Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies

MAKES 16 COOKIES

Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is browned. Use fresh, moist brown sugar instead of hardened brown sugar, which will make the cookies dry. This recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cookies will be less full-flavored. For our winning brand of chocolate chips, see related tasting.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 3/4cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 14tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
  • 1/2cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 3/4cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces) (see note)
  • 1teaspoon table salt
  • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1large egg
  • 1large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (see note)
  • 3/4cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

An alternative that I prefer:

2C+2T flour, 1/2t BP, 12T Butter, 1/2C sugar, 1C packed brown sugar, 2t vanilla, 1Yolk+1, chips to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
  2. 2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.
  3. 3. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
  4. 4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)
  5. 5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Chicken Pot Pie

I made this awesome pot pie yesterday; first time I’ve made a pie crust from scratch! While this takes a significant time to prepare (give yourself 1.5 – 2 hrs for the whole thing), it was well worth the effort.

Linking for now, until I can make more edits: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/detail.asp?docid=6115

 

(note, this took about 45-50 minutes to bake at 375 degrees F.)

Creamed flageolet bruschetta

Last night, I served my first five-course dinner a la cuisine de France. (and I don’t speak French, really, so forgive the trespass.)
The full menu was as follows:
Aperitif: Champagne and Bruschetta de Flageolets
Entree: Salade d’Endives, Noix et Roquefort
Main Course: Truite aux Amandes
cheese course: Red Cloud goat cheese, camembert, brie and roquefort
Dessert: Mousse au Chocolat

In this post, I’d like to share the recipe for the Bruschetta de Flageolets, a very simple and easy appetizer that really took less than 20 minutes to prepare. Flageolets are little greenish beans that are apparently quite tasty; since my market doesn’t carry them, I substituted cannellini beans, which were still delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz butter
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3½oz canned flageolet beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 slices crusty white bread, toasted
  • dash olive oil, for drizzling
  • fresh chervil, to garnish

Preparation method

Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the garlic and fry over a gentle heat for one minute.

Add the flageolet beans, season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and warm through over a gentle heat.

Mash with a potato masher and stir in the parsley.

To serve, spread the flageolet bean paste onto the toasted bread and place onto a serving plate. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh chervil.

 

This recipe serves 2-4

Suprêmes de Volaille À Blanc

I received a lovely surprise for my birthday, a copy of Julia Child’s quintessential Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a reference I have wanted for many years. Today was my first attempt at creating something out of the cookbook, and oh, goodness. It was so good.

The recipe for Suprêmes de Volaille À Blanc follows. I’m providing her instructions, but I did find that the chicken took longer to cook than the 6 minutes she suggests. This is so yummy!

Suprêmes de Volaille À Blanc
[Breast of Chicken with Cream]

4 suprêmes (boned breasts)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
Big pinch white pepper
A heavy, covered, fireproof casserole about 10 inches in diameter
A round of waxed paper 10 inches in diameter and buttered on one side
4 Tb butter

For the sauce:

1/4 cup white or brown stock
1/4 cup port, Madeira, or dry white vermouth
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice as needed
2 Tb fresh minced parsley

Rub the suprêmes with drops of lemon juice and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. heat the butter in the casserole until it is foaming. Quickly roll the  suprêmes in the butter, lay the buttered paper over them, cover casserole and place in hot oven. After 6 minutes, press top of suprêmes with your finger. If still soft, return to oven for a moment or two. When the meat is springy to the touch it is done. Remove the suprêmes to a warm platter and cover while making the sauce.

The sauce: Pour the stock or bouillon and wine into the casserole with the cooking butter and boil down quickly over high heat until liquid is syrupy. Stir in the cream and boil down again over high heat until cream has thickened slightly. Off heat, taste carefully for seasoning, and add drops of lemon juice to taste. Pour the sauce over the suprêmes, sprinkle with parsley, and serve at once.

Important: if your casserole dish isn’t stovetop safe, then use a separate pan to make the sauce.

There are lots of variations to this dish, but this is simple and amazing. We ate it with salad and asparagus. Yum!

Saag (Indian Spiced Spinach)

Mmmm, we love saag. Here’s an easy recipe that only takes about 30-45 minutes total to prepare.

