Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pecan Pancakes With Caramelized Apples

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Caramelized Apples

1. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients. Gradually add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring just until combined.
2. Scoop 1/4-cupfuls of batter onto a hot grill pan or griddle. Cook until bubbles form on surface and edges look dry. Turn over pancakes and cook 2 minutes. Serve warm with caramelized apples.

Caramelized Apples:
1/4 cup butter
2 apples, halved, cored (I use my handy melon baller), and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Melt butter in a large skillet. Stir in apples and remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until apples are very tender and liquid resembles syrup. Serve over pancakes.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Butterscotch Blondies With Caramel Frosting

This is my new favorite dessert! The recipe is from Pastry Queen Parties cookbook, which I recently bought at my cheap book source, Mike’s Merchandise Mart in Huntsville. I love blondies and knew that the caramel frosting would really set these apart. You bake them in a half-sheet pan, so there is a enough for a crowd. The taste is so buttery, with just the right combination of sweet and salty. Definitely make these—enjoy!

Butterscotch Blondies With Caramel Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
5 cups brown sugar, divided
4 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup butter
1 (16-oz.) box powdered sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla

1. Beat 1 cup softened butter and 3 cups brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended after each addition. Add in vanilla. Combine flour and next 2 ingredients. Gradually add to butter mixture. Add in pecans. Spread mixture in a lightly greased half-sheet pan.
2. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until done. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
3. Place 1 cup butter and remaining 2 cups brown sugar in a saucepan, and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil. Turn heat down to medium-low, and cook, stirring often, for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat, and cool slightly.
4. Beat powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla with an electric mixer until creamy. Pour in the caramel mixture, and beat until smooth. Spread frosting over top of cooled blondies. Let stand 30 minutes before cutting into squares.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chicken With Broccoli and Carrots

My sister made something similar to this dish a couple of weeks ago. She and her husband really liked it (full disclosure: her daughter AC didn’t, but she’s hard to please), so I decided to make it from memory. How can you go wrong with chicken, bacon, carrots, and broccoli? Andy and I ate it over pasta. Another idea: Thin out the mixture with additional chicken broth, and you have a terrific soup. Enjoy!

Chicken With Broccoli and Carrots
3 bacon slices, chopped
1 onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
3 carrots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. chicken, cut into chunks
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried tarragon
2 cups broccoli florets
2 oz. cream cheese
2 cups chicken broth
Hot cooked pasta

1. Cook bacon in a hot Dutch oven until crisp; remove from pan. Sauté onion and carrots in bacon drippings 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 more minute. Stir in chicken; season with salt and pepper. Stir in thyme and tarragon. Cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in broccoli, cream cheese, and chicken broth. Cook for 10 more minutes or until done; stir in bacon. Serve over pasta.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Moroccan-Style Chicken Stew

I was looking for a new way to cook chicken and came across this recipe in my Cook’s Illustrated The Best International Recipe cookbook. My dish is a little different from the original because I added a can of tomatoes and made a few seasoning changes. Also, I used boneless chicken tenderloins, which cook much faster. The flavor is warm and slightly spicy, with a little acidity from the tomatoes and lemons. We ate ours over bulghur that I cooked like couscous. On the side we had naan, hummus, and Greek yogurt.

Moroccan-Style Chicken Stew
Olive oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. dried cilantro
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 lb. chicken breast tenderloins
Salt and pepper
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp. honey
1(15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

1. Place oil in a Dutch oven, and sauté onions for 5 minutes or until slightly tender. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute. Combine paprika and next 5 ingredients. Place chicken in pot with onion mixture, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and half of paprika mixture. Cook chicken for 2 minutes, and then turn over. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and remaining paprika mixture; cook 1 minute. Stir in lemon zest and juice, broth, and next 3 ingredients. Top with lemon slices. Cover pot with lid, and place in oven.
2. Bake at 300° for 1 hour. Serve chicken mixture over bulghur or couscous.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Peanut Butter-and-Chocolate Rice Krispies Treats

3/4 cup peanut butter
6 cups crisped rice cereal
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup cream

1. Melt butter in a large pot. Stir in marshmallows and peanut butter until smooth. Stir in cereal and peanut butter chips. Spread mixture into a lightly greased pan.
2. Combine chocolate chips and cream, and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for 30 more seconds or until mixture is smooth and glossy. Spread over top of cereal mixture. Allow to cool completely, and cut into squares.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Irish Soda Bread

It has been brought to my attention that I need to update the techniques and recipe for making this old-fashioned recipe. (Tweaking recipes over time is definitely one of my issues as a cook.) Usually, I divide the batter between two (9-inch) cake pans. However recently I made it as muffins for a Grace’s Kitchen breakfast and really liked it that way. Andy is a purest, so here is how to make his favorite breakfast bread.

Irish Soda Bread
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. butter, cut into cubes
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries or raisins

1. Place flour and butter into bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to incorporate the butter into the flour. The mixture will look slightly damp and somewhat clumpy (see photo at right). Beat in sugar and next 3 ingredients. Combine buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and, if desired, almond extract; gradually add to flour mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in dried cherries. Divide batter into 2 lightly greased 9-inch cake pans.
2. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until done.