Thursday, July 21, 2011

Borscht: My Favorite Comfort Food!

It's sure been a while since I posted, but I have been playing in the kitchen more and have some new recipes!

Borscht was a staple in our house growing up, and I have tried several recipes as an adult and not loved any of them.  So I combined the good parts of a few and threw them in a basic stew, and the results were delicious!

  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1-2 lbs of beef short ribs, bone-out, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1/2 C carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2" chunks
  • 1/2 C celery, chopped into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly diced into 1/2" pieces
  • 2 Tbs AP flour
  • 1 large sweet potato*, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 4 large beets, peeled and sliced into (large) bite-sized bits
  • 1 C apple cider vinegar
  • 2 C beef broth
Mix vinegar and beets in a medium bowl, then add water to cover.

Heat large dutch oven over medium-high heat and turn oven on to 350.  Melt butter, then add beef and brown it, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes.  Then add onions, carrots, celery, and a scant tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper.  Continue to brown meat and vegetables until onions are translucent and carrots and celery are beginning to brown.  Sprinkle flour over the top and stir for about a minute more, until flour is evenly coating everything.  Add broth and two cups water, stirring constantly until you are sure there are no flour clumps.  Add sweet potato.  Drain beets and add them to the stew.  If needed, add more water until almost everything is covered.

If using an oven-proof dutch oven, put cover on and place in the oven for an hour.  If not using an oven-proof dish then continue to simmer on the stove top for about an hour.  Season to taste.

Serve with plenty of sour cream and a good loaf of crusty bread.

*We're not eating white potatoes at the moment, but if you are you could certainly use boiling potatoes instead of the sweet potato

Friday, May 1, 2009



½ C Unsalted butter
10 oz chocolate chips/ chunks- semi-sweet or bittersweet or both
¾ C Brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 eggs
¾ C AP flour
1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp baking powder

-Preheat oven to 350

-Butter and flour a 9” square pan

-Melt butter and 6 oz of the chocolate in a medium/lg bowl in the microwave- 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each go.
-Cool to lukewarm
-While waiting, whisk or sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder in another bowl
-Stir the sugar and vanilla into the chocolate/butter mixture
-Add eggs to chocolate/butter mixture 1 at a time, mixing well between each addition, then stirring/beating until the batter is glossy and smooth
-Stir in flour mixture
-Stir in remaining 4oz of chocolate

-Bake for 20-30 minutes, until a knife or toothpick or what-not barely comes out clean. Cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

*If you want to double the recipe, just use a 9” by 13” pan to bake it in and give it a bit longer, all will be well!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Artichoke Chicken (Adapted from a recipe in Gourment, April 2008)

New quick and easy recipe! We were shocked at how delicious the artichoke hearts were in this dish! Be careful to buy marinated hearts, not just in brine, water or oil, because the marinade adds so much flavor to this otherwise simple dish!

Artichoke Chicken

-2-3 lbs Chicken Parts, bone-in (I did thighs because they’re so cheap, but breast or a whole, French-cut* chicken would be fine. Just make sure all the pieces are about the same size)
-12-18 oz Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained and quartered (amount=depending on how much you adore artichoke)
-2 Tbs Olive Oil
-2 small Sweet Onions/ Yellow Onions, cut into bit-sized pieces
-4 cloves Garlic, minced
-salt, pepper
- ~1 Tbs flour mixed with ~1 Tbs softened butter
-1 C chicken stock
-Parmesan, for serving

Preheat oven to 450

In a large baking dish or Dutch oven, toss the chicken, artichokes, onions, and garlic together with the olive oil and a pinch of salt (~ 1 tsp) and a crack or three of pepper.

Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the chicken and bake another 10-15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through (about 165 F on a meat thermometer). You will be surprised at the amount of pan juices!

Optional Sauce: After removing chicken, etc, place pan on a burner over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour/butter paste. Once smooth, add the chicken stock and whisk until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Serve chicken with crusty bread or rice, and sauce or pan juices. Can sprinkle on some Parmesan, but we didn’t end up using any!

*French-cut chicken =2 legs, 2 thighs, and 4 breast pieces. Instead of removing the wings, cut each breast in half between the ribs on either side of the wing, creating two equal pieces- one with the wing attached and one without a wing.

