Apr 28, 2015

Corpse Reviver #2 Cocktail

Corpse Reviver #2 Cocktail

Prior to the Prohibition era, the Corpse Reviver #2 Cocktail was originally meant to cure hangovers. Thus, the name "Corpse Reviver."

I first found a recipe for this cocktail in my 1948 edition of The Standard Bartender's Guide by Patrick Gavin Duffy (interestingly, the book does not contain a recipe for #1).

The least prominent, but the most interesting ingredient in this cocktail is absinthe. It has quite a history and ritual for consumption, and was often thought of as a hallucinogenic and associated with addiction. You can read more about absinthe here. It's pretty fascinating. It is a botanical liqueur with a very high alcohol content. It is traditionally prepared by holding a slotted absinthe spoon and a sugar cube over the absinthe and slowly pouring iced water over the sugar until it dissolves.

Apr 27, 2015

Romanian Easter Bread | Cozonac

Romanian Easter Bread | Cozonac

This month, the Bread Baking Babes are making Romanian Easter Bread.

I posted my braided dough on a bread baking group, and a sweet person posted, "Cozonac! It looks perfect! I'm Romanian and I know!" How cool is that? I'm pretty sure she is referring to Elle's (the Bread Baking Babes' kitchen of the month) bread, which I also posted, but I still beamed with pride. Bread geeks do that.

Apr 26, 2015

Chiliville Chili

Chiliville Chili from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This Chiliville Chili is so easy to make, and has just the right amount of heat to clear your head. You can have it ready in about 40 minutes from start to finish. It's also an ideal make ahead meal. 

It's Secret Recipe Club time again (the fourth Friday of every month for our group), and this time I was assigned Rebekah's blog, Making Miracles.  She has a fabulous index of recipes on her blog that I had so much fun exploring. I fell in love with this Chiliville Chili, which Rebekah also used for these chili cheese fries. Oh my!

Apr 23, 2015

Tomato, Cucumber, and Red Onion Salad with Latholemono Dressing

Tomato, Cucumber, and Red Onion Salad with Latholemono Dressing #OneYrGreek

This Tomato, Cucumber, and Red Onion Salad with Latholemono Dressing is so refreshing and easy to make. The dressing is simply fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and minced garlic, and can be made at the same time as the salad. 

Apr 22, 2015

Cantonese Style Stir-Fried Pork with Chinese Broccoli | Wok Wednesdays

Cantonese Style Stir-Fried Pork with Chinese Broccoli

This Cantonese Style Stir-Fried Pork with Chinese Broccoli was amazingly rich and delicious.

This dish requires quite a bit of preparation prior to the stir-fry (there are 17 ingredients), but it is so worth it. The combination of all of the ingredients creates a sauce that is just simply amazingly flavorful. Once you have the ingredients prepped, the dish takes just minutes to make.

Apr 21, 2015

Motzos with Sesame Seeds


These motzo crackers are very hard to put down once you begin snacking on them. They are so crunchy and thin, that "just one more" doesn't seem like it would hurt.

Motzos, or Matzah, are a crisp unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jews during Passover. It is baked quickly, to reenact the Exodus.

These would be delicious with hummus, Boursin and smoked salmon, or even butter (think buttered Saltines). They are also just as tasty plain. So good!

Apr 20, 2015

Chocolate Mint Sandwiches

Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies

These chocolate mint sandwiches are super crispy (but still tender) and super chocolaty. The cookies themselves are similar to chocolate wafers (only way better), and would make an excellent chocolate wafer crust (if you want to take it to the next level)

The filling is made from melted white chocolate spiked with a little peppermint oil. As a result, the filling hardens pretty quickly, just like a chocolate bar, so there's no moisture to soften the cookies themselves. The cookies will last up to two weeks in a sealed container, which makes them perfect for make-ahead gifts. They can even be frozen for up to two months.

Apr 18, 2015

Garlicky Rib Eye Steak with Garlic Bruschetta and Aged Balsamic for #NationalGarlicDay

Garlicky Rib Eye Steak with Garlic Bruschetta with Aged Balsamic

This Garlicky Ribeye Steak with Garlic Bruschetta and Aged Balsamic was pretty much a revelation.

