Thursday, June 26, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers-Parmesan Chicken

This weeks recipe was another hit. I've wanted to make this one for a while so I was glad when Megan at My Baking Adventures chose this recipe as this week's selection. The combination of the chicken, greens and vinaigrette makes for a nice summer meal. I will definitely use the vinaigrette recipe for my regular salads. I used arugula for the greens on top. The peppery bite of the arugula lends a nice compliment to the dish. I served mine with a lemon spaghetti but I think potatoes would also go well. Besides being delicious, another plus to this dish is that it was pretty simple to make. I did halve the recipe since it makes enough to serve 6. I imagine we will be having this dish again. Make sure to check out the sites of the other Barefoot Bloggers to see their completed dishes.

Parmesan Chicken
Source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style

4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Unsalted butter
Good olive oil
Salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry

1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette, recipe follows.

Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette. Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast. Serve with extra grated Parmesan.

Lemon Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Blueberry Muffins

I haven't made muffins in a while and missed having them for breakfast. Since blueberries are in season right now I couldn't think of a more perfect muffin to make. I used a simple recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. I really liked this recipe. I found with these the vanilla flavor was very prominent. This is a good basic go to blueberry muffin recipe, light and fluffy and not too sweet. These would be perfect for any morning or for filling a basket to take to a friend's house!

Blueberry Muffins
Source: Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Working over the bowl, toss blueberries in a fine sieve with about 1 1/2 teaspoons flour mixture to lightly coat; set aside the flour mixture and the blueberries.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat butter and 1 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in vanilla.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add reserved flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add milk, beating until just combined. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. If desired, in a small bowl, mix together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and nutmeg. Sprinkle sugar mixture on top of muffin batter.
  4. Bake, rotating pan halfway though, until muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins on their sides in their cups, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Homemade Pasta Take 2!

The first time I attempted homemade pasta I encountered quite a few difficulties. Subsequently, I took a technique class for my KA pasta attachment at WS and learned lots of helpful tips. I finally put those tips to use yesterday and had my second attempt at homemade pasta. This time I used Giada's basic pasta recipe. It couldn't have been simpler to make this dough and it rolled beautifully through my pasta maker. For this round of pasta I decided to make Giada's Corn Tortelli with Tarragon Butter. I'm not really a big corn fan but something about this recipe intrigued me and seemed like it would be perfect for summer. I was right, it was delicious! The sweet corn was a wonderful juxtaposition to the tangy goat cheese. I used fresh basil instead of tarragon and I liked the combination. Next time, I would consider adding some cherry tomatoes for a little color! I'm now hooked on fresh pasta. I can't wait to make more. First, I'm off to WS to get a pasta drying rack, a most necessary accessory for this project!

Corn Tortelli with Tarragon Butter
As Adapted from Everyday Pasta by Giada de Laurentis

Corn Tortelli:
1 recipe fresh pasta, recipe follows
1/4 cup cornmeal, for storing pasta
2 (14.75-ounce) cans creamed corn, drained well (about 1 1/2 cups total)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup goat cheese (2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves (I used basil)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, for egg wash

Special equipment: pasta roller, scalloped pasta cutter

Tarragon Butter:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1/3 cup corn (canned or fresh)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves (I used basil)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan, for garnish

To make the Corn Tortelli: Begin by rolling out the pasta dough. Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and set aside. Cut a piece of the dough off the ball and shape into a rectangle about the size of a deck of cards. Cover the remaining dough with plastic wrap until you are ready to use it. Roll the rectangle of dough through the widest setting of the pasta machine a few times until it is smooth. Then roll it through the remaining settings to the thinnest setting. Sprinkle the sheet lightly with cornmeal, gently fold, place on the cornmeal-lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Continue rolling out the rest of the pasta.

Next, in a medium bowl mix together the drained creamed corn, mascarpone cheese, goat cheese, tarragon, and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and set aside.

To form the tortelli, place a sheet of pasta on a dry work surface. Using a pastry brush dipped in the egg wash, brush the entire sheet of fresh pasta. Place rounded teaspoons (about 1 ounce) of the corn filling on the pasta sheet, about 2 inches apart. Carefully place another sheet of pasta over the mounds, smoothing out any air pockets and firmly sealing the pasta around the filling. Using a scalloped pasta cutter (or a sharp knife) cut the pasta into small squares. Transfer the Tortelli to the cornmeal-lined baking sheet. Continue forming the remaining tortelli.

