Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Crab & Avocado Quesadillas with Mango Salsa

I am so thankful that we've had such a mild winter, but even so, I'm getting antsy for spring and summer.  And more specifically, I'm getting antsy for a tropical vacation.  Alas, this dinner is as close as I'll be getting for a while, but it will have to do.

I've made a lot of quesadillas in my day, but these rank up there as some of my favorites.  The crab and avocado go really well together, and the sweet-spicy mango salsa is a perfect complement.  The avocado is mashed up, then the crab, some Monterey Jack cheese, and a few herbs and spices are mixed in.  So you basically make a "crab guacamole."  Which sounds kind of weird and maybe a little disgusting, but when I tasted it to adjust the seasonings, I pretty much wanted to just grab a bag of tortilla chips and go to town.  The mango salsa comes together really quickly, and this recipe makes more than you'll need - I trust that you can find something to do with the leftovers though (see above comment re: tortilla chips).  These are quick and easy, relatively healthy, and go perfectly with a margarita.  I'm not sure what else you could possibly want?

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Crab & Avocado Quesadillas with Mango Salsa
adapted from Fine Cooking
makes 4 quesadillas

Mango Salsa
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped small
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • kosher salt
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 2 Tbs minced cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup crabmeat, picked over
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp hot sauce (I prefer Choula)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 8-inch flour tortillas
  • oil, for the tortillas.
 To make the salsa, combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.  Set aside while you make the quesadillas.

In a medium bowl, mash the avocado with a fork until it's almost completely smooth.  Fold in the scallions, cilantro, lime juice, cheese, hot sauce, crab meat, and salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings with additional lime juice, hot sauce, and/or salt.

Prehat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Fold the tortillas in half and brush one side with canola oil.  On the un-oiled side, scoop about 1/2 cup of the avocado-crab mixture onto the bottom halves of each of the tortillas. Cook a few minutes per side in the skillet, until the tortilla is golden-brown and the filling is heated through.  Slice into wedges and serve with the mango salsa.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lasagna-Stuffed Portabellos

I'm of the mentality that you can pretty much stuff a mushroom with any combination of meat, cheese, and herbs and have it be delicious.  So one day I was thinking about making a layered casserole/lasagna of sorts, using roasted portabellos instead of noodles, and the idea to just use the mushrooms as a vessel for the filling popped into my head.  And lasagna-stuffed mushrooms were born.  I suppose I could tout these as a low-carb alternative to lasagna, but truth be told, I'm not into low carb at all, these are actually just a vessel for lots of cheese.

While I absolutely love lasagna and it definitely ranks as one of my favorite foods, the biggest drawback is that I find it to be pretty time and labor intensive.  These stuffed mushrooms are the solution to that - quick, easy, and just as satisfying.  If you really want to go the extra mile, you could serve the mushrooms over a bed of noodles and get carb-crazy.  I also had some filling left over, and I spooned it into some button mushrooms.  They were just as good served as a smaller portion, and would make a great appetizer or addition to a spread of Italian food.

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Lasagna-Stuffed Portabellos
Pink Parsley Original
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, divided
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 portabello mushroom caps
  • 1 cup ricotta (part-skim or full -fat)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, plus 2-3 Tbs for sprinkling over mushrooms
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, divided
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • about 1 cup marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Use a butter knife to scrape the gills out of the mushroom caps.

In a small bowl, combine half the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Brush the inside and outside of the caps with the mixture, and roast cap-side down for about 10 minutes.  If the mushroom gives off water, blot it up with a paper towel.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together the ricotta, remaining garlic and Italian seasoning, Parmesan, 3 ounces of mozzarella, basil, and breadcrumbs.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the marinara into each mushroom cap, then stuff with the ricotta mixture.  Spoon about 1-2 teaspoons of sauce over the ricotta, then sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella over the sauce.

Bake 10-15 minutes, or until the filling is heated through and the cheese has melted.  Serve with additional marinara.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Salted Caramel Brownies

There are people in the world who don't like sweet and salty together.  I just don't understand.  That's like saying you don't like kittens.  But I guess these people do exist, and in my opinion, they just don't know what they're missing.  For those of you who do like sweet and salty, then these brownies are for you.  They are the ultimate sweet and salty treat.  You have two main components to this dessert - a thick, fudgy, dense and chewy brownie, and a homemade salted caramel sauce.  Unlike these caramel brownies, these aren't so much caramel filled as they are caramel enhanced.  It's not its own distinct layer - it just kind of melts in the rest of the brownie, leaving them incredibly moist and chewy, with that wonderful sweet and rich taste from the caramel.  Sprinkle the tops of the brownies with a combination of fleur de sel  and coarse sugar, and the sweet/salty combo is reinforced.  And you're in heaven.

I actually made these on a whim one rainy Sunday, and because the temptation to eat the entire pan was just too great, I sent them to work with Joey.  He reported back that they were all gone by lunch, and a few people emailed him to tell him how delicious they were.  I'd definitely call that a success!

