Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Scones-even if you don't think you like scones

So, I have only had one scone in my life. I had always heard they were so dry and lacking in flavor. Well, I have to be honest with you, I made these on a total whim because I saw the maple flavoring at Super Target while browsing the spices. I love the flavor of maple. We had already made two things from Baked New Frontiers in Baking and I knew I couldn't go wrong. Having made three amazing things from this book now, I am fully convinced and totally going to buy it, unless my husband decides to get it for me for Valentines Day. I may have to hint around.

So here it is. The recipe for the most amazing scones, and even if you have never made anything like this in your life, you can totally do it. I did. I have never done anything like it and they were so so simple. We had some leftover buttermilk from the cheddar biscuits that we made and I didn't want it to go to waste. Please let me know your feedback if you try them out. They are so amazing. Oh, and for the icing, I just used a little of the maple flavoring and a little milk. We don't have pure maple syrup at our house. Don't use that cheap stuff. It won't taste right. So, enjoy!

Maple Walnut Scones
Adapted from
Baked New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Makes 12

4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter (3 sticks) cubed and chilled
1 large egg
1 c buttermilk
2 t maple extract
1 c toasted walnuts chopped
1/4 raw sugar

1/2 c pwd sugar
2 T plus 2 t pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 and line the baking sheet with parchment ( I used greased wax paper because I didn't have the parchment)
In a large bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. Whisk until combined.

Add the butter and using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until it becomes pea sized.

In an separate bowl whisk the egg, 3/4 c buttermilk and the extract. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry and then gently knead the dough with your hands until the dough starts to come together. Add the walnuts and knead gently to incorporate. Move the dough to a slightly floured surface and shape the dough into two discs about 1 1/2 inches in height. Do not overwork.

Cut each disc into 6 wedges with a knife. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush each with the remaining buttermilk and then sprinkle with the raw sugar. Bake in the center of the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Line a baking sheet with parchment (or wax) paper. Place the wire rack with the cooled scones over the baking sheet.
Whisk together the powdered sugar and maple syrup until the mixture is smooth. Slowly pour the glaze over the scone in a zig zag pattern.
Allow the glaze to sit for about 10 minutes and serve.

You know, as I was reading this recipe I realized that I only used 2 1/2 sticks of butter. I remember thinking I needed three and only had two and two nubs in the fridge that ended up equaling 2 1/2 exactly. I must have been thinking about how it called for 1 and half cups of butter and in my mind I got all mixed up. Anyhow, they turned out amazing. Maybe that's why. I don't know. I would be interested in trying them the correct way to see the difference. You try it either way. All I know, is that mine turned out perfect. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

World's Greatest Chili

We are big time Rick Bayless fans so we decided to finally make one of his recipes. He typically uses pretty unique peppers or spices but this chili recipe was really simple. I must say it is so so good. I was scared the whole time because it has four ancho chilies in it. They are actually roasted pobalno peppers which are one of the lowest in heat. Jason removed the seeds too which I highly doubt Rick does. So please please try this. It's so so amazing really. Thick and rich with flavor. I am so happy for the leftovers.

The World's Greatest Chili
Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill and Topolobompo
Makes 5 cups, enough for 4 to 6

4 large dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained

2 tablespoons masa harina

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Shredded Chihuahua or Monterey jack cheese, Mexican-style sour cream, chopped chives, tortilla strips and cilantro

1. The chile seasoning. Heat a medium-size skillet over medium. When hot, toast chiles one by one: open flat and press down with spatula until the chile releases its aroma and toasts lightly, 10 to 15 seconds. Flip and toast the other side. In a small bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to insure even soaking. Drain.

In a food processor or blender, combine the chiles and a little water, garlic, and cumin. Blend to a smooth puree, scraping down and stirring frequently. (If the mixture won’t move through the blender blades, stir in a tablespoon or two of water to get things going.) With a rubber spatula, work the chile mixture through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl.

