Saturday, April 18, 2015

Milk Bar Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is based on one used by "Momofuko's Milk Bar"  an eat-in bakery in N.Y. New York. While the name is unfortunate--they are VERY fortunate to have a wonderful pastry chef named Christina Tosi. She added a secret ingredient to these cookies --milk powder. She also melts the butter.  This makes cookies that are chewy on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside. Baking is chemistry--you must follow the recipe exactly. The result: A chocolate chip cookie that comes out perfectly every time! I did adapt the recipe slightly to add 1/4 C flour and 3/4 t less salt (because I prefer using salted butter). Yield: This makes a very small batch--about 14-15 cookies if you use a 1 3/4 inch scoop --so do double it!

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
3/4 C brown sugar (I always use C&H)
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
2 t. vanilla
2 C flour
2 T nonfat milk powder
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t baking powder
12 oz. chocolate chips (Guittard--try a combo of milk chocolate and semi-sweet!)

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Put butter in a medium-sized microwaveable mixing bowl. Microwave (or melt on low stove heat) until melted. Cool until just warm to the touch (like milk for a baby). Using a fork--mix in egg until thoroughly incorporated. Then mix in flour and the rest of the ingredients until just combined. Stir in chips. Use a 1 3/4" scoop or two tablespoons to make golf-ball sized blobs on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. If the dough isn't firm enough to scoop--let it cool some more. You can put in a little more flour if you're in a hurry--but it may make for a "tough cookie" if you add more than 1/4 C. HEY! That's where they got the expression "tough cookie"! From cookies with too much flour! Bahahaha! Anyway...bake 10-15 minutes until brown around the edges and lighter in the middle. But not too light. Every oven is different so you may try timing a couple of practice cookies before you do a whole pan. There should be tiny holes that look like pin-pricks in the middle of each cookie. Cool partially IN THE PAN. Then transfer to a rack or some paper towels. Serve with ice-cold milk. Perfection!


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chipotle Orange PorkTacos

Category: Main Courses
Difficulty: Easyish--Slow Cooker!
Healthy unless you are allergic to corn

Here in border-state California (pronounced CALEEFORNEEA) we are huge fans of Mexican food--like tacos. This is a new take on the taco. Everybody in my family loves it and says it's a Keeper. I only like it. That's because I don't just LOVE sweet pork--I prefer my men sweet and my carnitas spicy. But that's just silly me. This is spicy and sweet. So if you like things like sweet pulled pork--you will really like this! It's very easy--just throw it in the slow cooker and leave for the day! Makes a ton and keeps really well.  I make a big pot and eat it for lunches for two all week. Found by my daughter on the BudgetBytes.com site. Adapted only very slightly. Yield: at least 12 tacos--maybe more.

Ingredients:

4-5 lbs pork roast (shoulder or boston butt)
1 med. onion
12 oz. can frozen OJ concentrate
7 1/2 can chipoltle peppers in adobo sauce
1 T plus 1 t minced garlic
2 C water
2 whole bay leaves
1/4 C cider vinegar
1 1/2 t soy sauce

Taco Toppings:
12 6" corn tortillas
1 med. red onion
1 med. avocado
1/2 bunch cilantro

Directions:

Dice the onion and 1 T minced garlic and place it in the bottom of your slow cooker or greased 3-qt pot. Trim excess fat off the pork roast and cut it into 2-3" cubes. Place the pork cubes on top of the onion in the slow cooker. if you don't have a slow cooker--saute onion/garlic and pork together in the bottom of the pot until onion is limp. You can skip this step if you have a slow-cooker.

Throw half of the frozen OJ concentrate in the slow cooker or pot plus salt and 2-3 smaller chipotle peppers in about 2 t. of adobo sauce. Stir 2 C of warm water until the OJ concentrate is fully dissolved and mix everything together.There should be just enough to cover the pork chunks. Add a bit more water if needed. Add two bay leaves. Secure the lid and cook on High for at least 6 hours--up to 8 is fine. If you are making this in a pot--keep it on a low heat on a burner for at least 2 hours.
Pork should be easy to shred when done.

