2 sisters 2 cities

January 5, 2011

No-Knead Artisan Bread

Filed under: M's recipes — Tags: , , , , — 2sisters2cities @ 4:11 pm

Edited from earlier post- sorry for any confusion!

Baby T and I have headed to my parents’ house early for the Christmas holiday so his nanna and grandpa could spend some quality time with him. Husband M will be joining us later this week- presumably well rested after a few baby-free night! Last night, my mom, sister M, and I enjoyed a ladies night in meal- soup, salad, and delicious artisan bread! The bread was so crusty and tasty- I loved it.

My mom’s decorator had shared this no-knead artisan bread with her and had told her how easy it was to make. After a little more research and experimenting, my mom has come up with the following recipe:

No-Knead Artisan Bread:

Ingredients:
-1/4 tsp yeast
-1 and a 1/2 cup warm water
-3 cups flour
-1 and 1/2 tsp salt

Combine the yeast and warm water. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Add the yeast and water mixture to the flour mixture and combine. Cover with a dish towel and leave in bowl. Place the bowl in the oven (not on) or a warm place for 6-12 hours.

Take bowl out and preheat oven to 425 degrees,  as well as an enamel cast iron steel pan (such as Le Creuset). Once hot, toss in a small amount of flour to coat the pan then quickly throw in the dough.  Toss a little extra flour on top of the dough.

Re-cover dough immediately with the pot cover and put in oven. Leave cover on for 30-40 minutes depending on how crispy you would like the bread (the less you keep the cover on, the more crispy it will be. Bake for a total of 45 minutes. Remove the pan from oven, take bread out of pan, and put bread on cooling rack. Wait 30 minutes before slicing. Delicious served with olive oil!

I will definitely be trying this out at my house soon. This is one of those recipes that could easily be made on a work day as well if you did the first few steps in the morning and allowed the bread to rise while you were at work. I am looking forward to a week of delicious meals and hope to share some additional recipes soon!

-m

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October 25, 2010

Great Fall Dinner Idea: Chicken Chili

Photo courtesy of lucianvenutian via the Creative Commons license

Just wanted to share a recipe that I have recently fallen in love with.  In October’s Martha Stewart Living Magazine, a chicken chili recipe by Lucinda Scala Quinn was published.  I can confirm that it’s delicious after making it two times already!  It can be found on this link on the Martha Stewart website.  The recipe also recommends using any leftover to make nachos the next day.  I have not yet tried this, but I imagine that would be very tasty as well.

A few tips- don’t broil the onion and garlic cloves.  Once charred, I found it very difficult to chop and mince them.  Also, this recipe is extremely spicy (but in a flavorful way).  If you are not a fan of spiciness, I recommend cutting down on the jalapeno, chili powder, or chipotle chiles in adobe sauce.  I cut the amount of chili powder down to 3 tablespoons (the recipe recommends 1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons).  Top with the corn-muffin croutons, cheddar cheese, and sour cream/plain greek yogurt.

-m

August 21, 2010

Nantucket Birthday Clam Chowder

The day before we left for our 10 day vacation in Nantucket, Husband M had his 30th birthday.  Since we were pretty busy packing and tying up loose ends before we left, we were only able to have a small celebration.  I made one of his favorite easy summer recipes…Martha Stewart Everyday’s Grilled Steak with tomatoes and scallions and a brownie from the farmer’s market.  His Aunt T had thrown him a big birthday party in Maine the weekend prior and I also had plans for a lobster bake while we in Nantucket.  His work also threw him a afternoon party with freshly baked cookies, so all in all, he had 4 birthday parties this year.

For the Nantucket lobster bake, we ordered pre-cooked lobsters and steamers from Sayle’s fish market.  Our little cottage did not have air-conditiong and the day of the party happened to the hottest day we were in Nantucket.  Thank goodness we bought pre-cooked lobsters…I can’t imagine how much hotter the place would have been if I had been cooking lobsters for hours.  They did a great job packing them and they stayed warm for quite awhile.

