Monday, March 2, 2015

Chocolate Pie

As I noted a few weeks ago, by her own admission, Mrs. BA is not a pie maker.  A fabulous baker, yes, but she doesn't do pies (it's a crust thing).  Maybe that could be her 2015 resolution.  Cuz, I'd like this pie - for which she wouldn't even have to make the crust from scratch.  From the Pioneer Woman.

And fair readers - take notice - the March Madness Bakeoff has begun.  Stay tuned for winning recipes - you'll remember that Mrs. BA is defending her crown this year!


Chocolate Pie
Prep Time: 4 Hours
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 10

Ingredients
  • 1 whole Pie Crust, Baked And Cooled (or Can Use Oreo Or Graham Cracker Crust) 
  • 1-1/2 cup Sugar 
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch 
  • 1/4 teaspoon 
  • Salt 
  • 3 cups Whole Milk 
  • 4 whole Egg Yolks 
  • 6-1/2 ounces, weight Bittersweet Chocolate, Chopped Finely 
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract 
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter 
  • Whipped Cream, For Serving 

Preparation
Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir or whisk together.

Pour in milk and egg yolks, and whisk together.

Stir over medium heat until the mixture just barely comes to a boil and becomes thick, about 6-8 minutes (maybe less, maybe more; just watch it!) The second it starts to bubble and thicken (note: It should be thick like pudding!) remove it from the heat. Add the chocolate, vanilla, and butter, and stir until everything is beautifully combined.

Pour the pudding into the pie crust (if there is extra, spoon it into small dishes) and place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours uncovered.

Cut into slices and serve with whipped cream!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Rotisserie Chicken

Always with the best of intentions, I will usually buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store when I shop over the weekend.  I have grand plans, sandwiches for me during the week, chicken quesadillas for the boys, or making use of it in tacos.

Sometimes the chicken gets used, sometimes it doesn't.  Here's a post from BuzzFeed with 32 ways to use that rotisserie chicken.  My favorite recipe of the lot is below.  Although Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup would be a really, really, close second.

Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese
(from Damn Delicious)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces pasta shells 
  • 3 cups broccoli florets 
  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 1/4 cup julienned sun dried tomatoes 
  • 6 ounces Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges 
  • 2 cups shredded chicken breast 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

Instructions 
  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Add broccoli to the pot 3 minutes before pasta is cooked through; drain well. 
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Whisk in milk, sun dried tomatoes and cheese wedges, until smooth, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add pasta, broccoli and chicken and gently toss to combine.
  • Serve immediately. 
Notes
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sunken Apple Cake

Both LBA and SoBA have developed an addiction - to the Costco Apple Pie.  And why not?  It's tasty?  Now you all know what a fabulous baker Mrs. BA is - but even she will admit, she doesn't do pies well.  So she lets the fine folks at Costco provide.

For Christmas this year, we did receive a great gift from our friend (and resident babysitter) - a Smitten Kitchen cookbook.  As I have admitted here before, I really, really like her recipes and then I spotted this one, and believe this one would be no different.  I think it's funny that she notes the cake can be consumed at room temperature for up to five days - like it would last that long at the Launchpad.

Sunken Apple and Honey Cake [Versunkener Apfelkuchen]
Adapted from Gourmeted.com, which adapted from the German cookbook Unser Kochbuch No. 1.

Serves 8 in standard wedges, up to 12 in thinner ones
Topping
  • 4 tiny-to-small apples, halved, peeled and cored
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Batter
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (125 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey (any variety you like to eat)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 good pinches of salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Glaze
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • A good pinch of sea salt
Preparation
Heat oven: To 350°F. Coat a 9-inch springform with butter or a nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.

Prepare apples: Place peeled, halved and cored apples cut-side-down on a cutting board. Use a knife to create parallel thin slices, but only cut halfway through each apple so that the apples stay intact. Don’t fret if you cut through, however; you can just reassemble the halves on the cake in a few minutes.

In a bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and 2 tablespoon granulated sugar.

Prepare cake base: Beat butter and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar together in a bowl with electric beaters until fluffy. Add honey and beat until combined. Add vanilla and egg yolks, beating until just combined. Sprinkle salt and baking powder over cake batter, and mix for just 5 seconds, until they disappear. Add flour, half at a time, mixing only until just combined.

