pan-fried chicken salad with honey mustard dressing

Pan-Fried Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing 1

I know, I know. You guys are probably like, but you just DID salad, Carter.

Yeah, well… welcome to my house. I’m not really all that creative.

(It’s why I picked food instead of fashion. Also, I can’t sew.)

Seriously, even Lindsay asked me what’s up lately:

Well, I’m in charge of cupcakes for the St. Patrick’s Day party this weekend. So there’s probably going to be booze AND dessert here on the blog soon. Possibly in the same dish, no less.

But for the meantime – back to salads. (You need to eat lots of salad to counteract all the green beer this weekend, right?)

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Last night, I emailed B asking him if he was going to make it home for dinner (if he doesn’t come home, I tend to default to a bachelorette-style bowl of noodles. Don’t judge me.) What are you going to make? he asked. Was thinking crispy chicken over salad greens… nothing fancy, I typed, hoping he wouldn’t remember we had eaten the same thing for dinner just last week, and probably the week before. One of my favorites, came his answer. Honey mustard dressing?

Well… crap. I’ve never made honey mustard dressing before.

But I HAVE made honey mustard dipping sauce before… meh, I’ll just wing it.

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And although it might sound self-righteous, I have to say… this might be the best honey mustard dressing I’ve ever had. Tangy and not too sweet, and not so thick that it’s like trying to mix concrete into your salad greens. (I hate that.) With the crispy chicken, it’s like a grown up version of chicken nuggets. Minus the uncomfortable driver’s seat and soggy fries, of course.

We loved this dressing so much, it’s probably going to be the new default dressing ’round here for the next few weeks. But, should honey mustard not be your thing (not everyone likes mustard – I don’t know who you are or what’s wrong with you, but I know you’re out there) this goes perfectly with the balsamic vinaigrette or champagne vinaigrette I featured the other day.

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Pan-Fried Chicken

Serves 2

1/4 pound chicken tenderloins (or chicken breast, trimmed of fat and sliced laterally into 1/4-inch-thick pieces)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
a pinch cayenne, optional
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk or water
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup panko
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tablespoon safflower oil or other high-heat oil
chopped mixed greens and honey mustard dressing, to serve

Combine flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a wide, shallow bowl, and stir to mix. Whisk together egg, milk or water, and mustard in a second bowl. In a third bowl, mix panko and grated parmesan together. Dip each piece of chicken into flour mixture, coating lightly. Shake off excess flour and dip each piece into the egg mixture. Shake off excess and finally dip each piece into panko mixture. Press panko mixture onto chicken with your fingers. Put coated pieces of chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet or plate. Ideally, place your baking sheet or plate in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes – it will help the crumbs adhere to the chicken during cooking – although if you don’t have time, skip the refrigerator.

Heat safflower oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When you think the oil is hot, drop a few stray panko crumbs into the pan – if they start to sizzle and brown immediately, your oil is hot enough. Carefully place chicken in pan in a single layer, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn chicken to other side using tongs or a fork, and cook another 2 minutes, or until browned. Remove to a plate covered in a paper towel, and let drain.

Cut into slices and serve over mixed greens, if desired.

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Honey Mustard Dressing

Serves 2

one heaping tablespoon of yellow mustard
two teaspoons honey
one tablespoon olive oil
one teaspoon mayonnaise
one to two teaspoons water

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. (Note: if you have access to a microwave, heat the honey up for 15 seconds – it will mix in much more readily with the other ingredients.) Adjust seasoning to your preferences.

breakfast quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa

So the other day, I wandered into my pantry (which is just a glorified word for the never-ending chaos that is my utility room – it just happens to have shelves and is right next to the kitchen) looking for some crackers… and it became clear to me. I mean, I had to gingerly remove and stack jars of chickpeas and brown rice on the floor. All to get to a box of crackers that was hiding behind a 5 pound bag of flour. In a moment of pure clarity, I knew. I needed a pantry clean out.

(I mean, there was some mild cursing when I almost knocked over a jar of dried currants, but mostly it was a moment of very dignified contemplation.)

One of the things I am drowning in is COPIOUS amounts of quinoa. I think I have like, 2 pounds. Which is basically – since quinoa is not very heavy in the first place – like a barrel of quinoa. Sure, there are about a million recipes for quinoa salads out there, but that just wasn’t what I was feeling.

