Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Leftovers

Mr. Lawyer and I have been eating a lot of yummy ham (thanks Mrs. T!). We've had a variety of delicious sandwiches with combinations of Cabot cheddar cheese, Grandma Nancy's awesome pickles and horseradish sauce.
mmmm look at those pickles and that ham!
So tonight it was time to spice it up a bit. I made a maple glaze to add more sweetness to the already glazed ham and candied sweet potatoes.
For a last minute winging it dinner it came out pretty well...even if it was just throwing a maple syrup concoction on some ham slices and warming it up in the oven. We finished it off with some Cake Batter Ice Cream and some addicting crack cookies Amanda brought over. Oh! There were also some amazing olive rolls that Amanda added to dinner. They were amazing and I think they'd be great with some turkey and pesto.
Maple Glaze
3/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
5 whole cloves (I only had powdered)
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained (optional) (I just added a splash of juice to the mix)
1. Whisk together the maple syrup, vinegar and dry mustard.
2. Score the ham, brush on glaze and continue to brush as it bakes.
3. If desired, insert whole cloves into the ham before glazing and coat ham with pineapple after first glazing.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

All this Easter candy has brought out my sweet tooth. These sweet potatoes were the perfect match for the maple ham. It was simple and relatively quick once the potatoes were cooked. This dish is both Mr. Lawyer and Amanda approved!
Candied Sweet Potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice (I only used 1/8 cup based on the reviews)
1. Boil cut-up sweet potatoes or bake whole potatoes at 350 degrees until tender.
2. In a frying pan, melt the butter and brown sugar together until bubbly. Add the orange juice and stir until smooth. Add the cut-up sweet potatoes and cook slowly, turning occasionally until the sweet potatoes are caramelized, about 20 minutes. If syrup is too thin, add a bit more brown sugar.

I didn't cut up my sweet potatoes before boiling because I was trying a new method of peeling potatoes which can be found here: Potato Peeling Video. This was sent to me by Mrs. T and it was much more fun than standing at the sink peeling potatoes! All you need to do is score the center of your potatoes, boil them until done, throw them into ice water and twist. It worked really well, here's one of my potatoes half-skinned.

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's hot.

I made ice cream tonight. Smart. The first time I made this was last summer in Syracuse and it's still addicting. The original recipe calls for an ice cream maker which I don't have but you can still easily make it without one. It really does taste like cake batter too. Behold!
Cake Batter Ice Cream
(adapted from
1 cup milk
1/2 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used my vanilla bean paste)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup vanilla cake mix, sifted (or golden vanilla mix if you can find it!)
1. Whisk together milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, cream, and cake mix in a saucepan until well blended. Cook over medium-low heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C), stirring frequently. 
2. Remove from heat and place in the refrigerator or freezer until liquid is cold.
3. Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions until it reaches "soft-serve" consistency. Transfer ice cream to a one- or two-quart lidded plastic container; cover surface with plastic wrap and seal. For best results, ice cream should ripen in the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Or for the non-ice cream maker method:
3. Let your mixture cool in the freezer for 20 minutes and then pour into a large casserole dish or a cake pan. Freeze for 20-30 minute increments and take out in between and beat the ice cream with a hand mixer (I only mix it once or twice).

Happy Easter!

The centerpiece!
The Easter Bunny brought me broccoli salad. In this case the Easter Bunny is Grandma. I admit I have an unhealthy obsession with Grandma's broccoli salad and request it at every family gathering (if anything I am predictable). Responses range from "I'm on my way to the store for broccoli" to "Jenni, broccoli salad is not Thanksgiving food." False. Broccoli salad is all the time food. I am in possession of this recipe but I have never made it myself. I refuse. It always tastes better when Grandma makes it. However Mr. Lawyer thinks it would be a perfect shore food so I might relent this summer.
Grandma Nancy's Broccoli Salad
(the kitchen of Grandma!)
Broccoli tops (1 good sized bunched), chopped fine
6 slices of bacon, fried crisp
1/2 cup chopped onion (red I believe)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pineapple tidbits
Dressing Ingredients:
3/4 cup mayo
1/2 sugar (mix well)
1/2 cup vinegar
Aaaaand that's all Grandma gave me. But it's a salad so it's not that complicated to throw together. However she does wait till serving to mix in the dressing and bacon. But it's also delicious the next day as leftovers (which I always steal and will fight my own brother and/or cousins for). In fact, I just finished some up now. Delicious.

