Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cuban Black Bean and Ham Soup

Ok, forget any ham and bean soup I've made up to this point because this one is hands down the new winner.
Cuban Black Bean & Ham Soup
It is cold again in Minneapolis and once again spring snow is predicted. Soup is just the thing in this kind of weather but, we are craving lighter, fresher spring foods. This soup is a great half way point. The ham and beans are hearty while the lime and cilantro give it a bright, almost tropical, flavor. If you've got some ham leftover from this past Easter, I can't think of a better use for it.

Cuban Black Bean and Ham Soup

1 T olive oil
3/4 c chopped yellow onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 c chopped cooked ham
zest from half a lime
2 15oz cans black beans (do not rinse or drain)
2 c chicken stock
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 t hot sauce (or more to taste)
1/2 t cumin
juice of one lime
chopped cilantro
salt
sour cream or plain yogurt (optional)

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper. Sauté until the onion is translucent, 3 - 4 minutes. Add the ham and sauté another minute. Stir in the lime zest, beans (including liquid), stock, tomatoes (including juices), hot sauce and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 45 minutes.

Add the lime juice and cilantro. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt if desired.

4 - 5 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Do You Give Restaurants A Second Chance?

Recently, Heavy Table did a restaurant review that created a lot of discussion, one comment that really caught my attention said it wasn't fair to review a restaurant based on one visit. This got me thinking, doesn't the average person decide on a restaurant's value based on one visit? Do many of us have the expendable income to revisit a place where the service or food was not up to our expectations just to make sure that first visit was representative? I don't think so.
#97 - The Tasting
Here's an example from my own experience. There is a restaurant in town that everyone talked about how wonderful it was. We decided we had to check it out. We made reservations and dressed up for the occasion. From the minute we walked in the door we were treated horribly by both host and server. You would have thought we were two high schoolers on a date at the fanciest restaurant in town instead of two adults who eat out often and appreciate food. The food may have been excellent (not that we were ever told the specials or anything), I don't remember because everything was clouded by the rest of the experience. We never went back. Why would we when there are so many other wonderful restaurants in Minneapolis where we will be welcomed warmly and served by someone who cares about our experience and what they are serving. I'm happy to give them my $100+ dollars any night of the week.
#174 - End of a Good Meal
That restaurant seems to be the culinary darling in town again with everyone talking about it and writing rave reviews. I find it hard to believe we are the only people who ever had such a bad experience there. Still, we can't bring ourselves to be excited about going back and giving it another try. When do you give restaurants a second chance? Are you more likely to give a cheaper restaurant the benefit of the doubt and expect more of higher end places? Are we missing out by not giving this restaurant a second chance?

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekly Menu 4/24 - 4/30/11

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday weekend. We hosted a very simple Easter supper of ham, cheesy potatoes & broccoli. The highlight though (at least for the Things) was the Easter Egg Cake Pops.
Easter Egg Cake Pops
I'd never made cake pops before but, thought they might get a kick out of decorating and, of course, eating them. I went the real simple route when it came to making them. I bought some iced cupcakes from the local grocery store bakery then just smushed them up icing and all. I let that sit mixture sit in the fridge overnight then, formed it into egg shapes and put those on lollypop sticks.
Cake Pops Precoating Cake Pops Coated
Those got dipped into some white candy melts. I had a hard time with the dipping. It kept pulling the cakes off their sticks and I didn't get a nice smooth coat. Then it really dripped. Maybe chocolate is easier.
Decorating Easter Egg Cake Pops Decorating Easter Egg Cake Pops
I bought edible markers for the boys to decorate the eggs. They were not a great success as they didn't draw all that well on the candy. There certainly wouldn't have been any detailed drawing. It didn't matter though as they were fully enjoyed for dessert and I have a request to make them for Thing 1's birthday next weekend. The adults thought they were ok too, though really sweet, tasting a lot like Hostess cupcakes or ding dongs.
Thing 2 Loves Cake Pops

On to Menu Planning Monday
Not a very exciting week as far as the menu goes, we are just eating up a lot of odds and ends we have around...

