Monday, August 29, 2011

The Jenni and Mr. Lawyer Show

"If this was a reality tv'd be safe from elimination!"
Romance! I'm glad that my cooking skills are coming in handy and keeping me safe. Martha, Martha, Martha you have done it again. Tonight I once again cooked Martha's Perfect Roast Chicken (at the specific request of Mr. Lawyer) and once again it came out marvelous, proving that it wasn't just a fluke. This recipe is solid gold. It was served up with some Mashed Maple Squash and a lovely loaf of French Bread with a smothering of Parmesan Chive Butter. Oh and some lovely NYS wine from Rasta Ranch! As an added bonus it was all timed perfectly and ready to go as soon as Mr. Lawyer walked through the door (Go Apartment Girlfriend, Go!).
Mashed Maple Squash
(The kitchen of Jenni, picked up from the Mother Unit)
1 whole butternut squash
2 tablespoons butter
Maple Syrup (not measured)
Salt and Pepper
1. Hack that squash in two and scoop out the seeds!
2. Spread a tablespoon of butter on each half, leaving a piece in the scooped out part. Sprinkle on salt and pepper.
3. Drizzle maple syrup over each half, let a bunch pool in the scooped part.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes (depends on the size of your squash), until soft.
5. Scoop the squash out of the skin and mash it up! Add more maple syrup if desired.

A Lovely Loaf

I am in love with the recipe book I have recently inherited. Another day, another keeper! This French Bread recipe was a bit more labor intensive than the Basic White Bread recipe but it was well worth it. It needed to be proofed three times and you had to mist it three times while baking (I assume this helps form the yummy crust). It came out very similar to the fancy french bread we buy downstairs! The only difficult part was rolling it out and shaping it but I guess that comes with experience. One loaf came out decent but the other is a little stumpy. I whipped up some delicious Parmesan Chive Butter to accompany this lovely loaf. P.S. Look how the diagonal slashes make it look like legit french bread!

French Bread
(From Mary Gubser's Quick Breads, Soups and Stews)
4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups warm water
1 package quick-rising dry yeast
1. Mix yeast and water, stir till dissolved and set aside. In the food processor mix the flour and salt, pulse to combine. With the processor running drizzle in the yeast-water mixture. When the dough forms remove it to a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let proof for one hour. Punch down the dough and knead lightly, let rise for an additional 10-15 minutes.
2. Split the dough into two separate balls. Roll one portion out into a 12x8 rectangle and then roll it up from the long side, jelly roll style! Pinch the seam and taper the ends. Repeat with the second portion. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover. Set aside to proof again, until doubled, about 30-35 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 450. Make three diagonal slashes on each loaf. Lightly mist the loaves with water and spray the inside of the oven, set the baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. After the first three minutes open the oven and spray the loaves. Spray again in three more minutes. Let cool on wire racks.

Jive and Chive!

We had a whole bunch of chives left over from our Hurricane Potato Soup and I didn't want to waste them so I whipped up a quick and delicious compound butter to go with my lovely french bread. Yum! I imagine this would be absolutely amazing on a steak.
Parmesan and Chive Butter
(adapted from Whole Foods)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1. Mix it all together! The longer it sets before you serve it, the more the flavors will mix together.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Soup!

In preparation of several rainy days we made some hurricane soup! The perfect rainy day meal. It was a hodge podge type deal with no real measuring, a cheap and healthy version of a potato leak soup. We had a lot of extra salt potatoes leftover from my family being in town. We decided it would be healthier to cook them in the soup instead of boiling them in super salty water and smothering them in butter. But less delicious? Most definitely. Instead of cream/half and half we used chicken broth and skim milk. To get the creamy texture we pureed half of the soup and mixed it back in. We used three strips of bacon, cooked on the George Foreman Grill to limit the grease. Over all it was a good compromise, you can tell that it's a healthy soup but the taste is still pretty good. I did add some shredded Yancy's Fancy Horseradish Cheese which really gave it an extra kick.
Hurricane Potato Soup!
(from the kitchen of Jenni and Kevin!)
1 small onion
1 leak
2 pieces of celery
Some chives
2 pieces bacon
Chicken Broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheese for garnish
1. Dice all your veggies, we left the skins on the potatoes. Combine liquids and veggies and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes or until veggies are soft.
2. Put half of mixture in a blender and puree. Return to pot and stir in bacon bits.
Stay safe and dry!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I seem to be on a quest for creating alcoholic baked goods. See: Rum Cake, Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes and Irish Coffee Cupcakes. No one has complained yet. I'm on the fence about these but it should be noted that I'm diseased and my taste buds are all out of whack because I'm pretty positive that these cookies didn't actually taste like dayquil. Mr. Lawyer, Amanda and Banks (our doorman) all raved about them and declared I was crazy.
Mudslide Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
1 cup chocolate chunks
sea salt for topping
1. Mix the flour, cocoa, coffee powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the melted butter and sugars until they are combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Stream in coffee liqueur and mix. Gradually add flour and mix until a dough forms. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove dough from the fridge and roll into golfball sized balls. Set on a non-stick baking sheet with 2 inches between each. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are set and the middles are still soft. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with sea salt.

