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Archive for January, 2012

These were the second batch of cookies we made on Sunday.  I’ve had my eye on a cranberry/chocolate combo cookie for a while.  After scouring the internet in search of the perfect cookie…I ended up utilizing a couple different recipes for the basics and adding/making changes to suit my needs.  So here it is, our version of an Oatmeal Cranberry Double Chocolate Cookie. Not too sweet, but enough chocolate to keep you happy!

Tip: You can use both kinds of chocolate as we did or use straight semi-sweet chocolate chips or just chopped white chocolate chunks. Choice is yours!

 

Oatmeal Cranberry Double Chocolate Cookies

2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
2/3 cups mixed chocolate (semi-sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chunks, chopped).

Preheat oven to 375F (190C)

Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in your eggs mixing well to combine and your vanilla. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Pour flour mixture into butter mixture one cup at a time, stirring well to combine.

Finally add in your dried cranberries and all the chocolate. Mix it up and drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven for 8-10 minutes rotating pans half way through. Cool on wire racks.  Pour yourself a glass of milk and dig in!

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A new cooking show came on the scene last Fall (2011) called The Chew. It is a daytime talk show that focuses on food/cooking and general lifestyle topics. The hosts are Iron Chefs Mario Batali and Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall and Daphne Oz (Dr. Oz’s daughter). These 5 have a great onscreen connection.  And I love this show…it gets Tivo/PVR’d daily.  Even hubby enjoys sitting down and watching the show with me because of the personalities of the hosts and how dang funny Carla & Clinton are!

This carrot salad recipe has been adapted from a recipe Michael Symon shared on The Chew. Chef Symon adds peanuts in his salad. I didn’t the first time I made it and I enjoyed it muchly.  Although the next time I make it I will try sliced almonds (healthier) instead.

 

Carrot & Mint Salad

3 or 4 medium sized carrots
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh mint leaves
5 green onions (scallions), sliced
1/2 cup olive oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
salt & pepper

You can either use a mandoline or food processor to slice your carrots as they should be uber thin.  Place sliced carrots in a bowl.

Pour your cumin seeds in a pan, place on stove and turn heat to medium high. Shake the pan a few times and watch closely as they will toast quickly. Once toasted take off heat and seat aside to cool slightly.

Tear your mint and toss it into the bowl with the carrots. Add the sliced green onions. And finally throw in your toasted cumin seeds. If you are adding nuts do it now.

Whisk together your olive oil and vinegar and add to vegetables in bowl. Season with salt & pepper and mix well to combine all flavours.

Serve with grilled meat or fish.

*My food photos aren’t the best at the moment – a work in progress!

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I am a huge Jamie Oliver Fan.  Started watching him when he was the Naked Chef and have followed him ever since.  I love his Easy Peasy style of cooking and how he makes everything look so simple. 

So happy was I when I received another one of his cookbooks for Christmas “Meals in Minutes”.  This book presents simple & complete meal solutions.  I have to admit initially when I looked at the recipes I felt a little Martha Stewart overwhelmed…her recipes can be quite complex.  But after getting all the ingredients together for a recipe I was inspired to make, I felt confident.  Time to cook.  With my trusty sous chef at my side (hubby) we hit that recipe running. The outcome, outstanding flavour, quick, easy.   Lettuce cups and Fiery Noodle Salad are the best way to eat these satays.

 

Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes

Chicken Skewers with Peanut Satay Sauce
 
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 small bunch of fresh cilantro
1 fresh red chile (seeds, ribs and stem removed)
1 clove garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 inch piece (1 tbsp) fresh ginger, peeled & rough chopped
1 lime (zested and then juiced)
olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 cup unsalted raw cashews (broken or smashed up a bit)
honey for drizzling
Head of romaine lettuce or butter lettuce, washed
wooden skewers (soaking in water)
Pam

Preheat your oven to broil and get your food processor ready.

