Monday, September 27, 2010

Chipotle Skirt Steak Tacos

from Steamy Kitchen


1-2 lbs skirt steak
1/4 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
canned chili en adobo: 1-3 chipotle peppers + 2 tsp of adobo sauce {I used 1 1/2 peppers}
1-2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

accompaniments: corn tortillas, shredded cheese, avocado, sour cream, lettuce, lime wedges, salsa, etc.


1. Puree 1 chipotle pepper + 2 tsp of the adobo sauce with the onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Taste and add more chipotle if needed. Stir in the cilantro. Throw it all in a zip lock bag with the skirt steak for at least 2 hours. Grill until medium-rare or medium-well. Cut the skirt steak into thin strips across the grain.

2. Place the corn tortillas directly on the grill 30 seconds, flip, add cheese, grill 30 seconds, remove. Transfer to plate, top with steak and desired accompaniments.

{This marinade is so delicioso it would take fabulous with chicken as well. We easily could have eaten the grilled steak with other sides, too}

White Chocolate, Chocolate Cookies





1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa, and flour. Gradually stir dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Finally, fold in white chocolate chips. Use cookie scoop and arrange on prepared cookie sheet {dough will be a bit sticky}.

Bake for 8 minutes, until puffy but still soft. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ginger Steak Salad

adapted from Pioneer Woman

2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cooking Sherry
2 cloves garlic, minced (1/2 tsp.)
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 whole rib-eye, strip, or sirolin steak (or whatever you have on hand)
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Salad Dressing:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp. lime juice
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (1/2 tsp.)
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 whole jalapeno, seeded and diced

Salad Ingredients:
drizzle of olive oil
1 red bell pepper, julienne
sliced almonds (generous handful)
8-10 oz. salad greens of choice (spinach, endive, radicchio, spring mix, romaine, etc.)
cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 whole green onions, chopped
sesame seeds

1.Combine steak marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Mix and place steak into bag. Marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours. (If grilling- marinate for several hours. I did 7-8 hrs.)

2. Make salad dressing by combining all dressing ingredients and shaking or whisking until sugar has dissolved. Place in refrigerator.

3. Cook steak by either...
a. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a hot skillet. Cook steak until medium rare or medium well. Remove from skillet and keep on a plate, allowing to cool slightly before cutting into slices.
b. Grill steak until medium rare or medium well. Remove from grill and keep on a plate, allowing to cool slightly before cutting into slices. ( I grilled)

In a large skillet or wok, add a drizzle of olive oil over medium high-high heat and stir fry bell pepper and almonds. After 2 minutes or so, add steak slices and a small drizzle of the ginger salad dressing. Mix until all ingredients are coated with dressing.

4.Toss salad greens lightly in the dressing. Mound tossed salad on a platter, then place stir fry mix of steak, peppers, and almonds on top of salad. Drizzle additional salad dressing over the top. Add halved tomatoes, sliced green onions, and sesame seeds for garnish.

{If making to last more than one day only add dressing to desired amount of lettuce. I go light on dressing and had plenty left over dressing.}

Serves 4

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

quiche lorraine

slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen


2 cups diced leeks, white and light green only (from 2 large leeks)
1 cup diced onion
3 tsp. olive oil
1 1/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
6 tablespoons butter, diced
4 eggs, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 1/4 cup sour cream
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch pepper
1 1/2 cups diced ham (1/4 -inch dice; I used about 1/2-3/4 pound)
5 oz, 1 cup grated Swiss cheese


1. Heat a large sauté pan over low heat. Sauté the leeks and onions in the olive oil 35 to 40 minutes until caramelized, occasionally stirring. Remove from heat and cool.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and one-fourth teaspoon salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender until it is in very tiny bits. Add one egg (a fork works great for this) and mix it until a dough forms.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate and press to remove any air bubbles. Crimp the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. While the quiche shell chills, mix the heavy cream and sour cream in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining three eggs, one at a time. Add a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper and combine to form a batter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

5. Remove the quiche shell from the refrigerator and spread the leek and onion mixture evenly over the base. Sprinkle the ham and then the cheese over the leeks and onions. Pour in the batter and place the quiche in the oven.

6. Bake until puffed and golden, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Berry Trifle

adapted from Whole Living


Pastry Cream:
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2-3 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
pound cake, cut into slices
mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
1 cup heavy cream + 1 tsp. sugar


Pastry Cream
1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream, salt, and vanilla bean. Bring to just under a boil. In a second bowl, whisk together cornstarch and sugar, then whisk in eggs. Add a ladle of hot liquid to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Repeat twice, then whisk egg mixture into remaining milk mixture in pot.

2. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until bubbling and thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in butter. Place plastic wrap directly onto surface of cream and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Whisk to loosen before using.

Assemble the trifle

1. Mash a third to a half of the strawberries with 1/2 cup sugar and salt to macerate berries.
Allow to sit for up to 30 minutes.

2. Layer pound cake in bottom of a 14-cup (5-by-7-inch) trifle dish or bowl. Spread a layer of macerated berries over top, then pastry cream and additional strawberry halves with whole berries. Repeat layering up to twice more. Can eat immediately, but the trifle tastes best if refrigerated several hours or overnight.

