Monthly Archives: February 2016

Fudge Topped Brownies

Chocolate calls my husbands name; at least that is what he says A LOT! I cannot tell you how many times I have found a lonely chocolate chip on the pantry floor while he was grabbing a handful to shove into his mouth when he couldn’t find anything else.

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I just took a pan of these out of the oven and the first words out of his mouth are “can I have one of those; or are they for someone else”? He has seen many a baked good leave the house without getting to have any of them. Fortunately for him I was planning on splitting the tray and only take half of them to work for my co-worker’s birthday.

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I know most people find it easier to use a box mix for brownies and I was definitely one of them. They taste good, they are simple and I have had many homemade brownies that just did nothing for me; until now. If you ever want to try a delicious and easy to make brownie you need to check these out I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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He is still bugging me for one; since I have to bring some of them to work, we have to wait for them to completely cool so they don’t crumble into pieces. We have had a lot of experience with cutting uncooled brownies; I am sure by now you know who I am talking about.

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You probably also noticed I made my brownies half with nuts and half without. I am sure this would never solve a nut allergy but it solves the fact the my son does not like nuts so I try to accommodate this by making sure when I bake I either split the pan or make 2 loaves be it banana or pear bread.

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1 cup of butter – 2 sticks melted
2 cups of sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
⅔ cup Hershey cocoa
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
½ cup milk
3 teaspoon vanilla – divided 1 ½ teaspoon each

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350’

Bake for 40 minutes

put first 7 ingredients along with 1½ teaspoon of the vanilla in a large bowl beat well. If you are adding nuts either add all now or do as I did and after adding batter to 9×13 pan stir into half of the pan.

In a pan or bowl heat or microwave the chips and condensed milk and the other 1½ teaspoon vanilla just till melted and pour over the brownies when they are hot out of the oven.

Let them cool before cutting and enjoy with a big glass of milk or some vanilla ice cream!

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Recipe shared by Julie Cordatos

Beef Brisket

Last weekend was not only Valentine’s day and a long weekend for me (I had president’s day off) it was ridiculously cold here in NH we got to 20+ below 0 degrees Fahrenheit; that is freaking cold! It was breaking all kinds of records here as coldest day of the year in the last I don’t know

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brisket au jus w/melted provolone – delicious

I figured having my favorite go to comfort food; a roasted chicken cooking in the oven was a must have. My grocery shopping list also had some new things that I have been wanting to try making, what a better time than a long weekend. I had picked up the ingredients for a cheese souffle and a chocolate souffle; that’s a lot of eggs.

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A couple of years ago we were out with some friends and they ordered nachos for the table that had BBQ brisket on them and ever since I have wanted to make a beef brisket. So that was also on my list; which at the time when I was forking over the money for a 13lb beef brisket at $5.99 a pound. You can do the math; I was more than a little hesitant but bit the bullet and brought it home.

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It ended up being a brilliant purchase. Remember when I mentioned “coldest day of the year” above. Our heater died on Sunday, well we actually think it went out Saturday night but we didn’t realize it until very early on Sunday morning. My husband did a great job figuring out what the fault codes meant and what we needed to fix it but it was Sunday AND a Holiday on Monday. Long story short; we found the part Monday and he installed it Monday night. SO to help the few space heaters sporadically throughout the house on Sunday I cooked my roaster chicken without the exhaust fan on so it would help keep us warm and Monday that 13lb brisket needed 8 hours in a 300’ oven. Perfect!!!! I felt a lot better about spending that big chunk of change on one piece of meat and it was delicious. I would do it all over again, but I hope it isn’t needed to keep us warm.

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So what do you do with that much meat? First meal was basically a french dip sandwich with the au jus. Sliced brisket on a grinder roll smothered with melted cheese and a side of the cooking liquid. The guys had it for lunch a couple of days during the week and I made the BBQ Brisket nachos as well as slices served alongside some mashed potatoes. The last few pieces I sliced and made it into a soup.

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Beef Brisket

prep time 10 minutes
24-48 hours marinade
6-8 hours cooking

13 pound beef brisket
3 cans beef consomme
2 cups low sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
5 cloves chopped garlic

Combine 2-5 of the ingredients in a large roasting pan, a disposable one works out well. Place the brisket in the marinade, fat side up. Cover tightly with foil and place in the refrigerator for 24 to 38 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 300′

Cook the brisket; covered until fork tender, about 40 minutes per pound. Mine took 8 hours. Transfer to a cutting board, best if you place your cutting board in a rimmed sheet pan. slice against the grain. You can store the sliced meat in the cooking liquid. Serve immediately.

