Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter Inspired Recipes

I'm so sad that I don't have the time today to whip up any themed-deliciousness to celebrate the last installment of the Harry Potter films, but these are the recipes I would make if I had time! If you have the time and are as excited to celebrate the culmination of a fantastic series, might I recommend:

Butterbeer!

This Butterbeer Recipe from Cherry Tea Cakes also looks delicious (and easy!):

Butterbeer Cupcakes from Cooks Like a Champion. Seriously, how amazing do these look??

Butterbeer Cookies from Bake at 350. I really wanted to make these today, but it just isn't in the cards. Soon, though!

If Butterbeer isn't your cup of, well, buttery deliciousness, how about Pumpkin Pasties from Three Baking Sheets to the Wind? A pumpkin hand pie cannot be bad.

Or maybe some Chocolate Frogs from Ezra Pound Cake. (Their insides are filled with peanut butter. Now that's a frog I can get behind eating.)

Thank you to J.K. Rowling for a story that entranced, entertained, and enamored us to these characters from the beginning through to the end. I have loved every minute of the journey.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sweet and Sour Chicken

There is a great little Chinese restaurant that we've been going to for over 10 years. They make the most incredibly delicious egg rolls from scratch daily, and they use all white meat chicken in their dishes. The owners are also incredibly friendly and hospitable. I love this place so much that I'm pretty sure that if they ever close up shop, I might go into mourning.

If that worse case scenario happens, at least I now have one yummy Chinese take out recipe I can fall back on. This chicken was sweet, glazed beautifully and turned out quite tasty. The only changes I may make next time would be to use a little less sugar in the sauce and add a little red pepper flakes to give the sauce a little kick.

I will warn you that this recipe is a bit of a labor of love, but one that is well worth it if you have a craving for some Chinese take out. Now if anyone has tips for egg rolls, I'm all ears!

Sweet and Sour Chicken
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
For the chicken:
  • 3-4 boneless,skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
For the sauce:
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • ½ cup vinegar (preferably rice or white)
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
Preheat oven to 325°. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Working in two batches, toss the chicken pieces in cornstarch and then coat with the egg. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and again in two batches, brown the chicken, turning it so that all sides are browned. Place the chicken in a single layer in a 9×13 baking dish.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour evenly over the chicken. Turn the chicken to ensure each piece is coated. Bake for 1 hour, turning the chicken every 15 minutes.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Buttermilk Waffles

I'm not sure why, but this morning just screamed "waffles". After a quick search in a fantastic cookbook that I was sure wouldn't let me down (America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book), I was ready to go. (Cookbook courtesy of the Westerville Public Library... Libraries are an awesome cooking resource. You can check out a book, make a couple recipes, and if you love them, you can support the author and pick up the book yourself. Or you can just re-check out the book. :) )

Back to the waffles: They were crispy on the outside, chewy and delicious on the inside, and all had that beautiful, coveted golden-color. My kiddos all wanted seconds (and thirds), and they were filling enough that we only needed a very light lunch.

This recipe is a little dish-intensive, but the end result made it more than worth it.
Buttermilk Waffles
Makes 6 - 8 waffles (depending on the waffle iron)
Ingredients:
  • 2 c. (10 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. yellow cornmeal (optional)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 3/4 c. buttermilk
  • 4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • Pinch cream of tartar
Heat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet and set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cornmeal (if using), salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg yolks together. In another medium bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar together with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the whites to stiff peaks, 2 to 4 minutes.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour the buttermilk mixture into the well, and gently whisk together until just incorporated with a few lumps remaining (do not overmix.) Batter will be very thick. Carefully fold in the whipped whites using a rubber spatula until just combined with a few streaks.

Spread the appropriate amount of batter onto the waffle iron and cook until golden brown, about 3½ minutes. Transfer the waffles to the wire rack (do not overlap), cover with a clean kitchen towel, and keep warm in the oven.

Repeat with the remaining batter. Before serving, remove the towel and let the waffles crisp in the oven, about 3 minutes.

Source: The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Friday, July 8, 2011

Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

My oldest is not a fan of straight peanut butter. She'll take a thin layer of it on her PB&J's, thankyouverymuch, and don't even think about asking her to dip her apples in it. No way.

Until today.

My secret weapons for changing her mind? A little honey and vanilla yogurt added to the peanut butter. They both sweeten and smooth out the grainy natural peanut butter, and for my oldest, make it edible. My youngest (who loves peanut butter) naturally loved the dip because the peanut butter is still a predominate flavor. It's just tastier.

*If you are making this with an already-sweetened peanut butter (like Jif), you may want to use a plain yogurt and reduce the amount of honey to taste.

Peanut Butter Fruit Dip
Ingredients:
  • ½ c. vanilla yogurt
  • ½ c. nut butter (peanut or almond)
  • ¼ c. honey
  • Fruit for dipping
In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, nut butter, and honey. Serve with your choice of fruit for dipping.

Source: This Homemade Life