Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
After so many holiday sweets it was definitely time for something a little bit lighter. Cauliflower, in my mind, is one of those vegetables that is kind of disappointing. It doesn't have a particularly strong flavor and pales in comparison to it's cousin broccoli. That being said, soup is the perfect vehicle to cauliflower. The flavor becomes infinitely more complex after roasting and the addition of a few herbs and other flavors makes this an instant classic.

3 pounds cauliflower florets (about 2 large heads)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarsely ground sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1 3/4 cups almond milk
Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Cut the cauliflower heads into medium florets. Place in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt and minced thyme. Spread out in one layer on a large baking sheet and place in the oven. After twenty minutes, remove the cauliflower from the oven and flip the florets over. Place back in the oven for another twenty minutes. Meanwhile place two cups of the chicken stock and all of the almond milk in a large pot and bring to a low simmer. Regular milk, of course, can be substituted for the almond milk but I really enjoy the nutty flavor that almond milk adds to this soup.

Once the cauliflower is finished roasting, add it to the large pot on the stove. Using an immersion blender puree the mixture until your desired consistency. I prefer a thick puree but some may like to leave a few cauliflower florets intact. Add the remaining two cups on chicken stock and season to taste with pepper and any additional salt if necessary. Garnish with extra thyme and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust and Walnut Ganache

Pumpkin Pie 
with Gingersnap Crust 
and Walnut Ganache
I'm just going to come out and say it without making any apologies. This, is a sinful dessert. The creamy pumpkin filling is made even more luxurious with sweetened condensed milk, the gingersnap crust has such a punch of flavor and is the perfect buttery companion to the filling. And as if the pie weren't decadent enough already, the praline ganache sends it completely over the edge. Pumpkin and ginger are two flavors that, to me, are so reminiscent of the holidays that it seemed only natural to combine them in this delicious dessert. Definitely enjoy this on a day you're not trying to be healthy because it is worth every single tasty calorie. Not to mention that it is incredibly easy to make and requires very few ingredients.

2 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 1 1/2 sleeves of cookies)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Make the crust by combining the ginger snap crumbs and melted butter in a large bowl and mixing with a fork until well blended. Add the crumbs to a nine inch cake or tart pan and evenly press over the bottom and up the sides using the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake until set and a bit darker in color, usually 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, condensed milk, egg yolks and salt until well blended. Pour the filling into the cooled crust, return to the oven, and bake until set and beginning to brown on the top, about 30 minutes. Remove pie from the oven, cool to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator, at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.

While the pie is cooling, combine brown sugar, chopped walnuts and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the sugar is dissolved stirring often. Pour over the pie and allow to set before serving. Slice the pie, serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cranberry Oat Bars

Cranberry Oat Bars
Some technical difficulties with my camera have kept me from updating my blog for quite some time now but finally a trip back home for Thanksgiving has given me access to the family cam. These cranberry oat bars are a little something I whipped up as a dessert contribution. After making the cranberry sauce filling on the stove and seeing how easy it was I can't imagine how anybody uses that jelly canned stuff! Cranberrys can be so tart even after adding a cup of sugar so I love how the warm cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice in these bars offset the tartness of the cranberry. These travelled extremely well to my upstate New York Thanksgiving table, are easily cut into small or large squares for anyone to enjoy and can be frozen for a few weeks if necessary.

12 ounce package whole cranberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small saucepan combine the cranberries, sugar and water over medium heat. Stir occasionally for about fifteen minutes or until every cranberry has burst and the sugar is dissolved. The mixture should look more like a compote at this point. Take the cranberry sauce off of the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, oats, brown sugar and spices and whisk all dry ingredients together. Next add the eggs and melted butter and stir with a wooden spoon. The consistency of this mixture is going to be closer to a dough than a cake batter. Make sure everything is well combined, especially the brown sugar that tends to get clumpy. Reserve a cup and a half of the dough in a bowl. Then, spray a nine by thirteen baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the remaining portion of the dough on the bottom of the pan like a crust making sure to reach all edges of the pan. Pour all of the cooled cranberry mixture on top of the dough and spread evenly with a spatula. Then, evenly distribute the reserved dough on top of the cranberry sauce in small dollops. When this bakes you get gorgeous golden brown nuggets of dough and you can see the bright colored cranberry sauce underneath. Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool on a rack for an hour or so and then cut into bars and enjoy!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Baked Fries with Bloody Mary Ketchup and Maple Mustard

