Search This Blog

Monday, March 28, 2011

Butterscotch Coconut Bourbon Blondies

Gahhhhh these are good.
But how could they not be when they are loaded with butterscotch, coconut, and booze?!?!
They're like buttah.
But really, they are like butter, because there is one, no, two sticks of butter in them.
And you grease the pan with butter.
And butter is awesome.

There. Insight into the brain of a butter-fanatic. Its been forever since I baked and it reignited a frenzy inside me. Oh, and I just finished my masters thesis, so my brain is mush. Brown sugary, butterscotchy, bourbony, buttery mush. Mmm.

- 2 sticks butter, melted
- 2 cups (15.5 ounces) brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/3-1/2 cup bourbon/whiskey
- pinch salt
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (a scant 9 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
- 3/4 cup coconut flakes

With a mixer, beat the melted butter and the brown sugar together. Add the eggs and beat. Add the vanilla and bourbon and beat until incorporated. Stir in the salt and the flour. Add the butterscotch chips and coconut flakes. Stir to combine.

Pour into a butter-greased 13x9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Don't overbake. You want these extra gooey!

*This recipe is adapted (barely) from and it can be adapted in so many ways... in fact, I added a few tablespoons of peanut butter to this recipe, just because. You could add to and take out any of the extra treats. Would be great with chocolate chips, nuts, dried cranberries/cherries, different booze, etc. If you take out the booze, also remove 2 tablespoons of flour. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pomegranate Lime Fizz Martini

I don't usually post drinks on my site, mostly because what I drink is usually wine or beer... neither of which I know how to make. However,  I've recently started a liquor collection and have been experimenting with mixing up new drinks. I am new to "bar-tending" so if no one else likes this... well, lets just keep it to yourself and let me go on thinking its delicious. :)

- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau/Triple Sec
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 3 pomegranate ice cubes**
- 1 ounce ginger ale

Prepare a martini glass by dipping the rim in lime juice, followed by sugar. Set aside.

In a shaker pour in the vodka, Cointreau, lime juice and pomegranate ice cubes. Shake together vigorously until ice cubes are melted.

Pour into martini glass and top with 1 ounce of ginger ale. Sip, sigh, enjoy.

** I must give credit when credit is due and this is a trick that a dear friend's mother suggested to me. She freezes her pomegranate juice in ice cube trays and then she's always ready to make these yummy drinks. She also uses triple sec and lime juice in her martinis, however, after one I was basically on the floor/spilled the last sip on myself... So, I've adjusted it a bit so that you don't fall asleep immediately after consumption or ruin your white shirt (oops).

Panzanella Salad

I went to the grocery store the other day and saw the best looking tomatoes in months. Summer is approaching! This is an italian salad that is best when made with fresh produce in the middle of the summer, but I jumped the gun a bit and made it in late March. Oops. I used a few recipes as a base (mostly Ina Garten's) and tasted as I went. I ate this and this alone for an entire meal. Delicious.

- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 loaf french bread
- 2 large ripe tomatoes
- 1 yellow/orange bell pepper
- 1/4 red onion
- ~15 basil leaves
- optional items: cucumber, pancetta, feta

- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper

Cut the french bread into 1-inch cubes. Head the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt and the bread cubes. Toss to spread the oil evenly. Heat for about 10 minutes, tossing frequently. It is important to toast these a bit so that they do not become soggy later on.

Meanwhile, chop the vegetables to be the same size as the bread cubes. Slice the red onion thinly. Chop the basil. If using pancetta, dice and saute until cooked. Add all the vegetables together in a large bowl.
To make the dressing whisk together the garlic, mustard, and vinegar. Slowly pour in the oil while whisking. Taste for salt and pepper.

Once the bread is finished, let cool slightly. Add to the vegetables and pour the dressing on top. Toss well to coat. Let sit a few minutes before serving. What happens is absolutely fantastic: the bread soaks up the dressing and you get a bit of a crunch, while not feeling like you're eating crumbly croutons. Serve and enjoy!