For a starter, I decided to make a batch of clam chowder.  We were having 10 people over in all and this recipe I put together made well over this amount (if served as an appetizer).  I used Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything No-Holds-Barred Clam Chowder recipe as the base and tweaked it based on a few other recipes I have made in the past.

Nantucket Birthday Clam Chowder

Serves 10+ as an appetizer

Ingredients:
-1/2 pound applewood smoked bacon (or similar high quality), chopped
-2 cups minced onions
-5 cups peeled and chopped baking potatoe
-4 tablespoons flour (I used wheat)
-2 teaspoons dried thyme
-7 five-ounce cans of clams
-4  eight-ounce bottles of clam juice
-S&P
-2 cups milk
-2 cups heavy cream
-2 tablespoons butter
-fresh chopped parsley
-oyster crackers

Directions:
Fry the bacon in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp.  Remove the bacon with a with slotted spoon and put aside.  Cook the onion and potatoes in the bacon fat until the onion softens and is translucent (10-15 minutes).  While they are cooking, drain the canned clams and reserve the drained clam juice.  Add the flour and thyme to the onion and potatoes, and combine.  Add the 4 bottles of clam juice and the reserved clam juice from the cans.  Cook until the potatoes are tender (an additional 10-15 minutes).  At this point, I turned off the heat and put the lid on the pot to keep it warm until the guests arrived.

About 5 minutes before I was ready to serve the chowder, I added the salt, pepper, milk, and cream (put the milk and cream out for about 20-30 minutes to get to room temperature so it does not curdle when you add it).  Add the drained clams and bring to a low simmer.  Add the butter on top of the chowder- the clams will be finished cooking once the butter melts.  I served the chowder with the chopped parsley and oyster crackers on the side.

-m

July 25, 2010

August 2010 Cooking Light

Filed under: M's recipes — Tags: — 2sisters2cities @ 8:00 am

Between Sister K and I, I think we are going to cook through the whole issue of Cooking Light for August.  On Sunday night, I made husband M the Spicy Corn and Crab Chowder.  He liked it so much that he requested this dish with lobsters over the requisite New England Clam Chowder I usually make.

If you are going on any weekend long vacations this summer, be sure to check out the magazine’s 1-Cooler, 1-Weekend Getaway feature.  Both sister K and I really want to do this some weekend.  We are going on a beach vacaction for a week together later this summer, but it will be for a whole week.  I think we’ll definitely be trying out at least a few of the recipes in this feature though!  And no, we do not work for Cooking Light- we are just obsessed!

-m

June 12, 2010

Cooking from the Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of msandman via the flickr creative commons license

Last Friday afternoon, we decided to invite some friends over for dinner that evening.  I had no meal plan for the night for even Husband M and I, so I had to quickly figure out what I was going to serve our group.  Fortunately, the Copley Square Farmer’s Market was open so I decided to hit it up to see what I could think of.

For appetizers, I visited the Crystal Brooks goat cheese stand and picked up a tub of their mediterranean goat cheese.  For dinner, I thought out best option would be BLTs.  I picked up a pack of smoked bacon from Stillman’s Turkey Farm, some first-of-the-season tomatoes from the Stillman’s farm stand, and two types of bread from Breadsong Bakery (Rustic Italian and Sourdough).  I already had lettuce at home from our Boston Organics delivery.  As an alternative to mayo, I like to use step 1 of this recipe for Cooking Light for the spread (I used the sage from my herb garden…my first harvest of the year!):

Mayo/Mustard Shallot & Sage Spread

I cut up the tomatoes and washed the lettuce and put them all out on one plate.  I cooked the bacon in the oven on a baking sheet at 400 degrees (approx 15-2o minutes depending on your oven).  I then used the broiler to toast the bread on baking sheets right before we sat down to dinner.  It was a great meal to serve to guests as I could get the majority of things taken care of ahead of time (washing the lettuce, washing and cutting the tomatoes, cooking the bacon, slicing the bread, and making the spread).  I was able to enjoy the time on our roof deck watching the sunset.  (Pictures of our revitalized deck coming soon…I just need a sunny weekend day to take the pics and for Husband M to make a few planter moves).

