Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tim Cooks: Pepperoni Rolls

Modified from this recipe on the blog Sweet Tea in Texas, which came from Michelle's blog, Sugar and Spice.

  • 1 loaf refrigerated bread dough
  • turkey pepperoni
  • shredded mozzarella
  • butter
  • Italian seasoning
  • garlic salt
  • olive oil
  • dried parsley (optional)
  • pizza sauce
  1. Preheat over to 350F.
  2. Take the dough out of the container & lay it flat. Cut it in half & roll out two rectangles. Spread a little butter over the dough. Sprinkle that with some Italian seasoning & garlic salt. Layer the pepperoni on the dough, and cover with mozzarella cheese.
  3. Roll up lengthwise and seal the ends and seam. Place seam-side down in a baking pan.
  4. Brush a small amount of olive oil over the top; sprinkle with dried parsley.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.
Suggested Beverage: Red Wine

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 8.5/10

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Giada's Chicken Piccata

Giada's recipe

  • 1lb. boneless skinless chicken tenders
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup brined capers, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.

  3. Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

Suggested Beverage: Pinot Grigio (Lindeman's Bin 85 Sauvignon Blanc)

Notes: I like the sauce, but the chicken was a little blah.

Tim's Rating: 7/10 ("It's fine, I'd eat it, I just don't like it that much. I'd rather eat tacos if I had the choice.")
Tim's Second Helping: 8/10 ("It's growing on me, I am changing my rating to an 8.")
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mrs. Field's Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

This recipe


  • 3 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

  • 2 1/2 cups all−purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 300F.
  • In a small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon for topping. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl combine flour, soda and salt. Mix well with a whire whisk
  • and set aside.
  • In a large bowl blend sugars with an electric mixer set at medium speed. Add
  • the butter, and mix to form a grainy paste. Scrape eides of bowl, then add
  • the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add the flour mixture and blend at low speed just until combined. Do not
  • overmix. Shape dough into 1−inch balls and roll each ball in cinnamon−sugar
  • topping.
  • Place onto ungreased cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 17−20 minutes.
  • Immediately transfer cookies with a spatula to a cool, flat surface.

Suggested Beverage: double espresso

Liz's Rating: 10/10

Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers


  • 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • Optional: hamburger buns, cheese, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, onion.

  1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and lightly oil a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
  3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
  5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
  6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

Notes: We served them bun-less, alongside a salad.

Suggested Beverage: Pacifico beer

Tim's Rating: 8/10 ("They were pretty good. I think they'd be weird with a bun, though.")
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Cilantro Cumin Salad Dressing

This recipe on the Digest This! blog.

  • 1 large handful cilantro
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put cilantro & apple cider vinegar in food processor and finely chop cilantro.
  2. Pour into bowl and add other ingredients. Whisk vigorously until oil no longer separates.
  3. Serve immediately or if you store it, whisk again right before serving.
  4. Can be saved in fridge or freezer.
Notes: Next time I will try reducing the vinegar t0 1/3 cup.

Tim's Rating: 10/10 ("I like it! Tastes like tacos!") hmm....interesting
Liz's Rating: 7/10

Blogging With a Purpose- My First Award!

Thanks to Court Cooks at Prescription for Good Food for giving me my first blogging award-- I am honored! Not only does she have great-looking food, but she's also a pharmacist-- I love the pharmacists, I am married to one!

I am nominating the following five blogs for this award:

  1. Erin at Dinner and Dessert for encouraging me through my yeast bread fiascos and inspiring me to order The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I hope my breads turn out like hers someday!

  2. Brooke at ... and a cookie for dessert
    I love her recipes, most recently the shrimp lasagna rolls. I have starred her Mexican Sour Cream Rice to make soon!

  3. Gaga in the kitchen
    For her wonderful recipes, many with an Asian focus.

  4. Ally at Culinary Infatuation
    Great recipes and easy to follow instructions! I used her Salisbury Steak recipe last week and it was delicious.

  5. Melissa at It's Melissa's Kitchen
    She has really good ideas (Fish Taco Friday, hello!), recipes and photos. I can't wait to make her challah recipe once I've figured out this baking-with-yeast thing!

Award-winners, here's what you should do:
1. nominate 5 blogs which haven't had this award before
2. each of the blogs must have a purpose
3. the nominated blogs must make a link back to this page
4. the logo from the award must be put on their blog and it must link back to this blog!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Giada's Shrimp Lasagna Rolls

Giada's recipe, featured on Brooke's blog.

