Sunday, August 14, 2011

Katie's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Since I can remember, my cousin Katie has ALWAYS made the best cookies. Whenever she is kind enough to share them with me (which is WAY too often!) I tend to eat half of the plate, on my own. It is a delightful indulgence...until I realize what I have done! So, for those of you looking for those "I ate way too many of these" is the recipe. I hope you can enjoy them as often as I have. They are great straight from the oven, or I throw them in a freezer bag and we nab one each night after dinner. We eat them frozen or pop them in the microwave for about 8 seconds...mmm I need one now! good thing there is only 3 minutes left on my timer!

Katie’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Printable Version

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 cups flour(I do 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white)
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter, shortening and sugars, very well. Like for 4 minutes very well.  Add vanilla and eggs, mix well. Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Add chocolate chip and mix with a spoon. Use a small cookie scoop and drop balls about 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Even better, use a silpat. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes.

Recipe from Katie

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Perfect Creme Brulee

The title does this justice. Acutally, more than justice. i have made creme brulee a few different ways, and they were always so hard and time consuming. Guess what?! This recipe is a piece of cake, and the best creme brulee I have ever made! The sugar crust is perfect, just by broiling it for a few minutes. The Brulee is so extremely creamy that I wanted two, maybe three!

Perfect Creme Brulee
Printable Version

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened (to grease the sides and bottom of ramekins)
6 large egg yolks, chilled
6 Tablespoons white sugar
1 ½  cups whipping cream, chilled
4 Tablespoons brown sugar

Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of six 1/2 cup ramekins and set them in a glass baking pan.
Whisk yolks in medium bowl until slightly thickened., about 2 minutes. Add white sugar and whisk until dissolved. Whisk in cream, then pour mixture into prepared ramekins or custard cups.
Set baking pan on oven rack and pour warm water into pan to come halfway up the ramekins. Bake uncovered until custards are just barely set, about 45 minutes.
Remove baking pan from oven, leaving ramekins in the hot water; cool to room temperature. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. (Can be covered and refrigerated overnight).

Adjust oven rack to the next-to-the-highest position and heat broiler. Remove chilled ramekins from refrigerator, uncover, and evenly spread each with 2 teaspoons of the brown  sugar. Set ramekins in a baking pan. Broil, watching constantly and rotating pan to evenly caramelize, until toppings are brittle, 2 to 3 minutes, depending on heat intensity.
Refrigerate Crème Brûlées to re-chill custard, about 30 minutes.

Serves 6
Recipe from Mary

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thai Basil Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Tofu? Seriously? Seriously, good. I was scared to try this. Even scared to the point that I had this beautiful appetizer sitting in front of me, and my head almost got the best of me! I just had to dive in and take a big bite of my lettuce wrap. After the first bite, I couldn’t stop! It was awesome, awesome, awesome. To be honest, tofu takes the flavor of whatever flavor you decide. i decided to whip up this tofu in a sweet asian way, and boy it had some nice spice to it as well. If you have never had tofu, this is a great place to start. (Don’t be scared by the list, I had most of these ingredients in my pantry!) O, and feel free to substitute chicken in to this recipe for the tofu if you just can't bring yourself to try tofu quite yet!

Thai Basil Tofu Lettuce Wraps
Printable Version

2 red bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons grated ginger
4 packages extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon Asian hot sauce, such as Sriracha
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 1/2 cups Thai basil, chopped
1/2 cup Thai basil, minced (regular basil may be used)
2 cups cashews, roughly chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
3 heads green leaf lettuce, cleaned and trimmed

Press tofu by removing it from the package and draining. Press tofu between two paper towels, changing paper towels as they saturate. Put on a wire rack above a plate in the refrigerator to continue drying out the tofu, for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.  Mix together the bell peppers and rice wine vinegar and marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Heat the vegetable and sesame oils and add the shallots, garlic and ginger and saute for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Add the tofu by crumbling into small pieces and saute for 15 minutes more.
In the meantime, whisk together the hot sauce, salt, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and hoisin and add to the tofu. Cook until the sauce thickens, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the chopped Thai basil.
To serve, spoon the tofu mixture onto a piece of lettuce and top with the marinated peppers, cashews, scallions, and basil.

Serve 4 as an appetizer
The Next Food Network Star

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Best Garlic Alfredo Sauce

Just looking at this photo you can tell how creamy and divine this Alfredo Sauce is. From the third step of the recipe, melting the cream cheese, my mouth was watering. I knew from the beginning that this was going to be amazing. This proved right at the very first bite! Both my hubbs and I loved this sauce, it is my new go-to alfredo sauce for sure!

The Best Garlic Alfredo Sauce
Printable Version

½ cup butter
2 ounces cream cheese
2 cups heavy cream (or substitute half and half)
2 teaspoon garlic powder
½  tsp. fresh minced garlic
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
⅔ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

In a medium to large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add fresh minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the cream cheese and whisk to smooth and melted. Whisk in the heavy cream.
Season with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and whisk frequently until sauce thickens, around 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and when melted, remove from heat and serve.

Makes 2 cups