dijon braised brussels sprouts

NOTE: I have moved! My site is now http://inthiskitchen.com . There is a slight name change due to the fact that I couldn’t get my old website name – in this kitchen is the new site which has this post and more. Go there and enjoy!

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I’ve had this recipe bookmarked from Smitten Kitchen for many months now and finally made it tonight. I actually really like brussels sprouts, and I certainly love anything cooked with white wine, chicken broth, onions & dijon.

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First, the brussels are seared in equal parts butter and olive oil, until browned on one side.

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Then they get combined with the broth, wine, and shallots (I used onions) to simmer for 20 minutes and get nice and soft.

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The wine/broth is then mixed with a bit of cream and dijon to make a sauce, and the result is absolutely delicious. The mustard is not overly strong and it mixes perfectly with the dish. Make this now!!

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Dijon Braised Brussels Sprouts
from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I use salted all the time and its fine)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 to 3 shallots or onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon smooth dijon mustard (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Trim sprouts and halve lengthwise. In a large, heavy 12-inch skillet heat butter and oil over moderate heat. Arrange halved sprouts in skillet, cut sides down, in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook sprouts, without turning until undersides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. [Updated to note: If your sprouts don’t fit in one layer, don’t fret! Brown them in batches, then add them all back to the pan, spreading them as flat as possible, before continuing with the shallots, wine, etc.]

Add the shallots, wine and stock and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low (for a gentle simmer), cover the pot with a lid (foil works too, if your skillet lacks a lid) and cook the sprouts until they are tender can be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the lid, and scoop out brussels (leaving the sauce behind). Add cream and simmer for two to three minutes, until slightly thickened. Whisk in mustard. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary with more salt, pepper or Dijon. Pour sauce over brussels, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.

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sundried tomato stuffed mushrooms

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I used to shy away from sundried tomatoes. My aversion to them began when I ordered a sundried tomato pizza at an Italian restaurant and got a pizza *covered* in the things, which were so strong and flavorful that they overpowered the entire pizza.

Since then I’ve come to love them, as long as they are in small quantities and used as a highlighted flavor rather than the main one. These stuffed mushrooms are the perfect place for them.

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Technically, these are meant to be hors d’oeuvres, but we ate them just as dinner. I imagine they’d be really great as a side to steak or grilled chicken.

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Sundried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

From Smitten Kitchen

1/2 ounce dried tomatoes (about 5, not packed in oil)
2 tablespoons olive oil
18 white mushrooms, stems pulled out and chopped fine and caps reserved
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 large egg yolk, beaten lightly
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, washed well, spun dry, and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a small bowl soak tomatoes in hot water to cover 5 minutes. Reserving 1 tablespoon soaking liquid, drain tomatoes well and chop fine.

Lay mushroom caps, stems removed, face down on baking sheet either lightly sprayed with cooking spray or parchment paper. Bake them approximately 10 minutes, or until their liquid puddles underneath. Remove from the oven. Carefully pour off liquid that has gathered in the bottom of the pan, and then again, carefully, turn mushroom caps over so they are ready to be filled.

In a small skillet heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook chopped mushrooms stems, shallots and garlic, stirring until shallots are softened. In a bowl stir together mushrooms mixture, bread crumbs, tomatoes, reserved soaking liquid, yolk, parsley, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mound stuffing in reserved mushroom caps and arrange caps in a lightly greased shallow baking dish, or the same parchment-lined pan you’ve roasted your mushrooms in. Sprinkle mushrooms with Parmesan and bake in middle of oven 15 minutes.

Makes 18 hors d’oeuvres.

sesame soba noodles

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After buying sesame noodles from the grocery store on a weekly basis, I thought it was about time to make them at home. It seemed simple, and it absolutely is – cook the noodles, heat up the sauce, and combine. I used soba noodles instead of linguine due to soba’s magical nutritional content, and added carrots for crunch.

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These should keep well for about 7 days and be great as a weekday lunch.

Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:
2 (9.5oz) packages soba noodles
6 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons olive or safflower oil
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
6 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons chili sauce
6 green onions, sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1. Boil soba noodles for 3-4 minutes or as long as package indicates. Drain, and transfer to a serving bowl.

