Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TWD: Chockablock Cookies

This week we are baking Chockablock Cookies for the Tuesdays with Dorie group. My first reaction was, "chocka-WHAT?" I was completely clueless what to expect as I was opening the cookbook to find the recipe.

And after I read the recipe... I was still completely clueless what to expect. Molasses? Coconut? Oatmeal? Raisins? Chocolate Chips? NUTS?!?! What is this world coming to?

So I only made a half batch. And the smell of the molasses kind of turned my stomach as I poured it in. Boy, I hope these are good.

I didn't end up having quite enough oatmeal left, and I omitted the nuts because all I had were walnuts which I don't really like (explains why they've been sitting in my house for so long).

They were super quick to make. I took them out of the oven and thought... hhhmmm... well they're not pretty! But they're actually quite good. I'm really wishing I'd had some nuts on hand because I think the only thing they're missing is a little crunch. I may have to try them again after a trip to the grocery store.

Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet is our host for today. You can head over to her site to find the recipe! Thanks Mary!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

That Super Sausage Gravy You All Asked About

Most everyone noticed the delicious looking sausage gravy that smothered my biscuits in the Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. And a ton of you mentioned that you'd like the recipe to make this sinfulness too. Thank you for that. You know how you make something so high in calories that it makes you feel fat immediately after eating it? Well, that's how this is... it feels wrong to tell the world how much I loved it. But you asked, so therefore I answer.

The recipe is actually from Bob Evans via Allrecipes.com. It has 5 stars and exactly 624 glowing reviews on the site. Uuummmm... do ya think it's good? Don't take my word for it - take the other 624 people who liked it!

I never knew sausage gravy was so easy to make. Which poses a dilemma... now that I know how easy it is, how do I NOT make it every Sunday morning? And how do I make my hips NOT grow? Anyone?

Super Sausage Gravy
(from Bob Evans)

1 pound mild or hot ground sausage
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 prepared biscuits

1. Crumble and cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned. Stir in flour until dissolved. Gradually stir in milk. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot over biscuits. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TWD: Sweet Cream Biscuits

Guess what today is!! It's my turn to pick the recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie, the fabulous baking group that I joined nearly two years ago. 50 recipes later and the rotation finally got to me. I must say that I've come a long way since my very first recipe with the group - the summer fruit galette. Boy, that was good! I knew I was in for a lot of tasty treats and a few extra pounds after eating that galette. In two years, I've made my first pie dough from scratch, first cheesecake, first soufflé, first custard, first rice pudding, learned how to marble a cake, figured out what in the world rugelach is, acquired lots of new bakeware, and made the best darn ice cream I've ever had.

So the time has finally come for little old ME to pick a recipe for the entire group to make. And what did I pick? Well, I picked the Sweet Cream Biscuits. I compiled a bucket list about a year ago and put "make biscuits from scratch" on my list. They're something I've always wanted to make and never had. And since all of the best sounding desserts had already been chosen within the group, I decided that finally getting to try my hand at biscuits would be a fun task.

And boy, I never knew biscuits could be so difficult to make. It sounded like some other TWDer's were having problems as well. A few people complained their biscuits didn't rise much and were a little hard. Well, I baked my first batch... and had the same results. Just flat little round things that were too hard.

So I looked for some tips. It seems the most common thing I read about was handling the dough too much... which I figured was my problem. I tried a second batch and they came out better, but still not perfect. Here's how they looked... not bad, but not real good either.

So I researched a little more. And I shopped for new flour... and fortunately I found the crown jewel of biscuit making in the south - White Lily flour. So I used the new flour, barely handled the dough at all - to the point that I worried I hadn't mixed it enough, and tried another new technique I'd read about - not twisting the biscuit cutter as you press down on the dough to cut your biscuits.

And... it worked. Sort of. The biscuits were a lot lighter and they rose higher. For some reason there were a couple that came out sorta flat, but most of them were great. I guess biscuit making takes some practice!

At any rate, they were delicious. My husband insisted we have sausage gravy with them, so they were completely smothered in it. Soooo good and calorie laden. Totally sinful. Now that I know how to make biscuits and sausage gravy, I might be gaining a few pounds, because I know my husband will be asking for it frequently.

Thank you to all the TWD members for baking along with me this week! I hope everyone enjoyed the biscuits!

Here's the recipe for anyone who'd like to try it. And I'll be posting the sausage gravy recipe tomorrow, so check back!

