Thursday, January 28, 2016

Buttermilk Chess Pie


We were flying home from a weekend in Banff (incredible place, I highly recommend visiting!) and C sent me a link to an article on "Forgotten Pies We Should Bring Back."  He requested that I make a Buttermilk Chess Pie, a Sugar Cream Pie and a Shoofly Pie.  After some pie research, I concluded that the Buttermilk Chess Pie seemed to be the best pie to start with and I also informed him that I had no plans to ever make the Shoofly Pie.  I made a crust by hand for Thanksgiving and I actually preferred it to my usual food processor method.  If you like sweet desserts, this is the pie for you.  Miss F and C were in pie heaven, I was longing for a more traditional fruit pie instead.  The filling recipe is adapted from All Recipes.
Buttermilk Chess Pie

Crust:
1 ¼ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼ -inch cubes
3 tablespoons ice water

Filling:
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
½ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse cornmeal. Stir in the water with a fork until the dough pulls together. Roll out the dough on a well floured surface into a 12” circle. Gently press the crust into a 9” pie pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together the flour, sugar, eggs and buttermilk until well combined. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 45 minutes or until the filling is set.
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Monday, January 25, 2016

Creamy White Chicken Chili


I despise chili, unfortunately, the rest of my family adores it. White chicken chili is about the closest thing I will eat to actual chili.  Chili is one of the foods that I hated as a kid and still hate today.  Most foods that I didn't enjoy as a kid, I grew to like as my tastes matured.  Chili does not fit that bill.  Miss F was so happy to have chili for dinner, though she would prefer chili from a can (double gross) for dinner any day.  Thanks to Taste of Home Cooking for the fantastic and family pleasing recipe.
Creamy White Chicken Chili

1 tablespoon oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
2 cans (15 ½ ounces each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 ½ ounces) chicken broth
1 can chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and onion, sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add the beans, broth, chiles, salt, cumin, oregano, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream and heavy cream, serve topped with cheddar cheese.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Chicago Style Pizza


C went to business school in Chicago. I have visited a few times and one of my most favorite things in the city is all the wonderful food choices.  Pretty much every meal I have had in Chicago has been delicious.  We were so excited when Gino's East opened a restaurant in Houston.  Apparently, the rest of the city was not as excited and it closed less than a year later.  Luckily, the recipe is available online so we can make our own Gino's East pizza at home.  I had low expectations, but this pizza is spot on, especially the buttery and flaky crust.  It's a winner!
Chicago Style Pizza

¾ cup cornmeal
1 cup warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup olive oil
4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Desired pizza toppings
1 cup crushed tomatoes
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Process the cornmeal in a food processor or coffee grinder as fine as possible. Sift the cornmeal into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water, yeast, salt, sugar, oil and 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Use the whisk attachment and stir for 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of flour to the mixture and use the dough hook to stir to combine. Add the remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky, you may not need all the flour. Knead the dough with the dough hook for 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, place in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough into a ball and flatten. Use a rolling pin to roll into a ¼ inch thick circle. Oil the bottom of a 12” iron skillet with vegetable oil. Press the dough into the bottom of the skillet and 2” up the side. Cover the skillet with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest while the oven preheats to 475 degrees. Brush the dough with the remaining butter. Layer the mozzarella cheese on the bottom, then top with whatever desired toppings you choose. Spread a layer of crushed tomatoes on top of the toppings, then sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake the pizza for 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 400 degrees and bake the pizza an additional 10 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Allow the pizza to cool 5 minutes before serving.
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Monday, January 18, 2016

Tomatillo Pork Roast


Not the prettiest of meals, but one of the tastiest. I served this simple pork roast with one of my favorite sides, Mexican Sour Cream Rice. I would have despised the rice as a kid, but now I cannot get enough.  Miss F loves anything with tomatillo salsa, I always have a jar on hand.  In fact, she had an extra little cup of it for dipping.  I also replaced the green chiles in the rice with tomatillo salsa, but that still didn't convince her to have any.  We enjoyed this pork roast sliced one night, then had it shredded in flautas the next.  I love anything that I can stretch over multiple meals, makes things much easier.
Tomatillo Pork Roast

1 teaspoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 two pound pork loin roast
¼ cup tomatillo salsa

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a small roasting pan. Stir together the brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Coat the pork loin with the spice mixture and place in the roasting pan. Spoon the salsa overtop of the roast. Roast for 1 hour, until the center of the roast reaches 140 degrees. Remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.
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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Crockpot Italian Chicken and Peppers with Parmesan Polenta


