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Showing posts from September, 2008

THE BEST Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The other night, I had a craving for a chocolate chip cookie. I didn't have the ingredients I needed to make my usual stand-by cookies , but then I remembered seeing Katie's "Undisputed Best Chocolate Chip Cookies" recipe on her blog, Good Things Catered . I mean, what recipe isn't amazing with a title like that?!? Plus, these cookies are right out of the ATK test kitchens, so you know they'll be great! After deciding on a recipe, I threw on my apron, got my mixer ready (a.k.a. Black Betsy) and went to work. And let me just tell you...these cookies ARE amazing! They are think, chewy, chocolately, and down-right fabulous. They are the best right out of the oven...but watch out...they don't last long! ;) My craving for a chocolate chip cookie turned into a craving for several! Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Ingredients: 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 12 Tbsp (1 1/2

Lavash Crackers w/Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

***This month's Daring Bakers Challenge was a great one. I was happy to see that we had a savory dish for a change...you won't find any buttercream, ganache, or cake in this post! This month's hosts were Natalie from Gluten a Go Go and Shelly from Musings From the Fishbowl . Thanks ladies for a wonderful challenge! This month, we had to come up with a vegetarian spread/dip to go along with the lavash crackers. We were given complete creative liberty when it came to the spread, as long as it was vegan. When given the option, there are 3 ingredients that I love incorporating into recipes: Chocolate, Coffee, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes! So naturally, I thought fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes would make an awesome combination here. I added chopped fresh basil to the cracker dough after the 90 minute rise...I simply kneaded it into the dough. Once I had the crackers ready to go into the oven, I brushed the tops with sun-dried tomato infused olive oil from the jar, and topped

Red Berry Macarons & Europe!

***So, I just had to give the macarons another shot. After all, practice makes perfect, right? These came out really pretty...I plan to continue my quest for the perfect macaron, though. My macaron skills still need improvement! I found a yummy-looking recipe over on Tartelette for Red Berry Macarons. You can find the recipe HERE . The cream cheese buttercream and berry jam combination is simply divine! You may have noticed that I've made several posts lately that include French cuisine. That's because Brad and I will *hopefully* be going to Europe at the beginning of the year. I am SO stinkin' excited, that I can hardly stand it!!! We'll be taking 2 weeks to travel throughout several different countries...France, Germany, and Italy. Brad's aunt & uncle are living in Germany right now...his uncle is in the military and is stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base. They are so sweet and have invited us to stay with them for a few days while we're over there. I

Steak with Shallot Sauce (Onglet Aux Echalottes)

***I was walking the aisles of HomeGoods the other day, when my eyes alighted on this fabulous cookbook... Williams-Sonoma: Paris. I immediately grabbed it up and started flipping through the pages. The beautiful thing about this book is all the photographs...and they aren't all of food. The pages are filled with gorgeous photos that transport you to the streets of Paris. Now I want to go more than ever! Oh, J'aime Paris ! This recipe for Steak with Shallot Sauce actually made it onto the cover of this cookbook. It looks scrumptious, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm sure glad that I did! I did make just a few slight changes to the original recipe. First, I went to 2 grocery stores looking for shallots...I couldn't find the first one! I was disappointed, but I knew that onions would make a fine substitute. Second, I couldn't find the particular cut of meat the recipe calls for, so I just bought NY strips...they worked just fine! And finally, I have yet

Parsleyed Potatoes with Saffron

*** Here's another super simple side dish. I served this with "Steak with Shallot Sauce", which I will post tomorrow. It's always fun to use saffron, and I really like the taste it adds to dishes...very unique!*** Ingredients: 1 1/2 lb small red potatoes (preferably 1 1/2 inches in diameter; 20 to 24), peeled 2 tablespoons unsalted butter Small pinch of saffron threads, crumbled 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley Preparation: Steam potatoes in a steamer rack, covered, over boiling water until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Melt butter with saffron in a medium skillet over medium heat until it foams, then add potatoes, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook, shaking skillet to coat potatoes well, until heated through, about 1 minute. Source: Gourmet Magazine

