Archive | February, 2009

Home on the Range cookies

22 Feb

Home on the Range cookies

You really can’t go wrong with these cookies. I’ll post the recipe later, but I got it from Catherine, my coworker. In my version I use oatmeal, chocolate chips (semisweet and/or milk) and coconut. Catherine has used and subbed in craisins, white chocolate and nuts for her own version occasionally and it tastes great too. This will forever be my fall-back chocolate chip cookie recipe since I love oatmeal paired with chocolate.

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chicken marsala + fettucine

22 Feb

chicken marsala + fettucine

Alex’s mama told me she had chicken marsala for dinner last week and while I was at the wine store today, I saw marsala wine. Obv I had to make the dish sometime, so I bought the wine and ended up making chicken marsala for a late dinner.

recipe adapted from from: Food Network + Emeril Lagassi

all-purpose flour
salt, pepper, oregano
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in halves and pounded thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup Marsala
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Sprinkle salt, pepper and oregano on the chicken halves. Coat entire chicken breast in flour.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter to the pan and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown around the edges and have given off their liquid. Add the Marsala wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Lower the heat to medium and return the chicken breasts to the pan and continue to cook until they are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add salt and pepper, to taste.

comments: I didn’t use 3cups of mushrooms because I’m not the biggest fan of them, but after making this dish I realize I should have used that many mushrooms. I learned that once mushrooms cook, they shrink A Lot. Oops. This was a tasty meal, although not as time efficient as I’d hoped since I had to thaw the chicken and make the pasta.

chicken tortilla soup

22 Feb

chicken tortilla soup

I am a soup junky. I love soup. I also love the saltine crackers that usually accompany a good soup. I think I may even love the crackers as much as the soup. So I’d never made soup before and decided it was about time I tried.

olive oil
small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
red pepper flakes
salt
1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 carton (or 4 cups) low sodium chicken broth 
1 tsp. cumin
juice of 1-2 limes
8 corn tortillas, cut into strips
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded off the bone
2 cans of beans of your choice (I use black)
small container of frozen corn
shredded mexican blend cheese
sour cream

In a medium to large soup pot, heat olive oil (just enough to cover the bottom).  When oil is heated, add in onion and garlic, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add in salt and red pepper flakes, and let cook for 2 minutes.

Add in canned, whole tomatoes. Add chicken stock, and let come to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes. Add in cumin, lime juice, and tortilla strips. Let simmer for about 3 minutes more. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. If you don’t have one, you can blend the soup in batches using a regular blender. Add chicken, frozen corn, and beans. Bring everything back to a simmer, so that everything is heated through.

Can be served with shredded Mexican cheese, sour cream and cilantro on top.

recipe from: picky eatings

comments: I love soup and this one did not fail me… except for the fact that I made it too thick and it ended up being more like chili than soup. It was really easy to make (although I always time my cooking poorly and end up taking twice as long as I think it will take. I must work on estimating time it takes liquids to reduce or boil). I used flour tortillas for my soup b/c corn tortillas were sold in 30 tortilla packs, far too many for my needs. However I forgot along the way that flour tortillas are bigger. and denser. and this is how my soup ended up too thick. I would suggest only using 4 flour tortillas if I remade this dish. I also had trouble blending the soup because for some reason the tomatoes and tortillas, or maybe the temperature of the ingredients, made my blender go crazy and the lid would start to fly off. So I had to grab a towel and hold down the lid with all my might. Beware of blending also because the between the ingredients phase and the blended phase is the “looks like puke” phase, which can be a little repulsive. But this was still a great soup/chili and I’d make it again

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Curd

22 Feb

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Curd

the cake in “notes from my food diary” was absolutely gorgeous and the name of the cake sounded delicious so i had to make it. 

Serves 8 to 10

Cake:
2 1/3 cups cake flour
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seed
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Raspberry curd (recipe follows)

Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Fresh raspberries for garnish

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degree F.  Butter and flour two 8-x2-inch round cake pans.