Prepare the tangy chipotle sauce for the meat: In a small saucepan combine the rest of the frozen orange juice concentrate with one chopped up chipotle pepper--1 t minced garlic...1/4 C cider vinegar and 1.5 t soy sauce. Whisk everything together and simmer over medium hear for about 10 minutes. Add the shredded pork and stir to coat.

Build your tacos by filling the tortillas with about a tablespoon of  pork plus thinly sliced red onion and some avocado. Top with a spoonful of sour cream and cilantro and you got it! Add Pico de Gallo if you like it hot...
 










Saturday, March 28, 2015

Wild African Peanut Soup

Category: Main Dish
Difficulty: Fairly Easy (some chopping and uses two pans)
Healthy!


This is a lighter version of African Groundnut Stew that I have posted a couple of years ago. Groundnuts and peanuts are the same thing. Who knew? This recipe adds a bit of fresh ginger for a little "zip". Give this to your kiddos and they will love it--so will you! My daughter originally got this off of the very excellent "Budgetbytes.com" site--I adjusted it only slightly. I also added the word "Wild" to the title because I like the word "Wild".... Yield: Feeds 4 big eaters or 5 Pygmies.

Ingredients:

1 T vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic
1 inch knob of fresh ginger
1 inch fresh ginger
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium onion
1 t cumin
1/8 t ground cayenne pepper
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/2 C natural-style chunky peanut butter (the kind with oil on the top)
6 C vegetable or chicken broth
1 lb raw chicken meat (breasts or tenders are fine) chopped into large cubes
1/2 bunch rinsed collard greens (2-3 cups chopped)
1/4 bunch cilantro (optional garnish)

Directions:

Peel and mince ginger and garlic very fine. Saute in vegetable oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until garlic is soft and fragrant but not brown. Dice onion and add to pot. Cut the sweet potato into 1/2" cubes and add to pot. Saute until it takes on a darker appearance. Meanwhile add broth to a 3 qt. pot and bring to a boil. Add chicken and cover. Boil until chicken is no longer pink. In the other pot--season sweet potato mixture with cumin and cayenne. Add tomato paste and peanut butter and stir until mixed. Gradually add broth in which the chicken was cooked to the sweet potato/peanut butter mix--then add chicken. Mix thoroughly and bring to a boil. Add chopped collard greens and cook about 15 minutes until greens are limp and potatoes are soft. Squash the sweet potatoes a bit with a potato masher or fork in order to make the soup thicker. Ladle soup into large bowls and sprinkle with chopped cilantro (if desired).








Monday, March 9, 2015

Todd Wilbur's Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie Clone

Category: Desserts
Difficulty: Easy
Not Healthy But Worth It

The real Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip cookie recipe has apparently never been sold. But this is the closest thing to it that I have tasted. They don't look the same...but they are just as ooey-gooey. I remember when Mrs. Fields first introduced her cookies to the world. I was there! I lived with my parents near Palo Alto CA at the time. It was there that she took her product to a Stanford business class--who came up with her marketing plan. The first cookies she produced and sold inside the old "Liddicotes" store-front  on University Ave.. She even handed out warm samples for free to  passersby. That was the key--they were fresh and warm. My sister and I used to go to her shop after vigorous work-outs to reward ourselves! These are best eaten warm with cold milk. Absolutely worth the guilt. Recipe by Todd Wilbur. Yield: A Baker's dozen 4" cookies

Note #1: In case you have some left after 36 hours--freeze them. They do not keep well.
Note #2: This is a needless warning because you won't have any left after 36 hours.
Note#3: Try using half Guittard or Andies Candies mint chips--WOW

Ingredients:

1 C (2 sticks) butter
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 t vanilla
2 1/2 C flour
3/4 t salt
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 12-oz pkg.Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I believe MF uses Hershey's brand--but I use Guittard)
1 C chopped walnuts

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees. Combine butter--sugars-vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and beat well. Beat in dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and/or nuts.  Use a scoop or two spoons to make blobs of dough the size of golf-balls and arrange on greased or parchment covered pans--6-8 cookies fit on a sheet at a time. Bake for 16-19 minutes or until done to your preference. Some like 'em brown...some like 'em just browned around the edges. INDULGE!






