February 10, 2009

Molten Spiced Chocolate Cakes

4 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. Cabernet Sauvignon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
6 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Butter 4 custard cups and place on a baking sheet. Microwave chocolate and butter on HIGH for 1 minute. Whisk until chocolate is melted. Stir in wine, vanilla and sugar until blended. Whisk in eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon evenly into dishes. Bake for 12 minutes, until edges are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 minute. Loosen edges with a sharp knife. Invert onto serving dish. Sprinkle with extra confectioners sugar.
For an extra special touch you can make a raspberry puree and drizzle onto the plate before inverting the cake. Serve hot.

Blonde Brownies

1 stick butter
4 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 bag milk chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in saucepan. Place brown sugar in mixing bowl and add melted butter; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, and dry ingredients, mixing well. Pour into a 13 x 9 greased baking dish. Top with chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Hot Artichoke Crabmeat Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonaise
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
8 oz. lump crabmeat, chopped
1/3 cup finely sliced green onion
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine cream cheese and mayonaise; mix well and add crushed garlic. In a separate bowl, mix artichokes and crabmeat. Add Parmesan cheese, green onion, lemon zest and black pepper. Combine mixtures together and spoon mixture into a greased casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown around edges. Sprinkle with red pepper and additional green onions. Serve hot with buttery crackers or toast points.

Flaky Single Crust Pastry

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup Crisco shortening
1 egg yolk1 tsp. vinegar
ice water

In large bowl, combine flour with salt. With pastry blender cut in butter and shortening until in fine crumbs. In 1 cup measure, whisk egg yolk with vinegar; add enough ice water to make 1/3 cup.
Gradually sprinkle egg mixture over flour mixture, stirring briskly with a fork until pastry holds together. Press into disc shape; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hours or until chilled or up to 3 days.
*To make this recipe gluten free I substituted Tom Sawyer's brand gluten free flour mix and chilled for 3 hours. When you roll this crust out it will not have the same consistency as a regular pie crust, this one will be softer and require a bit more of your flour mix for dusting. It also sticks to your rolling surface so I have had to press it into the pie plate and form by hand. It seems that with the delicate process of rolling it out followed by the hand pressing I still end up with a beautifully flaky crust.
**I use pie weights while prebaking to prevent it from falling down in the oven. Bake at 425 for 8-14 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Chicken and Figs in Puff Pastry

4 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded slightly thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 sprigs fresh finely chopped rosemary
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 sheets puff pastry (Pepperidge Farms)
8 slices Italian Fontina cheese, slices should be 2 to 3 inches square and 1/2 inch thick
1 jar fig preserves (sold at Meijer's)
1 egg mixed with 1 Tbsp. water, for egg wash

Season the chicken with salt, pepper and rosemary. Cut each piece of chicken in in half, giving you 8 equal portions. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly brown the chicken on both sides, 5 minutes total. Remove from heat.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut pastry sheets into 8 equal pieces. Place a piece of cheese on each pastry square and top with spoonfuls of fig preserves and the chicken pieces. Brush outer edge of pastry with egg wash, pinch and seal the dough up and over the meat and cheese, crimp to seal. Flip the pastry packets over and brush the tops with remaining egg wash. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with a spring mix salad for a nice lunch or add rice pilaf for an elegant dinner.

Sunday Beef Stew

2 pounds lean beef (preferably tenderloin) cubed
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
4 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 pkg. Lipton beefy onion soup mix
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
3 large carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 sm. can sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Lightly dredge beef in flour, shake off excess. Heat oil and butter in Dutch oven. Add beef, sear quickly browning on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onions and small amount of beef broth to deglaze pan. Add celery, carrot and garlic. Saute 2 minutes and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then cover and cook on medium low until veggies are crisp tender. Remove 2 cups broth, mix water and cornstarch until smooth then add to reserved broth, stirring quickly. Return broth and meat to pot. Simmer until slightly thickened. Served with crispy French bread.

February 9, 2009

Chicken 'N Dumplings

Stock Ingredients:
1 large fryer chicken, cut up or 10 chicken thighs with skin
1 celery stalk, cut into large pieces
1 carrot, cut into large pieces
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 to 1 tsp. pepper

Soup Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup flour
Reserved broth
1 32 oz. box chicken broth
1 tsp. fresh thyme

Dumpling Ingredients:
2 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk

1. Combine stock ingredients in Dutch oven; add enough water to cover chicken. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until chicken is done.
2. Remove chicken and let stand until cool enough to handle. Remove skin from chicken and tear away meat from bones, set aside. Strain broth and return to dutch oven.
3. Add Olive oil to Dutch oven and saute carrots, celery and onion until tender. Add salt and pepper.
4. In separate pan melt butter, add flour and stir quickly. Add 1/2 reserved broth slowly, stirring constantly. Add to carrot mixture, stirring. Add remaining broth, chicken bouillon, and thyme. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
5. Mix together dumpling ingredients and add by tablespoonful into pot. Simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, cover and simmer for 10 more minutes. Serve immediately. Yield 6 servings