I had tried breakfast quinoa once before, but I wasn’t thoroughly satisfied. Previously I had used rice milk and it just… didn’t do anything for me. It was pretty darn tasteless, in fact. I used regular milk here, but by all means experiment with almond or soy milk if that’s more your thing, and let me know how it turns out. And of course, this is mostly just a base recipe; you can add whatever you have in your crazy, over-stuffed pantry: nuts of all kinds, dried fruit if you have some, honey or maple syrup drizzled on top… the sky is the limit.

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Breakfast Quinoa

Serves 2, easily halved

Gather: 
1 cup quinoa, rinsed until the water runs clear
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
yogurt, to serve
jam or fresh fruit, to serve
toasted almonds or pecans, to serve
turbinado sugar or honey, to serve

Prepare:
Bring quinoa, milk, water, and vanilla extract to boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and scrape down sides. Cook at a low simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Top with yogurt, jam or fresh fruit, nuts, and/or sugar or honey to your heart’s content.

the perfect side: chopped mixed greens with vinaigrette

Confession Wednesday, you guys. I’m having an affair.

I’ve been cheating on the typical winter sides – mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, roasted squash – and fallen in love with the simple green salad.

(I think it’s serious.)

I might be alone in this, since too often I get emails or phone calls or texts asking for a good side dish involving carrots, potatoes, or green beans. Personally, I could have salad every meal. Is there anything more perfect than a simple mixed greens salad with a tangy homemade vinaigrette? (Unless Ryan Gosling is bringing the salad to you, of course. In that case, ignore this post and continue on with your amazing life.)

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People are always fascinated when I say I make my own salad dressing, but hand to God, I cannot figure out why. I tell people to try it themselves – chances are they have most of the ingredients in your fridge and pantry anyways. You certainly don’t need any fancy gadgets to make a vinaigrette. And it can be as simple or as complicated as your skills/time/confidence/imagination allows.

The basic ingredients are: mustard, vinegar, and oil. As for mustard, you can use whatever you’ve got in the pantry (although I would stay away from yellow and brown mustard in the beginning – try a classic dijon or country mustard first). For vinegar, there are so many options: balsamic, white balsamic, red wine, white wine, sherry, champagne, cider, rice wine, brown rice wine… the list goes on and on. And oils! My preference is a good olive oil, but you can always experiment with a nut oil like walnut or hazelnut, or a flavorless oil like canola or grapeseed.

When you’ve been making vinaigrettes for as long as I have (the last store-bought dressing I had expired in 2009, don’t ask me why I remember that) you end up with an impressive vinegar and oil collection. Which means you can whip up any number of crazy vinaigrettes each night. Add some honey if you want, some lemon juice, some crushed red pepper flakes. GET CRAZY.

And as far as the logistics of making a vinaigrette… step away from the bowl and whisk. All you need is a jar with a lid. Go look in your fridge for that one jar of random condiment that you aren’t sure you’ll ever use again or you’re not sure if it’s still safe to eat… go ahead, I’ll wait. Dispose of whatever ill-fated condiment was residing in that jar, give it a good scrubbing, and you’ve got your very own vinaigrette maker.

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Now for the greens. Maybe eventually I’ll get some salad greens from the garden, but for right now I’m perfectly happy with the massive tub you can get from the grocery store. (I prefer organic greens, because then I can rationalize it away when I’m too lazy to wash them.) Now here’s the kicker – I chop my salad greens. EVERY TIME. My sister-in-law turned me onto this — I call her the Salad Whisperer behind her back, because she can make a salad that will bring you to your knees with its deliciousness. I can’t put my finger on it as to exactly why I love chopping the greens up… I guess it really just makes a salad easier to eat. More composed. So you feel like your kitchen is a 4-star restaurant.

I don’t know though. Maybe it’s magic.

So, here’s my favorite two vinaigrettes. The balsamic for if you’re just starting out, and the champagne for when you want to graduate to a lighter flavor. If you’re feeling adventurous, add some golden raisins, dried cherries, or blanched almonds on top.

I’m betting you’ll develop a crush on salad, too.

The Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette

a teaspoon or so of dijon mustard
about two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
about two tablespoons of olive oil
a pinch of kosher salt
a pinch of cracked pepper

Combine all ingredients in an empty jar and shake until combined.

My Favorite Champagne Vinaigrette

a teaspoon of champagne mustard (like Cherchies)
about two tablespoons of champagne vinegar
about two tablespoons of olive oil
a pinch of kosher salt
a pinch of cracked pepper

Combine all ingredients in an empty jar and shake until combined.