Mexican Monday Part Dos!

I wasn't kidding about my obsession with quesadillas. This one was not pretty. Too much cheese, the mushrooms were too moist, it didn't crisp up, I needed a fork but it was delicious.
Steak, Mushroom and Onion Quesadillas
But with steak and mushrooms minus the chicken, peppers and fajita seasoning.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eggs and Bits

It's time for a little bit about eggs, specifically egg salad and deviled eggs from my dad. He's ruined me for life and I can only eat them one way and the secret ingredient is....
Woeber's Creamy Horseradish Sauce!
(also Cabot Cheddar on an egg salad sandwich!!)
Both items are amazing on just about everything. You should get some now.
Dad's Egg Salad (and Deviled Eggs)
(from Daddy-o!)
Hard Boiled Eggs
Horseradish Sauce
1. Mix all your ingredients together (unless it's deviled eggs, then you have to put forth some effort). Proportions are based on your own tastes: wet or dry and spicy or not. Dad always added more horseradish sauce than mayo which is why his deviled eggs never lasted more than ten minutes at parties.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Birthday Cake!

Melissa has made this cake for my birthday every year since I was 16. I'm madly in love with it and make everyone eat it. It's a heavenly combination of chocolate and mint and fudgie-ness. It's so famous that even Sandy made it in Tonga. So in honor of Brad's birthday we have cake! And for obvious reasons the Boston Red Sox logo could not be as awesome as our Phillies Cake.
Jenni's Chocolate Mint Torte Birthday Cake
(from the Kitchen of Melissa)
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 teaspoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, for dusting
1. Set a roasting pan on lowest rack. Fill pan with water. Pre-heat to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 by 4 1/2 loaf pan with cooking spray. Cut parchment paper large enough to cover bottom and hang over sides of pan. Coat again with cooking spray.
2. Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted. Let cool slightly.
3. Put heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until soft peaks form. 1 to 2 min.
4. Put eggs and sugar in the clean bowl and wisk until triple in volume. Gently fold half of chocolate mixture into egg mixture until almost incorparated, fold in remaining chocolate. Fold in whipped cream and peppermint.
5. Reduce oven temp to 325. Pour batter into loaf pan. Set pan in roasting pan. Bake until it looses it's sheen and appears set when jiggled. About 25 - 30 min.
6. Carefully transfer roasting pan from water bath.; let cool.
7. Pulling on parchment paper, remove torte from pan and transfer to baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 min. Using a spatula gently loosen torte from parchment paper and invert onto a serving platter. Lightly dust with cocoa powder.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like.

Mexican Monday!