The recipe for the salted caramel makes more than you need for the brownies, but I trust that you can find something to do with it:  eat it by spoonful, drizzle it over a brownie for extra caramel goodness, serve it with some ice cream.... or for the ultimate treat:  Brownie - ice cream - caramel- whipped cream.  Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Salted Caramel Brownies
barely adapted from Baked:  Explorations

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp fleur de sel
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
For the Brownies:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
  •  11 oz good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (preferably 60 to 72%), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • splash of Kahlua (optional)
  • 1 tsp fleur de sel
  • 1 tsp coarse sugar
To make the caramel, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan.  Carefully stir them together, trying not to splash the sides of the pan.  Cook over high heat, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 350 degrees, about 6 to 8 minutes.  It should be dark amber in color, but keep a close eye on it, as caramel goes from perfect to burnt and ruined in no time flat.  Remove the caramel from heat, and carefully stir in the salt and cream.  It will bubble up, so be ready!  Whisk in the sour cream or Greek yogurt, and set aside to cool.

To make the brownies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.

Combine the butter and chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl and cook at 30 second intervals, stirring well in between, until the chocolate and butter have melted.  Add both sugars and whisk until combined.  Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

Add three of the eggs and whisk until just combined.  Whisk in the remaining two eggs, vanilla, and Kahlua, and whisk just until combined.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the brownies and use a spatula to fold it into the wet ingredients, until there are just small traces of the flour visible

To assemble the brownies, pour half the batter into the prepared baking dish.  Drizzle 3/4 cup of the caramel over the brownie batter, being careful not to let the sauce come into contact with the edge of dish.  Use and offset spatula to gently spread the caramel evenly over the brownie layer, then drop the remaining brownie batter over the caramel.  Again, use the offset spatula to gently spread it in an even layer.

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.  The brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the salt and sugar  Cool completely before cutting and serving.

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Surprise Weekend in Richmond

As I mentioned in the post last week for Courtney's Virtual Shower, a few of us surprised her with an actual-real-life-in-person visit.  To put it succinctly, it was pretty much the most awesome weekend ever. 

Courtney from Cook Like a Champion, Annie of Annie's Eats, Tara of Smells Like Home, Elly from Elly Says Opa, and I have an email chain, and we've been emailing pretty much daily for almost a year now.  These ladies are truly some of my best friends.  We have seen each other through some pretty awesome times and events, and unfortunately some devastating events as well.  Through it all, these girls make me so happy, and I feel so so fortunate and blessed to have them as friends.

At the end of 2011, we got the idea to fly to Richmond, Virginia and surprise Courtney with a visit before she welcomes her sweet baby girl into the world.  I contacted her husband, Eric, and he was all for it.  The hardest part was most definitely keeping it a secret from her.  She knew he was planning a surprise for her, so it was really funny to hear her speculate and guess what was going on.   But we pulled it off!  Sadly, Elly wasn't able to join us for the weekend, and we missed her terribly.  

Annie connected through Atlanta, and we were able to take the same flight to Richmond.  We both absolutely hate flying, but being able to chat the whole time definitely made it much easier.   Basically from the time I met Annie at the gate until we said good-bye on Sunday afternoon, it was a nonstop gab-fest.  I'm pretty sure the only silence the entire trip was when we were all eating! 

So Eric made dinner reservations at one of Courtney's favorite restaurants for Friday night, and Tara, Annie, and I were waiting at the restaurant when they showed up.  She actually walked right past us, and it wasn't until the hostess was showing them to the table that she noticed us.  We expected her to go nuts and scream, cry, laugh, etc, but I think she was just in shock.  It was still pretty hilarious though.  She was pretty much just like "Hiiiii guys..."  Sadly we didn't take any pictures at dinner - we were too busy running our mouths and stuffing our faces!

So after an amazing dinner, we headed to the hotel.  And then proceeded to stay up way too late talking and laughing.  The next morning, we threw Courtney a mini-shower at a local restaurant, LuLu's.  The brunch was absolutely incredible.  Tara, Annie, and I all ordered the shrimp and grits, which was pimiento cheese grits, shrimp, a spicy tomato-etouffe-style sauce, two poached eggs, and hollandaise.  Seriously so delicious.  And pimento cheese grits:  what a revelation!

After showering Courtney with adorable baby girl gifts and chatting for way too long (notice a pattern here?), Courtney took us out to explore Richmond a little bit.   I had my first Penzey's experience, and it was all I had hoped it would be and more.  We walked around the store, sniffing spices, talking about food and cooking... and I managed not to completely buy out the entire store ;-)

We then meandered over to a chocolate store that Courtney had been wanting to visit.  And Oh.  My.  Goodness.  It was quite literally, chocolate heaven.  Every kind of chocolate, candy, truffle, or fudge that you can imagine was there.  I have no idea how long we stayed there, but it wasn't long enough.  Again, I somehow managed not to buy one of everything, but I definitely did some damage with truffles, chocolate covered espresso beans (I bought raspberry-chocolate, vanilla latte, and Irish cream varieties), peanut butter cups the size of my hand, some caramels, and a cute little Valentine's Day box of chocolates for Caroline.

And then came the part we'd all been looking forward to:  cooking together!  We actually didn't even discuss what we'd like to make beforehand, or even at all up until that point.  So we headed to Courtney's to peruse our iPads, magazines, and Courtney's cookbooks.  It was really cold, and actually started snowing, so we decided on comfort food.  We eventually decided on my Baked Tex-Mex Pimento Cheese Dip, Chicken Pot Pie with a Savory Crumble Topping, and a fancy pound cake for dessert.

