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Archive for December, 2007

Thai Thighs

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO  EVERYONE!

My in life, real friend Angela has this fantastic recipe for Thai Chicken (or as she calls it, Thai Thighs) that mixes up a whole mess of flavorful items that is poured over chicken and baked. Simple, easy….and fabulous. Like Angela. See?? Here she is…..

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Thai Thighs

from Angela’s Kitchen
6 servings

3 1/2 lbs chicken thighs
6 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons GFCF hoisin sauce (such as Dynasty)
4 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated
1 1/2 tablespoons GFCF soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon GFCF hot pepper sauce
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, sliced thinly

In a bowl combine garlic, hoisin sauce, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Remove skin and fat from thighs. Rinse. Arrange chicken thighs in a 9×13 baking dish. Spoon sauce over the chicken, coating all sides of the chicken with the sauce. Bake at 375F degrees for 45-50 minutes or until cooked through.

RECIPE NOTES: Of course, if you don’t have a gluten intolerance, or celiac disease, than use any old sauces you have on hand. We enjoy subbing in lime juice for the lemon in the recipe; I don’t know….it just adds ZING! We use chili garlic sauce for the hot pepper sauce since we keep it on hand, and then we cut the garlic back. I have also used commercially prepared peanut sauce in place of the peanut butter with excellent results. Don’t skip on using fresh ginger!

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Green Chili
Ingredients:
4 lbs of boneless pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb of poblano peppers (about 5)
4-10 serrano peppers stems removed and sliced
4-10 jalapeno peppers stems removed and sliced
1 lb tomatillos cut in 1/8ths (6 to 8 )
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic
6 tablespoons of cumin
2 tablespoon of Mexican oregano
2/3 to 1 cup of cilantro
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of dark beer
1/4 cup of masa harina
Salt and white pepper to taste
Peanut oil, olive oil or lard for frying

Method:
1. Roast the poblanos in the oven at 400 degrees, until blackened, and then place in a paper bag for about 20 minutes. After this, the skins should come right off. Then dice the peeled poblanos.
2. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, fry the onion in peanut oil until cooked, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more. Turn off the pot.
3. In an iron skillet, lightly brown the pork on each side in lard (or the fat of your choice) for a couple of minutes and then add to the soup pot. You will probably have to do this in batches.
4. Once all the pork has been lightly browned and added to the soup pot, add two cups of chicken broth and 1 cup of dark beer. Also throw in the pot the tomatillos, 3 tablespoons of cumin, 1 tablespoon of Mexican oregano and half of your sliced jalapenos and serranos. (I varied the number of jalapenos and serranos based on heat—the more you add the hotter it will be. If you don’t want it too fiery, just stick to four of each.)
5. Turn on the stove to medium and bring chili to a boil and then turn heat down to low.
Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
6. After an hour, add 3 tablespoons of cumin, 1 tablespoon of Mexican oregano, 1/3 cup of cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook for half an hour uncovered on low, stirring occasionally. At this point, you’ll probably notice a nice brown oil slick on the top of the pot. I skim the fat by sticking in a ladle and dragging it over the surface. This isn’t foolproof, but it gets rid of most of the fat.
7. After half an hour, throw in the rest of the green chiles and poblanos in the pot and add another 1/3 cup of cilantro. Cook for another half an hour to 45 minutes.
8. In a separate dish, mix the masa harina with some of the chili liquid until a thick paste is formed. Slowly stir this into the chili until it’s well incorporate without any lumps. Continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Goes great with sour cream, tortillas and cilantro.

(From Homesick Texan blog)

RECIPE NOTES: Do I have to admit I didn’t use hardly any heat in this?? I used three jalapeno and no serrano and this batch was spicy enough to start my eyebrows sweating. Adjust accordingly, but beware- go overboard and you’ll feel it. For less heat and more flavor, remove the seeds and ribs of the peppers; that’s where most of the heat resides.

I seeded and cored the peppers, lay them flat on a cookie sheet, rubbed them with a little oil and put them under the broiler to blacken them, then into a bowl that was covered in plastic.

I used the same pot to cook the onions and brown the meat; you can’t go wrong with the flavor you get from that fond that develops with browning. Cook the onions and garlic then remove to a bowl; brown the meat and add to the bowl as you cook. Dump it all back in when your ready to simmer. I also dusted the meat chunks with seasoned flour. The poblanos went in at the end, I barely cooked them at all, only for maybe 10-15 minutes. The tomatillo and jalapeno were cooked down to near nothing by the time it was all said and done. I did not use any beer, but I am curious how that would add to the flavor. I also used a little flour along with the masa harina for thickening.

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Aaaaaaand I’m back! Miss me?

I did treat you to a few posts, shelved prior to ‘the week without tastebuds’ in my house so I wasn’t superbly absent. Interestingly enough, while I recuperated, my blog was inundated with hits, mostly searching for pictures of funny cats. I suppose I’m not so remiss in that area, but this is a food blog!

