Monthly Archives: October 2010
The weather has started to cool off a bit in Virginia. Fall is definitely in the air, and I absolutely love it. On the cold nights, I want nothing more than a hearty soup for dinner. There’s just something comforting about hot soup on cold nights. I have so many recipes saved to try, but this one, with a little bit of southwest flair, really jumped out at me.
This chowder is certainly hearty. It’s got chicken, potatoes and two types of corn. The green chiles and cayenne give it just enough heat. Instead of using heavy cream to thicken it, flour and creamed corn are used. This gives the chowder a rich, thick texture without making it too heavy. The night we made this, we topped it with bacon, cheddar cheese and scallions. The next day, when I reheated some for lunch (and when the pictures were taken), I topped mine with cilantro and baked tortilla strips. Either way you decide to serve it, this chowder will warm you through on those chilly nights.
Chicken, Corn and Potato Chowder
3 slices bacon
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles
5 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups peeled and diced russet potatoes
1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
1 can (14 oz.) creamed corn
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
thinly sliced scallions or chopped cilantro, for serving
-Cook bacon in a large sauce pan over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
-Add chicken, onion, bell pepper and garlic to the pan with bacon drippings. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add diced green chiles and continue to cook 1 minute longer.
-Add chicken broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
-Add both frozen and creamed corn and stir to combine.
-Place flour in a medium bowl and gradually whisk in milk. Add the mixture to the soup and bring up to medium heat. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the soup has thickened.
-Add the cheese and cayenne. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
-Ladle into bowls and serve with desired toppings.
-To make tortilla strips, brush corn tortillas with olive oil. Cut into strips and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Bake for about 10 minutes in a 350º oven.
Serves 6-8 (We had two dinner sized portions and several smaller lunch portions.)
Adapted from Cookin’ Canuck
Pumpkins aren’t the only thing I enjoy once fall comes around. Apples are in season this time of year, too, and there are plenty of ways to use them. I’m so excited that there are several orchards nearby from which Eric and I can get our apples. So far, we’ve only gotten them from the farmers market (where they came from a local orchard), but I’m hoping we can visit an orchard soon. Having never picked my own fruit before, it seems to me like it will be a magical experience.
One Saturday, after picking up several apples at the farmers market, Eric and I decided to make candy apples. We had all the ingredients at home and got to work melting our sugar. Once the sugar reaches the hard crack stage, it’s important to work quickly to dip the apples. I went a little too quickly, which is why my apples have larger puddles than I wanted. However, it was my first time making candy apples, and I know I can slow down a bit next time. Puddles aside, I was so happy with how these turned out. They taste just like the treats I remember my dad buying me at the state fair (he’d always have to take the first bite for me because I couldn’t easily bite through the candy). They’re certainly sweet, but apples with a little tartness help to balance out the sweetness. You can also add cinnamon oil if you want to give the candy coating a flavor that will go well with the apples.
I do recommend getting apples from a farmers market if at all possible. If not, organic apples are the way to go. You want to make sure your apples aren’t coated with the wax that makes them shiny because the sugar won’t stick nearly as well.
Next time I make these, I’m definitely using sticks the way Martha did. I love the look it gives to the apples, and I can just imagine what a tray of these would look like at a party. Plus, the skewers I used weren’t really sturdy enough to support the apples.
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring gel
1/2 teaspoon black food coloring gel
few drops cinnamon oil (optional)
6 medium or 12 small apples (I used a mixture of green and red – green for the red coating and red for the black.)
-Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or wax paper. Alternately, line with parchment paper and lightly butter. Set aside.
-Combine sugar, water, corn syrup and red food coloring in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-high. Insert candy thermometer. Continue boiling until candy reaches 300º, about 20 minutes. Do not go over 310º or your candy will burn.
-Meanwhile, wash and dry apples. Insert a wooden stick into each one and set aside.
-Once the candy mixture reaches 300º, immediately remove from heat and stir in cinnamon oil, if using. -Working quickly, dip each apple until completely coated, swirling and turning to coat. Lift apple from mixture and continue swirling and turning to remove excess.
-To make black apples, add black food coloring to red candy mixture. Reheat, if necessary, to get the candy mixture back to 300º.
-Transfer to prepared baking sheet and allow to cool.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Black apples inspired by Matt Bites (Check out his amazing photography. The black apples he made look seriously spooky!)
I realize I posted two pumpkin recipes last week, but I couldn’t wait to share this one with you. It is pumpkin season, after all, and I did warn you I had a whopping fifty-six recipes to try! Though I certainly won’t get through all of them before Thanksgiving, I plan on putting a major dent in that “to make” list of mine. Plus, I really love pumpkin. In fact, I think this recipe is my favorite pumpkin one so far.
