Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Big & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

They are evil and they must be destroyed. This is another recipe in the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Best cookies I've ever made or tasted. Best. Ever. I had to take a nap after eating just one.

3 1/3 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

16 T. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 egg yolks

1 T. vanilla extract (yes, really a tablespoon - I was shocked too)

1 12-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips for the irony)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

2. Beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla until combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the chocolate chips.

4. Working with a 1/4 cup of dough (!!!) at a time, roll the dough into balls (or just drop them on like I did) and lay on two parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced about 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are golden but the centers are still soft and puffy, 17 to 20 minutes.

5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let them cool completely.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

African Kale Soup

Ok, I hesitated on the title of this one.  It was dictated to me by one of my favorite farmer's at the Middlebury Farmer's Market and when I told the kids about it they questioned the use of peanut butter in a dish called "African".  Anybody?  But I Googled the main ingredients and sure enough, a bunch of African Soup recipes popped up.  So, here's to my friend at Neshobe Farms whose recipe earned five out of six thumbs up in my household (one refused to try it at all- his loss).  With my own additions:

1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
2 chicken breasts cut up into small pieces
1 bunch chopped kale
1 minced red pepper
2 shredded carrots
1 Tb olive oil
1/2 c. crunchy peanut butter
1 20oz can crushed pineapple (drained)
1-2 cups chicken broth (depending on desired consistency)

Serve over rice.

Corn Chowder

I recently started a love affair with America's Test Kitchen. I bought their heavy duty "family" cookbook a few weeks ago. So far we've only tried a few recipes (in addition to the magazine size Best Recipes of 2010 that I've been using), but they have been FANTASTIC. STUPENDOUS. If you do everything they tell you, it will turn out perfectly. And there are pictures. Go buy it.

While you're waiting for it to arrive at your house, here is one of our favorites. Bridget and I refer to Brian as The Great Cornholio because the man can put away up to eight ears of corn on the cob in one sitting. To me corn on the cob is too much work for too little pay off. Plus, corn in my teeth is not cool. All beside the point. For three nights after we had this chowder when I asked Bridget what we should make for dinner she said, "I liked that corn soup. We should have corn soup."

10 ears fresh corn, husks and silk removed

4 oz. bacon

1 onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 T. all-purpose flour

3 c. low-sodium chicken broth

2 c. whole milk

12 oz. red potatoes (about 2 medium sized) scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried

1 c. heavy cream

2 T. minced fresh parsley

Salt & Pepper

1. Standing the corn on end inside a large bowl, cut the kernels from 4 ears using a paring knife. (You should have 3 cups.) Grate the remaining 6 ears corn over the large holes of a box grater into a separate bowl. Using the back of a butter knife, scrape any remaining pulp from teh cobs into the bowl with the grated corn.

2. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. slowly stir in the broth and milk, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the potatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and grated corn. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Stir in the remaining corn kernels and cream. Continue simmering until the corn kernels are tender yet still slightly crunchy, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

*I just realized after typing this up that we used the recipe in my pamphlet rather than this one. it called for 6 ears of corn and 2 cans of whole kernel corn. After cutting the corn off the 6 ears, that recipe instructed me to add the cobs to the soup until I was ready to add the cream, then I took them out. Much easier? Maybe. Probably great either way.