After a quick trip to Starbuck's and Whole Foods, the fun really started, and we got to work!  Joey had jokingly asked that if we all cooked together would there be "too many cooks in the kitchen?"  But that wasn't the case at all!  We just all took turns chopping, sauteeing, cooking, etc.  One of two of us would work while the rest of us chatted and took pictures, and before we knew it we were chowing down!

So how ironic is it that when four food bloggers get together, we'd have a massive kitchen fail?  The aforementioned pound cake was exactly that.  As we dissected the situation afterward, we realized that the recipe was pretty flawed, and I'm pretty sure we are all making it our mission to recreate it with success sometime in the very near future.  But we all had a good laugh at the irony of the situation, and luckily Courtney had some Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake on hand so we didn't have to go without dessert.  What a travesty that would have been!  Courtney to the rescue!

After dinner we just sat around for a few more hours talking.  We all knew the weekend was coming to an end, but none of us wanted to acknowledge it.  We stayed up so late, that at one point I wondered if we were going to even go to bed at all.  But finally, we made our way back to the hotel, where Annie and I ended up staying up even later chatting.

The next morning we said our teary good-byes and headed home.  I have been thinking of a way I could describe the awesomeness of the weekend, but I just can't seem to put it into words.  I keep thinking of things to mention, and there's so much more that I want to tell you about this weekend, but I feel like this post is already way too long.  So I'll just say this.  You know how when you hang out with a good friend who you haven't seen in a while, and it feels like no time has passed?  That's kind of how it was.  We literally talked and laughed the entire weekend.  These girls just "get" me.  And I love them all so so much.  We decided that this WILL be a yearly occurrence, and that Elly WILL be joining us next time.  Now to just pick the time and place....

Thanks again to Courtney and Eric for their hospitality.  Congratulations again on Baby C, and we can't wait to see you guys again!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Braised Balsamic Chicken with Tomatoes and Swiss Chard

We've had a fairly mild winter this year (yay!), so I haven't really been craving all the wintery comfort foods that I typically do.  We've eaten a surprising number of salads and seafood dishes, and overall haven't been eating as many soups, stews, and braises as usual.  However, this meal was definitely one that we thoroughly enjoyed (on a 60 degree day in January, at that).

Chicken thighs are braised in a flavorful liquid of red wine, chicken broth, tomatoes, and thyme.  Anchovies are also used, and while that may seem like a turn-off, I'd definitely discourage you from omitting them.  They give the dish a great depth of flavor.  After the chicken is cooked, the swiss chard is cooked in the braising liquid, and a balsamic reduction is added to the sauce just before serving.

I absolutely loved the combination of flavors going on.  The tomatoes and balsamic vinegar create such a great sauce for the mild Swiss chard and the tender chicken.  It was hearty, comforting, and filling, without being overly rich and heavy.  I served this over Parmesan cheese grits, but I think it would also be great with mashed potatoes, polenta, or rice - really anything to soak up the sauce.

Braised Balsamic Chicken with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes
barely adapted from Cook's Illustrated
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat and skin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large onion , halved and sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 2 cups)
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 3cloves garlic , minced 
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes , drained
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 Tbs chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 oz Swiss chard , washed and dried
  •   3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle both sides of chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering; add chicken thighs skin-side down and cook without moving them until skin is crisped and well browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and brown on second side, about 5 minutes longer.  Transfer thighs to large plate.

Pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat from pot. Add the onion and tomato paste and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until tomato paste begins to darken, about 3-4 minutes (if bottom of pot becomes very dark and sticky, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons water). Add garlic and anchovy and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth, and wine, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon. Add red pepper flakes, thyme, and bay. Remove and discard skin from chicken thighs, then submerge chicken bone-side up in liquid, adding any chicken juices accumulated on plate. Increase heat to high, bring to simmer, cover, then place pot in oven. Cook until chicken offers no resistance when poked with tip of paring knife but meat still clings to bone, 40 to 55 minutes

While chicken cooks, trim stems from Swiss chard.  Roughly chop the leaves.

 Also while chicken cooks, simmer balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until thick, syrupy, and reduced to 1/3 cup, 3 to 5 minutes (begin measuring volume when vinegar begins to cling to sides of saucepan). Set aside.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to plate and tent with foil; discard bay leaf. Bring liquid in Dutch oven to simmer over medium-high heat.  Add chard greens and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir about 1/3 cup sauce into balsamic reduction to loosen, then stir the mixture into the sauce.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to sauce, cook until heated through, about 2 minutes, turning chicken once or twice. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chard to serving dish or individual bowls; place c
chicken thighs on chard, then spoon sauce over. Serve immediately.

Note:  I halved this recipe with no problems.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese - Italian Style

When I was a kid, I used to love going to my friends' houses for dinner. Since I was a vegetarian, their moms never knew what to feed me, and inevitably ended up making the blue box of macaroni and cheese. This was particularly exciting for me because my mom NEVER made it. She always made mac and cheese from scratch, and me being a bratty kid, of course wanted it from the box. Obviously I now see the error of my ways, and I am no longer a fan of the blue box, but Velveeta Shells and Cheese remains as my biggest guilty pleasure. Which is why I've never been tempted to try a stove top version of macaroni and cheese. If I had an emergency craving, I would just turn to the box. But this homemade version comes together in just about the same amount of time, and while it's certainly not healthy, at least it's not full of additives, chemicals, preservatives, and artificial ingredients.

