Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oatmeal Cookies

I personally have never been too crazy about oatmeal cookies as I prefer chocolate chip, but this recipe may have changed my mind forever. I didn't want to bake all of the cookies at once so I made a cookie log with the dough -- I got this idea from my sister-in-law (thanks Mari!). This way we could easily slice and bake when our little hearts craved some homemade cookies. Then the rest I can refrigerate for another day. This recipe is definitely a "keeper" and I may even add some walnuts to my next batch!

Anytime Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe by Martha Stewart 
Makes about 4 dozen

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter (8 Tablespoons), room temperature
cup packed light-brown sugar
granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup golden raisins

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon salt into a bowl. Beat butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla, then flour mixture. Mix in oats, then raisins. Using a 1 ¼ inch ice cream scoop (or 1 tablespoon), drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing each scoop about 2 inches apart. (You can also make a cookie log like I did -- pictured below. Rip an 18 inch long sheet of parchment or wax paper and lay flat on counter. Pour batter into center of paper and form it into a log. Then roll it up and refrigerate. Then slice and bake when ready.) Bake until edges are golden, about 14 minutes. Let cookies cool on a wire rack.

Cookie log ready to go in the refrigerator.

Once the cookie log has chilled for an hour, it is ready to be sliced...

...and baked.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken Adobo with Bok Choy

I remember when I got my first slow cooker (AKA crock pot) as a gift from my mom. I was really excited for the gift but also really nervous to use it. I mean, isn't that crazy to leave this little "oven" on all day while you're at work? No way -- I was just too nervous about it. So what I did was test it one Saturday when I was home all day. Ever since that first test, I love this little thing. Nothing beats coming home to a deliciously scented kitchen with a meal just waiting to be served.

Well, this recipe is from my all time favorite celebrity, Martha Stewart. It was featured in the February issue of Real Simple and let me tell you, it really is simple! This was my first time using or eating Bok Choy and it is great. Give it a whirl because this recipe is a "keeper"!

Chicken Adobo with Bok Choy
Recipe by Martha Stewart (with some modifications)
Serves 4. Total cooking time 4-8 hours

2 medium onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, smashed
cup apple cider vinegar
cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 bay leaf
black pepper
8 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 ¾ pounds)
2 tablespoons of olive oil (my modification)
Salt and pepper (my modification)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 cup long-grain white rice (I used brown rice)
1 large head bok choy, cut into 1-inch strips
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions: In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onions, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, bay leaf, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. In a large pan, heat olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on each chicken thigh and brown on one side -- do not cook the chicken through. This step will only take 3 minutes and is just to give the chicken a light crust and some color.) Place the chicken on top of the onion mixture in the slow cooker and sprinkle with the paprika. Cook, covered, until the chicken and onions are tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total recipe time). Twenty minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions. Ten minutes before serving, if the slow cooker is on the low setting, turn it to high. Gently fold the bok choy into the chicken and cook, covered, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with the rice and sprinkle with the scallions.

I just placed the lightly browned chicken on top of the onion mixture.
It is now ready to cook for 5 hours on high.
Sliced bok choy ready to go into the slow cooker.
Ready to be served.
(I molded the rice into a little dome and placed the chicken adobo around it.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Madeleine Cookies

I always see these delicious little cookies at Starbuck's and wondered how difficult it must be to make them. However after some investigating, I found a recipe that looked easy enough to make. Also since Santa bought me the madeleine pan from Williams Sonoma this past Christmas, I had to give them a shot. This recipe is delicious and the madeleines came out so beautiful! This is definitely a "keeper" recipe.

These scrumptious little cookies are so delicate and beautiful to make.
Recipe by 101 Cookbooks
Makes 2-3 dozen madeleines
Special equipment: A madeleine baking pan

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for greasing pan)
¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
a pinch fine-grain sea salt
cups sugar
zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar
a bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. Melt the 1 ½ sticks of butter in a small pot over medium heat until it's brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, roughly 20 minutes. Strain (using a paper towel over a mesh strainer) - you want to leave the solids behind. Cool the butter to room temperature. By doing the butter first you can complete the rest of the steps while it is cooling. While the melted butter is cooling, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to grease the madeleine molds - get in there and make sure you get in all the ridges. Dust with flour and invert the pan tapping out any excess flour. Put the eggs with the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until thick - you are looking for the eggs to roughly double or triple in volume - approximately 3 minutes. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony. Now with a spatula fold in the lemon zest and vanilla (just until mixed). Sprinkle the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture. Only stirring enough to bring everything together. Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each mold 2/3 -3/4 full. I use a small cup filled with batter to keep things clean and manageable, it is easier than using a spoon. Bake the madeleines for 12 - 14 minutes (7-10 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the edges of the madeleines are golden brown. Remove from oven and unmold immediately. Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.
I was so excited that I forgot to take pictures of the first batch. This is the third batch -- which is just a couple of cookies short -- before it goes into the oven.

Savory Turkey Sausage Breakfast Rolls

My dream is to own a Bed & Breakfast one day. That would make me so happy to be able to make guests feel welcomed while serving up a delicious gourmet breakfast. I once stayed at a great B&B that did just that – beautiful dining area, wonderful 3 course breakfast and cozy rooms. Ever since then, I have had it in my heart that I want to do that too one day. Of course you would need to pick a location that you would really enjoy opening a B&B and calling home. Needless to say, that is the part I am still working on. However, until then I have been collecting breakfast recipes whenever I see them. How cool would it be for a food magazine to do a special “breakfast issue"? Well, today I decided to try out this recipe by Jimmy Dean. They have the new Turkey Sausage Crumbles which I have seen in the supermarkets but finally bought so that I can make this recipe. These sausage rolls came out really good but you definitely need a little something else to go with it so, I made some scrambled eggs to complete the meal. Enjoy!

Savory Turkey Sausage Breakfast Rolls
Recipe by Jimmy Dean
Makes about 12-16 rolls

1 (11-ounce) can refrigerated French bread dough
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage (I used sage powder since I couldn't find the fresh kind)
¼ teaspoon salt
8 ounces Jimmy Dean reduced-fat turkey crumbles, cooked
¾ cup shredded Gruy√®re cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
Cooking spray

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. Find lengthwise seam in dough. Beginning at seam, gently unroll dough into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 13 x 8 inch rectangle; brush with butter, leaving a ½ inch border. Combine sage, salt, and sausage. Sprinkle sausage mixture evenly over dough, leaving a ½ inch border; top with cheese. Starting with a long side, roll dough up, jelly-roll fashion; press seam to seal (do not seal ends of roll). Cut 1 (½ inch-thick) crosswise slice from each end; discard (I actually took these end pieces and flattened them out and topped with any sausage mixture that escaped the other rolls). Slice roll crosswise into 12 (½ inch-thick) pieces; arrange in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until golden.

Here is the dough rolled out, buttered, topped with sausage mixture and cheese.

Cut into ½ inch pieces and placed on a sprayed baking pan.

After 26 minutes, they are ready to be served.