I was inspired today (odd for a Monday!) and surprised Mr. Lawyer with a full out Mexican and Spanish inspired meal. For appetizers we had salsa, homemade guacamole, pita chips and tortillas. The main dish was chicken quesadillas. It was all washed down with some sangria.
Mexican Monday Madness!
I have always been and shall always be madly in love with quesadillas. Melted cheese and an unlimited number of topping combinations? Yes please! In grad school Bradstreet made fun of me because quesadillas were all I ate for the entirety of summer session. But now I've learned a new trick! Baking them in the oven instead of in a frying pan (it never occurred to me!). I found the recipe online, decreased the amount (I'm not sure Mr. Lawyer is thrilled with my healthy portion control plans) and tweaked the ingredients based on what was in the kitchen.
Chicken Quesadillas 
(adapted from
1 boneless chicken breast, diced (only one for 2 quesadillas!? The horror!)
1 packet fajita seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 large tortillas
Cabot Cheddar Cheese (the one and only!), shredded
Butter or olive oil
1. Preheat the broiler. Grease a baking sheet.
2. Toss the chicken with the fajita seasoning, then spread onto the baking sheet. Place under the broiler and cook until the chicken pieces are no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
5. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the peppers and onion. Cook and stir until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Add in the chicken towards the end.
6. Brush the outside of each tortilla with butter or olive oil (this will make it crispy!). Layer half of each tortilla with the chicken and vegetable mixture, then sprinkle with the Cheddar cheese. Fold the tortillas in half and place onto a baking sheet.
7. Bake quesadillas in the preheated oven until the cheeses have melted, about 10 minutes.
I didn't have fajita seasoning on hand so I found a recipe which worked pretty well but next time I will add some more spice to it.
Fajita Seasoning
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. cumin

Holy Guacamole!

I was all Iron Chef making this guacamole and was whacking the avocado seeds with a big knife and yanking them out. It was exciting. I did not make the salsa but I did make some Pita Chips! Which are highly addicting and delicious with everything, especially guacamole. Seeing as how there is no guacamole left I will definitely be making this recipe again.
(Alton Brown, Food Network)
3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (omitted because I didn't have any)
1 clove garlic, minced
1. 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. 
2. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. 
3. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. 
4. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

The Sangria Bunny

In the past few years the Easter Bunny has gotten a wee bit alcoholic with his gift giving. This year he came early and left me with a bottle of Hazlitt Red Cat wine, cute little cocktail umbrellas and dark chocolate. Awesome. So I took advantage of my easter basket, the overabundance of random fruit in my kitchen, and the pleasantly warm weather to make some sangria. While there are many recipes for Sangria and I was inspired by the Food Network Magazine Article "Sangria Three Ways," I was feeling brave and winged it with whatever I had in the kitchen (Evidently this is how it was done back in the day).
Easter Bunny Sangria
(My Kitchen!)
1 bottle of Hazlitt Red Cat wine
A couple of shots of Rum (or Brandy)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 Plum
1/2 Mango
Some Blackberries
Left over Strawberries (from the Pavlovas)
1. Mix together the wine, rum, sugar and fruit. Let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours.
2. Before serving add the seltzer.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Red Rover, Red Rover...

Let Pavlova come over! Our second attempt at a meringue went much better (and for some reason I had that chant stuck in my head the whole time). According to Bon Appétit a Pavlova is a "big meringue topped with lots of stuff" but has a more moist center than a normal meringue (more marshmallowy) and it was named after Anna Pavlova, a russian ballet dancer. It was created in Australia or New Zealand (a point of much contention) when she was on tour.  Regardless of the history it was delicious!
The original recipe called for orange-flower water which I did not have (shocker, I know) but I read online that almond is often a good replacement so whenever the recipe called for orange-flower water we used almond extract. All three taste testers agreed that the almond flavoring complemented the dish much better than orange would have.
Other ramblings: I think this might be better than strawberry shortcake. Blasphemy I know. I'm just not a huge fan of shortcake in strawberry shortcake. I love strawberries and whipped cream but throw in the shortcake and I'm not crazy about it unless it's some topnotch shortcake. And as far as I can tell, coulis is just a fancy word for fruit puree.
Strawberry-Almond Pavlovas
(Bon Appétit) 
2 large egg whites, room temperature
8 tablespoons sugar, divided
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Strawberry Coulis:
1 12-ounce basket strawberries, hulled, quartered (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Strawberries and Whipped Cream:
1 12-ounce basket fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 275°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using cookie cutter or glass as aid, trace six 2 1/2-inch circles on parchment, spacing 2 to 3 inches apart; turn parchment over.
2. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks begin to form. With mixer running, gradually add 6 tablespoons sugar.
3. Whisk 2 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch in small bowl. With mixer running, gradually beat sugar-cornstarch mixture into meringue. Continue beating meringue until stiff glossy peaks form.
4. Beat in vinegar and almond extract. Divide meringue among parchment paper circles, spreading to fill completely (meringues will be about 1 1/2 inches high). Using back of spoon, form slight depression in center of each meringue.
5. Bake meringues until beige and dry to touch, about 20 minutes. Turn off oven and prop door open slightly with wooden spoon. Let meringues cool in oven until completely dry, about 1 hour. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
Strawberry Coulis:
1. Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth. Cover and chill.
Strawberries and Whipped Cream:
1. Mix strawberries, 1 tablespoon sugar, and almond extract in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature until sugar dissolves and juices form, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
2. Using electric mixer, beat chilled cream, vanilla, and remaining 1 teaspoon sugar in another medium bowl until soft peaks form.
Spoon small dollop of whipped cream in center of each plate. Place 1 meringue atop whipped cream on each plate, pressing lightly to anchor meringue. Spoon generous dollop of whipped cream in center of each meringue. Spoon coulis around meringues; top with sliced strawberry mixture