And can one ever have too many macaroni and cheese recipes? I think not. There are just so many varieties, you see. So even if you have a really really good classic variation, it's always nice to have other options as well. You know, just in case you have a specific cheese craving. This particular dinner was born out of necessity. I am usually pretty good about sticking to my menu plan, but one night for some reason or another my planned dinner fell through. So as I surveyed the pantry and fridge, I noticed that I had everything I needed for macaroni and cheese, but we were all hungry, and didn't want to wait long to eat.

Enter stove-top mac and cheese. It's embarrassingly quick and easy, and as I'm about to tell you, this recipe is open to so many variations. I got this recipe from Annie, who used called for a combination of Gouda and Parmesan, and also called for Greek yogurt. She got the recipe from Shanon, who used Emmenthal and creme fraiche. And I used Fontina, Parmesan, and Ricotta. I'd imagine you could make more variations as well: Gruyere, cheddar,Swiss, Monterey Jack, maybe even Brie... the possibilities really are endless.

More Mac & Cheese Love
 Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Fonitina, Mushroom, and Prosciutto Shells and Cheese

Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese
Shrimp and Feta Macaroni and Cheese

Fontina Shells and Cheese

Italian-Style Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese 
significantly adapted from Macaroni and Cheese, via Annie's Eats and The Curvy Carrot 
  • 12 oz. dried pasta shapes (smaller shapes work best)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs minced shallot
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp dried mustard
  • 8 oz shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese
  • 2 oz shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk, half-and-half, or cream
  • 4 oz. Ricotta cheese (full-fat or part-skim are both fine)
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta to al dente, according to the directions on the package.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water (I used to always forget to save the water, so now I put a measuring cup in the strainer while the pasta is cooking, so I don't forget).

Return the pasta to the pot and stir in the garlic, shallot, mustard, and nutmeg.  Add the cheese a handful at a time, stirring well between each addition.  Stir in the ricotta, butter, and milk, and stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy and smooth, adding the reserved pasta water if needed.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Crab and Brie Stuffed Mushrooms for Courtney's Virtual Shower

I don't even really know how to start this post about my good friend Courtney.  I'm afraid that no matter what I say, it will sound trite and won't convey how much I adore her.  She is truly one of the sweetest, most genuine, adorable, and all-around-awesome girls I've ever met.  When you have really great friends like Courtney, the distance doesn't really matter so much.  We talk almost every day via email and/or text, so it feels like she's right here in Atlanta sometimes.  But it's extra awesome when you actually get to hang out in real life.  And lucky me, I've gotten to hang out with her three times!

We were roomies at Blog Her Food in Atlanta last year, and of course we stayed up way too late all weekend talking and laughing.  Then, I was able to randomly meet her for lunch one day as she was passing through Atlanta with her husband and adorable dog.  And finally, last weekend, a few of our blogging friends turned real life friends surprised her with a visit to Richmond!  It was a virtual-shower turned real-life-shower, and was awesome to say the least. I'll be posting more about our adventures next week.

Courtney is expecting a baby girl in just a few weeks, so today I am excited to host a virtual shower for my sweet friend.  Below are all the dishes that her friends and blogging-buddies contributed, so be sure to visit their blogs for the recipes.  And stop by Cook Like a Champion to congratulate Courtney and Eric on their impending bundle of joy!  They are going to make the best parents, and I can't wait for them to welcome their little girl into the world!

Amy of Sing for Your Supper has a brand new baby girl herself, so she knows exactly what Courtney has to look forward to!  She mixed up a Virgin Peach Sangria to enjoy.  This looks so fruity and refreshing, and perfect for a baby shower.  I loved drinking mocktails when I was pregnant, and I still do.  I can't wait to try this!

Nikki of Pennies on a Platter made these adorable Cream Puffs with Strawberry-Mascarpone Filling.  I love this play on strawberry shortcake, and I never would have thought to serve cream puffs this way.  So cute!

Annie from Annie's Eats knew that the way to Courtney's heart is through southern food, so she made a sophisticated take on fried okra:  Okra-Cornmeal Cakes with Chevre and Roasted Tomatoes.  I absolutely love everything about this dish, and I definitely plan on making it myself soon!

Cate from Cate's World Kitchen made these pretty Pink Lemonade Cupcakes.  I know the mom-to-be loves lemonade, so what better way to serve it than in a cupcake?  Am I right?

Karin of This Wife Bakes is the cake queen, and she baked up this Blood Orange Marmalade Cake  I have never heard of blood orange marmalade, but I'm pretty sure I need it in my life stat.

Elly of Elly Says Opa made these absolutely awesome looking Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatball Crostini.  Seriously, how amazing does that sound?? 

Our friend Branny from Branny Boils Over made Nutella Swirl Blondies.  Courtney, Branny, and I were out for breakfast at Blog Her Food in May when Branny tasted Nutella for the first time.  Obviously that is a milestone worth remembering in one's life, so these blondies are a perfect contribution.  And how cute are they?  I love individual-sized desserts!