Beans & Rice

Tacos

Cuban Ham & Bean Soup

Bangers & Mash

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wisconsin Spaetzle and Cheese

Remember when you were a kid and your mom made you Kraft mac and cheese with hotdogs cut up into it? Well, here's your grown up version of that with a little bit of a German-American twist.
Wisconsin Spaetzle & Cheese
A few days ago Lara over at Wandering Fork posted a spaetzle dish and it totally gave me a spaetzle and cheese craving. Then I started thinking spaetzle, cheddar...aha brats. We had some Gigawatt Brats in the fridge from Bar 5 Meat. They had a nice heat from jalapenos and red pepper which I think added a lot to the dish. At the last minute, we decided to add some spicy brown mustard to the sharp cheddar sauce which added another perfect flavor layer.

So, why do we call it Wisconsin Spaetzle and Cheese? Well, to us, it just seems like a combination of foods we relate with our neighbor state all rolled into one big helping of comfort food. All it needs is a cold bottle of New Glarus Beer and I think you have a meal that would make any one from the Dairy State happy.
Wisconsin Spaetzle & Cheese
A note on making the spaetzle: The original Tyler Florence recipe says to push the dough through a large sieve or grater to make the spaetzle. There was no way this was happening with this loose sticky dough. Matt even tried pushing it through the garlic grater which just made a huge glob. I ended up just using my hands and dropping small pieces of dough into the boiling water. Try to keep the pieces thin an about 1/2-inch long.

Wisconsin Spaetzle and Cheese

Spaetzle
(adapted from Tyler Florence)

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 t salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 t dry mustard
pinch of nutmeg
3 large eggs, beaten
1/4 c + 2 T milk

Mix the flour, salt, pepper and mustard together. Mix in eggs and milk until you get a thick, smooth batter. Let sit 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the spaetzle dough in a little at a time in small pieces. When they float to the top scoop out of the water with a strainer. Rinse with cool water and drain. You'll have to do this in a few batches and may have to add more water to the pot as you go.

Mustard Cheese Sauce

1/2 T unsalted butter
1 T all-purpose flour
1/2 c milk
1/4 c heavy cream
4 1/2 oz sharp cheddar, cut
pinch of salt
few grinds of fresh pepper
1 T spicy brown mustard

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cream. Whisk while cooking until smooth and slightly thickened. Add the cheese & stir until completely melted. Stir in the salt, pepper and mustard.

Assembly and Cooking

2 brats, cooked and sliced into rounds (we used a spicy brat & I highly recommend that bit of spice)
a little grated cheddar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix the spaetzle, sliced brats and cheese sauce together. Pour into a casserole dish. Top with the grated cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the top is golden.

Makes 4 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reviewing the Recipes - Italian Kale and Farro Soup

We cook a lot of recipes from around the internet and various cookbooks that I don't write about because we don't change the recipe much or at all. I decided to start a series reviewing some of those recipes...

Matt is a loyal Serious Eats reader and often prints out recipes from their Dinner Tonight series. This Italian Kale and Farro Soup is one of those recipes.
Italian Kale and Farro Soup
These recipes are typically easy and interesting, perfect for a work night. This soup was no exception. Other than some chopping it took no time at all to prepare. It's basically a vegetable soup with farro added to it but, it has some really great flavor thanks to the leek, garlic and fresh thyme. We love the farro, it doesn't get as soft as barley can and adds a nutty flavor (yes, it is quite a bit more expensive than barley). I was worried the kale wouldn't have enough time to cook to tenderness but 20 minutes ended up being just enough time to soften it yet still leave a little texture.

We had only one issue with this recipe and that was with the quantity of some of the ingredients. First, it called for 4 tablespoons of olive oil to sauté the onion and leeks, that is a lot of oil. I cut it in half with no problem. Second, was the amount of farro. The recipe called for 2 cups for 4 servings, that is 1/2 cup per serving, way too much in our book. We cut it down to 1 1/2 cups and we still ended up with a soup that was almost a stew. When Matt had it the next day for lunch there was no broth left, it was more like a farro pilaf or risotto. Next time we'll only use 1 cup of farro which seems more appropriate. Finally the recipe says it makes 4 servings but, with a slice or two of crusty bread we had 6 hearty servings.

