed out the dough and each bowl weighed 5.5 ounces before I baked them off. They had a thin, chewy crust with a dense interior – kind of like a sour dough bread, and they were perfect for the clam chowder I made. I bet a nice beef stew or chili would be so good in these, or even a broccoli cheese soup! ¬†The recipe made five, perfectly sized bowls and they were really easy to hollow out. We didn’t waste all the good bread guts, but dipped them into the chowder! It was so good, I can’t wait to eat the leftovers ūüėČ Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Bread Bowls – adapted from King Arthur Flour
  • 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup semolina
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt OR 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them together — by hand, mixer or bread machine — till you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Divide the dough into five pieces, and form them into round (not flattened) balls. Place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover lightly, and set them aside to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours, or until they’ve almost doubled in size.

Uncover the balls and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes, to develop a tough skin. Just before placing the bread bowls in the oven, mist them heavily with water. Bake the bread bowls in a pre-heated 425¬įF oven for 18 to 22 minutes, until they’re a deep, golden brown. Turn off the oven, prop the door open a little, and leave the bread bowls inside for 15 minutes; this will keep the crust crisp.

Remove the bread bowls from the oven and cool them completely before cutting the tops off and removing the insides; (reserve the insides to make bread crumbs). Yield: 5 large bread bowls.

Citrus Chicken

I had a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the fridge that were meant to be grilled. That is usually my go to method and they’re always marinated, but then I remembered that we’re out of propane – bummer! I came across this recipe at Tastespotting and was happy that I already had most of the ingredients required. I was worried about dry chicken, but this looked like a good recipe that would be full great Asian inspired flavor.

Verdict: Yum! This had great flavor, but next time I will make sure to reduce the citrus sauce down much more. The chicken was tender and juicy and I’m glad I made one and a half portions of the sauce to spoon over rice. Next time I will serve this with sugar snap peas or some other vegetable to round out the meal. I’m always happy when a new recipe turns out well and I’m not the only one who thinks so. I will make this again! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Kay’s Citrus Chicken – adapted from Kayotic Kitchen

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • thumb size piece of ginger
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • pinch dried chili flakes
  • 2 orange slices
  • 1 medium red onion
  • pepper
  • salt

Directions –

Squeeze out the oranges, sieve the juice and pour it into a sauce pan. Add the grated garlic, grated orange zest and grated fresh ginger. Pour in the honey and chicken broth. Add a few drops of tabasco, a good pinch of salt, pepper, and I squeezed in some lemon juice, about 2 tbsp. Add a pinch of chili flakes.

Mix the corn starch with a little water and whisk until it’s a lump-free¬†liquid and pour it into the orange sauce.¬†Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a little oil and butter and cook the chicken over medium heat until nice and brown on all sides.

Transfer them to a casserole.¬†Top the chicken breasts with the onion slices and place half an orange¬†slice on top of each breast.¬†Place the casserole in the oven and bake at 350F¬ļ for 20 to 30¬†minutes, depending on how thick your chicken is.