Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chocolate Caramel Pie

I know. I fail as a blogger. Well life has been a little too fast-paced here at chez tart reform. Between school work, work, student judiciary and law school applications, I feel privileged to be getting any sleep. That said, I made this baby spur of the moment a few weeks ago. Roomie needed some heavy cream for her coffee, but the mini-mart nearby only had some huge size
that would surely not fit in her coffee, even if it was going to last a month. So, what to do with a lot of extra heavy cream? Well, the Daring Bakers did do a Milk Chocolate and Caramel Torte that required heavy cream...

And so it was decided. I would have to improvise...a lot. It really was NOT the daring bakers' recipe, but it sure was good.

Worth the effort? I dunno. But it used up some of the excess cream and was really impressive. "Yes, we made caramel from scratch using the dry method...not a big deal."

Tips for next time: Check pantry and ingredients list before starting next time. Heavy cream is different from whipping cream and we only had 1 of the 2, so I used whipped cream... Yaaa.. Oh well, It worked.
Spur of the Moment, Improvised Caramel and Chocolate Pie

  • 1 chocolate pie crust
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 ½ tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 can whipped cream
  • 1 cup melting chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).

2. In a saucepan, caramelize 1 cup granulated sugar using the dry method until it turns a golden caramel color. Stir constantly using a non-plastic utensil. This will Take a while.3. Incorporate the heavy cream then add butter. Mix thoroughly. (At this stage, your caramel will likely seize up. Just keep stirring for a long time over low heat and it will smooth out) Set aside to cool.

4. In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs with the extra egg yolk, then incorporate the flour.5. Pour this into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.

6. Spread it out in the pie shell and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.7. Prepare the milk chocolate mousse: Melt the milk chocolate and fold in the whipped cream. Cool slightly.8. Pour the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel mixture, smoothing it with a spatula or pipe it on with a pastry bag. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Law School Admissions Suck

Law School Admissions Suck
A Haiku

LSAT done, yet more.
twenty-four/seven papers.
personal statement.

Thank you. I know, I'm just that good.
No real posts now, because, as the title suggests, law school admissions suck. I thought I was done when I did the LSAT. Little did I know but the worst was yet to come. 5 1/2 hour test is nothing compared to weeks on end deciding how to sell yourself in 500 words or describe all the work you have ever done on 1 page or try to write an essay on what diversity you, as a white, middle class, jewish girl from the suburbs, will provide.

i need wine and a good nap. if no wine, an few episodes of sex and the city will suffice.

lsat 165. gpa 3.9. blood pressure higher than any of the above numbers

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The BEST chocolate chip cookies ever

Elizabeth said...

I was wondering if you could post your traditional choc chip cookie recipe, your favorite you mentioned. I don't like bready cookies either and would love to try the recipe you like.

This comment was recently left on my post: "New and Not Improved Chocolate Chip Cookies"
As a semi-responsible blogger, how could I refuse?! So I almost immediately (about 20 minutes later at most) got to work on a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies. They are just as good as I remember. Chewy. Soft. Delicious. And not at all bready. Oh, and the batter? Good enough to eat plain and risk the food poisoning! The thing that I think makes the difference. The brown sugar. Most recipes call for more white sugar than brown, but this has equal parts. I think this makes it softer and chewier.

How good are they? 5 dozen cookies eaten in under 12 hours sort of good. The recipe made almost exactly 5 dozen cookies. I then dropped a tray with 9 of them on the floor, so a little over 4 dozen cookies left at 3:30pm. By the time I went to bed at 2am, there were about 5 cookies left.I woke up this morning and there was not a single one left. There were 9 people in the apartment last night, and we consumed 4 dozen cookies. Yes, they were really worth the stomach aches that ensued from eating too much.

Oh, and as for ease of baking? They take no time at all. And they, unlike some other cookies, bake fine on top of aluminum foil, so cleanup is a breeze. My roommate helped me and she couldn't believe how easy it was!The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever
1 cup margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, well packed
1tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz chocolate chipsCream together margarine, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes until lightly browned.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Giada's Chicken Parmesan

I wouldn't say I HATE Giada De Laurentiis, but I sure am no fan.

That said, I love Italian food, and when she isn't making food porn or showing off her breasts, Giada fills my need for Italian food. One of the best Giada recipes that I have come across is her chicken parmesan. No fried chicken in this baby. Much healthier. The chicken cutlets (note, cutlets, not breasts, so they cook quicker) are seasoned with italian herbs, then lightly pan fried or sauteed (depending on your definitions). Once brown, they are covered with tomato sauce and cheese and baked in the oven until the chicken is cooked and the cheese melty.She reccomends putting butter atop the cheese to make it brown, but I would rather have it unbrowned and use the extra calories for, what else, more cheese. So, I ommit her butter and add extra mozzerella. I serve this chicken with pasta (in that case add extra sauce to the pan so that you heat up extra sauce for the pasta) or as a sandwich.

Either way it is delicious, quick, easy and pretty healthy. Ugh, I can't believe I just complimented Giada...Giada's Chicken Parmesan
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp dried italian herbs of choice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 chicken cutlets
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Optional: Chopped tomatoes and garlic

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Stir the oil and herbs (and garlic if you are using it) in a small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Coat both sides of the cutlets with the herb oil. Heat a heavy large oven-proof skillet over high heat. If your skillet is not oven proof simply because of the handle, wrap a few layers of aluminum foil around the handle. Add the cutlets to the skillet and cook just until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the skillet from the heat.