Ingredients
Oil or ghee — 2 tablespoons
Onion, chopped — 1
Garlic, minced — 6 cloves
Gingerroot, minced — 1 tablespoon
Coriander, ground — 2 teaspoons
Turmeric — 1/2 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper (optional) — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
Spinach, chopped — 1 pound
Water — 1 cup
Salt — 2 teaspoons
Yogurt — 1 cup
Cream (optional) — 1/4 cup

Method
Heat the oil or ghee in a large pot or saucepan over medium flame. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the spinach, water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from heat, allow to cool a bit. Then use a blender or food processor to puree in batches.
Return the puree to the pot. Add a little water if necessary and simmer another 5-10 minutes.
Stir in yogurt and return to brief simmer and immediately remove from heat. Stir in the optional cream, adjust seasoning and serve.

4-6 servings

Variations
Saag, or Palak, Paneer (Spinach with fresh cheese): add 1/2 pound of paneer, cut into cubes, after pureeing the spinach. You may substitute tofu for the paneer if you can’t find paneer. Tofu is not an Indian ingredient, but it has a similar texture and flavor.

Jhinga Saag (Spinach with shrimp): add 1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp after pureeing the spinach. Simmer until the shrimp is just cooked through, 3-4 minutes.

Chana Saag (Spinach with chickpeas): add 1/2 pound cooked chickpeas after pureeing the spinach.

Saag Murgh (Spinach with chicken): add 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes, after pureeing the spinach. Simmer just until the chicken is cooked through.

Saag Aloo (Spinach with potatoes): add 1/2 pound cooked, cubed potatoes after pureeing the spinach.

You may use frozen or fresh spinach. Try substituting mustard or other greens.
A squeeze of lemon added at the end will brighten the flavor of this dish.

Glazed Carrots

While I adore carrots for their amazing color, smell, and ability to grow in all types of weather, I’ve rarely found a way to eat carrots that I really love.

Until now.

I’ve used this recipe twice and truly enjoy it. A few tips: Make sure the carrot slices are even, or you’ll get some carrots the perfect texture with others too crunchy.

INGREDIENTS
1 pound medium carrots (about 6), peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick on the bias
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup low-sodium veggie broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter , cut into 4 pieces
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
Bring carrots, salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, and broth to boil, covered, in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until carrots are almost tender when poked with tip of paring knife, about 5 minutes. (actually, it takes more like 7-8 mins for this) Uncover, increase heat to high, and simmer rapidly, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 1 to 2 minutes. Add butter and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar to skillet; toss carrots to coat and cook, stirring frequently, until carrots are completely tender and glaze is light gold, about 3 minutes. Off heat, add lemon juice; toss to coat. Transfer carrots to serving dish, scraping glaze from pan. Season to taste with pepper and serve immediately.

YUM!

(Credit: this recipe is directly from Cooks Illustrated. I highly recommend a subscription to their site, and I’m interested in trying their variations on this recipe.)

Now’s the time to support local food

Hey local foodies,

While the plants are sleeping and snow covers much of the fields and pastures of our region; while we eat imported food and savor the remnants of last year’s harvest; while we wait in anticipation for that first leafy green…

Now is the time to support local food.

I know, it’s January! And that’s the point. Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA) programs are changing the way local farmers connect with people who eat. CSA’s (and their smaller-scale sister, NSA’s) allow us to pay our farmers directly for the delicious food they grow and raise.

But here’s the deal: for it to work, the farmer must pre-sell shares in the farm. This raises the capital needed to buy seeds, plant them in the spring and pay for the labor it requires to grow our awesome local food.

This puts the economic power into the hands of farmers and the people who love healthy food. Instead of a farmer taking out a bank loan to finance their farming, they raise the cash directly: costing them less and ensuring that more of our resources go into growing healthy food.

Breaking the debt cycle that currently burdens farmers is a vital step to building a resilient local food system. And all of us can participate.

Find a local CSA/NSA program near you at LocalHarvest.org. Here in Denver, I recommend Grant Family Farms and Urbiculture Farms…although there are dozens to choose from. Now’s the time to commit your food dollars to the farmers who grow your food. Don’t be intimidated by the up-front cost: do the math and see how much value you’re getting for your dollar.

Now’s the time to do our part. And here’s a fun little video that talks more about the important relationships between healthy food, the folks who grow it, and those of us who love to eat:

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