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Archive for the tag “recipes”

Friday Photo: Bok Choy Kimchi

What do you do when you’ve signed up for a CSA with Strites’ Orchard and are given a bok choy? Why, you make kimchi — spicy fermented cabbage, which my boyfriend explains as “Korean sauerkraut” — of course. Buy the spices at Asia Mall off of Paxton Street, Harrisburg; buy yourself a bok choy or cabbage, a few carrots, and a bunch of garlic; and follow David Chang’s recipe, found here. The result is a highly spicy, tangy, and gorgeously red-green crunchy salad, perfect for making this recipe for beer-battered tofu tacos with kimchi from

Bok Choy Kimchi

Bok Choy Kimchi

Friday Photo: Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar Debuts in France

Lycee Gustave Eiffel, 2008

Lycée Gustave Eiffel, 2008

It was the spring of 2008, and the Lycée Gustave Eiffel was holding an open house—or, literally from the French (“journée des portes ouvertes”), an open-doors day.  It was a day for prospective students to come visit the facility’s boarding-school type facility, and I was asked to make American cookies for the English department’s subtle, yet enthusiastic, display table of Twinning’s tea, lemon curd, and apple tarts.  Due to France’s lack of familiarity with peanut butter as well as soft chocolate chip cookies, I chose one of my favorite recipes from childhood that merges both: chocolate peanut buddy bars.  For my birthday in October, my mom had sent me a package that contained vanilla, semisweet chocolate, and a tiny jar of peanut butter, as well as the original blue-edged, flour-stained recipe that we had gotten from a Nestle package when I was in elementary school.  I love these bars because they are more moist than a traditional peanut butter cookie and are particularly gooey when eaten warm.


¾ stick butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
3 eggs
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Beat together the butter and peanut butter until smooth.
2. Next mix in eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
3. Blend in flour and salt.
4. Stir in semisweet chocolate morsels by hand.  Pour into a 8×11 baking dish; bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday Photo: Cherry, Chocolate, and Chili Biscotti

I made these cherry, chocolate, and ancho-chili biscotti as Christmas gifts, but they work equally well for Valentine’s Day.  These elegant biscotti feature rich chunks of Scharfenberger dark chocolate, tart dried cherries, and walnuts; ancho chili powder sparks these flavors with subtle heat.

Cherry, Chocolate, and Chili Biscotti

Recipe (adapted from Art Smith’s Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family by Art Smith):

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
grated zest of 1 large orange
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pure ground ancho chile powder (available at Wegman’s)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 ounces coarsely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (I like Scharfenberger)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (3 ounces) dried cherries

Position the racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Using a hand-held electric mixer set at high speed, beat the butter, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl until well combined, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, chile powder, and salt to combine.  Using a wooden spoon, gradually beat in the butter mixture.  Work in the chocolate, walnuts, and cherries.

Divide the dough in half.  Using lightly floured hands on a floured work surface, form the dough into two 10 x 2-inch logs.  Place the logs on an ungreased large baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart.  Bake on the center rack until set and golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, carefully cut the logs into diagonal slices about 1/2 inch wide.  Place the slices on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake until the undersides of the biscotti are beginning to brown at the edges, about 8 minutes.  Turn the biscotti over.  Switch the positions of the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back.  Continue baking until lightly browned on the other side, about 8 minutes.  Cool completely onbaking sheets.  The biscotti can be preapred up to 1 week ahead, cooled, and tightly covered in an airtight container stored at room temperature.

Makes about 28 biscotti.