Breakfast for Dinner

Poor Mr. Lawyer has been a good sport about my healthy eating kick in light of current events but as he frequently tells me "I'm not done with you yet!" so he really doesn't have a choice. We've made a conscious effort to include more veggies and cut back on outrageous amounts of meat. We have always done a good job in the junk food department, we don't keep soda in the house or have a ton of unhealthy munchies.
Despite his willingness to play along he might have been startled by the alarming amount of greens that suddenly took over our fridge but those suckers cook waaaay down I tell you! I was skeptical about this recipe as well but it came out surprisingly well. We had breakfast for dinner and the only thing that it needed was a dash of hot sauce (I like Sriracha but he prefers Tabasco), it was filling and, in my opinion, yummy considering it was mainly a bunch of greens (there were no leftovers). I liked the taste of the swiss chard over the kale but having a mix of multiple greens is the way to go (keeps it interesting!). I would add more mushrooms the next time around and Mr. Lawyer requested throwing in some kind of sausage but that would defeat the purpose of being healthy would it not?
Fried Eggs with Greens and Mushrooms
(Martha Stewart Living)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces white button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
Coarse salt
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 cups cooking greens (cut into 3/4-inch-wide ribbons), such as collard, chard, mustard, or kale
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
Garnish: finely grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat. Swirl in oil. Cook mushrooms with 1/2 teaspoon salt until golden and tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in garlic, then greens and water. Cook, stirring, until greens wilt. Add unsalted butter, and stir until melted.
2. Push greens to make 4 wells. Crack 1 egg into each. Season with salt. Cook for 4 minutes. Let stand until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes. Garnish with cheese.
From this to that!

Maple Squash!

Making this the other night made me miss Wegmans and their precut/cleaned squash! Hacking up a butternut was not any fun, especially since we don't really have a high quality sharp knife. Anyway, recipe is wonderful. I love squash and I really, really love maple so what's not to love about this?!
Roasted Root Veggies with Maple Glaze
(The Kitchen of Jenni)
Veggies of your choice, prepared and cut into uniform pieces (Squash, turnips, carrots, parsnips, or even eggplant!)
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Cooking spray
1. Preheat the oven to 450 and spray pan.
2. Coat veggies in oil, salt and pepper
3. Bake veggies for 10 minutes
4. Stir in syrup and bake for 20 more minutes or until tender

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Who You Calling Honey Honey?!

I got just because flowers today.
Today in all of my good domestic apartment-girlfriend glory, I not only dusted every surface and pledged the heck out of the bedroom furniture but I also succeeded in making a delicious, relatively healthy dinner that required cooking two things at once! Go me! Dinner consisted of a salad with healthy toppings (i.e. no yolk for Mr. Lawyer's hardboiled egg), my yummy maple baked squash, a guinea pig recipe of Apple-Honey Chicken and heart healthy red wine! The chicken came out pretty well. I used thighs instead of drumsticks and halved the sauce recipe although as noted I did add more honey to sweetened it up because it started out a little bit too vinegary/tart. The chicken had a nice crisp skin and the sauce was a nice balance of sweet/tart/spicy. The only thing that would hold me back from making this again is the fact that the cooking method was a wee bit smokey and the place still smells like chicken!
Apple-Honey Chicken
(Food Network Magazine)
12 skin-on chicken drumsticks (or thighs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups apple juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey (I used about an extra tablespoon more)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sesame seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Put the drumsticks on the rack and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Bake 30 minutes; flip the drumsticks and continue baking until golden and crisp, about 30 more minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Bring the apple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt to a boil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the sauce is syrupy and coats the back of a spoon, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside until the chicken is done.
3. Stir the sesame seeds into the sauce, if using, and warm over medium heat, if necessary. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Add the sauce and butter and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the chicken to a platter and drizzle with any remaining sauce from the bowl.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Veggie Thunder!