To make the Tarragon Butter: In a medium bowl, gently mix together all the ingredients.

To serve, place the Tarragon Butter in a large serving bowl. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until they float, about 2 minutes. Drain pasta, using a large mesh strainer or slotted spoon, into the bowl with the Tarragon Butter. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately.

Fresh Pasta:
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place the flour in a food processor. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the salt and olive oil to the eggs and stir to combine. Add the egg mixture to the food processor. Pulse to combine the ingredients, scraping down the sides once or twice. Continue, with the machine running, until the liquid is evenly distributed, about 1 minute. The dough should stick together if pinched between your fingers. The dough will be cornmeal-yellow in color. Some of the dough will be sticking together, but it will not form a single ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press the dough into a ball and knead gently until the dough is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough to your desired shape.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (about 22 ounces)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Easy Summer Egg Salad Sandwich

I realize I have been neglecting my poor blog this week. Last week was pretty hectic and we ate out a few times so I didn't have anything exciting to post. This week I have several meals planned that hopefully will be blog worthy! Last night I wanted to do a sandwich and with the current tomato issues, BLT's were out. I'm afraid this is going to be the summer of no tomatoes. Inspired by this month's issues of Martha Stewart Living, I decided to do an egg salad sandwich. Instead of the recipe in the magazine, I pulled one from Martha's website. We really enjoyed this recipe. It was a lot different than my usual recipe. I liked the flavor combinations and the simplicity of the dish. I would have never thought to use Old Bay in egg salad, as its more traditionally used to season seafood dishes. I served this on a Spelt Bread I purchased at Whole Foods. When toasted it comes out like a sour dough. Perfect for an egg salad sandwich. I also added some arugula leaves. To accompany this meal, we had a bowl of tomato soup. Note, the recipe only makes enough for one so you have to adjust accordingly.

Southern Egg Salad
Source: Martha Stewart

Serves 1

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish, or chopped pickle
  • 1/8 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 slices dark bread, such as multigrain or pumpernickel carrot sticks, for serving (optional)
  1. Place eggs in a small saucepan, and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring water to a boil; immediately remove from heat, and cover. Let stand 12 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, shallot, relish, and Old Bay Seasoning. Peel eggs; coarsely chop, and fold into mayonnaise mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Top one slice of bread with egg salad and remaining slice of bread. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic and refrigerate, up to overnight. Serve with carrot sticks, if desired.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cherry Pies

I served this as the finale to our Father's Day feast! Admittedly, I am not a pie baker. Something about working with pie crust scares me. I love making tarts. Same concept I know, but somehow I have better luck. I grew up in a family of cake bakers so I never really had any experience making homemade pies. When my husband said he would like a pie for dessert on Father's Day I wanted to find a really great one to make him. After looking at several pie recipes, I settled on one from Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America. I had major crust issues and performed many miracles on this crust. I was delighted when I remembered the small pie kit my Mother-in-Law gave me and was able to use the min-star cutter to cover a multitude of sins! I think the end result was a pretty nice looking pie. The crust was tender and flaky and the filling had just the right sweetness. The pie was a huge hit. We didn't have any left. I liked the crust for this, but I think I will stick with my ATK recipe for now. Something about adding a little vodka to the dough really does great things for the crust and that recipe is much easier to work with.

Cherry Pie Filling
Recipe Source: Baking at Home with the CIA

2 tbsp tapioca pearls
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 pound fresh, thawed frozen, jarred or canned sour cherries, juice reserved
if using jarred or canned
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp unsalted butter

To make the filling, blend the tapioca and cornstarch with about 1/4 cup water. (Add just enough water for a a thick soupy consistency). Set aside.

Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a saucepan. Add 1 cup reserved cherry juice or water and the lemon juice. bring to a boil over high heat. Gradually ad the tapioca mixture while whisking constantly, and return to a boil. Add the cherries and simmer for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Transfer the filling to the refrigerator until completely chilled, about 30 minutes; stir the filling occasionally to cool more quickly.