Making the Satay Sauce…
In your food processor add your cilantro bunch (stalks to), red chile, garlic, peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger and lime zest & juice. Add a couple splashes (1/4 cup to start) of water and pulse until mixture becomes a spoonable paste keeping it thin. Divide evenly into two bowls drizzling only one with olive oil.  Put both bowls aside.

This is one tip I got from Jamie’s book and its fabulous. Line your 4 chicken breasts up on your cutting board, alternating ends and close together. Carefully push the skewers through all four breasts keeping each skewer about half an inch from the next one. Once all skewers in place slice between the skewers to give you 4 kabobs. Any stray pieces of chicken can be added to any of the kabobs. Place your kabobs in a Pam sprayed roasting pan. Take the bowl of satay sauce without the olive oil and rub/massage the flavour into the chicken. Drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and put in oven on top shelf under broiler for about 6 minutes per side (flip half way through) or until golden and cooked through. Our chicken took 12 minutes in our oven. Remove to plate and tent with foil until ready to serve.

Garnishes…
Heat a pan to medium heat and add your cashews. Toss them regularly and watch closely so they do not burn. You want to toast them until they are lightly brown.  After a few minutes turn your heat up and add a dollop of honey, mixing, tossing and stirring until golden brown. Spoon into a bowl.

Bring your chicken to the table.  Add a Fiery Noodle Salad. Bring a round of garnishes and some washed lettuce leaves. You are now ready to assemble and eat.

Garnishes
Chopped cilantro
fresh seeded red chile
Lime wedges
diced purple onion
bowl of satay sauce

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The kids and I made cookies today.  Two kinds actually.  It was a cold day in Calgary and so it seemed like a good day to stay inside and warm the house with the smell of baking cookies.

The first batch we did was thumbprint cookies but we turned it up a notch since the kids wanted to throw in some cinnamon.  Nice idea I thought.  They added the cinnamon and the cookies turned out super yummy.

Adapted from Everyday Food Magazine

Cinnamon Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter + 1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, large
1 tbsp vanilla extract
5 ounces semisweet bars (1 bar = 1 ounce)
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar, sanding sugar or crushed candy canes

Preheat oven to 350F, with racks in upper and lower thirds.

In a bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In a larger bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup each of butter and sugar on medium high until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla mixing well.  With mixer on low slowly add in flour mixture and beat to combine.

Place 1/2 cup sugar, sanding sugar or candy canes on a plate.  Roll your cookie dough into 1 inch balls and then roll them in sugar to coat.  Place balls 1 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake 4 minutes then remove sheets from oven and with a melon baller or under side of a round 1/2 teaspoon make an indentation in the centre of each cookie. 

Put cookies back in oven and bake until they are set but still look moist (another 4 minutes).  Let cool on wire racks.

In a microwaveable bowl microwave your chocolate and 1/4 cup butter in 10 second increments, stirring each time until melted.  Stir in peppermint extract.  Let cool until thickened.  At this point you can either spoon the chocolate into the cookie indentations or put the chocolate into a ziplock bag, snip hole in one corner and pipe chocolate into indentations.

Should last up to a week in an airtight container and makes approx. 4 dozen.

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A perfect grilled meat accompaniment. This fares perfectly with Chicken Skewers and Peanut Satay Sauce.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes

Fiery Noodle Salad

8 ounces dried chow mein noodles
1/2 medium red onion, peeled & rough chopped
1 fresh red chile (seeds, ribs and stem removed)
1 small bunch fresh cilantro
1 tbsp soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
olive oil
Food Processor

Put your noodles in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and a plate. Let them soak for about 5-7 minutes.

Place the red onion in the processor. Add the red chile, and cilantro. Pulse until finely chopped.  Pour into a large bowl. Add your soy sauce, 1-2 tbsp olive oil, lime juice, sesame oil and fish sauce. Mix well.

Drain your noodles, give a quick rinse with water, drain again then add to bowl. Stir well to combine flavours of sauce with noodles. Serve with Chicken Satays in Lettuce Leaf Wraps.

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