Baked Fries with Bloody Mary Ketchup
and Maple Mustard
There's no better way to crush a salt craving then french fries. But all the fat and grease are just unnecessary. My roommate made the split-second mid-week decision to test out our apartment oven with some baked fries. After peeling a serious amount of potatoes and seasoning them liberally we obviously needed some fun dipping sauces. When it comes to french fries I am definitely a mustard girl while my roommate is a ketchup girl, so we came up with a fun variation on each. By putting all of the classic bloody mary seasonings in our ketchup we had a spicy and flavorful alternative. Instead of the classic honey mustard we mixed dijon mustard with maple syrup for a sweet molasses-y twist. The final result was two large pans filled with salty fries and two different sauces to satisfy any dippers preference.

1/2 pound russet potatoes
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic salt
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon pepper

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons hot sauce
2 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup

The first thing to do is preheat the oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. These french fries cook in two stages, first at 450 degrees to cook them all the way through and then for the last fifteen minutes at broil to brown the fries. Peel the potatoes and cut them in to fry strips. You can experiment with other sizes like steak fries or rounds but these will take longer to cook. Put the cut potatoes in a colander and rinse with cold water to wash away the starch. This step helps the fries get crispy. Next, pat the potatoes dry with a kitchen towel and place them in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, garlic salt, sea salt and pepper to the bowl and toss with your hands to evenly coat the potatoes. Spread the potatoes evenly out on two baking sheets in one layer.

Getting these fries to the perfect crispy consistency is a little bit complicated but so worth it. Bake the fries for twelve minutes then flip them and bake for another twelve minutes. Next put the oven on low broil and cook for ten minutes, then put the oven on high broil and cook for five minutes. At this point the fries should be perfectly cooked through and a crunchy golden brown on the outside. Dip into each of the sauces (we even mixed the two sauces together and it was delicious) and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream
This is the type of ice cream that you put in your mouth and say whoa. And guess what - it uses just 3 simple ingredients! It has a texture that is creamier than most homemade ice creams due to the use of coconut milk instead of regular milk. I added sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder to give the coconut milk a rich chocolaty flavor. Topped off with dark chocolate shavings this makes the ultimate chocolate sundae even more intense!

2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Make sure the bowl of an ice cream maker has been in the freezer for at least four hours before making the ice cream mixture. Place cans of milk  and a medium bowl in the refrigerator for an hour before use. After chilling, take out the milk and bowl and combine all ingredients in the bowl. Use a whisk to make sure the mixture is smooth. Place the mixture in the bowl of an ice cream maker, turn on and allow to spin for fifteen to twenty minutes until mixture is the texture of soft-serve ice cream. Top with chocolate shavings, shaved coconut, whipped cream or whatever your favorite sundae topping is and enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pesto Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms

Pesto Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms
If you are looking for a simple, healthy and filling appetizer than these babies are for you! No pun intended :) It is super quick, not to mention super cheap, to make these and they can satisfy any crowd. Classic pesto is made with basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese but to mix things up for these stuffed mushrooms I made my own pesto with spinach, walnuts and red bell pepper. You can also use portobello mushrooms and make one or two per person for larger appetizers but I prefer eating four or five smaller mushrooms. These guys are hearty and still good for you. Perfect for any dinner party.