We didn't get to enjoy this meal the night is was planned for. I had just loaded up the crockpot and not 30 minutes later, got a 5 pm showing request for our house (which is currently for sale.) So we headed out for dinner, Pappasitos, Miss F's choice, and I transferred the fully cooked meal to the refrigerator. Luckily, it was completely delicious a day later.  The bell peppers get so tender and sweet, which is perfect over the rich polenta.  I still cannot convince Miss F to try more than the tiniest bite of polenta, but she inhaled this chicken.  The recipe was heavily adapted from Budget Bytes.
Crockpot Italian Chicken and Peppers

2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
½ onion, sliced
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Lay half of the bell peppers and onions in the bottom of the crockpot and place the chicken on top. Sprinkle the chicken with the basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover the chicken with the remaining bell peppers and onions, then pour the crushed tomatoes and brown sugar over top. Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Use tongs to shred the chicken and toss well with the sauce. Serve over pasta, rice or polenta.

Parmesan Polenta

2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup polenta
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Make the polenta about 30 minutes before ready to serve. In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring milk, water, and salt to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook 20 minutes, until creamy, lifting the lid and stirring every 3 or 4 minutes to prevent sticking. Remove pot from stove, stir in pepper and butter. Gradually stir in cheese.
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Monday, January 11, 2016

Reverse Sear Steaks


I don't think I will ever cook a steak the usual way ever again. This recipe couldn't be any easier and it is literally foolproof. I cooked three steaks for New Year's Eve and each one was perfection.  It takes a bit more time than the regular way, but the extra time is completely hands off.  Of course, my meat thermometer decided to stop working the night I made these, so I had to use an old school thermometer instead of the fancy remote control variety.  The wire had completely severed on the remote, so I ordered a new one with a much heavier duty wire.  This recipe is based off People Magazine (for real!)
Reverse Sear Steaks

2 rib eye or New York strip steaks (1 to 1 ½ inches thick)
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and place the steaks on the rack. Season the steaks with the salt and pepper. Roast the steaks in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until an instant read thermometer reads 125 degrees. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Heat an iron skillet over high heat. Cook the steaks in the skillet one minute per side. Remove the steaks from the skillet, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes more. Serve.
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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Chicken Katsu


I love anything fried in Panko. They are far superior to any breadcrumb, except for maybe my beloved Pork Things.  This chicken is fried Panko perfection and the sauce is amazingly simple.  Even Miss F enjoyed the sauce, which was quite surprising.  She is usually a mustard based sauce fan, which is so surprising because usually kids are all about ketchup over mustard, I know I was.  I enjoyed the leftovers, with the sauce, on a sandwich the next day for lunch. The Tonkatsu sauce recipe is from Just One Cookbook.
Chicken Katsu

¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sugar

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to ½ inch thickness
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup oil, for frying

In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, Worcestershire, oyster sauce and sugar, set aside.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then egg and finally the Panko until well coated. Heat ¼ inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the hot oil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Serve with rice and the prepared Tonkatsu sauce.
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Monday, January 4, 2016

2015: A Year in Review


Another year is in the books!  We had another amazing year of travel, with our big trip being a two and a half week European vacation.  We visited Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria.  I wish I could eat warm German and/or Austrian potato salad more often.  And Schnitzel.  And Milka.  And beer.  Lots of beer.  We had a couple ski trips to Aspen, I must say I prefer not having to lug all my gear with me on a plane, but it is still a pretty incredible place to spend winter days.  We went with family for a long weekend in San Antonio, Six Flags is always more fun with lots of kids.  C and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in New York city with lunch at Babbo and the most incredible dinner at Jean-Georges.  Miss F, my parents and I visited family and friends in Beaufort and Charleston, South Carolina.  I was able to tag along with C on a trip to Beaver Creek, we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, which may be one of my most favorite hotels ever.  We also had a couple visits to Disneyland and our first ever free dining trip to Walt Disney World...I am not sure we could ever go without it now! 

Below are the top posts from last year...lots of chicken, pizza and pasta!

 Wishing you all an amazing 2016!
#1 Chipotle Chicken Chowder

#2 Crockpot White Chicken Chili

#3 Ultimate Sriracha Chicken Stir Fry

#4 Crockpot Creamy TexMex Chicken

#5 Chicken Milanese with Sage and Lemon

#6 Soft Garlic Breadsticks

#7 Pizza Chips Pizza

#8 Super Bubbly Pizza

#9 Best Queso Ever

#10 Frosted Lemon Cookies

#11 Easy Penne alla Vodka

#12 One Pot Creamy Sausage Pasta

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