So Mr. Lawyer had his annual physical the other week. Needless to say he will not be receiving any more "bacon wrapped bacon". In an attempt at a healthier lifestyle and inspired by Melissa's Veggies Salsa we had some veggie tortillas tonight. He also hit the gym tonight but we'll see how long that lasts. In light (or darkness!) of the current apocalypse thunderstorm that is swirling above our heads I present to you Veggie Thunder Tortillas!
Veggie Thunder Tortillas!
(from the kitchen of Jenni)
Veggies of your choice: This time around it was zucchini, yellow squash, corn, onion, pepper, black beans, jalapeno and tomatillos
Toppings of your choice: This time there was guacamole, sour cream and Cabot Cheese (I can't give up my cheese!)
A thunderstorm, preferably of epic proportions
1. Prepare your veggies to the desired size (uniform size assists in even cooking time)
2. Saute everything in a pan.
3. Assemble your tortilla!
Our naming inspiration: THUNDERSTORM OF DOOOOOM!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Brown Sugar Booooberry Cookies!

Hannah picked a bunch of blueberries the other day and asked me for recipe suggestions. This one has been sitting on the top of my "To Bake List" for a couple of weeks now. I finally made them today to celebrate Mr. Lawyer's new job! Woo!
These cookies were pretty amazing. Sweet but not too sweet and not in a sugary way but in a nice fruity way. It was a great alternative to blueberry muffins. I will definitely be keeping this recipe and I can't wait to have some for breakfast!
Brown Sugar Blueberry Cookies
1 stick butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well until combine, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon with the mixer on low speed. Mix until dough comes together. Add in milk. If dough is still crumbly, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Fold in blueberries. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Remove dough from fridge and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rainy Day Bread

It was a nice rainy day which was perfect for hot chocolate and making bread! I was recently gifted a copy of Mary Gubser's Quick Breads, Soups and Stews that Melissa found at the library book sale and it's quite the little gem. I'm excited about a lot of recipes but decided to start off with the basic white bread recipe which promised me "an excellent crusty bread with a handsome crust." And that is exactly what came out of my oven! It was a nice loaf of homemade bread, had a good texture and density, and the crust was pretty handsome! 
It accompanied some of my meatballs from the freezer, a nice salad and some New York State wine for a very yummy dinner. The yellow pepper in the salad and basil for the pasta both came from our little balcony garden. 
Basic White Bread
(From Mary Gubser's Quick Breads, Soups and Stews)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter/margarine, melted
1 package quick-rising dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1. In a food processor add flour and salt, pulse to combine.
2. Mix milk, honey and butter in a small bowl. In a second bowl add water and yeast, stir till dissolved.
3. With the food processor running add in the yeast mixture followed by the milk mixture. Mix for 20 seconds. Remove dough and knead by hand for 1 minute. Round into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and a towl. Let proof for 30 minutes. Knead down for 1-2 minutes, cover and let rest 10 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 400. Spray loaf pan with vegetable spray. Form dough into a loaf and bake for 30-35 mintues. Remove from oven and turn bread out onto a wire rack to cool.

I am excited to pick my next recipe from this book! Some section titles are: The Delectable Muffin, Cornbread and Spoon Bread, Biscuits and Scones, Seafood Soups, Creamy Soups, Coffee Cakes, and A Perfect Loaf to name a few.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bits and Pitas

A word about pitas: love. Fresh pitas are amazing for anything. Like homemade pita chips and delicious mini pizzas and let's not forget sandwiches! Which leads us to jalapenos. Have you ever added jalapenos to your tuna fish sandwich which just happens to be on a fresh out of the oven pita and layered with Cabot seriously sharp cheese? Heaven. 

