Sunday, March 28, 2010

3 Bean Chili

Even though spring is here...well sort of, you still need a warm and cozy meal every once in awhile. It is also a pretty fast meal to make. I like to use a lot of different beans in my chili and I like it to have heat! Not so much that your eyes are watering, but just some nice good heat. Also, I think it is important to use good ground beef. I have become cautious about ground beef. You can ask your butcher to ground some for you, or try and buy local ground beef, then you know what is in it.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion diced
1 jalapeno diced
1 lb ground beef
1 15 ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 box chopped tomatoes- I prefer the Pomi boxed tomatoes, so much better than canned.
1 cup water
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon of cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander

Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion, ground beef and jalapeno. Cook until onions are soft and ground beef is cooked through. Try to drain some of the fat from the pan.

Once it is cooked start adding the all beans, tomatoes and spices.

Mix well and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. And of course top with a little cheese!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chocolate Glazed Whoopie Pies

I made these a while ago...I am a little behind on posting. I made them for Valentines day! They were so delicious. I really wish I had one right now! Before making these, I had never had the joy of eating one of these fine creations. They are like a mix between a cupcake and a cookie. I just love the way they look too.

Recipe for pies
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, powder and salt.

Beat together the butter and sugar in a mixer. I think this is a very important part to baking. You want to make sure it gets nice and creamy. Once creamy you can add the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. Mix this well. On low speed gently add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix this until it is all incorporated. The batter will resemble cake batter, it will be very wet.

Line a pan with parchment paper. Drop 1 1/2 tablespoon of batter onto the pan. Make sure to space the cookies out by about 2 inches. They will puff up in the baking process. Once you have the pan filled, place in the oven for about 8 minutes.

Now it's time to make the filling...yum yum.

Recipe for filling
1/2 cup and 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small heavy sauce pan combine 1/2 cup sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring this to a boil. Cook this without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 230 degrees.

While you are waiting for this to reach 230 degrees begin to beat the egg whites. You want to get nice fluffy peaks. Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and mix until the egg whites are nice and soft.

Now you can gradually add the syrup mixture to the egg whites over medium speed. Mix this on medium for about 7 minutes. Then you can add the vanilla.

The frosting should look shiny and really fluffy.

Now you get to make fun little sandwiches. Add frosting to one half and top with another.

You could easily just eat them like this, but oh no! I went the extra step and glazed them with chocolate!

Recipe for ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat the cream over heat until it is almost boiling. Drop the chips into the cream and let sit for about 3 minutes. Gradually stir and soon you will have a nice smooth chocolate glaze. Pour over the Pies and let dry before serving. Ok, I think I need to go make more of these!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Best Baguette

I have tried a few bread recipes here and there. But this is the best by far. I love it. I feel like I could make it at least once a week. It's super easy as well. I don't know if I will ever buy bread again, unless it is from a fabulous bakery. I recently purchased a Kitchenaid mixer....oh do I love it!

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 to 4 1/2 cups King Arthur Bread Flour- it is the best
2 1/2 teaspoons salt

In a large bowl combine the water with yeast and sugar. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes. It should be foamy on top. If it is not foamy then you need to start over. Once it is foamy add 2 cups of flour to the mixture. Mix it well. You can now place the bowl in your mixer or continue to mix by hand. Once the flour is combined slowly add in the remaining 2 cups of flour and the salt. I use the dough hook on my mixer and mix for about 5 minutes. If the dough is still sticky, simply add a little more flour.

Once it is all kneaded place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let it rise for about an hour and 1/2. If you have more time to let it rise then all the better.

After it has risen, punch the dough down and form into a long baguette. I have also split it in half and made 2 smaller baguettes. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I place my pizza stone in the oven at this time, if you don't have one you can simply bake on any baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, let cool and enjoy!

My new mixer!