Thursday, March 5, 2015

"Throw 'Em In" Mexican Chicken Stew

Category: Main Dishes
Difficulty: Easy--and you can use a slow-cooker if you like
Healthy

Every cook in California probably has a Mexican soup or stew recipe--this is mine. What's different about this recipe is that there is so little chopping involved. I hate chopping. Even with a food processor... you have to clean the darn thing after you're done cooking (does anyone else think this way?)! So this is a recipe where you just open cans and bags and boxes  and "throw 'em  in". Hence the name...

This recipe makes a bunch--about 10 one-cup servings. I like it thick--like a stew. But if you want soup--just add a 15 oz. can of tomato sauce or beef broth 'till you have it how you want it. If you  have a small family--eat some and freeze some for those "I just can't get off the couch" nights. It's very healthy--only 294 calories of vegetables and nearly fat-free protein. Serves 10 --Adapted from "Living Lean with Trader Joe's" cookbook by Jamie Davidson.

Notes: The tomatoes ARE canned--but if you want to chop up 8 small or 6 large fresh organic tomatoes and add them to the bubbling pot instead--go ahead! Just be sure to add a small can of tomato sauce as well (for moisture). If you are allergic to corn or it is too high in glycemic value for you--simply leave it out. Substitute a chopped yellow and a chopped red bell pepper--they're sweet and pretty.

Ingredients:

2 medium onions (chopped)
4 crushed and minced garlic cloves
1 T olive oil
6 C cooked chicken (cut in chunks--in a pinch you can use 2 rotisserie chickens)
1 pkg. Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning Mix (or equivalent)
4 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes (or use fresh--see above)
2 15-oz cans black beans or a bag of dried beans that have been soaked overnight and washed 3X
2 C frozen or fresh organic non-GMO corn (or see substitute above)
2 C chicken broth
2 shredded corn tortillas or 2 t cornstarch or arrowroot mixed in 1/4 C water
2 T fresh lime juice (optional)
1/4 C chopped cilantro (optional--but don't skip it unless you hate cilantro)
plain Greek yogurt (optional)

Directions:

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil in a large pot or slow-cooker until tender--about 3 minutes. Add chicken-taco seasoning-tomatoes-beans and corn. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer at least 15 minutes. Stir in  two shredded corn tortillas or substitute to thicken. Keep stirring occasionally and add water as needed if it gets too thick. Serve garnished with line juice and cilantro and/or a dollop of plain Greek yogurt... Do freeze some if you can!
















Dramatic Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

Category: Main Dishes
Difficulty: Medium- Easy (takes about an hour to make--but easy)
Pretty Healthy (relatively high glycemic content--but GF and SF and relatively low-fat)

So company's coming and they are all very health conscious. You want to make something special...a show-off entree. But you don't have very much time or much money either. This is what you do: Go to a Big Box store and get one of those HUGE pork tenderloins that is the size of a small submarine. Cut two ends off of it--leaving at least a 12" roast in the middle. Cut the ends into 1" pork chops and throw them in the freezer for another time. Then carefully "butterfly" the roast. This is done by cutting a spiral into the roast (like a jelly or cake-roll) so that it can almost lay out flat after you are done cutting. Look it up on Google if you want pictures on how to do this under: "How to Stuff a Pork Loin Roast". The "U-Tube" video by "Food Wishes" is great!