So it’s December, and the month of Christmas, which means it’s time to bake cookies. Baking for me is highly nostalgic; my mother was a champion baker, if only just for our family. She prided herself on never having store-bought cookies, cakes or anything like that in our home, she baked, and she baked really darn well. If she had one prominent love language to show us, it was in her Baking. She only had to call out “Who wants to help me make cookies?” and I would often drop everything I was doing and race to the kitchen. It was our time to bond, hang out and laugh, not to mention, nibble on warm cookies. Each recipe I have of hers brings me waves of nostalgia whenever I make them- Gingersnaps, Peanut Butter Fingers, Coffee Toffee Bars, Three Layer Bars; they all spelled L-O-V-E in our house. I love to bake but don’t have the benefit of five kids to take away the tempting treats, so I don’t do it too often unless it’s for a crowd, or a special occasion.

Onto the cookies!!!

One of Griffin’s favorites is what our family, and likely plenty of others, always calls ‘Church Window Cookies’. It’s a simple chocolate and colored mini-marshmallow cookie, that when cut (and if you squint and engage enough imagination), can resemble stained glass.

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(jump for story and recipes

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RECIPES:

Church Window Cookies:

Melt one stick of butter and one bag of chocolate chips of your choice, stir gently until smooth, then cool. Pour over one bag of colored mini marshmallows, stir to combine. Either roll into logs, or scoop into plastic drink cups, chill until firm, then slice.

Date-Nut Pinwheels

8 ounce package dates
1 cup hot water
1 cup very finely chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
3-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine dates, sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla, and hot water in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thickened – about 6 – 8 minutes. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and stir in pecans. Set date mixture aside to cool. Combine brown sugar and butter. Cream until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, soda, cream of tartar, salt and cinnamon. Stir into creamed mixture. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix well. Divide dough into thirds. Roll each portion into a 12″ square on waxed paper. Spread with 1/3 of date mixture. Lifting up edge of waxed paper, gently peel off dough and roll jelly roll fashion. Wrap rolls in waxed paper and refrigerate overnight. Cut dough into 1/4″ slices and place two inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes. Cool cookies on wire rack.

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 (3 ounces) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups cake flour
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Cream together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat hard. Stir in vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add flour, mixing well. Stir in nuts. Push small amount from spoon onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until delicate brown. While hot, roll in powdered sugar.

RECIPE NOTES:

On the Date-Nut Pinwheels, I doubled the filling mixture, using half dates and half dried sweet cherries. This mixture took a lot longer than 6-8 minutes to thicken, likely from the extra bulk. Cook until it resembles a thick paste, almost jam-like, and allow it too cool completely. I also subbed in some wheat flour, and used a little extra cinnamon. The dough was tacky, I treated it somewhat like pie dough, tossing a little flour over it to keep the rolling pin from sticking. Chill the logs thoroughly and keep them chilled while baking. Any extra filling is wonderful spread on toast.

In our version of the Window cookies, we used Ghiradhelli dark chocolate pieces. If you’re going to eat chocolate, why not make it dark?? Don’t sub the fake stuff for butter; trust me, it tastes so much better to use the real thing. We keep these chilled for a better texture. Cool down the chocolate mix before pouring over the marshmallows or they will melt. Using plastic drink cups is super easy; make sure to press the mixture well into the cup for the best effect. When chilled, cut a slit in the side of the cup and break it apart, pushing the solids onto a cutting board. Use a serrated knife and just a little pressure to slice. *Hint* The bottom slice from the cup is the best part!

For the Cheesecake cookies, I added in about 3/4 of a teaspoon of pure lemon extract to give the cookies more pizazz. It’s been my experience with using just zest and juice that it needs a little added something to really make that lemon flavor shine. Instead of adding in the nuts to the batter, I dipped the cookies into the nuts prior to baking, then finished them with a glaze made of lemon juice and powdered sugar.

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Chocolate-Cherry Bread (original recipe from David Lebovitz)

Makes 2 loaf

1 1/2 cups (210g) dried cherries, well-chopped
1 1/4 cup (170g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-process or natural)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons (140g) butter (salted or unsalted), at room temperature
2 cups (400g) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup (180g) buttermilk or plain yogurt (regular or low-fat)
1 cup (135g) walnuts, pecans, or almonds, toasted and finely-chopped
3/4 cup (120g) chocolate chips

To bake the cakes, grease two 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper or dust with cocoa powder. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C)

Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Stir together the eggs and yolk with the vanilla, then dribble them in while beating.

Mix in one-third of the flour/cocoa mixture, then half of the yogurt or buttermilk. Then mix in another third of the dry ingredients, then the rest of the yogurt. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, and gently stir in the nuts, chocolate chips and cherries.

Divide and smooth the batter into the two prepared loaf pans and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let stand on the countertop for about 15 minutes.

Recipe Notes: I did not have yogurt or buttermilk so I used sour cream and it turned out fine, albeit very moist. I think vanilla yogurt would add a great flavor to this bread. I did not follow David’s original recipe of macerating the dried cherries in liquor; he used rum I believe, about a half cup, maybe and left the fruit overnight, stating that what liquid was not absorbed could be added to the batter after draining off the fruit in a mesh strainer. Chopping dried fruit of any kind is very messy and sticky; I dusted the cherries with a little cocoa powder to see if it would help. It did, and didn’t. I did not use parchment on the pans, just cocoa. One loaf went in the freezer.

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