Thursday, February 18, 2010

Daddy's Magically Sublimating Cookies

On my on-going quest to find ginger cookies exactly like Gabriel thinks they should be (no idea what this means), I stumbled upon this ginger cookie recipe. It has three different forms of ginger in it, as well as cardamom AND cloves, so really, it's a spice cookie. Either way you look at it, this is one good cookie.

I made a batch for Christmas and brought them to my parents house. The next day, I got a call from my dad, asking me if I was aware that I'd given him "sublimating cookies." "Sublimating?" I asked (the direct transition of a substance from the solid state into the gaseous state). "Yeah, they all disappeared." So I made some more. :D

Ginger Cookies
(Download PDF here)

Ingredient List

butter (½ cup + 2 tbsp)
brown sugar (1 cup)
egg (1 large)
molasses (¼ cup)
gingerroot, fresh
AP flour (1 ¾ cup)
baking soda
kosher salt
ground cardamom
ground cloves
ground ginger
candied ginger (115 g)

Directions
Bring ½ cup + 2 tbsp butter and 1 large egg to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Finely grate 2 tsp gingerroot and mince 115 g candied ginger. Set aside.

Combine in a small bowl: 1¾ cup AP flour, 1½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp ground cardamom, ½ tsp ground cloves, and 1 tbsp ground ginger.

In a medium bowl, beat 1 cup brown sugar into room temperature butter until lighter in colour. Add the egg, ¼ cup molasses, and the grated ginger, at medium speed. Mix in the minced candied ginger.

Slowly add the dry ingredients, in batches, waiting until the previous amount has been incorporated before adding more.

Form dough into 1 inch balls on baking sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until edges begin to brown. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Makes approximately 48 cookies.

Notes
To make gingerbread cookies, add an extra 1 cup AP flour to the dry ingredients. Roll dough out and cut into shapes. Bake as for regular ginger cookies.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories 66
Total fat 3 g
Saturated fat 2 g
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 82 mg
Carbohydrate 10 g
Dietary fibre 0 g
Sugars 5 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A 2 %DV
Vitamin C 0 %DV
Calcium 1 %DV
Iron 2 %DV

Original Source: Good Eats - Ginger: Rise of the Rhizome - Ginger Snaps

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie!

When I wrote about the new biscuit recipe, I mentioned that I would post the recipe I used it with - Chicken Pot Pie. Now I know this may look involved, but it's not. I just like to be thorough when writing things down. The recipe takes even less time if you're using leftover chicken instead of cooking fresh stuff. However, there is definitely something to be said for using the homemade chicken stock that results from the first part of the recipe. Anyway you look at it, this is definitely some good ol' homecooked comfort food. Perfect for this chilly time of year.

Oh, and you'll also notice the new downloadable PDF of the recipe, available for easy printing!

Chicken Pot Pie
Download PDF here

Ingredient List
chicken parts, whole (0.80 kg)
OR chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (0.35 kg)
carrots (2-3 whole)
celery (1-2 stalks)
chicken stock/broth (2 cups)
onion (1-2 medium)
bay leaves
butter (3 tbsp, divided)
AP flour (¼ cup)
half-and-half (¾ cup)
kosher salt
ground pepper
biscuit dough/pie shell/puff pastry
frozen peas (½ cup)
fresh parsley (optional)

Directions
If leftover chicken is not available, prepare the poached chicken recipe as follows. Otherwise, skip to the next step.

Poached Chicken
Cut 1 whole carrot and 1 celery stalk into 2-inch pieces. Quarter 1 medium onion. Place 0.8 kg chicken parts OR 0.35 kg chicken breasts in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add aromatics (carrot, celery, onion) and several bay leaves. Cover with 2 cups chicken stock/broth (preferably homemade or reduced salt) and enough water to cover the contents of the pot.

Bring pot to a simmer, and then reduce heat until the liquid doesn’t quite bubble. Partially cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes (chicken parts) or 8-12 minutes (chicken breasts), until the juices from the meat run clear.

Remove the meat and let it cool before separating and shredding. Strain the remaining liquid and set aside.

Creamed Chicken
Have on hand: 0.34 kg cooked chicken meat, separated and deboned.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in ¼ cup AP flour. Cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly, until the flour gives off a nutty aroma. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 1 cup chicken broth and ¾ cup half-and-half, until smooth.

Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking constantly, and then cook for 1 minute. Stir in the cooked chicken and cook for another 1 minute.

Season, to taste, with kosher salt and ground pepper.

Chicken Pot Pie
Have on hand: creamed chicken, and biscuit dough/pie crust/puff pastry.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a medium size casserole dish.

Chop 1 medium onion and dice 2 carrots and 1 celery stalk. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet and add vegetables. Cook vegetables, stirring often, for 5-10 minutes, until softened.

Stir the vegetables into the creamed chicken, along with ½ cup frozen peas and 1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced (optional).

Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and top with biscuits/pie crust/puff pastry.

Bake in upper half of the oven for 20-40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Notes
This recipe is best with a mixture of white and dark meat, although all white meat can be used. Turkey also works well in the recipe.

