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Monday
Jul182011

Minted watermelon popsicles

This is Week #28 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

When I was in middle school, I can remember taking full advantage of the fruit trees we had in our yard (I haven't always lived in Minnesota). We had quite the selection. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangerines, tangelos. In addition to eating and drinking large quantities of fruit, I would often do things like put together an elaborate fruit juice stand or come up with a creative multi-fruit popsicle. I miss those fruit trees! Now all I have in my yard is snow for half the year and grass for the other half. 

When this recipe popped up, I was taken back to those days of abundant fruit. I felt like a kid again as I filled up the ice cube trays and eagerly waited for the popsicles to freeze.  

In a blender or food processor, add:

1 1/2 pounds seedless watermelon without the rind, cut into 1-inch dice (about 4 cups)

2 tablespoons sugar

Puree until smooth.

Stir in:

1/4 cup mint leaves, minced

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

Pinch of salt

Pour the puree into 8 popsicle molds or 2 standard ice cube trays.

Freeze until hard, about three hours. Insert popsicle sticks after an hour and a half of freezing.

I had no idea that watermelon and mint were such a great duo! If our fruit tree haven would have included a garden with watermelons, I may have already known about this.

These popsicles are a refreshingly delicious treat in this heavy, humid heat we are experiencing right now. Which, by the way, I refuse to complain about. Remember that pile of snow? I will never complain about heat again, and I'm standing by that! Pant pant..

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
Jul132011

Chipotle-mango bbq chicken

This week marks the first week in ages that I have felt like I could possibly still be a human being. Up until very recently, I've been going through the motions and doing only what absolutely needs to be accomplished. Or, accomplishing tasks that don't need to be accomplished, but forcing myself to do them. A lot has been piling up, both in my mind and on my list of tasks. A few days ago I caught myself thinking about completing tasks that were above and beyond the "bare minimum" level, and I squealed with delight. Is normalcy on the horizon? Could it be? Will I finally have the desire to fulfill the items on my to-do list, instead of forcing myself to do them? It makes me sad that I have lost, in a sense, half of my summer. But I refuse to dwell, and I will enjoy what is left.

Summery meals like this one are now fun to pull together. There is something to be said for enjoying summer. And food. And life.

I have been cooking with mangos more than usual lately. Perhaps I have been subconsciously wishing myself to a location where mangos are grown? At any rate, mangos are delicious. I treat every piece of mango flesh with utmost care. I don't waste a single morsel of the juicy fruit.

I had grilling, summer and mangos on the brain, and came across this delicious grilled chicken recipe from Guy Fieri. We added a quick salad to our plates, along with buttery grilled potatoes, and my desires were fulfilled.

To make the chicken..

Add the following ingredients to a food processor:

1 1/2 cups mango, peeled, pitted and roughly chopped

3/4 cup fresh cilantro (stems and all, not chopped)

2 chipotle peppers in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Puree until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Add 2 pounds of chicken thighs and drumsticks (bone-in and skin on) to a resealable plastic bag, along with half of the mango mixture. Massage to coat the chicken with the sauce. Refrigerate at least 6 hours to marinate.

Put the other half of the mango mixture into a small saucepan and simmer over low heat until thick, stirring often, about 15 minutes.

Set some of the simmered chipotle-mango sauce aside to serve on the side, and baste the chicken every few minutes with the rest of the sauce.

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and brush with canola oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade and put it on the grill.

Grill the chicken, turning and basting every 5 minutes until cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the reserved mango sauce.

I love you, summer. And more than that, I love that I am finally loving you.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Sunday
Jul102011

Mixed-berry Dutch baby

This is Week #27 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

I was reluctant to turn on the oven for this recipe. It is finally hot outside, the kind of weather I adore, but I don't like using the oven unless necessary in these temps. Buuuuut I really wanted to make it. Our fridge is bursting with berries, and I was also very curious about the German pancake, also known as the Dutch Baby. I made this for myself for lunch, then dessert, then a snack, then dinner, but this would be an amazing recipe to make for a brunch. It has a definite breakfast-pancake flavor, but also would serve well as a light dessert.

I found myself stationed in front of the fridge, door open, about a dozen times that same day, cutting just one more slice to nibble on.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over moderate heat.

In a medium bowl, add:

3 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/3 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

Whisk until combined.

Add:

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup milk

Whisk until the batter is completely smooth.

Gently stir 1 cup each of raspberries and blackberries (have another 1 cup of each on hand to serve it with) into the pancake batter.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the cast-iron skillet and add the berry pancake batter, gently spreading the fruit in the batter so that it is evenly distributed. 

Bake the Dutch Baby in the center of the preheated oven for about 22 minutes (mine took more like 30-33 minutes), or until the edge is browned and puffed and the center of the pancake is lightly browned in spots. Use a fine-mesh sieve to dust the Dutch Baby with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Cut into wedges and serve immediately, with the remaining fresh raspberries and blackberries.