3. Whip heavy cream to medium peaks with 1 tablespoon sugar and spoon over top. Garnish with fresh berries.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Slow-Cooker Fajitas

adapted from stephmodo


1 1/2 - 2 lbs. flank or skirt steak, or boneless chicken (I used frozen chicken)
1 onion, thinly sliced
2-3 peppers (red, green, orange, yellow), sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno chile, finely chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil or vegetable oil
1 fresh lime, juiced (could use lemon)

warm corn or whole wheat tortillas
sour cream
shredded cheese
sliced avocado


1. Cut meat across the grain into 1/2 inch diagonal strips. Place in a slow-cooker. {If using frozen chicken, simply place whole piece in slow cooker.} Top with onion and bell peppers.

2. In a small bowl, combine garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, salt, oil and lime juice. Pour mixture over meat. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours. Spoon several slices of meat with sauce into center of each warm tortilla. Fold over. Top with sour cream, shredded cheese, and avocado.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Crunchy Shrimp with Toasted Couscous and Ginger-Orange Sauce

{with chicken}
adapted from Cooking Light


1 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground red pepper


1 cup uncooked couscous
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped green onions
3 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

20 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 3/4 pound)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger-1
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups trimmed watercress

{Optional- Chicken}
1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breast- cut into thirds


1. To prepare sauce, bring 1 cup orange juice to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat; cool completely. Stir in 1 tablespoon cilantro and next 7 ingredients (through red pepper); set aside.

2. To prepare couscous, place couscous in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; cook 3 minutes or until toasted, stirring constantly. Add 1 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup orange juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; add onions, almonds, and butter, stirring until butter melts. Keep warm.

3. To prepare shrimp, combine shrimp and egg white in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Combine the panko, cilantro, ginger, and black pepper in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add shrimp to the bag, and seal and shake to coat.

4. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; arrange shrimp in a single layer in pan. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. {If cooking chicken, increasing cooking time as needed.}

5. Place 3/4 cup couscous on each of 4 plates; top each with 1/2 cup watercress and 5 shrimp. Drizzle each with 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce.

Serves 4.

Grilled Chicken & Red Pepper Panini with Smoked Gouda

adapted from the Kitchen Sink Recipes


2-3 large chicken breasts
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt & pepper
2 red bell peppers, halved and cored
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
slices of naan, cut in half (1 full slice per sandwich)
thin slices smoked gouda
12 basil leaves


1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, paprika and salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts and massage the marinade into the chicken. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

2. Prepare a grill. Rub the red pepper halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken breasts (until cooked through) and the red pepper (until softened and blackened in spots). The peppers will take just about as long as the chicken to grill. Do not turn the grill off. Allow the chicken and the peppers to rest so they are cool enough to handle. Once cooled, slice the red peppers and chicken breasts into thin strips.

3. Working with a pair of naan halves, pile on slices of gouda, three basil leaves, red peppers slices, and slices of the chicken. Top with more slices of gouda and the other naan halves. Repeat to complete each sandwich.

4. Once the sandwiches are assembled, return them to the grill for a couple minutes per side, over low heat until the gouda has melted and the naan has toasted. Serve warm.

Optional: Before adding marinade to chicken, reserve a bit of the marinade to later use as a spread on naan. Spread on naan before adding other layers.

serves 4-6

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cream Cheese Pound Cake


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6-8 ounces Philadelphia brand cream cheese*, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract plus 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a 12-cup bunt pan.

2. Place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar, increase the speed to high, and beat until light and airy, at least five minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the vanilla, almond, then the flour and salt all at once. Beat just until incorporated.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and shake lightly to even out the top. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, 65-75 minutes.

4. Place the pan on a cake rack and cool for 20 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely. Serve at room temperature.

* Philadelphia cream cheese is often recommended for baking for consistency purposes, as in, bakers know this brand works, and because it contains less water than other brands. The cream cheese is really what makes this so incredible!

Serve with fresh fruit or a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Greek Chicken and Barley Salad

adapted from Cooking Light



2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
1 cucumber, cubed seeded
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, cubed or cut into strips
{I will probably add a red pepper as well next time}
1/3 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives (didn't have on hand this time, and dish was still delightful)


3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp grated lemon rind
juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 Tbsp minced fresh basil (can use dried if needed)
1 tsp minced fresh thyme (can use dried if needed)
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, minced


1.To prepare salad, sprinkle chicken with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Add 1 cup broth; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until done. Cool; shred chicken. Discard broth.

2. Bring 3 cups broth to a boil in a large saucepan; add barley. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30-35 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Cool. Combine chicken, barley, cucumber, and next 4 ingredients (through olives) in a large bowl.

3. To prepare dressing, combine 3 tablespoons oil, rind, and remaining ingredients; stir well. Add to barley mixture; toss well. Cover and chill.

Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quinoa with Garlic, Nuts, and Cranberries

from Perry's Plate
adapted from Food Network Magazine Apr 2010 (Ellie Krieger)


1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
1/4 cup nuts (pinenuts or chopped walnuts/pecans recommended)
2 T preferred cooking oil (grapeseed, coconut, or olive oil)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 T fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt and pepper (to taste)


1. Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth (or water) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, about 2 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, toast the nuts in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the oil and garlic to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer the garlic to the plate, reserving the oil.

3. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add the pine nuts, garlic, reserved oil, parsley, raisins and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and toss.

Serves 3-4.