Monday, June 27, 2011

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

These are just as good as pulled pork sandwiches. Though I didn't use the grill method this time around since I didn't have charcoal. It worked very well in the crockpot (6 hours on low). But I'm excited to try it on the grill to see what the difference is. I served it with my favorite coleslaw. The whole wheat hamburger buns really didn't hold up well though. I think a Kaiser roll is far preferable. Another thing to try next time.

Edited to add: After reading the reviews of this recipe, apparently it is highly preferable to use the crockpot rather than the grill method. Also, with the addition of the brown sugar to the chicken, the addition of the brown sugar to the sauce (especially when there's also molasses included), when they are prepared in the crockpot, makes the sauce just a smidgen too sweet. So I'm adjusting the recipe below to reflect my changes.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
A variation of this recipe from Cooking Light


2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses

Remaining ingredients:
8 (2-ounce) sandwich rolls, toasted
16 hamburger dill chips

Place chicken in crockpot. Add sugar and spices. Stir to coat chicken evenly. Mix together sauce ingredients in a separate bowl and then pour over chicken. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours (or HIGH for 3-4 hours).

Shred chicken, using two forks. Place chicken mixture on bottom halves of sandwich rolls; top each serving with 2 pickle chips and top roll half.


I could eat an obscene amount of coleslaw. I like it way too much. And I take every opportunity to make it during the summer. I've tweaked a couple of recipes I've tried and came up with this one. Here's a picture of it on top of a pulled chicken sandwich:


1 bag slaw mix
1/4 red onion, chopped
2 green onions (white and green parts), chopped
3/4 cups mayonnaise
1/8 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
Pinch sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
Several dashes hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the slaw mix, red onion, and green onions in a large bowl. In another bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss gently to mix. Season the coleslaw with the celery seed, hot sauce, salt, and black pepper. Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Black Beans and Yellow Rice

Meh. This was totally not worth the effort. Despite the spices that are added, it was pretty bland. And definitely needed some salt. I don't know if the chorizo would have helped, but since I couldn't find any, I used hot Italian sausage. I don't think I'll be trying it again, even if I do find chorizo at some point...

Black Beans and Yellow Rice
Courtesy of Cooking Light


4 ounces dried black beans
Cooking spray
4 ounces Spanish chorizo, thinly sliced
6 cups water, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 cups chopped fresh tomato
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Sort and wash beans; place in a bowl. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; let stand 8 hours. Drain.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chorizo; sauté for 3 minutes. Add beans and 4 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and cumin.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 1/2 cups onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and onion mixture into bean mixture.

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, rice, and turmeric. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid evaporates and rice is tender. Spoon rice into bowls, and top each serving with bean mixture, tomato, and cilantro.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cherry Pie

I was a cherry pie virgin before this pie. Yes, I popped my cherry pie cherry today. And it rocked. It also made a seriously rough day so much better. Thank you, cherry pie.

The only change I made was to use 4 tablespoons of cornstarch rather than a combination of quick-cooking tapioca and cornstarch. I feel like cornstarch helps make a much smoother pie filling. Yum.

This pie crust recipe looked a lot like the pie crust I usually make, and it was indeed very similar and very good. I also found that I was finally able to roll out the dough into proper circles by letting it sit out while the fruit sat. I was so very happy I didn't have to do a patch job. Woot.

Cherry Pie
A variation on this recipe from Gourmet


For pastry
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening (preferably trans-fat-free)
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 to 7 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon sugar

For filling
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
6 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) pitted sour cherries (2 pounds)
Whole milk for brushing

Make dough:
Blend together flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Drizzle ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.

Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. Do not overwork, or pastry will be tough.

Turn dough out onto a work surface, divide into 2 portions and form into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Make filling and bake pie:
Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle and put a large baking sheet on rack.

Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds into a large bowl with a small knife. (If using extract, add with fruit.) Whisk in cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and sugar, then add cherries and toss well. Let stand 30 minutes.

Roll out one piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 14-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim any excess dough to leave a 1/2-inch overhang.

Roll out remaining dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round.

Toss cherries well again, then add to shell and cover with top crust. Press edges of crust together, then trim, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang underneath, then crimp decoratively and brush top crust with milk. Cut out 5 (1- by 1/2-inch) teardrop-shaped steam vents 1 inch from center and sprinkle with sugar (1 tablespoon).

Bake pie on preheated baking sheet 30 minutes, then cover edge with a pie shield or foil and reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Continue to bake until crust is deep golden and filling is bubbling in center, 50 minutes to 1 hour more. Transfer pie to a rack to cool completely, 3 to 4 hours.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

BLT Turkey Burgers

Another turkey burger recipe that I was able to use with my lovely grill. These were very tasty, but really, you add bacon and basil mayo as toppings, so how could they be bad, right?

My mom was over for dinner and helped me figure out why it was taking forever to cook anything on the grill. I'm apparently jumping the charcoal gun a bit. I don't really mind babysitting the grill because it produces such delicious food, but I'm happy to know that things will be a tiny bit speedier if I just let the charcoal heat up a bit more before putting the food on. I can't wait to try another grilling recipe soon!

Oh, the only thing I did different in this recipe was use turkey instead of chicken. And that was only because I couldn't find ground chicken at Target the day I went grocery shopping. I don't think it made a huge difference.