Friday Photo: Recipe for “Ultimate Granola,” Last Minute Gift Extraordinaire

I recently found out that my health-conscious Grandma Charles is spending Christmas Day with my family, and I need a gift idea — fast.  Here’s what I’ve whipped up because it’s the only recipe (probably other than peanut buddy bars and deviled eggs) that I’ve made more than 10 times in a row.  This “Ultimate Granola” recipe is copied from The Ultimate Cookbook by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarborough, which I love because it’s crunchy, not too sweet, and has plenty of room for variety. The cookbook actually gives suggestions on how to customize this recipe with various sweeteners, nuts, and proteins, but below (for the sake of space and probably copyright laws) is how I prefer it.  Perfect served with Cabot’s low-fat vanilla bean Greek-style yogurt and dried Craisins.

Grandma Charles’s Ultimate Granola

ULTIMATE GRANOLA from The Ultimate Cookbook by Weinstein & Scarborough

Makes about 10 cups

1.  Start by positing the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheating the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Spread 6 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking or steel-cut oats) on a very large baking sheet.  Toast in the top third of the oven for 10 minutes.  Transfer to a very large bowl.  Maintain the oven’s heat.

3.  Mix 2/3 cup honey and 1/3 cup canola oil in a small saucepan set over medium head.  When the mixture starts to steam or froth, take it off the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.  Set aside to cool.

4.  As the mixture cools, stir 1/2 cup wheat germ, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt into the toasted oats.

5.  Add 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup powdered dry milk to the toasted oats and blend well.

6.  Finally, stir in the prepared honey and oil mixture.

7.  Spray two large baking sheets with nonstick spray.  Divide the oat mixture between the two baking sheets, spreading it to the corners.  Place the trays in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and bake for 10 minutes, stirring once.

8.  Reverse the trays top to bottom and back to front, and continue cooking until lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 more minutes, stirring once or twice.

9.  Place the baking sheets on wire racks.  Cool to room temperature on the trays without disturbing, about 1 1/2 hours.

10.  To store: Break up and seal in plastic bags or containers. The granola will keep in a dark, dry place at room temperature for up to 2 months.

This post is featured on Virtual Advent Calendar on December 23, 2011.

Friday Photo: Silver-Platter Sauce Chicken

Friday Photo: Childhood on a Platter, 2011

So what’s this colorless Central Pennsylvanian meal doing on my parents’ wedding china?  It’s the meal of my 27th birthday, of course, of brown buttered egg noodles, “sauce” chicken, and freezer corn.

I had requested this same meal for my birthday when I turned eight (or was it nine?), a fact that I only remember because that year I had taken to writing an entire account of my birthday week on a typewriter — epic.  Even though I currently can’t find this diary, I still am fairly certain — just because the very act of just writing it down solidified memories — that my birthday in 1992 (or was it 1993?) was on a Tuesday because on Monday my mom had made pork chops, which look just like “sauce” chicken in the oven.  This fact had distressed me greatly because I thought she had screwed up and was making my birthday meal a day early.

From the moment I heard it frying in the kitchen, “sauce” chicken was one of those dishes that made me exceedingly happy as a child, even happier than Pizza Hut Pizza or homemade hamburgers.  According to my mother, the recipe for “sauce” chicken came from my health-conscious Grandma Charles under the strange misnomer of “BBQ Chicken.”  It consists of chicken thighs rolled in wheat germ, fried, and doused in a homemade sauce of ketchup, mustard, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce.  The dish gained its current name because the crispy wheat germ and ketchup and mustard congeal into this wonderfully clumpy sauce, although now I admit that clearly someone should have given me lessons in writing recipe titles.  (To give you a perspective, “egg stuff” is another family favorite.)

If food displays the cook behind it, my birthday meal indicates humble roots: cornfields, butter browned in a cast-iron skillet, and my formerly-Mennonite grandmother.  But I love it nonetheless, especially when rimmed by fine dishware, a silver platter of a childhood.

“SAUCE” CHICKEN (original email from my mother, dated June 14, 2011)

6 chicken thighs (plus or minus) — skin off, wash and roll in wheat hearts or germ and fry a little in canola oil, both sides.  Place in baking pan and mix together sauce to pour over:

1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
a little Worcestershire sauce

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

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