In a separate bowl with cleaned beaters, beat egg whites until stiff. Stir 1/4 of them into the cake batter, to lighten it a little. Fold in the rest in three additions. It will seem impossible to fold in at first because the batter is so stiff, but it will loosen with careful folding. Only fold the last addition of egg whites until it has mostly disappeared (a couple faint streaks of egg white are fine).

Spread cake batter in prepared cake pan, smoothing the top. Arrange apple halves facedown over the cake batter. To warn, 4 tiny/small apples will definitely fit over the cake batter. When I made it with 4 small-almost-medium apples, I could only fit 3 1/2 of them. No need to press the apples into the batter. You can pour any extra lemon juice and sugar in the bowl over the apples.

Bake cake: 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let rest on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then cut around the cake to make sure it’s not sticking to the pan at all, and unhinge the sides. Let cake cool completely. You can store it at room temperature at this point, or after you add the honey, for up to 5 days 3 days at room temperature. After that, a fridge is best for longevity. The cake is lovelier on day 2 than day 1.

Before serving, if you’d like the glaze to look glossy, or whenever the cake is cool, if you don’t mind if the honey sinks into the cake: Warm 1/4 cup honey and a good pinch of sea salt until it liquefies to the point where it makes a thin glaze — this will take less than 30 seconds. Brush honey-salt mixture over cooled cake.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas

The other day, I had some bananas that were past their prime and was going to make smoothies for LBA and SoBA.  I didn't really have any other good smoothie fruit in the house, other than a can of pineapple.  Presto, pineapple and banana smoothies.  But neither of them could guess the pineapple was in there with the banana.

Then I found this recipe from The Pioneer Woman and I am again reminded how much I love good pineapple and need to find more ways to get it into the things we eat more regularly.  Granted, this recipe is WAY more involved than Mrs. BA or I tend to get when making quesadillas for the boys, but one could probably substitute canned pineapple (Pioneer Woman uses fresh here) and rotisserie chicken (she cooks boneless breasts for these).  We also tend to tone down the heat at the launchpad and would probably hold off on the jalapeno.

Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Quesadillas
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 6

Ingredients
  • 8 whole Flour Tortillas
  • Butter or Margarine
  • 2 cups Grilled Pineapple, Sliced 
  • 3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts 
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste 
  • 3 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated 
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Sliced Cilantro 
  • 3 Tablespoons Barbecue Sauce 

Instructions
(To grill pineapple: cut wedges, stick on skewers, and grill over low heat. Cut into slices.)

(To pound chicken, place inside a Ziploc bag and pound with a mallet or large can to flatten to uniform thickness.)

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and Cajun spice (or cumin/cayenne, etc.) Drizzle olive oil on a grill pan and grill on both sides until done, brushing with barbecue sauce. Set aside and slice into very thin slices.

Warm griddle over medium heat and put sizzling butter or margarine in the pan. Slightly warm and toast tortillas on both sides, then remove from griddle and set aside.

To assemble, sprinkle four browned tortillas with grated Monterey Jack. Arrange chicken slices evenly over the surface. Add pineapple slices and jalapeno slices. Sprinkle on cilantro. If desired, drizzle extra barbecue sauce over the top. Add second browned tortilla on top of each one. (You'll have four complete quesadillas at this point.)

Add to oven to warm, or back to skillet to warm, until cheese is melted. Cut each quesadilla into six wedges. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, and lime wedges.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Mini Blueberry Galettes

First, this Public Service Announcement - Today is Groundhog Day / Candlemas Day and you should have eaten crepes today.  Did you?

Before you know it, it will be time for Mrs. BA's March Madness Bakeoff!  This could make a good showing.  From the Pioneer Woman.


Mini Blueberry Galettes
Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 8

Ingredients
  • 1 package Pie Crust (2 Rounds Of Dough) 
  • 2 cups Blueberries (generous) 
  • 1/4 cup Sugar, Plus Extra For Sprinkling 
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch 
  • 1 whole Lemon 
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract 
  • Pinch of Salt 
  • 1 whole Egg 
  • 1 Tablespoon Water 
  • Whipped Cream, For Serving 

Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Stir together blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, juice of half the lemon, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Set it aside once it's all combined.

