Sunday, December 16, 2012

Simple Brownies



I have no idea why this is typing in all caps.  I'm having blog issues lately.  Anyhow, as a teacher, you have many challenging days.  friday morning was no exception, but when i went on my lunch break and saw what had happened, it really put my day in perspective.  hug a teacher.  they will literally dodge bullets for their students. i hugged all of my students goodbye on friday afternoon.

i came home and had 2 glasses of wine instead of one. the problem with wine is that it makes me crave chocolate on a higher level than my normal cravings. i wanted a baked good bad (bad would normally be in caps, but just know that i am emphasizing how badly i wanted a baked good), but i wanted something simple to make.  i found this recipe which is way less involved than my go-t0 (oh crap, i still haven't posted that), but it came out so good for such simplicity.  i topped it with m&M's and chopped peanut butter cups instead of the frosting.  it comes from Allrecipes.com. 

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
 
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
DIRECTIONS:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
2.In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
3.Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
4.To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bacon and Bourbon Brownies

Another recipe I made for the party were bacon and bourbon brownies from Food and Wine.  Sorry I have to provide the link, but it is copy and pasting funkily. I should have used my regular recipe for brownies and added the bacon fat and sprinkled the bacon on top.  They weren't bad, I just much prefer my go-to recipe, which I just realized I have never posted on here.  I will add later!  And my crazy co-teacher gave his notice!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bacon and Bourbon Chex Mix

Marathon training officially starts this Tuesday so this weekend is my last opportunity to be careless in my eating and drinking habits. I think I ate about 3 lbs of bacon at the party last night.  Someone bought this bacon gingerbread house pictured here.

Of the three things I made, the bacon and bourbon chex mix was the most popular.  This recipe is a definite keeper.  What can't you do with Chex Mix? This recipe comes from bettycrocker.com.



1
bag (15 oz) Chex Mix® traditional snack mix
1
cup pecan halves
1/2
lb bacon (6 to 8 slices), crisply cooked and crumbled
1/2
cup packed brown sugar
1/2
cup butter
1/4
cup light corn syrup
2
tablespoons bourbon
3/4
teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Heat oven to 300°F. Line two 15x10x1-inch pans with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix snack mix, pecans and bacon. Set aside
    • In 2-quart saucepan, heat brown sugar, butter and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbly around edges. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; remove from heat. Cool 2 minutes. Carefully stir in bourbon and chipotle chili powder. Pour over snack mixture; toss until evenly coated.
    • Spread snack mixture on pans. Bake 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, to caramelize mixture. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Break into pieces. Store covered in refrigerator.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mustard Lime Chicken


This weekend is my annual Bacon and Bourbon party.  I took the day off from work to prepare the dishes, and I am so glad I did.  It's taken up most of my day and I would not have had this time tomorrow.

I was searching around the internet for some gluten free recipes, and I came across this one from Oprah.com.  I liked it a lot, but not as much as my other mustard chicken recipe. To go with it, I prepared just the rice part from my paella recipe.

In my crazy co-teacher news, he told me to get his progress reports done, he is going to "chill with a six-pack and just get them done."  Yup.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Directions


Combine lime juice, cilantro, mustard, olive oil, chili, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are well combined. 

Rinse chicken breasts, pat dry and place in an 7-inch x 11-inch Pyrex baking dish. Pour marinade over chicken, cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 6 hours. 

Heat grill and cook chicken for 5-7 minutes per side until browned and cooked in the center. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Journey Begins

I volunteered for my running club all summer, and my plan worked.  I was chosen as one of two club members to get a bib for the Boston Marathon.  I am so psyched!  My mom, on the other hand, is acting like I'm running to my death.  She is right, I am crazy.  But, this means lots and lots of eating for the next four months.  Brace yourselves for a lot of carb recipes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beef Dumplings with Gluten Free Scallion Pancakes and Red Cabbage Salad

In the past month, my new co-teacher has gotten arrested on his way to work for driving with a suspended license/uninsured car/unregistered car, and lost his cell phone, all his credit cards, and his jacket (which he needs for the playground).  Not to mention the fact that he is 28 years old and still has not finished his bachelor's (no, I have no idea how he is a teacher.  At least I make more than him). And today, he had the audacity to blast my other co-teacher and say how he and I are the organized ones.  No, I am organized.  You are an idiot.  He said he is at his breaking point, which I'm hoping means he is going to quit soon.

