Monthly Archives: January 2010

Caramel Nutella Banana Crunch

For all those suffering from the guilt of another new years resolution diet gone out the window…here’s a nice guiltless snack…so long as you don’t eat 3…ahhh screw it who’s watching?!

The crunch comes from none-other than the infamous Quaker caramel rice cake.

Take that caramel cake and slather some Nutella on top.

Now, layer that bad boy with thin slices of ripe banana goodness!

Crunch, “oh damn this is good, why didn’t I think of this!” crunch.

Seriously, it’s off the hook.

Jose Andres aint got nothin’ on me!

Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad

I usually prep lunch on Sunday. So this time around I was in the mood for chicken salad, but I needed to find a way to pack more flavor into it. I usually just bake the chicken, shred it, then combine it with a little mayo and celery, s&p. It’s good, but definitely could use a flavor boost…so I reworked the classic.

Out of my 10lb bag of frozen Perdue chicken breasts (these are great for simple chicken dishes.  It’s not Bell&Evans, but it gets the job done well) I grab about 8 breasts and lay them flat on an aluminum lined rimmed cookie sheet.  I add about a cup of chicken broth to the pan, just enough to coat the pan and prevent the breasts from drying out.

I wanted to add some onion to the chicken salad, but I’m not a fan of raw onion in the chicken bc it’s way too over-powering. So I decided to top the chicken with thin slices of red onion and bake so that the onion will slowly roast and infuse it’s flavor into the chicken.

Next, I generously sprinkled some lemon pepper and dry mustard on the chicken

Sprinkled some kosher salt and crushed black pepper

Drizzled some extra virgin olive oil

Crossed my fingers and tossed it into a 350F oven for ~25mins

Let me tell you the aroma was a positive reinforcement

Out came this tray of juicy and aromatic chicken

After cooling I removed the onions and shred the chicken into a big pile and combined with:

2 huge tablespoons of REAL FATTY Hellman’s mayo

~1T of the juices from the baked chicken

2 stalks of celery sliced up

& a lil more s&p

After giving it a good mix I had my end resultJuicy, flavorful, creamy, chicken salad with a refreshing hint of lemon and sweet onion

Serve on fresh baked Italian bread with some mixed greens and a thick slice of tomato

Sesame Cookies

Most people crave chocolate chip cookies at night, me, I got a hankering for friggin’ sesame cookies! The best part, I was fully prepared to make them–I mean, what person has at least 1 cup of sesame seeds on hand at any given time?!? If you never had these, they’re bangin’, eat ’em alone, after dinner with espresso, for breakfast, or, my fave–dunk ’em in coffee! Only three weeks into the new year and already my resolutions are out the window. Oh well, rules are made to be broken and food, well, it’s made to be eaten…and when it’s as good as this, it’s a sin not to indulge.

The cookies turned out great.  Firm,  sweet, buttery, nutty, and a little soft in the center. Also, these are great if you add a little citrus zest. I attempted to zest some clementines, but it didn’t work out to well. If you have an orange on hand zest about 1T and toss it into the cookie dough.

–Recipe Pictorial–

Not the right measuring cup, but I thought this pic came out dope.

Toss your sugars and butter into a mixer fitted with a whisk

Cream

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder-NOT SODA

I’ve made this mistake before…not cool

Mix eggs and vanilla together

Combine…

…until thick and stiff

You would addthe zest @ this pt.

Start to add flour a little at a time

Mixture will form a dough

Plop it out onto a floured surface and fold over onto itself a few times to shape into a ball

You can refrigerate @ this point to firm up

Or, if you’re impatient like me start shaping cookies now

Put sesame seeds into a shallow bowl

Fill a wide mouth mug up with milk

You’re going to break off 1T size balls and shape into little loaves

Dip in milk then roll in sesame seeds

Line on wax paper spaced about 1″

Bake @ 375F for 20-25mins. Bake longer for crispier cookies

Prepare to indulge.

–Ingredients–

3C AP flour

2 sticks of butter softened

3/4C Vanilla or plain sugar

1/4 C Brown sugar

1 1/4t Vanilla extract

3 Eggs beaten

1/4t Kosher salt

2 1/2t Baking powder

1C Milk

1C Sesame seeds

Wax paper to line cookie trays

1T Orange zest (optional)

Makes about 2 Dz

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup, actually, has nothing to do with weddings. The name was born out of a misunderstanding of the Italian translation minestra maritata–married soup, referring to the joining together of meat and veggies. It might not have anything to do with weddings, but HOLY Mary, Jesus, and Joseph is this soup good. Mazel Tov. I’m talking, you’re halfway through the bowl and realize your almost done and say to yourself, “slow down” kinda good.