Can you boil water? You can make the stuffing! Can you mix 3 ingredients together in a pan? You can make the sauce.  This was adapted from a recipe in "For Goodness Taste" by the Rochester Junior League. Serves 8 --one slice each.

Ingredients:
1 6 or 7 lb. pork loin roast (butterfly it yourself--or have your butcher do it)
12 oz. long-grain wild rice mix (get a good one with a lot of wild rice--I used Lundberg's Wild Blend)
1 large or 1 1/2  medium onion (chopped)
1 C celery (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 T olive oil or coconut oil
2 C dried apricots (chopped)
1  C prunes or dried figs (chopped)
1 t ground allspice
1/2 t ground ginger
6 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 C Marsala wine
1-2 T Palm sugar or brown sugar (to taste)
13 3/4 oz. can beef broth

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook 12 oz. dry rice according to package directions.  Add 1/2 t salt if there is none in the wild rice mix you are using. Sautee onion-celery-garlic in oil until vegies are tender; drain off fat. Combine vegetable mixture with rice-apricots-prunes and spices in a large bowl. Spoon stuffing evenly over butterflied pork loin (see "How to Stuff a Pork Loin" on U-Tube) and roll up like a cake-roll.  Common Sense Secret: If you have some kitchen string-- use it to tie the loin in place (see video). If you don't have any--cut strips of clean old sheeting or any undye-ed or white fabric you might have around to tie the pork in gentle bondage. Roast loin at 400 degrees in a large roasting pan that has been greased for 10 minutes. Lower temperature to 325 degrees and continue to bake for 30 minutes. Check at this point to see if it is 170 degrees on a thermometer or white tinged with pink if cut with a knife. If it is still VERY pink--leave it in 10-15 minutes more then check again. If it's white--take it out immediately!!! It will cook for a few minutes more after it is taken out of the oven so a white tinged with pink is optimum. This is mui importante--pork loins can get dry in a split second!

Put loin on a serving platter and cover ith foil to keep warm when it is done. When ready to plate--cut loin into 1" thick spirals. Serve with additional stuffing on the side and this wonderful sauce over all:

Wonderful Sauce:

Skim off fat from pan juices in roasting pan. Add cloves-bay leaves-wine and broth to juices. Cook over medium heat--stirring frequently to reduce sauce to about 2/3 of it's usual volume. It should be like an "au jus" at it's finish.  Add palm sugar to taste. Strain and serve in a gravy boat accompanying pork and stuffing. DO urge guests to put some on the stuffing as well as the pork.






















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Egg Babies

Category: Brunch
Difficulty: Insultingly Easy
Very Healthy (and extremely convenient)

I loooove breakfast! I always want eggs and bacon and hash-browns AND some kind of roll that's full of sugar. And a rich dark roast coffee with real cream . But who has time to make all that? Or the metabolism to eat it? Maybe a 16 yr. old track star but not me! So I make these little protein-filled babies... and the coffee (naturally). Eat them warm and store what's leftover for up to 3 days in the fridge. Just heat up a couple in the microwave and there you have it: a healthy breakfast! Quantity: 8 Egg Babies.

Ingredients:

Optional Fillings:
Green onions (chopped)
Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (drained on a paper towel and chopped) or T.J.s packaged brand
Cheddar cheese (grated)
Swiss Cheese (grated)
Jack Cheese (grated)
Asiago Cheese
Oh Heck Any Kind of Cheese You Like
Canned green chilis (mild)
Fresh cilantro (chopped)
Fresh spinach (chopped)
Bacon (chopped)
Sausage (any kind)
Hamburger (brown it first and drain--15% fat is best)
Firm Buffola Mozzarella (cut in 1/2" cubes)

Egg Mix:
6 eggs
2 T milk
1/2 t onion powder (if you only have onion salt--use it instead of regular salt)
salt/pepper to taste ( using Lawry's seasoning salt is also good)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin liberally or use lots of spray oil (olive oil is healthy). Cook your meat proteins and prepare all other fillings. Add a large pinch of two or more of  any or all of the fillings listed above to your muffin tins. Here are some good combo's--

