Monday, May 30, 2011

Triple Chocolate Cookies

I know, technically white chocolate isn't really chocolate at all (since all the cocoa has been removed). But I'm considering that a technicality and letting the title of this cookie stand. 

These cookies are a little reminiscent of brownies (in both taste and texture). They can be a little crumbly, so if you take them somewhere (and you will) pack them in tupperware or a cookie tin (and not in a ziploc bag inside your knapsack that you bring on the train with you and then forget your cookies are in there and proceed to use your knapsack like a pillow). But if you did do that (and this is purely hypothetical of course), I'm sure your coworkers would still scarf up the delectable pieces anyway.

Makes about 60 cookies

10 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips (about 6 oz.)

1.      Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350° F.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.      Stir chopped chocolate in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth; remove from over water. Cool melted chocolate 10 minutes.
3.      Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.
4.      Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in another medium bowl until crumbly. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Continue to beat until mixture is light, pale, and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add lukewarm melted chocolate and vanilla and beat just until blended. Fold in dry ingredients, then chocolate chips.
5.      Drop cookie batter (about 1 tablespoon each) onto prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies, 1 baking sheet at a time, until tops are evenly cracked but cookies are not yet firm to touch, about 12 minutes. Cool cookies completely on baking sheets. Freeze overnight. Can be made 3 days ahead and kept frozen.

barley adapted from chef Tom Douglas

melted chocolate
sifting cocoa powder
adding egg to butter/sugar
adding melted chocolate
adding dry ingredients
adding chocolate chips
batter done
dough ready to bake

I made mine slightly larger than 1 tablespoon
each and ended up with about 45 cookies.

These can get a little crumbly, so I'd probably make
them a little smaller (like the recipe says) next time.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cilantro Coconut Rice

This rice was really delicious...I can only imagine how much better it would have been if I'd added the jalapeño (the spiciness combined with the sweetness from the coconut...mmm). It kills me because I know I bought one, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I think I accidentally threw it away (it wouldn't be the first time I've done that with something small). I once threw out a brand new eyeliner (still in the bag from the drug store), then bought another one to replace it and accidentally threw that one away too. True story. It would be funny if it wasn't so ridiculous. (Just kidding, it's pretty funny.) Anyway, good rice!

Makes 5 servings

2 1/2 cups basmati rice (10 oz.)
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh jalapeño, including seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons + 1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
2 cups water (or 1 cup coconut milk + 1 cup water)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed fresh cilantro sprigs
2 scallions, chopped (1/2 cup)

1.     Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350° F.
2.    Wash rice in several changes of cold water in a bowl until water is almost clear. Soak rice in cold water 30 minutes, then drain well in a sieve.
3.     Spread coconut in a shallow baking pan and toast in oven, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely.
4.     Cook ginger and jalapeño in 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until chile is softened, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in water and 1/4 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil, covered. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.
5.     Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.
6.     While rice cooks, pulse together toasted coconut, cilantro, scallions, and remaining 1 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor until finely chopped.
7.      Add cilantro mixture to cooked rice and stir gently until combined well.

slightly adapted from Gourmet, April 2004
soaking the rice strengthens it (which keeps
it from breaking down during cooking)
coconut before toasting
coconut toasted
cilantro-coconut-scallions mixed
knob of ginger
ginger cooking (without the jalapeño)

cooked rice (I used brown basmati, which did take a little longer)
mixing cilantro mixture into the rice
rice ready

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Asian Chicken Noodle Salad

This is the tasty leftover dish I promised you could make from yesterday's post, Grilled Asian Chicken. I didn't have any grilled vegetables leftover, but I say if you do, go ahead and throw those in too! 

I love this cool, refreshing noodle salad. It's an easy, well balanced meal that also travels well. Be prepared, if you bring it to work, you're coworkers might stare longingly at your lunch. So either bring enough to share or get ready to give them the stink eye so they'll back off.

If you aren't interested in making the grilled chicken and all the rest of it, I get it. But please, try the dressing (it doesn't take long and as far as I'm concerned, it's the star).