Nutrition (per serving, with biscuit topping)
Calories 566
Total fat 29 g
Saturated fat 12 g
Cholesterol 118 mg
Sodium 923 mg
Carbohydrate 41 g
Dietary fibre 3 g
Sugars 6 g
Protein 34 g
Vitamin A 120%DV
Vitamin C 11 %DV
Calcium 11 %DV
Iron 21 %DV

Original Source: The Joy of Cooking - Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Evolved chocolate cake

My mom is an amazing cake decorator. I learned a bit from her and, on occasion, I like to decorate cakes as well. So when the McMaster Association of Secular Humanists (of which I am an exec) decided to throw Darwin a birthday party on Darwin Day, I knew I had to make the cake. Originally I was going to go with a traditional frosted cake with a design on it, but I couldn't think of anything more inspiring than a Darwin fish which, while its poignant, is pretty basic and boring. In my state of lack of imagination, I decided to ask my favourite sciency chef, Ms. Humble, for some ideas, to which she replied, "Off the top of my head I would do (the most amazing cake idea ever)." The result? The yummy, easy, chocolate cake you see below. The cake itself (recipe posted below the picture) is incredibly easy to assemble, tastes moist and flavourful, and can stand alone without iciing without being too sweet. It's a great recipe to have on hand when you need a dessert asap.

Happy Darwin Day, world!


Chocolate Cake, Quick & Easy


Ingredient List

butter, unsalted (½ cup)
coffee, freshly brewed (½ cup)
cocoa powder, Dutch-process (¼ cup)
AP flour (1 cup)
granulated sugar (1 cup)
baking powder
baking soda
table salt
sour cream (¼ cup)
egg (1 large)
vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9-inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and a round piece of parchment paper.

Place ¼ cup cocoa powder and ½ cup butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Pour over ½ cup coffee. Cover with plastic wrap, poking a few holes for venting, and microwave until all of the butter has melted. Whisk to combine.

In a medium bowl, combine: 1 cup AP flour, 1 cup sugar, ¼ tsp baking powder, ⅛ tsp baking soda, and ¼ tsp salt.

Beat together in a small bowl: ¼ cup sour cream, 1 large egg, ½ tsp vanilla extract.

Whisk the coffee mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the sour cream mixture, do not over mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the cake, in the pan, on a rack, for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and return to rack until the cake has cooled completely.

Sprinkle over icing sugar and/or serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Makes 6 servings

Notes
Substitute cocoa powder for flour coating when preparing a cake pan for a chocolate cake.

Nutrition (per serving)
Calories 381
Total fat 19 g
Saturated fat 12 g
Cholesterol 76 mg
Sodium 223 mg
Carbohydrate 52 g
Dietary fibre 2 g
Sugars 34 g
Protein 4 g
Vitamin A 11 %DV
Vitamin C 0 %DV
Calcium 3 %DV
Iron 9 %DV

Original Source: Food Network Kitchens - Favorite Recipes

Edit: I'm trying a new thing. I'll continue to put the recipe in the body of the post, but I will now offer it as a downloadable PDF as follows:

Download PDF here

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Brock-Colli

When I was younger, I was under the impression that I was a super-taster. These people experience taste to a much higher degree, partially due to a higher amount of "taste buds" on their tongues. As a result, they do not like vegetables like broccoli.
Then I learned how to cook broccoli properly and it became one of my favourite veggies. Until recently, I didn't think broccoli could get any better than properly steamed, fresh florets. I was wrong.
Roasting broccoli brings out a whole new set of flavours that I simply love. Combine that with bread crumbs and cheese, and you have one happy, veggie-eating Diana.
This recipe calls for Panko bread crumbs. If you've never heard of them, they are a Japanese style bread crumb with a lighter, airier texture. At Fortino's (or any other Loblaws store), they're found near the fresh sushi area. However, if you're from Hamilton, go to the S&S Market on Locke Street (or a similar Asian market in your home town) where you will find them for 1/4 the price. You could use regular bread crumbs, I guess...if you had to.

Broccoli, Roasted

Ingredient List
broccoli (450 g, ~ 2 heads)
Panko bread crumbs (1/3 cup)
olive oil (2 tbsp)
garlic (2 cloves)
kosher salt (½ tsp)
ground pepper (¼ tsp)
cheddar or parmesan cheese (¼ cup)

Directions
Preheat oven to 425°F.

Cut the florets from 450 g broccoli. Trim and slice stalk into loonie size pieces.

Place ⅓ cup Panko bread crumbs in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Toast the crumbs in the oven for approximately 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Be careful not to burn the crumbs.

Toss broccoli florets and coins with 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, minced, ½ tsp kosher salt, ¼ tsp ground pepper, and toasted bread crumbs. Spread mixture in a single layer in the baking pan.

Roast the broccoli for 10-15 minutes, until it reaches the desired tenderness.

Transfer the broccoli to a bowl and toss with ¼ cup cheddar cheese, shredded OR ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated.

Makes 4 servings.

Notes
Depending on the toughness of the stalks, they may need to be peeled before slicing.

Nutrition (per serving)
Calories 163
Total fat 9 g
Saturated fat 2 g
Cholesterol 6 mg
Sodium 490 mg
Carbohydrate 15 g
Dietary fibre 3 g
Sugars 3 g
Protein 7 g
Vitamin A 15 %DV
Vitamin C 168%DV
Calcium 14 %DV
Iron 8 %DV

Original Source: Good Eats - Oven Roasted Broccoli