Monday, January 30, 2012

Brown Butter Blondies

1 cup butter
1 cup raw sugar
1 tsp molasses
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup AP unbleached flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup quick oats or whole oats ground in food processor
1 tsp baking soda
1 tap salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place butter in a small saucepan. On medium heat, cook butter until a deep golden color, swirling pan often. The butter will melt, foam, and then the foam will subside and it will deepen in color. Pour into a bowl to cool for 10 minutes.

Combine butter, sugar, molasses, and applesauce in mixer bowl. Mix until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and add to wet mixture. Combine on low speed.

Cut parchment to fit the bottom and 2 sides of a 13"x9"x2" pan. Place parchment in pan and grease. Spread mixture in pan using wet hands. Pat it evenly.

Top with any kind of chip, nut, etc. I used chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, & coconut. SPrinkle toppings, then press into dough.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes in pan. Lift the cookie out by the parchment sides and cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.

Cut into small bars.

Queso Dip

1 large onion, chopped fairly small
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups milk (any kind should work, I used evaporated)
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 2/3 cup salsa
3/4 cup plain yogurt

Saute onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, cumin, & chili powder together in a sauce pan for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add water and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup milk and bring to a simmer. Mix remaining milk and 3 tbsp corn starch in a small bowl until completely combined. Add mixture to pan and stir until thickened and smooth. Add cheese and stir until it's melted into mixture. Turn heat to low. Add salsa, and yogurt. Cook until warmed through.

Serve warm with tortillas, chips, veggies, etc.

Makes about 5 cups. Freezes well for up to 3 months.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins

1 1/3 cups AP flour
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats or rolled oats ground in food processor
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp molasses
1 cup milk, any kind

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add dry ingredients to bowl first and whisk to combine. Add wet ingredients on top of dry mixture. Gently fold together with a spatula, scraping sides as you go- about 10 "folds" around the bowl. The mixture will be lumpy and not all the flour will be mixed in. Once it's about 90% combined, it's ready for the muffin cups.
Line muffin tins with paper liners. Spray liners with non-stick spray. Scoop mixture into each cup (2/3 full).
Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Cool before serving.
Freezes well.
Makes 24.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Katah (Armenian Sweet Rolls)

5 eggs
1 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup warm water
4 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
9-12 cups AP flour
Sturdy stand mixer

1 egg
3 tbsp water

Combine eggs, butter, sugar, milk, water, & yeast in mixer bowl with dough hook attachment. Add 4 cups flour. Mix to combine. Add 3 more cups flour and mix to combine. Add 1 cup flour at a time now, until the dough is sticky & lose but comes off the sides of the bowl in a slight ball.  This is a very large batch of dough. It will almost fill your entire mixer bowl. Take your time mixing everything in. You may need only 9 cups of flour to reach the the appropriate consistency. I usually need more (around 11 cups).

Once mixed (no need to knead!) , let rise 3-4 hours.

Punch dough down, and roll pieces a little larger than a golf ball under palm until you make a 1/2" diameter log shape. You don't need any flour for rolling and shaping. The dough is soft and supple and shouldn't be sticky anymore. Shape the log into a pinwheel or an "S" shape. *Traditionally, you would roll a few of the Nigella seeds into the dough as you shape it. I sprinkle them on at the end instead. You can do either, it's a personal preference thing.

Place rolls on parchment lined baking sheets about 2" apart.

Let rolls rise another 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix one egg with 3 tbsp water in a small dish. Brush each roll with egg wash using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with a few Nigella seeds (if you didn't already add them).

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the rolls are golden and sound "hollow" when you tap the top.

Makes about 36 rolls. They can be frozen. Serving them warmed is best.

Nigella Seeds
Nigella seeds can be read about here. They are pungent, bitter, peppery, and have a hint of Oregano flavor. They can't be substituted…you can leave them out…but you'll be seriously missing out! They can be purchased at specialty food markets or on sites like Amazon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Freezer Cooking: Tikka Masala in the Slow Cooker

In a 1 quart freezer bag, place:
12oz. boneless skinless chicken breast, in 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a gallon freezer bag, place:
1 large can diced tomatoes, with chiles
1 small can tomato paste
1 tsp ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder

Freeze bags for up to 3 months.

When you're ready to cook-
Remove bags from freezer. Place frozen contents in crock pot. Cook on high for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, add 1 1/4 cups brown rice or pearl barley and 2 cups very hot water to crock pot. Stir to mix in the grains. Cook on high for 2-3 more hours until grain is cooked.

Before serving, stir in 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp salt, & 1 cup half & half (or milk).

Serve with salad or carrot sticks and a piece of pita (naan) or crusty bread.

Serves 6

Spinach Fondue

1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup chardonnay
5 cups shredded mild cheddar or colby jack cheese
2 8oz. packages cream cheese
1 box chopped spinach, thawed & drained
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat, slowly warm up all ingredients. Stir (or whisk if necessary) until the sauce is smooth and coats the back of the spoon. Takes about 10-20 minutes. The slower you warm it up, the better chance you have to avoid any graininess.

Serve with bread cubes, veggies, apple slices, meatballs, etc.

Serves 6 meal portions or 12 appetizers portions.