Monday, January 31, 2011

Spicy Hummus

This recipe makes a great appetizer or anytime snack. In fact, it’s a fantastic dish to take to a block party – it’s always a hit. Serve with pita wedges, crackers or crudités.

Spicy Hummus
Serves 4

1 (14.5 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
2 rounded tablespoons tahini sesame paste, found in both dairy and dry specialty foods sections
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
1 teaspoon (1/3 palm full) ground cumin
1 teaspoon (1/3 palm full) ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Coarse salt
½ lemon, juiced
Pita breads, grilled and cut into wedges for dipping

Combine beans, tahini, oil (as needed to make a smooth, creamy consistency), pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, garlic, salt, and lemon juice in food processor bowl and grind into a smooth paste. Transfer to a small dip dish and surround spread with warm pita wedges

P.S. Come back tomorrow for my herb oil-grilled flatbread recipe. Perfect with this spicy hummus.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mexican Layer Dip

Super Bowl Sunday is about football… and food! Just one more week before the Big Game! Try this Mexican Layer Dip at your next party. It’s a flavor explosion of beans, guacamole, tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water. This is such a pretty dish you won’t want your guests to dig into this plate of deliciousness. But they won’t be sorry (and neither will you!). Enjoy!

Mexican Layer Dip
Serves 8

1 can refried beans
Tabasco sauce, to taste
1 can diced green chilies
Ground cumin, to taste
¾ cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Guacamole
¾ cups Monterey Jack Cheese
1 can Black Olives
1 cup Pico De Gallo

Begin by throwing the refried beans into a small pan over medium-low heat. Add several dashes of Tabasco sauce and a small can of (undrained) diced green chilies. Stir well. Next, sprinkle a little bit of ground Cumin.

Spread the beans on the bottom of a glass bowl or high-sided dish. Over this sprinkle the sharp cheddar. Next, plop your sour cream. And spread it into a single layer, being careful not to disturb the cheese underneath.

The next layer is the guacamole. Spread it over the sour cream. Follow this with a layer of Monterey Jack Cheese and a nice sprinkling of chopped black olives.

Lastly, place a generous layer of Pico de Gallo. You can also, if you have the gumption for it, sprinkle some diced jalapenos over top.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Smoked Gouda-Chorizo Jalapeno Poppers

These are not your typical jalapeno poppers. They are way better! Stuffed with chorizo and smoked Gouda you will never look back again. Make this for your next potluck, tailgate party or family gathering and watch them disappear before your eyes!

Smoked Gouda-Chorizo Jalapeno Poppers
Makes 24 jalapeno poppers

2 links Mexican chorizo, casings removed
½ pound smoked gouda, shredded
1 egg
½ cup cream cheese
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon hot sauce (recommended: Frank's Red Hot)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 large jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and halved

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brown chorizo in a skillet over medium-high heat, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place into a large mixing bowl. Add the cheese, egg, cream cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, and salt and pepper, to taste. Press into jalapeno halves and assemble on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Barbecue Potato Skins

OMG! You need to make these barbecue potato skins. I would eat these every night if I could (and I’m not even a big potato fan). It will definitely fill your potato skin and pulled pork cravings. They are so awesome it will be hard to keep your guests from devouring these. Go ahead and make them ahead of time and bring them to your next tailgating party.

Barbecue Potato Skins
Yields 3 servings

3 russet potatoes, scrubbed
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ cup Cheddar
½ cup barbecue sauce, warm
½ pound pulled pork
Sour cream, for topping
2 tablespoons snipped chives, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake potatoes on middle rack until fork tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.

Bake 4 strips of bacon on a small sheet pan in the oven for 15 minutes. Crumble bacon when it's cooled.

Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise, and spoon out the flesh, leaving a half inch shell.

Melt the butter in saucepan and add minced garlic. Brush potatoes with the butter and garlic mixture. Flip over and butter the bottoms.

Place potatoes back in oven and cook until crisp, about 4 to 4 1/2 minutes on each side and remove from oven.

Divide the cheese, barbecue sauce and pulled pork among the potatoes. Top potato skins with sour cream, crumbled bacon and chives for garnish.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pepperoni Pretzels

I love pretzels hot from the oven. And I love me some pepperoni. So, color me happy when I stumbled upon this recipe combining my two favorite ingredients! This is a great game day snack. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and whip up a batch of these for the Big Game between the Packers and the Steelers.

