Jerk Chicken with Spicy Pineapple Sauce & West Indies Roti

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It cost a small fortune to make this marinade, but it was completely worth it! (I only wish that I had put more chicken in it!!) When I saw Mario Batali make this Caribbean meal on The Chew, I wanted to make it and pulled up the recipe immediately. SOooo many delicious flavors.

This recipe was adapted from The Chew, contributed by Mario Batali. I increased the amount of chicken, used skinless chicken thighs, and incorporated whole wheat flour in the roti. The amount of spicy pineapple sauce in this recipe could easily be cut in half. (& I am a HUGE sauce person!) Any leftovers would be tasty eaten as a salsa with tortilla chips.

The chicken did develop a nice char in the oven, but this would be an amazing dish to grill in the summer!! (It has to warm up soon…) I’m bringing this meal to share at Fiesta Friday #61 at Fiesta Friday.net. (Yes! a new home for the party & for Angie of The Novice Gardener.) Enjoy!!

For the Marinade:

  • 1 med red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cayenne pepper – chipotle sauce
  • 2 lemons, zest & juice
  • 1 orange, zest & juice
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 scotch bonnet chile (cut in half)
  • 2 serrano chiles (sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Chicken:

  • 10-14 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless (I used 10 but should have used at least 14!!)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Spicy Pineapple Sauce:

  • 2 cups Pineapple, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/8-inch dice
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 lime, zest & juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the West Indies Roti (Flatbread):

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 4 T  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup water

To Make the Marinade & Chicken:

  1. For the Marinade: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade.
  2. For the Chicken: Put the chicken pieces in a tight-sealing plastic container and pour the marinade over. (Alternatively, add the chicken to the large bowl of marinade!) Toss well to coat everywhere. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours-overnight is best. (I marinated the chicken for 12 hours and had amazing flavor.)
  3. Preheat oven to 450°F or light your grill with one side hot, one side low.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes; it should get a little char on the top (we like that). If using a grill, place the chicken on the hot side of the grill and cook until nicely charred on both sides, then move to the cooler side and cook with the lid down until cooked through.
  5. Serve hot, with pineapple ketchup and warm roti alongside.

To Make the Spicy Pineapple Sauce:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. If not using immediately, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
    Makes 3 cups.

For the West Indies Roti (Flatbread):

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
  2. Turn the mixer on and gradually add the oil and water while mixing, then mix for 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the mixer and let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into 8 equal balls. Flatten each slightly and roll out into 6-inch rounds.
  4. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until a drop of water sizzles on the surface. Reduce the heat to medium and place the rotis in the pan, 2 at a time, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the crust is light brown. Turn with a wide spatula or tongs and cook for 1 minute on the other side. Repeat with the remaining dough and keep warm in a bowl, covered with a clean dish towel.

Notes:

  • Use the same marinade for pork or fish.
  • Buy pre-made roti or pitas for a quicker dinner.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Apple Biscoff Crumble

We love love LOVE LOVE Biscoff cookies in our house. An absolute favorite. (You get the idea…) When I saw this recipe, it had to be made ASAP!! We ate it warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. It transported us to a Parisian bistro with every bite. Easy and fabulous!!

This recipe was adapted from Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere by Dorie Greenspan. I used a combination of Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith apples. Greenspan suggests that any fruit can be substituted for the apples (making it a year-round dessert!!): peaches, nectarines, plums, berries, or cherries in the summer, pears, bananas, or pineapple in the winter, or a holiday mix of cranberries, apples, dried fruit and nuts. I’m pretty sure we’ll be eating it at least once a season! :)

  • 2 pounds (900 grams) apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 T granulated sugar
  • 3 T plump raisins
  • 1 package (about 8 oz) Biscoff or other speculoos cookies
  • 1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks, at room temperature
  • vanilla bean ice cream for serving
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (on convection).
  2. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan or a baking dish that holds 4 to 5 cups. Put the dish on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the sugar and raisins. Set aside, but stir occasionally while assembling the topping.
  4. Using your hands, break the cookies into pieces in a large bowl. Add the butter and toss, turn and press the cookies and butter with your fingers, working them together until you have a fairly well-blended ball. (You want the cookies to stick together.)
  5. Stir the apple mixture and then pour it into the prepared baking dish. Spoon any accumulated juices over the mixture.
  6. Pull off bits of the crumble mixture and strew it over the apples- you should have enough to practically cover all of the fruit.
  7. Bake the crumble for 25 minutes and then tent it with foil to prevent over-browning. Continue to bake an additional 10 to 20 minutes, or until the topping is deeply brown and the fruit is bubbling.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack and let it cool until it is just warm. (It can also be eaten at room temperature.) Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.

