Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sweet Cinnamon Scones

I love how the name of this recipe sounds like some sort of exclamation. I think I'm going to start using it. Oh, and these are delicious.  

Sweet Cinnamon Scones 
Courtesy of The Pioneer Woman  

3 cups all-purpose flour 
1/3 cup sugar 
5 teaspoons baking powder 
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided 
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter 
3/4 cups heavy cream 
1 egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup cinnamon chips 
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and baking powder. Cut butter into pieces, then cut into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cinnamon chips. Mix together cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Pour into flour/butter mixture, stirring gently with a fork to combine.

Turn onto work surface (mixture will be very crumbly and falling apart.) Gently press together on the sides as you flatten (or roll, with a rolling pin) the top. Form either into a large circle or a large rectangle. Cut into wedges (from a circle) or triangles (from a rectangle.) Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Mix together powdered sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon with enough water to make into a thick but drizzable glaze. Drizzle on scones and serve with coffee.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sausage, Beans and Broccoli Rabe Soup

This is a tasty and simple soup that I've been making for years. Though I've actually never had it with broccoli rabe. I've never been able to find it in the grocery store when I want to make it, so I usually substitute broccolini and/or spinach. I'm hoping someday I'll actually experience it how it's intended.

Sausage, Beans and Broccoli Rabe Soup
Courtesy of Rachael Ray


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 1/4 pounds Italian bulk sweet sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into small dice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cans white beans, drained
Salt and pepper
4 cups chopped broccoli rabe and greens
2 quarts chicken stock
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano, to pass at table

Heat medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and sausage and brown. Add veggies, bay leaf and beans. Season with salt and pepper. Cook mixture 5 minutes to begin to soften the vegetables. Add rabe and wilt. Add stock and cover pot. Raise heat and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve soup with grated cheese, for topping.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Triple Chocolate Cookies with Pretzels and Sea Salt

Oh my. These are such a wonderful combination of sweet and salty. I also feel like it's some sort of personal triumph when I find something chocolatey that my husband loves. He does not exactly have what you'd call a sweet tooth, so I know I've really found something good when he can't stop eating them.

And yes, those are bunny pretzels. Since I made these right around Easter, I thought I'd be festive.

Triple Chocolate Cookies with Pretzels and Sea Salt
Courtesy of Mountain Mama Cooks


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed pretzels
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated. Add vanilla and mix well. In a small separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and table salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop the cookie dough by the tablespoon onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Gently press a few of the crushed pretzels on top and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer baked cookies to a cooling rack and let cool. Then devour.

Easter Dinner 2012 (Chicken wtih Mustard Cream Sauce and Asparagus Gratin)

I had been planning on grilling on Easter, but we're currently under a fire weather warning, so I thought it would be a bad idea to do so. So I found these recipes instead. And they were very tasty. I paired them with some popovers, which were absolutely perfect for sopping up the mustard cream sauce. Yum.

Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce
A variation on this recipe from The Pioneer Woman


4 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 whole garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup brandy (or white wine, if preferred)
1 tablespoon (heaping) Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon (heaping) grainy mustard
1/4 cup (to 1/2) heavy cream
1/4 cup (to 1/2) chicken broth
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise so that you have eight smaller, thinner chicken cutlets. Salt and pepper both sides.

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook cutlets on both sides until nice and golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken from the skillet and keep on a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic to the pan and saute it for a minute, stirring to make sure it won't burn. Next pour in the brandy (or wine if using) being careful if cooking over an open flame. Then just let the booze bubble up and cook until it's reduced by half.

Throw in the mustards and stir to combine, then pour in the cream. Stir in chicken broth, adding more if the sauce seems too thick. Taste sauce and adjust whatever you think it needs. Add chicken breasts back to the pan, nestling them into the sauce. Allow sauce to cook for another few minutes, shaking the pan if needed to move things around.

Serve chicken, spooning the sauce over the top.


Asparagus Gratin
Courtesy of Leite's Culinaria


1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Asiago fresco cheese
3 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Arrange the asparagus in a single layer in a large baking dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss the spears gently to coat with the oil.