Pepperoni Pretzels
Yields 28 small pretzels

1 ½ tablespoons dry active yeast
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
2 cups shredded mozzarella
½ cup shredded parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/3 cups diced pepperoni
Coarse salt

Mix 1 ½ cups warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F), the yeast and agave in a bowl. Set aside 5 minutes.

In a food processor fitted with the dough blade, pulse the whole-wheat flour, 2 cups all-purpose flour and the sea salt. Add 1 egg and the yeast mixture and pulse in 10-second intervals until the dough comes together, about 3 pulses. Turn out onto a floured board. Knead 10 to 12 times, adding up to 3/4 cup more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut the dough into 4 equal portions; cover with a clean towel.

On a floured board, roll out one piece of dough into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick, with a shorter side facing you. Sprinkle ½ cup mozzarella across the middle of the dough; fold the bottom third of the dough over the cheese, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons parmesan and 1/3 cup pepperoni over the folded part. Fold the top third of the dough over the parmesan and pepperoni. Reroll the dough into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle. Cut into seven 11-by-2-inch strips.

One at a time, pinch the cut long edges of each strip together and roll into a 12-inch rope with your hands. Transfer the rope to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Grab the ends and bring them toward each other, forming a U shape, then cross the left end over the right end to make a pretzel shape. Cross the left end over the right again to make a twist in the middle.

Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of dough and the remaining cheese, spacing the pretzels 3 inches apart. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes; preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Beat the remaining egg in a bowl. Brush the pretzels with the egg; sprinkle with parmesan and coarse salt. Bake until browned, 16 to 18 minutes (you may have to turn down the heat to 425 if the pretzels begin to burn. If that’s the case, just check on the pretzels periodically to ensure they are cooking thoroughly).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mole Nachos

I love mole sauce but it has soooooooo many ingredients and it takes an inordinate amount of time to prepare. Lucky for me (and you!), this mole recipe has half the ingredients of a traditional recipe and takes half the time! And believe me, these nachos are far better than those covered with cheese sauce. Which begs the question – what is cheese sauce?

Mole Nachos
Serves 6

5 dried pasilla Chile peppers
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 8-to-10-ounce bag tortilla chips
1 3.1-ounce disk Mexican chocolate, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
½ to 1 cup grated Oaxaca cheese or Monterey jack cheese
2 to 4 tablespoons Mexican crema or sour cream
2 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the broiler. Stem and seed the Chile peppers and soak in warm water until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and add the chiles, chicken broth, peanut butter, sugar and oregano. Coarsely crumble 1/4 cup tortilla chips, add to the blender and puree until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan and simmer, stirring, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chocolate until melted. Season the mole with salt and pepper.
Place the remaining tortilla chips in a baking dish. Pour about 2 cups mole on top (reserve the rest for dipping); sprinkle with the cheese. Broil until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Top with the crema and cilantro.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I absolutely love guacamole. I mean what’s not to like – avocado, garlic, tomatoes. Mmm… mmm… mmm… Because I like things spicy, I’ve kicked it up a notch. This recipe is easy peas-y and oh-so-tasty. Bon appétit!

Yields 1 batch

3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ medium onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

If you love buffalo chicken wings how about making them as sliders for a change? I can’t wait to have my friends over for the big game. I predict it’ll be a showdown between the Packers and the Steelers. This recipe will have your guests doing the Lambeau Leap. Go Pack!

Buffalo Chicken Sliders
Serves 4 to 6

Blue Cheese Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons white vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Peanut oil, for frying
3 eggs
½ cup hot sauce
½ pound boneless chicken breasts tenders, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
Pinch salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 cups self-rising flour
12 slider buns
12 slices tomato, optional
12 lettuce leaves, optional

In a medium bowl combine the mayonnaise, blue cheese, celery, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a deep-fryer or heavy-bottomed pot, heat enough peanut oil to come halfway up the sides of the pot, to 350 degrees.
In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs with the hot sauce. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and then coat in flour. Fry the chicken for 6 to 8 minutes.

