Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ice Cream Sandwich

One batch, two cookies with a scoop of ice cream. That's what I call a sandwich.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One Batch, Two Cookies

Last night I was hankering for a cookie. No, I was jonesing. So much so, I finally broke down and bought a SKOR bar. Vanilla ice cream with homemade butterscotch sauce wasn't gonna cut it. I wanted crunch and chew. I needed it! While I was securing my temporary fix at the grocery store, I plotted my cookie making operation. Stocked in the fruit and nut department, I grabbed some malt powder inspired by the WHOPPERS in the candy aisle. Why make one kind of cookie when I could just as easily make two, I wondered innocently? C is for COOKIES.

Malted Chocolate Chip + Oatmeal, Almond and Currant

One Batch, Two Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 t. vanill
2 large eggs

1/2 cup malt powder
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup currants, soaked in hot water 15 minutes and drained

  • Preheat oven to 350 F, place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and lightly grease or line baking sheets with parchment.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • Using and electric mixer, beat the butter until it's light and creamy. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy. Make sure to periodically scrape the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Again, scrape the bowl.
  • Turn the mixer to low and add the flour in three additions and beating until just combined.
  • At this point, divide the batter putting half into another bowl. To one batch add the malt and chocolate chips and the oatmeal, almonds and currants to the other. Or just add what ever you like;) Gently combine.
  • Scoop onto a baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches between cookies and , depending on their size, bake for 8-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  • Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spicy Beet and Carrot Slaw

This carrot and beet slaw is raw and spicy. RAW AND SPICY. And it'll make you feel like a million bucks. It packs heat from paprika and cayenne, has a touch of warming cinnamon and a slight tang from cumin. The sweet, earthy vegetables are bright and fresh and don't get lost behind the flavorful dressing. Beet-Carrot, it's like a one-two nutritional punch. Be a man, eat your uber-vegetables.

Spicy Beet and Carrot Slaw

serves 2

2 large or 4 small beets, peeled
2 large carrots, washed
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t cayenne
1/4 t. salt
juice of half a lemon
1/8 cup olive oil
  • Grate the beets and carrots using a food processor with grater attachment or the coarse side of a box grater. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and lemon juice. Stir until well blended. Add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking to combine, using more or less depending on your taste.
  • Add vinaigrette to shredded beets and carrots; mix well. Season to taste.
  • Enjoy!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Almond Parsley Pesto

I am, decidedly, not going to brave the grocery store in this blustery wet weather. This 'Sweep of the Kitch' crostini will brighten even the grayest of days. Mine is a quick pesto made with parsley, almonds and jalapeno, but go ahead and substitute any nuts, herbs, or whatever else might be past it's prime in the fridge.

'Sweep of the Kitch' Crostini
serves 2

1 1/2 bunch parsley, washed
1 handful raw almonds
1 jalapeno, coarsely chopped
olive oil
lemon juice
4 pieces toast
  • Place parsley, almonds and jalapeno in food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Add oil in a slow stream and continue to process until pesto loosens slightly. Feel free to use a bit of water in place of the oil for a lighter pesto.
  • Add lemon juice and salt to taste. Start with a little of each and continue to add until you are satisfied with the flavors. Allow to sit for about 10-15 minutes so the flavors come together.
  • Serve on toast with a drizzle of oil.
  • Enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lentil Soup

This soup is restorative. It makes me feel healthy and strong; ready for another long work week and these short, dark January days. But don't, for one moment, think that eating this lively lentil soup is like taking your medicine. There will be no need to hold your nose to get it down just because it's good for you. You'll want to slurp with abandon. Chances are you'll go back for more. Good! Fiberific, iron rich, and shamelessly full of vitamins and minerals - that lentil is one mighty legume!

Lentil Soup

olive oil
1 bunch celery
4 or 5 carrots, chopped
2 or 3, onions, diced
1/2 -3/4 t. red pepper flakes
1 lb. lentils
hot water (vegetable or chicken stock are great too)
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
cider vinegar to taste
salt and black pepper to taste
  • Leaving the bunch celery in tact, cut it (leaves and all) crosswise about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Over a moderate flame, heat a large stock pot and coat with oil. Add the celery, carrot and onions and cook until softened, 15-20 minutes. Add red pepper, and salt to taste.
  • Add lentils, stir to coat with oil. Add hot water to cover by about two inches (your pinkie is a good measuring stick). Increase heat to high and, stirring occasionally, bring to a boil. Add bay leaves, thyme and a pinch salt.
  • Once bubbling, lower heat to medium-low, and cook until the lentils are soft and the soup has thickened, 25-30 minutes. Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
  • Add a few good grinds of black pepper and enough vinegar to brighten soup. Salt, if necessary.
  • Enjoy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mini Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

Try these cupcakes...they'll make you smile! Happy Friday!

Mini Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 48

1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 T baking powder
1/2 - 3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. natural, creamy peanut butter
3 large eggs

6 oz. cream cheese
1/3 c. confectioners sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. heavy cream
fruit jam, for topping

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with paper liners.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and soda.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and vanilla.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium-high, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and mix until incorporated. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry.
  • Divide batter among muffin cups using a 3/4 oz. scoop or two tablespoons. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick comes out clean, about 11-12 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Once completely cooled, frost cupcakes.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and confectioners sugar. Add salt, peanut butter and vanilla. Mix until incorporated and transfer to a large blow.
  • Again in the mixer, whisk cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture.
  • Pipe frosting in a ring around the outside edges of the cupcakes, leaving a space at the center about the size of a penny. Fill that space with a dab of jam.
  • Enjoy!
If you want to make standard cupcakes, follow the same steps and bake them for about 20 minutes.
Store cupcakes in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Black bean soup two ways

I love to cook and often become happily obsessed with trying new recipes. That said, I can also be rather lazy. When the slug in me wins out (but my appetite remains voracious), my saving grace is the much maligned leftover. I LOVE leftovers!! I cook, for example, a big batch of spicy black bean soup and freeze a portion of it for future hectic Wednesdays or boozy football Sundays. I eat said soup, eat it again (and probably again-I have a high tolerance for repetition and, luckily, so does my boyfriend). Then, when I finally tire of eating the same old delicious soup, I use it to make a brand-spanking-new dish. Enter baked potato skins with black beans and three cheeses. Then I retire to the couch.

