Thursday, January 01, 2009

Spanish Eggplant Lasagne

I based this on a recipe from Daisy Fuentes on Paula Deen's show. (Click here to see the original recipe.)

Instead of making patties out of the meat and adding all that bread and egg for filler, I decided to just brown the chorizo and beef together, adding the sauce, then just making layers like in regular lasagne. My thinking was that patties would just be too dense. Be sure to taste the meat for seasoning. I didn't, and it probably could have used some salt. I'd also recommend trying Mexican chorizo, which is very crumbly. Spanish chorizo is very dense and dry, like pepperoni. The texture of the Mexican chorizo would have gone a lot nicer with the beef.

I also used mozzarella instead of manchego just because I couldn't find manchego. Don't leave out the pine nuts - they add a nice flavor and texture.

It was a big big hit. Not low calorie or low fat by any means, but a nice treat. I think it would also be good with italian sausage, hot or sweet in place of the chorizo, and the chorizo (or sausage) is fatty and flavorful enough that you could replace the beef with turkey without sacrificing flavor.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Salted Oatmeal Cookies

Cripsy Salted Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
14 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ teapoon coarse sea salt (like Maldon or fleur de sel) (for sprinkling on top)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and table salt in a medium bowl.
2. Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down bowl again. Add flour mixture gradually and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add oats and mix until well incorporated.
3. Divide dough into 24 equal portions, each about 2 tablespoons. Roll between palms into balls, then place on lined baking sheets about 2 ½ inches apart. Using fingertips, gently press down each ball to about ¾-inch thickness.
4. Sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt on each cookie
5. Bake until cookies are deep golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sheilah's Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Squares

Makes 24; Prep time: 30 minutes; Total time: 2 1/2 hours

In addition to keeping the cake from sticking to the pan, lining the pan with foil makes it easy to lift it out after baking.

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin purée (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

4. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.

Note: If you can’t find pumpkin-pie spice, substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon each allspice and cloves (all ground).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Baked Potato Soup

12 slices bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
3 large leeks, chopped small
12 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
7 cups milk
4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
ground black pepper

1 Sautee leeks in 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil until soft, set aside

2 In a stock pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter
over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, cook for 5 minutes over low heat, whisking constantly. Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly until thickened. DO NOT BOIL. Stir in potatoes and leeks. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

3 Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Mix in bacon, cheese, sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted.

Chicken and Grapes with Creamy Mustard Sauce

I know it sounds weird, but it's really good!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 pounds chicken tenders
1/2 cup white wine, eyeball it
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream (I used half and half, and it was plenty rich)
1/4 cup grainy, stone-ground mustard
1 1/2 cups, about 1/2 pound, seedless red grapes, halved

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat; add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and 2 tablespoons butter to the pan. Place flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper then dredge the tenders in flour and add it to the pan. Cook chicken 7 to 8 minutes until browned. Add wine and scrape up browned bits as wine cooks down and bubbles, 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup stock to skillet. Combine cream and mustard and add to stock. Add grapes to the pan and turn chicken and grapes to coat and combine with the sauce. Simmer 5 minutes over low heat.

Serve with rice and a green vegetable

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cheddar-Studded Turkey Burgers

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of this Rachel Ray recipe, Liz!

1 1/3 pounds ground turkey breast, the average weight of 1 package
1 medium red onion, half finely chopped, half diced
1/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 rounded tablespoon chili powder, a healthy palmful
2 teaspoons cumin (2/3 of a palmful)
1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling
1/2 cup sour cream
A handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
guacamole or sliced avocado


Preheat a large non-stick skillet, indoor grill pan or tabletop grill to medium-high heat.

Combine ground turkey, finely chopped onion, cheddar cheese, chili powder, ground cumin, jalapeño or serrano, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and mix everything together with your hands. Score the meat with the side of your hand to separate into 4 equal amounts. Form mixture into 4 large patties no more than 1-inch thick. Drizzle EVOO on the patties and place patties in a hot skillet or on a hot grill and cook 5-6 minutes on each side or until turkey is cooked through.

For the cilantro cream, combine the sour cream and chopped cilantro, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Serve the cheddar-studded chili turkey burgers topped with a little of the cilantro cream
, and guac or avocado slices.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cook's Illustrated White Chicken Chili

Adjust the heat in this dish by adding the minced ribs and seeds from the jalapeño as directed in step 6. If Anaheim chiles cannot be found, add an additional poblano and jalapeño to the chili. This dish can also be successfully made by substituting chicken thighs for the chicken breasts. If using thighs, increase the cooking time in step 4 to about 40 minutes. Serve chili with sour cream, tortilla chips, and lime wedges.

Serves 6 to 8
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves , trimmed of excess fat and skin
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 medium jalapeño chiles
3 poblano chiles (medium), stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
3 Anaheim chile peppers (medium), stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
2 medium onions , cut into large pieces (2 cups)
6 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
4 scallions , white and light green parts sliced thin

Garnishes are key components in white chili. Cilantro and scallions add freshness, while lime juice provides a welcome burst of acidity.

1. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until skin is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and lightly brown on other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; remove and discard skin.

2. While chicken is browning, remove and discard ribs and seeds from 2 jalapeños; mince flesh. In food processor, process half of poblano chiles, Anaheim chiles, and onions until consistency of chunky salsa, ten to twelve 1-second pulses, scraping down sides of workbowl halfway through. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Repeat with remaining poblano chiles, Anaheim chiles, and onions; combine with first batch (do not wash food processor blade or workbowl).

3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from Dutch oven (adding additional vegetable oil if necessary) and reduce heat to medium. Add minced jalapeños, chile-onion mixture, garlic, cumin, coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat.

4. Transfer 1 cup cooked vegetable mixture to now-empty food processor workbowl. Add 1 cup beans and 1 cup broth and process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add vegetable-bean mixture, remaining 2 cups broth, and chicken breasts to Dutch oven and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until chicken registers 160 degrees (175 degrees if using thighs) on instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes (40 minutes if using thighs).

5. Using tongs, transfer chicken to large plate. Stir in remaining beans and continue to simmer, uncovered, until beans are heated through and chili has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.

6. Mince remaining jalapeño, reserving and mincing ribs and seeds (see note above), and set aside. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding bones. Stir shredded chicken, lime juice, cilantro, scallions, and remaining minced jalapeño (with seeds if desired) into chili and return to simmer. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve.




Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"Starbucks" Cranberry Bliss Bars

Top Secret Recipes version of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar by Todd Wilbur

The tangy cranberries and sweet lemon frosting make this cake bar a holiday favorite that evokes piles of cloning requests when Starbucks stops selling it after Christmas. Now, with this easy-to-make clone, this treat can be a perennial hit. Break out this red and white treat for the gang on this holiday and you might be as popular as the guy in the red and white suit.


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup diced dried cranberries
6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks


4-ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup diced dried cranberries

Drizzled Icing

1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Make cake by beating butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in flour until smooth. Mix 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries and white chocolate into the batter by hand. Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13" baking pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges. Allow cake to cool.

3. Make frosting by combining softened cream cheese, 3 cups powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread frosting over the top of the cake.

4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of diced cranberries over the frosting on the cake.

5. Whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and shortening. Drizzle icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion or use a pastry bag with a fine tip to drizzle frosting across the top of the cake.

6. Allow cake to sit for several hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.

From: Top Secret Recipes

Makes 16 bars.