Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stuffed Potatoes

Guys, this is delicious. Seriously. It was quick, relatively simple, hearty, filling, and excellently tasty! I even liked it, and I hate potatoes.

So, you will need:
One potato per person (I used Yukon Golds, but the original recipe asked for Russets)
Olive oil
Your favorite fresh herbs (I bought chives, but ended up using rosemary from my garden!)
Half a tablespoon of butter per potato
A shallot
A few slices of ham

So, fork your potatoes, rub them with olive oil, and nuke them in your 'wave for about 12 minutes, then let them cool for 8ish minutes.

Slice your shallots and sauté them in olive oil until just tender, about 3 minutes.

Chop your herbs and ham.

Split the potatoes down the middle, scoop out the flesh, and toss it in a bowl. (I thought I could bypass this step, which is why this picture shows the shallots inside the potato. Bypassing this step is not a great idea. Just sayin'.)
Mix it all up with the butter, shallots, herbs, and ham, and use milk to smooth it out.

Scoop the filling back into the potato skins and stick under a broiler for a couple of minutes, until warm and brown. Serve and enjoy!

Takes about half an hour.
Feeds as many as you need it to feed.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

PW's Chili

Do you know about The Pioneer Woman? She's awesome and I love her. I bought her cookbook months ago when it came out, but I'm sorry to say that I hadn't actually tried one of the recipes from it until now. (Although there are several recipes included in the book that she posted on her blog first, and I've tried--and loved--many of those.) The biggest reason (besides my lactose intolerance, and her penchant for milk products) is that the cookbook is gorgeous, and I didn't want to get anything gross on it. But I digress.

I made her chili tonight, and it was superb. I hate to say it, but it's almost better than my dad's chili. Try it! Love it! Do it now!

You will need:

A pound of ground beef
Two cloves of garlic, minced
One teaspoon salt
One teaspoon oregano (PW says ground, all I had was dried)
One tablespoon ground cumin
Two tablespoons chili powder
A dash of red pepper, if you like
8 ounce can of tomato sauce (all I had was puree)

Optional: diced onion, jalepenos, beans, tomatoes, and so forth.

Combine all your spices into a small bowl.

Toss the beef and garlic in a pot and cook till brown, then drain most of the fat.

One of the things I've learned from my years of reading PW is that you should never panic if you're missing an ingredient or two. Just make do with what you have. The recipe calls for tomato sauce, but all I had was this can of puree, so I used that. And really, when it comes to canned tomato products, they're pretty much all interchangeable. So, toss in the tomato sauce and the spices, stir, and let it simmer for about an hour (this is probably a good time to throw in any extra ingredients).

I didn't have an hour for simmering. I had 15 minutes. But it was still ridiculously delicious. And so much quicker when it's not simmering for an hour!

Serve on a bed of Fritos and sprinkle with cheese. YUM!

Serves four.
Takes about 20 minutes, plus simmering time.
Difficulty: 2.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Broiled Chicken

Here's a recipe I found in the bowels of my blog from last winter. I guess I never took pictures of it, which is probably why it was languishing in unpublished limbo. But I do remember making it, and I remember it being delicious (although, be warned: four bone-in chicken breasts is enough to feed a small army. Tim and I could easily be full on exactly ONE bone-in breast shared between the two of us).

Four bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
Half a cup unsalted butter, room temperature
Half a cup fresh parsley, chopped
One quarter cup fresh chives, chopped
One teaspoon dried tarragon

Preheat your broiler.

In a small bowl, combine the butter, parsley, chives, and tarragon. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Loosen the skin and slide the butter mixture under the skin on each breast. Melt any remaining butter and brush over the meat. Place the chicken, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish. Place under the broiler and cook for about 15 minutes.

Turn the chicken skin side up and brush with any remaining butter and pan juices. Broil for another 12-ish minutes, until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer reads 170F.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Toffee Cake

I'm blogging. It's a miracle!

Seriously, folks, it's been quite a summer, and I apologize for my absence. Tim's had lots of swim meets, so I haven't been cooking a lot, and when I do cook, I usually make things that are old standbys, or I just throw a few things together and call it dinner. (And that was a really long sentence!) BUT, August is officially here now, and I have an entire month of meals planned. Some recipes are old, some are new, but as soon as I remember to bring my camera home from work, I should be back in the swing of things.

And so, without much further ado, a cake recipe. Excuse the icky photos; my camera's at work, so I took these pictures with my phone (and then spent way too long trying to get them from phone to computer).

This recipe comes from the Taste of Home magazine I swiped from my mother-in-law over Mother's Day weekend.

So, you will need:
8 ounces milk chocolate English toffee bits (at my grocery store, this was right next to the chocolate chips)
One cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Two tablespoons brown sugar
One cup butter, softened
One and a quarter cups packed brown sugar
Four eggs
One teaspoon vanilla extract
Three cups all-purpose flour
One and a half teaspoons baking POWDER
Half a teaspoon baking SODA
Half a teaspoon salt
One and a quarter cups buttermilk

Combine the toffee bits, chocolate chips, and brown sugar in a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter will look slippery, slightly chunky, and pretty gross at this point. Beat in the vanilla.

After I beat the heck out of my batter (with three eggs at this point).

Combine the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour, and add in two batches alternately with the buttermilk.

After the first addition of flour.

After the final addition of flour and buttermilk. Kids, I'm not sure I've ever seen a more luxuriant bowl of batter.

Spread a third of the batter in a greased and floured 10-inch fluted tube pan. Sprinkle with half of the toffee mixture. Repeat with a third of the batter, the rest of the toffee mixture, and the rest of the batter. (Sorry I don't have pictures of this. But I'm sure you can imagine it.)

Bake at 350F for 55-60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
The magazine picture of the cake.

As you can see, my cake was still un-frosted when I posted this (mostly because it's still cooling). I'm not sure it needs frosting at all, what with all the delicious goodness inside. If I get a wild hare to frost it, I have a jar of caramel sauce sitting in my pantry that might be wonderful on top, or a mostly full container of chocolate frosting in my fridge that I'm sure would also be delicious. However, the recipe did come with directions for frosting, so here they are:

Half a stick of butter
Two teaspoons flour
One 5 ounce can of evaporated milk
One cup packed brown sugar

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add in evaporated milk and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 4-5 minutes until thick. Cool, and drizzle over cake.

Monday morning post script: I ended up throwing together a bunch of things for the frosting, which ended up being more of a glaze. I grabbed half a jar of chocolate frosting, about a quarter-cup of caramel sauce, and two tablespoons of marshmallow fluff, stirred them together, warmed it up a little, and poured over the top of the cake. And guys? Can we talk about this cake? It is DIVINE. And exceptionally rich. I had a teensy piece at 7:00 and felt way too full until close to midnight. I think this might be an after-lunch cake, not an after-dinner cake. You have got to make this today. TODAY! And in the interest of world peace, take some to your neighbors. Because this cake will change the world.

Seriously, how delicious does this cake look?