1 bag baby spinach
3 garlic cloves
1 medium yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
20 baby bella mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Place the first seven ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Three garlic cloves may seem like a lot but once they are cooked the flavor mellows out immensely. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and clean the tops with a slightly damp paper towel. Place the baby bella mushrooms on a foil lined baking sheete and lightly drizzle the balsamic vinegar into each mushroom. Then place a heaping tablespoon of the spinach walnut pesto into every mushroom top. Place the baking sheet in the oven for ten to twelve minutes or until each mushroom has released some liquid. Garnish with minced red bell pepper and enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast Cookies
Yes folks, you read right -- breakfast. cookie. Cue the excited child that still lives inside you that has always wanted to eat dessert first. These may not be your typical chocolate chip cookie but they definitely satisfy in the same way. These cookies were conceived on an average morning where I lounged about in my pajamas until too late and was too lazy to go to the store but needed to scratch my itch to bake something. Ergo, the breakfast cookie. These are not only healthy, but tasty and will keep you full for an entire morning of whatever keeps you running around like the rest of us. They are quick, chewy and sweet!

1/2 cup regular oats
6 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Kashi cereal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup pureed peaches, apricots, pears, plums or pumpkin (hint: baby food works for this)
1 egg
2 tablespoons raisins
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
A pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Chop raisins into small pieces and set aside. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick foil and spoon batter into evenly spaced dollops on the baking sheet. Batter should form eight to ten cookies. Bake in the oven for 12 to 14 minutes until the tops of the cookies are just slightly crispy and allow to cool on a wire rack for fifteen minutes. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I had been getting pretty tired of the broccoli slaw side dish that is a staple in our summer refrigerator when I opted to make this tabbouleh. My mom is also on a lowering-her-cholesterol kick which means eating a mainly plant based diet with lots of whole grains so this was the perfect dish for her as well, not to mention being totally delicious. Tabbouleh is a mediterranean salad that consists of bulgur wheat and parsley with some other classic mediterranean flavors mixed in. I added chopped artichoke hearts for some extra briny flavor but the balance of parsley, lemon and bulgur wheat was refreshing, satisfying and healthy. Capers, ollives or feta cheese would also be great in this recipe!

1 1/2 cups bulgur wheat
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 english cucumber
2 large tomatoes
1 can artichoke hearts
1 1/2 cups chopped parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

The hardest and most time consuming part of this recipe is chopping the vegetables. Place a pot of boiling water on the stove and put the bulgur wheat in a medium sized bowl. Once the water is boiling, pour 1 1/2 cups of the water over the bulgur, cover with foil or plastic wrap and allow to sit for a half hour. In the meantime, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Dice the cucumber, tomatoes and artichoke hearts and place them in the large bowl as well. Finely dice the parsley and place in the large bowl. After a half hour has passed use a large spoon to transfer the cooked bulgur to the large bowl with the parsley, diced vegetables and vinaigrette. Fold the mixture together until everything is well incorporated. Chill in the refrigerator for a half hour and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Peach Salsa

Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Peach Salsa
You know a cookbook is well-loved when the pages are all splattered with sauces and ingredients and no corner is left unscathed by a cook's messy thumb. Mark Bittman's Quick and Easy Recipes is one of those cookbooks that my parents have really left their mark on. My dad actually uses one of the steak marinades for this pork recipe and let me say that it is spectacular. People don't always think of pork tenderloin as a summer dinner item but grilling is always on people's minds. Grilled pork tenderloin is delicious with a flavorful crust on the outside and tender light pink meat on the inside. This pork was marinated in a slightly asian style marinade for just a few hours before grilling and topped with a fresh salsa to bring a summery brightness to the meal. Yum!

2 lbs. pork tenderloin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 lime
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 peaches, diced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the soy sauce, fresh ginger, honey, garlic and juice of the half lime in a large tupperware and season with freshly ground black pepper. Allow the pork tenderloin to marinate in this mixture for two to three hours before grilling. In the meantime, dice the peaches and yellow pepper and mince the shallot. Combine these in a small bowl and add the juice of the half lemon, olive oil and fresh mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir and place in the refrigerator so that the flavors in the salsa can marry and it will be even more delicious by the time the pork is ready.

