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Friday, March 30, 2007

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last year on Mother's Day, my son Marco brought home a mason jar filled with a homemade dry cookie mix. It was cute, the ingredients were layered in the jar and it was tied with a ribbon and instructions to add the wet ingredients. We tried the cookies at home, and they were INCREDIBLE! I had to beg the staff at Marco's daycare to write down the amounts for the dry ingredients. I have since taken these cookies to work and was bombarded with e-mails asking for the recipe. Tonight, I made them with cashews instead of pecans because that's all I had. I don't know if that makes them better, because I am not eating one - EVER (I can't eat just one), but my kids approved of the alteration. At my house cookies all have to be the same size, so there are no commotions, so I used a food scale and measured 35g of dough for each cookie. I got 30 cookies from the recipe.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup margarine, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat over to 350F.

2. Cream butter, egg and vanilla. Add brown and white sugars, mix well.

3. Add cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Combine well (you will have to get your hands dirty to mix it up good).

4. Mix in the nuts and chocolate chips.

5. Roll into balls, about the size of walnuts. Place 2" apart on greased cookie sheet and bake 11-13 minutes.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Saffron Chicken with Peppers

Two things attracted me to this recipe in the New Dieters Cookbook by Better Homes and Gardens: I love saffron; and I love to cook with chicken thighs, they are impossible to screw up. So tonight for dinner I decided to try this new recipe. Don't let the fact that it came from a diet cookbook turn you off, it was delicious. Also, try not to make the same mistake I did, I used olives with pits instead of the pimento stuffed ones called for in the recipe. It still tasted great, but I spent forever getting the pits out, and even then I gave up long before I had the 1/2 cup called for in the recipe. Mario's verdict: "It's a keeper."; Claire's verdict: "It's good, but well I like the chicken from Kentucky better."; Marco's verdict: "Mommy? Can you get out the green stuff?" Oh well, you can't win em' all.

Saffron Chicken with Peppers
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red pepper, sliced into strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup long grain rice
1/4 tsp saffron threads, crushed
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup dry white wine

1. Season chicken and sauté in olive oil over medium-high heat until browned. 5 minutes per side.

2. Remove chicken to a plate and reserve 1 tbsp of pan drippings.

3. Add red pepper, onion, and garlic. Sauté until vegetables soften (4-5 minutes)

4. Stir in rice and saffron. Add the water, white wine and olives. Bring to a boil. Place chicken thighs back into mixture, cover skillet and simmer for 25 minutes.

For those who care, the recipe serves six and the nutritional information per serving is: 380 calories and 12g fat.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Crab Cakes and Creamy Coleslaw

I entered "Crab Cake Recipe" into my search engine and I got 1,390,000 hits, so I really don't expect anyone to think that my recipe is anything special, but it is popular at my house. I actually intended my first recipe post to be "Chayote Spaghetti with Cilantro", but after spending the better part of the day searching various grocery stores for Chayote Squash, I resigned myself to saving that one for another day (stay tuned).

Instead, I found myself in the usual scramble to figure out something for dinner without having taken anything out of the freezer this morning before I left for work. Solution? An old favorite, Crab Cakes and Creamy Coleslaw. For a nice quick dipping sauce to serve with the crab cakes I mixed a couple tablespoons of miracle whip into a half cup of bottled seafood sauce. I also used dehydrated potato flakes to make the mashed potatoes, but I omitted the butter from the instructions on the box.

Crab Cakes
450g (1 pound) imitation crab meat
1 cup mashed potato
2 tsp dried summer savoury
1/4 cup egg beater (or 1 large egg)
2 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup panko
cooking spray

1. Coarsely chop imitation crab meat.

2. In large bowl mix crab with potato, savoury, onion, cilantro and egg. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Using 1/3 cup per patty, shape into 8 patties about 3" in diameter and coat lightly in panko.

4. Place on parchment lined baking sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Spray a little bit more cooking spray on the tops of the crab cakes.

5. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until nicely browned.

I like to serve my crab cakes with coleslaw. My favorite recipe is a creamy coleslaw that still has a vinegary tang to it. My daughter's favorite coleslaw; however, is bright green and comes from KFC. I have actually considered using green food colouring, but somehow I don't think she'll be fooled. I like to cut up my cabbage to make skinny strips, but if pressed for time I just throw it in the food processor. I often get my husband, Mario, to make the first cut down through the big cabbage with the heavy duty chef's knife, because... well... better his fingers than mine.

Creamy Coleslaw
1/2 head of large cabbage, chopped
1/2 medium onion, diced small
1 large carrot, grated
1 tsp celery seed

For Dressing:
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

1. For dressing, combine flour, mustard, and sugar in a saucepan. Add egg yolks, cayenne pepper, melted butter, milk and vinegar. Turn stove to medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and smooth. Let cool

2. Mix cabbage carrots, onion, celery seed and dressing. Depending on how big your cabbage was, your coleslaw may not seem wet enough, add a little more milk.


After spending countless hours scouring the internet for great sites dedicated to good food and interesting recipes, I realized that if I could reallocate even half those hours to creating my own recipe journal, it could be pretty good.

This blog is intended primarily for family and friends with whom I would like to share some of my greatest culinary "masterpieces" and my biggest flops, but if anyone else stumbles across it and actually finds it interesting, then I am thrilled!

I am a busy working Mom with two children, ages 4 and 7. But no amount of time is too much to spend planning and preparing a nice meal for my family. That might sound selfless, but it isn't. I confess, that my primary goal is to feed myself, and feed myself well. I love to eat, and if I am not eating, then I am thinking about my next meal.

Here are some of my thoughts..... enjoy....