Friday, January 28, 2011

Heath Bar Peanut Butter Cookies

When I was home for the holidays, I only arrived a few days before Christmas, and didn't have the time to make my full repertoire of favorite cookies - fudge, decorated sugar cookies, french lace, gingerbread, etc. In the end, i only had time to make one batch, and this was the one I chose. These are delicious any time of year and not too heavy.
 Heath Bar Peanut Butter Cookies (adapted from a Cookies cookbook).
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup organic peanut butter
1 egg
2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 8 oz pkg heath bar bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease cookie sheets (don't forget this or they will stick!).  Combine flour, sugar, butter, peanut butter, egg, brown sugar, baking soda and vanilla in large bown. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer 2-3 minutes until well blended, scraping bowl often.  Stir in heath bar bits.


I made these again in October of 2011, and added a sprinkling of St. Malo sea salt on the top - delicious!
Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls.  Be sure to place at least two inches apart because they will spread. Flatten cookies to 1/8" thickness with bottom of glass covered with waxed paper.  Bake about ten minutes or until edges are very lightly browned.  Once out of the oven, let cool slightly on the pan before trying to remove, otherwise they may fall apart. Enjoy!


My mom really likes this recipe too - aside from giving some as gifts, we devoured the entire batch, 
and enjoyed splitting the last cookie between the two of us! :-)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Years' Eve Dinner

For New Year's Eve dinner: PAELLA! I confess that I don't have a single recipe I can share at the moment because what I've done is basically a strange amalgamation of several recipes from cookbooks and websites. Eventually, I'll pin it down into a single recipe, and will post it here. In the meantime, though, here are some pictures! 



And for dessert: Ille Flottante! This seriously took a long time to make (and made way too much for three people), but it was a lot of fun and the results came out fantastic! I'll have to defer to the genius of the Barefoot Contessa for the recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/ile-flottante-recipe/index.html

The recipe is great. The only thing that confused me is that you need to make the caramel in advance of toasting the almonds into the praline because you need the caramel for this, but then the rest of the caramel needs to wait until the dish is ready. Unless I made a mistake and heated the caramel too much to begin with, it hardened over time, and while I kept reheating it gently to keep it soft, it ended up over-cooking the caramel and it got to be too stiff. Aside from that little debacle, this really was heaven on a plate:



Monday, January 17, 2011

For all my fellow Unionites: Buffalo Chicken Pasta

In the important ways, I've graduated from college eating. No more (or at least fewer) disco fries, cheesesteaks, fried food nights, and chicken parm sandwiches. But there is one recipe that I've loved since freshman year when it was introduced at West Dining Hall as someone's mom's recipe from home. I've since adapted it to make it a bit more gourmet, and still make it at least a few times a year! College food, grown up. A bit.

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Ingredients

1 lb chicken breast/chicken fingers, sliced into bite-sized pieces (for extra moisture, marinate the pieces in yogurt for 30 min before cooking)
2 cloves garlic, smushed and diced
1 tbl olive oil
1/2 cup Frank's red hot sauce
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup water
2 tbl cornstarch
1/2 of a 12 oz box farfalle pasta

Directions

1. Boil water for the pasta. Giada says salt the water for pasta, but no olive oil. I believe her. Once the water is boiling add the pasta, and cook for about 8 minutes, or until softened to your liking.
2. In a frying pan, saute garlic in olive oil until it begins to sizzle, taking care not to let it brown.
3. Add chicken pieces, and let sit for a minute or two before stirring.
4. While the chicken is cooking, melt butter in a saucepan with Frank's Red Hot Sauce and white wine until combined.
5. When almost cooked-through, drain chicken in a colander and then return to frying pan. Add hot sauce to chicken.
6. To thicken the sauce, combine the corn starch and water, and add the mixture to the frying pan and turn up the heat. Once sauce is thickened to your liking, turn off the heat. Add fresh parsley.
7. Spoon chicken mixture over farfalle pasta, and top with blue cheese crumbles.
8. Transport yourself back to college dining hall. :-)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jet Lag Pasta

After a long transatlantic flight with food that generally lacks in flavor and basic nutrition (US Airways was a particularly bad offender in this on my most recent journey), all you want is a good, fresh, nutritious meal that's not too difficult to prepare. This is what I made on my first day back in Paris, and loved it for helping me to re-bond with my kitchen after being away and revising my palate after plane food.



Jet Lag Pasta


Ingredients
1 courgette, sliced into thin rounds
1 small onion, diced
fresh spinach
1 can diced tomatoes
1 handful of cappelini pasta
1 tbl olive oil
1 small garlic clove, smushed and diced
1 small piece of fresh mozzarella


Directions

1. Boil water for pasta.
2. Saute garlic in olive oil and then add onions.
3. Once the onions start to soften add zucchini rounds.
4. Once the zucchini starts to soften, add spinach and cook until softened and darker in color.
5. Put cappelini in boiling water for 3 minutes and then drain.
6. Add tomatoes and cook until heated through.
7. On plate put zucchini mixture on top of pasta and then top with small diced pieces of fresh mozarella.
Enjoy!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Soup with Potatoes and Shrimp

garnish with a spring of fresh thyme
Today, after a lovely stroll around  Park Monceau at twilight, I came home to make a lovely soup. It was done really quickly because none of the elements take very long to cook, and it comes out very flavorful. Hope you enjoy it!
Parc Monceau






Soup with Potatoes and Shrimp

Ingredients

1/2 pound fingerling potatoes, diced into rounds
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cups of stock (fish, chicken, vegetable, as you prefer)
2 small cloves (or 1 giant clove) of garlic, smushed and diced
1 small onion, diced
a few handfuls of fresh spinach, diced, or frozen diced spinach
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of coriander
1 tsp herbs de provence
1 tsp thyme
1 Tbl olive oil

1. Heat the stock in a saucepan over low heat.
2. Heat the olive oil in a stock pot, add garlic and cook until it starts to become aromatic, but not turning brown. Add onion and cook with garlic until it begins to soften.
3. Add the rounds of potatoes, coriander, herbs de provence, and thyme and cook until soft.
4. Once softened, add the stock to the garlic/onion/potato mixture.
5. Cut the shrimp in half length-wise, and cook in a frying pan until they turn pink and start to curl slightly (these look lovely in the soup like this!)
6. Add the shrimp to the soup, and finally add the spinach until heated through.
Enjoy with baguette! 
celebrating a lovely weekend in Lavacourt
preparing the soup in the lovely Lavacourt kitchen













Here's a few photos of my favorite fruit and veggie stall at the Marche St. Quentin near my apartment:





Tomato Cucumber Salad with Blue Cheese

My friend Kate first made this salad for me to try at my table beneath the rafters in my Paris apartment in the Marais the summer before last, and I have made it often ever since. It is delicious, and easy to prepare as long as you don't mind dicing the vegetables. Best in the summer when the tomatoes and cucumber at the height of their season, but I enjoy it all year round! A great lunch, or as an easy part of dinner!

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Blue Cheese

Serves two

1 cucumber
1 tomato
a piece of good blue cheese (I like Blue d'Auvergne with this, or Roquefort)
2 tbl balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and dice cucumber and place on a plate. Dice tomato and add on top of cucumber. Cut blue cheese into bite-sized morsels and place on top of vegetable tower. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar (and salt and pepper if you prefer, though I usually do with out). Devour (ideally with some baguette)!