Grill the pork over indirect high heat, approximately 450 degrees, for eight to nine minutes a side so that a nice crust has formed on the outside of the meat. Allow the meat to rest for five minutes so that the juices can redistribute inside then slice into medallions about three quarters of an inch thick. Top with a few spoonfuls of the peach salsa and enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Corn and Black Bean Salsa with Fiery Pita Chips

Corn and Black Bean Salsa
with Fiery Pita Chips
First off, I need to say that I can hardly believe it but I have officially been keeping this blog for a year! Happy one year anniversary to Cook. Eat. Enjoy. Repeat.! Anyway, back to the food. There are four square meals that one must eat during the summer months: brunch, late lunch, happy hour and dinner. A fifth meal of pie should be incorporated as often as possible. My family takes happy hour very seriously, during those evening hours that are the most beautiful of the summer, when the air is cooler and the sky is just a tad dimmer. A cheese plate and bowl of tortilla chips are usually present, sometimes accompanied by olives or the occasional spinach dip. However, I was looking for a little something lighter and more refreshing than slices of brie cheese and chips. Thus, my corn and black bean salsa was born. This salsa contains so many of the ingredients that are perfectly in season in July and a few others to create the perfect, crisp appetizer. The recipe for the fiery pita chips came from my new signed and personally inscribed copy of Savoring the Hamptons by Silvia Lehrer :)

Six pieces of pita bread
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon dried garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cucumber
2 cobs of corn
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 can black beans
1/3 cup minced red onion
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Slice each piece of pita bread into six equal triangles. Lay these all out on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Evenly sprinkle the dried garlic, dried thyme and cayenne pepper over the pita bread. Place in the oven for eight to ten minutes or until slightly browned and crisp. Allow to cool for thirty minutes.

Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Place the two ears of corn in the water and allow the water to come back to a boil. Remove the corn from the pot. Peel the cucumber and cut it in half. Chop half of the cucumber into large pieces and put in a blender. Add the yogurt, garlic clove and mint to the blender as well. Puree until smooth and then taste for seasoning. Add as much salt and pepper as you prefer. Once the dressing is prepared, transfer it to a bowl and allow to chill in the refrigerator.

Halve the tomatoes, mince the red onion, slice the corn off of the cob and drain and rinse the black beans from the can. Put all of these ingredients in a medium bowl and top with the dressing that has chilled. Toss with a spoon until all of the ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing. You may need to add a bit more salt at this point. By blending up the cucumbers in the dressing this salsa is especially refreshing! When you scoop it up with a fiery pita chip you get a delicious flavor profile that can't be beat during those summer happy hours. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer Fruit Pops

Summer Fruit Pops
What better way is there to cool off on a hot summer day than with a frosty, fruity ice pop? None, I don't think. Instead of putting plain fruit juice into these bad boys I mixed up a quick batch of summer fruit salad with a side of fresh lemonade and poured it right into my ice pop molds. Frozen fruit has an icy texture that is just so satisfying, especially when surrounded by sweet lemonade. I love my ice pop molds because when the juice starts melting, you can sip it up through the straw and you don't miss out on one drop of delicious flavor!

Handful of blueberries
Handful of strawberries, hulled and sliced
Handful of raspberries
10 grapes, halved
1 cup water
1 lemon
2 teaspoons sugar

If baking is not your thing but you still really want to impress your summer guests, these pops are the way to go. Not only are they delicious and refreshing, but they're beautiful to look at too! Put the fruit in a bowl and mix lightly with a spoon. In a separate glass, juice the lemon and add the water and sugar. Use the spoon to place the mixed fruit into your ice pop molds, making sure that it is equally distributed. Then, pour the lemonade over the fruit until it reaches a little below the top. Replace the popsicle sticks and place in the freezer for four hours or overnight. I usually run some hot water over the molds before removing the ice pops so that they slide out easier. Enjoy!

I roped my cousin Sam into modeling for me, he's a natural!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Red White and Blue Tart

Red White and Blue Tart
I feel like July 4th is one of those holidays where you can't help but be a little gimmicky. Everyone puts on their red, white and blue outfits and busts out those American flag napkins that have been sitting in the cabinet since last year, and eats some red, white and blue desserts of course. At first I wanted to be creative and make a red, white and blue savory dish, but I simply couldn't resist the beautifully ripe berries at the store today. I've done red, white and blue ice cream cake, I've done red, white and blueberry buckle, I've done red, white and blue fruit skewers. It was time for something new. 