Buffola Mozzerella and green chilies and Jack cheese
Spinach and ham and cheddar
Bacon and Swiss
Sun-dried tomatoes and cheddar
Hamburger and spinach and cheddar (like a Joe's Special)

Always put the grated cheese on top because it looks pretty. Pour egg mixture over fillings up almost to the top of each muffin tin. Bake until puffy and light brown around the edges. Let cool for a few minutes before removing with a knife. Eat warm or let cool and store in a plastic bag. Can be reheated in a microwave (about 30 seconds).










Thursday, January 8, 2015

Parmesan Delectibites

Catagory: Appetizers
Difficulty: Very Easy
Not Healthy But Who Cares?

My Grandmother, Gladys, use to make these. They have got to be one of the easiest-to-make appetizers on earth. Beware! Once you start eating them...you won't stop (cue the scary organ music).

Ingredients:

2 C flour
1/2 t salt
2 t baking powder
1/4 t ground red pepper
1 C cream
3/4 C finely grated parmesan cheese
1/4 C butter
1/4 C olive oil

Mix dry ingredients together in a food processor to distribute evenly. Add Parmesan and cream and pulse until blended (if you don't have a food processor you can use your hands). Gather up wet dough and make into a log. Refrigerate for 8 hours then cut into 1/4" thick slices. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add olive oil and combine over heat. Place slices in skillet and bake the whole thing in a 450 degree, preheated oven for 12 minutes. Serve warm.

Lentil Soup A La Jenn

Category: Soup
Difficulty: Medium-Easy but making it a day ahead is best
Healthy!

There is so much to love about Lentil Soup. It is packed with good protein and fiber-filled fresh vegetables. The result is almost a miracle food!  Yes--there is a little fat but you can skip the ham if you have high cholesterol. Actually-- did you know they are finding cholesterol is not as bad for you as they thought? But fat does have lots of calories--so you choose according to your own health assessment. I would use the bacon if you can't use sherry. One or the other or BOTH adds that special flavor punch! BOOM! Gottcha! FLAVOR. This was adapted quite a lot from a recipe from 'The Soup Kettle" restaurant recipe by Juanita Gomez. Yield: at LEAST 12 large bowl-fulls.

Ingredients:

1/2 large onion--chopped
5 large carrots--sliced
3 slices REAL bacon (optional if you use sherry)
2 -4 C REAL ham--cut in 1" cubes or pieces (you can buy one of those large packaged ham slices)
2 garlic cloves--smashed and minced
2 large stalks celery--sliced
4 C lentils
4 quarts beef stock or 4 quarts water and 4 large beef bouillon cubes (6 gram size)
4 oz tomato paste
1/2-3/4  C good sherry (optional if you use bacon)
Sour cream or lemon wedges
Nutmeg

Directions: Rinse lentils and pick through them for dark ones while still in the colander. If you don't have a colander--use your head! Wait...that came out wrong. Unless you have holes in your head do not use your head. Use a large strainer.

Boil water in a 6-qt. soup pot and stir in bouillon cubes. Add lentils and boil for 30 minutes (some people soak their lentils overnight before boiling--this is good but not necessary). Meanwhile saute first 6 ingredients in a large frying pan or a second pot. Add sauteed vegies to lentils and cook until lentils are soft. Add tomato paste and sherry. Cook for another 10 minutes. At this point I let the whole thing cool and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. But if you are hungry--you can serve it right away and put the excess in the fridge. Perhaps freeze some for another week? Absatutely!

To serve: Heat and salt and pepper to taste. Top with a blob of sour cream on top (swirl it to make it pretty) and a tiny bit of grated nutmeg. Alternatively--serve it with a slice of fresh lemon floating in the bowl. Note: Lentil soup does tend to get thicker with time--you can always add more water as you heat it up in the microwave or saucepan.