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Chocolate Pecan Pie

I was given this recipe a long time ago from a friend who got it from her mother-in-law. It has some notes on it. It was apparently taken from a newspaper, from a book called Around the Southern Table. I have no idea whether this is the actual book? But that is what I found. I changed things up, of course, this time because of stupidity rather than creativity. More on that later...

Chocolate Pecan Pie

1 pie crust (this is the crust I used)
4T butter
7oz bittersweet chocolate, rough chopped
2 eggs
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c dark corn syrup
1/4 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla
2T bourbon (I used Jack Daniels)
1 1/2 c coarsely chopped pecans

Blind bake* the pie crust in a 9" pie pan. Set aside.

In a skillet toast pecans. (Or you can put them on a baking sheet and toast them while blind baking the crust). In a saucepan heat butter and chocolate until melted. Set aside to slightly cool. In a mixer beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar and corn syrup until combined. Add heavy cream, vani…

Pie Crust

There are a lot of pie crusts out there let me tell you. Some fight you every inch of the way, others don't. I found this one to produce quite a tender crust and not to fight you too much.

Pie Crust (Adapted from A New Way to Cook - was it a new way? No-not really)

1 c flour
1T sugar (additional if using for a sweet crust)
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t Kosher salt
4 T cold butter, cubed
3T sour cream

In a food processor mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and pulse several times until it looks like crumbly almost like cornmeal. Place the food processor bowl in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Add the sour cream and pulse until the dough comes together. Form it into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Roll dough out to desired size (fits a 9" pie rather nicely). Prepare as directed by recipe.

I didn't take any pictures of the process. Actually, I think pie crust usually just looks like pie crust. However, I will provide a…

Cranberry Pot Roast

Sorry - this is going to be a boring all text posting. I hadn't made pot roast in ages and I was so anxious to dig in that I forgot to take a picture. Besides pot roast is not necessarily the most attractive photo - now is it? It's sort of all brown. I had some leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving sitting in the refrigerator and decided to put it to good use.

Cranberry Pot Roast (Adapted from my refrigerator)

3lb chuck roast
salt/pepper
1T canola oil
2 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
1/4 c cranberry sauce
2 c red wine


For Gravy:
2T butter
2T flour

Dry roast with paper towels. Salt and pepper roast. Heat a dutch oven over high heat until it is really hot. Add canola oil and sear meat on all sides. Add cinnamon stick, cloves, cranberry sauce, and wine. You might need additional wine. You want to have it come about 3/4 of the way up the meat. Cover and simmer for about 3 hours or until tender, checking periodically that additional wine is not needed. Set aside meat on a pla…

Roasted Eggplant Spread

This is such a simple recipe and even people that don't like eggplant like it (they don't realize what it is). You basically roast everything and then throw it in a food processor. It might not look like the most attractive, but it certainly tastes good. Look at pineapples - they look awful but are really quite tasty. Some things just look not so good.
Roasted Eggplant Spread (Adapted from Ina Garten)

1 medium eggplant
1 onion
1 small head garlic, peeled
3 T olive oil
salt/pepper
1T tomato paste
Cut eggplant and onion into 1" cubes. Toss them with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a pan lined with a Silpat (or lined with foil). Roast at 400 for 45 minutes, or until browned and soft. Toss once or twice during cooking. Cool slightly. Place ingredients into a food processor, add the tomato paste and pulse 3 or 4 times. Serve on crackers.

Ina adds bell peppers. I'm not a huge pepper fan. To me peppers usually overpower the taste - probably because I don&…

Dolce Milanese

If you are having a nice lazy day but want to warm up the house with a little oven action, this is a nice recipe. It does take a little bit of time, but it is not hands on time. There is a lot of waiting around. I think you could probably even make the sponge and refrigerate it overnight.

Dolce Milanese (Milan Sweet Bread - Adapted from The Italian Baker)

Filling:
3 c raisins
4 c water

Sponge:
1 1/2 c water from the raisin soak
3 3/4 t yeast
2 1/2 sugar
1 c bread flour

Dough

3T dark spiced rum (Captain Morgan)
1T orange zest
2 1/2 c bread flour
1 c butter (2 sticks)

3-4 T flour
1 egg

Soak raisins in water for 1-2 hours until plumped up. Reserve 1 1/2 c water while draining the raisins. Set aside raisins.