Instead of making a traditional pastry cream as the base for this tart, I strained some vanilla yogurt and flavored it with juice and powdered sugar to make for a lighter base. The fruit could easily be swapped out for any other fruit, but being that Independence Day is tomorrow, I obviously had to go with red and blue berries.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon orange pineapple juice
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Sliced strawberries, raspberries and blueberries for topping
3 tablespoons honey

Place the yogurt in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl in the refrigerator to drain for one hour. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit. Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork until all of the graham cracker crumbs are coated. Press the mixture into a ten inch pie plate or tart dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for twelve minutes and then leave out to cool on a wire rack.

Prep all of your berries while the yogurt is straining. Slice strawberries, and wash the raspberries and blueberries. In a medium bowl, put the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and juice. Beat together until soft peaks form and then place back in the refrigerator until the yogurt has finished straining.  Once the yogurt is finished, gently fold the whipped cream into the yogurt with a spatula. At this point the tart shell should be at room temperature and ready for filling. Pour the yogurt mixture into the shell and spread evenly with the spatula, place back in the refrigerator for thirty minutes to set. After the base has set, top with berries in whatever pattern is most appealing to you. Place the three tablespoons of honey in a microwave safe bowl and heat for twenty seconds until the honey has thinned out substantially. Using a syringe or pastry brush, squeeze or brush the melted honey over the fruit. Place the tart back in the refrigerator to cool and for the honey to set again. Remove after an hour or so and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Peach Barbecue Chicken

Peach Barbecue Chicken
Nothing says summer better than barbecue. But I couldn't just do plain old barbecue chicken with a sauce from a bottle, I had to find something bigger and better than that. Thats where Gwyneth Paltrow came in. Featured on the latest cover of Bon Appetit magazine, Gwyneth is promoting her new cook book My Father's Daughter. Yes, ladies and gentleman, she acts, sings, writes her own blog (Goop.com) and now she is a published cook book author. Talk about a renaissance woman. Anyway, Gwyneth was pictured making this recipe for peach barbecue chicken and I knew it would be the perfect twist on a classic. Aside from being incredibly easy to prepare, this barbecue chicken is spicy and tangy all at the same time creating a fantastic flavor profile, and a welcome change from traditional barbecue sauce.

9-10 ounces frozen sliced peaches, thawed
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil

In the amount of time it takes you to cook four chicken breasts, you can have a delicious sauce to go along with it. Rub each chicken breast with a little vegetable oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for ten to twelve minutes, flipping once, on a grill pan or outdoor grill. In a small saucepan, add the ketchup, peaches, lemon juice, chipotle sauce and garlic and stir occasionally until the mixture is heated through. Most people don't know that you can cook with a saucepan over a grill the same way you can over a stove, so if you're cooking your chicken on an outdoor grill, don't hesitate to do the same with the barbecue sauce.

After heating the barbecue sauce, remove it from the grill or the stove and allow it to come to room temperature. Then, using an immersion blender or blending in a regular blender in small batches, puree the barbecue sauce until smooth. During the last few minutes of cooking the chicken, brush on the barbecue sauce and allow to heat through until it becomes glazed over the chicken. Serve the rest of the sauce on the side for dipping. 

If you prefer a sweeter sauce, feel free to add more peaches or ketchup and limit the adobo. But if you prefer a spicier sauce like I do, add a teaspoon more of adobo sauce. The peach flavor will definitely still shine through but you will just have that extra kick. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Are those not the most beautiful things you've ever seen? Perfectly browned on the top yet chewy and decadent in the middle. The addition of a little melted semi-sweet chocolate made these absolutely over the top delicious. I was inspired to make these by ones I had from the famous Tate's Bakeshop in Southampton, NY last weekend. Although hers didn't have the chocolate, they were extremely tasty and a nice change from the crunchy chocolate chip cookies everyone loves. Being excellent friends with the owner of Tate's Bakeshop, I knew Ina Garten would have a great recipe for macaroons and sure enough I was right. Just writing this post is making me wish I didn't bring these into work last week.