Two Years Ago:

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Slow Cooker Pork Tinga Tacos

Meat and potatoes… in a TACO!?!? This may have been my husband’s dream dinner. :) The chipotles and slow cooker cooking were for me! This filling could also be served on its own as a chili. This recipe is from Rick Bayless’ Mexico- One Plate at a Time, Season 7, via rickbayless.com. Delicious!!!

Yield: 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 pound lean, boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 ounces chorizo sausage, about 1 link, removed from its casing
  • 5 to 6 medium (about 3/4 to 1 pound total) red-skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, sliced 1/4–inch thick
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
  • 2 to 3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, finely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons chipotle canning sauce (adobo)
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • coarse salt
  • About 1/2 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese like feta or salted pressed farmers cheese
  • 1 avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and diced
  • warm corn tortillas, for serving
  1. If your slow cooker has an insert that can go on the stovetop, heat the oil in it over medium-high heat. (If it cannot go on the stove or you do not have a removable insert heat the oil in a very large (12-inch) non-stick skillet.) Once the oil is very hot, add the pork and chorizo in a single layer and cook, stirring until the meat has browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and place the insert into your slow cooker (if you’re using a skillet, transfer the meat and its juices into the slow cooker).
  2. Add the potatoes, onions, garlic, tomatoes with their liquid, chipotles, chipotle sauce, Worcestershire, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to mix thoroughly. Cook at the highest temperature.
  3. The tinga will be finished after 6 hours at the highest temperature, though you can hold it for longer. (My slow-cooker can be programmed to switch from high after 6 hours to a keep-warm low temperature for up to another 6 hours. Some slow cookers click to keep-warm automatically; others need to be switched manually.)
  4. After six hours, gently stir the tinga. If the sauce seems too thick, stir in a little water. Taste, and season with salt if you think the dish needs it. Scoop into a large bowl, sprinkle with the fresh cheese and diced avocado, and serve with warm tortillas.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Baked Spaghetti & Mozzarella

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As much as I am absolutely yearning for warmer weather, I do enjoy making (and eating!) comfort food! I don’t know what my body is going to do when I start making lighter meals again…

This is a kid-friendly and pot luck-friendly main dish casserole which would be a great alternative to a Baked Ziti or macaroni and cheese. It could easily be doctored up for a more adventurous palate by adding onions, mushrooms, greens… you get the idea. We did all enjoy it as is with a green salad. It’s simple, cheesy, crispy, and tasty. This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food; I altered the seasonings and used whole wheat spaghetti.

Yield: 6 servings

  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes (I used Cento San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
  • 2 cups packed basil leaves (from 1 bunch), torn if large
  • 3/4 pound (12 oz) fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 1/2 cups)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (on convection).
  2. Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
  3. In a food processor, pulse tomatoes until coarsely chopped.
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add red pepper flakes and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cook at a rapid simmer until sauce thickens, about 12 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta 5 minutes (it will still be crunchy). Drain pasta and return to pot.
  6. Add tomato sauce, basil, and half the mozzarella to the pasta and toss to combine.
  7. Transfer mixture to a 3-quart baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and edges are bubbling, about 25 minutes.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Viennese Sablés

These cookies are supposed to taste just like the wonderful Danish butter cookies that come in the famous blue tin. (I think they may even be better!) Aside from that yummy association, what is really winning about them is their texture; they are very slightly crisp on the outside but the inside is soft and melts in your mouth. Mmmmmm.