In a bowl, whisk together the cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a grinding of pepper. Drizzle in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and stir until well mixed. Sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture over the asparagus. Bake, uncovered, until the asparagus is just tender and the topping is melted and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus.

Drizzle the asparagus with some lemon juice and serve hot, straight from the baking dish, or transfer to a lovely little gratin dish to take to the table.

Hot Cross Buns

I've been wanting to try these for a long time and finally did it! And while the flavors were lovely, I think the recipe called for a little too much time in the second rising and in the oven. So I'm going to tweak things a bit next time. Because I'll definitely be doing these again.

Hot Cross Buns
A variation on this recipe from The Pioneer Woman


2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup raisins

1 whole egg white
Splash of milk

1 whole egg white
Powdered sugar
Splash of milk

Make the buns: Combine 2 cups milk, canola oil, and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan. Stir and heat until very warm but not boiling. Turn off the heat and allow to cool until mixture is still warm, but not hot, about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle yeast over mixture. Add 4 cups of flour and stir to combine. Mixture will be very sticky. Cover with a towel and set aside for 1 hour.

Add 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until combined.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar with spices.

Lightly flour surface. Press to slightly flatten dough. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle on about a third of the raisins. Then fold the dough over on itself and flatten again so the dough is "plain" again. Repeat the sugar/raisin process, then fold the dough again. Repeat a third time until all the raisins are used.

Pinch off ping pong or golf ball-size bunches of dough. With floured hands, quickly roll it into a ball, then turn the edges under themselves slightly. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Make the glaze: Mix 1 egg white with a splash of milk. Brush onto each roll.

Bake for 20 minutes, give or take, or until tops of buns have turned nice and golden brown.

Remove from pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Make the icing: Mix 1 egg white with enough powdered sugar for icing to be very thick. Splash in milk as needed for consistency.

Add icing to a small Ziploc bag and snip the corner. Make icing crosses on each roll, making sure they're completely cooled first.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup with Basil Yogurt Drizzle

Meh. This isn't awful, but it's certainly not good enough to make again. I don't think actually having the black salt would have helped either (I only had fleur de sel). Hrmph.

Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup with Basil Yogurt Drizzle
Courtesy of Sarah's Cucina Bella


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 tablespoon grated ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (about 14 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups vegetable broth

1 6-ounce cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup packed fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon olive oil

Finishing salt (such as black sea salt), to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a pot. Stir in onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 7-10 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Stir in the garam masala and cumin. Cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, lentils, salt and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir well to combine.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 35-40 minutes, until the lentils are soft.

Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Set aside.

Combine the yogurt, basil, salt and olive oil in a food processor (a mini one works great for this). Puree until smooth.

To serve: Dish up the soup and then drizzle each with the yogurt mixture. Sprinkle with finishing salt.

You can use a blender to puree the soup as well. However, be careful while it’s still hot – small batches are best.

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to five days (yogurt and soup separate).

Pork and Edamame Fried Rice

This was okay. If I'm going to make fried rice at home though, I prefer to use this recipe.

I used regular white rice instead of the steam-in-the-bag kind. And I definitely recommend dialing down the spice if you don't care for spiciness or if you're giving this to kids. Neither of mine was crazy about it because it had a bit of a kick

Pork and Edamame Fried Rice
A variation on this recipe from Cooking Light


1/2 cup rice
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into thin strips
1/2 cup shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
3/4 cup diagonally cut green onions
1/2 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices red bell pepper, each cut in half
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Thai chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

Cook rice according to package directions; set aside.

Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add pork; sauté 3 minutes or until pork loses its pink color. Place pork mixture in a large bowl; cover and keep warm.

Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add edamame and carrot; sauté 2 minutes. Add onions and bell pepper; sauté 2 minutes. Add carrot mixture to pork mixture in bowl; keep warm.

Heat remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons oil in pan. Add cooked rice and soy sauce to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Return pork mixture to pan. Stir in broth and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper); cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Spoon 1 1/2 cups fried rice mixture onto each of 4 individual plates; top each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons peanuts.