White Asparagus with Brown Butter Sauce

***I needed a quick side dish the other night, and I saw this recipe right on the white asparagus package. It sounded pretty simple (and it was!), so I gave it a try. This was my first time cooking with white asaparagus. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was really tasty! Brad and I try to eat really healthy, so next time I'll probably find a recipe that doesn't use butter and bread crumbs...but hey, it was a nice change.*** Ingredients: 12 white asparagus spears, peeled & trimmed to 6" lengths Salt & fresh ground pepper 2 ounces butter 1 cup fresh bread crumbs 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley Directions: In a medium saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Cook the asparagus for 10-12 minutes, until tender. Drain the asparagus and set aside. In a large saute pan heat the butter. Add the breadcrumbs and saute until golden. Add the reserved asparagus and saute until well coated with browned butter and bread crumbs. Sprinkle with parsley, season wit

Fresh Fig & Walnut Cookies

***These cookies are really unique. Not only are they made with fresh figs and walnuts, but their consistency is almost like bread. That's right...I guess you could call them a "bready" cookie. Is that even a word? I don't think so...hah. If you saw my Fresh Fig & Walnut Bread post a little bit down the page, this recipe is almost like a cookie version! They are delightfully scrumptious! I only wish that figs were in season all year long. However, I do have 2 loaves of the Fig Bread waiting in the freezer for us whenever we get a craving for it one of these fall days. The only negative about these cookies is that they don't keep very good after the first 2 days or so. They are definitely the best right out of the oven!*** Ingredients: 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup shortening 1 egg 2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1 cup fresh figs, peeled, chopped 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped Directions: Preheat

Grilled Pork Loin w/Apple-Cranberry Filling

UPDATE (9/29/08): I made this pork loin again a few days ago for a dinner party. However, this time I baked it in the oven instead of cooking it on the grill. I much preferred it in the oven, and it got rave reviews! The outside was more tender, and it was more moist overall. Just bake it at 325 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours...or until instant read thermometer reads 145 - 150 degrees. ***Okay ladies and gentlemen, I've officially found my favorite way to prepare a pork loin. This dish was a.m.a.z.i.n.g....and it didn't just taste good, but it made my entire house smell of sweet apples, cranberries, cinnamon, fresh ginger and apple cider...oh my goodness. It was like Yankee Candle good...lol. This would no doubt be the perfect holiday dish...or just the perfect way to welcome the fall season. I'm so happy that there are left-overs sitting in my fridge right now. The fact that its grilled makes this one even better. This recipe made its way to me via iTunes of all plac

Espresso-Blackberry Macarons - Gourmet Magazine

***I was flipping through the most recent issue of Gourmet (a special issue about Paris), admiring all the Parisian cuisine when I spotted these macarons. Macarons are one of those things that I've always avoided because I just thought they would be too complicated...but this recipe is actually pretty simple! After reading the article, I was inspired to give these a try. I made half of them with blackberry jam, and I made a chocolate filling (recipe below) for the other half. When we make it to Paris one day (it just might be sooner than later...hopefully!) I want to visit some of the famous French Patisseries...like Laduree, Pierre Herme, and Fauchon to name a few. And what trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to La Maison Du Chocolat? One day... Now, these aren't the prettiest macarons that you'll ever see, but they were okay considering it was my first time making them. I am going to make them again very soon. I found THIS yummy looking recipe for Red Ber

Pasta with Prosciutto & Peas

***This dish was delicious! I don't cook with prosciutto as much as I'd like to. The grocery store down the street doesn't always have it in stock, so I usually have to go to Whole Foods or The Fresh Market to get it....if I want good quality prosciutto, anyway! Brad isn't crazy about peas, but he actually liked this dish okay. The sauce is really great...but then again heavy cream always makes sauces better...lol.*** Ingredients: Coarse salt and ground pepper 12 ounces fettuccine 1 tablespoon butter 1 shallot, finely chopped (1/4 cup) 2/3 cup heavy cream 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed 8 slices prosciutto (about 4 ounces total), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise, about 1 cup 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional) Directions: In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup p