Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sangamon Cooks Calendar Giveway

I have created a 2011 Sangamon Cooks calendar. Find a recipe on Sangamon Cooks that you would like to try out in 2011, put a comment on the recipe and you will be entered to win a 2011 Sangamon Cooks calendar. All entries must be in by December 30th. The winner will be announced on December 31st! Good luck!

*Mylene you are the winner of the calendar. You should receive it in the mail soon!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

My grandma made these cookies every Christmas. They are my favorite Christmas cookie. I was never a real fan of sugar cookies, but man do I love these cookies. My grandma, would sometimes put nuts in her cookies, but I opted out this time. I think they taste like a mini brownie. My grandma was the best baker, I spent many Saturdays at her house baking. We would make donuts, chocolate chip cookies, scones (which we never perfected), popovers, banana bread, cakes and many many other things. She would never make something from a box, that was a serious sin! I will always remember her when I make these cookies! miss you grandma!

1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder - Droste Cocoa is my favorite
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar - confectioners sugar

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees

Mix all of the dry ingredients together - flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

Put the sugar and butter into a bowl.

Mix on medium speed for about 3 minutes... I love my Kitchenaid!

Add the eggs one at a time, mix until creamy.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. The dough will be very thick.

Roll the dough into balls. Roll the balls in the powdered sugar and place on a buttered baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy the deliciousness!

Winter Salad

This is a great winter salad and it has such nice colors. Sometimes in the winter you need a break from the stews, braises and soups. A nice crisp salad is often refreshing. Or maybe in the new year you will be looking for many salads to eat, I know I will....I have been eating every cookie in sight. This recipe is very general.

beet - 1/2 diced
radish - 4 or 5 slices
bacon - 1 or 2 slices chopped
sliced almonds
goat cheese
salt & pepper
olive oil

Toss everything in a bowl and enjoy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sloppy Joes and Coleslaw

I know what you are thinking, wow Sarah, do I really need a recipe for Sloppy Joes. Well you do! The other night I was talking with Chris and told him that I had some ground beef in the fridge and wasn't sure what to make with it. I didn't want to make chili, cause I made 2 pots of soup the day before and I didn't want to make hamburgers. He was like why not Sloppy Joes. I thought hmmm, that sounds kind of good. I don't think I have ever made them and the last time I had one it was most likely made from a can. Well I think we should bring back homemade Joes because they are delicious and easy and not that bad for you! I didn't even take pictures of the process because I really didn't think I would want to post it, but I do.

Sloppy Joes
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion diced
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 can of black beans
1/2 green pepper diced
1 cup tomato sauce
2-3 tsp diced chipotle in adobo sauce- this makes it smokey and a little spicy!
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 buns- I used mini kaiser rolls- i don't like big buns :)

1/2 cup yogurt
2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cabbage chopped
1 carrot - I use my vegetable peeler to get thin strips
1/2 green pepper diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Brown the beef with the onion for about 8 minutes or until cooked through. Pour off the excess liquid. Add ketchup, beans, green pepper, tomato sauce, chipotle in adobo and cumin. Bring this to a boil and then let it simmer for about 5 minutes or until nice and thick. Season with salt and pepper.

For the slaw, combine the yogurt, cider vinegar and hot sauce. In another bowl combine cabbage, carrots and green peppers. Pour the yogurt sauce on the vegetables and combine well. Season with salt and pepper.

Feel free to top your Sloppy Joe with some slaw! yum!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I love whoopie pies! There I said it. jejeje. I discovered pumpkin whoopie pies at the Thursday farmers market in Daley plaza. It was my little treat to take a break from work and get one of these delicious little treats! Well the summer is gone, and so is the farmers market :( I thought, why not make my own little pumpkin treats! This would be a great recipe if you are having a lot of people over for the holidays!

Recipe- adapted from Martha Stewart Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

makes about 14 whoopie pies
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree - I think I used 1 large can - I feel guilty using a can of pumpkin considering I have 2 large pumpkin sitting on my front porch. oh well!
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 stick butter
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar - the original recipe called for 3, but I didn't want to use that, so feel free to add more if it is not sweet enough for you.
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Set this aside.

In another bowl mix together the sugar and oil.

Add the pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla to this mixture. Mix it well. I used my mixer for this, but you could do it by hand as well. Once this is mixed add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture.

Use a 1/4 cup measuring scoop to plop these onto the parchment paper. You can make them as big or small as you want. Make sure to space them at least 1 inch apart. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Set the pies aside to cool and start to whip up the frosting.

For the frosting, mix the butter and cream cheese well. Then add the confectioners sugar and vanilla.

Now you get to do the fun part, frost them! Put a little frosting on one side and then top it with another pie! Then bite into one of these delicious creations. I store my extras in the refrigerator and then you can set them out 10-15 minutes before you plan to serve them.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chicken & noodles

Chicken & noodles is one of my all time favorites. My grandma used to make it for me all the time. I never learned how she actually made it, but I think my version is close. Her version was thicker and we would pour it over homemade mashed potatoes. Talk about carb overload, but it was so delicious. My grandma was also a great baker, she never bought baked goods and never ever ever made something from a box, that was forbidden. I spent many weekends baking things with my grandma. When I make this dish I think about her and what an amazing women she was.

1 whole chicken cut up
2 carrots diced
2 stalks celery diced
1 onion diced
2 turnips diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
1 carton chicken stock

noodles- you don't have to make your own, but they are so delicious and super easy!
4 eggs
2 cups flour

directions for the noodles follow the soup recipe

Place the chicken in a large pot and fill it with water until the chicken is covered.

Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes.

Take the chicken out and start to remove the meat from the bones and skin.

Shred the chicken as you take it apart. Then set the chicken aside. Discard the water from the pan that you cooked the chicken in (you could make this into your own stock - but I am lazy when it come to bones). Don't remove the brown bits from the pan.

Melt the butter in the pan.

Gather up your cut veggies and add them to the butter when it is melted.

add the salt, turmeric, pepper and thyme. Cook veggies until they are soft about 10 minutes.

add the stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes.

add the chicken.

Now it's time to add the most delicious part of this recipe...the noodles. yum yum yum. You can cheat and use frozen Reames Noodles, they are pretty close to home cooked. Let the noddles cook for 2-3 minutes and then you are ready to eat! This is seriously the best chicken & noodles I have ever made. I think part of the reason is the meat, we get our chicken from Cedar Valley Farm and it is so delicious!

Directions for the noodles

Put the flour in a bowl, create a small hole in the middle of the flour.

add the eggs- only 2 are shown here, but make sure to do 4. For this recipe, it is always 2 eggs per 1 cup of flour. Feel free to make a bigger batch - for the soup you will only need half of this recipe, but you can easily put the other half in the freezer and use it another time.

Get your hands in there and start working the flour and eggs into a ball.

Once it is in a ball, place it on a floured surface and knead, knead, knead it.

Eventually it will become smooth.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface. You'll want to roll it out pretty thin. Make sure to keep the surface floured, so you will be able to get the noodles up off the surface.

I used a pizza wheel to cut stripes in the dough. You can use any type of knife.

For this recipe you want the noodles shorter so cut them horizontal as well. At this point you can either cook them or wrap them in parchment paper and put in the freezer for another time. You will never want to buy egg noddles again!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Swiss Chard

Every time I go to the farmers market I look at the swiss chard and think, wow that is beautiful. I have never bought or cooked it until this past Sunday. I never knew what to do with it. I did a little research and found out that it is really good for you and very high in vitamin K...who knew?

3 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 pounds Swiss Chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves- minced
3 tablespoons sliced almonds.
salt & pepper

Wash the chard in many batches of water.

Cut the stems off and set to the side. Fill up a large bowl with cold water, set this aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the chard leaves for 1-2 minutes.