Meringue Me!

Oh new arch-nemisis! This morning Amanda and I attempted to make Pecan-Mocha Meringue Cookies. Attempted. The look on my face says it all:
"Oh you sassy meringue, you!"
It started off really well. We had a wonderful, glossy and stiff peaking meringue base. And then it happened. We switched to a spatula to gently fold in the finely chopped nuts and chocolate chips (as per the instructions from a Food Network show). Our meringue lost all of it's air and became soupy. We started placing them on the baking sheet, realized it would be pointless and then just threw it all on there in an attempt to get something out of it. Which we did! They still tasted good, a nice balance of chocolate/pecan/espresso but the texture was sorely (and obviously) lacking. No nice fluffy meringues for us.
Quick! Find the fake meringue!
Pecan-Mocha Meringues
(Bon Appétit)
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup egg whites (from about 3 large eggs)
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)
18 (about) untoasted pecan halves
1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Press brown sugar and cocoa powder through sieve into small bowl to remove any lumps; whisk to blend. 
3. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites, coarse salt, and cream of tartar in medium bowl until very soft peaks begin to form. 
4. With mixer running, gradually add sugar, then espresso powder; beat until medium peaks form. 
5. Beat in brown sugar mixture by tablespoonfuls. Continue beating until meringue is very stiff and glossy, 2 to 3 minutes. 
6. The step of DOOM! Fold in chopped pecans and chocolate chips, if desired. 
7. Drop mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart. Place 1 pecan half atop each meringue, pressing very lightly to adhere.
8. Bake meringues until dry but still slightly soft when pressed with finger, about 25 minutes. Turn off oven. Cool meringues in oven with door closed until crisp, about 1 1/2 hours
So sad.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Back in Syracuse we had a dinner inspired by Dave's trip to Belgium complete with mussels, waffles, and beer. You need the pearl sugar to give the waffles the right taste and texture. We found pearl sugar at Ikea of all places, in the food section near the registers.
Liege Waffles
2 cups flour
1 cup pearl sugar
1 cup melted butter
3 eggs
1 (1/4 ounce) package yeast
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Take the lukewarm water and mix in yeast, 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar and salt. Let the yeast develop for 15 minutes. In the meanwhile melt the butter.
2. Add the flour to a large bowl, make a hole in the middle, pour in the yeast that you made in step one. Also add eggs and melted butter and knead until you get nice and even dough. Then let it rest so the yeast does it's magic and the dough doubles.
3. Now take the pearl sugar and gently mix it in.
4. Again, let it rest for 15 minutes, in the meanwhile you can turn on the waffle maker so its nice and hot.
5. Bake each waffle for 3-5 minutes.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

From the Bakery of Jenni and Amanda!