For dessert, I decided to go with my all-time favorite- strawberry shortcake.  I picked up 4 pints of local strawberries from the market (I can’t remember which stand I ended up going to, but there are 4-5 stands which carry them this time of year).  I had some leftover buttermilk from another dinner, so I used the recipe on the side of the carton to make buttermilk biscuits.  Husband M picked up some heavy cream from the grocery store on his walk home from the bus stop (as well as a can of ReddiWip for himself…nasty!)  Before our guests got here I made the biscuits and washed & cut up the strawberries. I then mixed the strawberries with a half of cup of sugar…it looks like a lot, but it tastes so good and they become really juicy after they sit in it for about an hour (or longer if possible).  Right before I served the dessert, I mixed the heavy cream up with the KitchenAid to make whipped cream.  The process goes a little bit faster if you put the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to get them nice and cold.

I really love the idea of skipping the grocery store and doing all my shopping at the farmers’ market.  Not only does everything taste better, but I like to support local farmers and their awesome products.  I have been going to the same market for a few years now (and grew up going to farmers markets in the upstate NY area), but it seems like it is more popular than ever.  It would definitely be an interesting stat to see if farmers’ market volume have picked up at all within the past few years due to the green/local/organic movements.  Granted, I did have to use some items that I had previously purchased at the grocery store and had to pick up one item that day, but I would really like to purchase as many things as possible going to the farmers market this summer.

What meals have you prepared using solely the market?  Have farmers markets in your area become more popular recently?

-m

April 10, 2010

Curried Chicken Salad

Filed under: M's recipes — Tags: , , , — 2sisters2cities @ 8:22 am

While we were skiing a couple weekends ago, husband M’s aunt N made us a great chicken salad for lunch.  She mailed me the recipe and I combined it with another recipe I found on epicurious to make my own version this past weekend.  I also used the leftover curry powder mix I had mixed together for a chicken roti dish I made a little while back.  It turned out a bit spicier than your average chicken salad, but I love spice!

Curried Chicken Salad:

Ingredients-

-4 split chicken breasts with bone and skin still intact
-olive oil
-salt and pepper
-1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use light/low-fat)
-1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (add more if you need to tone down the spices)
-5 tsp curry powder (see the chicken roti link above if you need a recipe for a good curry powder mix)
-1 tablespoon lime juice (approx 1 lime)
-1 tsp honey
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1 cup green grapes, halved
-1-2 celery stalks, diced
-French baguette

Directions-

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes, until just cooked.  Let cool slightly.  Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into the 3/4-inch chunks.  Mix together the chicken, mayo, Greek yogurt, curry powder (add half now, and more to taste once everything is combined), lime juice, honey, ground ginger, salt, pepper, grapes, and celery.  Serve on sliced French baguette (also very good by itself without bread).

-m

March 28, 2010

Basic Cooking and Knives Skill Class and a Basil & Lemon Chicken Recipe

Filed under: M's post, M's recipes — Tags: , , — 2sisters2cities @ 8:11 am

One of the other classes I recently took at the Boston Center for Adult Education has been the Basic Cooking and Knives Skill class with Chef Lars.  I took a couples cooking class at the Cambridge Culinary Institute with husband M a little while back, but I did not love that particular class (deadlines, did not know where anything was in the kitchen, people running everywhere, etc).  However, I really enjoyed this class at the BCAE.  While I cook almost every night, I have never taken a class in proper knives skills (by the way, it’s pretty funny to tell someone you are going to a knives class and not specify cooking…it sounds like you are trying to learn how to stab someone).  I learned a lot of good new techniques and was able to modify my current way of using a knife to the proper way.  Each night, we made some really delicious food.  I just so happened to have brought my lunch in tupperware containers, so I was able to bring some extra food to an appreciative Husband M each night.

Here is an easy recipe we made on the night we learned how to cut up a whole chicken (something which I have done before, but not properly).  I made this the other night and it was a very easy meal to put together.  This recipe is pretty lax in that you can add or take away ingredients if you have them on hand or not.