Put the chard into the bowl of cold water. Let it rest for a few minutes. Squeeze all the water out of the chard and then chop it coarsely. Heat oil in a pan and cook the chard stems for 1-2 minutes. Add in the sliced almonds and garlic. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Add the chopped greens and the cranberries. Make sure everything is coated in the oil and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper! Hope you enjoy this tasty dish- feel free to substitute the almonds and cranberries for any type of dried nuts and fruit.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pasta Bolognese

Growing up I thought pasta bolognese was ground beef with red sauce from a jar tossed onto spaghetti. Boy, was I wrong. Over the past years, I have always made my own red sauce for quick meals, it is so easy. But now I know about this amazing dish called bolognese. I am sure we have all had a meat sauce where the meat tasted tough or like rubber. Well in this recipe the meat is nice and soft because you cook the meat in milk! I know it sounds strange, but it is delicious.

adapted from Cooks Illustrated, Weeknight Pasta Bolognese
1 green pepper- diced into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion- diced
2 roma tomatoes- blanch tomatoes to remove skins and then dice.
1/2 box pomi chopped tomatoes- or a 1 can of chopped tomatoes.
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves- diced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound pork sausage
1 1/2 cups milk- you can use skim or whole
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound pasta- you can use spaghetti, I used penne, that was all we had at the time.

Heat butter in 12 inch skillet over medium high heat.

Add pepper and onion. Cook until vegetables are soft. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant about 1 minute.

Add diced roma tomatoes (I was being lazy and didn't blanch the skin off my tomatoes, but next time I will), cook for another minute or so and then add in the meat. Break the meat up into small pieces as it cooks.

Now it is time to add in the milk, I know this sounds really strange and it even looks strange, but trust me it is the key to this recipe. Keep breaking up the meat into 1/2 inch pieces. Continue to simmer for about 12-15 minutes. Cook it long enough for all the liquid to evaporate. Stir in tomato paste and tomatoes, and pinch of salt & pepper.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 12-15 minutes.
*added note, at this point you can also skim off some of the fat that surfaces, or you can stir it back in!

In the meantime cook your pasta. I prefer mine al dente, just cook how you normally do. When pasta is ready, place some in a bowl and top it with the sauce, of course you can always add a little freshly grated Parmesan! This is a great meal for leftovers as well. I brought it for lunch the next day. It was so fab, everyone at work was drooling as I ate it over a lunch hour meeting.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pulled Pork

Ok, one of the main problems I am having lately is the lighting in my new kitchen. It is horrible! I was spoiled in our loft because we had a huge south facing window, so I had great light all the time. I am going to invest in a great hot shoot flash for my camera. So for now, you will have to do with these poorly lit photos :( Moving on to the food, which really is more important. One of Chris's favorite things to eat is pulled pork. When we got a pork shoulder in our recent CSA I knew exactly what to do with it....smoke it! I made a cabbage slaw to eat along side (recipe coming soon)

based on cooks illustrated "barbecued south carolina pulled pork"

3 tablespoons dry mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 4-5 pound boneless pork shoulder- I used bone-in and it was fine
4 cups wood chips.

sauce ingredients
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine the dry mustard, brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. Make sure to mix it up well and eliminate any lumps. Dry the pork and then rub the spice mixture all over it.

Now you will need to soak the wood chips in water for about 15 minutes.

Once they have soaked, wrap them up in foil.

and cut slits on the top. Now it is time to place it in your grill. We have a gas grill, you will need to pull up the grate and put it under.

Turn all of your burners to high and heat the grill with the top down until the wood chips start to smoke about 15 minutes. Then you can clean the grill and brush oil on the grate. Leave the primary burner on high and turn off the other burners. Place the pork on the cooler side of the gill. Close the lid and barbecue for about 2 hours.

After it has cooked for about 2 hours on the grill, transfer the meat to a roasting pan. I used my Le Creuset. Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Move the rack to the lower middle position.

Whisk together mustard, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Mix it till it is smooth. Brush 1/2 cup of the sauce onto the pork. Bake the pork covered for about 2-3 hours or until you can insert a fork with ease. Let the pork rest for about 30 minutes and when it is cool begin to shred it with a fork. Discard the fat and then toss the pork with the remaining sauce!

Top it on your favorite bun, I chose brioche for this meal.