Archive for February, 2011

Perfect Waffles

I found this recipe on another online blog.

  • 1 cup flour (the recipe said to use unbleached, we used all-purpose)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup Rice Krispie cereal
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat waffle iron.

2. In a large bowl, mix flour (all purpose and whole wheat), Rice Krispies, cornstarch, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together egg yolks, milk, vanilla and oil.

4. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

5. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Fold in egg whites – do not overmix.

6. Pour batter into waffle iron and cook according to its instructions.

Made 16 decent sized waffles with my waffle iron (though a few of them were not perfectly square because I am still getting used to how to use it).

Waffles were a food I had never given much thought to until a friend at work brought them in a few years ago. I tried one and found myself addicted. I tried making her recipe, but it didn’t come out right. Before re-trying her recipe I wanted to try some other waffle recipes and I came across this one. They were very good (even my sister, who is not a huge waffle fan) liked them. I will say that I have no idea why Rice Krispies were included as I don’t think they added anything but an out-of-place crunch to the waffles. Next time I will try without them.

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Bread and Chicken Salad

This is another recipe is from my chicken recipe book.

  • 8 ounces dried-out French bread
  • 2 cups bite-sized pieces of cooked chicken
  • 2 Kirby cucumbers (I don’t know if ours were Kirby cucumbers, but we had some kind of cucumbers)
  • 2 scallions (we used a small onion)
  • 4 tomatoes (we used 1 because my sister doesn’t like tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup mint or parsley (didn’t use)
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup of vinaigrette (we each used the dressing we like)
  • Salt and pepper

1. Cut bread into 1 inch pieces. Place them in a mixing bowl. Add cold water to cover and let soften.

2. Split the cucumbers in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut into half inch dice. (If using callions, thinly slice both green and white parts.) Thinly slice onion. Quarter tomatoes and remove seeds (we left the seeds in). Chop mint/parsley (if using) and walnuts.

3. Thoroughly squeeze bread to get rid of excess water and tear into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine with all other ingredients and vinaigrette (we just tossed the ingredients together without dressing). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Verdict: I have no idea what they were trying to do with the bread and water but it didn’t work. We ended up with soggy bread that we couldn’t use in the salad. They should have just asked for croutons. And I can now add cucumbers to the foods I don’t like. My mom and sister liked the salad though (as long as there were no tomatoes in the part my sister ate), but I don’t think it counts as the same salad as in the book.

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Three Times Fennel Chicken Soup

This is another recipe from my chicken recipe book.

I chose this recipe primarily so I could try a new food: fennel. Neither my mom nor I even knew what it looked like, or that anise was another name for it, so it took us awhile to track it down in the grocery store 🙂

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 large bulb fennel cored and thinly sliced (2 cups worth) – they said to reserve the fronds for decoration for the soup, but we didn’t
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (we used chicken)
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pound of boneless chicken (we cook it before hand, as I am not fond of putting raw chicken into a broth to cook)
  • Black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Pernod, optional (we didn’t use)

1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, apple, sliced fennel and fennel seeds. Sauté for 1 min. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cover until everything is somewhat softened, 5 min.

2. Add remaining water, broth, salt and rice. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is soft, 15 min.

3. Cut chicken into 1/2 inch cubes.

4. Add chicken to the broth. (If chicken was uncooked, let simmer until cooked through. If chicken was cooked, the soup still needs to simmer a bit to make sure all the rice is cooked, 5 to 10 more min).

Verdict: I liked it for the most part. I can now add fennel to the list of foods that I don’t hate. It was actually the fennel seeds that I did not like too much. They kind of had an odd taste to them, that didn’t seem to work in the soup. I sort of wish that the helpful woman my mom ran into at the grocery store hadn’t told her that anise seeds and fennel seeds were the same thing so we could have made the soup without them.

I also don’t know why the recipe is called three times fennel soup. I don’t think having the fennel leaves as a garnish really counts as a third portion of fennel.

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Pecan Pie

We took a break from chocolate chip cookies this weekend, because my mom wanted to try a Pecan Pie. I had a lot of recipes for pies with pecans in them, but only one that was a traditional pecan pie.