This recipe is from Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere by Dorie Greenspan. According to Greenspan, they are traditionally piped into a “W” shape as both the initial for Wittamer, a famed pastry shop in Brussels where they are made, and for Wien, the German word for Vienna- where the cookies were thought to have been invented.

Despite requests from my kids to pipe the cookies into their own initials, I made the traditional “W”‘s. (I’ll get more adventurous next time!) Other suggested shapes included circles, pretzels, or swirls. I initially had difficulty piping the dough, but as the dough warmed up it became much easier to pipe. I was hoping that they would be worth the trouble- and- thank goodness- they were! :)

These cookies can be served just as they are or dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Greenspan suggests eating them with coffee or tea, ice cream, fruit salad, or creme brûlée. Delicious!!

Yield: Makes 2 dozen cookies

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  • 9 T (4 1/2 oz; 128 grams) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 T (153 grams) all-purpose flour
  • confectioners’ sugar for dusting, optional
  1.  Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (on convection).
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  3. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift the confectioners’ sugar over it, then add the salt.
  4. On low speed, beat until smooth but not fluffy. (You want the dough to be homogeneous, but you don’t want to beat air into it.)
  5. Beat in the egg white. The white will make the dough separate and it will be slick and slidey. Keep mixing for about 1 minute, and, if the mixture curdles, don’t be concerned; the flour will smooth it out.
  6. Beat in the vanilla and scrape down the bowl.
  7. Gradually add the flour, beating only until it disappears into the soft dough.
  8. Fit a pastry bag with an open star tip, one that’s a scant 1/2 inch in diameter. Scrape the dough into the piping bag.
  9. Pipe the dough onto the lined baking sheets in tight “W” shapes that are 2 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches high (or in desired shape), leaving about 2 inches of space between them (the dough will puff and spread under heat).
  10. Bake the cookies for 14 to 15 minutes on convection, or up to 17 to 20 minutes in a standard oven, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The cookies should be golden brown at their edges and on their bottoms and paler at the center.
  11. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.
  12. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving, if desired.

Note: These cookies will keep for at least 1 week in an airtight container. They can be frozen for up to 2 months.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

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Vanilla-Bean Sablés

I learned so many things from this recipe! My first lesson was to learn that the sablé, a simple shortbread cookie, is the French equivalent of the American chocolate chip cookie. The “icon.” Greenspan says that these cookies are really known for their fine texture (sablé means sandy)- “snappy around the edges, cakier in the center- its fresh butter flavor and, often, its bit of saltiness.” I HAD to try her version- what an irresistible description!! :)

Typically, the sugar and butter in cookie dough are mixed until light and fluffy. My next lesson was learning that in order to achieve the desired sandy texture in these cookies, the sugar and butter are mixed only until a smooth consistency is achieved (much less) so that air is not incorporated into the dough.

My third (most exciting!) lesson was learning how to achieve super-tight cookie logs! Greenspan includes her party-trick technique (with photos in the book) that I describe below to share with you. Worked perfectly. LOVE it!!

This recipe is from Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere by Dorie Greenspan. Delicious and pretty cookies- perfect for dessert, a snack, or with a cup of tea.

I’m sharing these with my friends for Fiesta Friday #60 at The Novice Gardener- Enjoy!!

Yield: about 36 cookies

For the Dough:

  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 moist, fragrant vanilla beans
  • 2 sticks (8 oz; 226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cups (272 grams) all-purpose flour