Chipotle Black Bean Soup
Serves a small army

olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 7.5 oz. can chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped (this will be messy:)
4 15 oz. cans black beans, drained, and divided in half
2 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes
hot water
2 bay leaves
4-5 sprigs cilantro, plus more for garnish
salt to taste

optional garnish: chopped cilantro, cheese (I like cojito or feta), sour cream, avocado, toasted pepitas, etc.
  • In a large stock pot over moderate heat, use enough oil to coat bottom and cook onions and peppers until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Salt onion mixture to taste.
  • Add chipotles and adobo sauce, and then half the black beans. Stir to coat beans with oil and adobo. Again, add salt to taste.
  • Add tomatoes and enough hot water to cover beans by about two inches (your pinkie is a good measuring stick). Turn heat to high and bring to a slow boil, stirring often.
  • Once soup has boiled, turn heat down to medium low, add bay leaves and cilantro and cook for about an hour. Again, salt to taste.
  • Remove bay leaves and cilantro and puree soup until it's almost smooth. I highly recommend that you get an immersion blender, if you don't have one, because they are super handy. If not, puree the soup in batches in your standing blender. Make sure not to fill your blender more than half way unless you want to wear your soup!
  • Add remaining black beans and cook until they're warmed through, 15-20 minutes. Add salt, one last time, if necessary.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!
A quick note: Because you salt the soup a number of times while you are making it, don't be heavy handed; a small pinch will do. Most importantly, make sure to taste throughout the process. And, trust those taste buds of yours!

Freeze soup, cooled completely, for up to six months. Defrost under running hot water.

Turn your soup into...
Baked Potato Skins with Black Beans and Three Cheeses
Serves 2-4

1 1/2 cup black bean soup
4 baked potato skin halves leftover from making hash browns
1/4 cup each, shredded and combined: cheddar and jack cheese
1/4 cup feta cheese
cilantro, chopped
  • In a small sauce pan over moderate heat, cook down the black bean soup until it has thickened and you have about one cup
  • Preheat broiler
  • Place potato skins in an oven safe baking dish. Fill each potato with one quarter of the black beans. Cover beans evenly with the cheddar and jack cheeses. Broil until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.
  • Top baked potato skins with feta cheese and cilantro, serve hot and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hash browns

I like to bake the potatoes the night before (as I am NOT a morning person). With this step taken care of, the hash browns will take all of 15 minutes. Order up!

Hash browns
serves 2

2 baking potatoes, scrubbed and dried
butter or oil
1 medium onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
  • Preheat heat oven to 350. Prick spuds a few times with a fork and brush lightly with oil and bake for about an hour, or until soft to the touch. Allow to cool enough to handle, cut in half and scrap insides into a small bowl. Set skins aside for another use.
  • In a small saute pan over moderate heat, cook until soft, about 7-8 minutes. Increase heat to high and add potatoes and season well with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown, 5-6 minutes, flip and cook for another 5ish minutes. Serve hot.
  • Enjoy!
Use the leftover potato skins to make Baked Potato Skins with Black Beans and Three Cheeses

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mint Brownies

New Year's resolutions be damned (or at least tempered). "They" say that if you completely deprive yourself you are less likely to stick to your diet. It's better to be moderate. Well, there's nothing moderate about these decadent mint brownies -read cream- but their beauty lies in their richness. No joke. One chocolaty bite leaves me satisfied and I don't feel the NEED to sneak another one (you know, the "Once you pop, you can't stop" syndrome). Whatever, maybe I am justifying, but I like to think that this minimal indulgence helps me ultimately tow the line. Anyway you couch it, these brownies are heavenly!

Mint Brownies
adapted from
makes about 6 dozen

Brownie layer

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
10 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 t. vanilla
3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. plus 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 t. salt
Mint ganache
1/2 c. heavy cream
10 oz white chocolate, chopped
2 T green crème de menthe
1 t. peppermint extract
Chocolate ganache
1 c. heavy cream
10 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Brownie layer
  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375. Lightly butter a 13 x 9 inch baking pan and line with 2 crisscrossed sheets of parchment or foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on all sides. Butter parchment or foil.
  • Melt butter and chocolate with brown sugar in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until combined. Whisk in flour, cocoa, and salt until just combined.
  • Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake until set and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours.
Mint ganache
  • Bring cream to a simmer in a saucepan and remove from heat. Pour cream over white chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Stir in crème de menthe and extract and chill, covered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 1 hour.
Chocolate ganache
  • Bring cream to a simmer in a saucepan and remove from heat. Pour over bittersweet chocolate in a bowl. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Chill, covered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 30 minutes.
  • Spread mint ganache over top of cooled brownie in a thin layer using an offset spatula, then chill until firm but still slightly sticky, about 30 minutes. Spread chocolate ganache over mint and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
  • Lift brownies out of pan using 2 inch overhang. Run a heavy knife under hot water and wipe dry. Cut into small squares.
  • Enjoy!
Brownies will keep in the fridge for three weeks.