Monday, December 20, 2010

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

I baked cookies and didn't burn them which is good because these happen to be Aubrey's favorite cookies. 

Me: Aubrey, how would you describe the cookies I just made?
Aub: Good.
Me: No, like if you had to describe the flavor?
Aub: Delicious.
Me: No, I mean, so I could tell people what they taste like?!?!?
Aub: Extra delicious.

Ugh. Let's just give some background info-- I'm not a huge white chocolate fan and I couldn't classify "White Chocolate Macadamia Nut" as my favorite cookie, despite Aubrey's insistence that I just need to try one every  time we go to Subway. I have tried one. Many times.  And, I still don't choose it.  With that said, I ate about 14 of these in 10 seconds flat. Or, maybe over the course of two days, but, I could have and that's the point. Yay for perspective.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies ( a.k.a. The best cookies I've ever made)
Makes about 4 dozen ( Adapted from recipe found at


1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl; gradually stir mix into the creamed mixture. 
  4. Fold in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Perfect Roast Chicken

Really. That's all there is to it.

Perfect Roast Chicken
 Not adapted at all from the amazing, Ina Garten.


1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken - I highly recommend organic. It is so choice.
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 bunch of Thyme plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halves
1head of garlic, halved crosswise
2 Tbsp. melted butter ( 1/4 stick)
1 large yellow onion thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks on a diagonal
1 bulb of fennel cut into wedges, tops removed
Olive Oil

1.Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry.
3.Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic.
4. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
5. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
6. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. 7.Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Note: I highly recommend using a roasting pan that allows all sides of the chicken to be exposed, otherwise your skin doesn't get so crisp and golden. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sourdough, Wild Mushroom, Bacon Stuffing

If you're like me and already thinking about Christmas dinner, you might be itching to try a new  accompaniment dish. Then again, you might have more important things to think of than a side dish for a meal two weeks out but, this is a food blog so, odds are you're like me and already wondering what the crap you're gonna do to make the holidays special. I'll tell you what you can do. Make this stuffing already and be quick about it.

Okay, there's nothing really quick about this. I think the loving care you put into cultivating the perfection of every morsel is worth it and will be totally be noticable by your guests...well, assuming they take the time to chew versus inhale because, folks, this has bacon in it. Oh yeah. And, three types of mushrooms. And, lots and lots of tart sourdough and herbs and all things good in this world. And, bacon.

Sourdough, Wild Mushroom, Bacon Stuffing
Adapted slightly from original Bobby Flay version( Featured on Throwdown episode with our very own, Pioneer Woman)


1 1/4 pounds sourdough bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced  ( NOTE: If you have no money like me, do 1 lb of cremini, 1/4 pound oyster and 1/4 pound shiitake--- you'll save bucks and not sacrifice much flavor.)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 to 5 cups homemade chicken stock or low sodium canned chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Spread the bread onto a large baking sheet (or 2 smaller baking sheets or 4 extra small baking sheets) in an even layer and bake, stirring a few times, until lightly golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once cooled, put the cubes into a very large bowl.

3.Increase the heat to 375 degrees F. Combine the mushrooms in a large baking dish or baking sheet, toss with 3 tablespoons of the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven, stirring several times, until soft and goldeny brown, about 25 minutes.

4.While the mushrooms are roasting, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large high-sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.

5. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat in the saute pan and place back on the stove over high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock and the herbs, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.

6. Add the mushrooms to the bread, and then add the onion/stock mixture, egg, salt and pepper, and gently stir until combined. The dressing should be very wet, add more stock as needed. Scrape the mixture into a buttered 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Note again: You want the dressing very wet but be careful not to go crazy. This stuff absorbs moisture like crazy and before long, you're stuff will look "very wet" but really be a swamp which tacks on a lot of cooking time and makes the flavor much saltier. Still good, though, so do whatever you want.

Monday, December 6, 2010

House Salad

Aubrey and I recently enjoyed a dinner at Caz's Chowhouse, a newish downtown eatery in the Brady district. In addition to having a cool and cozy atmosphere (fireplace, brick walls, exposed bulbs, dark wood, vintage decor... right up my alley) they also have inspired my new favorite salad. Essentially, it's their house salad which features sliced granny smith apples, mixed greens, feta cheese, and sugared walnuts with their lemon herb vinaigrette. I dug it but felt it needed something a little sweet to round out all the tartness that the sugared walnuts just couldn't handle. I had some dried apricots and voila! Also, I had to whip up a lemon herb vinaigrette which is quite different from theirs but still tasty. Give it a go. Also, go to Caz's and order the Chicken and Biscuit. I give you permission to eat it all in one sitting.

Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette ( best applied to our House Salad - quantities are approximate)
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. salt ( depending on how you like it)
1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp. Herbs de Provence ( or, seriously, whatever herbs you feel like adding. Tarragon would be good... or basil!)
1/2 tsp. white sugar

Optional- I read a recipe that was basically this but added a dollop of dijon mustard without the sugar. I think I'll try this next time.

Mix together and drizzle on salad. Eat it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Life's been busy. I took a new job, survived Thanksgiving, ate a giant vat of cheese puffs,  hosted a wicked Halloween party...and, probably some other stuff. Also, my Dad was here from SoCal and completely remodeled my dining room. Steampunk?

 We think so.

For the record, this is the third light fixture I bought for this room. Fortunately, Aubrey hasn't thrown me out. You see, I have trouble with decisions. Not big ones. Just small ones like, what to order, what to wear, what furniture to buy. For example, I donated hundreds of dollars to Ikea due to a recent round of impulse purchases only to resell on craigslist within a week. Not so easy to change your mind when the nearest store is four hours away ( a fact I learned all too late.) In fact, I've got a buddy returning some stuff for me AS I TYPE. It's a problem. One thing I know for sure is that I must own the new Le Crueset Ocean colored 4 1/2 qt. Dutch oven with included trivet sold exclusively at Williams Sonoma which can be purchased here. Anyone? I won't return it, promise.

Hey! It's almost Christmas now. Hopefully I'll be back before next year.