I must start this post with two disclaimers:
1. Amanda and I are awesome.
2. I've never been a huge traditional cake fan which is why the Mother Unit always made me cheesecakes for my birthday and Melissa always made me flour-less chocolate tortes.
That being said this was a pretty good cake recipe and the frosting was banging. I also picked up a cake decorating kit for 6.99 at HomeGoods which was the best decision ever.  Even if I never touch it again the amusement it provided for us last night was well worth 7 bucks. Oh, third disclaimer.
3. Amanda and I have never really decorated a cake before...but we do watch Food Network!
Hershey’s Chocolate Cake
(From the Mother Unit who, given the name, got it from Hershey)
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1 batch "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be super thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost .
"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.
To see how our amazing cake came to be, follow the link for a photo story!

Veggies, Veggies Everywhere!

Friday night Amanda and I expertly fed three ravenous boys (Kevin, Woody and Kam) appetizers, dinner and a kick butt Phillies dessert. Apps were simple garlic and smoked mozzarella crostinis which disappeared before I got a good picture. We continued the trend of amazing one dish meals with another recipe from Giada (which made a ton, definitely cut the recipe in half for smaller groups). We did add two links of hot italian sausage (crumbled and browned) to the dish in fear that the boys would revolt due to the large amount of veggies but this dish would still be amazing and filling without it. The veggies were so good that I would make them and eat them straight out of the oven. You must splurge on the herbs de Provence and the smoked mozzarella cheese. The cheese adds a wonderful flavor and tastes like campfire (in an amazing wonderful way!).
Baked Penne with Roasted Veggies
(Giada, Food Network)
2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cremini mushrooms, halved (I used a box of pre-sliced mushrooms)
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried herbs de Provence (or Italian Herbs)
1 pound penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed (I strongly dislike frozen peas in things so this was vetoed)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.
4. In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables,marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.
5. Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes (ours only took 10ish minutes so keep an eye on it). 
Getting our veggie on!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bits and Cheeses

I tend to rotate through food ideas which means I always forget about simple yummy things. Then one day when it's all "work, busy, sleepy, dinner?" I'm always "Oh...why haven't we made that in forever?"
It's a grilled cheese and soup night!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pork Chop Dinner!

Also known as Jenni cooks a real meal with multiple sides and didn't completely destroy everything while multitasking! Tonight we had Molasses and Coffee Pork Chops with salt/pepper/garlic haricot verts (because Whole Foods can't call them green beans), and Potato Au Gratin balls. 
Two things greatly affected this recipe: my inability to properly use my grill pan and my intense fear of food poisoning via meat (never mind the fact that if I eat out I will order my steak/burger medium and love the pinkness but so help me god if there is any pink in meat I cook at home there will be a panic attack). So I burnt the pork chops a little bit on the pan, part my fault/part burning marinade that would have dripped down in a real grill. They would have been stellar on a real grill (some of the reviews broiled them but I was feeling adventurous hence the grill pan). The flavors were still good, an interesting mix of sweetness and then bitterness from the coffee. We decided that we would make this recipe again with Mr. Lawyer in charge of the actual cooking.
Molasses and Coffee Pork Chops
(Alton Brown, Food Network)
1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
1/2 cup molasses
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme (I used a couple pinches of dried thyme)
4 6-to-8-ounce bone-in pork chops (1 inch thick)
1. Combine the coffee, molasses, vinegar, mustard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the ginger, thyme and pork chops in a 1-gallon zip-top bag; seal and shake to combine.Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat a grill to medium-high. Remove the pork from the bag. Pour the marinade into a saucepan; boil gently over medium-high heat, stirring, until reduced to 1/2 cup, 12 to 15 minutes.**
3. Grill the pork chops for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 145. Let rest for 5 minutes; serve with the glaze.

**Say what?! I was always told not to reuse marinade even if you boiled it but if Alton Brown does it...I still reserved some non-meaty marinade to reduce down into a glaze.