Italian Grill

We were were really looking forward to having a family get together at our house for Father's Day. We were even more excited to try out our new grill. When planning the menu, I wanted something a little fancier than burgers. I was flipping through Giada's Family Dinners cookbook and instantly new I had found my menu. True to form these recipes were great. The meal was a great combination of the best summer flavors. We had a wonderful dinner with family and everyone left very full! A great day all in all. As an added bonus, I will definitely be making all of these recipes again.

This bread was simple to prepare. I purchased a really nice loaf of Ciabatta at a local market. Rubbing the warm bread with the fresh garlic gives it a great flavor. This would be a great accompaniment to any meal.

Grilled Bread

I served this dish as a side dish but it would be great as an appetizer or even a main dish. I substituted canned tomatoes for the fresh due to the current issues with fresh tomatoes. If you use canned just rinse them and drain well.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

I wasn't sure how flavorful this dish was going to be, but it was a show stopper. It also couldn't be easier to make. I prepped the gremolata earlier in the day to allow the flavors to marinate more. The herbs and lemon really give a nice fresh flavor to the chicken and an added plus it makes a nice presentation.

Grilled Chicken with Gremolata

Source: Giada's Family Dinners

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon olive oil

4 boneless chicken breasts halves

salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, combine the parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, oregano, and garlic. This is the gremolata, set it aside.

Rub olive oil over both sides of the chicken, season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high grill for about 5 minutes per side. ( Serve with the gremolata over the top.

Artichoke Rice Pilaf

I used a box of Near East Rice Pilaf and added chopped canned artichokes.

Romaine Hearts
Pine Nuts
Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grilled Chicken and Peaches

I wanted something simple to compliment my Pasta Pesto and Peas. I thought grilled chicken would pair nicely. The recipe below is my own creation and it really turned out well. I found the grilled peaches recipe on the Food Network Site. We really liked the flavor of the grilled peaches, I wasn't crazy about the texture. I would make them again, only next time I would use a firmer peach. I used Texas peaches which are currently in season. They are smaller and softer and didn't hold up as well to the grilling. I served mine as a side, but as the recipe suggests you can also use this as a dessert.

Here are the ingredients I used to season my chicken:

Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
Garlic Powder
Dried Basil
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Orange Pepper (Sold at Harry and Davids)

Grilled Peaches
Source: Food NetworkSuggested toppings: toasted sliced almonds 4 ripe medium peaches
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup dark brown sugar

Cut the peaches in half and remove the pit. Slice each half in half and toss them in a bowl with the vanilla extract, almond extract, and brown sugar. Set aside for 15 minutes while you preheat a grill with a medium-high heat. Grill skin side down until skin is slightly charred, about 3 minutes. Turn and grill on the other 2 sides until you get nice grill marks, about 1 minute on each side.

Divide the peaches among 4 bowls and serve with the frozen yogurt and toasted almonds, if desired.

Copyright (c) 2004 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved.

Pasta, Pesto and Peas

Its that time again! Time for another entry for Barefoot Bloggers. This week's recipe was not the most exciting pick for me, only by virtue of the fact that I have made it so many times! Its a great recipe and I've had repeat requests for this one. This may have been the first Ina recipe I ever tried. One of the things I like most about this recipe is how versatile it is. Tonight I made the homemade pesto, but I have to be honest I've used prepared pesto and it tasted just as good. You can pretty much eyeball the ingredients to this recipe and change it up to suit your tastes. If you follow the original recipe, it makes 12 servings so if your just feeding two you need to adjust accordingly or you will have one big bowl of pasta. This recipe is a perfect summer pick. It works well for picnics and bbqs or just as part of a simple summer meal. Tonight, I served it for dinner with grilled chicken. Thanks to Elizabeth at Ugg Smell Food for picking this week's recipe. It is one of my favorites! Don't forget to check and see how the other Barefoot Bloggers fared with this week's challenge. The group is up to 70 bloggers now! Also, watch for our next recipe, Parmesan Chicken on June 26th.

Here is a link to the original recipe: Pasta, Pesto and Peas

Oatmeal Raisin Refrigerator Cookies

I mentioned in my last post how excited I was about my new Bob's Red Mill Baking Book. The first recipe I chose to make from this book was the Oatmeal-Raisin Refrigerator Cookies. I promise, I have made more than cookies in the past few weeks! I intended to blog about a new crock pot recipe I was trying yesterday, but it ended in disaster. Somehow my crock pot lid slipped out of my hand and dropped back into the pot. The lid broke and I got glass in my crock pot. Not a happy cooking moment. On the bright side I will either be able to replace my lid or I can get the new All Clad crock pot I have been eying! Back to the cookies, these are an overnight cookie so they take some advance planning. I made a few changes to the recipe, I omitted the walnuts and I substituted agave syrup for the fructose. I also used a thicker oat that was whole grain. Overall taste wise I really liked these cookies. I thought they could use a bit more sugar though. Next time, I will either try using the sugar or a combination of agave and sugar.