This is a soup that gets high marks in our book and will end up in our cold weather rotation.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekly Menu 4/18/11 - 4/23/11

Ah, spring in Minnesota, it'll always keep you guessing...
Ah, spring in Minnesota
It's definitely a tough time a year when it comes to cooking too. We are getting tired of the heavier winter dishes and have eaten our way through most of what we preserved last summer. It is still another few weeks until our farmers markets open and we start seeing the first of the spring greens. Since we are trying to eat more seasonably and locally, we try to avoid the rack of California strawberries in the grocery store as we wait for the sweetest, little local strawberries that will finally arrive in late May. We bookmark those asparagus recipes bloggers in warmer climes are posting as we eat one more soup full of kale and canned tomatoes. I'm not saying we don't eat well year round, it's just that at the change of seasons we are so over last seasons food and ready for the next to start (yes, come back here in September and we'll be happy to start eating fall and winter food). As I write this the weather service has just issued yet another winter storm warning for us, 6 plus inches of snow in April!? Someone hand me that Spring issue of Bon Appetit....

On to Menu Planning Monday...

Italian Kale and Farro Soup - From Serious Eats

Spaetzle, Brat & Cheese Hotdish

Individual Cheese Soufflés

Sausage, Tomato & Broccoli Pasta

Something using the crock-pot beef we have in the freezer

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Transatlantique Kriek Caramel and Caramel Rolls

This is a story of beer for dessert and beer for breakfast...about a month ago, we were contacted by Foodbuzz to see if we'd be interested in either making a dish or pairing a dish with any of the beers from New Belgium Brewing*. Since New Belgium is probably one of Matt's favorite breweries, we jumped at the chance. Then came the hard part, deciding which beer to use and what to do with it. Our local liquor store has a great selection of New Belgium beers including their Lips of Faith series. We were both immediately drawn to the Transatlantique Kriek a spontaneously fermented lambic ale from Belgium made with Polish cherries then mixed with a New Belgium lager. It has the flavors we loved in the fruit beers while in Belgium last year, fruity but slightly sour instead of sweet. Then came the debate about what to make. Everything seemed boring or done and then Matt said, "let's make a caramel sauce" and our path was set.

I'm surprised I agreed so quickly as making caramel has always scared me and I've failed at it many times but, this was surprisingly easy. I used the basic recipe from Joy of Cooking (the bible) except replaced the water with beer. Wanting to make sure the beer and cherry flavor was quite strong in the finished caramel we reduced the beer from 1 pint, 6 ounces down to 3/4 cup. What we ended up with was a caramel sauce that had that caramelized sugar flavor as well as the maltiness of the beer, the sour tang that we loved in the beer and the fruity cherry flavor. It was amazing over some vanilla ice cream with chocolate chunks.
Transatlantique Kriek Caramel

Transatlantique Kriek Caramel Sauce
1 bottle Transatlantique Kriek (1 pt 6 oz)
1 c white sugar

Pour the Kriek into a large heavy sauce pan. Let simmer until reduce until about 3/4 cup, about 1 hour.
Transatlantique Kriek Caramel
Pour the reduced beer out of the pan. Add in the sugar & 6 tablespoons of the reduced beer. Turn the heat to medium-high. Stir gently until the sugar is melted. Turn the heat to high & bring to a boil. Cover & let boil for 2 minutes. Remove the cover & let boil until the sides start to turn brown & the carmel darkens to a dark amber color, another minute or two. The caramel will be really foamed up so it will be hard to see the color. I stirred it down from time to time to check.
Transatlantique Kriek Caramel
Remove from heat. Carefully pour in the remaining beer, it will sputter & foam up. Stir until smooth. It will seem a little thin but as it cools it should thicken to about a thick honey texture.
Transatlantique Kriek Caramel
If it is still too thin bring to a boil for another 30 - 60 seconds. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Makes about 1 cup.