Basil and Lemon Chicken:

Ingredients:
-1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
-8 basil leaves (cut chiffonade style …I know how to do this now!)
-3 or 4 green onion, sliced
-juice of 1 lemon
-salt and pepper
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-4 tablespoons olive oil
-1/3 cup white wine

Set the oven to 380 degrees F.  In a roasting pan, mix the basil, spring onions, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and white wine (I just eye-balled most of these measurements as they do not need to be exact…I also had some chopped up Italian parsley on hand so I threw this in).  Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Put chicken into the pan and cover with the marinade.  Roast the chicken for 30-40 minutes based on the pieces (with my oven, it was closer to 45 minutes).  Serve the chicken with the sauce from the pan.  I served the chicken with grilled zucchini and white rice (which nicely soaked up the lemon sauce).

Once I finish my weekly digital photography class, I am thinking about taking Basic Cooking 1,2, and 3 as I learned quite a bit in the class and I imagine could learn a great deal more.

-m

March 6, 2010

St Patrick’s Day Party Ideas

Filed under: M's recipes — Tags: , , , — 2sisters2cities @ 6:53 pm

Living in South Boston, we usually end up throwing a St. Patrick’s day party for the annual parade.  Over the years, I’ve tried out serving different types of food for the event.  I’ve never tried making corned beef and cabbage, as that sounds like a truly terrible dish to me.  I like to stick with brunch ideas as the festivities usually start around 11 or 12 on a Sunday.  Here are some ideas:

-Make-Your-Own Omelette Bar: This is pretty easy to put together.  Gather a number of small bowls and fill them up with things that people might want to put in their omelette: mushrooms, green peppers, tomatoes, spinach, ham, shredded cheese, etc.  Also, in a large bowl, crack a few cartons of eggs and whisk together a large batch of egg mix.  Everyone can pick exactly what they want in their omelettes and everyone is happy.



-Breakfast Sandwiches: Cook a couple packages of bacon in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.  Put the bacon on paper towels to soak up the grease afterwards.  Cut a couple packages of  English muffins in half, put on a cookie sheet, and toast under the broiler.  In the meanwhile, start cooking eggs sunny-side up.  About 30 seconds before they are done, put a slice of cheese on top of each egg and allow to melt.  Put one egg on each English muffin bottom, top with bacon and the other half of the English muffin.

-On the side, I like to make a large fruit salad and have a couple of pitchers of beverages.  While most people stick to beer on St. Patty’s day, I like to make Bloody Mary’s and a sparkling pomegranate juice for the non-drinkers.  In small cups, put limes, lemons, and celery for people to add to their drinks.

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

-m

March 5, 2010

Two Recipe Recommendations

Filed under: M's post, M's recipes — Tags: , , , — 2sisters2cities @ 4:37 pm

I have made two excellent recipes this week that I wanted to pass along:

1. Pioneer Woman’s Spaghetti and Meatballs– A pretty standard thing to make, but I thought this was the best I ever had.  The husband gave it a 100 (very rare).

Photo courtesy of jsjw

2. Chana Masala and Garlic Naan– It was amazing.  I may have to make this every week.

Photo courtesy of paul goyette

Happy weekend!

-m

February 23, 2010

An Alternative Guacamole Recipe

Filed under: M's recipes, M's sides — Tags: , — 2sisters2cities @ 12:17 pm

For the Super Bowl, I also made Guacamole (as did our Mom…I guess it’s a family trend).  Sister K has a very good recipe that she has made for me before (for recipe, click here.)  I was searching around for a new variation and I found this one by Alton Brown on the Food Network website.

Ingredients
-3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
-1 lime, juiced (I was out of limes and half a lemon worked just fine in this recipe)
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced (I prefer red onion for this recipe)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (omit if serving for a crowd…a lot of people do not like cilantro)
1 clove garlic, minced

Directions

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

A good trick I learned somewhere is to stick the avocado pits into the guacamole while it is sitting out.  Remove them before serving.  In addition to the lime/lemon juice, this prevents the guacamole from browning.

-Sister M

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