Simple Seasonal Breakfast

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For the past two weeks or so, I’ve been having exactly this for breakfast – a bowl of plain yogurt with blood orange segments on top. I’ve been using homemade yogurt, which is super thick like I like it. After I segment the oranges, I like to squeeze the leftover membranes over top of the bowl, to get all the extra juice into my yogurt. It’s like a customized blood-orange-flavored yogurt, minus the horrible sugary taste you get with commercial yogurts. So, so tasty.

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And then there was the day that I ran out of blood oranges… so I used some frozen berries left over from last summer. I microwaved them for 30 seconds on half-power, and let all the juices mix in with the yogurt. Definitely the best way to start the day.

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The Love Language / Brittany’s Back


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Rosemary White Bean Soup

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You want to know what is REALLY hard to make look delicious?

That would be, a bowl of this here soup.

I mean, it’s freaking tasty stuff, this soup, but it will definitely be filed under the category of what I like to call, ugly food. Don’t get me wrong, ugly food is almost always tasty – we’ve been over this before – it’s just that you’re going to have to convince your guests/spouse/disbelieving children of that fact before they’ll even sit down to the table. I tried to be all Ina-like and add “a garnish that reflects the flavors present in the dish” – that’s why the rosemary spring is just hanging out over there on the left – because honestly, brown soup is just a wee bit unappetizing.

Okay, so we’ve been over the basics of why you probably WON’T want to try this soup. But this is a food blog, so its not like I’m going to post horrible recipes. So let’s go over the reasons why you should try this, non?

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1. It’s a recipe from Ina Garten, whose every recipe is a foodgasm in the making, and who is only second to God in our foodie world next to Martha Stewart. (But is actually first in God’s eyes because Ina hasn’t been to jail. Go Ina.)

2. It’s made with all natural ingredients like chicken stock and white beans, so you know it’s good for you without tasting like cardboard.

3. This is a perfect dish for winter, since it uses just about the only thing “in season” in Colorado – dried beans.

4. The end product is creamy without being heavy, flavorful without being full of fat. The best of both worlds.

5. The ugly factor of food is inversely related to how delicious the food is. So this dish is obviously off the charts. (Obviously.)

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So, now that I’ve thoroughly convinced you, Law & Order-style, get thee to your grocery store/farmers market/pantry some cannellini beans.

And make sure to distract your children/spouse/guests with cartoons/sports/booze before you serve this.

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Rosemary White Bean Soup

Adapted from Ina Garten
Serves 6

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The only “adaptations” included reducing the amount of olive oil (because she alway uses a ton, bless her heart) and removing all references to “good” ingredients that will make you feel inferior.

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Gather:
1 pound dried white cannellini beans
4 cups sliced sweet yellow onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large branch fresh rosemary
6 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
kosher salt, to taste
fresh cracked pepper, to taste

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Prepare:
Pick through the beans to remove any pebbles or other debris. In a large bowl, cover beans with at least 2 inches of cold water. Let soak overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain.

In a large stockpot, saute the onions with the olive oil until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. (Note: Instead of adding more olive oil, just add a bit of water if the onions start to burn. And if you do burn the onions, just tell your guests it’s “Caramelized Onion White Bean Soup.”) Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes until fragrant. Add the drained white beans, rosemary, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Cover; bring to a boil, and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, until the beans are soft. Remove rosemary and bay leaf.  Pass the soup through the coarsest blade of a food mill, or puree half of the soup in a blender/food processor. Continue pureeing and mixing until you reach a consistency you like. (I prefer a course puree.) Return the soup to the pot, and reheat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

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Best Coast / The End

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Sweet Potato Frites with Roasted Garlic Aioli

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I made these for the first time a few weeks ago, when I just had some white and orange sweet potatoes hanging out in my house, leftover from the fall produce sales. They were starting their own mini sweet-potato-reproducing-factory in my cabinet, and I needed to get rid of them. Naturally, I decided to make some fries. It’s the default thing to do with leftover sweet potatoes, right?

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But you can’t just serve fries on their own… and for me, ketchup/catsup/catchup isn’t what you serve with a big platter of sweet potato fries. Sweet potato fries are the sophisticated older sister of regular fries. You need something to woo her with…

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Like intense garlic breath, of course.

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Thus, roasted garlic aioli. An aioli is much like mayonnaise… except hopefully homemade, and with a fancier name.