Next we wanted to do more with the sauce than just serve it over ice cream (though it certainly would have been easy to eat it all that way). I thought about a sauce for bread pudding or perhaps drizzled on a cheesecake but, once again, Matt came up with the answer, caramel rolls.
Kriek Caramel Rolls
Seriously, look at how decadent those look (especially since we had them for a Wednesday morning breakfast).

I made up the recipe for the dough after looking at lots of different versions online and in cookbooks. It comes together quickly and after rising is easy to roll out and work. Once baked it is surprisingly light which is good since it's covered in caramel. You can make these the day you plan to serve them or, even better, make them the day before then, refrigerate after the second rise. In the morning, you only need to cook them for 20 minutes and you have a special treat for breakfast. Sticky, sweet, just a touch of sour,  crunchy from the almonds...heavenly.
Kriek Caramel Rolls

Transatlantique Kriek Caramel Rolls
(This recipe doesn't take a lot of hands on time but it does have two rises of an hour each.)

1 1/2 t yeast
2 T milk
2 T water
2 T sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 T unsalted butter, softened
1 egg white

Put the yeast in a bowl. Mix the milk & water together in a small microwavable bowl. Heat until warm but not hot (took about 20 seconds on high in my microwave). Pour over the yeast & let sit for 5 minutes. Mix in the sugar, salt & 1 cup of flour. Add the butter & egg white. Knead in the remaining flour, a little at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. Cover with a clean dish towel & let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

1 T unsalted butter melted
sugar
cinnamon
slivered almonds
1/3 c Transatlantique Kriek Caramel Sauce

Roll the dough out into a 10" x 8" rectangle on a floured board. Brush with the melted butter. Sprinkle generously with sugar & cinnamon. Sprinkle with slivered almonds.
Making Kriek Caramel Rolls
Roll the rectangle up so, it is 8" long (you are rolling up from the short side). Use a bread knife & cut into 6 rolls.
Making Kriek Caramel Rolls
Spread the caramel sauce in the bottom of a small baking dish, ours is about 6" x 9". Place the rolls on top cut-side down, evenly spaced. Make sure to leave a little room because they will rise to fill the space.
Making Kriek Caramel Rolls
Cover with a kitchen towel & let rise until doubled in size again, about an hour. At this point you can bake or cover with plastic wrap & place in the fridge to bake later.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Bake the rolls for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown. Quickly turn out of the pan onto a serving dish. Best served hot or warm.
Kriek Caramel Rolls
Makes 6 rolls (but the recipe can be easily doubled & baked in a larger pan so why not whip up a batch for Easter brunch!)

*Discloser: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program we were given a stipend from New Belgium to cover the ingredients to create this dish.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Salmon Fajitas...or are they Tacos

When Matt came up with the idea of making a fish tacos with salmon, I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. Salmon is just not usually the fish I think of for tacos as its flavor is stronger than the typical white fish. But I let him go with it.
Salmon Fajitas...or are they Tacos
Then he said he was going to grill peppers & onions to go in them as well. Wait, grilled protein, peppers & onions, isn't that a fajita? But then he was also going to add a fish taco sauce. Ok, so what are we having fish fajitas or fish tacos?

You know what? These taste so good who cares whether they're called fajitas or tacos. The grilled vegetables & sauce both have enough flavor to stand up to the salmon without overpowering it. The ancho on the salmon & cayenne in the sauce give the whole thing a nice kick. Plus these are pretty healthy, especially if you use the light mayo & non-fat yogurt in the sauce like we did. Yeah, I think we have a new fajita for our repertoire...or is it a taco...

Salmon Fajitas (or Tacos)

3/4 lb salmon fillet (pin bones removed)
kosher salt
ancho chile powder
dried dill
2 poblano peppers, seeded & cut into strips
1 red onion, sliced
4 - 5 tortillas
Fish Taco Sauce (see recipe below)

Sprinkle the salmon with a little kosher salt. Rub a little ancho chile powder & dill onto the salmon. Grill the salmon fillets until cooked through & flaky.

At the same time grill the peppers & onion until tender. We use a grill basket to do this.

Remove the skin from the salmon & flake the meat. Place on a warm tortilla & top with vegetables & Fish Taco Sauce.

