Archive for October, 2008

31
Oct
08

Ginger Pumpkin Bread with Sugar Glaze

Ginger Pumpkin Bread

It’s that time of year when pumpkin recipes are everywhere. This is a good one – simple ingredients and easy to make.  The bread itself is not overly sweet, but the sugar glaze adds a nice touch of sweetness.  This bread would also be incredible with a cream cheese frosting, and/or with chocolate chips added to the batter.  The recipe comes from marthastewart.com.  I changed the recipe only slightly by adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg.  I prefer having more spices than just ginger in the bread, and these quantities could even be increased if you like the spiciness to be prominent.  In these quantities, it’s still subtle, and the ginger flavor is not very strong.

The bread turned out well.  The batter was still a little jiggly at 50 minutes, so I cooked it 5 minutes longer and took it out when a toothpick pushed into the middle came out clean.  I think it would have been better to take it out when it still seemed underdone – it was about to get dry after 55 minutes.

Sugar Glaze

The glaze is totally simple.  Powdered sugar with a little water is what the recipe calls for.  I used skim milk instead of water.  Add the liquid gradually in tiny quantities to the powdered sugar and stir it in completely to see what the texture will be like– it’s easy to make the glaze too thin.  It needs to be very thick, but still pourable.  That way it won’t run off the bread or soak in completely.

Here’s the finished product… I had a slice with my coffee this morning.  Such a great breakfast or snack!

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29
Oct
08

Peruvian Marinated Chicken and Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Shallots

The Peruvian Chicken Marinade comes from Food and Wine.  This turned out to be a great, flavorful marinade for grilled chicken.  I made it according to the recipe, but left out the turmeric because I didn’t have any.  I served the chicken and Brussels sprouts with white rice and a little soy sauce on the side.  This was a great meal – one of those combinations that came together on the fly but turned out to taste really good together.  And it’s healthy!

Brussels Sprouts with Shallots

This is a healthy recipe from the Mayo Clinic website of all places.  It was one of the first recipes that came up when I searched for “Brussels sprouts and shallots,” and I was really pleased with how it came out.  It was fast, too.  My only changes to the recipe were:

1) When the Brussels sprouts were initially browning in the pan, I added about a tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar.  It caramelized nicely on the sprouts; and

2) Added a little more salt.

28
Oct
08

Potato Frittata with Prosciutto and Gruyere and Tossed Salad with Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette

Potato Frittata with Prosciutto and Gruyere and Tossed Salad with Lemon-Honey
Vinaigrette


This flavorful frittata from Food and Wine is quick to make and could be a great dinner,
brunch or breakfast.  It’s good hot from the oven or cold.

I cut the recipe in half to make a smaller frittata – half the recipe makes five generous servings.  Although I cut the rest of the ingredients in half, I added extra scallions (for a total of four) and used 3 oz. of prosciutto instead of 2 oz., just to add a little extra flavor.  The cooking times called for in the recipe still held for the reduced quantity and it came out cooked to the right doneness.  I garnished wedges of the frittata with thyme sprigs.


Tossed Green Salad with Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette
This dressing is light and tangy, and easy to make.

½ package Boston and red lettuce mix
¼ yellow pepper, finely chopped
¼ apple, finely chopped

2 scallions, finely chopped

Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

Juice of ¾ large lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

28
Oct
08

A Tasty Lunch… Help, I’m Addicted to Cornichons!

Cornichons — yes, the little French pickles.  I bought a new jar yesterday and now it’s half gone.  Whoops.  Just thought I’d share photos of the lunch I just made.  I got a fresh baguette and made a sandwich with red, green, yellow, and orange tomatoes sliced and dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with freshly grated asiago.  It’s so nice to be at home and be able to make lunch with fresh ingredients.

On the side I had the infamous cornichons and some beautiful red grapes.  Now my morning workout is probably null and void, but man, was that good.

27
Oct
08

Sirloin Sliders with Cave-Aged Cheddar and Onion Jam with Sweet Potato Fries

These mini-burgers came from a Food and Wine recipe for Stilton Sirloin Burgers with Onion Jam from the Bar at the Peninsula in Chicago.  According to the Food and Wine write-up, “During the daily Gentleman’s Retreat Tea, these juicy mini cheeseburgers are served with a glass of The Peninsula’s house bourbon and a cigar.”

The main tweak I made was to use local Minnesota cave-finished cheddar – Fini Extra Sharp from the Caves at Faribault.  The onion jam was tasty, but the recipe made about twice as much as was needed for eight mini-burgers.  For buns, I used small rolls from the grocery store bakery.

Sweet potato fries were a great accompaniment to the sliders.  I like Alexia frozen sweet
potato fries for a quick and easy side.

I used Dynamite Vineyards 2006 North Coast Zinfandel in the red onion jam and served
it with the meal.  Zinfandel is a great match for burgers and other grilled foods.

27
Oct
08

Chicken Stew with Apples and Bacon

I started out with this Chicken Stew with Cider and Parsnips recipe from Food and Wine.  I made quite a few changes, some based on ingredient availability, some based on preference.

Ingredient changes:

-Halved the quantities to make 2 servings instead of 4.

-Used 3 cut-up chicken breasts instead of thighs and drumsticks.

-Added 4 chopped strips of bacon to add flavor and prevent dryness since white meat was used instead of dark meat.

-Used chopped apples instead of parsnips because it’s what I had on hand.

-Used 1/2 cup white wine instead of apple cider because it’s what I had on hand.  I reduced the total amount of liquid by about 1/4 cup to account for using apples, which release some water as they cook.

-Added 1 clove of minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary.

Process changes:

-My first step was to cook the bacon in the stew pot until crispy.  I then removed it from the pan and used the drippings to brown the  chicken pieces, and then removed the chicken from the pan.

-Next, I cooked the onions, garlic, carrots and apples in the pan for 3-4 minutes before adding the liquid.  I think I should have let them cook a little longer at this stage, particularly the carrots.  They were still a little undercooked when the rest of the stew was ready.

-At this point I added the white wine and then the chicken broth, and the thyme and rosemary, and simmered the mixture for 10 minutes, then put the chicken and bacon back in, and cooked it in the oven for 10 minutes.  It could have done with more time for the vegetables to cook and the liquid to reduce a little more, but the chicken was done after ten minutes and I didn’t want it to be overcooked.

I served this over white rice.  The bacon added what the chicken breasts left wanting as far as flavor and richness.  This turned out to be a flavorful and satisfying meal.

26
Oct
08

French Toast

I started out with this Alton Brown recipe for French Toast from the Food Network as a basis, but made various changes.  First, I wanted to make two servings instead of four, so I reduced the quantity of ingredients.  I added vanilla and cinnamon, used maple syrup instead of honey, and used skim milk instead of half and half in the egg-mixture for dipping  I used slices of leftover Italian peasant bread for the toast.  The Alton Brown recipe’s method for preparing and cooking the french toast worked well — draining the slices on a rack before cooking them in the pan prevented big chunks of egg in the pan.  Cooking the slices for an additional five minutes in a 375-degree oven helped them cook through and left the outside with the perfect degree of light crispness.  I served the french toast with maple syrup, bacon and scrambled eggs.

Here’s how the recipe ended up with my changes:

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup skim milk

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon maple syrup, warmed

4 1/2-inch thick slices Italian peasant bread

1 tablespoon butter

Follow directions from Alton Brown recipe for preparation and cooking.




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