Honestly, you probably just want to invite all your friends over for these fries. You want to make sure all the people you know are eating this, lest you see a friend or five out and about later… because they won’t want to be within 10 feet of you. (Unless that’s what you’re going for… in which case, I applaud you for your creative strategy.)

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Sweet Potato Fries

From the Kitchenette
Serves 8 as an appetizer or side

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Gather:
4 sweet potatoes, orange or white or both, scrubbed clean
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more if needed
coarse salt
fresh cracked pepper

Prepare:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch sticks. (Note: I’m not too concerned about getting each fry the perfect length or width. Perfection is BORING. Plus, having some fries be more crispy than others is quite tasty, honestly.) Toss sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper, adding more oil until fries are just barely coated. Roast at 425 degrees for approximately 40-50 minutes, tossing each 15 minutes or so.

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Roasted Garlic Aioli

From the Kitchenette
Yields about 3/4 cup

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Gather:
1 head garlic
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 egg
salt
fresh cracked pepper

Prepare:
To roast the garlic, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off the head of garlic, and place on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over top the head. Wrap the aluminum foil around the garlic, and roast at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until garlic is translucent and soft inside.

To make aioli, put 3 cloves of roasted garlic (you can squeeze them out of the head with your thumb) in a food processor or blender. Add in the egg, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and turn on the food processor/blender to high. Add in the olive oil in a VERY slow stream, as slowly as possible. Check the texture of the aioli intermittently while adding the olive oil; you are looking for a texture akin to a thin mayonnaise, and you may not need all the oil, or you may need a bit more. Once the appropriate texture is reached, transfer to a serving dish.

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Warpaint / Undertow

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Superbowl Sunday 2011 | Cranberry-Cheddar and Scallion-Chevre Cheese Balls

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So I actually meant to post these in time for Christmas, but as you probably remember, I went home to Virginia

and accidentally disappeared off the face of the earth for approximately 30 days.

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As you can probably tell, the red ball is covered in chopped dried cranberries. It’s filled with delicious mango chutney and shredded cheddar, along with some other delicious things. The green one is covered in chopped parsley, and is filled with heavenly, creamy goat cheese and scallions. (If you start drooling, I won’t say anything. I’m totally drooling just writing this.)

These cheese balls are a staple at any of our family gatherings. My cousin Grayson, and my brother Jeff, have been known to request them at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But I see no reason you can’t serve them for Superbowl Sunday… or even just a Tuesday afternoon. I mean, honestly… who can resist a cheese ball???

In fact, if you are able to resist a cheese ball, then I’m unsure you have a soul.

And I’m positive we can’t be friends. It’s just a requirement to friendship.

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This is another Martha Stewart recipe, because I swear, that bitch can do no wrong. (I tried a banana bread recipe from her the other day, and I swear I saw angels with the first bite. Damn her and her perfect, perfect recipes.)

Martha suggests serving the parsley-goat cheese ball with slices of cucumber, but clearly that’s for people who are trying to ignore the fact that they are eating a large ball made entirely of dairy fat. Own it, and serve it with water crackers.

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Base for Cheese Balls

Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes one 4-inch ball

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Gather:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons lemon juice
scant 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes hot sauce
pinch salt
pinch white pepper

Prepare:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth and combined.  Proceed with variation chosen below. (Base may be multiplied if making more than 1 variation; just divide evenly between separate bowls before proceeding.)

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Cranberry-Cheddar Cheese Ball

Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes one 4-inch ball

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Gather:
1 recipe Cheese Ball base, above
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons mango chutney (or other complimentary flavor)
3/4 cup finely chopped cranberries

Prepare:
Combine the cheese ball base, cheddar, and mango chutney, and stir until thoroughly mixed. Pull out a sheet of cling wrap and lay on flat surface. Shape cheese into a ball, and wrap in cling wrap. Chill in fridge 1 hour.

Scatter chopped cranberries on a cutting board or other flat surface. Unwrap cheese ball from cling wrap and lightly press into cranberries, until dried fruit clings to surface. (Cheese ball can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate, and let sit at room temperature approximately 1 hour before serving.)

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Scallion-Chevre Cheese Ball

Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes one 4-inch ball

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Gather:
1 recipe Cheese Ball base, above
8 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 tablespoons scallions, finely chopped
1/3 cup curly parsley, finely chopped

Prepare:
Combine the cheese ball base, goat cheese, and scallions, and stir until thoroughly mixed. Pull out a sheet of cling wrap and lay on flat surface. Shape cheese into a ball, and wrap in cling wrap. Chill in fridge 1 hour.

