Saturday, June 24, 2006

Adam's Greek Feast


Tonight Adam made dinner.

He decided to make Greek food. Here is the run-down of what he made; first, let me warn you that he almost never follow recipes. Everything below is an approximation, and he typically just add ingredients to taste.


Many of you may have referred to this in the past as “that white sauce on my gyro.” It’s fairly ubiquitous for Greek food in general, though. Here’s how Adam made it:

1 overflowing cup of plain yogurt
¾ of a cucumber, skinned then chopped
3 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of pre-chopped garlic cloves (surprise, surprise – I got sick of chopping them manually)
7 or 8 shakes of onion salt
A drizzle of olive oil

Mix the above together well. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors mesh.

Greek Salad:

Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Fresh lemon juice
Feta cheese
Whatever greens you like
Salt/pepper to taste

In a bowl, mix together oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. I think the golden ratio is somewhere along the lines of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, but I typically do half and half. The half vinegar, in this case, is about 25% fresh squeezed lemon juice and 75% balsamic vinegar. Add a drizzle of honey (the secret ingredient) plus salt and pepper. Blend well, toss in the fridge for a few minutes to let the flavors settle. Afterward, obtain whatever greens you want and mix with feta by hand so that everything is blended well.


These are Greek meatballs, similar in shape to the meatballs you’re used to, but the flavor is more exotic.

Ground Beef/Pork
Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
Garlic (I returned to manual chopping since the flavor is so much more intense)
1 Onion

You can use all pork, all beef, or whatever other ground meat you want, but I like the flavor of ground round mixed with breakfast sausage (Owens, regular). Tonight I used 1 lb. beef and 0.5 lb sausage. Add the egg, about ¼ cup bread crumbs, at least a tablespoon of freshly chopped mint (I had to use dried tonight, which simulates the effect but doesn’t quite hit it), tons of garlic, and a finely chopped onion (whatever type you like). Mix well by hand and form into balls slightly smaller than a racquetball (there’s a shout-out to Costa, my friend who provides inspiration for Greek feasts, and who I can totally conquer at racquetball). In a large pan at medium heat, place the balls into a layer of olive oil that’s not thick, but which completely covers the pan.

Now, the important part: EAT!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

These cookies have quite a reputation and have been given many nicknames over the years...

Heroin cookies
the best cookies ever
Chocolate crack
OMG-I-think-I-Am-In-Heaven cookies

I don't think any more words are needed to describe these, but I will say that I enjoy this cookie with a glass of red wine over milk...

4 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided -or-
1 cup regular chips (for melting) and 1 cup mini chips (for in cookies)
1/3 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of chocolate chips, and butter in the microwave. Cool for 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs for 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and chocolate mixture. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Beat into chocolate mixture. Stir in remaining chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Remove about 1 cup of dough. With lightly floured hands, roll into 1” balls. Please on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly puffed and set. Cool on pan for 3-4 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Cappuccino Frosting

Q: How does a group of tired engineers get through the morning staff meeting?
A: Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Cappuccino Frosting!

I made these cupcakes partially because I have to make up training meeting and partially because its a meeting with my old team. I know my former boss is a huge coffee lover so I thought these would be the perfect thing for the AM meeting.

Yum! Are these cupcakes awesome! But then again, how in the world could something with chocolate AND coffee be bad? Enjoy!

8 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin.

2. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.

4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogenous and thick.

5. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.

6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.


10 tablespoons butter , softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream

In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners' sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds; scrape bowl. Dissolve instant espresso in vanilla and cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Chicken with Sun dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Mmm...if you like the tomatoe bisque from La Madeline, then you will love this dish! The sun dried tomatoes give it a nice sweet/tangy flavor which pairs well with the basil. I would pair this with some nice crusty french bread.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 ½ pound chicken)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic gloves, minced
¼ cup drained sun dried tomatoes, patted dry and coarsely chopped
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup white wine (I used yellow tail)
¾ cups chicken broth
½ cup heavy cram
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil (I used that basil paste from Target..worked just as good)

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat (should be hot, but not smoking), then brown chicken, turning once, about 6 minutes on each side (Chicken will NOT be cooked through). Transfer with tongs to a plate.

Add garlic, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes to skillet and saute, stirring, until garlic is pale golden (about one minute). Add wine and boil, stirring and scrapping up brown bits, until reduced by at least half (about one minute). Add chicken broth and bring to a boil, cover.

Cut up chicken into nice bite size pieces and then add chicken to the skillet, simmer until cooked through (about 5 minutes). Transfer chicken to a platter and keep warm, loosely cover with foil.

Stir cream and basil into the skillet and bring to a simmer. Transfer the sauce to a deep heatproof bowl and puree with a blender. (I just poured mine into the Kitchen Aid Blender and pureed from there. Make sure to get some of the tomaotes in the blender.) Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve sauce over chicken!

Adam's Comments: It has kind of a tangy-ness to the cream sauce that makes it really unique. Good stuff.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Daddy's Meatloaf

My dad was sick for about 5 years before he passed away and during that time he was on a low sodium, low fat diet. Now he was never one to want to be on a diet, but he raved over this dish when I made it for him.

I got this recipe from one of his renal patient cookbooks and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. (Now, Adam and I add ketchup to it and it makes not-so-low-sodium, but either way it was a nice moist & flavorful meatloaf.)

1 ½ pound ground beef
½ cup unsalted saltine crackers, crushed
2 eggs, beaten
1 can (8oz) low sodium tomato sauce
¼ cup onion, chopped
2 Tbsp hatch chiles, chopped
1 tsp thyme leaves, crushed
1 tsp marjoram leaves, crushed
1 tsp salt (optional - won't be very low sodium if you do this)

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. In a prepared loaf pan, press mixture firmly into pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Monday, June 05, 2006


I don't normally make lasagna because it's a dish that I leave up to my mom. But, I had company coming over and needed something quick and easy. I found this recipe on Epicurious and couldn't pass it up.

It was Excellent--restaurant quality! It was pretty easy to make (especially because I have a super nice food processor). We paired it with a spinach & carrot salad that was topped with fresh raspberries & blackberries.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion (do not drain)

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion, garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper and sauté until meat is cooked through, mashing beef into small pieces with back of fork, about 10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes with juices. Bring sauce to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and keep chilled.)

11/2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
1 15-ounce container plus 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups (packed) grated mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Using on/off turns, chop fresh basil leaves finely in processor. Add ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Using on/off turns, process filling until just blended and texture is still chunky.

12 no-boil lasagna noodles from one 8-ounce package
3 cups (packed) grated mozzarella cheese (about 12 ounces)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
Nonstick olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread 1 1/4 cups sauce in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange 3 noodles on sauce. Drop 1 1/2 cups filling over noodles, then spread evenly to cover. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering of sauce, noodles, filling and cheeses 2 more times. Top with remaining 3 noodles. Spoon remaining sauce atop noodles. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Spray large piece of foil with nonstick olive oil spray. Cover lasagna with foil, sprayed side down.

Bake lasagna 40 minutes. Carefully uncover. Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Bake until noodles are tender, sauce bubbles thickly and edges of lasagna are golden and puffed, about 20 minutes. Transfer to work surface; let stand 15 minutes before serving.