2. Browning the meat and onion. Heat the oil in a medium-size (4-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican cazuela) over medium-high heat. When hot, add the ground beef and onion. Stir, breaking up clumps, until browned thoroughly, about 10 minutes. (If there is lots of rendered fat, tip it off and discard.)

3. Finishing the chili. Add the chile puree and stir for about 5 minutes as the mixture thickens and concentrates all those rich flavors. Stir in 2 cups water and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, masa harina and salt. Partially cover and simmer gently over medium-low, stirring frequently, until the sauce has reduced to coat the meat rather thickly, about 30 minutes.

Serve with shredded Chihuahua cheese, sour cream, chives, tortilla strips and cilantro for each person to add to the chili as they want.

So we also made, well Jason also made some jalapeno cheddar biscuits. They were supposed to be chipotle cheddar biscuits but we couldn't find the chipotle chili powder in the store. Crazy since we live right by this one that has a huge huge Mexican section. Well, anyhow. He bought some jalapeno cheddar cheese to use instead and they turned out so so amazing. This recipe is also from the Baked New Frontiers in Baking. I would highly recommend this book as now we have had two phenominal things from it. Went great with the chili.

Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits

- makes about 20 small biscuits -
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.


2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups grated and tightly packed sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
Kosher salt for topping


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pepper, chipotle powder, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and the 1 teaspoon of salt.

3. Add the butter and, using your hands or the back of a wooden spoon, work the butter into the dough. The mixture should look like coarse sand. Add the cheese and stir to thoroughly incorporate it into the dough.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

5. Use a small ice cream scoop or a 1/4-cup measuring cup to scoop the dough and drop it in mounds onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a biscuit comes out clean.

6. Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack. The biscuits can be served slightly warm or at room temperature (we like them slightly warm).

7. Store the biscuits in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Just a side note from the book. They do mention that the chipotle powder may add a suprising intensity for some people and to reduce it a little if desired. I am not sure how it is since we couldn't find it. The jalapeno cheddar wasn't really spicy at all. It was so so good. A little sprinkle of kosher salt on top added a nice touch I must say.

Unfortunately I do not have a picture to share with you of this but trust me when I tell you that it is so amazing. I wanted to share it anyhow. You can find a picture at this link http://userealbutter.com/2008/11/08/test-drive/

Pasta e Fagioli

modified from Fine Cooking no. 96 (January 2009)

1 lb. Italian sausage, bulk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 red onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
2 quarts chicken broth
2 cans (15 oz ea) great northern or cannelli beans, drained
2 cans (15 oz ea) diced tomatoes, with juice
4 medium carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
1 cup ditalini pasta, cooked and drained
2 tsp red wine vinegar
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish

In a large stock pot, brown the Italian sausage until cooked. Remove from pot and drain. Heat the vegetable oil in the stock pot and sauté the onions until softened. Add the garlic and rosemary, cooking until fragrant. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, cinnamon stick, and water. Bring to boil over high heat then reduce and let simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Discard the cinnamon stick, then stir in the sausage, cooked pasta, and vinegar. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more vinegar. Serve hot with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish.

I am warning you that it makes a lot, but here, we love leftovers. I have some in my freezer waiting to be remembered one day and happily eaten. Enjoy.

Turkey Adobo Quinoa Chili

This is basically the healthiest thing you could eat in the entire world. Ok, one of them. It is super super good. Even Jason liked it. For something healthy that's impressive. You can find quinoa (pronounced keen-WA) near the rice at your grocer. Again, found it through foodgawker.com. It's from a blog called Closet Cooking. This guys has the most amazing recipes. I highly recommend you checking it out. So here it is. Enjoy.

