Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Looking back at all the baking that I've been doing, there's a common theme emerging: chocolate. Okay, so I like chocolate. You might even call me a chocoholic. If you're a chocoholic, you're in the right place! And guess what? This is a judgment-free zone, so don't be afraid to flaunt your chocoholism. 

So, chocolate cookies. Chewy? Crispy? Which one do I prefer? It's chocolate ... it doesn't matter. 

That said, these are a lot different than my last cookie recipeThese are chewy chocolate chip cookies. The chocolate-to-dough ratio is a lot more mellow. So they're very balanced. The texture is chewy but forgiving. There are strong notes of brown sugar and vanilla in the dough, which, overall, makes for a very pleasant cookie. Most importantly, the chocolate is fantastic! I used 70% Valrhona, in the shape of small discs (or "feves"), from Whole Foods. Because of the shape, each bite offers the promise of hitting a solid pocket of gooey chocolate!

So what's your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe? Are you a chewy or a crispy kind of person? Let me know in comments!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tzatziki Potato Salad

Now, I'll admit to not being a huge fan of traditional potato salad. Don't get me wrong, I'm no mayo-phobe. On a sandwich? Fine. In a salad dressing? Great. But mixed with potatoes? Not really. It might because the result is usually a potato salad that is heavy and rich. To me, not really the ideal dish to bring to a summer picnic or barbecue. 

This Tzatziki Potato Salad is a unique take on something classic. Compared to the traditional potato salad, it's something decidedly different. To start with, it's light and refreshing. It combines cool cucumbers with Greek yogurt, a little bit of fresh lemon juice, and garlic. Oh, and a few pounds of potatoes. The result is a dish that's not just fit to be a side course, but something hearty enough and delicious enough to be the main course!

That said, it'll do fine if you need something to share for your next picnic or potluck. Best of all, it's dead simple to make. And it can be made in advance and travels well. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chocolate Walnut Brownies

Making the perfect brownie is difficult. Some people like them so fudgy that you need a spoon to eat them. Other people like their brownies super cakey.

Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, these brownies are an attempt to bridge the gap between too hot and too cold, and find something ‘just right.’ So, they are neither too fudgey nor too cakey. Put simply, it’s a classic brownie, albeit perhaps kicked up a notch.

These are chocolate brownies with toasted walnuts.  They’re chewy (bordering on fudgy), with intense notes of chocolate. They’re also slightly cakey, but without being dry. The interior is pleasantly moist. And because of that, the recipe is forgiving in the oven. If you’re the type to worry about over-baking your brownies, this is your recipe!

Finished with a generous coating of toasted walnuts, these chocolate brownies are a simple and satisfying treat!

P.S., I made 1/3 of the pan without walnuts, so if you’re a brownie purist, I can promise you they’re still pretty awesome, even without toasted nuts.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts have a poor reputation. Mostly, I think it’s because people have had them poorly prepared.  For instance, if you overcook Brussels sprouts, they’ll begin to release an unpalatable sulfurous smell. So don’t overcook them. Also, many common preparations for Brussels sprouts call for boiling them. That’s a recipe for disaster.

But cooked just right, Brussels sprouts can be quite tasty – sweet, salty, and nutty.

This recipe, if it can even be called a recipe, requires just a few ingredients and a skillet. The result? You get crispy Brussels sprouts that are a rich golden-brown on the outside and tender on the inside. Dusted with a light sprinkling of cheese and you have a little bit of heaven in a pan.