  • 8 ounces whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz) container whole-milk ricotta
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1.5 cups marinara sauce
  • 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese

  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 6-8 minutes. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and garlic to the pan and saute until shrimp are cooked, about 4 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool. Coarsely chop the cooled shrimp and place in a bowl with 1 cup ricotta cheese, the Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, 3/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and the nutmeg. Stir to combine.
  • In another bowl, combine the marinara sauce with remaining 1 cup ricotta and stir to combine.
  • To make lasagna, cover the bottom of a baking dish with 1/2 cup marinara mixture. Lay 4 noodles flat on a dry work surface. Spread about 1/4 cup shrimp mixture evenly over each noodle. Roll up and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat twice more to make 6-8 lasagna rolls.
  • Drizzle the rolls with the remaining marinara mixture and top with mozzarella. Bake until lasagna rolls are heated through and cheese begins to brown, about 25 minutes.
Notes: The ingredients/instructions above reflect the fact that I halved the recipe, which made 8 rolls, or 3-4 servings. You can see the full recipe and results on Brooke's blog.

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Broiled Grapefruit

  • 2 large grapefruits, well chilled
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 small fresh mint sprigs (optional)
  • Preheat a broiler.
  • Cut each grapefruit in half crosswise. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each half, if necessary, so that it will stand upright.
  • Using a serrated grapefruit knife or a small, sharp knife, loosen the grapefruit segments in each half by first carefully cutting between the fruit and the peel and then by cutting along either side of each segment to free it from the membrane. Leave all the segments in their shells. Place the halves upright in a baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Using your fingers, sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the grapefruit halves. Slip under the broiler about 4 inches from the heat source and broil until the sugar is uniformly bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Transfer each grapefruit half to an individual dish and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Notes: Next time, I will do as instructed and cut the grapefruit before sugaring and broiling it.

Tim's Rating: 10/10
Liz's Rating: 10/10

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sichuan Green Beans

This recipe on Bridget's blog which was originally published by Cooks Illustrated magazine.

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or use 1/4 teaspoon if you don't like spicy food)
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ¼ pound ground pork
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  1. In small bowl, stir together soy sauce, mirin or sherry, sugar, cornstarch, white pepper, pepper flakes, mustard, and water until sugar dissolves; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add beans and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender and skins are shriveled and blackened in spots, 5 to 8 minutes (reduce heat to medium-high if beans darken too quickly). Transfer beans to large plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add pork to now-empty skillet. Cook, breaking pork into small pieces, until no pink remains, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds. Stir sauce to recombine and return beans to pan with sauce. Toss and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 seconds. Remove pan from heat and stir in scallions and sesame oil. Serve immediately.
Notes: Next time I will cut the ginger and garlic to 2 teaspoons each. I will also increase the "sauce" amount by 1/2.

Tim's Rating: 9.5/10
Liz's Rating: 8.5/10

Pepperoni Mozzarella Bread

Slightly modified from this recipe on Erin's blog, which was taken from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart.



  • ½ cup bread flour
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, lukewarm (or whole milk)


  • 4 ounces pepperoni, cut in quarters
  • 3 ½ cups (16 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) Salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) Sugar
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup coarsely shredded or grated provolone or other cheese (I used mozzarella)

  1. Proof yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.
  2. To make the sponge, stir together the flour and yeast mixture to make a pancake-like batter. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 1 hour.
  3. While the sponge is fermenting, dice the salami into small cubes and saute it lightly in a frying pan to crisp it slightly.
  4. Stir together the flour, salt, and sugar with a spoon. Add the eggs and the sponge until the ingredients form a coarse ball. If there is any loose flour, dribble in a small amount of water or milk to gather it into the dough. Mix for about 1 minute, then let rest for 10 minutes. Divide the butter in 4 pieces and work into dough, one piece at a time while mixing. After mixing about 4 minutes, the dough will change from sticky to tacky and eventually come off the sides of the bowl. If not, sprinkle in more flour to make it do so.
  5. When the dough is smooth, add the meat pieces and mix until they are evenly distributed. Then gently mix in the cheese until it too is evenly distributed. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  6. Ferment at room temperature for about 90 minutes, or until the dough increases in size by at least 1 1/2 times.
  7. Remove the dough from the bowl and leave as 1 piece for 1 large loaf or divide into 2 pieces for smaller loaves. Bake in 1 large or 2 small loaf pans by misting the pans with spray oil, shaping the dough, and placing it in the pans. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and cover.
  8. Proof for 60-90 minutes, or until the dough just reaches the top of the pans.
  9. Place pans in a 350′F oven and bake for 40-50 minutes until the center of the loaves registers 185-190′F. The dough will be golden brown on top and on the sides, and the cheese will ooze out into crisp little brown pockets.
  10. When the bread is done, remove the bread from the oven and from the pans and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.
Notes: I really like this recipe. I don't think I had the best results, but this is only my second attempt at yeast bread... I will try it again!