Toss the chicken into the blue cheese sauce. Put 1 piece of chicken on the bottom half of each bun. Top with tomato and lettuce, if desired. Cover with the bun tops and serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Asian Meatball Subs with Hoisin Mayonnaise

Forget ordering Subway or Port of Subs for the Big Game. How about whipping up these subs? Totally original and utterly delicious your guests will ask for this recipe. The meatballs are packed with flavor (ginger and garlic) and the hoisin mayonnaise will blow your socks off!

Asian Meatball Subs with Hoisin Mayonnaise
Serves 4

1 slice white sandwich bread
1 ½ tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon soy sauce
5 scallions, white and green parts separated
1 ¼ pounds ground pork
3 large cloves garlic, finely grated
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled ginger (about a 2-inch piece)
1/3 cup water chestnuts, drained, rinsed and chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 to 4 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup bean sprouts
4 7-inch-long pieces baguette, split open

Tear the sandwich bread into small pieces, and then toss with the milk and soy sauce in a large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mince the scallion whites. Cut the scallion greens into thin 2-inch-long strands. Put the strands in a bowl of ice water and refrigerate while you make the meatballs.

Add the scallion whites, pork, garlic, ginger, water chestnuts, egg, cilantro, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the bowl with the bread; mix until combined. Gently form into 16 golf ball-size meatballs. Put the meatballs on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 to 4 hours.

Stir the hoisin sauce, mayonnaise, 11/2 tablespoons lime juice, the chili-garlic sauce and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Heat about 1 1/2 inches peanut oil in a large, wide saucepan over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Add the meatballs in batches and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Drain the scallion greens and toss with the bean sprouts, the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Spread the hoisin mayonnaise on the inside of the baguette pieces, then fill with the meatballs and top with the scallion-sprout mixture.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sesame Noodles

Sometimes simple is best. There are so many wonderful, inherently delicious flavors in the simplest ingredients and you don’t always have to grind and sauté and mix and beat and sear to combine thousands of ingredients to make something utterly delicious.

Sesame noodles fall under that umbrella. This is a very simple recipe for yummy sesame noodles. You can eat them by themselves or you can pair them with just about anything. Just last night I sautéed some shrimp and broccoli and tossed everything together at the end. My mouth is watering just thinking of last night’s dinner…. Yummy!

Sesame Noodles
Serves 6

12 ounces spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained
¼ cups soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon pure sesame oil
½ teaspoon sriracha sauce (more or less depending on how hot you like it)
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons hot water
4 whole green onions, sliced thin

Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.

Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.

Sprinkle with green onions and toss.

Serve in a bowl with chopsticks.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beef with Snow Peas

One of my favorite meats for stir fry is flank steak because it remains so tender when you slice it paper thin. I could eat this every day of my life. It’s positively perfect. In fact, I want some now.

Beef with Snow Peas
Serves 8

1-½ pound flank steak, trimmed of fat and sliced very thin against the grain
½ cups low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons sherry
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
8 ounces, weight fresh snow peas, ends trimmed
5 whole scallions, cut into half-inch pieces on the diagonal
Salt as needed (use sparingly)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Crushed red pepper, for sprinkling
Jasmine or long grain rice, cooked according to package

In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Add sliced meat to bowl and toss with hands. Set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet or wok over high heat. Add snow peas and stir for 45 seconds. Remove to a separate plate. Set aside.

Allow pan to get very hot again. With tongs, add half the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl. Add half the scallions. Spread out meat as you add it to pan, but do not stir for a good minute. (You want the meat to get as brown as possible in as short amount a time as possible.) Turn meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate.

Repeat with other half of meat, allowing pan to get very hot again first. After turning it, add the first plateful of meat, the rest of the marinade, and the snow peas. Stir over high heat for 30 seconds, and then turn off heat. Check seasonings and add salt only if it needs it. Mixture will thicken as it sits.

Serve immediately over rice. Sprinkle crushed red pepper over the top to give it some spice.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

This yummy dinner is comfort food to the max. And it feeds an army. Enjoy my friends!

Chicken Cacciatore
Serves 6

1 pound egg noodles
8 whole chicken thighs, skin on
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 whole medium onion, halved and sliced
2 whole red bell peppers, cored and sliced
2 whole green bell peppers, cored and sliced
5 cloves garlic, diced
12 ounces, weight mushrooms (white or Crimini), sliced
½ teaspoons ground thyme
¼ teaspoons turmeric
½ teaspoons kosher salt
Red pepper flakes, crushed, to taste (optional)
¾ cups dry white wine
1 can (28 Ounce) whole or diced tomatoes (with their juice)
Chopped flat leaf parsley
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook! Drain and set aside.