Makes 4 - 5 fajitas (tacos)

Fish Taco Sauce
(adapted from Soup Addict)

1/4 c light mayonnaise
1/4 c plain non-fat yogurt, drained
1 1/2 T lime juice
1/4 t cumin
1/2 t Mexican oregano
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t cayenne
1/8 t coriander
1 t capers, minced
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together. Chill

Makes about 1/2 cup.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekly Menu 4/11 - 4/15/11

It's amazing what a few days in the 60's can do for our spirits, let alone those snow piles in our yard.
Spring has Sprung
After a winter that felt like it would never end, these spring bulbs are like little miracles. We even took the plastic from the windows & cracked them open for a bit yesterday! Now we're eagerly awaiting the opening of the farms markets & fresh spring produce.

On to Menu Planning Monday...

Chicken with Apple & Leeks - from Stacey Snacks

Salmon Fajitas

Pasta Carbonara - with some guanciale we got from the new deli case at Corner Table.

Some sort of meat with sweet potatoes - Probably some pork chops from the freezer

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Friday, April 8, 2011

Banh Mi Dogs with Asian Peanut Slaw

Day two of our playing with hot dog toppings is a combination I've wanted to try for awhile now, a dog with all the toppings of a banh mi. Banh mi can be made with lots of different meats, pork, chicken, ham so, why not a hot dog?!
Banh Mi Dog & Asian Peanut Slaw
We started with a nice hoagie roll smearing one side with mayonnaise and the other with homemade pate. Then we added some pickled carrots and sliced jalapeno. Topped that with a good 100% pork dog (though any good hot dog will work) & a good handful of fresh cilantro. It really worked as a sandwich though, for our dogs, it really required a lot of toppings otherwise the seasoning in the dogs overpowered everything else. A good way to have a banh mi if you don't have any other cooked meat on hand.

We served the dogs with an Asian Peanut Slaw. I adapted Alton Brown's recipe by having it, leaving a few things out like mint & adding Sriracha. It is very peanuty & we ended up adding more soy but next time I think I'd also add a little more vinegar for a touch more tang. It makes for a really colorful side dish with the red peppers, carrots & onions.

Asian Peanut Slaw
(adapted from Alton Brown's)

1 small head napa cabbage, sliced thin (about 2 cups)
1 carrot, grated
1/4 c thinly sliced red pepper
1 T minced jalapeno
1/4 c sliced red onion
1/4 c rice wine vinegar (I would use a little more next time I make this)
1/4 c peanut butter
2 1/2 t soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
1 1/2 t lime juice
dash of Sriracha
pinch of dried ginger

Mix the cabbage, carrot, peppers & onion together in a bowl.

Whisk the remaining ingredients together until smooth. Stir into vegetables until coated. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Makes 2 - 3 servings.

Ok, we have a couple dogs left, what unusual toppings do you suggest?

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Oh, La, La French Dog

It's the opening of baseball season. Now Matt & I could really care less about the sport but, we do appreciate the food most associated with it, the hot dog. With the temps warming up & grilling season upon us, Matt thought this was a good week to play with hot dog toppings.
Oh, La, La French Dog
His first creation was inspired by a jar of cornichons in the fridge. He decided to make a dog with a decidedly French twist.
Oh, La, La French Dog
He started with some nice hoagie rolls (though any hot dog bun will do). He smeared them with a good amount of Dijon mustard. Then he added some slices of brie & cornichons. Topped off, of course, with the hot dogs. The dogs we used were 100% pork (they were part of the last 1/4 of a pig we bought) but any good hotdog will do. Since our buns were big we put two dogs in each.
Oh, La, La French Dog
Ok, this was surprisingly good. Matt said a cheese dog but, a really good cheese dog, one with that funky kick from the brie. The texture of the brie is great especially when it gets all warm & melty from the hot dogs. We were a little afraid the cornichons would overpower everything but instead they added a nice tang against the creaminess. We would totally do this version of the dog again!

Tomorrow another international twist on the all-American hot dog....