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Banana Bread Muffins

Tim's request for banana bread with walnuts and this recipe.

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place muffin cups in muffin tin, or grease with a little butter.
  2. Mix sugar, oil, and egg until creamy and light yellow. Add bananas and walnuts. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir until completely smooth. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin.
  3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until toothpick poked in center muffin comes out clean.

Notes: Makes one dozen muffins

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Salisbury Steak with Carmelized Onion Sauce

Ally's Blog

  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried (divided)
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram (divided)
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 c. beef stock or broth
  • Salt and Pepper (to your taste)

  1. Put ground beef in a bowl and add garlic powder, parsley, coriander, marjoram, thyme, slat and pepper and bread crumbs.
  2. Break eggs in another small bowl and whisk, add to beef mixture.
  3. Cut onion in half and process one half in a food processor until very fine.
  4. Add to onion to beef mixture and mix everything together until smooth. Shape into oval patties about 1-1 1/2 thick.
  5. Heat a large heavy skillet over med. high heat and add olive oil. Sear patties on each side about 2-3 minutes per side, or until a brown crust forms.
  6. While the patties are cooking slice the remaining onion and mince the garlic.
  7. Remove patties from pan, add 2 Tbs. of butter, 1/2 tsp. thyme, 1/2 tsp. marjoram, salt, pepper and onions. Cook onions for about 5-8 minutes, or until caramelized. Add garlic and cook a minute more. Add flour to the onions and stir until smooth. De glaze the pan with the wine and cook until liquid is absorbed. Add beef broth and bring contents of the skillet to a simmer.
  8. Put the beef patties back in pan and simmer for 15 minutes. (if gravy isn't thick enough add some corn starch to water and make a slurry, pour in skillet and stir)
  9. Serve over mashed potatoes, barley, rice, egg noodles etc.
Liz's Rating: 9/10
Tim's Rating: 8/10

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Ina Garten

  • Kosher salt
  • 3 pounds boiling potatoes, such as Yukon gold, peeled
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into 1 1/2-inch cubes and add them to the boiling water. Bring the water to a boil again, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn't boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done.

  3. As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Place a food mill fitted with a small disc/blade over a heatproof bowl. Process the potatoes through the food mill, turning the handle back and forth. As soon as the potatoes are mashed, stir in the hot milk-and-butter mixture with a whisk or rubber spatula. Add enough buttermilk to make the potatoes creamy. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and the pepper, to taste, and serve hot.
Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuna Melts


  • 10 ounces of tuna in packets
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices bread
  • 8 slices ripe tomato
  • 8 slices swiss or cheddar cheese
  • paprika, for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven broiler.
  2. In a bowl, mix the tuna, mayonnaise, celery, onion, parsley, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet, and broil 1 minute in the preheated oven, until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and spread with the tuna salad. Place 1 cheese slice over the tuna salad on each piece of bread, layer with a tomato slice, and top with remaining cheese slices.
  4. Return layered bread to the preheated oven, and broil 3 to 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 7.5/10

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pho, Rachael Ray Style

Rachael Ray

  • 5 ounces rice noodles
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 pound deli roast beef, cut in 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 cups beef broth (or one can)
  • salt
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • lime wedges

  1. Add the rice noodles to a medium saucepan filled with water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again.
  2. Divide the cooked rice noodles, bean sprouts and roast beef strips among 4 soup bowls.
  3. Heat the oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add the jalapeño and scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Season the soup with salt and divide among the bowls.
  4. Garnish with the cilantro leaves and lime wedges.

Notes: Next time, I will use all beef broth (instead of using water for part of it) and leave the seeds in the jalapeño. I might also add garlic, ginger or something else to the broth to make it richer. We also only used half of the beef.

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Strawberry Cupcakes

This recipe
on the cooking blog Annie's Eats (modified from a recipe on Good Things Catered).