Salt and pepper both sides of the pieces of chicken. Dredge chicken in flour. Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Place chicken skin down in pan, four pieces at a time. Brown chicken on both sides, then remove to a clean plate. Repeat with remaining chicken. Pour off half the fat in the pan and discard.

Add sliced onions and peppers, as well as the garlic. Stir around for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and stir around for 1 minute. Add thyme, turmeric, and salt. (And crushed red pepper flakes if you like things a little spicy.) Add extra black pepper to taste. Stir, and then pour in wine. Allow to bubble.

Pour in canned tomatoes and stir to combine. Add chicken back into the pan, skin side up, without totally submerging the chicken. Place lid on the pot and put it into the oven for 45 minutes. Remove lid and increase heat to 375 degrees. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Remove pan from the oven. Remove chicken from the pot and place it on a plate. Remove vegetables from pot and place them on a plate. Return pot to burner and turn heat to medium high. Cook and reduce sauce for a couple of minutes.

Pour cooked, drained noodles on a large platter or in a big serving bowl. Add vegetables all over the top, then place chicken pieces on top of the vegetables. Spoon juices from the pot over the chicken and pasta (amount to taste.)

Before serving, sprinkle on chopped fresh parsley and grated Parmesan.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pasta with Tomato Sauce

This is one recipe I live for. I’m not kidding. This is the most basic recipe for pasta with tomato cream sauce. Make it if you’re feeling blue. Or are hungry for pasta. It definitely does the trick.

Pasta with Tomato Sauce
Serves 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 whole medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (15 ounce each) tomato sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dash of sugar (more to taste)
1 cup heavy cream
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, to taste
Fresh basil, chopped
1-½ pound fettuccine

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

Heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Pour in tomato sauce and add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Stir and cook over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in cream. Add cheese to taste, and then check seasonings. Stir in pasta and chopped basil and serve immediately. (Thin with pasta water before adding basil if needed.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shoyu Chicken

Try as I might I have yet to find a good Hawaiian/local place here that serves an awesome shoyu chicken much like Rainbow Drive-In. Its times like these I really miss home. Luckily for me, I have the perfect recipe and it’s easy and delicious! And it will curb any local food cravings to boot! Serve with rice and corn for a satisfying local dinner. Don’t forget to pour the sauce all over the rice – it's so ono (Hawaiian for delicious)!

Shoyu Chicken
Serves 12

12 lbs. chicken thighs
2-1/2 cups sugar
3-1/4 cups shoyu
3/4~1 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
6 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3~4 cloves garlic, crushed
3"~ 5" piece ginger, crushed

Wash, drain chicken, combine Sauce ingredients. Combine chicken & Sauce in pot, bring to boil, cook until chicken is tender, 30~40 min., stirring occasionally to coat chicken w/ Sauce. Skim oil, thicken w/ cornstarch, and bring to boil again.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings

I have no idea if these are dumplings in the true sense… this is just a dang good bowl of yumminess. Give it a shot. It takes a while to whip up, but it’s really easy to make. And it’ll make anyone you serve it to say, “Ooh, aah and I love you.”

Chicken and Dumplings
Serves 8

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cups all-purpose flour
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
Salt and pepper
½ cups finely diced carrots
½ cups finely diced celery
1 whole medium onion, finely diced
½ teaspoons ground thyme
¼ teaspoons turmeric
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
½ cups apple cider
½ cups heavy cream

1-½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon (heaping) baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1-½ cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (optional)
Salt as needed

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then dredge both sides in flour.

Melt butter in a pot over medium-high heat. In two batches, brown chicken on both sides and remove to a clean plate.

In the same pot, add diced onion, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir in ground thyme and turmeric, and then pour in chicken broth and apple cider. Stir to combine, and then add browned chicken. Cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes.

While chicken is simmering, make the dough for the dumplings: sift together all dry ingredients, and then add half-and-half, stirring gently to combine. Set aside.