Oatmeal Raisin Refrigerator Cookies
Source: Bob's Red Mill Baking Book

Makes Approximately 32 Cookies

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup fructose or 1 1/4 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cup agave)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped (omitted)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Dark Double Chocolate Cookies

I'm back!! Not quite full speed yet but hungry enough to make a batch of cookies. This past week of not eating gave me lots of time to think about all the recipes I want to try! Our poor grill was only used a few times and it has been sitting outside rather lonely. As I sat enjoying another bowl of soup and pudding, I really started craving cookies. I recently got Bob's Red Mill Cookbook and am excited to start using some different flours and do more whole wheat baking. However, today our pantry is a little sparse since I haven't been grocery shopping so a good old fashioned cookie is what was called for. I saw this recipe on the Baking Bites web page this afternoon and immediately knew it was exactly what I was looking for. These were a big hit in my house. Warning, you will need a tall glass of milk with these because they are very chocolaty. I added the optional espresso powder. I really like the combination of espresso and chocolate. The recipe didn't say when to add the espresso powder, so I opted to add it to the wet ingredients. I wanted to make sure it would combine and not be gritty in the mixture. It worked well. The only other change I made was to use Kosher salt in place of the table salt. It adds a bit more taste to the cookie and makes it a little more sophisticated.

Dark Double Chocolate Cookies

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp instant espresso powder (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips (I used organic)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg, followed by vanilla extract. Gradually, with the mixer on low speed, blend in the flour mixture, stopping when no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in chocolate chips.
Place rounded tablespoons of dough (about 1-inch balls) onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies begin to crack on the top.
Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tagged Again

Since I'm recovering from oral surgery, I can't really eat anything exciting. Thus, you may have noticed the lack of blog updates! I was recently tagged by both Bethany and HornedFroggy. Both girls have great blogs that are definitely worth checking out. I thought I would respond to their tag so their would be some update on this blog. I am also now coherent enough to do so! I started eating solid food again today so I'm hoping blog updates will resume next week!

What was I doing ten years ago?
I was in my second year of law school. Being a 2L was much improved from being a lowly 1L! I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of law school and can't wait to see many of my friends at our ten year reunion, which is only 2 years away!

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today:
1. Eat solid foods-accomplished!
2. Watch Top Chef
3 Catch up on Emails
4. Water my poor plants who have been neglected since my oral surgery
5. Continue reading my ever growing pile of magazines

5 Snacks I enjoy:
1. Stonyfield Farms Vanilla Truffle Yogurt
2. Cheese and Crackers
3. Brownies
4. Sour Jelly Bellys
5. Fresh Avocado with Olive Oil and Salt and Pepper

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Buy several houses all over the world including one in St. John, USVI;
2. Travel;
3. Enroll in Culinary School;
4. Continue working with non-profits and possibly start my own;
5. Go to the spa everyday.

Places I have lived:
In order: Miami Florida, Greensboro, North Carolina, Boston, Massachusetts, Lubbock, Texas, Dallas, Texas

Jobs I have had:
1. Babysitter

2. McDonald's Cashier-I worked their when I was 15 because one of my friends talked me into it. I lasted about a month. I quit when they asked me to take out the trash. That wasn't in my job description! I think the lawyer in me was already starting to develop.

3. Burlington Coat Factory-worked in the Woman's Clothing Department.

4. Target-I worked in several positions through high school and college. My favorite was being the store operator!

5. Intern for a Federal Judge

6. Litigation Attorney-I've been practicing for 8 years! Time really flies. I have won every case I have tried! I love the area I work in, I get to learn about so many interesting things I would never otherwise have a chance to know about. My firm is really great too. Thats hard to find in this business.

7. Mom-by far the hardest of all the jobs but most rewarding! Can't beat hanging out with your favorite little one on a warm spring day at the zoo!