Sweet Cream Biscuits
(from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours, page 23)
Makes about 12 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 to 1 and 1/4 cups heavy cream

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Get out a sharp 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter (I used a glass, and it was fine), and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour(s), baking powder, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Pour about 1 cup of the cream over the dry ingredients, grab a fork and start tossing the ingredients together. If necessary, add more cream, a spoonful at a time, until you’ve got a nice soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick, gentle kneading – 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour and pat the dough out with your hands or roll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don’t worry if the dough isn’t completely even – a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.

Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of this first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. (The biscuits can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting – just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)

Bake the biscuits for 14 to 18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown. Transfer them to a serving basket.

Serving: Ideally these biscuits should go from oven to table and be served with cold sweet butter.

Storing: You can keep the biscuits in a plastic bag overnight and give them a quick warm-up in the oven the next day, but you won't recapture their freshly made flakiness.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekly Menu - 4/19/10

I haven't posted a menu in a while just out of plain old busy-ness. But as I was just coming up with our menu for the week, I figured I'd take a minute and post it - in case it can give anyone any ideas for their week!

Monday - Swedish Meatballs with egg noodles
Tuesday - Ceasar Salad with Chicken
Wednesday - Chicken Tikka Masala (hubby's choice - I make him pick something every week) with storebought Naan
Thursday - Salisbury Steaks (recipe from Mommy's Kitchen - this will be my first time making it) with mashed potatoes and a veggie
Friday/Saturday - eat out/order in
Sunday - pizza

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunken Burritos

Well, if you know me at all, you know I love just about anything Mexican. So when I happened upon a recipe for burritos using some of my favorite ingredients - chicken, black beans, yellow rice, red peppers - I knew we were going to love it.

I've made these burritos twice now and they came out great both times. I think they're ranking up among one of our favorite meals. They're pretty easy to throw together, and I served up the extra yellow rice for a side. Probably the most important thing to be aware of is to not over-stuff the burritos or you'll have a mess. I'm including the original recipe below, but I cut the ingredients in half and ended up with 6 HUGE burritos. I also skipped grilling the chicken because I'm not the grillmaster of the family (that title is reserved for the hubby). Instead, I cooked the chicken in a skillet and then cut into strips. I also left out the ancho chile powder because I only had the chipotle on hand.

Tell me this doesn't look sinfully delicious!!

Sunken Burritos
(recipe from Good Things Catered)

4 large chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. chipotle chile powder
1 Tbsp. ancho chile powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
10 extra large flour burrito tortillas
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, sliced into strips
1 green pepper, sliced into strips
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
1 can black beans, strained and 1/2 of liquid reserved
1 box Zataran's yellow rice
4 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 small can red enchilada sauce

1. Light grill on high and preheat oven to 350 degrees, preparing a 9x13 pan. Cook rice according to package directions.

2. In small bowl mix together spice mixture. Pound out chicken breast to equal thickness throughout. Coat chicken with spice mixture evenly on both sides. Turn grill down to medium low and place chicken on, breast side up. Cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 15 mins. depending on the size of the chicken. Remove from grill and set aside, letting cool slightly.

3. In medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat, add oil and heat. Cook pepper and onion, salted and peppered to taste, until cooked to a tender crisp, about 10 minutes. In small saucepan add beans and reserved liquid, heat through over low heat. Slice chicken into strips 1/2 inch wide.

4. Assemble burritos: On large tortilla, add chicken, vegetables, rice, beans, top with cheese and roll, tucking in sides first. (Do NOT overload - this is a common problem). Place burrito in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining burritos. Spoon enchilada sauce over burritos and tops with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

Makes 10 servings.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TWD: Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake

It sure is a joy to make a recipe you typically wouldn't give a second glance to and have it be DELICIOUS.

The selection for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie is the Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake. I followed the recipe to the "T" this week... with one big exception. As I was deep in the middle of baking, I opened my fridge to find *gasp* we didn't have enough butter! So, desperate times call for desperate measures... and in went some margarine. I used about a 1/2 cup of margarine instead of butter. I'm sure this is a huge no-no to real bakers. I'm sure those people are shaking their heads right now. But whatcha gonna do? It turned out fine. Nice and moist and delicious. And I gave myself a pat on the back for my nice marbling job.

And right after I took the picture on my really cute zebra plate which never gets used, my son attacked it. Hey there! I knew it was a bad idea to take pictures of cake while he was around. Lesson learned for next time.

Thanks to Erin of When In Doubt... Leave it at 350. She selected this delicious cake and has the recipe posted for everyone who wants to give it a try.