14 oz. bag of sweetened shredded coconut
14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
2 egg whites
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Just six ingredients and a quick pop in the oven and you have these bite sized gems. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Combine the coconut, condensed milk, vanilla extract and salt in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form then gently fold into the rest of the mixture. Once everything is well combined, I used a one inch melon baller to form my macaroons but you could use any spoon or even an ice cream scoop. If you use an ice cream scoop be aware that they will take longer in the oven to bake. Scoop out even balls of the coconut mixture and place them evenly on a baking sheet. If your raw macaroons are between one and two inches in diameter then twelve minutes in the oven should do the trick. Don't forget to spray the baking sheet with cooking spray! I made that mistake with one of my baking sheets and ended up having a small problem on my hands when it came time to put them on the cooling rack. Good thing this recipe makes so many macaroons!
If after twelve minutes your macaroons aren't beautifully golden brown on the top then leave them in the oven until they are. No exceptions. Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool for a half hour. In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips on high for minute increments stirring in between. Once the chocolate is fully melted and smooth and the macaroons have cooled, dip the bottom of each one into the chocolate and place on a foil-lined plate for easy removal once the chocolate has hardened. At this point you can leave the macaroons out at room temperature for about an hour until the chocolate is fully hardened, or, if you're as impatient as I am you can place them in the freezer for about five minutes for instant gratification. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rosemary Potato Pancake with a Poached Egg

Rosemary Potato Pancake
with a Poached Egg

Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day. This is true for a number of reasons. Breakfast is the most versatile meal of the day. It can be sweet or savory, warm or cold, simple or complex. My love affair with breakfast began with chocolate chip pancakes at a young age but I find that as I grow older I find myself preferring the more savory breakfast dishes. Eggs, of course, are a breakfast staple and I was almost appalled at myself that I hadn't attempted to poach one yet! So needless to say, the time had come, for me to poach my very first egg.

My first egg poaching experience was a flawless one as you'll find out how to do yourself in just a bit. And the deliciously crispy and flavorful red potato pancake was the perfect accompaniment. Rosemary and potato is a classic combination that I catered to my breakfast craving and it turned out exceptionally well :)

2 red potatoes
1 shallot
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon flour
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a small pan over medium high heat and add the two tablespoons of olive oil. Using a cheese grater with a medium grate, grate the red potatoes and the shallot into a small bowl. Dump the contents of the bowl onto a paper towel and squeeze out the excess water over the sink. Getting rid of the water enables the pancake to brown nicely. Pour the grated potato and shallot back into a bowl and add the flour, dried rosemary and garlic powder and a touch of salt and pepper. Stir the mixture with a fork until the flour and herbs are well distributed and the grated potato is coated. Using your hands, form the mixture into a tight patty. Place in the pan and allow to cook for five or six minutes, flipping once. Once the pancake is cooked place it on a paper towel to drain for a minute before plating.

And now for the pièce de résistance, the poached egg. Don't be daunted by this process because I promise it is not nearly as hard as it sounds. Crack an egg into a small bowl and bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. You do NOT want boiling water. Once the water is just barely simmering, turn the heat down slightly and pour a little bit of white vinegar into the pot. Using a large slotted spoon, stir the water in the pot to create a little whirlpool for the egg. Pour the egg into the middle of the whirlpool and just let it do its thing for about thirty seconds of cooking.  If you notice the egg is sticking to the bottom of the pot use a spatula to give it a little nudge. After a few more minutes the egg should be solid white and the yolk still runny. Using the same slotted spoon lift the egg out of the pot and place it on top of the potato pancake.

The combo of runny egg yolk and crispy potato pancake with the tantalizing flavors of onion and rosemary is a match made in heaven. I had actually skipped breakfast the day I made this and even late in the day it was just as satisfying as ever. Feel free to top it with salt, pepper, hollandaise or hot sauce and enjoy!