Tara of Smells Like Home went all out with these Sweet and Salty Cupcakes.  I love the combination, and I'm pretty sure I could eat my weight in these.  I also happen to know that Courtney is a big fan of salted caramel, so these are right up her alley.  Great job, Tara!!

Shannon of The Curvy Carrot contributed these gorgeous Mushroom and Mascarpone Tarts  I absolutely adore mascarpone cheese, and anything with mushrooms is always going to be a winner.  Love them!

The lovely Shawnda from Confections of a Foodie Bride made these sweet little Pink Grapefruit Cookies.  They are perfect for a baby shower, especially for a baby girl with their pretty pink filling!

These Strawberry Shortcake Sliders from Ryan of Ryan Bakes are so adorable!  Miniature food is always more fun, isn't it?!  How cute!

 Amy from The Gastronome Tart put together these Savory Apple Galettes with a side salad.  I love savory baking, and these look insanely delicious! 

Kelsey from Apple a Day baked up these gorgeous Raspberry White Chocolate Tartlets.  White chocolate and raspberry go so well together, and I know our sweet mom-to-be would absolutely love these pretty little desserts!

And finally, for my contribution.  When we visiting Courtney last weekend and were walking around Whole Foods, she let it slip that she'd never tried Brie before.  We promptly threw two wheels in her cart, and told her she needed to try it ASAP.  So I knew I wanted to incorporate the delicious and creamy cheese into my dish for her virtual shower.  These crab and brie stuffed musrooms are pretty much the bomb.  Stuffed mushrooms of any sort are always a winner in my book, but stuff them with sweet crab and creamy brie, and you pretty much have the best thing ever.  I know that Courtney would love these, and my only regret is that we can't enjoy them together.  I miss you, friend!  I can't wait to see you again, and I really can't wait to meet that sweet baby girl!!

Crab and Brie Stuffed Mushrooms
Pink Parsley Original
  • 12-16 mushrooms
  • 3 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese (cream cheese can be substituted)
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cubed brie (brie, rind removed, cut into 1/4-inch cubes)
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup lump crabmeat, picked through for shells
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the stems from the mushrooms, chop them finely, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the mushroom caps with 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, and pepper.  Arrange in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet, open-side up.  Set the bowl aside to use for the filling.

In a medium skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat.  Saute the shallot and reserved mushroom stems until softened, 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in the mascarpone cheese, and transfer the mixture to the bowl.

Mix in the parsley, lemon zest, Parmesan, brie, and panko.  Lightly fold in the crabmeat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the filling into the mushroom caps, and bake 15-20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are browned and the filling is hot and bubbly.  Remove from oven and squeeze the lemon juice over the mushrooms before serving.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mushroom-Crusted Turkey Burgers

Last year, Joey took me to one of our favorite restaurants for my birthday.  I had a seared pork loin that was stuffed with cheese and prosciutto and coated in a porcini mushroom crust.  It was insanely delicious, and I vowed to recreate it then and there.  And here we are, almost one year later.... Somehow a mushroom-crusted pork loin morphed into the idea of a mushroom-crusted turkey burger. 

It was definitely a great adaptation.  To coat the burgers, I ground up some dried porcini mushrooms in the food processor (I used my mini-prep for the job), and then coated the burgers with the powder.  I kept the burger itself pretty simple - a few simple herbs and spices and a little bit of the porcini powder.  Seared in a skillet and topped with Havarti and a little arugula, these burgers now top the list as on of our favorite meals.  I love making fun burgers, and Joey said these are probably his favorite that I've made yet.  The mushroom crust gets a little crispy in the skillet, and the earthy mushrooms go really well with the turkey burgers and creamy Havarti.  The arugula gives the whole thing a bit of freshness and bite.  Ready in under 30 minutes, full of mushroom flavor, and relatively healthy - what more could you want?

Mushroom-Crusted Turkey Burgers
a Pink Parsley Original
makes 4 burgers
  • 1 oz dried mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 4 slices Havarti cheese
  • 4 burger buns, split
  • arugula, for serving
In the bowl of a food processor, grind the dried mushrooms until they are a coarse powder.  Reserve 2 teaspoons of the powder, and transfer the rest to a shallow bowl or pie plate and mix in the salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, reserved mushroom powder, scallion, parsley, mustard, and worcestershire sauce.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Form into 4 equal-sized patties.

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat, and add the oil.

Working one burger at a time, coat the outside with the mushroom powder, pressing lightly to adhere. 

Cook the burgers 4-5 minuts per side, or until the meat is cooked through.  Add the cheese for the last minute or two, and continue cooking until it has melted.

Toast the buns and serve the burgers topped with arugula. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

White Bean Salad with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Oven-Roasted tomatoes are pretty much my favorite (healthy) thing ever.  Whenever I make them, it's hard to save them for the recipe, when really I just want to eat the entire pan as a snack.  But it's definitely worth it to save them for this salad.  White beans are one of my favorite types of beans, and they are the base of this salad.  They are mixed with the sweet and tender oven-roasted tomatoes, pine nuts, lemon, and goat cheese.  This is a wonderful side dish, but it makes a great lunch or light entree served over a bed of arugula as well.  