Turkey Adobo Quinoa Chili
Adapted from Closet Cookin

1 c quinoa rinsed and 2 c water for cooking
1 T oil
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 lb ground turkey ( I used 1 lb and omitted one can of the black beans)
1/2 t cinnamon
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
3/4 c water
2 cans of black beans rinsed and drained
1 red pepper diced
1 zucchini diced
1 chipotle in adobo sauce with 1 T sauce (remove seeds to reduce heat)
1 t dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 c frozen, fresh or canned corn
1 handful of fresh cilantro chopped

Prepare quinoa by rinsing and cooking in a sauce pan with two cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer. Cover and cook 15 minutes. I used my rice cooker instead.
Heat oil in large pot. Add the onions and cook until tender about 2 min. Add the garlic and turkey. Cook until not pink anymore but do not fully cook. Add cinnamon, cumin, and chili powder. Cook 4 minutes. Add 3/4 water, tomatoes, black beans, zucchini, corn, and chipotle with sauce. Cook 5 minutes more. Then stir in cilantro leaves and serve. You can really cook this as long as you want. The longer the better I always say. It lets the flavors marry a little longer. Enjoy. Oh, I know you will.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hollywood Squares

So I found these on a food web site I am addicted to and I highly recommend checking it out. It's called foodgawker.com. It links you to other peoples recipes on their blogs. Great pictures and great recipes. It's awesome. So this is one I found on there and made for the holidays. I have to say I resisted trying them forever because I knew I would have a hard time just having one and I was right. When I was home for xmas I dove into the stash I had sent my dad. These things are amazing. Super easy and super flavorful. Try them for sure. Visit this link for a picture. I don't have one unfortunately.

Hollywood Squares
The Homesteading Housewife blog

2 c peanut butter
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c butter

2 squares of semi sweet baking chocolate
1 T peanut butter

Combine all of the ingredients except the topping. Mix well and press into buttered 8X8 or 9X9 pan. Melt the topping ingredients in the microwave at short increments. Start out with 30 seconds, stir and then 15 seconds until it's melted. I made way more of this than it called for because this wasn't enough for me. I used semi sweet chips because I had them already. You can kind of free style with that as far as that goes. It tastes amazing when it's done. Wow. There you go Tiffany. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Brewer's Blondies

Oh man. If you think you have tried something amazing, wait until you try this. The recipe is super simple yet the interesting ingredients give it such an amazing flavor. You will not believe you made it yourself. Do not let the malt and malted milk balls scare you if you don't like that kind of thing. It really doesn't come through so much in the end. Jason really loved them and he isn't into that kind of thing. These were so gooey and amazing. I am telling you. Just make them already.

Brewer's Blondies
Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
by Matt Lewis and Renato Polafito

2 1/3 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 T malted milk powder (Ovaltine Malt is what I found)
14 tablespoons softened butter cut into small chunks
1 3/4 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 t pure vanilla
3/4 c chopped malted milk balls
3/4 c semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 c toasted walnuts chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Butter the bottom of a 9X13 pan.
In a med bowl mix flour, salt, malt powder and baking powder. Sift. I use a whisk.
In a bowl with a mixer cream the brown sugar and butter until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined.
Add the flour mix and whoppers, chips and nuts. The mixture will be thick. Press into the pan and baker 25-30 minutes of until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a rack at least 20 minutes. You can enjoy a warm slice with vanilla ice cream. Oh yummy.

I am telling you. If you want to blow your own mind, make these. You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Blog

Yeah, I know. Another blog. I was starting to feel like I was writing too much about food on my blog that started out as a blog about my adventures with Lucy. So now, this blog is totally dedicated to food. I plan on including pictures of all of the things we make here at our house as well as all of our dining adventures. They are few and far between lately to save money. I assure you this, there will be some to come though. Me and Jason are trying to plan something to come. Just need a sitter. So, I will start out by sharing you with some photos of some recent food creations. One is a loaf of honey whole wheat bread. One is a black and white cookie. The other one is a banana cupcake. I plan on including the recipes as well. Please feel free to try them out and enjoy them as we did.