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

All The Good Stuff Cookies

The other day we were at Sun Street Bakery for lunch & picked up two of Solveig's crisper cookies. We were lucky to get the last two that day. The cookies had pieces of pretzel, sugar cone & chocolate chips in them, I think. Matt & I both loved them & immediately started thinking about our own version because, you know, what if we go one day & they're sold out?!
Cookies for Matt
I thought the base of the cookies should be the same as a chocolate chip cookie & Matt agreed. Then it was just about choosing the add-ins. I wanted pretzels for sure & Matt suggested potato chips for even more saltiness. Chocolate chips were the next item on my list but Matt said no, he wanted malted milk balls which should add enough chocolate. Lastly, we decided to add caramel bits.
Cookies for Matt
The resulting cookie was a great mix of salty & sweet, crunchy & chewy. The only thing I would change is the caramels I used. I had an open bag of caramel chocolate swirl chips so, that's what got used. They were just not caramel enough (& really not good caramel either). Next time I'll use caramel bits or chop up some bigger caramels. I thought a little extra salt sprinkled on top would be good but Matt thought they had the perfect amount of saltiness.

All The Good Stuff Cookies
(adapted from the Original Toll House Cookie Recipe)

1 c + 2 T all purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
4 oz (1/2 c) unsalted butter, at room temp
6 T white sugar
6 T packed brown sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 c mix of malted milk balls, pretzels, potato chips & caramels (Malted Milk Balls cut into quarters, pretzels cut into 1/4" pieces, potato chips broken up & either caramel pieces or larger caramels cut up)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix the flour, baking soda & salt together.

In a large mixing bowl cream the butter, sugars & vanilla together. Add the egg & beat in completely. Beat in the flour mixture in three additions. Stir in the candy, chips & pretzels.

Scoop 1 oz balls onto ungreased baking sheets (I got about 6 per sheet). Bake for 9 - 10 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely. These are best eaten at room temperature instead of warm.

Makes 2 dozen.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekly Menu 4/4 - 4/9/11

After a long, record-breaking winter we are finally starting to see the light of Spring here in Minnesota. Forget the first crocuses coming up or the buds on the lilacs, here is the real first sign of Spring.
First Grilling of the Season
Yes, that is still snow behind Matt but, the piles were so high this year we think some of them might be here until June. Matt was almost giddy at being able to get back to his grill & summer foods while making us fajitas last night so, we will be doing a lot of grilling this week.

On to Menu Planning Monday....

Potato Leek Soup

Banh Mi Dogs

Grilled Salmon

French Dogs

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tequila Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice

Sorry for the blogging silence over the last couple of days. Matt is off in Silicon Valley for work again & I'm home alone eating leftovers or grabbing a burger out. Last night though I figured I better cook up the chicken breasts I had in the fridge. A little more foraging found half a lime & some cilantro that needed to be used as well. I grabbed a bottle of Matt's tequila & made it all into a meal.
Tequila Chicken over Cilantro Lime Rice
This made for a tasty, light dinner with very fresh flavors. I topped it with a little sour cream for a some creaminess. I can see Matt adding some hot sauce or salsa for extra zing. As good as this was on its own, I think it would even be better wrapped in a tortilla.

Tequila Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 c tequila (don't bother using the good stuff)
1 T honey
pinch of kosher salt
1/4 t ancho chili powder
2/3 c rice
juice of 1 lime
1/2 t lime zest
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 T vegetable oil
optional toppings yogurt, salsa, hot sauce

Put the chicken into a small sealable bag. Mix the tequila, honey, salt & chili powder together. Heat in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Stir to mix everything together well. Pour the tequila mixture over the chicken. Seal the bag getting out as much air as possible. Let marinade in the refrigerator for 30 - 60 minutes.

Cook the rice according to the directions adding the lime juice & zest with the water. When finished cooking stir in the cilantro.

When the rice is just about done, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the chicken & the tequila marinade (careful it will splatter). Sauté until the chicken is cooked through & the sauce has cooked down some.

Serve the chicken & sauce over the hot rice with optional toppings.

2 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski
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T = Tablespoon
t = teaspoon
c = cup
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oz - ounce

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