Scatter chopped parsley on a cutting board or other flat surface. Unwrap cheese ball from cling wrap and lightly press into parsley, until herb clings to surface. (Cheese ball base can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance. Do not roll in parsley more than an hour or two before serving; the parsley will wilt in the fridge. Let cheese ball sit at room temperature about 1 hour prior to serving.)

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November Can Jam | Apple Butter, Times Four

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Remember how I confessed to never having tried apple butter yesterday?

Remember how I said I remedied that immediately?

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Yeah. This is how I remedied that.

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It would be waaaaay too easy for me to take the easy way out and just do one batch of classic apple butter. I mean, you know me by now. You knew that when faced with 14 cups of apple butter, I would make 4 different kinds. Right?

Right.

Of course, I hit the classic apple butter – just some cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove thrown in. Very delicate, not too sweet. I like it. I kind of wanted to eat it straight out of the jar.

Then I figured, a ginger apple butter. Extra-light coloring, a hint of ginger to spice things up a bit. Ginger is like cowbell – you always need more.

And let’s do bourbon! I mean, I have plenty laying around, for pete’s sake.

Finally, I had to play the savory note. Flavor Bible says: rosemary. Thankfully, when I burnt this batch a bit, I just called it “caramelized.”

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Mostly all I want to do right now is eat it straight. But as an apple butter virgin, I ask you, dear readers: how do you eat your apple butter?

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Classic Apple Butter

Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Makes 8 8-oz jars

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Gather:
6 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
water as needed
2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Prepare:
Cook apples over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add water to just cover the bottom of the pan. Stir the apples occasionally and add more water if the apples begin to stick. Cook apples until softened, about 15 minutes. Put through a food mill. Measure puree, and divide into smaller batches if you will make adaptations as directed below. Prepare canner, jars, and lids. Return puree to pot, add in sugar and spices as directed; add in ginger, reduced bourbon, or rosemary as needed. Stir until sugar dissolves and butter becomes thick and begins to sputter. Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude as necessary. Leave in canner for 5 more additional minutes; let stand for 24 hours before checking seals. Store for up to 12 months.

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Adaptations:

Ginger – Skip cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Add freshly grated ginger to taste before canning and processing. I used about 1/2 teaspoon for each 8-oz jar.

Bourbon – Reduce cinnamon by half; skip nutmeg and clove. Reduce 1/2 cup bourbon over medium heat. Add to apple butter before canning and processing. (I used about 1/2 cup straight bourbon for 4 jars of bourbon apple butter.)

(Caramelized) Rosemary –  Reduce cinnamon by half; skip nutmeg and clove. Add finely minced rosemary to taste before canning and preserving. I used about 1/2 teaspoon per jar. Burn apples unintentionally for about 3 minutes before freaking out, complete with wild hand gestures and increased heart rate.

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The Decemberists / Down By the Water

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Daring Cooks | Chocolate Soufflé

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I really felt like naming this post THE ALMIGHTY HIGH-ALTITUDE DOMINATION OF CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE. It sounds a lot more exciting, right? Like Jean-Claude Van Damme might show up in a frilly apron any second, whisking egg whites at high speeds unknown to man until now.

Obviously, I’m dealing with high altitude here in Denver. We live at almost 5300 feet above sea level, which means there’s a lot that can happen to baked goods up here. (Add to that, I don’t bake a lot in general – Brad won’t eat lots of baked goods, and so I try not to churn out multiple dozens of cookies every week, lest every cookie make it’s way to my ass.)

There’s a rumor that baked goods fall at high altitudes, including but not limited to, cakes and soufflés. For a long time (read: before I moved here) I thought it was because there was more pressure in the air up here. It’s actually the reverse – there’s much less oxygen at high altitudes, which means there is much LESS air pressure than at sea level. When there is less air pressure, air bubbles in the batter of baked goods expands much more quickly (because hot air expands, remember?) If the air bubbles expand too much before the cake’s structure (in the flour, usually) has had time to bake and therefore set up properly, then the cake/soufflé will fall once it’s removed from the hot air of the oven.

This is doubly so for soufflés, since there is little to no flour in most soufflé recipes to provide a good structure to hold up. Also, soufflés are underbaked usually, so that the center is creamy. Any souffle, at any altitude, will fall when it’s removed from the oven; it’s just a matter of how much time.