For the cupcakes:

  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped strawberries

For the frosting:

  • ½ c. strawberries
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

  2. Sift flour, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped strawberries. Fill cupcake wells ¾ full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

  3. For the frosting, puree strawberries in food processor. Strain through a mesh sieve to remove seeds, and set aside. Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add lemon juice, vanilla and strawberry puree. Adjust the amount of puree to achieve your desired consistency. Frost cupcakes when completely cool.

Tim's Rating: 10/10 ("Incredible")

Liz's Rating: 10/10

Kowalski's Cherry Chicken Pasta Salad

A favorite dish at D'Amico and Sons deli, and a recipe found at Kowalski's market.

  • 1 (16 oz.) box rigatoni pasta
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 1 (8-9 oz.) pkg. dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup chopped sweet yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup baker's sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 1 cup toasted almonds, divided

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions; rinse with cold water and drain.
  2. In large bowl, combine pasta, chicken, cherries, onion and celery.
  3. In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper and poppy seeds until thoroughly combined.
  4. Stir salad dressing into salad ingredients along with 3/4 cup almonds; top with remaining almonds.
Notes: Next time I will decrease the mayonnaise to 1 1/2 cups.

Tim's Rating: 9.5/10
Liz's Rating: 9.5/10

Bittman's Fast, Creamy Chicken Curry

Modified from a recipe on Mark Bittman's Blog, Bitten.

  • 2 tablespoons canola, corn or other neutral-flavored oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, in 4 pieces
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup yogurt (or sour cream)
  • Minced cilantro or parsley leaves for garnish
  • cooked white rice

  1. Place oil in a large skillet and turn heat to medium high. A minute later, add onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; sprinkle with about half the curry powder and continue to cook for a minute or two.
  2. Meanwhile, season chicken with salt and pepper and sprinkle it with the remaining curry powder. Move onions to one side in the skillet and add the chicken in one layer. Add chopped tomato. Cook about 2 minutes per side over medium heat; remove chicken to a plate.
  3. If using yogurt, turn heat to very low and wait a minute before adding it to the skillet. If using sour cream, add it without reducing heat or waiting. Stir yogurt or sour cream into the onions and cook, stirring constantly over low heat, until the mixture is hot. Return chicken to skillet and cook for 2 minutes, or until cooked through, turning once. Garnish and serve with white rice.
Notes: This isn't the best version of chicken curry, but considering how quick it is to make, it's pretty good!

Tim's Rating: "Didn't care for it." (He won't give me a number!)
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tim's T-bone Steaks

Finally, warm enough weather to use our grill!
And, t-bone steaks purchased as part of a larger order from Batalden Farms.

  • t-bone steaks
  • olive oil
  • Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • freshly-cracked black pepper
  1. Let steak come to room temperature.
  2. Rub both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper.
  3. Grill for roughly 8 minutes on one side, flip, and 6 minutes on the other side (for medium-medium rare).
Notes: We served the steak with roasted asparagus and a green salad with balsamic-Dijon vinaigrette.

Tim's Rating: 9/10 ("This is so good, I feel sorry for vegetarians.")
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Balsamic-Dijon Vinaigrette


  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Mix Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and salt in a bowl. Pour oil in a slow and steady stream, while beating the mixture rapidly with a wire whisk.

Tim's Rating: 9/10 ("This is better than when we just drizzle it all on (meaning olive oil and balsamic vinegar)."
Liz's Rating: 7.5/10

Monday, April 14, 2008

Florentine Mac and Cheese and Roast Chicken Sausage Meatballs

Modified a recipe by Rachael Ray

  • salt
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • Black pepper
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs, plus more, if needed*
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach, stemmed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg, eyeball it
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Place a large pot of water on to boil for pasta. When it comes to a boil, salt it and add the pasta to cook to al dente. Strain pasta reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, in a large mixing bowl combine the chicken, salt and pepper, rosemary, fennel seeds, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano - a rounded handful, egg and bread crumbs. *If the mixture seems too wet, add a handful of bread crumbs and mix together.

  4. Form 8 large round balls, about 3 to 4-inches. Coat balls in a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and lightly grease a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Arrange balls on the baking sheet and roast 17 to 18 minutes until juices run clear

  5. While the meatballs roast, in a medium sauce pot over medium heat, melt butter, whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in stock and milk, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, add spinach and thicken 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 cup grated Parmigiano and reduce heat on lowest setting.