I have had a black bean salad with roasted tomatoes saved for quite some time, but for some reason I thought of turning it into a new salad using white beans, pine nuts, and goat cheese instead of the black beans, feta, and almonds.  It just goes to show that it is incredibly versatile, and you can pretty much adapt it to any flavor profile you'd like.

I've been making more of an effort to prepare interesting and healthy side dishes lately, and this one was a triple success:  easy, healthy, and it made enough for me to enjoy for lunches for the rest of the week!  If you want to add meat and turn it into a heartier main-course salad, then I think chicken sausage, grilled chicken, or shrimp would be great as well.

White Bean Salad with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
inspired by Super Natural Everyday, by Heidi Swanson
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • salt and black pepper
  • 4 cups (2 15-oz cans) cooked Cannellini Beans
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Goat cheese
  • Arugula, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and position the rack in the top third of the oven.  Halve each tomato and place them cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Pour over the tomatoes and top with cracked black pepper.  Cook 45 to 60 minutes, or until the tomatoes shrink a little bit and start to caramelize around the edges.  Allow to cool to room temperature before using.  The tomatoes can be refrigerated in an airtight container (with their oil) for about 1 week.

To make the salad, combine the beans, most of the tomatoes (with their oil), pine nuts, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Gently fold in the goat cheese, and top the salad with the rest of the tomatoes and some fresh black pepper before serving. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Heart-Shaped Cherry-Nutella Pop Tarts

 Last fall, when I made the Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts, I started thinking of possibilities for other flavors.  I've got quite the list going, but this time I chose to go festive for Valentine's Day with cherry pie filling.  And in a fly by the seat of my pants decision, I decided to do half of them with a cherry pie-nutella filling.  Which turned out to be a very wise decision indeed.  While I really loved the cherry filling, the cherry-nutella filling was just over-the-top good. And cutting them into hearts just makes them so romantic, doesn't it?
I used the exact same recipe and method as the pumpkin pop tarts, but instead of cutting the dough into rectangles, I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter.  I re-rolled the scraps to get a few more Pop Tarts out of the batch, and I couldn't tell a difference in the quality of the pastry at all.

Since cherries aren't in season right now, I used frozen cherries for the filling.  I kept it super simple with a little sugar, lemon juice, and a splash of bourbon, then thickened the mixture with some cornstarch.

This was a really fun project, and I think kids would really get a kick out of making these for Valentine's Day. 

Cherry-Nutella Pop Tarts
pastry from these Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts, which are from Joy the Baker

For the Pastry:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbs granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 1 large egg (for brushing the dough)
For the Filling:
  • 12-oz frozen cherries, thawed and drained
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • splash of Bourbon (optional)
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbs water
  • Nutella (optional)
For the Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-4 Tbs milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar and salt.  Add the cold butter and pulse in 1-second increments until the butter is the size of peas.  The mixture should also hold together when squeezed into a ball.

In a small bowl, beat the egg with the milk.  Add the mixture all at once to the dry ingredients and process to make sure that moisture is introduced to all of the flour mixture.  On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough  for a few turns until it really starts to come together.  Divide the dough in two, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes

While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling:

In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and bourbon.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, and mix in the cornstarch mixture.  Cook until thickened, stirring often, 5-10 minutes.  Use a fork to mash the cherries.  Set aside until ready to use.

On a well floured work surface, press dough into a 3×5-inch rectangle, roll the dough out to about 1/8-inch thickness.  The dough should be slightly larger than 9×12-inches.  Trim dough with a pizza cutter, creating a perfect rectangle that is 9-inches tall and 12-inches long.  Using the pizza cutter, cut each side into thirds, creating 9 squares.  Place dough squares in the fridge while you roll out the second piece of dough in the same way. Alternatively, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the pastry.

Brush one set of 9 squares with beaten egg.  This will act as the glue for the top layer of dough.  Spoon about one to two teaspoons of nutella into the center of each piece of dough, and then top that with one tablespoon of pie filling.  If you aren't using the Nutella, just top the pastry with the one tablespoon of cherry filling.  Top with a second piece of dough and use a floured fork to crimp the sides closed.  Use the tines of the fork to create vent holes in each tart.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Let tarts rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes while the oven preheats.

Remove tarts from the fridge and brush the tops with the egg wash.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until light golden brown on top.

While the tarts bake, whisk together ingredients for the glaze and set aside.

Let baked tarts rest on a cooling rack to cool completely, and then use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the Pop Tarts.  Best served within 2 days.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lemon-Garlic Linguine with Mascarpone and Shrimp

This year, Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday.  If you plan to stay home and cook, I'd imagine that you're looking for a quick and easy meal, but still something that's a little more special than your typical Tuesday night dinner.  One that allows you to spend some QT with your honey, and one that doesn't take hours of intense preparation.  I've got you covered.  This pasta dish comes together in the amount of time it takes to cook the noodles.  It is quick and easy, uses few ingredients (most of which I bet you already have on hand), yet it seems fancy.  Like something you might order at a cute little bistro.