For the Edging:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • coarse sanding sugar or turbinado sugar
  1. Put the granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  2. Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape the pulp over the sugar. (I save the pods in a jar filled with turbinado sugar to make vanilla sugar.) Using your fingertips, rub the vanilla pulp into the sugar until it’s fragrant.
  3. Add the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt to the bowl and beat on low speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy (you DON’T want it to get light and fluffy), scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  4. Drop in the egg yolk and beat for 1 minute.
  5. Add the flour all at once and pulse the mixer on and off to start incorporating it into the dough. Mix on low speed just until the flour has disappeared (or do this last little bit by hand with a flexible spatula).
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into a log about 9 inches long. (**Trick to get really tight logs (perfectly round and free of air pockets): Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter. Place the cookie log one-third in and parallel to one short edge. Fold the remaining two-thirds of the parchment paper over the log. Grab the bottom edge of the parchment with one hand and place a ruler on top of the overlaying parchment with the other hand. Wedge the ruler against the bottom of the log. Push the ruler under the log at the same time that you pull the bottom paper toward you. Don’t be afraid to aggressively push and pull- it will result in a firm log. Lift the paper off of the dough.**)
  7. Wrap the logs in parchment and/or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (They can be wrapped airtight and put in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let the logs sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting and baking; no need to fully defrost.) I place them in a wrapping paper tube in order to ensure that they keep their round shape in the refrigerator.
  8. To Bake: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees (on convection). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  9. Add a splash of cold water to the yolk and mix with a fork to blend. Brush each log with this egg wash and roll it in sanding sugar until it’s evenly coated.
  10. Using a sturdy knife, trim the ends of the logs if they’re ragged, then cut the dough int 1/2-inch thick rounds. Place them on the baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  11. Bake the cookies for 14 to 15 minutes (on convection) or for up to 18 to 22 minutes in a standard oven, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The cookies are baked when they are brown around the edges and golden on the bottom.
  12. Carefully transfer them to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature. These cookies really shouldn’t be eaten warm; they need time to cool so that their texture will set properly. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for about one week.

Variations:

  • Lemon Sablés: Rub the grated zest of 1 1/2 lemons into the sugar with the vanilla bean.
  • Orange Sablés: Rub the grated zest of 1 orange into the sugar with the vanilla bean.
  • Nut Sablés: Lightly toast 1/2 cup hazelnuts (skin them while they are still warm), almonds, pistachios, or other nuts, finely chop them and mix them into the dough once the flour is incorporated.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

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Skillet Irish Soda Bread

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! We had our corned beef and cabbage over the weekend with friends, but I had to squeeze in a new soda bread recipe for the big day. I had such a hard time selecting one…  baking it in a skillet won. :) Apparently authentic Irish soda bread doesn’t contain raisins, butter, or eggs… this version contains all of the above AND sugar. Still festive though! (…maybe just a little tastier… my husband says, “No one wants to eat it without all of that stuff!”) :)

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for half of the all purpose flour and omitted the caraway seeds. We cut it into wedges and ate it for breakfast slathered with butter; she recommended eating it with tart apples and aged cheddar cheese which would be a wonderful snack. The outside was crunchy and buttery; the inside moist and sweet. Nice!

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Yield: 1 10-inch loaf

  • unsalted butter for greasing pan plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¾ cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 ½ cups raisins or currants
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, optional
  • good aged cheddar cheese, for serving
  • tart apples, cut into slices, for serving
  • butter, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (on convection). Grease a 10-inch oven-proof skillet and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs and 2 tablespoons melted butter.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. Stir in the raisins or currants and caraway seeds, if using.
  5. Pour batter into skillet. Brush top with remaining butter. Bake until golden and firm to touch, about 45 minutes on convection or up to 1 hour in a standard oven. Cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving with butter, cheddar and/or apples, as desired.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Whole Wheat Banana Flaxseed Muffins

For a while there, I was really into making healthy baked goods for breakfast, but somehow I have gone off track lately. :/ These moist and tasty muffins have put me back on the right path! I modified this Martha Stewart Living recipe to make muffins instead of a loaf (shorter baking size and bonus portion control), use more bananas (more moist), omit the walnuts (my daughter doesn’t like nuts in her muffins…), and to bake in a convection oven.

The best combination… they taste indulgent but are actually healthy. We enjoyed them warm from the oven with fresh fruit. Another great use for overripe bananas!! :)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened, for pan
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup ground golden flaxseed (from about 2 tablespoons whole)
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • about 3/4 cup mashed very ripe bananas (3 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (about 1 3/4 ounces), toasted and coarsely chopped, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter, or spray with cooking spray, a standard muffin tin or a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flours, flaxseed, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Put egg and egg white in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium-low speed until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and bananas, and mix until combined.
  5. Add the reserved flour mixture, and mix on low speed until well incorporated, about 10 seconds. Stir in walnuts, if using.
  6. Pour batter into buttered pan. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 14 minutes- on convection (for muffins), or up to 35 minutes in a standard oven for a loaf. Let cool slightly in pan on a wire rack. Invert to unmold; reinvert, and let cool completely on rack.