Now, off to make Muffin's bagels!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The most popular cookies I have ever made

Hi all- I should preface this by saying that I bake almost daily for all the fellow UNC music students. They tend to like me more now. I make a ton of cookies and experiment some, (one day I will post my recent maple syrup and sausage muffins). This is, though, the most popular cookie I have ever made, and it is incredibly easy:
White Chocolate dream cookies:
2 1/4 cups, (300 grams) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 sticks butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag white chocolate chips
zest of one orange, (this is crucial! the secret ingredient you might say)
2-3 oz white and unsweetened/bittersweet chocolate

Preheat to 375
Beat egg with vanilla and set aside. Pulse flour, baking powder and soda, and salt in a food processor for 5 seconds
Cream butter in bowl of stand mixer for a few minutes or until larger in volume and lighter in color
Add sugar and increase speed. Beat for a few more minutes until light and bigger in volume
Add egg mixture, and increase speed if necessary to incorporate
Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three installments. Add orange zest at this time.
Add white chocolate chips.
Drop on preferably parchment covered baking sheets and bake until slightly golden, (these will not get very browned even though they will be done), or 8 or so minutes. You don't want them to get too dark because they generally become a crunchier cookie anyway, you don't want them to be crumbly.
Remove cookies. Let sit for a minute or two then transfer to racks. If you used parchment paper, make sure to put the paper underneath the racks, (you'll see why in a second)
Melt the white and dark chocolates separately in the microwave or over hot water if you really want.
Using a spoon/fork, dip in one of the chocolates and kind of fling chocolate over the cookie. You can try to drizzle beautifully if you want, but if you just aim for a Pollock-like finished product I promise people will still think you spent hours on it. After applying one chocolate this way, apply the other chocolate in the same way and let cookies sit until chocolate is set. Keep in an airtight container. (These freeze REALLY well. if you want to freeze them put them in the freezer on a cookie sheet until hard and chocolate is totally set. Then put in ziploc bags)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Carbo loading part deux

OK here's the second recipe I have: an incredibly simple, easy, delicious and adaptable cobbler
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups self-rising flour, (if you only have AP you can easily look up how to add leavening to make it self-rising)
2 cups sugar
2 cups milk
3 1/2 cups add-ins, (the first time I did this I did blackberry raspberry blueberry strawberry and it was really good. yesterday I used 1 1/2 cups mixed cherries and 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, also very good. Go nuts basically)
-Preheat to 350
-Melt butter in the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch pan. The easiest way is just to stick a stick of butter in the pan in the oven and mix your batter
-Mix flour sugar and milk together; mixture WILL be lumpy and it should be! (I like to mix for 10 seconds/until just incorporated and then "walk away" no matter what it looks like)
-Pour batter over the melted butter in the pan
-Drop your fruit/chocolate/cheese/whatever onto the batter. Make sure to put it around the edges, too!
-Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour, until golden brown or until a knife comes out clean. 

Carbo loading

I have two recipes today. The first is something I saw on the amazing, and is an easy, and really good recipe for bagels: 
Bagels, (plain but easily amended)
You will need:
1 heaping tsp yeast, you can use active dry or instant like I did (about a half a packet)
2 cups warm water
1 (i think..) tbsp sugar
-Combine the above in the bowl of your stand mixer. If you are not using instant yeast you will need to let the yeast "bloom" for a few minutes at this stage. Otherwise you don't have to wait.
-Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, add up to 6 cups of bread flour, (AP will work) along with 1-2 tsp salt. 
-You can add 3 or 4 to begin with but mix on low so that you don't have flour flying around everywhere
-Once the flour is incorporated, remove the paddle attachment and attach your dough hook, (or do this by  hand- but it will be tiring). (If you want to experiment with adding anything into your bagel now's the time)
-Let the dough hook knead the dough on the lowest setting above "stir" for 15-20 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. You may need to add flour along the way.
-This dough will be VERY stiff after it has been worked for 10 or so minutes. Work it for a few minutes and it will soften a little bit
-Put dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rest for 1 hr.

-Divide dough into thirds, and roll each third into a long rope.
-Divide each of these ropes into fourths. Roll each fourth between your palms until it is slightly longer than the width of your palm. Wrap the roll of dough around your fingers and roll the ends together against your other palm so that the ends seal together. You may want to use a little water to help the ends seal
-Place these on a non-stick, lightly oiled, or parchment-covered baking sheet, cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

Bagels are boiled prior to baking. Fill a 3-4 quart saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Also preheat your oven to 500 (yes, 500). Place bagels into the boiling water 3 or so at a time. They will probably sink. If they don't sink it simply means they rose a second time for too long, (but it doesn't matter). 
-Let each bagel boil for 1 minute on either side or until they begin to rise to the top of the pot
-If you want a topping for your bagel, (poppyseed, seasame seed, etc.) have it in a dish and place the bagel face down in the dish. Flip over if desired
-Place back on baking sheet.
-Remove 3 cups of the boiling water and place in an ovenproof baking dish, and place on the bottom or bottom rack of the oven.
-Bake for 15-20 minutes, (watch carefully, mine only baked for 10), until bagels are browned on either side.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Couple Links

Food Gawker and TasteSpotting
A smattering of food porn from different blogs with recipes behind every pic.


Food & Cooking board of 4chan.  Anonymous picture/message board, visited by basement-dwellers and chefs alike.  
Note, even though this board is marked as "safe for work", 4chan is not safe for work.  Ever.