Make the sponge: Slightly warm water. Place water, yeast, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. Stir in flour until smooth. Cover and let sit until doubled - about 45 minutes to an hour.

Make the dough: Add rum, orange zest, and flour to the sponge. Mix with…

Giant Potato Pancake

OK - so it's really a Potato Kugel. I'm calling it a potato pancake because I thought a Kugel was made with noodles?? But what do I know? When I first saw this, it was one of those recipes that I needed to make immediately. I've made potato pancakes before and they do come out delicious but they are a lot of work. Drying out all those potatoes and frying - ugh! This recipe is so easy and comes out just as good.

Giant Potato Pancake (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 onions
3 lbs potato (baking potato)*
3 green onions, chopped
1/3 c flour
2 t Kosher salt
pepper
3 eggs
4T duck fat (or olive oil)
1T olive oil

Buzz up the onions in a food processor with the regular blade. Empty into a large bowl. Change to grating blade and grate potatoes. Place in bowl. Add green onions, flour, and salt/pepper. Gently toss with hands. Add eggs and toss until evenly coated. Heat duck fat in a large cast iron skillet until really hot. Carefully pour in potato mixture and spread evenly. Drizzle o…

Cinnamon Star Bread

I was very perplexed by this recipe. I could not figure out by the directions how it got into this shape. I understood the twisting part but then was at a loss. The website didn't have a video or pictures - was I just being dense? Well once I cut the dough into the 16 pieces and twisted - DUH - it was a little clearer. I decided to include pictures for those of you that need a visual.

Cinnamon Star Bread (Adapted from King Arthur Flour)

3/4 c warm milk (100-110 degrees)
2T sugar
2 t yeast
4T butter
2 c flour
1 t salt
1/3 c instant mashed potato flakes*
1 t vanilla

Filling
1 lg egg, beaten
1/3 c sugar
2T cinnamon

Combine milk, sugar, and yeast in a small measuring cup. Mix well and set aside. Place butter, flour, salt, instant mashed potatoes and vanilla in a large bowl. After yeast is bubbly add to dry ingredients. Mix with dough hook until dough is smooth and soft. (Or mix by hand and then knead by hand until smooth and soft). Place in a greased bowl and let sit for 1 hour or un…

Worcestershire Sauce

A while ago I mentioned that I made my own Worcestershire sauce (why do I always want to put another 'h' in there?? will I ever learn how to spell it?).  Well I was out of it and needed to cook up another batch. So here goes...

Worcestershire Sauce (Adapted from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter)

3 T olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1T kosher salt
1 serrano chile (chopped)
2 T garlic, minced
1 t pepper
4 oz anchioves
1/4 t cloves, ground
1 lemon, peel and removed
2 c dark corn syrup
1 c molasses
4 c white vinegar
2 heaping T horseradish

Cook onions in olive oil with the salt until caramelized - about 15-20 minutes. Add serrano and garlic and cook for a 1 minute or two. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 6 hours. Stir occasionally. The sauce should be thickened and coat the back of a spoon. Strain through a mesh strainer and let cool. Bottle it up and away you go.
Yes it's lot of ingredients but it makes a huge batch - enough to…

Green Beans with Preserved Lemons

Remember when I made these preserved lemons? Well I was thinking about what to make for a vegetable side dish for Thanksgiving and I hit upon haricot verts with preserved lemons. I really do like haricot verts better than regular old green beans - they are much thinner and just tastier. I'm sure it's just psychological but C'est La Vie (since I'm in a French sort of mood). This is such an easy recipe that it need not be saved for a special occasion.

Green Beans with Preserved Lemons

1lb haricot verts
1 preserved lemon
olive oil

Steam haricot verts until just tender but  they still have a little crunch. Do not fully cover the pot while steaming as this leaves them with a murky green color. Leave the cover partially on the pot (trust me they will look nice and green). Place preserved lemon in a food processor and stream in olive oil until desired consistency. Pour over haricot verts and serve.

I actually ended up using only half a lemon because it was a mutant lemon (I&…

Cottage Pie?