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Make sure to remove as much fat as you can. You can use a fat separator as I did or if you place it in the fridge it will solidify and is very easy to discard.

 

recipe adapted by Cooking at Clark Towers from Ree Drummond

 

Banana’s Foster Buckle

Firstly Happy Valentine’s Day -I hope everyone had or is having a nice day!

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So my vacation was amazing even though I had a sore throat for most of it and ended up coming home with strep throat; never had that before and it sucked! I would do it all again, minus the throat issue.

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Notice I kept my husbands favorite rum in the picture!

 

My job on the boat was galley cook; I think that is what it is called. I had 2 gas burners and an oven, a small sink and limited counter space. I was definitely glad I planned ahead of time. We rented a condo a few days in front of our sailing adventure and I had brought with me quite a bit of provisions. So I cooked up some breakfast sausage, Sweet Italian sausage; crumbled and in links, and a pound or so of bacon. I thought by doing this on land I would not have to stink up the boat. Well it ended up being just a plain ole good idea. We had limited water, limited propane and damn that kitchen was small. I never turned on the oven just so you know. We did have zucchini bread and pear bread but I brought them from my freezer from home.

We didn’t eat on board all the time but when we did have meals, I felt they were pretty darn good. We had spaghetti and sausage one night, I made a frittata for one of our breakfasts. We had a white wine and garlic penne pasta one night. Oh I forgot to mention we also had a BBQ charcoal grill off the back of the boat. While it sounds really cool, I knew it would be kind of a pain but we are here; it is there and we all wanted to grill the beef tenderloins I was making for dinner.

Let’s just say I was right, it was a pain lighting the BBQ; we did get it lit though and it was ready to go but I ended up cooking them in a fry pan on the stove; and if anyone is say diving near Marina Cay off of Scrubb Island; there is a grill rack on the ocean floor somewhere in the middle of all the mooring balls.

I must have missed cooking and baking or this ridiculously cold weather has sparked a fire under me. I have been doing nothing but cooking. Last weekend I made 2 different kinds of chili, I had meatballs and sauce on the stove top and make buffalo wings and 7 layer Mexican dip. mostly for the Superbowl; which wasn’t very super in my opinion.

This weekend I have 4 new recipes I want to make. Hopefully they taste as good as they sound. As I am typing this this morning I have a Banana’s Foster Buckle in the oven. It looked amazing and smells awesome, It should be done in a bit YUM!

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Cake

4 TBS unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350’F grease a 9×9 baking dish; line with parchment grease the paper – I only had waxed paper and was a pain but did the job. If you leave an over hang it help with removal of the bread.

In a large bowl or your mixer, add the butter and sugar combine. Add the egg, vanilla and milk and stir till combined. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until fully combined, it will be a thick batter.

Banana’s Foster

4 TBS unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3-4 banana’s cut up
2 TBS dark rum

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In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add butter and sugar, melt and stir together. add the bananas and cook until caramelized.

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pour the rum and while being careful; catch a flame using one of those long handled lighter. Let the bananas and caramel flambe. Remove from the heat and let cool a bit.

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let there be fire

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, placed slightly cooled bananas foster on top and push them down a bit into the batter.

Bake for about 50 minutes; until golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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It is delicious and tastes best with some vanilla Ice Cream – Who doesn’t love an excuse to eat ice cream in the morning. I read somewhere that Sylvester Stallone eats a pint of ice cream every morning, his logic is so he can burn it off all day. I’ll buy that!

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Recipe adapted by Cooking at Clark Towers from Carla Hall the Chew

 

 

 

Baby Bok Choy

I will admit this ingredient has NEVER been on my radar, not only is it green (my younger self was very opposed to green vegetables) it was totally foreign to me. I will also admit that one of my favorite restaurants in town uses it in some of their dishes and my adult self has tried and actually liked it and it is kind of fun to say baby bok choy – I know you just repeated it, pretty cute huh!

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I usually make a nice dinner for my husband’s birthday, his day is on a very popular dinner date night and we are pretty last minute kind of people so getting in somewhere is usually impossible. we’ve tried a few times. This year’s’ dinner was going to be seared scallops over risotto and he wanted a bitter green. First one that came to mind was baby bok choy. Gosh I wonder why – this is one of the dishes at our favorite local restaurant where we first tried it.

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Searing scallops check, making yummy risotto check, preparing baby bok choy no idea! They are actually quite simple so I wanted to share with you a simple but effective way to maybe bring baby bok choy into your kitchen and not just for a special occasion.