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Two Years Ago:

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Outrageous Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Move over brownies! These cookies are super chocolatey, soft, and chewy. Loaded with chocolate chunks. Quick, easy, and delicious. The recipe for these tasty cookies was adapted from Martha Stewart Living; I melted the chocolate in a double boiler and adapted the cooking time to use a convection oven. I’m ready to make them again!!

I’m bringing these goodies to Fiesta Friday #59 at The Novice Gardener. Enjoy :)

Yield: Makes 2 dozen

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 package (10-12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (on convection).
  2. Heat chopped chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Set aside to cool.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high-speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate.
  5. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  6. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 8 to 10 minutes in a convection oven, or up to 12 to 15 minutes in a standard oven. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (Do not bake the cookies to a crisp; they are meant to be soft and chewy.)

Note: Don’t worry if the batter seems thin. It should look more like a brownie batter than a cookie dough.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

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Chicken with Mustard

My husband LOVES mustard chicken- especially when it is super saucy. I think of it as a classic French bistro dish but apparently it is a classic French home-cooked dish! This one is over the top- the incredible mustard sauce incorporates bacon and creme fraiche- YUM. :) It is definitely one of the best versions I have ever made. Fabulous!!

This recipe was adapted from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz, via The Saint Jeffreys. I substituted boneless, skinless chicken thighs for whole chicken legs and served it with roasted red and sweet potatoes and sautéed spinach instead of over pasta. I think I need to explore this book a little bit more- I am sure that there are many many more wonderful dishes to pore over… mmmmm…..

Yield: Serves 6

  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt or sea salt, or to taste
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup (about 5-6 oz) smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 large Spanish or white onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
  1. In a 9×13-inch pyrex dish or a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup Dijon mustard with the paprika, some ground pepper, and salt. Mix with chicken thighs, and coat with mixture on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet (I used enameled cast iron) with a lid over medium heat, and add the diced bacon. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until just starting to brown. Remove the bacon from pan, and drain on paper towels. Spoon or pour out all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from pan. (The extra bacon fat can be reserved to sauté greens as a side dish!)
  3. Add the diced onion to the pan and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, and cook another minute. Scrape onion and thyme into a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Place the chicken and sauce in the hot skillet in a single layer. Cook over medium-high heat, browning well on one side, and then on the other, about 4 minutes per side. (Make sure the chicken develops a brown color, as this will help with the taste of the sauce.) Once cooked, remove chicken from pan and place on a plate. Set aside.
  5. Add the white wine to pan, and scrape the brown bits that have stuck to the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, and add prepared bacon and onions. Cover and cook over medium heat, turning over pieces a few times, for around 15 minutes. If the sauce is too watery, remove the lid for part of the cooking time.
  6. Remove the skillet from heat, and stir in the mustard seeds and the crème fraiche. Serve with roasted potatoes and sautéed greens, or as desired.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

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Vegetarian Chili with Winter Vegetables

Without knowing that I was repeating myself, I found myself saving this recipe in multiple places… a clipping from the paper, on my phone, on the computer… It was so (repeatedly) appealing to me! :) I moved it to the top of my list.

This healthy chili has wonderful texture from dried pinto beans and contrasting sweet and creamy butternut squash. The use of dried beans requires extra planning but is completely worth the textural benefit in the final dish. It was mildly spicy (perfect for all palates in my house!) and tasty. This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman. We ate it garnished with a blend of grated Monterey Jack and sharp cheddar cheeses… mmmm…. with green salad and Brown Butter Skillet Cornbread on the side. Great!