I'm troubled about the fact that I have lived almost 36 years of my life not having experienced a Dutch Baby. This was delicious! I am now enlightened in the realm of German pancakes.

And this was totally worth turning on the oven in this summer heat.

Mixed-Berry Dutch Baby

This is one of the most delicious breakfast recipes I've EVER eaten. It is soooo good! (source: Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010)

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Jul 10, 2011

Serves: 6-8

Total time: 35 min

Mixed-Berry Dutch Baby

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over moderate heat. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the grated lemon zest, granulated sugar and salt until combined. Add the flour and milk and whisk until the batter is completely smooth. Gently stir 1 cup each of the fresh raspberries and blackberries into the pancake batter.
  2. Melt the butter in the cast-iron skillet and add the berry pancake batter, gently spreading the fruit in the batter so that it is evenly distributed. Bake the Dutch Baby in the center of the oven for about 22 minutes, until the edge is browned and puffed and the center of the pancake is lightly browned in spots. Transfer the skillet to a trivet and use a fine-mesh sieve to dust the Dutch Baby with confectioners’ sugar. Cut the pancake into wedges and serve immediately, with the remaining fresh raspberries and blackberries.

 

 

Thursday
Jul072011

Fudgy rocky road bars

My husband and I had some (fun, sweet, awesome) friends over the other night. We ate dinner outside, played the Wii (my husband has mad hula-hooping skills), acted silly and thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. I wish every Tuesday night was that much fun!

We had figured out the menu for the evening ahead of time, drinks included, but I had to come up with an easy dessert at the last minute. You can't have good friends over and not enjoy a dessert together, right? I threw these fudgy rocky road bars together, and they were delicious! They tasted perfect after chicken and potatoes and a mai tai. Or two.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with graham crackers, breaking them to fit if necessary.

Bake in the preheated oven until the crackers are lightly toasted and fragrant, about 8 minutes. By the way, have you ever baked graham crackers in the oven? I urge you to make this recipe for the sole purpose of doing this. "Fragrant" does not adequately describe the scent that floated from my oven. I found myself wanting to eat my oven and the air surrounding it.

Sprinkle the deliciously-fragrant baked graham crackers with 1 1/2 cups toasted and coarsely chopped almonds.

Top that with a few big dollups of marshmallow topping (1 cup total).

In a small saucepan, combine:

1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.

Pour the chocolate over the marshmallow topping. Swirl together with a thin-bladed knife.

Refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until your guests are ready to consume dessert.

Cut into squares and serve! Eat! Enjoy! Yum!

Fudgy Rocky Road Bars

This is a totally delicious snack and ready in 25 minutes! (source: Food Everyday: Martha Stewart)

Serves: 18

Total time: 25 min, plus chilling

Fudgy Rocky Road Bars

Ingredients:

  • 8 graham crackers
  • 1 1/2 cups almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup marshmallow topping
  • 12-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 14-oz. can condensed milk
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with graham crackers, breaking them to fit if necessary. Bake until crackers are lightly toasted and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with almonds and dollop with marshmallow topping.
  2. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, combine chocolate chips and condensed milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Pour chocolate mixture over marshmallow topping; working quickly, swirl together with a thin-bladed knife. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Cut into 18 squares. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped in plastic, up to 2 days.

 

 

Sunday
Jul032011

Mom's nutty granola

This is Week #26 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

I talk to my husband about almost everything I make in the kitchen. "Guess what?! I'm making fruity ice cubes tonight!" He doesn't make me feel weird for being an obsessed foodie. Ok, sometimes he makes fun of my incessant cookbook-perusing, but it's all in good fun. A few days ago I made this granola recipe and I hadn't had a chance to tell him about it. The following morning he saw it on the counter and ate a big helping. It was cute how pleasantly surprised he was about finding it. I will admit that I'm not the hugest granola eater myself, but this stuff is good. Really really good. It is packed with flavor and nuts. I have many ideas for it in the very near future.

My first idea was to put it into a fruit parfait, which I will write more about in another post. My husband ate it as cereal. And we have also been snacking on it.

It is super easy to throw together.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss together:

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts

1/2 cup unsalted roasted almonds

1/2 cup unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds (I used walnuts in place of these)

1/2 cup unsalted roasted sunflower seeds

1/4 cup wheat germ

In a small bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 tablespoon of hot water.

Whisk in:

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Stir the liquid into the nuts and coat thoroughly. Spread the mixutre onto a large, rimmed baking sheet.

Bake the granola in the center of the oven for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until it is nearly dry. Turn off the oven and prop the door open halfway. Let the granola cool in the oven, stirring often.

Toss the granola with:

1/2 cup raisins

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Enjoy!

Click here for a printable recipe!