Sunday, December 20, 2009

creamy chicken corn chowder

I got this recipe from my friend Kim. It's her favorite soup, and it's now Danny's too!

My changes are in purple.

*Creamy Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

3 chicken breasts, diced (4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded)

1/2 cup chopped onions (I put mine in the food processor)

1-‐2 cloves minced garlic

3 Tbsp butter

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 cup hot water

1/2 to 1 tsp ground cumin

( 1TB smoked paprika, 1 TB Mexican chili powder)

2 cups half and half

2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

1 (14 3/4oz) cream style corn (1 bag frozen corn, thawed. I put 2/3rds of it in the food processor with a few TB of half & half)

1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies, undrained

1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce (pinch of red pepper flakes)

1 medium tomato, chopped (no tomato)

fresh cilantro (optional)

Tortilla strips

In a dutch over or large saucepan, brown chicken, onion, and garlic in butter until chicken is no longer pink. Dissolve the bouillon in hot water. Add to pan along with cumin; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add half and half, cheese, corn, chilies, and Tabasco sauce. Cook and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted. Stir in chopped tomato. Serve immediately. Garnish with cilantro if desired.


*This is the base recipe that I start from, but I always tweak it and do things differently every time.

The last few times that I have made it, I cheated and just used a Costco Chicken that I shredded and added to the soup base. Its super easy, less messy and really yummy, but I have made it both ways and it's always great.

I also add some cilantro into the soup at the end of the cooking instead of just as a garnish.

Also, I like a little bit thicker soup so I make a roux using 2Tbsp butter and 2Tbsp flour, microwave it, stir it up and add it to the soup to thicken it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Massaman Curry

(or Chicken with Peanut Curry Sauce)

2 T canola oil

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1” pieces

salt and pepper

vegetables of choice, fresh or frozen (I use carrots and red potatoes and I usually par-boil them just a bit)

Peanut Curry Sauce:

1.5 cups coconut milk ( I use light)

1/2 cup chicken broth (I use low-sodium)

1/3 cup peanut butter

2 T packed brown sugar

2 T lime juice

1 T red curry paste

Dry Roasted Peanuts * optional (you can easily tweak this sauce, if you like your curry spicier, sweeter, etc)

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to hot oil: cook about 5 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Add whatever vegetables you like. Cook and stir 3 minutes more.

Meanwhile, whisk together ingredients for Peanut Curry Sauce in a medium bowl. Pour into skillet over chicken and vegetables, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat; simmer for 10+ minutes or until vegetables are to desired tenderness.

Serve with Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice

1 cup white rice (I use calrose)

1 cup chicken broth (low sodium)

3/4 cup coconut milk

2 T lime juice

1/4 cup flaked coconut, toasted

You are basically just making white rice as directed, but using the above liquids rather than water. While the rice is cooking toast the coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until golden brown. If you have a rice cooker, it makes it easier... but the stovetop works fine too.

Add toasted coconut to the rice and fluff just before serving.


* I used regular coconut milk, and organic chicken broth. I also added some red pepper flakes to the sauce for a bit more spice.

I used yams instead of carrots because Danny does not like carrots- and I used red, golden and purple fingerling potatoes- and they were perfect!

Recipe from Kim's Kitchen.

and, I did NOT take that photo. I found it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

mayan chocolate cupcakes

Pre-heat oven to 350. Put liners in a cupcake pan.

2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
6 TB cocoa powder

Mix together in a small mixing bowl, then add 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, and set aside.

4 TB brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix together in a small bowl and set aside.

1 stick of butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar

Mix well, then add:

3 eggs

Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Then add:

1 TB vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream

Mix until well combined. Gently add:

3 cups of finely grated zucchini

Add flour mixture to other mixture, and beat on low until just combined.

Portion batter into cupcake liners, then sprinkle with topping mixture. Bake for 17 minutes. (cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.)

Cool on a rack.

Chocolate Cinnamon Frosting:

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar
1 TB vanilla
2 TB + 2 tsp milk

Mix butter, cocoa, and cinnamon together. Add 1 cup of sugar, mix well. Add half of the milk, mix well. Add the remaining cup of sugar, then the rest of the milk and the vanilla. Beat on high until light and fluffy.