Placing the steak on grilled garlic bruschetta and having a bit of each on each forkful was sooooo good! Even my steak and potatoes Irish-born husband, who would just as soon skip anything garlic, said he would have skipped the potato (as did I) if he'd known how good this combination was.

Apr 16, 2015

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken is one of my all time favorite stir fries, and this is the absolute best version I have tried so far. I love the underlying heat and, of course, the peanuts.

This is not take-out Kung Pao Chicken. This is fine dining Kung Pao Chicken. The ingredient list is huge, but the melding of all of the flavors is key to the deliciousness of the dish.

Apr 14, 2015

Pane di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread Wreath #BreadBakers

Pane di Pasqua - Italian Easter Bread Wreath

This Pane di Pasqua is a southern Italian traditional bread for Easter, and is typically baked with colored hard boiled eggs nestled into the shaped loaves.

This bread is made from an enriched dough, and is somewhat sweet, with a faint orange vanilla flavor from Fiori di Sicilia, or "flowers of Sicily." The dominant flavors are vanilla and orange, so if you don't have Fiori di Sicilia, you can use a combination of orange oil and vanilla to achieve a similar flavor.

Apr 9, 2015

Senfbrot - German Mustard Bread

Senfbrot - German Mustard Bread

The recipe for this Senfbrot, or German Mustard Bread, was discovered by my friend David of Hearth Baked Tunes on a German bakers association website, in German of course, and proportioned for commercial bakers.

Apr 8, 2015

Stir-Fried Cilantro with Bean Sprouts and Shrimp | Wok Wednesdays

Stir-Fried Cilantro with Bean Sprouts and Shrimp | Wok Wednesdays

This week, the Wok Wednesdays group is making this Stir-Fried Cilantro with Bean Sprouts and Shrimp.

This recipe is amazing (okay, how many ways can I say this about recipes from Grace Young?). It is a vegetable dish with about 4 ounces of small shrimp for flavor.

The ingredients include chopped garlic, minced ginger, small shrimp, bean sprouts, carrots, and cilantro, including the stems, plus salt and sugar.

The combination of flavors is fragrant and delicious. I added more shrimp and ate this for dinner!

I also increased the amount of bean sprouts, and reduced the amount of cilantro called for in the recipe a bit, an option suggested in the book, Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge by Grace Young, the book we are all using for Wok Wednesdays.

I love the crunch of the bean sprouts and carrots, and the cilantro is delicious infused with the shrimp, ginger, and garlic flavors.

Stir-Fried Cilantro with Bean Sprouts and Shrimp | Wok Wednesdays

If you'd like to wok along, check out our Facebook page, hosted by Matt and visited often by Grace Young herself! She is so helpful!

The recipe for this dish can be found on Grace Young's website. I strongly encourage you to get the book! It's flawless.


Apr 6, 2015

Cheddar Chive Bread

Cheddar Chive Bread  #TwelveLoaves

This cheddar chive bread is loaded, coated, and oozing with cheese. It's pretty much a pre-made grilled cheese sandwich in a slice of bread.

This recipe makes three 1 1/2 pound loaves of bread, but is easily scalable. If you decide to make all three loaves, just wrap the extra loaves in foil and then plastic wrap, and freeze them for up to 30 days.

This dough also makes amazing dinner rolls.

This bread is leavened with a sourdough starter as well as instant yeast. If you haven't tried making your own sourdough, you definitely need to try it. Don't be intimidated. If I can do it, you can too. If you don't have a starter, you can create a poolish with half flour, half water, and a tiny amount of yeast. Let that sit overnight as you would the starter.

Cheddar Chive Bread


This bread also includes corn flour, which adds a color and crunch, especially when the bread is toasted.

The chives actually came from a neglected pot hanging on our back fence. They seem to be fairly indestructible. I walk out there, cut off a handful, and they regenerate in a few days. Granted, I live in a temperate climate....

And then there's the cheese. There is a ton of cheese in this bread.

Cheddar Chive Bread  #TwelveLoaves

I used a combination of English style sharp white cheddar cheese, and extra sharp cheddar cheese. Just try to get all of this cheese to stay in the dough.

This bread is made completely by hand, no mixer required. It's very tasty.