* Makes enough for 2 main course servings or 4 salad servings.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

I was at home visiting my folks this past week and we cooked a traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner, including this Irish Soda Bread. It was really tasty and is SO easy to make. Went well with our St. Patty's dinner of my grandma's corned beef, potatoes, and cole slaw. Yum.

-2 cups whole wheat flour
-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal
-2-3 tablespoons sugar
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-3/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1 cup currants

-3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
-1 1/2 cups buttermilk, shaken
-1 large egg, beaten lightly

Stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the butter into bits and mix into dry ingredients with hands until mixture resembles coarse meal.

In a small bowl combine the buttermilk and egg. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture and form the dough into a ball. Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 1 minute, or until it is smooth.

Transfer to a greased baking sheet and form it into an 8-inch round... make the bread higher than you think and less wide than you think. Cut a 1/4 inch deep X in the center of the load.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.

Serve and enjoy.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tortilla Soup

To be totally honest, I've never had tortilla soup until I made it last night. I started thinking about it while in NYC this past weekend when a friend reminded me of the time I made fun of him for ordering it at a restaurant. Turns out, tortilla soup is delicious and now, in addition to eating the soup, I am eating my words. Since I'm running out of days before spring (thankfully!), I decided now was the time to make a hot soup before it becomes so sweltering in Tennessee that I am forced to only eat cold meals for 6 months.

This soup is awesome! If you sprinkle monterey jack cheese in the soup it melts and becomes an utterly delicious treat. Very easy to make and quite flavorful. Oh, and healthy- a rarity for my blog.

Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated, 2005.
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts                    
- 8 cup low sodium chicken broth                        
- 1 large onion (1lb.), quartered                             
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 10 sprigs fresh cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tomatoes, cored & quartered
- 1/2 medium jalepeno
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo
- 1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- a few handfuls frozen corn

In a large stock pot add the chicken, chicken broth, half the onion (2 quarters), 2 garlic cloves, cilantro, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat until boiling, cover and cook 10-15 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through. Remove chicken with tongs and place on a plate. Once cool shred the chicken and set aside. Pour the stock into a bowl through a strainer and discard the whole pieces of vegetables/seasonings. Set stock aside. 

While the chicken is cooking, add the tomatoes, the other half of the onion (2 quarters), 2 garlic cloves, jalepeno, chipotle chile, and adobo sauce to a food processor and process until pureed and smooth. Heat oil in a dutch oven and add the tomato mixture and 1/8 teaspoon of salt and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture turns a brighter/darker/richer red. Add the strained broth to the mixture and return to a boil and cook for 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste soup and add more adobo if needed and taste for salt- I needed to add more salt than I originally thought. 

Add shredded chicken and frozen corn and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. 

Serve in bowls and squeeze a bit of lime into each bowl. 

Garnish with the following ingredients:
- lime slice
- chopped avocado 
- diced pieces of monterey jack cheese 
- tortilla strips 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Autumn Salad" with Sweet Lemon Vinaigrette

I just returned from a long weekend in New York in which I pretty much ate (and drank) myself into a coma. There was bowling, friends, beer, lattes, Double ShackBurgers, sushi, cannoli, omelettes, greek dips, dumplings, oh, and more dumplings. By the end of the trip I could barely move and so we (the other half of my a capella group and myself) decided to make a nice big salad (and ricotta and prosciutto crostini-oops). We were inspired by a salad we'd shared at 'Snice the day before.. here it is. Super yummy, super refreshing, super satisfying.

1 package Arugula
1 handful walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 pear, sliced
1/2 apple, sliced
1 handful dried cranberries
crumbled gorgonzola

Layer all the salad ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Sweet Lemon Vinaigrette
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Whisk together all the ingredients except the olive oil. Slowly pour the olive oil into the vinegar mixture, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper and add more of any ingredient, if needed. Pour over prepared salad. Serve and enjoy!