I've recently learned that Shepherd's Pie is made with lamb - well duh - now that makes sense. I guess I never really gave it much thought. Cottage pie is made with beef. I made this with ground chicken and threw a total curve ball and used sweet potatoes.  So I'm not entirely sure what this actually should be called? I think I'm still going to call it Cottage Pie.

So I was getting all ready for Thanksgiving and I got carried away making the candied sweet potatoes. I had 3 extras sweet potatoes - what was I going to do with them? They were extra large too. So I thought they would make a nice topping for some ground chicken.

Cottage Pie

2 large sweet potatoes, baked or steamed
1/2 milk, may need additional
2T butter

1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, cubed
olive oil
1 t thyme
1/2 t sage
1 lb ground chicken
1 c chicken stock
1t Worcestershire sauce
2T flour - preferably Wondra
salt/pepper
1t smokey paprika

You can either bake or steam the sweet potatoes (or boil t…

Savory Bread Pudding

Sometimes in the fall you just need something savory. This definitely fits the bill.


Savory Bread Pudding

3/4 loaf sourdough bread, cut into cubes
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 sprigs thyme
1 clove garlic, chopped
12 oz cremini mushrooms
3 sage leaves
1/2 c white wine
4 eggs
2 c milk
salt/pepper
1 t smokey paprika
1 1/2 c fontina cheese, grated

Grease a casserole dish. Place enough bread cubes to cover the bottom of the dish. Set aside. Saute onions and 2 sprigs of thyme in olive oil until caramelized (about 15-20 minutes). Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Spread onions over the bread cubes - discarding thyme sprigs. Return pan to heat and add additional olive oil and mushrooms, sage, and remaining thyme sprigs. Saute until mushrooms begin to give off liquid. Let liquid reabsorb and add wine. Cook until wine is evaporated. Spread over bread cubes and onions.

In a bowl whisk eggs and milk, salt/pepper, and paprika. Spread about half the cheese over mushrooms and add enough bread cub…

All Stocked Up?

So are you all ready for next week? Did you make your stock yet for basting the turkey? You still have time to make your cranberry sauce over the weekend. Make sure you have enough vege to use as a "bed" to cook that guy up on Thursday. Lastly make sure you have some recipes for the leftovers. OK - you can proceed now.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is one of my go-to cookies recipes when I'm Jones-ing for something chocolate. In about an hour from set up to clean up, you can have these beauties out of the oven.  I've made them so many times the cookbook opens automatically to their page - so you know this is a good recipe.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (Adapted from Nigella Express)

4 oz bittersweet chocolate (or if you prefer semisweet)
1 c flour
1/4 cocoa, sifted
1 t baking soda
1 t instant espresso powder (optional)
1/2 t salt
1/2 c butter (1 stick)
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1 t chocolate extract (optional)
1 egg - cold from the refrigerator
2 c chocolate chips

Melt chocolate, set aside to cool a little. In a small bowl stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, espresso, and salt.  In a mixer cream butter and sugars together. Add vanilla and chocolate extracts. Mix in egg. Mix in the dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips. Use an ice cream scoop (1/4 c) and place dough onto lined cookie …

Chocolate Pots - NOT

I was going to title this Failure Friday and save it for a Friday posting but decided to post it today instead. It was a total failure. Some days are just not made to cook. This apparently was one of them. No matter how hard you try, everything you touch just goes wrong - terribly, terribly wrong.

I wanted to lighten the recipe up a little because it called for a 1 1/2 c of heavy cream and I had some half and half hanging around - well that was mistake #1. They never set up properly. Mistake #2 was grabbing what I thought was chocolate extract but turned out to be cinnamon extract - quite a different thing when the other flavor is Chambord. BLEH! Needless to say this recipe was a waste of good chocolate overall. I will revisit this recipe again - hopefully when all the cooking planets and stars are properly aligned. I will use all heavy cream and make sure I grab the proper extract.

So maybe I should call it Resurrection Wednesday? Renovation Wednesday? Maybe I have the day wrong - may…

Fennel Roasted Chicken Breasts

I hated the name of this recipe (originally Italian-Seasoned Roast Chicken Breasts) but the flavors sounded really good.  I really don't really associate Rosemary with Italian seasoning but whatevs. I had these bone-in chicken breasts and wanted to do something simple and quick with them. I had thought of stuffing them with some goat cheese but was short on time.