This recipe is from the Essential Baking Cookbook, which was bought for me as a going away present when one of my friends left the job we had worked at together for 3 years for a new job. This is actually the first recipe I’m trying from the book.

I’m going to skip all the stuff for making the pie crust (with decorative leaves around the edges!) because we used a box mix where you just had to add water (plus we weren’t fans of the leaves). The pie crust has to be baked a bit first before moving on to the filling.

  • 2 cups whole pecans (we used less)
  • 3 eggs
  • 60g butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

1. After the pie crust is cooled, place the pecans in the pastry base.

2. In a bowl, mix together eggs, butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla (you can also add 1/4 teaspoon of salt if you wish). Pour over pecans.

3. Bake at 350F for 45 min.

I liked the pie, but it was very sweet.

My mom said it tasted exactly how a pecan pie is supposed to taste like, so it was a success!

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Chicken Cacciatore Pronto

This is a recipe I found on the Kraft website.

  • 1 tablespoon zesty Italian dressing (I use sundried tomato and oregano dressing)
  • 8 skinless bone-in chicken thighs (I use 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
  • 1 540ml can of Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 small red peppers, chopped (don’t use)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (I use garlic powder)
  • Pasta of your choice and quantity
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

1.  Heat dressing in skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add chicken and cook about 10 min (turning occasionally) until chicken is browned on both sides.

3. Add garlic, tomato, tomato paste and peppers (if using). Mix well. Cover and reduce heat, letting simmer 20 min or until chicken is cooked through. Meanwhile, cook pasta.

4. Remove skillet from heat. Add Parmesan cheese and mix. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Let stand 5 min or until cheese is melted.

5. Serve chicken over cooked pasta.

Finally, an older recipe that I am repeating that I actually like! I love chicken Parmesan and to me this is so close to it that I love it to. It’s like chicken Parmesan without the breading on the chicken. Yum.

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Delicious-with-Everything Chicken Sauce

This is another recipe that came from my chicken recipe book.

  • 4 slices of bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (we used garlic powder)
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pound ground chicken or turkey (we used chicken, that we ground in a food processor ourselves)
  • 1 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives (didn’t use)
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves (didn’t use)
  • 1 tablespoon drained small capers (didn’t usee)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (we used black pepper instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt to taste

1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, 3 to 5 min. Add onion, cover and cook until soft, 5 min. Uncover and cook another min, so moisture evaporates and onion is sizzling in bacon fat.

2. Add garlic and chicken. Heat over medium heat and stir chicken constantly until it begins to crumble, about 2 min. Stop stirring, let chicken cook for 2 to 3 min then stir constantly again. Repeat process until all the chicken is cooked. While cooking chicken, chop the tomatoes (ours were pre-diced) and olives (if using).

3. Add tomatoes, (olives and capers, if using) pepper and oregano. Cover and simmer 5 min. Remove from heat and add parsley and season to taste with salt.

We served with pasta.

This doesn’t seem like a sauce, because to me a sauce has more liquid than this did. We even added some of the juice from the tomatoes.

Plus, because everything was cooked in the bacon fat, the chicken, onion and tomatoes had a bacon taste to them.

Not a keeper.

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In Search of: The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie, Part 8: Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie

I found this recipe on another food blog and since I love both chocolate chip cookies and ice cream it seemed like a cookie I would definitely have to try.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt (as we use salted butter, this was omitted)
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips (we used milk chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. 

2. Cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Add ice cream.

3. In another bowl mix flour and baking soda together (and salt if using). Mix into wet ingredients. Mix in chocolate chips.

4. Place spoonfuls onto baking sheets and bake 9-11 min (at 9 ours were nicely cooked).

The blog said it makes 3 to 4 dozen. We made 88 cookies (work will be getting some on Monday!). They were small-ish, but not incredibly so. They did expand some in the oven.

My mom and sister loved them, calling them light and fluffy. I didn’t hate them, but I didn’t love them, but I can’t put into words why.  

ETA: I brought the leftover cookies to work and everyone there loved them. One person even called them the best cookies I had made. So now I feel a little weird not liking them as much as other people.

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