Sunday, November 2, 2014
For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Andrea's blog, "Adventures in All Things Food." In actuality, I imagine that Andrea's life itself is full of adventures. Not only does she have three lovely children, but she's raising them on her a farm. That means that she picks her own food, fresher than any supermarket's, preserves it, and provides her family with delicious things to last them the whole winter. In addition, she loves the fact that she's able to also provide her children with "a memorable childhood." While I'm sure it's a lot of work, from the look of the family pictures on her blog, it looks like they also make the work a lot of fun.
After looking through all her wonderful recipes, I originally wanted to make her Chocolate Brioche. However, since I needed dinner more than I needed bread, I ended up making her Thai Grilled Chicken Patties. I'm a big fan of Asian food and they sounded so flavorful what with the inclusion of jalapenos, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Not to mention, Andrea added some grated zucchini and carrots which gives a nice boost of veggies to up the healthy factor. I did make several changes to the recipe. First, I used ground turkey instead of ground chicken since that's what was available in my supermarket. Then, I formed the mixture into meatballs instead of patties. Finally, since I don't have a grill, I just baked them in my oven.
I admit, that I did leave out the fish sauce in these since I just didn't have any and was reluctant to buy a bottle of it just for this recipe. However, these meatballs were still really flavorful and I loved how the jalapeno and ginger shone in these. Dipping them into sweet chili sauce as Andrea recommended was also a nice touch. After enjoying these for dinner one night, I gladly ate the rest as leftovers the following night.
Thanks Andrea for your delicious recipe!
Thai Inspired Chicken Meatballs (adapted from Adventures in All Things Food)
1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey meat
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. zucchini, grated and drained
1 carrot, grated
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. lime zest
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. fish sauce (I omitted this)
1 large egg
1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs
sweet chili dipping sauce
Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Form into meatballs and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 350F for 20-25 min. until cooked through. Serve with sweet chili dipping sauce.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Several years ago, I got myself a copy of the book, Baked Explorations. It had so many wonderful looking recipes in it, but for some reason or other, I never got around to making any of them. So, there it sat, on my bookshelf, gathering dust. Terrible, I know. Till one lovely Sunday I started looking for a new recipe to make. Somehow, the Internet didn't have what I was looking for and I decided that it was high time to go old school and open up a book.
Originally, I though that I'd make some cookies. But, then, my eyes landed on the recipe for scones. Not just any scones, rich, chocolatey, scones with Nutella inside AND out. Oh my gosh, did it ever look irresistible. That was it! I just had to have me some scones.
The recipe is actually quite interesting in that it's almost a process similar to making cinnamon rolls. You roll out the dough, spread the Nutella on it, then roll it up. But, instead of cutting it like you would rolls, you proceed to mash it out into a disk again, then bake. After letting them cool a bit, you then drizzle them with even more Nutella. Definitely do not skip out on this step because you can never have too much Nutella flavor.
Let me tell you, these scones were amazing! The inside was like a fudgy brownie. Then, you come upon a melty layer of Nutella in the middle of each bite. They were moist, decadent, and delectable. Perhaps a little indulgent for breakfast, but oh so worth it. I wouldn't mind trying these again and filling them with peanut butter or raspberry jam or even marshmallow fluff. Mmm, possibilities.
Nutella Scones (from Baked Explorations)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 large egg
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. Nutella, divided
Combine the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter until the mixture is coarse. Combine the cream with the egg and stir into the flour mixture until the dough just comes together. Lay the dough on a piece of parchment paper and gently pat it out into a 6x12" rectangle. Spread with 1/4 c. of the Nutella, then roll it up into a 6" long cylinder. Flatten it again into a disk and score it into 6 or 8 wedges. Bake on a parchment paper lined baking sheet at 375F for 18-20 minutes (mine took 24 minutes). Let cool, then drizzle with 1/4 c. warmed Nutella.
Monday, October 20, 2014
It's that whole adage . . . if I knew then what I know now. Well, what I know now is how to brown butter and I also know that browned butter makes everything, and I mean everything, so much better. The smell of it alone is like the most delightful perfume in your house. Intoxicating. They should make air fresheners and candles scented like browned butter. I'm totally serious.
But, going back to these bars. Browned butter immediately adds a depth of flavor that you simply won't get with regular melted butter. It's true that it takes more time to make, a little more patience, and a bit of skill, but you really won't regret it. Once you go browned, you'll never go back. So it was with these pumpkin pie bars. One taste of them and the difference was like night and day. Oooohhh, I was in pumpkin heaven. Correction - browned butter pumpkin heaven. I eagerly shared these bars with friends of mine and they were just as over the moon about them as I was. May I never forget this important lesson - browned butter = better!
Browned Butter Pumpkin Pie Bars (slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
2 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, browned
2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
For the top:
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper. Combine the dry ingredients and set aside. Brown the butter until it smells nutty (do not discard the browned bits). Let the browned butter cool slightly to room temperature. Combine the butter with the sugar, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Mix in the pumpkin. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.
Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs on it. Cool completely before cutting.