  6. Toss pasta with the spinach-white sauce and adjust seasonings.

  7. Serve Florentine Mac-n-Cheese with 2 meatballs per person along side.

Notes: The chicken meatballs are really, really good. The fennel shines in the dish. The sauce is also pretty good- not gluey like I was expecting.

Tim's Rating: 9/10 ("Can you make these again next week?")
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Babe Ruth Bars

Leftover cornflakes and this recipe from

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup white corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6 cups cornflakes cereal
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup peanuts
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the peanut butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and white sugar. Cook stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and quickly mix in the cornflakes, chocolate chips and peanuts until evenly coated.
  2. Press the entire mixture gently into a buttered 9x13 inch baking dish. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
Notes: So, they don't look that great, but they taste really good! I read later that it's better to save the chocolate chips and sprinkle them on at the end, rather than mix them in the hot mixture (where they melt). I will definitely make these again, but I wouldn't take them to a party or serve them to guests unless I work on the presentation.

Tim's Rating: 10/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Updated: No-Knead Bread from The New York Times

First attempt: Not a total success. Flavor- great. Texture-great. Height of loaf- only 2 inches! I am trying again with a few modifications. The first attempt, I used 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast and 1 and 5/8 cups room temperature water. I left the dough to rise for 2 hours in step 3.

Second attempt:
I would consider this a success, but not a total success. Tim does-- he says it tastes just like restaurant bread... he's impressed.
Flavor is still great. The loaf is definitely higher, although I would like it to be even an inch or so higher.
I used 1/3 teaspoon active dry yeast and 1 1/2 cups warm water. I let the dough rise for 3 hours in step 3.Third attempt:
What do you suggest I try? Can I get the bread to rise a little higher? Should I use a little more yeast, a little warmer water, a warmer resting place, try bread flour, or try the almost no-knead bread recipe? Any advice would be appreciated!

Jim Lahey's recipe featured in The New York Times

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast OR 1/3 teaspoon active yeast
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 4-quart heavy covered pot (I used an enameled cast iron dutch oven) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Curried Roasted Chickpeas

I modified this recipe from

  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • good-quality olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • curry powder
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Wrap chickpeas in a flour sack towel or paper towel, to absorb moisture on outside of chickpeas.
  3. Spread on an ungreased, non-stick jelly roll pan.
  4. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown. (I roasted for 30 minutes, and mine were a bit too dark.)
  5. When cooled, pick out any black bits.
  6. Place roasted chickpeas in a bowl and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and curry powder to taste.

Tim's Rating: (He didn't get to try them because I ate them all!)
Liz's Rating: 9/10


Leftover bread and bruschetta topping

  • 3 cups diced day-old Italian bread: 3/4" square pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups bruschetta topping
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Additional salt, pepper, fresh basil (to taste)
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Let sit for 30-60 minutes before serving.
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hung's Clay Pot Rice

Hung, the winner of Top Chef season 2, was featured in the February 2008 issue of Food and Wine Magazine. I decided to try his recipe for Clay Pot Rice.

  • 1 cup short-grain rice (7 ounces)
  • 3 ounces mixed mushrooms such as oyster and stemmed shiitake, quartered if large (2 cups)
  • 2 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 thick slices of fatty bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1/2 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  1. In a bowl, cover the rice with water and let soak until the grains turn white, about 1 hour. Drain the rice.
  2. In another bowl, toss the mushrooms and scallions with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and season with salt and pepper; let marinate for 10 minutes.
  3. In a small, enameled cast-iron casserole, clay pot or medium saucepan (I used a 4-quart enameled cast iron dutch oven), cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the soaked rice and stir to coat with the fat. Add the ginkgo nuts, marinated mushrooms and scallions, the water and the remaining 1 teaspoon of soy sauce. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Drizzle the oil around the edge of the pot so it runs down the insides.
  4. Cover the pot and cook the rice over low heat until tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 10 minutes. Raise the heat to high and cook the rice, covered, until sizzling and a crust forms on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
Notes: The crispy crust part of the rice is the best part- just like paella!

Tim's Rating: 10/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Lemongrass Chicken

Hung, the winner of Top Chef, featured in Food and Wine magazine.