6-8 heads of baby bok choy, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
2 tbs fresh lemon
1 tbs white wine
freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 450’F. in a small bowl add oil, garlic and salt and toss with trimmed baby bok choy. Roast on lower rack, stirring a couple of times until wilted and tender crisp; about 6 minutes. Whisk lemon juice and zest along with the wine and pepper in a small bowl. drizzle over the roasted bok choy and arranged on your platter.

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Having a DVR is a great and terrible thing! I just got back from vacation and had WAY to many shows to catch up on. Thankfully no plans this weekend so I was able to binge watch most of them. One of the shows I just finished watching was Master Chef Junior. I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the 2 nine year old’s in the final round and at the same time how much more there is I need to learn. They know techniques and flavor profiles and are not afraid of any ingredients at age 9. I am far from 9 and there are a ton of ingredients I haven’t yet discovered. The only reason I am mentioning this show was the winner made her entree with baby bok choy and cooked it to perfection plus it wasn’t her first time using the ingredient. They made a souffle to get into the final round; I have always been intimidated by souffles but I will be making one soon!

 

Garlic and Herb Crusted Standing Rib Roast

I realize I am still technically on vacation, we just arrived on St Thomas where we will be boarding our plane tomorrow night. I also apologize for the delay in posting this; our last night in the BVI we did not have WIFI and this is the first I have had to sit and relax a second. Never been a fan of travel days. It’s always a hurry up and wait. I will stop complaining since I am very fortunate to be on vacation.

I thought you might like to see a few cool pictures I took this past week

I just asked my husband if he wanted to stay in an order room service; a big juicy cheese burger. I am craving beef which is why I am sharing this recipe with you’ my mouth is already watering.

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This past Christmas was going to be a very small one just the four of us. Usually we have a full house so this year was completely foreign to all of us. Not in a bad way; it was actually pretty nice. We stayed in pj’s all day some of us even stayed in them for dinner.

Because there were so few of us, I definitely splurged on Christmas dinner. Another funny thing about this Christmas was I didn’t really have a plan of attack. When hosting a large crowd I tend to make lists, timelines and many kinds of dishes to have on hand. We tend to host not only dinner but sometimes lunches, breakfast for the entire weekend. This year I didn’t really have a plan, so the day before Christmas eve I asked my daughter to call the butchers and order a standing rib roast for us. When she went to pick it up, he mentioned that she was very lucky she called when she did; she go the last one and several people had called after her phew dodged that bullet.

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We had the butcher remove the bones for us, and they tied it which I didn’t really want but they asked her if we would like to make it easier for us. I was cool with the removing of the bones and normally would have been fine with tying but I wanted to make this one very herbaceous, yeah that’s a $2 word and no I didn’t spell it right; my daughter will get a chuckle out of this.

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For more intense flavor if you can salt and pepper the roast a day before you want to cook it you should. Salt and Pepper liberally cover and place in the fridge over night. Make sure you have some kitchen twine on hand just in case you need it. This is also a good time to invest in a good quality meat thermometer, essential for such an expensive cut of meat. Even though I owned a thermometer; mine failed me and I threw it away. I will be purchasing a new quality one very soon!

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Rule of thumb is 1 rib should feed 2 people, we ordered 3 ribs because we like leftovers.

1 standing beef rib roast
4 cloves of garlic –  make into a paste
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary – 2 leaves removed and finely chopped
8 sprigs of fresh thyme – 4 leaved removed and finely chopped
2-3 tbs olive oil
1 ½ cup red wine
½ cup beef stock
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

If you didn’t salt and pepper the day before, season the beef all over.

Let the roast sit out for 1 hour prior to roasting. preheat oven to 450’F

In a medium bowl add garlic, chopped herbs and 2-3 tbs olive oil to form a paste. Coat roast and ribs with the herb oil mixture. season with a little more fresh cracked black pepper. depending on how large your roast is you will need to tie up the roast to hold it in shape using kitchen twine.

in a roasting pan, place the rack of ribs with the ends pointing up. Place a remaining sprigs of rosemary and thyme on top of the rack. Place roast, fat side up inside the rack of ribs so they act as a roasting rack. Pour the wine and beef stock into the bottom of the pan.

Place in the bottom half of the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350’ and continue to cook for another 1 ½ hours to 2. You want the internal temperature of the roast to be 125’F for medium-rare. You should plan on basting the roast every 30 minutes or so. If the pan starts to get fry add a little more stock or water.

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Remove to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 30 minutes, if you can wait longer an hour is not a bad thing. Separate the ribs and thinly slice the roast. Serve with the pan juices or make a nice gravy.