Lola’s was our brunch spot when R and I went to Seattle. I have never been a fan of side dishes, they’re pushed aside so I can focus on the main.
When I had to restrain myself from eating all of the smashed potatoes in order to finish my eggs benedict, I knew I had to re-create these at home. I was reeled in by the crisp potato skins which contrasted the soft insides. And the spices! There was nothing bland about it.
This is one heck of a cookie. It’s an intense chocolate, crisp exterior and when your teeth sink down into it, it turns into a rich fudge. Magical.
I made these during my true Nervous Chef days when I was setting off the smoke alarms. Somehow I didn’t screw these up. Surprising, as meringues have been failing me as of late.
You need good chocolate (aim for something you would eat on its own, quality matters here), sugar, pecans and egg whites. Everything comes together quickly, so when the oven is done preheating your cookies are ready to go in.
Most of my cookies look a little more rough than the ones I’ve seen on the web. I’m not sure the reason why. Maybe not enough mixing?
Melting Chocolate Meringues (makes about 30 2-inch cookies) From Bittersweet
4 1/2 ounces 70% chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 large egg whites (1/4 cup), room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, I think toasted hazelnuts would work well too)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Melt chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. I make a make-shift double boiler by placing the bowl on top of a saucepan filled with simmering water. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and vanilla. When soft peaks form, slowly add the sugar until you get stiff peaks. Be careful not to beat too long or they’ll be dry.
4. Mix up the chocolate and nuts into the egg whites and fold with a rubber spatula until the colour is uniform.
5. Drop tablespoons of batter 1 inch apart onto the cookie sheet.
6. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cookies should look dry and have a bit of give to them when pressed on. They’ll still be gooey inside. Cool completely.
This review is on one of the oldest books in my collection, Clueless in the Kitchen. When I was living on my own, this was one of the two books I bought. I bought this online just from the title alone.
The book claims it is a cookbook for teens, but it’s for everyone and it’s a book you can grow with. It’s aimed at individuals who are living on their own and goes over kitchen essentials, how to defrost a freezer, and how to shop for food. Throughout the book are icons to designate cheap eats, comfort food (“mom food”), vegetarian, cooking to impress, couch potato food, and quick food. I wish the index had a section for these icons so I wouldn’t have to flip through the book looking for an icon. There’s also suggested menus and a glossary at the back that is helpful.
I’ve made a ton of recipes in here and have dishes that make it into regular rotation. When my cooking skills increased and I had to figure out how to make a gravy, I turned to this book. The recipes here are simple but solid. My mom, who can make crazy good Filipino dishes, struggles with dishes that aren’t in her usual repertoire. She would use this book to make meals for when company came over and they always turned out tasty. If this book helped my mom and me out, it’s sure to help anybody else.
The book doesn’t have any photos at all. It has diagrams on how to cut up food, but no pictures of finished dishes. Please don’t let that deter you, the outcome is always turns out.
Here are a few of the (many) recipes I love:
– Curry glazed chicken
– Chocolate mocha torte (back when I couldn’t bake, I made this all the time)
– Mushrooms masquerading as escargots (mushrooms drenched in garlic and butter, instant winner)
I recently tried the stir fry recipe that’s in the book and it’s also repeat worthy. And guess what? This dish was more liked than the Cook’s Illustrated recipe I tried.
Stir fry is probably the quickest and easiest way of getting more vegetables into your diet. I used marinated tofu cubes that gave it a nice punch of flavour.
Stir-Fry (adapted from Clueless in the Kitchen)
1 bunch of broccoli, florets cut and stems thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced lengthwise
4 green onions cut into 1″ pieces Marinated tofu cubes
1/4 cup vegetable broth
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
Prep everything beforehand as this is quick to cook. In a small bowl combine all the ingredients of the soy sauce mixture. Pour half the vegetable/peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir-fry the tofu until it gets a bit crispy, remove and set aside.
Add the rest of the oil and when hot fry garlic until fragrant (about 10 seconds) then add the broccoli and pepper and stir-fry for 1-2 mins. Add green onions, the rest of the broth and cover the pan to steam the veggies (about 2 mins). The broccoli should be lightly cooked. Put the tofu back in, add the soy sauce mixture and stir constantly. When the sauce thickens and becomes glossy, it’s done.
