Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rice Pilaf

Hey guys!  Hope everyone is doing well.  I know I've still been a busy bee, but after Friday, I'll have a little bit more time on my hands because it's my last final of the quarter.  So I'll have a two week break before having to go at it all over again.

And I tell ya, it's going to be a much needed break.  I might even find myself sleeping more (right now I'm averaging about 5 hours a night, if I'm lucky!).

Anyway, I thought I'd post an easy side dish that any one can make.  It's a versatile dish where you can really add practically anything to, and keeps really well if you have leftovers.


1 oz. clarified butter
2 oz. onion, small diced
1 oz. celery, small diced
1 oz. carrot, small diced
1 cup white rice
2 cups stock (chicken, beef, fish, vegetable - I happened to only have beef in the fridge so I used that)
1/2 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste

our mise en place

Heat a medium saucepan under medium high heat and add your butter.  When your butter is heated up, add your vegetables and sweat (cook without browning) them, about 3-5 minutes.

Once the vegetables are slightly softened, add the rice.  Stir until lightly toasted, about 1-2 minutes.

Then slowly incorporate your stock of choice.

Then add your half of a bay leaf.

Bring mixture to a boil.

Then lower to a simmer and cover. 

Let cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until about 95% of stock is absorbed into rice.

Serve as is or use as a side dish for a main course.  We ended up sauteing a few shrimp, putting them on top of the pilaf, and calling it dinner!

Hope everyone is doing well and surviving the holiday season (once again, I've completed all of my Christmas shopping online, avoiding the malls like the plague!). 

Until next time...

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Corn Cookies

Sorry for the horrible picture, didn't dawn on me to take pictures with my actual camera, and not my phone!
This year, I was part of something amazing.  The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!  Hundreds of other bloggers joined in all of the fun and cookies were sent all over the country.  It was so amazing to find a couple boxes on my doorstep when I came home from work of a variety of different cookies!  And it was even better to discover new blogs in the process! 

I received Dark & Stormy Cookies from Kathy Can Cook, Toffee Cookies from Anna from Girls Can Tell, and Lime Cookies from Creative Crops.  I'd never been do any of those blogs before, but I'm now a regular because they're all so sweet and have great blogs!

It was definitely hard to choose a cookie to send to my lucky recipients as well.  I didn't want to send a "normal" cookie, but something different.  So I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks of the moment - Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi.  I made the Corn Cookies, which are my absolute favorite out of everything I've made out of the book so far.  They're different, like a cross between a butter and a sugar cookie, with that slight hint of corn in the background.  Definitely amazing.

From Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi

2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 & 1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup corn flour
2/3 cup freeze-dried corn powder 
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the egg and beat for an additional 7 to 8 minutes.

Add flour, corn flour, corn powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until dough just comes together, no more than 1 minute.

Portion the dough into 1 inch diameter balls and place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350F.

Arrange the chilled dough 4 inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake for 18 minutes, or until faintly browned on the edges and bright yellow in the center.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans and store in an airtight container for 5 days at room temperature, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

I hope my lucky recipients enjoyed their cookies as much as we did!

And I can't wait for this fun event to happen next year too!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Secret Recipe Club: Fall-Inspired Chicken Salad

It's that time of the month.  Secret Recipe Club reveal day!  (It's basically the only day I can consistently keep up with this blog, too!)

I was real excited this month because I got Isabelle from Crumb: A Food Blog.  I've been reading her blog for quite a while, even when it was still called Good Food, Good Wine, and a Bad Girl.  She always has interesting blog posts - and there's always a point where I leave with my mouth watering.  You know that's a good sign!

As always, it's hard to pick what recipe to choose, but since Andy and I are on a bit of a healthy-eating food kick right now, I picked one of Isabelle's delicious looking salads - The Fall-Inspired Grilled Chicken Salad.  Isabelle had a fancy Cuisinart Griddler to do her grilling for her, but since I don't have one of those, and refuse to bust out the George Foreman - I simply sauteed my chicken breasts over the stove.  Besides that minor detail, I pretty much stuck to the recipe as is because it was just that good!

Adapted Recipe from Crumb

1 large chicken breast, butterflied
2 tablespoons cajun seasoning (I made my own mix from this recipe)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
mixed salad greens
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
1/4 cup mixed fruit and nut trail mix

Season each side of the chicken breast with the cajun seasoning mix.

Heat a large saute pan under medium high heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil.  Add chicken breast and cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until browned.  Flip over and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly.  Set chicken aside on cutting board to rest.

Make vinaigrette by combining olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, spicy brown mustard, shallot, and garlic in a small bowl.  Whisk until mixture is emulsified (no separation of acid and oil).  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a large bowl, toss the greens with about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and divide among two plates.  Top greens with trail mix and sliced apples.  Then top with sliced chicken breasts.  Serve with additional dressing, if desired.

Like I said, this was an amazing meal - and I would expect nothing less from something on Isabelle's blog!  Feel like being adventurous?  Join the SRC today!


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