Thursday, August 31, 2017

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

You will not be able to resist these delicious soft and chewy double chocolate chip cookies. I have been making these cookies for years.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 t pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
½ cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t fine sea salt
12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 oz Hershey Bar, grated

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Mix to combine.
While mixer is still running, add vanilla, eggs, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until well combined.  
Remove bowl from mixer and fold in chocolate chips and grated chocolate.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a medium size ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Cool on wire racks before storing in an airtight container.



Monday, August 28, 2017

SUMMER GRILLED SHRIMP & VEGETABLES

This is such a light and delicious summer dinner. You can add any vegetable you like. I love poblano peppers and added one but you can use a green bell pepper instead.


12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 t avocado oil
1 t Old Bay seasoning
½ t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
½ t brown sugar
½ t sea salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch paprika
Juice of ½ lime

Extra-light olive oil spray
2 ears corn on the cob
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, cut in half, seeds and membrane removed
1 poblano pepper, cut in half, seeds and membrane removed
1 large sweet potato, partially cooked in the microwave, skin removed and cut in half, lengthwise
1 avocado, diced
Juice ½ lime

Place shrimp in a medium bowl.
Add the avocado oil, Old Bay, onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, and lime juice.
Toss to completely combine and skewer shrimp onto metal skewers and set aside.

Lightly spray the zucchini, bell pepper, poblano pepper, sweet potato chunks, and ears of corn with extra-light olive oil spray.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grill the corn cobs, zucchini, bell pepper halves, poblano pepper halves, and sweet potatoes halves for 5 minutes.
Turn over and grill vegetables another 5 minutes.
Add shrimp and grill 2 minutes on each side.
Remove everything from the grill at the same time

Cut off the kernels from the cob.
Chop the zucchini, peppers, and sweet potatoes.

Divide everything among 2 plates and serve with a wedge of lime.





Wednesday, August 23, 2017

DECADENT DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Whenever I think about making brownies, I think of Wolf Trap Park for the performing arts in Virginia. In the summer, we would pack up a picnic dinner and I always made brownies for dessert. We'd sit on a blanket in the grass or, if we were lucky, we would find one of the very few picnic tables. After the picnic, we go into the building for the show. The addition of a small amount of espresso powder is a perfect partner for rich chocolate. These brownies are so deliciously full of chocolate and chewyin my opinion, perfect brownies!


½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (½ bag)
3 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate, broken into small chunks
1 T espresso powder (optional)

⅔ cup all-purpose flour
½ t baking powder
¼ t sea salt
1 T cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour an 8 to 9-inch square pan.

In a heavy large saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter.
Stir in the chocolate, and espresso powder.
Remove from heat and set aside to let chocolate melt, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.

Whisk the eggs into the chocolate and butter mixture.
With a wooden spoon, beat in the sugar and vanilla and mix thoroughly. 
Add the flour mixture and mix again. 

Bake for 25 minutes. 

Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares with a knife dipped in water.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

OLD-FASHIONED MOLASSES COOKIES

These cookies were my daughter's favorite when she was growing up. It came from an old Colonial recipe for ginger cookies. I added less ginger and more butter. They are chewy and scrumptious.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsulphured molasses
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ t ground cloves
½ t ground ginger
1 t ground cinnamon
¼ t ground nutmeg
½ t salt
½ t baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and molasses.
Mix in the egg and 1 cup of the flour.
Add the melted butter and slowly mix in.
Add the rest of the flour, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.
Mix until completely combined.

Drop tablespoons of cookie batter onto a greased baking sheet.
You can also use a small ice cream scoop.
Leave 3 inches of space between cookies.

Bake until cookies start to darken, 8 to 9 minutes. 
Transfer cookies to a wire rack while still soft.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.




Tuesday, August 8, 2017

PHILLY CHEESE STEAK SANDWICHES

There has always been the debate over the type of cheese used on a Philly Cheese Steak. The three popular cheeses are Provolone, Swiss, White American, and the one I would never use - Cheez Whiz. Cheez Whiz was introduced because of convenience. I would say that the Provolone is my favorite cheese to use. I put slices on the bottom of the toasted roll and on top of the steak and caramelized onions. 



1 lb Strip Loin, T-Bone, or Rib Eye Steak
½ t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
2 t extra-light olive oil
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper

Place steak in freezer for about 2 hours. 
Slice the steak as thin as you possibly can with a sharp knife and then chop the meat.
Place in a bowl with the above ingredients, toss to combine, and refrigerate for one hour, while caramelizing the onions.

2 large yellow onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T unsalted butter
12 thin slices Provolone cheese
2 Hoagie Rolls 

In a medium skillet sauté onions in oil and butter over medium-low heat for about 40 to 45 minutes, stirring often.
Spoon onions into a bowl, set aside and cover to keep warm. 
In the same skillet cook steak on high heat for about 3 or 4 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Open rolls and place under a broiler for just a couple of minutes to brown. 
Add 3 slices of Provolone to the bottom of each roll.

Divide the steak between the 2 rolls, then add the sautéed onions and top with the rest of the cheese slices.  
Heat under broiler for about one minute, or until cheese is melted but not burned.


Serves 2

Saturday, August 5, 2017

SOUTHERN SEAFOOD BOIL

This is the Southern equivalent of a New England clambake. Add Chesapeake Bay blue crabs along with shrimp and it will be Southern. You can make this a Cajun seafood boil by replacing the Old Bay seasoning with Cajun seasoning and replacing the shrimp with crawfish. My seafood boil was made with shrimp, king crab, and Dungeness crab. I live in the Pacific NW and cannot get blue crabs.



Seafood Boil Seasoning
1 T yellow mustard seeds
1 T coriander seeds
1 T dill seed
1 T whole allspice
1 T celery seed
1 T black peppercorns
1 t red pepper flakes                    

Cut a piece of double layered cheesecloth into approximately an 8-inch square.
Add the spices and tie up tightly with cotton butcher’s twine and set aside.

2 T avocado oil
1 lb Andouille sausage or kielbasa sausage, thickly sliced
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
4 cups water
3 cloves garlic, left whole
12 small red potatoes, scrubbed clean
3 ears of corn, cut into thirds
1 lemon, cut in half
3 T Old Bay seasoning
4 bay leaves
1 (12-oz) bottle amber beer
2 t sea salt
2 t freshly ground black pepper

2 lbs crab claws (king, snow, or stone crab)
2 lbs large shrimp, deveined and unpeeled

Cocktail sauce, for serving
Melted butter, for serving
1 lemon cut into wedges

Nut crackers, for cracking claws

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.
Sauté the sausage, onion, and jalapeño for 5 minutes.
Add the water, garlic, potatoes, Seafood Boil Seasoning, corn, lemon, Old Bay, bay leaves, beer, sea salt, and black pepper.
Reduce heat, cover and cook until potatoes and corn are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the crab and cook another 10 minutes
Add the shrimp, cover and cook another 5 minutes.

Strain through a colander or use a large spider strainer and transfer to a large serving platter or pour out onto a newspaper lined table.
Add small bowls of cocktail sauce and melted butter.
Sprinkle with additional Old Bay and garnish with lemon slices.

Serves 4 to 6