Apparently it’s National Curried Chicken Day so here is an oldie but a goodie for me, this dish is simple and easy — perfect for a beginner.
This is from Clueless in the Kitchen, something I picked up almost 10 years ago and I’m pretty sure I only bought it because of the title. There aren’t any pictures, just a few diagrams, but the text is straightforward. This honey glazed curry chicken isn’t too spicy for the intrepid, it’s subtle and sweet. Considering how many meals I’ve only made once and never went back to, I do like making this on occasion.
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 Cup honey
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Teaspoons curry powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 pound chicken*
*for me, this varies. I’ve used boneless skinless thighs and breasts. Sometimes whole, sometimes cut up into pieces so they get more sauce on it. The original calls for a 3 pound chicken cut up into pieces, but I like having extra sauce
Preheat oven to 375. Put butter into a 8 x 8 baking dish (9×13 if using the original 3 pound chicken) and pop it in the oven to melt. Once melted, stir in the honey, mustard, curry, and salt. Add the chicken and make sure they are well coated.
Bake for 45 minutes (this can vary depending on the chicken you’ve chosen, boneless chicken breasts that are cut up will cook up quicker, so check in on it a little earlier).
This is my third cookbook review despite my cookbook collection pushing the 50 item mark. I have to talk about this book because it gets used often for dinner. I have made several recipes and all the dishes have been winners and repeat worthy. Unfortunately because it’s a dinner cookbook not too many photos get posted because they end up looking like crap. And it’s hard to convince someone that something is good when the picture looks less than appetizing.
Gotta love my Lowel ego light! I have to say that this dinner picture turned out pretty well — the steam even got captured.
The recipes for this book are fairly straight forward. We love the Mustard-Soy Glazed Salmon with Brown Sugar and Ginger it’s a household favourite and I’ve even made it for his family as a somewhat fancy dish. There are many recipes in this book, but there aren’t many pictures. A problem if you like to know how your food should turn out. I haven’t minded the lack of pictures because everything I’ve made has turned out.
Also, even though it’s geared for weeknight cooking, this is not a 30 minute meal book, some recipes do take about an hour or a little longer.
This recipe is the Mexican Chicken with Beer Glaze and Sweet Potato Fries. I didn’t even make this dish, the husband did. He’s a cookbook-phobe but did just fine. One warning though: R has never de-seeded a jalapeno. So he just used his fingers to rip those suckers out. Then his fingers burned until the morning. So don’t do that. Here’s a helpful youtube video I found and the Pioneer Woman shows you how to de-seed with a spoon here. Just make sure you’re very careful about not touching your face or rubbing your eyes when you’re cutting them. And wash your hands thoroughly. I worry one day I’ll be cutting a jalapeno, rub my eyes, and try to start pouring milk on my eyeballs for some relief.
This book never would have been on my radar if I didn’t pass by it at Costco to look for my “Valentine’s Day present” (this year I told the husband to skip the flowers and get me a cookbook instead, totally worth it!). It’s definitely worth checking out.
Mexican Chicken with Beer Glaze and Sweet Potato Fries From Not Your Mother’s Weeknight Cooking by Beth Hensperger
4 boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 clove of garlic crushed
1/2 to 1 whole jalapeno de-seeded and minced (we used 1/3 because we’re wimps and thought the dish would be too hot when we tried a tiny bit raw. But you can use the 1/2 and it’ll give it a little kick. Use the whole for extra spicy and don’t de-seed if you want it fiery.)
1/2 to 3/4 cup light-coloured beer (we used a dark beer because that’s what we had in the fridge)
Sweet potato fries:
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges or strips
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Combine spice mixture and rub on chicken. Let it rest for 10-20 minutes at room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 450F with the baking sheet lined with foil in the oven. This is a tip I learned somewhere online so you get nice and crispy fries without flipping. Toss the potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle salt liberally on it and when the oven is done preheating, throw the fries on there and bake for about 15-20 mins.
3. While the fries are cooking, heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the chicken and saute until golden. No need to cook the chicken completely through as it gets cooked again in the glaze. When the chicken is golden, remove to a plate and do the other half.
4. When the other half is golden, return the other chicken that’s on the plate in the pan. Add the garlic, jalapeno and beer. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes and every 5 minutes make sure the chicken gets turned in the broth so all sides are coated. It’ll be all nice and glazed.
5. Serve hot with fries.