A Kitchen Adventure

Last week Amanda had us over for dinner to break in her untouched stove and oven! I made the hazelnut cream stuffed snickerdoodles and Amanda made an amazing pasta dish with sides (asparagus and rosemary bread, mmmmmm). It was yummy and I plan on making it sometime soon, I especially loved the fresh herbs in it. Amanda thought it could use some more tomatoes (I agree) and the sauce could have been thickened more (I could go either way). Mr. Lawyer liked the lighter sauce because he got to mop it up with the bread. I liked the shrimp, Amanda wasn't too sure,  we were worried about the clam juice being over powering but I couldn't really taste it but Kevin could and liked it. We were like the Three Bears in Goldilock's Kitchen! The one thing we could agree on: It was delicious and a keeper!
Penne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce
1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, and deveined
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, roughly chopped (or more!)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup clam juice
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
2.  In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the shrimp turn pink and is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp and set aside.
3. Add the tomatoes, 1/4 cup basil, 1/4 cup parsley, and the red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine, clam juice, and heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the cooked shrimp, the cooked pasta, and the remaining herbs. Toss together until all ingredients are coated. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve immediately.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pottery Barn Part 2

The rest of my Pottery Barn stuff came in the mail Friday. The conversation went something like this:
Kevin: What the hell did you get?
Jenni: Umm....I had a 20% off coupon!
Kevin: Why are there so many boxes? Seriously, what did you do?!
Jenni: Well your mom got me those frames so of course I had to get matching ones and the hallway was so long and empty and white and there was a sale plus a coupon!!
Kevin: .....
Jenni: .....
Kevin: Jenni, stop popping the packing pillows, it sounds like gunshots.
Jenni: *sighs*
But it was so worth all those boxes wasn't it?

but where's the rum?!

This past weekend my family came down to ship the Dork off to Washington so I made dinner for everyone. We had cheese, hot salami, crackers, olives, bread and oil, and goat cheese pesto bruschetta
The main course was my standby Tortellini with sausage, fennel and mushrooms because I didn't feel like experimenting with anything (but I promise not to cook it again for months!) with some NYS wine I had Dad and Melissa bring down.
Dessert was a new experiment and it came out fantastically! Of course it helped that it was heavily spiked with rum...
Rum Cake 
(The Mother Unit)
Cake Part 1: 
2 cups cake flour
1 ½ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
½ cup butter, cut into bits
3 tbs vegetable oil
Cake Part 2:
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
1 (3.5 oz) pkg vanilla pudding mix – instant type
½ cup milk
4 eggs
½ cup Vanilla Rum (Normal is fine!)
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Rum Sauce: 
½ cup butter
¼ cup water
1 cup sugar
½ cup Vanilla Rum (Normal is still fine!)
Rum Glaze:
1/2 Cup Confectioner's Sugar
1 Tablespoon Rum
1 Teaspoon Water
1. Use an electric mixer on low speed to combine "the Cake Part 1" ingredients in a large mixing bowl until the mix is the consistency of fine gravel, and all of the particles are almost equal in size.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a large bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle the chopped nuts into the bottom. 
3. Add "the Cake Part 2" ingredients (pudding, milk, eggs, rum, oil and vanilla) in a large bowl and combine on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl halfway through. Batter should be very smooth. Pour into bundt pan and level out top. Bake until fully golden and tester comes out clean. About 55 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack, keep in pan until cool.
4. In a small saucepan combine butter, water and sugar from glaze recipe. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until sugar is dissolved and syrup is well combined and thicker. Remove from heat and add the rum.
5. While cake is still cooling, pour hot syrup into, on top and around the edges of the pan. Cool cake completely in pan before turning out onto serving platter. 
6. Mix confectioner's sugar, rum and water (till desired consistency) and drizzle over the cake while it is still hot.

And then as payment I put everyone to work hanging my pictures. Ha.