To make the cake:  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, poppy seed, and salt in a medium bowl.  Pulse 1/4 cup of the sugar with the lemon zest in a food processor until the zest is finely ground.

Beat the butter and the zest mixture with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar and beat until smooth.  Add 1/4 cup of the milk and beat until just blended.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the remaining milk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary, and beating just until blended.

Beat the egg whites with clean beaters on medium speed in a large clean bowl until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat just until the egg whites for stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted.  using a whisk or a rubber spatula, fold one-quarter of the whites into the batter, then continue to gently fold in the whites one-quarter at a time, being careful not to deflate the mixture.  Divide the batter evenly between the pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Run a table knife around the inside of each pan and carefully turn the cakes out onto the rack.  Turn them righ side up and cool completely.

Hold the palm of one hand against the top of each cake layer and, using a long serated knife, cut it horizontally in half.  Place 1 of the layers on a serving plate.  Spread the top with a scant 1/2 cup of the raspberry curd, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the edge.  Place another cake layer on top and spread it with a scant 1/2 cup raspberry curd in the same way.  Repeat with another layer, using the remaining raspberry curd, and top with the remaining layer.

To make the frosting:  Beat the butter and zest with an electric mixer on medium speed in a medium bowl until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the lemon juice and beat for 1 minute longer.

Frost the cake with lemon butter frosting.  Cut into wedges and serve with the raspberries on the side if using, or store in a cool place until ready to serve.

Raspberry curd:
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
Two 1/2-pints ripe raspberries or one 12-ounce package frozen raspberries, thawed
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the raspberries, egg yolks, sugar, and salt and cook, mashing the berries and stirring frequently at first and them constantly at the end, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture through a coarse strainer set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Cool to room temperature; the curd will continue to thicken as it cools.  Stir in lemon juice to taste.  Refrigerate, covere, until ready to serve, or for up to 1 month.

Source:  adapted from Luscious Berry Desserts by Lori Longbotham, found at notes from my food diary

thoughts: in my haste that night and trying to make two of these cakes, and using 8×8 square pans, my cake ended up too dry. I also forgot to cut the top of the cakes off of one of my cakes so i ended up with a lopsided looking cake. there’s probably some really simple/accurate way to level and split cakes in order to have a gorgeous result, but it eludes me at the moment. i think if this cake was moist it would have been delicious. i really enjoyed making the raspberry curd, especially since i’d never made curd before. it was surprisingly easy and really tasty. i don’t know how to frost a cake either so i had a bit of trouble there too. all in all, one day i will remake this cake and do it justice by making it correctly.

thankful thursday

19 Feb
  • alex’s progress
  • his aunt wendy coming to visit/help, she’s tons of fun and so very helpful
  • knitting
  • super-awesome, highly-regarded ICU doctors
  • my hospital fam
  • having a voice, to talk/sing/live.

thankful thursday

14 Feb
  • everyone who has been there for and with us through this ordeal
  • my boss, who i know would not be mad that i’m taking off so much work
  • running. forever. and ever.
  • contract extension so that i felt okay renewing gym membership
  • stupid marines. so that langis is still home for another month.
  • alex, who has obviously touched a lot of lives

thankful thursday

5 Feb
  • balto. robin hood men in tights. crazy movies that i’ve seen a thousand times at 509
  • fish and loaves
  • ff+half for always making me smile and happy again
  • the little wonders that you notice when you return to a church you’ve avoided for 2months
  • #10, quite an awesome number. very handy in scoring TDs
  • my dad, who was born and raised in the burgh. i can’t say he never gave me anything good
  • texts. they’re kinda like mail. i love when people WANT to talk to me. even if its just hate mail for my steelers
  • a long week coming to an end
  • cooking. soup. yumminess. self-sufficiency.
  • guitar. being musical again
  • sunny days
  • a extended contract for work
  • being on the UR+UPubs email listserve, after 5months of waiting
  • not having to pay out of pocket for mistakes of my projects
  • really good printers who catch my dumb mistakes, and absorb some of the cost