(Spoon tomatoes around the chicken if you are using them.) Spoon the marinara sauce over and around the cutlets. Sprinkle 1 TBSP of mozzarella over each cutlet, then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of Parmesan over each. Bake until the cheese melts and the chicken is cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Chicken and Broccoli

I don't know what came over me. Last night realllly just wanted a meal with brown rice and broccoli. I just was CRAVING brown rice. When does that happen? I decided on chicken and broccoli over brown rice and sort of created this recipe with what I thought should be in a chicken and broccoli meal.

I really liked it. The leftovers are for lunch today and I took a bite this morning to see if the leftovers are good, and they are. I am now super excited for lunch.

Tips for next time: I started out with 1 tsp of cornstarch and it didn’t do anything, so I started adding more and more. About 1 TBSP seemed right. You should also be able to use flour if needed. Add a lot of broccoli to the dish, because it really shrinks down once it is cooked and you are left with a lot more chicken than broccoli.
Chicken and Broccoli
3 servings

1 cup chicken broth
4 TBSP soy sauce
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, ginger and chili powder to taste (sprinklings of each)
2 large chicken breasts
¼ onion
1 crown of broccoli
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 TBSP corn starch
½ tsp sugar
Brown rice to serve

In a meduium bowl, combine broth soy sauce and seasonings. Cut chicken breasts into large bite size pieces. Marinate in the broth mix.Cut onion into very thin slices. Cut broccoli into bite size pieces.
Transfer chicken to a skillet using a slotted spoon to keep out most of the liquid. Cook chicken, garlic and onion over high heat until browned. Add sugar and corn starch to broth mixture and add, along with broccoli, to the skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Serve over rice.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Chicken and Pineapple Kabobs

We have had so much trouble recently deciding what to do for dinner. Last night it took almost an hour to decide on wine poached then seared chicken with rosemary potatoes and rose wine green beans. Needless to say it was a fantastic meal, but it took SO long to figure it out. We had the sam trouble the night before. The goal was to use up corn on the cob. Shrimp and corn chowder was ruled out, but we didnt know what to do. After a very long debate, we decided on chicken kabobs served with corn on the cob and brocolli. Again, delicious, but took forever to decide on.

I never said efficiency was my strength.The flavor of the kabobs was terrific. Sweet yet a tad spicy. Loved it. Great combination of flavors and super simple too.

I took the leftovers and put them in a pan with soy sauce, sesame oil and a little extra pineapple to reheat and served ontop of rice. Delicious and healthy too!
Tips for next time: try to fit all the kabobs on the grill at once so they are all done at the same time.
Chicken and Pineapple Kabobs
8 wooden skewers, soaked in water (so they don't burn)
3 chicken cutlets
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 can pineapple rings
1 onion, quartered then cut into thick slices
salt, pepper, ginger and cayenne pepper to taste

Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, spices, and the juice from the can of pineapple. Marinate chicken in sauce.

Cut pineapple rings into bite size pieces. Cut onion into slices. Alternate putting onion, pineapple and chicken onto the skewers until all used. Cook on foreman grill until all chicken is cooked through, drizzling with marinating juices during cooking (but not at end since there was chicken in it and it needs to cook). Can serve with rice.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

"Jenn, we have to talk."

This is what one of my friends said to his darling girlfriend after trying a peanut butter cup surprise cookie at our first tailgate of the season. These can thus also be called "homewrecker cookies." Yes they were just that good. (And yes, Jenn, if you are reading this, the recipe is all yours. Make him a happy man!)

Even better than their ability to make a man question what "love" really means is how easy they are! I almost completed both batches in the time it took the boy to get stuff from the liquor store! Granted, he does enjoy taking his time at the liquor store ("hmm, do I want this whiskey, or that whiskey?") but still, they were quick, great cookies.
I must say that here the term "cookie" is used loosely since they are baked in mini muffin tins and I gave them a frosting. Some may thus argue that they are more like mini-cupcakes, but I still think they are cookies from the texture.

As for the frosting, you can obviously omit it, but I felt it added a great extra kick of chocolate fudge. I decided to add it to cover the reeses, to make it a sort of surprise. It worked! One guy came up to me and said "Shoot! I didn't even realize there was a reeses in here! Awesome!" So my version is a peanut butter cup surprise cookie, though you can leave out the surprise by ommitting the frosting.

Tips for next time (and trust me, there WILL be a next time): freeze all the mini reeses cups before unwrapping them, because it makes it much easier and neater. Unwrap all the reeses before you put the cookies in the oven. It takes a lot longer to unwrap 40-50 mini reeses cups than you would think, and, in fact, i think this is the most labor-intensive part. Make the cookies big enough so that after they puff a little in the oven, you can put a mini reeses cup almost all the way inside. My first batch was a little small, so it was harder to get the peanut butter cup inside.Peanut Butter Cup Surprise Cookies
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
40 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside.
Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix well.
Shape into 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan. (This is where it helps to have used a flexible silicone pan, not metal. Mine were easy to get out because I could push out the bottom, but it would be hard with metal pans)
Refrigerate completely then frost to cover the peanut butter cups, the refrigerate again.

Frosting (approximate since I didn't measure)
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp light corn syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
Melt first 3 ingredients together. Stir in vanilla. Frost cool cookies.