Drizzle over cooled cupcakes. Keep in fridge, but they taste better at room temperature.

*I have been craving my favorite ice cream, Hagen Daaz Mayan Chocolate, but they don't make it anymore. I decided to try and make some cupcakes to satisfy my craving. Haven't quite embarked on that adventure yet. Until...

My friend Kim made Chocolate Zucchini Bread and brought it to work, and yesterday I dug into it. My first bite instantly reminded of my favorite ice cream, and I had an ah-ha! moment. This was it! So I adjusted the recipe to my liking, and made cupcakes!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

temple worthy tiramisu

Holy Grail of dessert? Definitely maybe.

Mascarpone Cheese:
2 8-oz pkg of cream cheese, at room temp
5 TB sour cream
1/c cup heavy whipping cream

Mix together in a medium mixing bowl until well blended. Set aside.

Zabaglione Cream:
5 egg yolks from 5 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
2-3 TB vanilla extract (sonoma syrup co if you have it)

In a small metal mixing bowl or the top part of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar on high until pale yellow and about the consistency of cake batter. (about 5-10 minutes)

Bring some water to a boil in a pan that the bowl will fit in, but not touch the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat down to a simmer, and place egg mixture in pan. Stir every few minutes until light mounds form, or the mixture has small bubbles in it. (about 5-10 minutes) (you are basically heating the eggs up enough to avoid any potential sickness causing bacteria or whatever.)

Stir in the vanilla. Let it cool for a minute, then cover and place in the fridge for 30 min.

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 TB sugar

In a small bowl, whip the cream and sugar together until whipped. Set aside.

Take the egg mixture, and the whipped cream, and add it to the cream cheese mixture. Cover and put in the fridge for an hour.

Vanilla Sauce:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy whip
3 TB vanilla extract

Put all ingredients into a small pan. Cook over medium heat until it boils. Let it boil for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat. SLOWLY pour in the vanilla. Since it has alcohol in it, the mixture will bubble rapidly when you add the vanilla. Stir well, and set aside.

The Layers:
2 7oz pkg of Italian ladyfingers. (you can get them at Italian shops, like Granatos and Caputos. Sometimes you can get them at the grocery store, but good luck. I went to 5 stores in 2 hours looking for them. I finally found them at the Dan's on 33rd and 20th. They are with the fancier cookies- like Pepperidge Farm. They are in a green package and the brand is Alessi. If you ask for help finding them, most of the staff will point you to the bakery- they have Lady Fingers that are smaller and way too soft. These are the American version, don't get them. They will get too soggy.)

Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. (It's tall enough to handle all the layers) If you don't have one, you can just use a 9x13 pan.

Cut some of the ladyfingers in half. Line the sides of the spring form pan with the cut part down
and the round part up. This will give you a nice, pretty edge to each slice. Then fit more ladyfingers along the bottom of the pan, securing the ones on the sides. I always have to cut them in half and then just cut them so you can fit as much as you can for the bottom layer.

Take a spoon and coat the ladyfingers with the vanilla sauce. Don't worry about using too much, you will have extra.

Take 1/3 of the cheese mixture and spoon it onto the cookies. Repeat twice more with another layer of ladyfingers, vanilla sauce, and cheese. By this time your pan should be brimming with cheese mixture. You can drizzle on some vanilla sauce if you like, or you can do that later when you serve it, slice by slice.

Put the tiramisu into the fridge for at least 6 hours or even better, overnight. This dessert ages in the fridge, and is good for about 5 days after you make it. It's fine beyond that, the bottom layer might be a little too soggy, but that has never stopped me from eating it anyway.

To serve, remove ring from pan. Slice the cake in half, rotate it and slice in half again. Then you can cut pieces as big or small as you like. I like to try and cut in between the ladyfingers, if you can. That makes cutting it way easier than trying to cut through the dryer outer cookies.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

frozen key lime pie

 It is super easy, and probably not the best dessert for you, (because of the cool whip) but it is creamy and tart and delish.

