3.27.2009

sensational strawberry scones

so. i know. i've been gone forever. sorry. i'll try my best not to let it happen again.
it's just: i had family in town. and it was too fun to pull away from.
but two nights ago my hub and i stayed up waaaay passed my bedtime to make these for the following morning. they coupled well with raspberry and/or blackberry tea.

so good.ingredients:
1 cup strawberries (or other fruit)
3 Tbs sugar (granulated)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tbs butter, in cubes, slightly softened
2/3 cup half-and-half or cream or cold buttermilk

topping: 1 Tbs sugar
directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

If using larger fruit, cut into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle fruit with 1/2 tablespoon sugar; set aside. Be sure to make the pieces small, or they tend to fall out of the dough. They'll still be plenty prominent in your finished scones.

Combine remaining sugar with flour, baking powder and salt. Add butter, using a pastry cutter or 2 knives to cut in butter (you may want to use your fingers to be sure butter is evenly mixed into flour). Stir in fruit; then add cream/half-and-half/buttermilk all at once. Use spatula to gently stir dough until it holds together.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to incorporate dry ingredients. Be gentle so you don't break up the berries and don't overwork the dough. Sprinkle dough with flour if it gets sticky.

Press (pat) the dough into a circle 3/4 inch thick. If any berries peek out, push them into dough. Cut circle into 6-8 wedges, then transfer wedges to the cookie sheet, leaving at least 1/2 inch of space between them. Bake 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with sugar and bake 5-10 more minutes or until the tops are beginning to brown and spring back when you push them (this took another 15-20 minutes in my oven, but keep a careful watch and check every 5 minutes - you do not want dry scones!). (The sprinkling of sugar over the top for the last few minutes of baking creates a simple, sparkly topping.)

*courtesy of irene by way of the food librarian

3.19.2009

tabbouleh salad

ingredients (serves 5):
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/4 cups couscous
6 Tbs olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 diced tomato (or a couple handfuls of halved cherry tomatoes)
1/2 diced onion
1/2 diced green pepper
4 Tbs parsley
1 Tbs mint (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

directions:
mix boiling water with dry couscous. add olive oil and lemon juice. stir well. cover and let sit for 5 minutes. fluff with fork. add tomato, green pepper, onion, parsley and optional mint. refrigerate for 15 minutes. fluff with fork and serve.

3.16.2009

quinoa with bell peppers

ingredients (serves 2):
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
4-6 chicken tenders, cut into small pieces
4 Tbs olive oil
1/2 onion
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
15-20 leaves fresh basil
grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon (i added this for a little kick)

directions:
add quinoa & chicken broth to rice cooker (takes about 25-30 minutes to cook). heat large non-stick skillet over high heat and add the oil. add chicken and saute for 5 minutes or until golden brown. add onions, bell peppers; saute for 1-2 minutes more; add garli and saute until peppers become slightly limp but still bright, about one to two minutes; season with salt and pepper. remove the pan from heat; add basil and quinoa. toss until basil wilts, garnish with Parmesan cheese.
*courtesy of trader joe's :)

3.13.2009

buttermilk biscuits

i think this recipe is geared towards the younginns. funny.ingredients (makes 6 large biscuits):
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
3 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) very cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup buttermilk

directions:
mix the dry ingredients
Be sure an adult is nearby to help.
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
In a bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

make and shape the dough
Scatter the butter over the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or 2 table knives. The mixture is ready when it looks like coarse crumbs with small pieces of butter still visible.
Add the buttermilk and stir gently with the wooden spoon until the mixture starts to clump together.
Sprinkle a work surface with some flour. Dump the shaggy dough onto it and gently press it into a rough, thick oval.

cut out the biscuits and bake
Cut a round out of the dough with a biscuit cutter. Lift the cutter and set the biscuit on a baking sheet. Repeat, cutting as close as possible to the previous shape and spacing the biscuits about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
Gather up the scraps, gently press together and cut out more biscuits.
Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the biscuits are puffed and brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the baking sheet from the oven, set it on a wire cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