This month, the #TwelveLoaves bread baking group is making breads with cheese. After the recipe, check out all of the links for my #TwelveLoaves pals' breads made with cheese.

Cheddar Chive Bread Recipe 

Makes three loaves. Recipe is adapted from Baking by Hand, an amazing book that teaches you how to make bread and pastries completely by hand... no mixer or food processor required. 

Ingredients

Starter

8 oz (240 ml) 75 degree F water
10 oz (280 g) bread flour
2 oz (40 ml) sourdough starter

Final Dough

2 pounds 1/2 ounce (1 kg) bread flour
4 oz (110 g) corn flour
8 oz (230 g) of the starter (there will be some left over to grow more for later)
21 1/2 oz (610 ml) 90 degree F water
2 oz (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
3 1/4 tsp (25 g) salt
1 1/4 tsp (5 g) instant yeast
10.5 oz (300 g) sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small squares
1 handful of chives, finely sliced

Instructions

  1. The night before baking the bread, mix the final starter ingredients, cover, and let sit for about 12 hours. 
  2. On baking day, mix the bread and corn flour in a large bowl. 
  3. In another large bowl, mix the starter, water, and olive oil.
  4. Pour the flour mixture over the liquid mixture, and stir and mix with your hands for about a minute, making sure to get all of the flour wet. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot (about 80 degrees F) for 30 minutes. I placed mine in the microwave with to cups of boiled water sitting in the corners to create a warm spot. 
  5. Sprinkle the salt and yeast over the dough and begin mixing with your hands by folding the dough and pinching it with your fingers to incorporate the salt and yeast. As you work with the dough for about a minute, you should feel the dough coming together. 
  6. Add in the cheese and chives by stretching the dough out and folding in over itself, turning the bowl, and repeating several times. Cover with plastic wrap and return it to the warm spot for 30 minutes. 
  7. After 30 minutes, do a "stretch and fold" from all four sides of the bowl. The dough should begin to feel stronger as you do this. Repeat two more times, every 30 minutes. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes more, until puffy. 
  8. Divide your dough into three equal pieces of about 1 pound 10 ounces each. Shape them into loose balls, place them seam side down on the counter, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 20 minutes. 
  9. Dust three bannetons or towel lined 9 inch bowls with corn flour. 
  10. Gently shape the dough one more time and place them seam side up in the prepared bannetons. 
  11. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot to proof for about an hour.
  12. Preheat the oven (with a baking stone if you have one) to 450 degrees F. Place a pan on the lowest rack. Boil one cup of water. 
  13. Turn the loaves out onto a parchment lined peel or baking sheet. Place them in the oven, add the boiling water to the steam pan on the lowest rack. Cover your oven's window while you do this. Close the door.  Note: if your oven is too small for all three loaves, you can bake the loaves in shifts. 
  14. After 5 minutes, open the oven door and spray the walls of the oven with water. Quickly close the door. 
  15. Bake the loaves for another 25 minutes, until the interior of the bread reaches about 200 degrees F. 
  16. Cool on a wire rack. 
#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers. Our host this month is Robin from A Shaggy Dough Story, and our theme is CHEESE. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves enter last month's Italian Breads!






Fudgy No-Butter No-Flour Brownies


Fudgy No-Butter No-Flour Brownies

These fudgy no-butter no-flour brownies are actually made with almond flour. They are really easy to make. All you need is one bowl.

I made these for Easter dessert, and knew that I would have to pass them off as regular brownies to my family, especially the kiddos. Thus, the reason for half being decorated with almond slivers, and the other half not.

Fudgy No-Butter No-Flour Brownies

Little did they know that they were eating "nuts" in the brownies as they picked off the almond slivers.

These brownies were definitely fudgy and amazing, considering the fact that they were untraditional. They are loaded with chocolate chips, which adds to their chocolatey-ness.

I used large chocolate chunks in the brownies, along with large chocolate chips. I topped the batter with mini chocolate chips and then sprinkled almond slivers over half of the dough.

Fudgy No-Butter No-Flour Brownies

These brownies are delicious. I served them with vanilla ice cream, which was the perfect contrast to their chocolatey-ness. My oldest grandson loved them mixed into the ice cream, kind of like cookies and cream.