Makes 4 servings

12 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed
1 8- to 9-oz. package fresh Japanese-style noodles (such as udon)
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
2 grilled chicken breast halves, cut in thin strips (leftover from Grilled Asian Chicken)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
toasted sesame seeds (optional)

1.     Cook snap peas in boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl.
2.     Return water to boil. Add noodles. Cook until tender but firm, 3 minutes (or as directed on package). Drain; rinse under cold water until cool. Transfer to large bowl.
3.     Toss noodles with sesame oil. Cut noodles with kitchen shears to shorten. Add peas, chicken, and scallions; toss with enough dressing to coat. Serve topped with toasted sesame seeds, if desired.

from Selma Brown Morrow
washed sugar snap peas
chopping scallions

I didn't have any udon noodles, so I used fettuccine (I didn't
snip them either, I just broke them up a little before I boiled them).
everything but the dressing
everything (including the dressing) ready to mix
mixed and plated (with sesame seeds sprinkled on top)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Grilled Asian Chicken with Vegetables

served with Cilantro Coconut Rice
The great thing about this recipe is that it comes with another recipe for Asian Chicken Noodle Salad built right in (that uses the leftover dressing and chicken). So you can have a nice, hot meal fresh from the grill one night and enjoy a delicious cold noodle salad the next day. I thought that was pretty great, so I made both. It was a bit much to put all in one post, so I'll post that one tomorrow. This dressing is so scrumptious...I still have a little left in my fridge and I'm looking forward to using it this weekend on a green salad.

Makes 4 servings (plus leftovers)

Remember to reserve two grilled chicken breasts and 1 cup Mango-Sesame Dressing
to use in the Asian Chicken Noodle Salad (I'll post it tomorrow).

8 (1/3-inch-thick) rounds red onion
8 large shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
8 red radishes, trimmed and halved
4 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
1 large orange bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 8 strips
1 1/2 cups Mango-Sesame Dressing (see recipe below)
6 boneless chicken breast halves (with or without skin)
oil for brushing on grill

1.      Arrange all vegetables on large rimmed baking sheet. Brush vegetables lightly on both sides with 1/3 cup Mango-Sesame Dressing; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2.      Arrange chicken on sheet of foil. Brush both sides of chicken with 1/3 cup dressing, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Vegetables and chicken can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
3.      Brush grill rack with oil (or spray with nonstick spray) and heat barbecue (medium-high). Grill vegetables until just tender, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes for onion rounds and 4 minutes for mushrooms, radishes, bok choy, and pepper strips. Return all vegetables to same baking sheet.
4.      Grill chicken until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to cutting board. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Cool 2 chicken breasts; wrap and chill for Asian Chicken-Noodle Salad.
5.      Arrange remaining 4 chicken breasts and vegetables on platter. Serve with remaining dressing.

Makes 2 cups

1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup Major Grey’s mango chutney
6 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
6 3/4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper, or more to taste
salt and black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in blender. Cover tightly; blend until dressing is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

slightly adapted from Selma Brown Morrow
dressing ingredients in the blender
(This is double the recipe.)
dressing blended
They didn't have baby bok choy at the store, so I cut up a large bok choy.
orange pepper
I happened to have leftover already sliced shiitake mushrooms,
so I used those. But I do recommend using the whole ones
(they're just easier to grill). I also didn't have any radishes (too
bad, I was looking forward to seeing what those are like grilled).
vegetables with dressing
chicken with dressing
raw chicken on the grill
raw vegetables on the grill

It helps to use some kind of grill basket. Honestly,
I can't imagine throwing these directly onto the rack
(I think you'd be picking charred vegetables
out of your grill for the next few days).
chicken ready
vegetables just about ready

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pineapple Ginger Jam

Isn't it amazing that you can reduce an entire pineapple into one jar? I guess I've got the jam bug. I haven't dived into canning yet...I think for now, one jar at a time works for me. I'll leave preserving for those of you with lush gardens and green thumbs (the way I'm always bumping into stuff, mine is more black & blue).

Makes 2 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 (4 lb.) pineapple, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch rings, cored & coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

1.      In a heavy pan combine the sugar and water, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and boil the syrup until it registers 220° F. on a candy thermometer.

2.      Stir in the pineapple and the ginger and simmer the mixture, uncovered, stirring to prevent scorching, for 1 hour, or until it registers 220° F. on a candy thermometer.

3.      Leave chunky or blend until smooth. Store in glass jars in the refrigerator.

slightly adapted from Gourmet Magazine, May 1991

peeled pineapple
(just slice the thick skin off with a sharp knife)
sliced pineapple
chopped pineapple
(if you like your jam chunky, you might want to chop yours finer)
chopped ginger
sugar syrup
pineapple and ginger added
after about 20 minutes
after 1 hour
out comes the thunderstick (obviously I chose to blend mine)
spreading on some matzo
golden and sweet
(the ginger gives it a small amount of kick that's excellent!)