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After google-searching “high altitude soufflé,” I came across this Mark Bittman recipe from the New York Times. I made only one adjustment – instead of whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks, I only whipped them to soft peaks. The purpose of holding back on whipping the egg whites, was to prevent the cake from rising too quickly. If I didn’t whip the egg whites as much as called for, then I hoped that the soufflé wouldn’t rise too quickly before it was baked

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge! Dave and Linda provided many of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

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Chocolate Souffle (High Altitude Domination)

Adapted from Mark Bittman
Makes one 4-cup soufflé or two 2-cup soufflés

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Gather:
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup sugar, divided, plus extra for dish
3 eggs, room temperature, separated into yolks and whites
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
powdered sugar for serving (optional)

Prepare:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside(s) of two 2-cup or one 4-cup soufflé or other deep baking dish(es). Dust the inside with granulated sugar and tap out any excess.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (i.e. a glass bowl over a small pot of simmering water).

Whisk the egg yolks with all but 1 tablespoon of the sugar, until the mixture is very light yellow, and falls in a ribbon from the beater blade. Meanwhile, whisk egg whites in a medium bowl with cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually add remaining tablespoon sugar, until the egg whites have soft peaks (i.e., when you pull out the beaters, small little peaks appear in the egg whites, and they flop over at the top rather than standing straight on their own.) Temper the egg yolk mixture by adding in about a tablespoon of melted chocolate; stir to combine. Add the rest of the melted chocolate, and stir until combined. Then add a large spoonful of egg whites to the chocolate mixture, and gently fold in the egg whites with a plastic spatula. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently. Transfer batter to prepared soufflé dish(es). (Make ahead: cover and store in the fridge until ready to bake.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes for individual soufflés or 25 to 35 minutes for a single large soufflé. Do not open the oven whatsoever while baking. When the outside looks done but the center still looks creamy, remove from oven and serve immediately. Sprinkle powdered sugar over top, if desired.

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Air Waves / Shine On

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Lacinato Kale and Sausage Risotto

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Whenever Brad works too many long hours at work, he ends up eating too much take out and then complains that he is [any combination of the following:] fat, lazy, a whale, a “lard bucket,” or one of many other creative terms he comes up with when he’s sleep-deprived. This week he wasn’t feeling too healthy, so he requested homemade meals to take for lunch.

One thing I will not understand about B is that he always requests lots of meat for lunch, or dinner, or even breakfast. Comparatively, when I really buckle down and want to eat uber-healthy, I tend to focus on eating LESS meat, and I eat more whole grains and beans. Brad, on the other hand, really just wants to eat lots of meat, whether it be multiple pounds of beef, pork, or chicken. Someone (preferably someone packin’ heat ifyouknowwhatimsaying) PLEASE explain the logic behind that. It’s that kind of dude-thinking that will confuse me until I die.

In the end, I have to temper a bunch of meat with carbs, whether it be pasta, rice, or a whole grain. Otherwise, if I just fed Brad straight-up seasoned beef for lunch, we’d be spending $40 on beef for him to eat everyday (that’s assuming beef is $10 a pound, and yes, he could eat 4 pounds of beef in one sitting if I let him. I still haven’t figured out where it goes and we’ve been together 8 years.)

This recipe is from “Salt to Taste,” by Marco Canora. Brad actually says the author is on the current season of “The Next Iron Chef,” but I don’t keep track of that crap. I can’t remember the last time I watched the Food Network, during prime time anyways. I did, however, catch Aunt Sandy making a “cowboy potato salad” from frozen diced potatoes today. In true form, I really did want to jump into the television and whack her upside the head with the giant bottle of vodka she was holding. But that’s pretty normal for me.

Anyways, since the recipe is straight from a cookbook, I won’t be including it here. (My motto is, unless it’s published by the author on the internet already, I won’t type it up for all to see here. If I wrote a cookbook, I wouldn’t want people to freely share my hard work on the interwebz, either, unless they were sending me a $20 check in the mail each time someone read it.) Marco has a great breakdown of how to make the perfect risotto in his book, so it’s definitely worth perusing the next time you hit up your local (independent!) bookstore. I highly recommend you pick up his cookbook, Salt to Taste. I flipped through it upon purchase, and I think I might have to jump on the bandwagon and become one of those bloggers who cooks through the entire cookbook because EVERYTHING in that book looks downright amazing. The next recipe I want to make is actually featured on his website right now. Head on over and check it out. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

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Pelle Carlberg / I Love You, You Imbecile

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