Friday, June 6, 2008

Skillet Shrimp and Sausage

Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine, June/July 2008
Also can be found here

The only change I made was to use brown rice instead of white.

This was pretty good, but I did run into some problems. Perhaps because the rice was toasted first, perhaps I just didn't cook it enough, but it was very very hard. Disgustingly so. We really liked the flavor of the sausage (our first go with apple chicken sausage..yum!) and the dish overall was good. I look forward to trying it again as a freezer meal, but will cook the rice for a lot longer than the recipe suggests.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

TWD: French Chocolate Brownies

First, please let me apologize for my EXTREME tardiness here. I kept starting to make them after our son was in bed, but by the time I would have started and finished, we never could have enjoyed them. Better late than never, I suppose!

This week's Tuesday was hosted by Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook.

Anyway, as I was making these, BAJ said, "Who puts RAISINS in brownies? You're such a weirdo." He did appreciate that I was flambeeing, although the flame was rather teensy.

When I added the raisins to the brownies, it smelled just like Raisinettes... my favorite!!

So I'm very excited for these to come out of the oven... 32 more minutes until sweet chocolatey, raisiny, gooeyness!

The center didn't quite... bake. It was runny and gooey alright, but not done. I gave it more time, for probably 75 minutes total time, and we decided to eat them. Despite the center being on the underdone side, these were REALLY good. The raisins were a delightful touch--nice and squishy. The flavor was really good too. They weren't as difficult to make as some of the other Dorie creations I've made either. I'll probably make these again!!

Here's the recipe

French Chocolate Brownies

- makes 16 brownies -
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) I used it
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum I used Puerto Rican Gold rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you're using it.

Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It's important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you've got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it's better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.

Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you'll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won't be completely incorporated and that's fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.

Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they're even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!

Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Chili Mac Salad

From June/July 2008 Everyday with Rachael Ray

Can also be found here

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

4 ears corn

2 cups elbow pasta

1 red onion, half finely chopped, half thinly sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

1 pound lean ground beef

One 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed

2 tomatoes, cut into wedges

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a medium bowl, combine the lime juice and cilantro; whisk in 6 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn until just tender, about 3 minutes; transfer to a cutting board. Return the water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain and transfer to a large bowl. Cut the corn kernels from the cob and add to the pasta.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and chili powder and cook until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain well.
4. Add the beef mixture to the pasta; season with salt and pepper. Add the kidney beans, tomatoes, sliced onion and vinaigrette and toss to dress. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the cheese.

I used a pound of ground turkey and only half a red onion. I also served the kidney beans on the side and used dried cilantro. I used bowtie pasta. Finally, I only bought three ears of corn at the store, so that's what I used.

Overall, this was a pretty good recipe, but not for a dinner. A lunch? Maybe? A side dish for a BBQ? Absolutely. But it just wasn't RIGHT for a dinner meal for some reason. It was good, it was easy, but it just seemed to be missing something.

Baby SBF liked his meat and pasta mixture!

Monday, June 2, 2008

"Fried" tomatoes

Recipe coming soon.

I can't seem to find where I found this online right now, but this is supposed to be an appetizer, but we always have it for dinner. The other day, I got a big thing of HUGE tomatoes and had to make one of my all time summer favorite meals.

It was great with those big ole tomatoes, as well as fresh steamed green beans and mashed potatoes.

My first tag!! YIPPIE!!

I was tagged by my good buddy, Lauren over at La Cucina di Lauren! My first time!

The rules:
Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What was I doing ten years ago?
Drinking. Heavily. And illicitly. Ten years ago, I was a sophomore in college. By this time in the year, I was probably sitting on the beach in the hopes of for once being darker than my mother (who has a much deeper complexion). I was working at Fantasy Island in Beach Haven and dating someone very wrong for me.

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?
1. Play with my son!
2. Go to Picture People with the girls
3. Make the TWD recipe for the week
4. Make dinner
5. Watch another episode of Lost

Five snacks I enjoy:
1. Chips and Salsa
2. Cheese and crackers
3. Ice cream
4. Cupcakes
5. Combos

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. All of these are house related! Gut and renovate our 1960's kitchen.
2. Install central air
3. New deck
4. Level and de moss ify our backyard
5. Make the layout of our bedroom make sense

Places I’ve lived:
1. Waretown, NJ
2. Newark, DE (college)
3. Edison, NJ (several apartments across town)
4. North Brunswick, NJ
5. Piscataway, NJ

Jobs I’ve had:
1. Babysitter
2. Waitress at Chi Chi's and Bennigan's
3. Old Navy
4. Arcade employee
5. McDonald's
6. High school Social Studies teacher

TAG! You’re it...
1. Erica
2. Kayte
3. Rachel
4. Julia and Tyler
5. April

Coffee Giveaway

Happy birthday to Marc! (Not my Marc, another one).

His wife is celebrating his birthday with a coffee giveaway! Go check it out and wish Marc a happy birthday here!
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