*courtesy of williams-sonoma

3.11.2009

chicken parmesan and homemade pasta

ingredients for the pasta (makes about 1 lb of pasta):
2 cups all purpose flour
3 large eggs, beaten

directions for pasta:
1. pulse the flour and eggs in the work bowl of a food processor. process the dough until it forms a rough ball, about 30 seconds. if the dough resembles small pebbles, add water 1/2 tsp at a time. if the dough sticks to the side of the bowl, add flour 1 Tbs at a time.
2. turn out the dough ball and small bits onto a dry work surface; knead until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.
3. using a manual (or kitchen aid) pasta machine, roll out the dough, folding over itself in order to smooth completely (run it through the machine about 5 times to flatten). cut the pasta into long strands for fettuccine. or use the fitted attachment of your choice. ingredients for the chicken (serves 4):
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
ground blk pepper
1 1/4 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 Tbs plus 3/4 cup olive oil
lemon wedges for serving
**we just used TJ's tomato sauce (spaghetti sauce)... instead of making our own :)

directions for chicken (milanese!):
1. use a meat pounder or the bottom of a pan to pound the chicken in 1/2 inch thickness. disolve the salt and sugar in 1 qt cold water in a gallon sized zipper lock bag. add the chicken to the bag. seal it and refrigerate until the cutlets are fully seasoned, about 30 minutes. line a baking sheet with a triple layer of paper towels.
2. remove the chix and lay them in a single layer baking sheet. cover with another triple layer of paper towels to soak up all the moisture. allow the chix to dry for 10 minutes. sprinkle the chix with pepper to taste.
3. adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position, set a large heatproof plate on the rack, and the heat the oven to 200 degrees. combine the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese in a shallow dish (pie pan). spread the flour in a second dish. beat the eggs with 1 Tbs oil in a third shallow dish.
4. working with one at a time, dredge the chix thoroughly in the flour, shaking off the excess. using tongs, dip both sides of the chix in the egg mixture, taking care to coat them thoroughly and allowing the excess to drip back into the dish to ensure a very thin coating. dip both sides in the bread crumbs mixture, making sure you press the chix into the crumbs. place the breaded chix in a single layer on a wire rack over the baking sheet and allow to dry for 5 minutes.
5. meanwhile, heat Tbs of the remaining oil in 10-inch skillet over med-high heat until shimmering not smoking, about 2 minutes. lay two chix gently in the skillet and cook until deep golden brown and crisp on the first side, gently pressing down on the chix with a wide metal spatula to help ensure even browning about 2 1/2 minutes. using tongs, flip the chix, reduce the heat to med, and continue to cook until the meat feels firm when pressed gently and the second side is deep golden brown and crisp 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. line the warmed plate with a double layer of paper towels and set the chix on top; return the plate to the oven.
6. discard the oil in the skillet and wipe the skillet clean with paper towels. repeat step 5, using the remaining 6 Tbs oil and the now clean skillet to cook the remaining chix. serve immediately.sorry for any typos :P

3.04.2009

delightful scallion pancakes

ingredients (makes 2 dozen):
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp coarse salt
3/4 cup boiling-hot water
3 to 4 Tbs vegetable oil
3 tsp toasted sesame oil
7 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
coarse salt
soy sauce (for dipping)

directions:
Stir together flour, salt, hot water, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until soft and smooth, 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 20 minutes.
all rolled up like so
Roll dough into a 16-inch log on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 24 pieces. Roll each piece out into a 4-inch circle, keeping remaining pieces covered as you work. Brush with sesame oil; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon scallions. Roll each piece into a tight cylinder; pinch ends to seal. Press to flatten. Wrap each cylinder around itself to form a spiral (seam side in); pinch end. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 20 minutes (or up to 5 hours).
Place spirals on a lightly floured surface. Flatten gently. Roll out to 4-inch circles, stacking between pieces of floured waxed paper. Let stand 20 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pancakes, 2 or 3 at a time, flipping once, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side (add oil as necessary). Drain on paper towels. Season with salt. (To keep warm, place in an oven heated to 200 degrees.) Cut into wedges, and serve with dipping sauce.

*courtesy of marthastewart