Everyday, I bring my lunch to work, and he says "I really need to start doing that," and eats whatever food is around the classroom, including the pizza that is delivered on Tuesdays.  He will give the kids less slices so he can have some.  Does it just not occur to him to bring a lunch?  I don't understand.  This week I made these dumplings with gluten-free scallion pancakes, and red cabbage salad.  I would normally post these as three separate posts, but I am providing the links because they have beautiful picture tutorials.  Everyone's blog is way fancier than mine, but they probably don't work 2 jobs, run, and write books on the side.

The dumplings, or potstickers recipe comes from Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking via Epicurious.com.  I did not make the dough, but rather, used rice wrappers.



Pot Stickers
Filling
4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
3/4 cup sliced bok choy stalks (1/4-inch-wide pieces)
1 1/2 cups firmly packed sliced bok choy leaves (1/4-inch-wide pieces)
14 ounces ground pork
1/3 cup finely sliced scallions
2 teaspoons peeled and grated ginger
2 teaspoons white rice wine
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of white pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Dough
2 cups Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

6 tablespoons peanut oil
1 cup water

1. To make the filling, first water blanch the bok choy. In a pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the 1 tablespoon salt and the baking soda (if using). When the water returns to a boil, add the bok choy stalks and allow the water to return to a boil. Add the bok choy leaves and blanch for 1 minute, or until the leaves turn bright green. Immediately turn off the heat. Run cold water into the pot, then drain off the water. Repeat.

2. In a large bowl, place the bok choy, the 1 teaspoon salt, and all of the remaining filling ingredients. Using a wooden spoon or 2 pairs of wooden chopsticks, mix the ingredients together, stirring them in one direction. Stirring in this way ensures the mixture will become a cohesive filling. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. The longer it rests, the easier it will be to work with.

3. To make the dough: In a large bowl, place the flour and make a well in the center. Gradually add the water to the well, and use your fingers to combine it with the flour until it is absorbed and a firm dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water. Knead the dough in the bowl for about 15 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 1 1/2 hours.

4. Dust a work surface with flour. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Work with 1 piece at a time, and keep the others covered with the damp cloth. Using your palms, roll into a log 12 inches long. Cut crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Using a small rolling pin, roll out each piece into a 3-inch round. Keep the work surface well dusted with flour as you work.

5. Place 1 round on the palm of one hand, place 1 tablespoon of the filling on the center, and fold the round into a half-moon. Using the thumb and forefinger of the other hand pleat the seam closed, making from 5 to 7 pleats. Repeat to form more dumplings until all of the rounds are used. Cover the dumplings with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out, then repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough in two batches to make a total of 36 dumplings.

6. In a cast-iron frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil over high heat. When a wisp of white smoke appears, turn off the heat and place 18 of the dumplings in the pan. Turn on the heat to medium and allow the dumplings to cook for 3 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the water into the pan and allow the dumplings to cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the water evaporates. Reduce the heat to low and allow the dumplings to cook for about 2 minutes, or until they are golden brown on the bottom and the skins are translucent on top. To ensure the dumplings cook evenly, move the pan back and forth on the burner to distribute the heat evenly and prevent sticking.

7. Remove to a heated dish and serve. Because these dumplings are best eaten hot, serve in batches.


Notes:
These dumplings can be frozen uncooked for up to 6 weeks. Dust them liberally with flour to prevent sticking, then stack them neatly, separating the layers with sheets of waxed paper. Next, wrap them in a double layer of plastic wrap, and then wrap again in heavy-duty aluminum foil and slip into the freezer. To cook them, thaw and allow to come to room temperature, then cook as directed.
These dumplings are eaten with a ginger-vinegar dipping sauce that is as traditional as they are. In a bowl, mix together 1/3 cup red rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup peeled and finely shredded ginger. Let stand for 30 minutes before use. Then serve the sauce in a common bowl, from which each diner can spoon the sauce over a dumpling. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Fairy Hollow

It started in Nebraska, was polished in France, and finished in Waltham, MA, but it is finally here.  My latest book, The Fairy Hollow, is available on Amazon.com. As I was searching for myself on Amazon, I couldn't help but notice some of the other books written by Ramsay's:


New Spanish for the Caribbean: Student Book No. 1 by Pamela Ramsay


A Secret Kept  by P.A. Ramsay




So it looks like Clan Ramsay is doing well for itself in the literary world.