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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Red Wine Risotto

Zach wanted to try switching up our standard risotto recipe by making a red wine version.  He searched and this Giada recipe was the first on the list.  We omitted the peas since I don't like them.  It was yummy and had a nice flavor.  I liked it, I would make it again and play around with it a bit.  I think it was missing something, I just don't know what.  I think more black pepper, maybe a different wine, or even a different cheese to play off the spicyness that red wine brings as opposed to a white. 

Red Wine Risotto
Giada DeLaurentiis, via


    * 3 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
    * 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    * 1 cup finely chopped onion
    * 2 garlic cloves, minced
    * 1 cup arborio rice, or medium-grain white rice
    * 1/2 cup dry red wine
    * 1/3 cup frozen peas, defrosted, optional
    * 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
    * 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
    * Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover the broth and keep it warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook for about 2 minutes until the rice is toasted. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Repeat, adding 3/4 cup of hot broth 2 more times, stirring often, about 12 minutes longer. At this point, the risotto can be made 4 hours ahead. Refrigerate the risotto (the rice will still be firm) and remaining broth, uncovered, until cool, then cover and keep them refrigerated until ready to proceed.

Bring the remaining broth to a simmer, then cover and keep it warm over very low heat. Stir 3/4 cup of hot broth into the partially cooked risotto over medium heat until the broth is absorbed and the risotto is hot, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining broth and simmer until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the peas and parsley. Add the 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into bowls. Sprinkle additional cheese over and serve.

Turkey Burgers with Rosemary Garlic Mayo

The flavor of these burgers was outstanding!  I loved the rosemary garlic mayonnaise and will definitely use it again in the future.  The burgers I will probably use, but with some modifications.  They were disappointing to say the least.  They crumbled and did not hold their shape at all.  Zach put 4 burgers on the grill and only got two mangled ones off, and a pile of crumbs from the other two.  Next time we will try adding some breadcrumbs in the meat mixture, because it was really was a simple and great tasting recipe, not as great looking though!

Turkey Burgers with Rosemary Garlic Mayo
from Giada DeLaurentiis, via 


    * 1 cup mayonnaise
    * 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves
    * 1 clove garlic, minced

    * 1 pound ground chicken (We used turkey.)
    * 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    * 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    * 4 sandwich rolls or burger buns
    * 1/4 cup olive oil
    * 1 cup arugula, divided (We used spinach since we had some open.)


For the mayonnaise: In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, garlic, and rosemary; set aside.

For the burgers: Preheat a gas or charcoal grill or place a grill pan over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, add the ground chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 of the mayonnaise mixture. Using clean hands, gently combine the ingredients and form the chicken mixture into 4 patties. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for about 7 minutes on each side. Transfer to paper towels and let rest for a few minutes.

Brush the cut side of each roll with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of the mayonnaise mixture. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly golden.

To assemble the burgers: Spread a dollop of the remaining mayonnaise mixture on the tops and bottoms of the toasted buns. Place the chicken burgers on the bottom halves of the buns. Top each with 1/4 cup of arugula and finish with the top half of the bun.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beatty's Chocolate Cake: Barefoot Bloggers

Horray for my second Barefoot Bloggers post!  I have actually made this cake before.  Well, technically I guess I ate this cake before, if I remember correctly Zach actually did most of the baking work.  We saw it on an episode of Barefoot Contessa back in spring of 2007 then made it for the Easter.  It was delicious then, and it's equally delicious now!  The coffee is just right thing to add to the chocolate, it really highlights the chocolatee-y goodness of the cake and icing.  This is now our standard chocolate cake recipe, I don't think it can be beat!  Oh, and as an extra bonus, we always use the rest of the carton of buttermilk to make biscuits!  Yum!

Beatty's Chocolate Cake 

from Ina Garten, via


  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee


Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sopa Seca

This is my second recipe from the cookbook of September, Food Network Kitchens cookbook. Zach picked out this recipe and I'm glad he did! Sopa Seca means "dry soup" in spanish and it's delicious! I'd describe it as a "mexican spaghetti". I really loved the spices and flavors of the sauce. The chipolte in adobo is dominant in the flavor profile, but not overwhelming. The flavors remind me of a nice big bowl of chili, but it's got the pasta to satisfy my inner carb-lover, the smoked turkey to satisfy my inner bacon-lover and the cheesy goodness on top to satisfy, well, anyone! Who doesn't like melted cheesy goodness?

I made a few changes/substitutions to accommodate what I had on hand or what I couldn't find in the store. I couldn't find fideos, and wanted to use whole wheat pasta, so I used whole wheat thin spaghetti that I snapped in half. I used beef broth since we had some open and chil-I powder instead of chil-E powder, since, again, that's what we had. I think you could definitely substitute in some sausage for the smoked turkey, maybe a fresh chorizo or andouille would work really well. I plan to do that the next time I make it. Also, I used 2% shredded mexican blend cheese, not straight cheddar. With the 2% cheese and whole wheat pasta, I hope it makes it a little more on the healthy side.

