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Archive for February, 2010

I’m not much for hyperbole when it comes to describing recipes.  In fact, I get annoyed when bloggers talk up their recipes a lot, only to get ho-hum results myself.  So it means something when I feel no hesitation calling these some of the best brownies you’ll ever make.  My friends Nat and Jen brought these to a party a few months ago, and the crowd went wild.

If you love fudge brownies, these babies are for you.  They’re moist, rich, and deep, dark chocolatey.  Blondie lovers, look elsewhere.  This is some serious chocolate.  And by the way, some toasted walnuts would not be a crime here. Just don’t delay in making these!

Adapted from Joy of Baking

-5 oz. (140 g.) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 70% chocolate)
-1/2 c. (1 stick/113 g.) butter
-2 Tbsp. (15 g.) cocoa powder
-1 c. (200 g.) sugar (raw sugar OK)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-3 large eggs, room temperature
-3/4 c. (95 g.) all-purpose flour*
-1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease an 8×8-in. square or 9-in. round pan.

2. In a medium metal bowl, melt the chocolate and butter over a pot of simmering water.

3. Whisk until completely melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and sugar until fully combined.

4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

5. Stir in the flour and salt just until combined. Do not overmix.

6. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake on the middle rack for 28-35 min., or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean, with just a little batter and a few crumbs clinging to it. Do not overbake.

7. Cool 10 min. before cutting.

*This recipe adapts well for those avoiding gluten. Just substitute an equal amount of gluten-free “all purpose” flour. Mine was a combination of rice flour, cornstarch, and potato flour. I honestly could not tell the difference.

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This unusual rice pilaf makes a great side dish for baked chicken or grilled meat. The combination of sweet/savory and tart/buttery flavors is delicious.  I imagine it would even be good using a prepared saffron rice mix (steamed, not boiled as this recipe calls for) in a pinch.  But what I like about making your own saffron rice is that the flavor is subtle, and you avoid the MSG lurking in packaged products.

In any case, try this!  It’s such a nice twist.

(Adapted from Food & Wine)

-1 c. basmati rice
-3 Tbsp. butter
-1 tsp. olive oil
-1/4 c. dried sour cherries, raisins, or dried cranberries (2 ounces)
-2 tsp. sugar
-1/3 c. sliced or slivered almonds
-1/4 tsp. saffron
-salt and pepper, to taste

1. Toast the almonds in a dry skillet on medium heat, stirring to prevent burning. Once brown, immediately remove almonds to a bowl.

2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the rice and cook until almost tender, between 8 and 10 minutes. Test periodically to ensure the rice retains a slight “al dente” bite.

3. Drain rice in a colander and shake to remove excess water. In a small bowl, dissolve the saffron in 1 tablespoon of hot water. Return the rice to the saucepan and stir in the saffron water. Season with salt and (ideally white) pepper.

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There are scare quotes in the title because I have no idea how authentically Moroccan this stew is.  Regardless, it’s delicious and definitely worth the chopping involved.  Jam-packed with vegetables, slightly spicy, and full of flavor, it’s even pretty good for you.  Don’t be scared off by the long list of ingredients; if you make chili or Mexican food, you probably have most of the spices in your cupboard already.

I adapted this recipe from my friend, Nikki, who served it at a dinner party.  Moroccan chicken stew is a great dish for a crowd, because once everything’s in the pot, you’re free to hang out with your guests.  Nikki says, “I love the recipe because it is so easy to make for that reason.”  And we love to eat it.  Everyone wins!

-1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
-2 Tbsp. olive oil
-1 med. onion, diced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp. ground coriander
-1 tsp. ground turmeric
-1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
-1 tsp. chili powder (or more to taste)
-1 tsp. oregano
-2 tsp. tomato paste
-cayenne pepper, to taste
-1 or 2  (16 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with sauce (I used two)
-2 med. zucchini, quartered and cut into chunks
-4-5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into coins
-1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
-1 cup chicken broth
-juice from 1 lemon
-1/4 c. raisins, optional
-1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
-lots of salt and black pepper, to taste

Mise en place = crucial!

1) Season chicken with salt and pepper and begin browning in a large (pref. nonstick) pot. (more…)

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