Jan 30, 2010

Fast Buttery Peas

This recipe comes from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It's an easy way to make ordinary cooked peas a little less ordinary. The addition of sugar highlights the natural sweetness of the peas.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (I used dried thyme instead)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound frozen peas (3 cups)
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallot, thyme, and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the peas (unthawed) and sugar. Cover and cook until the peas are heated through, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Jan 25, 2010

Penuche Frosting

This brown sugar-flavored frosting is wonderful. It goes well on a banana or spice cake.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 3/4 to 2 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in brown sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Bring to a boil again, stirring constantly. Take off heat and cool to lukewarm. Gradually stir in powdered sugar until frosting reaches desired consistency. Recipe makes enough frosting for a 13 x 9-inch cake or 2 9-inch rounds.

Jan 19, 2010

Roasted Broccoli

I know of no tastier way to cook broccoli than roasting it. I tried roasted broccoli last year for the first time and was amazed that it could be so delicious. More people would like broccoli if it were cooked in this way, I'm sure. And it couldn't be easier. Give this a try!

1 head of broccoli, washed, patted dry, and cut into fairly large florets
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced (I used about two teaspoons of minced garlic, and that worked great)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put florets on a baking sheet and then drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic. Toss the florets so that they get a light coating of oil and the garlic is evenly distributed. Then spread out the florets into a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake until tender and some of the edges of the broccoli are slightly browned, usually about 20 to 25 minutes. Right after you take the broccoli out of the oven, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Jan 18, 2010


(photo courtesy of my sister Emily)

My niece is studying Greece in school, so her family decided to plan a Greek festival last night for the grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. It was a fun evening! There was a Greek board game that my niece created for her class, a trivia quiz on Greece (which I won, incidentally), and a delicious Greek meal. My assignment for the evening was to bring baklava, which I'd never made before. I've eaten it but never tried creating it.

The recipe below is one I adapted from allrecipes.com. I'm not a huge baklava fan, to be honest. It's tasty every once in awhile. But I was very pleased with the way this recipe turned out. It wasn't difficult at all. It just takes some time to layer the phyllo dough. But if you like baklava, give this a try!

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey

1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
1 pound chopped walnuts
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

1. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and cook until it comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved. Add vanilla and honey. Turn the heat down and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes. Then let it cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch pan.
3. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough and cover it with plastic wrap and a dampened cloth to keep the dough from drying out as you work. Place a single sheet of dough in the baking dish and brush it quickly with butter. Add additional sheets one at a time and brush them with butter until you have 8 sheets layered. Then sprinkle the top layer with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the nut mixture. Place another sheet of dough on top, brush it with butter, and then sprinkle it with nuts. Continue this process of layering until the nut mixture is gone. Then continue adding layers of phyllo dough and buttering each sheet. The top layer should be about 6 to 8 sheets deep. The top sheet of phyllo should also be buttered.
4. Using a sharp knife, cut into diamond or square shapes but don't cut all the way to the bottom of the pan because you don't want all the sauce to sink immediately to the bottom. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
5. Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered because it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

Jan 10, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

2 cups cubed chicken
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can tomato soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
1 can (10 oz) mild enchilada sauce
6 8-inch flour tortillas

Sauté the onions in the butter. Take off heat. Add chicken, 1 cup cheese, and chilies; set aside. Combine soups and sauce; heat to boiling. Remove from heat. Pour about 1 cup sauce in bottom of 9" x 13" pan. Divide chicken mixture among 6 tortillas. Put a couple of tablespoons on top of each tortilla and roll up and put in pan. Top with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Garnish each enchilada with a little sour cream, lettuce, tomato, and salsa, if desired. Serves six.

Jan 3, 2010

Tortellini Primavera

Feel free to substitute different vegetables with this dish. In place of some of the vegetables listed in this recipe, I've used summer squash, mini zucchini squash, button mushrooms, peas, yellow and green peppers, etc. I love the colors of all the vegetables in this dish.

1 package (16-oz) tricolor cheese tortellini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed
2 large carrots, pared, thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced crosswise, separated into rings
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Cook tortellini as package label directs; drain. Keep warm. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté asparagus, mushrooms, snow peas, carrots, onion, garlic, and salt until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; bring to boiling. Add tortellini; toss gently until mixed. Over medium heat, stir until heated through.

Jan 1, 2010

Ginger Snaps

These are a Clark family classic. My family has made them for as long as I can remember. Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ginger

Cream shortening and sugar. Add molasses and egg; beat well. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Form dough into balls, roll each ball in granulated sugar, and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.