One Step...

"Now you're one step closer to being really Polish" is what I was informed when I was served dinner tonight (except not quite so politically correct). Mr. Lawyer bought some pierogi (or perogi depending on who you ask) from Reading Terminal, grilled up some kielbasa, and heated up some sauerkraut for a very delicious dinner. We'll see if someone ends up sleeping on the couch due to the consequences of combining kielbasa and sauerkraut in a very Polish belly. The candles are already going just as a precaution.
I was underwhelmed by the pierogi, they weren't very flavorful at all. There's a Polish restaurant in Syracuse (out in Solvay), called Eva's that has the most wonderful pierogi and in Dewitt you can buy some from the cute little old Polish ladies during the Orthodox church bake sale (plus the yummy desserts!). Mr. Lawyer and Melissa made some pretty yummy ones for Easter 2010 as well.
Mr. Lawyer's Polish Dinner
(from the kitchen of Mr. Lawyer)

P.S. Mr. Lawyer making pierogi, Easter 2010
Yeah. That's my apron.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Artsty Birthday Cake!

For Mrs. T's birthday I made an Artist Palette cake! I used a regular 9 inch cake pan, trimmed the sides to give it the appropriate shape and used my small biscuit cutter to make the hole. Then came some fun times with the food coloring!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Harvest!

Now I just need something to do with the teeny tiny lonely golden bell pepper from my itsy bitsy balcony garden.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bacon on Bacon

The running joke while we were shopping at the Dewitt Wegmans this weekend was "how many pork products can we get in our cart?" The answer is three. How many did we cook with tonight? Two. This was a staple in high school that Dad made all the time and I'm not quite sure why the Dork and I haven't keeled over from a heart attack yet. And for those of you that keep track of these things (Grandma Nancy!), I did use the reduced sodium bacon and serve it up with some Farmer's Market Squash Saute!
Dad's Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
(from the kitchen of Papa Peterson)
1 pork tenderloin
4-5 strips of bacon, cut in half
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
1. Sprinkle on the desired amount of salt, pepper and garlic powder.
2. Wrap the tenderloin in bacon. I just use half strips and tuck it underneath.
3. Cook for 30 minutes at 425 degrees.

I'm pretty sure I heard some declarations of undying love in between the very manly sounds of shoveling pork products into one's mouth.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Play like a Peterson!

"Hardcore....and a little dirty." 
A wonderful family motto. Next year Derek and I are making shirts.
Exciting things happened this weekend involving an epic family reunion eating fest, baking in Grandma's kitchen with legit baking equipment and yummy leftovers.
Nancy's Kitchen!
Complete with a stand-mixer older than me and a real double boiler for melting chocolate!
I was responsible for dessert and you never want to experiment in situations like this so I chose two rock solid recipes. Because it was a family reunion I opted for my Rum Cake (which was great with coffee on the dock the following morning) and Uncle Craig requested something chocolate so Double Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies made an appearance. I woke up at the bright and cheery hour of 6 to begin my baking. Everything went well and came out tasting fine with the exception of my horribly burnt rum cake. Psh. Okay so it wasn't black burnt but it's darker than I like so I just threw in some more rum. Plus licking the rum batter bowl at 6:30 made dealing with a burnt cake a little easier (Salmonella be damned Grandma!).
Some lovely cookies and a disfigured rum cake.
And onto a real recipe! (sort of)
The great part about trips to any set of parental units is the fact that you always come home with leftovers. This trip we were lucky enough to score some of Melissa's delicious (and made on a whim!) veggie salsa and random bits of cheese/salami/olives. Because we had all of these random things and we weren't too hungry we decided on a munchie platter for dinner. My personal favorites included Cabot horseradish cheese spread and Wagner's Sled Dog Doppelbock Beer.
The spread.
Melissa's Veggie Salsa
(from the kitchen of Melissa)
Yellow Squash
Red Onion
Black Beans
Jalapeno Pepper
1. Prepare veggies and mix them all together.

Sidenotes: I'm not sure if there was any salt or pepper to taste or if it was dressed in anything lemon/lime juice or some sort of vinegar....I'll have to check. There was definitely some elbowing for the last couple of bites which I obviously won because I.....played like a Peterson!