Sopa Seca
from Food Network Kitchens cookbook


* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for pan

* 12 ounces fideos, bundled vermicelli (I used thin spaghetti, broken in half.)

* 1 medium onion, chopped

* 3 cloves garlic, minced

* 1 teaspoon ground coriander

* 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

* 1 teaspoon New Mexican chile powder

* 1 bay leaf

* 1 1/2 cups canned whole tomatoes

* 1 to 2 chipotles en adobo sauce, minced

* 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, homemade, or low-sodium canned (I used beef broth.)

* 1 teaspoon kosher salt

* Freshly ground black pepper

* 2 cups shredded smoked turkey

* 1 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

* Mexican crema, or sour cream thinned with a bit of milk, optional


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Brush a 9-inch square baking dish with oil. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fideos and cook, turning them with tongs, until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bundles and any broken pieces to a plate.

Add the onion to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, coriander, oregano, chili powder, and bay leaf, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Crush the tomatoes over the pot with your hand and add them to the pot along with their juices. Add the chipotles, increase the heat to high, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, the toasted fideos, salt, and pepper, to taste. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, breaking up the fideos with a spoon, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the turkey.

Remove the bay leaf. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top, and cover loosely with foil. Bake until the cheese melts and the casserole is hot through and through, about 20 minutes. If desired, serve with some crema drizzled over the top.

Aji Verde sauce

This sauce accompanies the Peruvian Roast Chicken. It's cilantro-y and delicious and addicting! We like to take the leftovers (if there are any!) and use it as a topping for tacos, nachos, or blend it with a can of cannelini beans in the food processor to make a yummy bean dip that's good with pita chips.

Aji Verde
from Food Network Kitchens cookbook

3/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup Cotija Cheese (You can substitute Feta.)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup water
2 to 3 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and diced (keep the seeds if heat is desired)
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1) Puree the cilantro, cheese, olive oil, water, jalapenos, garlic, vinegar, and salt in a blender until smooth.

Peruvian Roast Chicken

This is the first recipe I tried out of this cookbook, and we have made it at least four times in the past year. The chicken turns out so moist and flavorful. It's got a nice, basic, garlic flavor, nothing overpowering, so it makes for great leftovers to be used as shredded chicken in soups, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, casseroles, etc. It's easy and delicious, what more can you ask for? Plus, Zach and I both love the cilantro sauce. It's can be very addicting!

Peruvian Roast Chicken
from the Food Network Kitchens cookbook

1 head garlic
1 3-4 pound chicken, excess fat trimmed and giblets removed
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil


Preheat the oven to 425. Remove 5 cloves from the garlic head, then halve the remaining head horizontally. Season the chicken cavity with salt and pepper to taste, then stuff with halved garlic.

Smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and with the side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. Put the garlic in the bowl and mix with the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and cumin. Rub the garlic mixture on the outside of the chicken. Whisk the soy sauce and sugar together and brush on the outside of the bird. Tuck the wings under the back. Set a V-rack or regular rack in a roasting pan and brush with the oil.

Place the chicken breast side down on the rack and roast until the back is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the chicken breast side up. Baste the chicken with the pan drippings and continue to roast until the breast is golden brown and a meat thermometer in the thigh registers 170 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let it rest 10 minutes before carving.

Serve with Aji Verde sauce.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Birthday Sheet Cake: Barefoot Bloggers

This is my first post for the Barefoot Bloggers! I was so excited to join this group! I'd been thinking about it for awhile, but wanted to wait until after our recent move so that I could start out on track and not miss any recipes. For those who don't know, Barefoot Bloggers is a group of people with food blogs that set out to make 2 Ina Garten recipes per month. There is a rotation to determine who picks the recipes and assigned dates to post the recipes in your blog. The group's website can be found here: Barefoot Bloggers. I love watching Ina on the Food Network and wanted to join the group so I could start making more of her recipes. This first one was excellent! I ended up making a few modifications. I don't have any sheet pans, so I read through the reviews on and saw that at least one person had baked the cake in a 13x9 pan and had successful results, so I made it in that size pan as well. Also, I'm not a fan of lemon/citrus flavors, and the cake called for lemon zest. Instead I used almond extract and just a hint of vanilla. It turned out delicious! When it came to the frosting, I halfed the recipe and still had some leftover. I read some reviews from that said it was too chocolately, not sweet enough; but, I am definitely a dark chocolate fan so I thought it was great.

