Pickled Red Onions

Cook’s notes: I used Mollie Katzen’s recipe for years, as posted on the Global Gourmet, but that site is down (web site can no longer be found). Luckily, I found the link saved to archive.org.

In the meantime, I tried a different version with red pepper flakes from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles. Both recipes are quick and easy, and both yield delicious pickled onions.

onions

The original recipe from Global Gourmet

 

Best Recipe: Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

IMG_1934Cook’s notes: These are similar to the Best Recipe: Dark Cocoa Brownies but the preparation method is different (and flour reduced with cocoa increased). I was out of chocolate chips and wanted to make decadent brownies for a party. These are amazing and very rich. They bake at a slightly lower temperature.

Beating the eggs vigorously is the key to the crackly top. Beating the batter too much once the flour and cocoa powder are added will “create air in the batter, which will give you cake-like textured brownies.” That is not our goal, according to Cafe Delites.

Makes 16 brownies

1 stick (4 oz or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oven to 325F degrees. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Using a stand mixer, beat together the melted butter, olive oil, and sugar for 1 minute.

Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, one at a time. Eggs will lighten in color.

Add cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Beat on low only until dry ingredients are just incorporated. Stop stirring when no traces of flour remain, and do not beat too long. (Note: You may want to do this step with a rubber spatula.)

Pour into pan, and bake about 25 minutes, or until brownies are set and barely firm in the middle. Cool on a rack before cutting.

Source: Reduced the sugar and adapted recipe for a stand mixer from Bon Appetit and Cafe Delites.

Custom Chicken Soup

Chicken SoupCook’s notes: This soup was delicious. It does make quite a bit, but the recipe could be easily halved. The original recipe said “serves 4”, but it’s more like 8 to 12 hearty servings. This is adapted from Pam Anderson’s “Supper Soup Formula.” I customized the recipe by selecting the veggies and starch. It’s a wonderful soup with good flavor. I did have to add more chicken broth the next day to thin it out.

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed. Cut into pieces to yield 1 lb. diced cooked chicken
  • 1 lb. vegetables:
    • 1 can (15 oz.) corn, rinsed and drained, yields about 10 oz.
    • 10 oz. or so shredded cole slaw (cabbage and carrot mix)
  • 1 quart (32 oz.) chicken broth
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes (from a can)
  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons dried herb mix
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes.

Adapted from Supper Soup Recipe : Food Network

Vinaigrette Matrix

IMG_0864Cook’s notes: I am fairly obsessed with making my own salad dressing and often browse recipes and instructions on this topic. The Best Recipe: Small Batch Italian Dressing post has several notes about ratios and emulsifying. I recently found a terrific recipe for a sweeter apple cider vinaigrette, which is perfect on a salad with mixed greens, carrots, and sliced apples. And I still love the Best recipe: Small Batch Balsamic-Rosemary Vinaigrette with rosemary.

I’ve pulled the recipes for these three dressings, the ones I rely on the most, into the matrix below. Read the linked posts for more details.

First, pick which type of vinegar you want to use, and then follow the grid:

Apple Cider Balsamic Red Wine Amount
Oil 2.5 2 3 Tablespoons
Vinegar 2 1 1 Tablespoons
Lemon juice 1 None None Tablespoons
Honey 1.5 None 1/2 teaspoons
Mustard 1.5 1 1 teaspoons
Garlic powder 1/2 1 1/4 teaspoons
Salt 1/8 1/8 1/8 teaspoons
Pepper 1/4 1/8 1/4 teaspoons
Dried herbs None 3/8 1/4 teaspoons

Best Recipe: Small Batch Italian Dressing

IMG_0864Makes about 2.5 oz (5.2 Tablespoons; about 3 servings). Serving size is 1 to 2 Tablespoons.

Favorite Italian Dressing

  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian herb blend without salt (such as Penzeys Pasta Sprinkle, which blends basil, oregano, thyme and minced garlic)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Place ingredients in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to a week. Stir again before serving if needed.

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Gourmet Turkey and Spinach Veggie Pizza

IMG_0553Cook’s notes: This pizza was amazing, and everything was made from scratch: the crust, the sauce, and the toppings. The crust recipe uses Greek yogurt and had tastes amazing (not like yogurt at all). We ate leftover toppings with spaghetti sauce over pasta. Yes, it’s a little time consuming, but the flavor is totally worth it.

Overview:

  • Make the crust and stretch it to about 12 inches round onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Make the sauce
  • Spread sauce on the crust, leaving about a one-inch border.
  • Make the turkey and veggie topping mixture. Cook the turkey through, until well-done, 165ºF as measured by a meat thermometer.
  • Cook the veggies until they are tender and spinach is wilted.
  • Spread the topping mixture on the crust.
  • Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake at 450F for 10 to 12 minutes until crust is browned and cheese is melted.

Vegetarian option: Omit the turkey and use only veggies in the topping.

 

Greek Yogurt Pizza Crust

1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients in a bowl until it starts to come together and then knead it on a well-floured surface for about 8-10 minutes. Add in a little bit of flour at a time if the dough is too sticky. Form it into the pizza shape you want. I used a rolling pin on a floured cutting board to shape the dough. Place crust on an ungreased cookie sheet.

 

One-Minute Pizza Sauce

Scaled this recipe to use a 6-oz. can tomato paste.

6 ounce can organic tomato paste
1.5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 garlic clove, crushed
1.5 teaspoons organic onion powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all the ingredients for the homemade pizza sauce together in a small glass bowl. Add water to thin the texture as needed to make the sauce spreadable.

