Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brownies with cream cheese - blackberry filling

This is a decadent dessert that is actually lower in fat and calories, thanks to cutting back on ingredients like butter and eggs. The result is a cakey brownie that has pockets of sweet-tart preserves and swirls of creamy goodness. It's easily doubled, which I recommend if you are making this for a crowd.

Feel free to substitute other kinds of preserves instead of the blackberry - honestly, it was was just what I happened to have in the pantry.

3/4 c flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c sugar
1/4 c butter, melted
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 egg whites

Sift together the dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. (Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder). Set aside.

In your mixer, combine the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes (Sugar, butter, water, vanilla extract, egg and egg whites).

With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing only until everything is incorporated. Pour 2/3 of the batter into an 8 or 9" baking dish that is greased and floured. Set aside the rest.


1/3 c sugar
8 oz low-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg white (you can add the yolk to the brownies if you don't want to waste it)

In your stand mixer, whisk the above ingredients together on med-high speed for 5 minutes.

Dollop the cream cheese filling on top of the brownie batter. Swirl through with a knife. Then dollop the remainder of the brownie batter on top of the cream cheese, and spoon on several teaspoons of the blackberry (or whatever you have) preserves. Swirl again with a knife, then bake at 350 for 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Let cool completely before cutting.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

French Onion Soup

You will need:

-4 tbs butter
-1 tsp salt
-4 onions, thinly sliced
-48 oz chicken stock
-16 oz beef stock
-1/2 c red wine
-1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
-2 tbs parsley
-1 tbs thyme
-1 bay leaf
-Day-old baguette
-Slices of Gruyere or Swiss cheese

In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook the butter, salt and onions over medum heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring often. When the onions have reduced and begin to caramelize, add the stock, wine and Worcestershire sauce. Bind the herbs together with twine and add to the pot. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. When the soup is done, remove the herbs.

While the soup cooks, preheat the broiler. Slice the bread into 1 1/2" slices, place on a baking sheet. Broil on one side for 45 seconds, flip and broil the other side for about 30 seconds.

Pour the soup into oven-safe bowls and top with the baguette slices. Add a few slices of the cheese and place back into the oven. Broil for about 1 minute, or until cheese bubbles. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pork medallions with tangy cherry-pomegranate sauce

This is a surprisingly low-calorie and low-fat dish to make, especially if you trim the pork tenderloin beforehand. The sauce is rich and tangy, and the cherries add little pops of sweetness.
(Shown here with my usual couscous dish - minus the shallot, plus some ground saffron and curry.)

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into one-inch thick medallions
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1/2 pomegranate juice (I used POM)
-1/3 c dried sweet cherries
-1/4 c dry red wine (MM: Never cook with something you wouldn't drink!)
-1/4 c balsamic vinegar
-1 tsp cornstarch
-1 tsp water
-1 tbsp butter
Sprinkle both sides of the medallions with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a deep frying or stir-fry pan over med-high heat. Add the pork and cook 4 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan, keep warm.
Add the next four ingredients (through balsamic vinegar) to the pan to deglaze, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil for two minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch and water, then add to the pan. Bring the sauce back to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for another minute. Kill the heat and add the butter, stirring until it melts.
Add the pork back to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce. Serve each medallion with a spoonful of sauce, making sure to include those yummy cherries!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Scallops in a garlicky white wine sauce

(Otherwise known as scallops scampi-esque)

My house reeks of garlic and it's totally worth it!

-1 pound pasta
-4 tbsp room-temperature butter
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 small shallot, minced
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1/2 c white wine
-1 c chicken stock
-1 pound bay scallops
-2-3 teaspoons of fresh or dried parsley (fresh is best!)

Cook the pasta VERY al dente according to the directions on the box.

In a deep sauté pan, melt the butter over med-high heat. Add the garlic, shallot, salt and pepper, and cook until translucent. Pour in the stock and wine, and bring to a boil. Add the scallops, reduce the heat to medium, let the sauce come back to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove the scallops from the pan with a slotted spoon, set aside and keep warm. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan with the sauce and cook for several minutes. Kill the heat, toss the scallops back into the mixture with the parsley. Serve with a little bit of grated parmesan.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Experimental recipe: pot roast (a la Emily)

I'm not going to give you directions on how long to cook this in the oven, because mine was pretty pink in the what works for you.

-3 lb roast, tied
-2 tbsp olive oil
-Salt and pepper
-1 medium yellow onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-1 c celery, chopped
-1 c carrots, chopped
-1 can Campbell's French Onion soup
-1 1/4 c dry red wine, separated
-1 tsp parsley
-1/2 tsp thyme
-1/2 tsp paprika
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-2 pounds potatoes, diced
-2 tbsp ultra-refined flour (such as Wondra)

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over med-high heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the roast, sear on all sides until browned. Remove roast, set aside.

Lower the heat to medium, add the onion and garlic to the pan, sautee until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots, cook another 5 minutes. Add the soup mix, 1 cup of the wine and spices, stir well.

Put the roast back into the Dutch oven and bake at 325, uncovered, for one hour. Turn the roast once and add the potatoes, then cook until desired level of doneness.

Remove the roast from the pan, cover in foil and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. Use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside the veg, then strain the liquid in the pan into a gravy separator. Put the Dutch oven back on the stovetop over medium heat, and add the remainder of the red wine to deglaze the bottom. Add the separated liquid and bring to a low simmer. Whisk in the flour and stir for about 3-5 minutes. Serve with the roast.