Are these my new "go-to" brownies? No. I still prefer "regular" brownies. However, these are really good for those who want to go gluten free. If you want to go dairy free, check the ingredient list for your chocolate chips. Mine had "milk solids," so I'm assuming they were not dairy free.

This recipe is from Scientifically Sweet, and chosen for this month's Avid Baker's Challenge.

I'm not exactly a gluten free person, as you can see by the number of bread recipes on my blog, so this was definitely an adventure. There's also a lot of controversy about the amount of water that almonds require to be produced, especially in drought prone California. Still, for those who are gluten intolerant, these brownies are perfection.... and, I fooled my grandchildren!!

Fudgy No-Butter Brownies {gluten-free, dairy-free (maybe)}

Ingredients

2 C (300 g) confectioner's sugar
2/3 C (56 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
2 C (200 g) ground almonds/almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs and one egg white at room temperature
2 T water
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 C (5 oz) bittersweet chocolate chips, plus more for topping
Slivered almonds for topping, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square cake pan with parchment paper, with the paper hanging over the sides of the pan. 
  2. Run the sugar and cocoa powder through a strainer into a large bowl.
  3. Run the almond meal through the strainer into the flour mixture. 
  4. Add the salt and whisk.
  5. Add the eggs, egg white, water, and vanilla. Stir until smooth and combined. Add the chocolate chips to combine. 
  6. Add the batter to the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with more chocolate chips and the optional almond slivers. 
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until shiny. Cool in the pan on a rack. 
  8. The brownies are best sliced when cool, and are more moist on the second day. 

Apr 2, 2015

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip, Caramel, and Sea Salt Cookies

owned Butter Chocolate Chip, Caramel, and Sea Salt Cookies

These browned butter chocolate chip, caramel, and sea salt cookies are not only gooey when they first come out of the oven, they stay gooey even after they have cooled. They're pretty magical.

"Browned butter?" you ask!

Instead of creaming the butter and sugar as you would for most chocolate chip cookie recipes, you actually boil the butter until it is golden brown. You have to watch very carefully when you do this, because the butter can quickly turn black... and you'll have to start over.

owned Butter Chocolate Chip, Caramel, and Sea Salt Cookies

As you brown the butter, the water evaporates, and the wonderful buttery flavor gets even more concentrated.

The cookies are filled with chopped semi-sweet chocolate, chocolate chips, and caramel bits. Finally, they are sprinkled with flaked sea salt.

They are slightly under baked, producing an amazingly gooey center (P.S. for those of you who are squeamish about bite marks on food photos, I promise, this view is not of bite marks! No teeth were used to produce this photo).

owned Butter Chocolate Chip, Caramel, and Sea Salt Cookies

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip, Caramel, and Sea Salt Cookies

Ingredients

14 T (200g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 C (100g) white sugar
3/4 C (150 g) packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt (table salt will do)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 C (255 g) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 C (135 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 C (135 g) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C (75 g) caramel bits
Flaked sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Place the butter into light colored frying or saute pan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium high heat. When the butter begins to boil, pay very close attention. When the butter starts to turn golden brown, after about 3 to 5 minutes, immediately remove it from the heat and pour it into a large bowl. 
  2. Add the white sugar, brown sugar, fine sea salt, and vanilla. Whisk until the mixture cools somewhat.
  3. Add the egg and egg yolk, and whisk for about 2 minutes, until the mixture begins to lighten in color. 
  4. Fold in the flour and baking soda until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate, chips, and caramel pieces. Do not over mix. 
  5. Divide the dough into golf ball sized pieces, about 70 grams each. My dough yielded 14 cookies. Shape the dough pieces into balls, place them on a plate, and sprinkle them with sea salt. 
  6. Cover the dough balls with plastic, and refrigerate over night. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F with a rack in the middle of the oven. 
  8. Line two baking sheets with parchment and place the cookie balls about 2 inches apart on each sheet. 
  9. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 8 to 12 minutes (it took 12 minutes in my case). Do not over cook. 
  10. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack. 
This recipe is adapted from the amazing bread book Josey Baker Bread: Get Baking - Make Awesome Bread - Share the Loaves. Yes, a bread book! And a very good one.