 

Turkey and Veggie Topping

Olive oil or cooking spray
1 package (16 to 20 oz.) ground turkey
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
8 oz. box sliced mushrooms
1 cup baby spinach
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning blend

Coat a skillet with oil or cooking spray. Brown the ground turkey with onion and garlic. Add the red pepper and mushroom; cook until veggies soften. Add spinach and seasoning; stir until spinach is wilted.

Sources:

  • Crust adapted from the Impatient Foodie blog
  • Sauce adapted from the Healthy Home Economist blog. See her original post for instructions on making English Muffin pizzas with this sauce.
  • Topping mixture adapted from the Jennie O site

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

IMG_0425Cook’s notes: These are a wonderful variation on the Chocolate Guinness Bundt Cake, with no frosting required. (For a vegan version of the cupcakes, see the post on Vegan Black Lager Cupcakes).

Adapted from Pinch My Salt, which notes that you can use any stout or porter instead of Guinness. I adapted the recipe to use a stand mixer and black cocoa, which is super-dark cocoa. Use the ratio of 1/3 black cocoa with 2/3 Dutch processed cocoa powder in baking. I reduced the amount of sugar and added espresso powder.

Have eggs, yogurt, and stout at room temperature before starting. Yield: 18 cupcakes.

6 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup plain, thick yogurt, at room temperature
6 oz. dark stout (I used Guinness), at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons black cocoa plus enough Dutch processed cocoa powder to make 1/2 cup cocoa total
1 Tablespoon espresso powder
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake papers; spray the whole thing, cupcake papers and all, with nonstick spray. Set aside. (Note: I had enough batter for an additional 6 cupcakes).

Melt butter in microwave or on stovetop, then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together eggs, yogurt, and vanilla. Add stout; beat until well combined.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together (cocoa powder, espresso powder, sugar, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon) in a separate bowl.

Add the cocoa mixture to the wet ingredients in thirds, beating until well mixed after each addition. When all ingredients are blended, add the melted butter, then continue mixing until very well combined.

Pour batter into the prepared cups, filling each only about 3/4 full.

Bake on center rack of the oven for approximately 25 minutes.

When cupcakes are done (toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake will come out clean), remove the pan to a wire rack. Let cool for ten minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan, and let them cool completely on wire rack.

Happiness Muffins (Lemon-Blueberry)

Cook’s notes: These muffins are just amazing, hence their nickname “Happiness Muffins.” I had extra buttermilk in the house, and this recipe was the perfect way to use it up. Many buttermilk muffin recipes call for 2:1 ratio of flour to sugar (such as 4 cups flour and 2 cups sugar), too sweet for me. This recipe uses just 1/2 cup sugar, which is plenty sweet, and the muffins are bursting with berries. I adapted the recipe to use a stand mixer, omitted the glaze, and increased the amount of blueberries.

Stir your flour with a whisk before scooping and leveling it.

Makes 16 muffins (8 servings)

Dry:
2.5 cups flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet:
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 cups frozen blueberries

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line muffin pans with silicone liners.

Put dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to blend lightly.

Put the buttermilk and oil in a measuring cup. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk together to beat the eggs lightly and blend the wet mixture.

Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients, mixing quickly with a few strokes of the paddle.

Fold in blueberries. Do not mix too long — batter should be lumpy.

Use an ice-cream scoop to portion batter into lined muffin cups, almost to the top of each cup. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool.

Source: Adapted slightly from The Comfort of Cooking

Best Recipe: Turkey Taco Salad

IMG_0327

An amazing flavor combination, but not too spicy

Cook’s notes: This recipe is adapted from Alaska from Scratch, and it’s just terrific. The turkey mixture is enough for 6 servings. Leftovers are great for lunch. Note that the raw garlic in the dressing gets more pungent overnight. This salad has an excellent combination of flavors and textures, and the recipe is quite flexible.

Make the turkey mixture and the dressing, then assemble salads. You can also top them with a spoonful of guacamole.

 

Turkey mixture:
1 lb. (16 oz.) package ground turkey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Arizona Dreaming chili spice blend (from Penzeys)
1 can (14.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15.25 oz.) organic corn kernels, drained

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Season the turkey with salt and taco seasoning and brown the meat, breaking it up with a spatula as you go. When cooked through, add the black beans and corn, heating through. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or taco seasoning, as needed, to taste.

Cilantro Ranch Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice [half a lime]
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Process all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Assemble the salads (per person):

  • 3 oz. mixed greens
  • 1 oz. slightly crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 cup turkey, bean, and corn mixture
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 scallion, chopped
  • Cilantro Ranch dressing to taste
  • Salsa, if desired

Review: Fluffy Pancake Mix

IMG_0179

So fluffy…pumpkin spice warms the batter

Cook’s notes: Modified from a recipe by Chef John Besh that appeared in O Magazine. I can’t tell you how many pancakes the recipe actually makes, because we couldn’t stop eating them while cooking.

These pancakes are incredibly fluffy and delicious. We used cashew milk and pumpkin pie spice to give them an autumn flavor. They don’t need syrup or butter or other toppings. However, genuine maple syrup certainly elevates them.

Dry ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice (Penzeys brand)

Wet ingredients
2 beaten eggs
2 cups cashew milk
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine the dry ingredients (flour to spice) in large bowl. Whisk together to blend well.

Make a well in the dry ingredients; add eggs, milk, and oil; and mix gently. (There will be a few lumps in the batter.)

Lightly oil the surface of a large skillet, and heat over medium heat. Pour 1/4-cup batter onto griddle for each pancake, spacing them out so they have room to spread without touching. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, about 3 minutes; then flip and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Continue cooking batches with remaining batter.

Serve with maple syrup and your choice of toppings.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/food/Pancake-Mix-Recipe#ixzz3siBKxkto