Remove chicken from pot and set aside on a plate. Use two forks to remove chicken from the bone. Shred, and then add chicken to the pot. Pour heavy cream into the pot and stir to combine.
Drop tablespoons of dumpling dough into the simmering pot. Add minced parsley if using. Cover pot halfway and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Check seasonings; add salt if needed. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Punahou Portuguese Bean Soup

Whenever I miss home (Hawaii) during the winter, I make this soup. It is the recipe used for the Punahou School Carnival, scaled down. I mean, if the carnival can sell upwards of 1,800 gallons, it must be good! And oh boy is it! It is a wonderful soup – very thick, hearty and so full of flavor. It’s one of those soups that you just want to keep eating even as it fills you up. And it tastes just as good days after it is made.

Punahou Portuguese Bean Soup
Makes 10

1 lb ham hocks
3 small cans kidney beans
2 large potatoes, cubed
3 large carrots, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
1 lb Portuguese sausage, diced or cubed
1 cup macaroni, uncooked
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 Tbsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium head of cabbage, cubed

Boil ham hocks in 2 quarts water until tender (save stock). Cut meat from the bones. Bring ham stock to a boil and add the cut meat and all the remaining ingredients except the cabbage. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently. If too thick, add a little water. Add the cabbage, cook until tender.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ebelskivers (Filled Pancakes)

This beloved treat from Denmark is oh-so-yummy and to-die-for. They’re light, fluffy pancakes that can be filled with anything - fruit, jam, cheese or my personal favorite, nutella. Serve them for breakfast or a hors d’oeuvre, dessert or light supper. You will need an ebelskiver pan which is available at most cooking stores such as Bed, Bath & Beyond or Williams-Sonoma. Trust me, it’s worth the investment.

Ebelskivers (Filled Pancakes)
Serves 4

2 cups pancake mix, such as Bisquick
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
A couple tablespoons butter, for the pan
¼ to ½ cup of filling of your choice (jam, chocolate, apple sauce, nutella)
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

Place an ebelskiver pan over medium heat to heat it up.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the pancake mix, milk and eggs, whisking thoroughly to combine. (Have your filling in a small dish next to your batter as you’ll need it quickly once you start cooking the ebelskivers.)

Once the pan is hot, place a small dollop of butter about the size of a chocolate chip into each indent of the pan. Using a spoon, fill each dip in the pan about halfway with the batter -- about 1 tablespoon of batter, depending on the size of your pan. Using another spoon, place a small dollop of the filling into the center of each indent on the pan, leaving a ring of batter all around it to enclose it in the pancake. Top each indent off with another small dollop of batter, another tablespoon or so.

Allow the pancakes to cook for about 3-4 minutes, until light golden brown on the outside (you can check them by lifting them up with a skewer, teaspoon or the tip of a knife).

Using two skewers, teaspoons, or paring knives, flip each pancake over in its indent to cook the other side. Allow the pancakes to cook for another 3-4 minutes, and then remove them to a plate until you’re ready to serve them.

Continue the above process until you’ve used up all of the batter. Serve up the ebelskivers as soon as they’re finished cooking with a dusting of powdered sugar, if you like.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chicken Parmigiana

Happy New Year! This is one of my go-to-dishes. My children clap. My husband rejoices. Rich, flavorful and totally satisfying, this meal is hearty and elegant. Break out the good Parmesan for this one. It’s the right thing to do.

Chicken Parmigiana
Serves 6

4 whole (up to 6) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded flat
½ cups all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cups olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 whole medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cups wine (white or red is fine)
3 cans (14.5 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cubes chopped fresh parsley
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 pound thin linguine

Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate.

Dredge flattened chicken breasts in flour mixture. Set aside.

At this time, you can start a pot of water for your pasta. Cook linguine until al dente.

Heat olive oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted and oil/butter mixture is hot, fry chicken breasts until nice and golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm.

Without cleaning skillet, add onions and garlic and gently stir for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, getting all the flavorful bits off the bottom. Allow wine to cook down until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Pour in crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add sugar and more salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook for 30 minutes. Toward the end of cooking time, add chopped parsley and give sauce a final stir.

Carefully lay chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them in grated Parmesan. Place lid on skillet and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is thoroughly heated. Add more cheese to taste.

Place cooked noodles on a plate and cover with sauce. Place chicken breast on top and sprinkle with more parsley. Serve immediately.