Thursday, December 13, 2012

Upgrade Tuna Salad

Try adding a 1/4 cup of toasted walnut pieces, along with diced celery, mayo, and a pinch of salt, to your next batch of tuna salad. Delicious!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Favorite Breakfast #1

A ripe Bartlett pear, a few walnuts, and a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese (Swiss light).  A little fruit, a little fat and a little protein:  Perfect!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chocolate Bark


Chocolate bark is easy to make, and it is a terrific gift to bring to a host or hostess.  The key is good chocolate; use the best you can buy.  The bark pictured above was made with Velrhona French chocolate, 70 percent cocoa.  After melting the chocolate and spreading it over a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, pistachio nuts and dried cherries were sprinkled on top along with a little salt.  Delicious.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August Clam Bake

You don't have to be at the shore to enjoy a delicious clam bake.  We put one together at home with fresh corn and potatoes from the farmers' market, and clams, mussels, and rock lobster tails from our local fish monger.  Fantastic!

Thanks to my husband, Bill, who was the chef for this wonderful feast.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Absolutely Delicious, No. 1, Oven-Fried Chicken Thighs

I've been trying to assemble a recipe that makes crispy, moist chicken without too much added fat.  Instead of lots of oil and butter, to pump up flavor this recipe uses chicken thighs.  Thighs are not as lean as chicken breasts, but have a much superior taste. And since I'm only eating one piece of chicken, I do want it to taste delicious.



4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 packages Saco Powdered Buttermilk
2 cups water
Tabasco Sauce

1 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour
1/3 cup corn meal
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
cooking spray

The morning before cooking this chicken:

Reconstitute two packages of Powdered Buttermilk with 2 cups of water in a bowl large enough to also hold all the chicken pieces.  Add a few shakes of Tabasco Sauce to the buttermilk and stir to combine.  Add the chicken, cover the bowl, and refrigerate.

When ready to cook:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Place a rack over the sheet, and lightly oil the rack to prevent the chicken from sticking.  I rub the rack with grape seed oil, but you could also spray it with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Pour the mixture onto a plate.*  Remove a piece of chicken from the buttermilk marinade.  Allow excess marinade to drip off.  Sprinkle a little salt on the chicken, and then dredge it in the flour mixture.  Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.

Put the 2 Tbs of olive oil into a large fry pan and heat over medium.  Brown the chicken in the oil, 2 to 4 minutes a side.  Place the browned chicken on the rack and lightly spray the chicken pieces with cooking spray.  Place the rack into the oven for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is done.

Serve it up!  Yum!!

* You should have more than enough of the flour mixture than necessary to coat four chicken thighs.  When breading chicken, I prefer to have more than I need because running short is extremely aggravating.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Artisan Vanilla Extract

In April I bought a bunch of vanilla beans and began the process of making vanilla extract following the directions at Vanilla Review.  Today for the first time I used my extract and made sugar cookies.  To add to the vanilla of it all, I sprinkled the cookies with vanilla-flavored sugar.

The cookies are great, and making the extract has been fun.  Can't wait to continue tasting my "artisan" vanilla extract as its flavor continues to mature.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Ice cream pie is a must-make dessert for summer.  Here is an easy graham cracker pie crust to use when preparing that treat.

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

For a 9-inch pie.

1 and 1/2 cups finely crumbled graham crackers
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the ingredients and press into a 9-inch pie plate starting at the sides and then the bottom.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Allow the crust to cool before adding your favorite filling.

No-Bake Graham Cracker Pie Crust

For a 9-inch pie.

1 and 1/8 cups finely crumbled graham crackers (about 9 crackers)
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 Tbs sugar

Stir together the crackers, melted butter, and sugar. Press crumbs into pie plate. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie Project 1: White Bread from "Baking with Julia" by Dorie Greenspan.

Today's project is White Loaves from Baking with Julia by Dori Greenspan.  Here we go!

I've owned Baking with Julia for a number of years. It's been a long time, however, since I've made the recipe for basic white loaves. I'm going to read it over, and then assemble the ingredients and equipment.

The recipe calls for unsalted butter at room temperature. I keep butter in the freezer until it's needed, so that must be taken out right away.

Next is flour.  This recipe calls for a lot of it.  But measuring flour is a pain! It's much easier to weigh the flour. The King Arthur folks say that a cup of flour weighs 4 1/4 ounces.

I'll weigh the water, too.  So simple.

So I have now gathered everything together.  Flour, water, butter, salt, yeast, and sugar.  Let's mix it up!

Water is poured into a large mixing bowl.  Sugar and yeast are then added.  The yeast is allowed to ferment in the bowl for a few minutes. When it is foamy, more water and half of the flour are added to the bowl and combined.

The rest of the flour is gradually added.  Next, the salt is added.  Then the dough is kneaded for several minutes.

Finally, the butter is added to the dough.  More mixing occurs until: Ta-da! The dough is pulled together.

But wait.  There's more.

The dough goes into a oiled bowl which is then covered with plastic wrap.  After an hour the dough has doubled in bulk, as is shown in the picture below.

I deflate the dough, turn it out onto a cutting board, and divide it in half using my big knife.  Working with one section at a time, I shape the dough into a rectangle, fold it like a letter, seal the edge, and put it into a prepared bread pan.

To keep dough from sticking to the cutting board or my hands, I use water.  I rub a little water on the surface of the cutting board and keep a bowl of water nearby to dip my hands into while working with the dough.

The dough rises for a second time in the bread pans.  Meanwhile, the oven is heating.

After the second rise, the dough bakes for about an hour, until it reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees.  I absolutely do check the bread's temperature with a food thermometer before declaring it finished.  And there we have it, the finished loaves.

One loaf is perfectly shaped.  The second is a little lumpy because I made into cinnamon swirl bread and things got a little wild when rolling it up.  Below is an interior shot of the cinnamon bread.  This will make excellent toast.

Fun and easy to make.  Delicious to eat.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Making Rice in the Slow Cooker

A New Year's Resolution is to (try) and eat vegetarian at breakfast and lunch.  This includes eating whole grain bread and rice rather than white rice or items made with white flour.  Today I made a blend of wild and whole grain brown rice in the slow cooker while doing other things around the house - it was so easy.

To begin, I sprayed the inside of the slow cooker with non-stick spray.  Then I combined one cup of the rice with two cups of water and a 1/4 tsp. salt in the crock pot.  I turned the cooker on high and let the rice cook for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.   Super simple.  I'll definitely do this again.