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 scallions—whites chopped, greens sliced, for garnish
  • 1 large stalk of lemongrass, bottom two-thirds chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro stems, plus sprigs, for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Lime wedges, for serving

  1. In a mini processor, puree the garlic, scallion whites, lemongrass, cilantro stems, sugar, lime juice, salt and pepper to a paste.
  2. Rub the paste all over the chicken thighs. Put the chicken on a plate, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.Scrape the marinade from the chicken.
  3. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the chicken, and cook over moderately high heat until cooked through; transfer to plates, and garnish with scallion greens and cilantro sprigs. Serve with lime wedges and the dipping sauce.

Notes: The flavors were really good, but I don't think that the marinade was strong enough for chicken thighs. The original recipe called for pompano fillets (fish), so I might try it next time.

Tim's Rating: 10/10
Liz's Rating: 8/10

Hot-Sweet-Tangy Dipping Sauce

Hung, the winner of Top Chef, featured in Food and Wine Magazine.

  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 2 Thai chiles, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. In a bowl, stir the lime juice with the fish sauce, chiles and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.

Liz's Rating: 10/10
Tim's Rating: 10/10


A Cooks Illustrated recipe, featured on Bridget's blog



  • 3 cups minced napa cabbage leaves (about ½ medium head)
  • ¾ teaspoon table salt
  • ¾ pound ground pork
  • 4 minced scallions (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 36 round potsticker wrappers (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water, plus extra for brushing

  1. Toss cabbage with the salt in colander set over a bowl and let stand until cabbage begins to wilt, about 20 minutes. Press the cabbage gently with rubber spatula to squeeze out any excess moisture, the transfer to a medium bowl. (If you can't get moisture to release, squeeze cabbage with hands.)
  2. Add the remaining filling ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until mixture is cold, at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  3. Working with 4 potsticker wrappers at a time (keep the remaining wrappers covered with plastic wrap), fill, seal, and shape the dumplings using a generous 1 teaspoon of the chilled filling per dumpling. Transfer the dumplings to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling; you should have about 24 dumplings. (The dumplings can be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day, or frozen for up to 1 month. Once frozen, the dumplings can be transferred to a zipper-lock bag to save space in the freezer; do not thaw before cooking.)
  4. Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels; set aside.
  5. Brush 1 tablespoon of the oil over the bottom of a 12-inch nonstick skillet and arrange half of the dumplings in the skillet, with a flat side facing down (overlapping just slightly if necessary). Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook the dumplings, without moving, until golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, add ½ cup of the water, and cover immediately. Continue to cook, covered, until most of the water is absorbed and the wrappers are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes.
  7. Uncover the skillet, increase the heat to medium-high, and continue to cook, without stirring, until the dumpling bottoms are well browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes more.
  8. Slide the dumplings onto the paper towel-lined plate, browned side facing down, and let drain briefly. Transfer the dumplings to a serving platter. Let the skillet cool until just warm, then wipe it clean with a wad of paper towels and repeat step 3 with the remaining dumplings, oil, and water.
  9. Serve with Scallion Dipping Sauce.

I used these wrappers:

Instructions for different size wrappers:
Round gyoza (3¾ inches diameter), fill with 1 rounded tablespoon, steam for 10 minutes
Round wonton (3¾ inches diameter), fill with 1 rounded tablespoon, steam for 6 minutes
Square wonton (3 3/8 inches square), fill with 2 rounded teaspoons, steam for 6 minutes
Rectangular wonton (3¼ inches by 2¾ inches), fill with 1 rounded teaspoon, steam for 5 minutes.

Liz's Rating: 10/10
Tim's Rating: 10/10

Scallion Dipping Sauce

A Cooks Illustrated recipe, featured on Bridget's blog

Makes ¾ cup.
The sauce can be refrigerated overnight.


  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 medium scallion , white and green parts, minced

  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl and serve.

Tim's Rating: 9/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10

Friday, April 11, 2008

Spinach Frittata

The frittata recipe in Joy of Cooking, but modified.

  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach (2/3 of a bag)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, and cook, stirring, until golden brown.
  3. Add spinach and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Transfer vegetables to a strainer to drain off the excess oil. Let cool completely.
  5. Preheat the broiler.
  6. Meanwhile, beat eggs, salt, and pepper together until smooth.
  7. Add cooled vegetables and Parmesan.
  8. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter) in skillet over medium heat.
  9. When hot, pour in the egg mixture. Reduce the heat and cook until the bottom is set, then place under broiler for 30 to 60 seconds to finish cooking.
  10. Loosen the frittata with a spatula and slide it onto a plate. Cut into wedges.

Tim's Rating: 8/10
Liz's Rating: 9/10