Fennel Roasted Chicken Breasts (Adapted from Cooking Light)

1 T Rosemary (chopped)
1 t lemon zest
2T lemon juice
2T olive oil
1T fennel seeds, crushed
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt/pepper
4 bone-in chicken breasts*

Combine all ingredients except the chicken breasts. Dry the chicken with paper towels. Loosen the skin by inserting fingers between meat and skin - gently. Rub mixture under the skin and on the top of the skin. Place chicken skin side up in a pan. Bake at 425 for 35 minutes or until done.

They recommend spraying the pan and the top of the chicken with cooking spray. I did not find either necessary. The crust wa…

FBF - Sourdough Rolls

Here I was thinking I was trying a new recipe and I looked and I had made it before. They came out beautiful again so I decided they would be a good candidate for Flash Back Friday. For sourdough rolls they really are light and airy. I usually associate sourdough rolls with a real crusty crust but this comes out soft. They worked really well as a side to soup that I made.


Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

Did you ever start to make a recipe and just have things go sort of wrong but then turn out OK in the end. Well that's what happened with these. I wanted to bake something and had some bananas rotting um sitting around that needed using and found this recipe that I pulled out of a magazine from who knows when. It said that it made 18 cupcakes. I knew I was very low on paper liners but I counted out 17 and said I'm good to go.  I would just fill each one a little more. Well when I hit about 12 filled, I knew I was in trouble. Luckily I had these silicone liners that I had bought to make chocolate cups for mousse with. I don't like using them because they are difficult to clean - but desperate measures were called for here.

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes (Adapted from some magazine??)

2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c cocoa
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c mashed banana (about 3)
1 1/4 c milk
2 eggs
2 T oil
1 t vanilla
1 c chocolate chips

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, ba…

Lemon Tassies

What is a tassie anyway? I looked on the web of knowledge and the definition is a tass (real helpful huh?). Then if you look up tass it says it is a goblet or what is in the goblet - as small draught. The British version says that it is a native of Tasmania. Well none of these definitions quite fit these little lemon filled pastries.

Lemon Tassies (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

Crusts:
5T butter, cut into chunks
1c flour
3T sugar
1 egg yolk
1t vanilla
1t lemon zest
1/2 t salt
1-2T lemon juice

Filling:
8oz cream cheese
1/3 c sugar
1 egg
2T lemon zest
2T lemon juice
1t vanilla

Lightly grease mini-muffin tins. Set aside. In a food processor pulse the butter and flour until it looks like bread crumbs. Add sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, zest, and salt. Process until incorporated. You might need to add the lemon juice for the dough to come together. DO NOT OVERPROCESS.

Divide dough into 4 pieces and then each of those 4 further down into 6 pieces. Place each dough ball into a muffin cup. Press th…

Urban Space - Broadway Bites

I had to go into work for a few hours this Saturday. I wanted to grab a quick bite before heading home. Periodically throughout the year Urban Space has Broadway Bites near where I work. It's all these little food stalls. On a much smaller scale it reminds me of the food stalls at some of the markets in London. The food is always really good. I opted for the wafels (Wafels & Dinges) this time around.
I went for the banana, bacon, and chocolate one. They were very clever with the bacon. The bacon was precooked and they finish it off with a blow torch. It was delicious. I was in the mood for something savory but when I saw the savory/sweet - I was in.

Sauerkraut with Apples

So it was sauerkraut again. This time around apples were added, things were set aside for a few weeks and a nice sauerkraut was made.