BLT Turkey Burgers
A variation on this recipe from Sunset


1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon each fresh lemon juice and finely shredded lemon zest
4 onion kaiser rolls, split
8 strips bacon (about 8 ounces), cooked until crisp
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
4 leaves romaine lettuce

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium heat (350°F to 450°F; you can hold your hand 5 inches above cooking grate only 5 to 7 seconds).

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, gently mix turkey, cheeses, garlic, salt, and pepper. Form into 4 burgers about 3/4-inch thick, making a slight depression in center of each patty (this helps keep burgers flat as they cook). Put on a plate, cover, and refrigerate until ready to grill.

In a blender, whirl mayonnaise, basil, lemon juice, and lemon zest together and refrigerate until ready to use. With a silicone brush or oiled paper towels, lightly oil cooking grate.

Grill burgers, covered, turning once, until browned and no longer pink inside (cut to test), 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer burgers to a clean plate and place buns, cut sides down, on grill until lightly browned, 30 seconds.

Spread toasted sides of buns with basil mayonnaise. Set a turkey patty on each bun bottom and top each with 2 strips bacon, a tomato slice, and a lettuce leaf. Cover with bun top.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sweet Red Chowder

This is another dish that is supposed to have crab in it. I think it would be tasty with it in there, but I didn't necessarily miss it. I also didn't put the herb-lemon mixture on top, just added a little parsley. It is a very tasty soup. And I had forgotten how much I like oyster crackers.

Sweet Red Chowder
A variation on this recipe from Rachael Ray


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 large baking potatoes—peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 leeks, split lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
4 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry sherry
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) chicken broth
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning (2 palmfuls)
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (a generous handful)
Oyster crackers, for serving

In a soup pot, heat the oil, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until it renders fat and crisps at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, leeks, celery and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the red bell pepper and thyme, then stir in the sherry and reduce for 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes, corn, and Old Bay seasoning and simmer until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle parsley over the chowder. Pass oyster crackers around the table.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fresh Peach Cake

This is a bit like a peach coffee cake. Yum. It makes for a delicious dessert. Or a mid-afternoon snack with some coffee. Yum.

The original recipe calls for pecans added to the top, but I'm not a giant nut fan, so I went without them. I also had to bake the cake for about 15 minutes longer than originally called for because I had an 8-inch-square pan. And, of course, as with most other desserts I serve, I added some whipped cream to the top of each slice. Yum.

Fresh Peach Cake
A variation on this recipe by Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa)


1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.

Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Perfect Turkey Burger

A moist turkey burger! Charcoal grilling makes everything taste better, but I never thought I could also achieve a moist turkey burger. It really is the perfect turkey burger. I paired it with my first attempt at grilled corn and some greens, and the meal was a big big hit. Even Jillie had some. And liked it! Winning.

The only thing I did differently was use regular hamburger buns rather than English muffins. And, of course, I didn't get a picture because they were gone before I realized I should have taken one. I doubled the recipe though, so hopefully I will remember to take a picture of the ones in my freezer that I'll be making soon.

Perfect Turkey Burger
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

1 large portobello mushroom cap
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped shallot
3 tablespoons lightly packed fresh parsley
1 1/4 pounds 85% to 93% lean ground turkey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 thin slices manchego or white cheddar cheese
4 English muffins, split
Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and sliced avocado, for topping

Use a spoon to scrape out the gills from the underside of the mushroom cap. Cut the cap into 1-inch pieces and transfer to a food processor. Add the shallot and parsley and pulse until chopped.

Transfer the mushroom mixture to a large bowl. Add the turkey, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; gently mix with your hands until just combined. Divide into 4 balls, then lightly press into 4-inch-wide, 1-inch-thick patties. Put on a large plate, cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat a grill to medium. Brush the grates with olive oil. Grill the patties, undisturbed, until marked on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Give the patties a quarter turn and cook until marked again, 4 to 5 more minutes. Flip the patties and grill until cooked through, 6 to 7 more minutes; top each with 2 slices cheese during the last 3 minutes of cooking and cover with a disposable aluminum pan to melt.

Toast the English muffins on the grill, then spread with mustard and mayonnaise. Serve the patties on the English muffins; top with avocado.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chicken and Cashews

This is a lovely version of Chinese take-out. Though I'm definitely going to add broccoli next time. Then I will have made Jonathan's go-to dish. Woot.

Chicken and Cashews
A variation on this recipe from Cooking Light


For the rice pilaf:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup long-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

For the chicken and vegetables:
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons dry sherry
4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped green onions (about 3 green onions)
1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted cashews

Make rice pilaf: Heat canola oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, rice, and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.

Make chicken and vegetables: Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sherry, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and chicken in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch, broth, oyster sauce, and honey in a small bowl.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from pan. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Return chicken mixture to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth mixture. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with green onions and cashews.

Sour Cream Berry Muffins

More seasonal fresh fruit muffins. These were tasty, but I definitely liked these recent ones better.

Sour Cream Berry Muffins
A variation on this recipe from Joy of Baking

2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange or lemon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup (180 ml) sour cream
2/3 cup (160 ml) safflower or canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh or frozen berries (I used fresh strawberries and blueberries)
1 teaspoon turbinado (raw) sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a non stick cooking spray 12 - 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups or line with muffin liners. Set aside.

In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract.

In another large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. Gently fold in the berries. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.

Fill each muffin cup almost full of batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Sprinkle each muffin with turbinado (raw) sugar. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Note: If using frozen berries you may have to bake the muffins a little longer than the stated time. Also, if making jumbo sized muffins, again, you may have to bake the muffins a little longer.