Frozen Key Lime Pie


One 8-ounce container nondairy whipped topping, thawed slightly
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
One 9-inch prepared graham cracker pie crust (I made my own)
Finely grated lime zest for sprinkling (I put 1 TB in the pie)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whipped topping, condensed milk, and lime juice until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the graham cracker crust and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.

2. Set in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the lime zest over the top before serving.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

vanilla bean cupcakes & vanilla bean buttercream

Yes, sometimes I use cake mixes. The recipe I use for cakes has you fold an egg white mixture into another mixture, and I find that using that recipe (or style of recipe) for cupcakes unsatisfactory- because they don't bake evenly, because they are smaller. Or maybe I just suck. Anyway, enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

1 pkg Betty Crocker Vanilla cake mix
1 stick of butter, at room temp
3 eggs
1 cup water
3 vanilla bean pods
1 TB vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 325. Line 24 standard muffin cups. Cut vanilla bean pods lengthwise and scrape out seeds, reserving half of them for the frosting. Discard pods. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, beat on low for 30 sec and then on medium for 2 minutes. Using a cookie scoop, (2 TB) portion out the batter into the liners using 2 scoops in each one. Bake for 17-21 minutes, or when inserted with a toothpick it comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting. Store in the fridge if not eaten right away.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks of butter, at room temp
1 TB light corn syrup
1 TB pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
the remaining vanilla beans from the cupcake recipe

Sift (or whisk) the sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with a mixer on high until light yellow, about 3 minutes. With the mixer still running, drizzle in the corn syrup, vanilla, and the vanilla bean seeds. Reduce the mixer to low and add half of the sugar and mix well. Add the other half and mix well. Using the mixer on low speed, blend in the cream. Return the mixer to high and whip until light and creamy (3 minutes).

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes with a pastry bag fitted with a big tip (your choice of shape) I like the star one for these guys.

Friday, July 10, 2009

ultimate ginger cookie

*see my notes below before baking!


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves (1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (1/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (3/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (1/4 cup butter, melted)
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped crystallized ginger (6 ounces) (1/4 cup)
  • Granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies
  • (1 TB vanilla crush- vanilla extract with vanilla beans)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. (I used silpat liners)

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. (I just used a whisk) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. (Add the vanilla) Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.

Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. (Cookie scoop is easier.) With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. (I didn't flatten them at all, they flattened while baking.) Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. (10 minutes is better. At 13 they were too hard for me. But I love soft cookies!)The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

*Food Network, Barefoot Contessa

I wanted something a bit spicier than my usual ginger cookie. I found this on the Food Network website. The comments in parentheses are what I did to change the recipe, because I am not that fond of cloves and nutmeg. And I lessened the crystallized ginger because I didn't want them to be THAT spicy! After they had cooled on the cooling rack, I melted some white chocolate chips and drizzled it on top of the cookies. Just a little bit of white chocolate makes them just perfect!

(I had a hard time finding the crystallized ginger- I finally found it in the spice aisle, but it was $11 for a tiny glass bottle. So I went to the health food section and found a 1 lb bag for $5. Deal!)

soft ginger cookies

3/4 c butter, at room temp
1 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered ginger
2 tsp baking soda
2 c flour
1 egg
2 TB corn syrup
2 TB molasses

Preheat oven to 350. Sift dry ingredients in a small bowl, set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Add egg, corn syrup, and molasses; mix on low until combined. With mixer running, slowly add the dry ingredients. Using a cookie scoop, portion out dough. Roll into balls, then roll in granulated sugar. Place on lined or nonstick baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. (this recipe cannot be doubled)

Monday, July 6, 2009

chocolate chip cookies

1 c butter (at room temp)
1/2 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
3 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I use half milk chocolate and half semi sweet)

Cream together butter and sugars in a medium mixing bowl. Add eggs, mix until incorporated. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, and then add soda and vanilla. Mix in the chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, place on non-stick or lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown on bottom. Makes 30 or so 3 inch cookies.

This recipe can also be made Vegan. Substitute the butter for vegan margarine, the eggs with egg replacer, and the chocolate chips for non-dairy chocolate chips.