You start out by quickly sauteing some shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a little butter.  The shrimp is then added, and since it cooks quite quickly, you basically begin building the sauce immediately.  White wine and lemon juice are reduced, then you mix in the mascarpone (yum), a little reserved pasta water, and the pasta itself.  Let it all meld, then give the whole thing a big dose of citrus with some lemon zest.  And then you're done.  Seriously.  Less than 20 minutes.  A creamy, garlicky, citrusy shrimp and pasta dish.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Lemon-Garlic Linguine with Mascarpone and Shrimp
adapted from Fine Cooking
  • kosher salt
  • 8 oz dried linguine
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh chives
  • lemon slices, for serving
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil.  Add the linguine and cook until just al dente, 7 to 8 minutes.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, pat the shrimp dry and toss with half the lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, melt the butter until the foaming subsides.  Add the shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring continuously, until the garlic is just turning brown, about 1 minute.  Add the shrimp and cook about 90 seconds on one side.  Turn the shrimp, reduce the heat to medium, and add the white wine and half the lemon juice. 

Bring to a boil and cook about 1 minute.  Add the mascarpone, reserved pasta water, and linguine, and toss to coat.  Cook an addtional 1-2 minutes, or until the pasta is well coated and the sauce has thickened.  Mix in the remaining lemon zest and juice, and the chives.  Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary, and serve immediately with lemon slices.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tex-Mex Chicken Stew (Crock Pot)

I don't consider myself to be a "dog person."  I like dogs fine, but I really have no desire to have one of my own.  Plus, Caroline is allergic, so having a dog is just not in the cards right now.  However, I always had dogs growing up.  We had a Doberman for over 10 years, several stray mutts that we took in, and my dad had a Welsh Corgie, Obi (Wan Kenobi).

Obi was a great dog, and my dad's sole companion for several years, before he married my stepmother.  It was with great sadness that he passed away a few weeks ago.  The loss of a pet is always a hard thing to deal with.  Sure, they aren't people, but they are your friend.  Your companion.  Your playmate.  No one feels this way more than my friend Branny, and she is putting her money where her mouth is and giving back.  For every soup recipe submitted to her "Souper Bowl," she is donating $1 to the ASPCA.  I totally forgot to submit this, but she was kind enough to let me turn it in tardy :-)  I am dedicating this entry to Obi, may he rest in peace.

Now as for the soup, this is a quick and easy crock pot recipe.  Tex-Mex flavors are always a big hit in our house, and this was no different.  It makes a lot of stew, and I had plans to freeze half of it to save for a busy day.  But I ended up eating it for lunch all week, and before I knew it, it was gone.  It's pretty healthy, full of flavor, and the best part:  low maintenance!  Just let it cook all day, and then enjoy that night.  As far as toppings go, you could pretty much go crazy.  Cheese, jalapenos, cilantro, avocado, tomatoes, onions, tortilla chips.... the possibilities are endless.  You could serve this over rice too.  And it would be great with cornbread.  There is nothing better on a cold and rainy day than a big bowl of soup or stew.  That is, unless it's cooked and waiting for you when you get home.

Tex-Mex Chicken Stew
barely adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution
serves 6 to 8

Instead of chopping all the vegetables by hand, I roughly chopped them and then threw them in the food processor.  It dirtied an extra dish, but I was in a really big hurry when I was prepping this, so it was worth it to me.

If you are sensitive to or really love spice, feel free to adjust the amounts of jalapeno, cayenne, and chipotle chiles listed below.  This had a little bit of heat but was not overwhelming to us.

This cooks for 4-6 hours on low, but I honestly think it would be fine if you let it go longer than that. 
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs chile powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (more if you like a brothier consistency)
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained (use Rotel if you like extra spice)
  • 1/4 cup Minute Tapioca
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Microwave the onions, peppers, garlic, tomato paste, oil, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne in a large bowl, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.  Transfer to the slow cooker.

Stir the broth, tomatoes, tapioca, and sugar into the slow cooker.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into the slow cooker.  Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.

Transfer the chicken to a large cutting board, and when it's cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces.  If any fat has risen to the surface in the slow cooker, skim it off with a large spoon (this was not necessary for me).

Return the chicken the slow cooker, stir in the beans, corn, and chipotle chiles, cover, and cook on high until heated through, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the cilantro, season with additional salt and pepper as needed, and serve.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Red Velvet Oreos

Is there a cookie in the world that is more universally loved than the oreo?  I dare you to find one.  So what if you combined the beloved oreo with a classic flavor combination - red velvet?  You will end up with one awesome cookie.

I honestly don't know where I thought of this.  I'd been wanting to make red velvet cookies, but most of the recipes started with a box of cake mix, and I don't really like to bake out of the box.  So I was just driving down the road, thinking about cooking and food (as usual), and the idea hit me like a ton of bricks.  Red.  Velvet.  Oreos.  With cream cheese filling, of course.  To me, red velvet is characterized by a light chocolate taste, a bit of tang/sourness from buttermilk, and of course the red color.  I've had a recipe for homemade oreos saved for months, so I figured I could just adapt it to my liking.  Of course I added some red food coloring and decreased the chocolate, but I was stumped a bit when it came to the buttermilk.  Should I just add vinegar?  Add a few tablespoons of buttermilk and hope it didn't affect the chemistry of the cookie?  And then I had another idea:  buttermilk powder.  Many people keep it on hand so they don't have to worry about buttermilk going bad.  Just like powdered milk, you just add water to the powder.  But since powdered milk is often used in baked goods, I figures why not try buttermilk powder?  And it worked!  These cookies are slightly chocolately with that characteristic buttermilky tang.  Fill them with cream cheese icing and you have one addicting cookie.

