Archive for July, 2009

Brown Sugar Pancakes

These pancakes were good, but nothing amazing. They were easy though, so I would make them again. I’ve been searching for a good brown sugar recipe ever since we went to New Zealand and had the most amazing brown sugar pancakes there.

Brown Sugar Pancakes (BakingBites.com)

1/2 cup brown sugar (pref dark.)
3 tbsp butter, softened
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 cups milk, any kind
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt together brown sugar and butter. Stir well, then set aside to cool slightly.
in a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking power and salt. Pour in eggs, milk and vanilla extract, along with brown sugar mixture and stir until well combined. No streaks of dry ingredients should remain.
Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, until a drop of water skitters around when dropped on the surface. Lightly grease with butter or oil, and drop pancake batter by 1/4-cup measures on the pan. Cook until pancake is slightly dry around the edges and small bubbles form in the batter (bottom will be browned). Flip and cook for another minute or so on other side, until bottom is browned.


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Chicken Tikka Masala

I’ve tried quite a few recipes for Chicken Tikka Masala and none of them ever tasted right. A friend gave me a new cookbook for my birthday and I gave this recipe a try. I found it to be really delicious and much closer to what you would find in an Indian restaurant. Its also really simple to make (no toasting of spices or grinding) and thats always a plus.

Chicken Tikka Masala (America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook)

This dish tastes best when prepared with whole-milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted; do not use fat-free yogurt. For a spicer dish, do not remove the ribs and seeds from the chile. The sauce can be made and refrigerated up to 4 days in advance; gently reheat the sauce before adding the hot chicken. Serve with basmati rice.


Chicken Tikka
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, trimmed
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, minced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 serrano chile (I kept the ribs and seeds), minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Combine the cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the spice mixture, pressing gently so it adheres. Place the chicken on the plate, cover with saran warp and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, garlic and ginger. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering (hot). Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden (8-10 minutes). Add the garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala. Cook while stirring frequently until fragrant (3 minutes). Add the tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cream and return to simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.

3. As the sauce simmers, heat up the grill (medium high). Spray the grill with some nonstick spray if you wish. Using tongs, dip the chicken into the yogurt mixture and place on the grill. Grill until chicken reaches 160 degree; flipping halfway through.

4. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Stir the chicken pieces into the warm sauce (do not simmer the chicken in the sauce). Stir in the cilantro, season with salt to taste, and serve.

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Caprese Salad Bites

This is a simple, healthy, and delicious appetizer to make for parties.

Caprese Salad Bites (by ME!, ok.. so Caprese salad has been around for decades, this is just a miniature version of it)

1 log fresh mozzarella cut into bite sized pieces (or balls), approx +8oz, no positive on the amount
bunch of basil leaves (20-30 small leaves or break up bigger ones)
1 package grape tomatoes (20-30 tomatoes?)
3 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt, pepper to taste
20-30 toothpicks

Take a toothpick and spear the piece of mozzarella, basil, and 1 tomato. Repeat until you run out of ingredients. Place on a platter.

In a bowl mix together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle dressing over the caprese bites. If you need more dressing, just make more. Each bite should have a taste of dressing.

Sorry its not more precise, but I promise its easy!

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Grilled Pepper Poppers

These are amazing. I’ve had people who don’t like spicy food tell me how much they love them. The cheese offsets the spice from the pepper.

Grilled Pepper Poppers (CookingLight.com)

1/2 cup (4 ounces) soft goat cheese
1/2 cup (4 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
16 jalapeƱo peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

2. Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Spoon about 2 teaspoons cheese mixture into each pepper half. Place pepper halves, cheese side up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill peppers 5 minutes or until bottoms of peppers are charred and cheese mixture is lightly browned. Carefully place peppers on a serving platter. Sprinkle with cilantro.

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White and Red Sangria

I love sangria. It is the perfect summer time refreshment. I serve it frequently for BBQs and its very easy to make. Here are two of my favorite recipes for both white and red sangria.

Traditional Sangria (Adapted from food network)

2 bottles chilled dry red wine, like Rioja (I used Charles Shaw Merlot)
1 cup brandy
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar (I dissolved normal sugar in some water)
1 cup strawberries (cut into quarters unless really small, add us much as you like really)
1 orange, cut into sliced or you can peel it and cut into bite sized pieces
1 apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 cups cold club soda

In a large pot or bowl, combine the wine, brandy, orange juice, and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the fruit and refrigerate until well chilled, about 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and add the soda.

White Sangria (Adapted from the food network)

2 (750-ml) bottles white Spanish wine, such as Albarino (Galacia), Viura (Rioja), Verdejo (Rueda), or Sauvignon Blanc (I used Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup Spanish brandy
1/4 cup Spanish orange liqueur (I added triple sec)
1 cup pear juice (I used apricot juice)
1/2 cup superfine sugar (used dissolved normal sugar)
1 diced pear
2 peaches, pit removed and sliced into thin wedges
1/2 pound seedless white grapes
1 (750-ml) bottle Prosecco, chilled

Combine the wine, brandy, orange liqueur, pear juice, and sugar in a large pitcher and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the fruit and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 4 hours. Stir in the Prosecco and serve the sangria in large wine glasses, over ice if desired.

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These are really tasty. I think they improve with age too, so keep them in an air tight container!

Chewy Molasses Cookies (Martha Stewart)

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a shallow bowl, place 1/2 cup sugar; set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat butter and remaining cup of sugar until combined. Beat in egg and then molasses until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in dry ingredients, just until a dough forms.

Pinch off and roll dough into balls, each equal to 1 tablespoon. Roll balls in reserved sugar to coat.

Arrange balls on baking sheets, about 3 inches apart. Bake, one sheet at a time, until edges of cookies are just firm, 10 to 15 minutes (cookies can be baked two sheets at a time, but they will not crackle uniformly). Cool 1 minute on baking sheets; transfer to racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 4 days.

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Buttermilk Waffles

I’m getting closer to the perfect waffle recipe. I love that this recipe uses brown sugar and I think that makes the difference. They could have been a bit sweeter, but otherwise they are really tasty.

Buttermilk Waffles (Sister’ Cafe)

1 stick butter, melted
2 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs until fluffy. Beat in everything else just until smooth. Cook in waffle iron.

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