It’s been a slow week, and I almost thought about not posting since I didn’t think I had much to talk about. Fortunately, I remembered a couple of recipes that I hadn’t posted yet. (Though they weren’t on my to-blog list. Curious.) First, I wanted to tell you about the latest Starbucks deal. I got an e-mail from them stating that from now through February 4, they will offer breakfast sandwiches for $2 with a beverage purchase. If you often go to Starbucks for a morning beverage, this sounds like a pretty cheap way to get a bite of breakfast.
On to the recipes! I have recipes for a dinner entree, cookies, and a seasonal cake. The entree recipe was for chili tamale bowls and comes from the Rachael Ray show. The recipe was easy to follow, delicious, and hearty. Since I don’t drink or cook with alcohol, I just added an extra cup of stock in place of the beer. On a side note, this was my first time trying polenta, and I am hooked. You can certainly expect to see more recipes featuring it in the future.
Chili Tamale Bowls (from Rachael Ray)
3 stemmed, seeded ancho chilis
5 c. chicken stock
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb. ground pork
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. coriander
1 tbsp. smoked, sweet paprika
2 pinches cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 finely chopped onion
4 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 c. milk
1 c. quick-cooking polenta
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. honey
2 c. shredded pepper jack
1/4 c. tomato paste
1. Place the anchos in a small pot with 2 1/2 c. stock; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let soften for 7-8 minutes.
2. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork, crumble it, and let it brown. Season the pork with the cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, cloves, and salt and pepper (to taste). Add the onions and garlic to the meat and cook til tender, 5-6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, incorporate it, and add 1 c. stock to the pan.
3. Puree the stock and softened anchos, then stir this into the chili. Reduce the heat to low.
4. In a pot, bring 1 1/2 c. stock and the milk to a boil, then whisk in the polenta and whisk about 2-3 minutes to thicken. Stir in the butter and honey and season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the polenta in individual bowls and form a well in the center of each. Fill the wells with chili and top with the cheese.
We had a church fellowship last night, which gave me the opportunity to try out a new cookie recipe. They’re called Chocolate Oatmeal Drops, and are from Dorie Greenspan’s book that I read early last year (and loved!). The nice thing about these cookies is that you don’t need a mixer to make them. Instead of creaming the butter and sugar together, you’ll melt together butter, brown sugar, and some chocolate. Then you’ll just stir in the rest of the ingredients, scoop them out, and pop them in the oven. I had volunteered to bring 2 dozen cookies, so I got enough ingredients to make a double batch (since I didn’t know how many one batch would make, I wanted to be safe rather than sorry). No need to worry about that! I don’t know the exact count, but I think I got 5 or 6 dozen cookies. Luckily, they’re delicious! They’re dark and fudgy with a nice chew thanks to the oatmeal. My husband cannot stop devouring them, and that’s always a good sign. Since they’re so easy to make, you might want to keep them in mind for the next time you volunteer to bring cookies for an event.
Chocolate Oatmeal Drops (from Baking: From My Home to Yours)
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. diced butter
1 tbsp. water
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
9 oz. coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
1. Position your oven rack to divide the oven in thirds; preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
2. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl, sprinkle it with the water, then add the brown sugar, followed by the chocolate. Stir occasionally til melted. Don’t let it get so hot the butter separates, and don’t worry if it looks grainy.
3. Remove the chocolate mix from the heat and whisk in the eggs one at a time; the mix will look shiny. Whisk in the dry ingredients, stirring only til they disappear into the dough. Stir in the oats. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
4. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, til the cookies are dark around the edges and just slightly soft in the middle. Cool on wire racks.
Even though the chili bowls and the cookies were both delicious, my favorite recipe from this past week has to be the Grapefruit Pound Cake. The recipe comes from the Jan/Feb issue of Cooking Light (read: semi-healthy) and was just what I needed. Before we left for vacation, I’d bought 5 pounds of grapefruit for $1. I hadn’t tried them since I was a kid, so I figured that – at that price – I could give them another go with my somewhat matured palette. Happily, I’ve discovered that I like them as long as I don’t eat the bitter pith (which is probably why I didn’t like them as a kid). I also remembered having seen a grapefruit cake recipe in a magazine and thought it would be fun to try it out. Personally, I am a HUGE fan of pound cake, but I’ve never made one, and I haven’t even had one recently. (I don’t generally buy them at the store, and it seems to be a dying practice to make them at home.) This one was a great way to get back into them! Eaten warm, there’s a lot of grapefruit flavor in the cake. Once the cake cools, the crumb gets dense and firm (just like I like my pound cake) and the crust gets a nice crunch to it. Unfortunately, the grapefruit flavor fades as the cake cools, but they planned for that by having you add an easy glaze made from grapefruit juice. I haven’t tried it yet (and it’d be best to do with an un-glazed cake), but I love the idea of sauteing it in a pan with some butter and topping it with a few sections of broiled grapefruit.
Grapefruit Pound Cake (from the January/February 2012 issue of Cooking Light)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
5/8 tsp. salt
1 2/3 c. sugar
6 tbsp. softened butter
6 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 c. canola oil
2 tbsp. grapefruit zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. grapefruit juice
1 1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 10 inch tube pan with Pam and flour. In a small bowl, combine the flour baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt, stirring well. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar, butter, and cream cheese on high til light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat in the oil, zest, and vanilla.
2. Alternate adding the flour mix and milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour mix. Spoon the batter into the pan. Bake for 70 minutes or til a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached to it. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto the rack and let cool.
3. Place the grapefruit juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook til the juice is reduced to 3 tbsp., (about 4 minutes). Let cool slightly, then stir in the confectioner’s sugar and 1/8 tsp. of salt; drizzle over the cooled cake.
Let me know if you try it, and I hope you have a good week.