Now that the Super Bowl is over and it's time to start thinking about Valentine's Day, you should definitely consider these cookies as a strong possibility for a festive dessert.  They would be so fun to send in with you child to school, or just for dessert or a special snack.  They are literally mixed up in minutes, and before you know it you'll be snacking on your new favorite cookie.

These came out a little bit larger than I'd expected, so I've adjusted the instructions below.  I found buttermilk powder at my local Super Target, but I'm sure it's also available at most well-stocked grocery stores.

Red Velvet Oreos
inspired by Retro Desserts, via Annie's Eats and Smitten Kitchen

For the cookies:
  • 1 1/4cups all-purpose flour
  •  5 Tbs unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbs buttermilk powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 10 Tbs (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tsp red food coloring
  • 1 large egg
For the filling:

  • 4 tbsp. (¼ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, chilled
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

In a food processor or the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, cocoa powder, buttermilk powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Cut the butter into tablespoon size pieces, and add them to the bowl and pulse or mix briefly to incorporate.  In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and stir in the food coloring. Pour into the mixture and pulse or mix until a cohesive mass forms.

Scoop about 2 teaspoons of batter onto the baking sheet.  Continue scooping, spacing the dough balls a couple of inches apart.  With moistened fingers, gently press down on the dough balls to flatten slightly.  Bake for 9-11 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Cool the cookies completely on the baking sheet. 

To make the filling, combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt to the bowl and mix on low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  

To assemble the cookies, match them up by size.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a  round tip to pipe a swirl of filling onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair.  Sandwich together with the remaining cookie and press down so that the filling reaches the edges.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cornflake-Chocolate Chip-Marshmallow Cookies

I know these sound weird and random, but please don't click away just yet - they are so awesome!  Don't worry, I thought the same thing at first too.  I recently bought Christina Tosi's cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar, and this is the first recipe I've made from it.  The cookbook is unlike any I've ever read before.  Every recipe is incredibly unique, and while many make me scratch my head a little bit, judging by the popularity of the restaurant, they should all be pretty delicious.  And to someone who enjoys cooking complicated and time-consuming recipes from time-to-time, this book is spot on.  Many of the recipes require you to cook at least one component before you can even make the recipe.  And many call for some obscure ingredients that may be hard to find in regular grocery stores, but can be ordered from Amazon.  So this isn't really a book that you'll cook from on a whim, but that's okay - it gives you something to plan and look forward to.  My birthday is in a month, and I've already chosen my birthday cake from this book.  I am way too excited to make it and am practically counting down the days.  Anything that makes me look forward to turning 30, right?

So when I came across these cookies and saw that they are one of the most popular items on the menu, I knew I should give them a shot.  They do require a "pre-recipe," but it is very quick and easy.  Cornflakes are lightly crushed, mixed with a few other ingredients, and toasted.  That in itself is incredibly addictive, but add that to the cookie dough with chocolate chips and marshmallows, and you have sweet-salty perfection.  The marshmallows kind of melt into the cookie, and the cornflakes give them a lovely crunch.  They are giant cookies that should be split between two people... but I ate it all myself anyway.  And then I ate another one.  One of the best parts about this recipe, however is that the dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 week.  So I baked a few off earlier, and I'm saving the rest for Super Bowl Sunday.  Who wouldn't want a giant sweet and salty chocolate chip cookie that's on steroids for the big game?

Cornflake-Chocolate-Chip-Marshmallow Cookies
barely adapted from Christina Tosi's Momofuku Milk Bar
makes 15 to 20 cookies
  • 16 Tbs (225 g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150 g) light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (240 g) flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cups (270 g/ about 3/4 recipe) Cornflake Crunch (recipe follows)
  • 2/3 cup (125 g) mini chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cups (65 g) mini marshmallows
Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Cream at medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until just combined.  

With the mixer on low, add the cornflake crunch and mini chocolate chips.  Mix until just incorporated, and paddle in the marshmallows until just incorporated.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/3-cup measuring cup, portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan.  Lightly press down the domes to form a flat top.  Wrap the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Transfer the dough balls onto another parchment-lined pan and space them at least 4 inches apart.  Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until the edges are light brown and the cookies are browning lightly towards the center.  As the cookies bake, they will puff, crackle, and spread.

Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a storage container.  The cookies will keep fresh for 5 days at room temperature and 1 month in the freezer.

Cornflake Crunch
makes about 4 cups
  • 5 cups (170 g) cornflakes
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) milk powder (I used malted milk powder because it's what I had on hand, and it was fine)
  • 3 Tbs (40 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp (4 g) koshe salt
  • 9 Tbs (130 g) unsalted butter, melted
Heat the oven to 275 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pour the cornflakes into a medium bowl and crush them with your hands to one-quarter of their original size.  Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt and toss to mix.  Stir in the melted butter.  As you mix it in, the mixture will form small clusters.

Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 mintues, or until they look toasted, smell buttery, and crunch gently.

Cool the cornflake mixture completely before storing or using in a recipe.  It will keep for 1 week at room temperature if stored in an airtight container, or 1 month in the refrigerator or freezer.