Sauerkraut with Apples (Adapted from Food and Wine)

1 lg head of green cabbage
1 Granny Smith Apple
Kosher Salt (about 2 T)
1 T caraway seeds
1/2 T juniper berries
Salt water

Slice cabbage into thin slices. Add apple and salt. Aggressively rub salt into cabbage. Let sit for about two hours. Meanwhile heat water and add some salt until dissolve. Set aside to cool. Add caraway and juniper berries. Pack the cabbage into a large jar adding any liquid that has accumulated. Add enough salted water to cover the cabbage by about 2 inches. Cover with a piece of cheesecloth then with a plate. Weigh down plate - a container of water does a good job. Cover with a clean dishtowel and secure with some rubber bands. Let sit for several weeks. It might foam a little bit but that is OK. It will smell a little bit but it will smell like sauerkraut. If mold grows or it is…

Chicken with Croutons and Leeks

Some recipes just grab me right away this was definitely one of them. It struck me as a fairly straight forward but needed a little more seasoning than the original. This must be chicken week - second recipe for this week.

Chicken with Croutons and Leeks (Adapted from Real Simple)

1/2 lb sourdough bread (about half a loaf), torn into pieces
4 medium leeks, halved lengthwise and cut into 2" pieces
3 lemons, cut into quarters
1/3 c olive oil
about 10 sprigs of thyme
salt/pepper
1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces

In a 13x9 pan place bread, leeks, lemons and thyme. Pour over oil and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper. Salt and pepper chicken on both sides and put skin-side up on top of bread mixture (I tucked some of the smaller breasts pieces deep inside the bread in the center so they wouldn't cook too fast). Bake at 425 for 50-60 minutes until chicken is done and bread is toasted.

This was such and easy no fuss recipe. I must admit I didn't tear the bread (I'm too OCD…

Chicken with Dates and Cinnamon

While this may be a little bland looking, it is totally not. It was a ton of flavor. It makes a really nice fall warming on the inside dish. I think the cinnamon gives that warming feeling.

Chicken with Dates & Cinnamon (Adapted from Cooking Light)

12 bone in chicken thighs
salt/pepper
2T olive oil
4 c sliced onions
1t ginger, minced
2t capers, rinsed
2 T flour
3/4 t cumin
1/2 t coriander, ground
1 cinnamon stick
2 c chicken broth
1/2 c pitted dates, chopped
3T lemon juice

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Salt and pepper the chicken thighs. In a large dutch oven, add olive oil, and half of the chicken thighs. Cook about 5 minutes each side or until brown. Remove from pan and add remaining thighs and do the same. Set chicken aside

Add onion and ginger to pan. Saute until the onions have some nice color - about 10 minutes. Add capers, flour, cumin, and coriander. Stir about 1 minute. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly while loosening the browned bits - sauce will thicken. …

FBF - Not Barbecued Ribs

Time for another Flash Back Friday. I made these oven barbecued ribs again. Actually last time I did them in the Sous Vide and this time I made them in the oven. They just come out so tender and delicious. Make sure that you remove the silverskin from the back of the ribs. It's a little difficult to grab. Since the last time I made them I found an easy way to remove it.  Grab hold of it with a paper towel. Once it gets started, it peels right off in one piece (very satisfying!). Then you are all ready to do the rub.

Kryddkvarn Med Korklock

Kryddkvarn Med Korklock - Swedish for grindy thing?
The Sous Chef came home with this for me one day recently. It does a marvelous job grinding things. I still haven't quite figured out what the cork is for. I assume once you grind your spices, you can store them in the top half? But then what is the point? You would want your spices fresh ground - wouldn't you?

The bottom of the container has rough raised parts and the bottom of the top piece has rough raised parts. You put the spices in-between and turn the top part while adding a little pressure. It works as well as a mortar and pestle. It has some heft to it as it is made of cast iron.

Things Around N'Awlins

When I first got on the plane and they said we were heading to "Garbled words that did not sound like New Orleans" I thought I was almost on the wrong plane. I thought I had an accent! They certainly have an accent in N'Awlins.

I did one of those touristy bus tours. I had very limited time and wanted to just get a quick overview of the layout. I got to see many really nice houses, the French Quarter, the 9th Ward (still not all rebuilt - very sad), a park, a levy and a cemetery. I'm sure you've all seen pics of those things so I won't bore you with a whole load of pics. But here were two interesting ones.


As one of the evening events of the conference, we got to visit the warehouse where all the floats are stored. That was pretty interesting. All this mishmash of characters - from dogs, unicorns, to pirates and dragons (Oh my!). Many of them are made of styrofoam. Never really gave it a thought of what they were made from.

We then we went to another warehou…