Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Classic Brownies

I credit Cook's Illustrated magazine for this brownie recipe. The better the chocolate, the better the brownie. Be sure to use cake flour as opposed to all purpose flour, this produces a very tender brownie.

1 cup (4 oz) pecans or walnuts, rough chopped (optional)
1 1/4 cups (5oz) cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 Tbs (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 oz) sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbs vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325F. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and fit into width of baking pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet. spray foil lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.

4. Melt chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber scraper until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

5. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using rubber scraper, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. sprinkle toasted nuts evenly over batter and bake until toothpick inserted into center of brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2 inch squares and serve.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup

I found this recipe in Readers Digest (11/2009). It is from Ellie Krieger's So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week.

7 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 large onion, cut into large pieces
3 garlic cloves peeled
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 (15.5 oz) cans black beans (low sodium)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp Tabasco Sauce
1/4 cup non fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375F. Toss tomatoes, onion, and garlic with oil, 1/2t salt, 1/4t pepper in a large bowl, then transfer to baking sheet. Roast until garlic has softened, onions have browned, and tomatoes have collapsed, 40 minutes, stirring once after 20 minutes.

Transfer roasted vegetable mixture to a 4 quart saucepan. Add broth, beans, cumin, chili powder, and remaining s&p. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and blend until smooth with immersion blender. Stir in hot sauce. Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pulled Pork on the Gas Grill

The Patriots season opener was yesterday and I wanted to make some tailgate style food to watch the game with but didn't want to heat up the house. I thought I would try to do a pulled pork on the grill and it came out great. The trick is to cook with low indirect heat for a long time (about 3 hours) and to properly season the meat.

I use a Boston Butt for this dish (it's from the shoulder). Either bone in or boneless is fine.

3-4 pound Boston Butt Roast
Spice Rub:

2 tablespoons Paprika
2 tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Chili Powder

Mix the spice rub ingredients and rub onto all surfaces of the roast. Let the roast sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the grill for indirect cooking. Basically light just one burner and close the lid to preheat the grill. Place the roast on the grill making sure it not over the flame and close the lid. The temperature of the grill with the lid closed should be about 275 - 300. Let the pork cook for about 1 1/2 hours. Make sure you monitor to make sure that the dripping fat does not flare up. If you are doing it right there should be very little smoke. After the initial cooking transfer the roast to a foil pan, baste with vinegar based BBQ sauce (recipe follows) and cover tightly with foil. Place back on indirect heat, cover grill and cook for another 1 1/2 hours). The pork will be done when you poke it with a fork and it shreds easily. Remove pork from grill and let rest, covered, for 20 - 30 minutes. Using 2 forks shred the pork. Toss the pulled pork with a bit more of the BBQ sauce to season. Serve on your favorite roll or by itself with more BBQ sauce on the side.

Mid–South Carolina Mustard Sauce
Makes about 2½ cups

1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Ground black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients, including black pepper to taste, together in a medium bowl. (The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several days.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ginger Chicken with Broccoli

This is one of my regular during the week go to recipes. It's easy and quick to make and it scratches my "Chinese food" itch while sparing the excess calories and sodium. This will make about 4 servings.

1# boneless, skinless chicken breast - 1" cubes
1 T sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1 T rice wine vinegar
2 clove garlic minced
1 T fresh ginger, minced
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine the above ingrediants and let marinate for at least 30 minutes

1 large onion - 1"dice
6 oz fresh mushrooms - sliced
2 carrots - peeled and sliced on angle
2 celery stalks - sliced on angle
1 # broccoli - florrets left whole and stens sliced on angle
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 T fresh ginger - minced
1 thai red chili pepper - sliced (thin red pepper, very hot)
1 T black bean paste
Sesame oil
Cooking spray
Brown Rice

Heat wok. Hit with cooking spray. Add chicken chunks with slotted spoon in a single layer on bottom of wok, reserve marinade. Allow to sear for 1 minute and then begin to stir fry. Cook chicken until browned well, remove from wok and keep warm.
Add sesame oil to wok. Add onion, cook 1 minute, add celery, carrot & mushrooms. Keep the heat high and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and pepper and cook 1 minute. Add broccoli florettes and stems, fry 2 minutes. Add chicken back to wok with black bean paste and reserved marinade. Stir fry until all is incorperated.

Serve over brown rice.