2. Meanwhile, place a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic, sugar, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Pour sauce over soba, and toss to coat. Garnish with green onions, carrots, and sesame seeds to serve.

red wine chocolate cake

After spending the past month laboring over studying for the GRE exam, and finally taking it yesterday, all I wanted to do today was relax. When free time abounds, I usually get the bug to start baking or cooking again.

I have a weakness for extremely simple recipes, standard things that have one special outstanding ingredient. This definitely qualifies – I’ve had chocolate cake a thousand times, but never one with red wine in it. I’ve had it in my “recipes” bookmarks for over a year now, and finally got around to slapping it together today. It comes together *really* fast and easily. The red wine gives it a delicious heady taste without tasting like alcohol at all.

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This is awesome with some fresh raspberries on the side, and would likely work great as cupcakes as well, with a ganache frosting, fresh whipped cream, or confectioner’s sugar.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake
From 17 and Baking
Makes a 9×5″ loaf

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (6 7/8 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
3/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (2 5/8 ounces) Dutch cocoa powder*
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

*If you can only find Natural-process cocoa, leave out the baking powder and use 1/2 tsp baking soda.

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan.

Beat the butter on medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugars and cream until lightened and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg until well combined, then mix in the wine, yogurt, and vanilla. The batter might look curdled, but don’t worry. Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a spoon until there are no streaks of flour left, scraping down the sides of the bowl and being careful not to over mix.

Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and bake 60-70 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the loaf in the pan on a rack for 10-15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and turn it out.

banana bread (and banana muffins)

banana bread

Banana bread reminds me of my mom. She’s not a huge baking enthusiast, but when I was little she would bake a loaf of banana bread and wrap it up in tin foil, and I’d open it to find super-moist, delicious, dense banana bread. It’s really more like banana cake.

Here I made a loaf of banana bread and used the rest of the batter to make muffins, some with chocolate chips. I didn’t have sour cream so I subbed plain yogurt. Probably not quite as fatty and tasty, but it certainly does the trick.

banana bread

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
from Use Real Butter

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups smashed, very ripe bananas
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Mix in the bananas. Combine dry ingredients and mix into batter alternately with the sour cream. Add nuts and chips. Mix well. Pour into two greased loaf pans (8×4 inch), or one bundt pan, or 12 bundtlettes (or anything you want, really) and bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean from the center. (Not wet and gloppy, but moist crumbs are okay). For muffins, more like 20-30 minutes.

blueberry crumb bars

Blueberry Crumb Bars

I bought a huge carton of blueberries at the beginning of this week, and by Friday I was beginning to worry they’d go bad if I didn’t finish them soon. It was time to put them into something. I’d never made anything except blueberry muffins, so I ventured to the internet to find a recipe for blueberry… something.

Smitten Kitchen had the recipe I wanted – blueberry crumb bars. They were very, very easy to make and don’t even require your butter to be room temperature, so they can be made on the fly. (Now that the school semester has started, I *definitely* don’t have time to be baking anything, but I always do anyway.) I was worried my dough was too floury and would just end up tasting like floured blueberries, but once it was baked it looked great and is so tasty.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Blueberry Crumb Bars
from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown.  Cool completely before cutting into squares.

snickerdoodles

snickerdoodles

I had been wanting to make snickerdoodles for so long – and the only reason I hadn’t was… because I didn’t feel like buying cream of tartar. I don’t know of anything else that would require cream of tartar (although I know there are things out there do require it) and I couldn’t bring myself to buy it just to make cookies.

But of course, if for nothing but the sake of experimentation, I finally just broke down and bought the stuff. And voila, snickerdoodles could be made. Now I just need to figure out what other recipes have cream of tartar, or make truckloads of these cookies…

snickerdoodles

This recipe is called “soft snickerdoodles,” and they were very soft on the first day out of the oven, but turned completely hard and crunchy the next day. Fine with me, though; they still tasted good!

Snickerdoodles

from Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: About 4 dozen

2¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a baking mat and put in refrigerator to chill.

2. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

4. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, beating on low speed just until the flour is blended.

5. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

6. In the meantime, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

7. Scoop 1-inch balls of dough and roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat.

8. Place on chilled cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and bake for 10 minutes.

9. Chill the dough and cookie sheets between batches.

10. Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Store cookies in an airtight container.