For the Simmered Pintos:

Yield: Serves 6

  • 1 pound (about 2 1/4 cups) pinto beans, washed and picked over for stones, soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight in 2 quarts water
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half
  • 2 to 4 large garlic cloves (to taste), minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • coarse salt, to taste (at least 1 teaspoon per quart of water used)
  1. Place pre-soaked beans and (2 quarts) of soaking water in a large, heavy pot. Add halved onion and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. Skim off any foam that rises, then add garlic and bay leaf, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Add salt and continue to simmer another 1 1/2 hours, until beans are quite soft and broth is thick and fragrant. Taste and adjust salt. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove and discard onion and bay leaf.
  4. For the best flavor refrigerate overnight.

Advance preparation: The cooked beans will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator and freeze well.

For the Chili:

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 recipe simmered pintos (recipe above)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, cut in small dice
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons mild ground chili (or to taste: use hot, or use more) (I used standard chili powder)
  • 1 tablespoon lightly toasted cumin seeds, ground
  • 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 1 cup water
  • 2 cups diced winter squash (about 3/4 pound) (I used butternut)
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • grated cheddar or Monterey Jack, or crumbled queso fresco for garnish, optional (I used a blend of cheddar & Monterey Jack)
  1. Heat the beans (simmered pintos) on top of the stove in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy nonstick skillet and add the onion, carrot and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to color, about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, stir together until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, and add the ground chili and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture begins to stick to the pan.
  4. Add the tomatoes and oregano, and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture is beginning to stick to the pan, about 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste dissolved in water and bring back to a simmer. Season with salt to taste and simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick and fragrant.
  6. Stir the tomato mixture into the beans. Add the winter squash and bring to a simmer.
  7. Simmer, stirring often, for 30 to 45 minutes. It is important to stir often so that the chili doesn’t settle and stick to the bottom of the pot. It should be thick; if you desire you can thin out with water. Taste and adjust salt.
  8. Shortly before serving stir in the cilantro and simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon into bowls. If you wish, top with grated cheeses.

Advance preparation: The simmered beans can be made 3 or 4 days ahead and the chili will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator. You will probably want to thin it out with water is it will continue to thicken. It freezes well.

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If you like this you may also like:

Brown Butter Skillet Cornbread

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I hate to admit it, but I often use the quick Trader Joe’s cornbread mix when we want cornbread as a side. It is sweet and cake-like and yummy. But… My South Carolina-raised husband and I know that this barely sweetened skillet cornbread is the “real deal” southern cornbread. COMPLETELY different from a box mix. The crust was crunchy and buttery; the inside moist and tender- delicious!! The entire kitchen filled with the wonderful smell of nutty browned butter as it baked too. :)

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. The recipe makes a GIGANTIC 12-inch skillet (almost) filled to the rim with cornbread. We ate it with Vegetarian Chili with Winter Vegetables and a green salad but had plenty of leftovers for breakfast. The leftover cornbread was wonderful reheated in a toaster oven- and buttered. We also slathered it with homemade Peach-Vanilla Bean Jam. YUM!

Yield: One 12-inch skillet cornbread (or 9×13-inch), about 12 servings (1/2 the recipe could be made in a 9-inch skillet)

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks)/170 grams unsalted butter
  • ½ cup/120 ml maple syrup
  • 2 ¼ cups/530 ml buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups/180 grams yellow cornmeal, fine or medium-coarse grind
  • ½ cup/65 grams whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup/60 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons/18 grams baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons/9 grams kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon/5 grams baking soda
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees (on convection).
  2. On the stovetop, in a 11- or 12-inch skillet (ovenproof and preferably cast iron), melt the butter over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan to lightly coat sides and bottom, until the foam subsides and the butter turns a deep nut brown. (Watch carefully to see that it does not burn.)(As it is difficult to assess the color in a dark pan, I checked the color in a teaspoon!)
  3. Pour brown butter into a large bowl. (Do not wipe out the pan.)
  4. Whisk the maple syrup into the butter, then whisk in buttermilk. The mixture should be cool to the touch; if not, let cool before whisking in the eggs.
  5. Then whisk in the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  6. If the skillet is no longer hot (cast iron retains heat longer than other metals), reheat it briefly on the stove for a few minutes. Scrape batter back into it.
  7. Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into it emerges clean, about 25 minutes (on convection), or up to 30 to 40 minutes in a standard oven. Cool in the skillet for 10 minutes before slicing.

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