I drew inspiration for my version of Italian Wedding Soup from Ina Garten and memories of meals past. I decided to make some significant tweaks which, from the sounds and expressions coming from my Wife and friend Mike, lead me to believe were successful.

This soup is hearty, healthy, and perfect on a cold winter evening. Serve up with a generous sprinkle of grated Pecorino Romano, a couple twists of the ‘ol pepper mill, some crusty bread, and a big glass of vino!

–Recipe Pictorial–

Here I use the cross hatch technique for dicing onions, pronto

Mash your roasted garlic into a paste

Add to your EVOO+butter

Sauté 1 min

Then throw in your chopped carrots, onion, and celery and sauté for 10 mins covered. Stir after 5

Veggies will be tender

Now, add all of your stock and wine

Bring to a boil for 1 min. Reduce to simmer

Then, add the tomatoes. Crush with back of wooden spoon in pot

Toss in your bay leaf and tomato paste, stir

Now’s a good time to add s&p, taste

After tasting decide if you need a lil garlic powder

Simmer for 10mins, uncovered

Toss in a bunch of those lil round meatballs and stir

Cook for, you guessed it, 1min

Now, dump carefully add pasta to hot simmering broth and cook to al dente, about 6 mins

Stir! Or pasta will stick to bottom of pot

Pasta will thicken the soup. Add a little water to thin

Hey, I said it was hearty

Go nuts with the spinach, add as much or as little as you want

Simmer until spinach wilts, don’t over cook it

Taste and adjust for seasoning

I added a little salt and more crushed black pepper at this point

Go grab some nice deep bowls and plate

I garnished with grated Pecorino, fresh parsley, and more crushed black pepper

Scoop, moan, exclaim your love for me…repeat.

When you here the sound of silverware hitting porcelain, Go for seconds!

–Ingredients–

4C Beef Broth

4C Chicken Broth (I use Pacific Organic from Costco for both broths)

1C Chopped carrots (I used baby carrots. I have a giant bag. Note- don’t buy carrots at Costco)

1C Yellow onion diced

2 Celery stalks

8 Cloves roasted garlic OR 3-4 cloves minced fresh garlic

1 28oz can San Marzano plum tomatoes

1T Tomato paste

1/4t garlic powder

1 Bay leaf

2t Kosher salt

2T EVOO + 1T Butter

1/4 C Dry Sherry cooking wine

1lb Ditalini pasta

1/2 Bag chicken and sweet basil meatballs (Costco) or make a quick batch of little meatballs and bake

1 Bag baby spinach

Chopped fresh parsley

Pecorino Romano

Crushed black pepper

Crushed red pepper (optional)

This soup is hearty, healthy, and perfect on a cold winter evening. Serve up with a generous sprinkle of grated Pecorino Romano, a couple twists of the ‘ol pepper mill, some crusty bread, and a big glass of vino!

Perfect Roasted Garlic

Check out a simple DIY pictorial for roasted gah-lic here: http://wp.me/PLOJW-2R

Money in the bank!

Check Out DBG’s 1st Res Ex

Pizzeria Stella, Philadelphia, PA http://wp.me/PLOJW-26

Macaroni & Broccoli

Here’s a classic to kick things off. Pasta dressed with broccoli sautéed in olive oil perfumed with fresh & roasted garlic and simmered in a light broth with white wine and crushed red pepper. Topped with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and served with a crisp cold glass of Chardonnay. Off the hook! Food porn pics below.

Get about 6 cloves of garlic – 3 fresh/3 roasted and smash. No dice!

Toss the garlic in and saute in about 2T evoo and 1T butter until fresh garlic starts to brown.

Don’t burn!

Once nicely browned, remove from oil and set aside.

When cool dice ’em up and you have garlic crunchies.

Money!

Drink add 1/2 cup good quality white vino and 1 cup chicken broth.

Bring it to a boil real quick to burn off the devil. Reduce to moderate heat.

Toss in about 4 cups steamed broccoli florets and stir.

(Oh and if you haven’t done this already, boil a pot of salted H20 for your pasta)

Stir in a couple tablespoons of grated Parmesan.

Taste broth and add s&p and/or garlic powder.

Hover and inhale pure goodness.

Add about a ladle full of pasta water. Taste broth and adjust for seasoning.

(I usually add a little Parmesan, kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder @ this pt.)

Go ahead and begin plating with a little broccoli on bottom.

When pasta is Al Dente add to bowl.

And top off with more broccoliciousness.

Sprinkle with garlic crunchies, Parmesan, crushed red pepper, and drizzle a little evoo.

Now go for thirds seconds!

Healthy(er) Variation:

Substitute regular pasta for whole grain or rice pasta.

Use a low sodium chicken broth

Add cubed plain chicken before you add broccoli and simmer until cooked. Then go ahead with recipe.

Take it easy with the grated cheese.

Set up an electric fence around the leftovers.