These tender, flaky scones are phenomenal. The pumpkin really shines, and the fall spices add warmth and depth. I enjoy one from Starbucks occasionally, but those can’t hold a candle to these, especially in terms of texture. There’s a good amount of butter in each scone (2 1/4 teaspoons), which I think might contribute to their wonderful flakiness. Even Eric, who at one point thought he didn’t like pumpkin, thoroughly enjoyed these. I made them for breakfast two weekends in a row, and that speaks volumes to how much we liked them. After typing this, I’m ready to make another batch!
While these would certainly taste fine on their own, the glaze makes them irresistible. The original recipe calls for maple syrup and powdered sugar, but I decided to add a little pumpkin to the mix. I love the orange color and extra pop of pumpkin flavor it adds to the scones.
For the scones:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup pumpkin purée
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the glaze:
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons pumpkin
1/2 cup powdered sugar
-Preheat oven to 425º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
-In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt and spices.
-In another medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, cream, sugar and vanilla.
-Using the tips of your fingers or a pastry blender, cut butter the into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
-Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. The dough will be crumbly.
-Turn the dough out onto the counter and push the pile together with your hands. Continue pressing and kneading the dough until everything comes together, taking care not to overwork it.
-Form the dough into a rough circle 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and placed on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
-Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
-While scones are cooling, make the glaze by whisking the syrup, pumpkin and powdered sugar together in a small bowl. Add more syrup or powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Pipe or drizzle over the cooled scones.
Yield 8 scones
Scone recipe adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, originally from Pinch My Salt
Glaze recipe adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, originally from Baking Illustrated via Ezra Pound Cake
I adore Halloween. I think it’s because Halloween is the only holiday where my creative side really comes out. I love coming up with a creative costume, and I especially love pumpkin carving. In fact, Eric and I decorated and carved six pumpkins the first year we were married! My all time favorite part of Halloween, though, is creating spooky, gruesome and delicious foods. It’s just not Halloween for me without creepy (and sometimes disgusting) looking treats. That’s why I was so incredibly excited to be asked to participate in the Halloween SideCar Series event over at Kitchen Play*. Since the event is being sponsored by Wilton**, I knew instantly that I wanted to create something using their Candy Melts and a Halloween candy mold.
Once I picked out the 3D skull mold, my initial thought was to make a hollow skull and then fill it with a red-tinted mousse. That didn’t seem creepy enough, though, so I spent a little moretime considering my options when the most wonderful idea popped into my head. When it comes to candy, I can’t think of anything more gruesome than a filled candy that oozes blood when bitten into. Raspberry purée seemed a likely choice for the filling, but, having made it before, I was worried that the color would be too light. I also knew blackberry purée would be too dark. Then it occurred to me that the combination of the two could work. The resulting color was absolutely perfect, as was the flavor. The tartness of the berries balances well with the sweetness of the candy coating. Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how these turned out. It took a couple of tries to get them exactly how I envisioned, but it was definitely worth it to have such a scary looking end result.
White Chocolate Skulls with Mixed Berry Coulis
6 ounces blackberries
6 ounces raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar
splash Chambord liqueur
Wilton white Candy Melts
Special tools: 3D skull candy mold, small paintbrush
-Combine first four ingredients in a blender.
-Using a fine mesh strainer, strain purée into a medium bowl and set aside.
-In a small bowl, melt about ¼ cup of Candy Melts according to package directions.
-Drop a small amount into each cavity. Using the paintbrush, paint up the sides of the mold. You want the mold to be hollow, but take care not to make your candy coating too thin. Hold the mold up to the light. If any light passes through, your chocolate needs to be thicker.
-Once each cavity is coated with chocolate, refrigerate for 5 minutes.
-Remove mold from refrigerator. Fill each cavity ¾ full with the berry coulis and set aside.
-Melt another ¼ cup of Candy Melts. If you had any leftover from earlier, they can be remelted.
-Very carefully drizzle a small amount over each cavity to seal it. You want the melted Candy Melts to land lightly on top of the coulis so that it doesn’t overflow.
-Once each cavity is covered, use a metal spatula to level off the mold. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
-After chilling, remove candy by turning mold upside down over a layer of paper towels and gently tapping. You will have skull backs and fronts. To make the 3D skull, place a dab of melted Candy Melts in the center of one piece and gently press the two pieces together.
-For an especially gruesome appearance, carefully cut around the top of the skull to remove a piece. Add more coulis on top to cover up the seam and give the skull a bleeding effect.
Cook Like a Champion original
* Kitchen Play connects food bloggers and PR professionals through sponsored events such as the Progressive Party, SideCar Series, Pampered Pantry and more. Kitchen Play is always looking for more food bloggers to join the fun!
** I would like to thank Wilton Industries, Inc. for providing me with a selection of their products, including the candy mold used for this recipe.