Birthday Sheet Cake
from Ina Garten via
For the cake:

18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract and just a dash of vanilla.)
1 lemon, zested (I omitted this.)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting:
24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Chocolate candies for decorating (recommended: M&M's)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until smooth. Finish mixing by hand to be sure the batter is well mixed. Pour evenly into the pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan to room temperature.

For the frosting, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chips are completely melted. Off the heat, add the corn syrup and vanilla and allow the chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the chocolate mixture and softened butter on medium speed for a few minutes, until it's thickened.

Spread the frosting evenly on the cake. Decorate the cake as desired.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cookbook of the Month

In an effort to try and better utilize my ever growing collection of cookbooks, I've decided to start a "Cookbook of the Month." I'm going to challenge myself to make at least three recipes from the cookbook in that month and blog about them. So, for September and the first Cookbook of the Month, I've chosen my Food Network Kitchens cookbook. I got this as a present at one of my bridal showers and have really only used it for one recipe up until now -- Peruvian Roasted Chicken which will be my first blog entry from this cookbook. I've chosen one other recipe I've been dying to make from it, then will have Zach choose the last one to round out the three picks for this month.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mac and Chee -- Baked Macaroni and Gouda

This is by far our favorite mac and chee recipe. I picked up 'mac and chee' from my sister. She says that the macaroni gets abbreviated to mac so the cheese should get abbreviated too. I can't argue with her logic. This came from a Rachel Ray magazine. It was one of those recipes that I read and that day went to the store to buy the ingredients to make it that night. So good! We like to use fun shaped pastas instead of macaroni, and whole wheat when possible. This particular version we left out the italian sausage, but it's excellent with it as well. We've also done bacon instead of the sausage and it's phenomenal! Also, we always use smoked gouda and it's awesome. I dream about this mac and chee -- mmmmmmmmmmmm!

Baked Macaroni and Gouda

8 Servings

Prep 40 min

Cook 1 hr


1 pound macaroni

1-1/2 pounds uncooked sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

1-1/2 cups caramelized onions

1 quart whole milk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 tablespoons flour

3/4 pound aged Gouda cheese, grated (about 4 cups)

Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 11 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a large bowl and wipe the saucepan clean.

Add the pasta and 1 cup caramelized onions to the sausage and stir to combine. In a medium saucepan or a microwave oven, heat the milk until steaming.

Return the large saucepan to the stove, add the butter and melt over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk, 1/4 cup at a time, and continue whisking until the sauce is smooth and thick and comes to a simmer. Add 2-1/2 cups cheese, remove from the heat and whisk until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the cheese sauce to the pasta mixture and stir to combine.

Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and add the pasta mixture in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup caramelized onions and 1-1/2 cups cheese on top. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Caramelized Onions

These are the caramelized onions used in the Baked Macaroni and Gouda recipe. Once you get these made though, you will realize they can go in just about anything -- pasta dishes, pizza topping, on burgers, in eggs, on a sandwich, the possibilities are endless!

Caramelized Onions
Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2-1/2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the sugar and cook, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan frequently, until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

This is my entry for the What's Cooking? Ingredient Challenge! Parmesan Cheese - Yum! Who doesn't like Parmesan? We were in the process of moving when the challenge was originally posted, so I didn't participate in the voting or even know what the ingredient was until last week. I was super excited to see it was parmesan though, since a few days before I had seen this recipe on America's Test Kitchen and wanted to try it. It was delicious -- thin and crispy, great salty/cheesey taste. So good. There's nothing I would change about it. Since it's America's Test Kitchen, they've already done any variation imaginable and figured out the best flavor combinations, ingredients, seasonings and cooking methods. It's a nice change from a heavy egged/bread crumb version of chicken parmesan.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Serves 4

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each), tenderloins removed, breasts trimmed of excess fat and halved horizontally

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon

1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup), see note above

3 large egg whites

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives (optional)

6 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese (about 2 cups) see note above

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 lemon , cut into wedges

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound to even 1/4-inch thickness. Pat dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper.

2. Set wire rack on rimmed baking sheet. Whisk together 1/4 cup flour and grated Parmesan cheese in pie plate. In medium bowl, whisk egg whites and chives (if using) together until slightly foamy. In second pie plate, combine 2 cups shredded Parmesan and remaining tablespoon flour.

3. Using tongs and working with 1 cutlet at a time, coat chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Transfer chicken to egg-white mixture; coat evenly and let excess run off. Coat chicken with shredded Parmesan mixture, pressing gently so that cheese adheres. Place on wire rack.

4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place 2 cutlets in skillet and reduce heat to medium. Cook until cheese is pale golden brown, about 3 minutes. While chicken is cooking, use thin nonstick spatula to gently separate any cheesy edges that have melted together. Carefully flip cutlets and continue to cook until cheese is pale golden brown on second side and meat is no longer pink in center, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Wipe out skillet with paper towel and return to medium heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and cook remaining 2 cutlets. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.