Unroll the two discs of dough. Using a 5-inch round pastry cutter (or you can trace a knife around a 5-inch bowl) cut three rounds of pastry from each disc. Re-roll the scraps and cut 2 more. Place them on 2 baking sheets lined with a baking mat or parchment (4 rounds each pan). Evenly distribute the blueberry mixture between the six discs (approximately 1/4 cup per round).

Gently fold the over the edges of each crust, folding the dough in on itself to create a small rim of crust.

Make an egg wash by beating together the egg and water. Brush edges of each pie with the egg wash and sprinkle the crust with sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow pies to sit on the pan (they will leak a little juice while baking, but this is fine!) for 5 minutes. Remove to a platter and allow to cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'm Baaack!

Missed me?  Yes, I've been away from the blog for a while - I've missed Recipe Mondays for the past two weeks.  The Brave Astronaut and the clan had a great Christmas season and I hope you had the same.  2015 has gotten off to a good start - though I was sick for awhile, including a sinus infection and then a bad reaction to the anti-biotics I was on.

This past Saturday, Mrs. BA and I went to an Anniversary Gala at the American Legion here in town - it was a grand affair and we had a great time.  This Saturday will be Casino Night at LBA and SoBA's school, where I will be tending bar.  It's an eighties theme and I am making four signature cocktails for the evening.  One is a distinctly eighties drink and the other three are ones that I found on the Internet with eighties-themed titles.

Which one would you like?

Purple Rain
  • Vodka
  • Raspberry Liqueur
  • Blue Curacao
  • Lime juice
  • Grenadine
  • Pineapple juice
  • Garnish: purple grape
Long Island Iced Tea
  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part tequila
  • 1 part rum
  • 1 part gin
  • 1 part triple sec
  • 1 ½ parts sweet and sour mix
  • Splash of coke
  • Garnish : lemon wheel 

Pretty in Pink
  • ½ oz vodka
  • 1 oz pineapple rum
  • 1 oz Blue Pucker schnapps
  • 1 oz peach schnapps
  • ½ oz grenadine
  • ½ oz sweet and sour mix 

Thriller!
  • 1 ½ oz brown liquor (whiskey / bourbon)
  • 1 oz green ginger wine
  • 1 oz orange juice

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bust out the Slow Cooker!

Is is one of Mrs. BA and my New Year's Resolutions to be better about menu planning and dinner prep.  To that end I think the slow cooker may be getting a workout during these winter months.  And I need to shop smarter at the grocery store.

Here's a recipe I spotted a few weeks ago in an article (of several crockpot recipes) from the Huffington Post.  We will see if we can get this into the rotation.  On the menu this week, so far - Taco Tuesday and Baked Potato Soup one night, then pizza / movie night on Friday, as usual.

Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken
via Recipe Girl
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 4 hr

Ingredients
  • 3 to 4 pounds of bone-in chicken pieces (drumsticks, breasts, thighs) 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced 
  • 8 large garlic cloves, halved 
  • several sprigs fresh thyme 
  • 1 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc is good) 
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 

Directions
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium- high heat. Cook the chicken, skin-side-down, until the skin turns golden brown (about 4 minutes).
  2. Combine the onion, garlic and thyme in a 5 to 6-quart slow cooker and season with salt and pepper. Top with chicken, skin-side-up. In a small bowl, whisk together wine and flour until smooth and pour it over the chicken and into the slow cooker. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender- 3 1/2 hours on HIGH or 7 hours on LOW.
  3. Serve chicken topped with sauce. Serve over rice, couscous, polenta or potatoes. 
Tips
  • This recipe is gluten-free adaptable- substitute gluten-free flour or tapioca starch for the all-purpose flour.
  • A delicious accompaniment to this dish is polenta. Prepare instant polenta as directed, substituting milk for 1/2 of the water and adding in 1 tablespoon of butter and a spoonful or two of cream cheese. 
  • If you would prefer to cook this in the oven, brown the chicken in a Dutch oven, then add remaining ingredients plus 1 cup chicken broth. Cover and cook at 350 degrees F. until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 40 minutes.