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Archive for January, 2010

Butterscotch Blondies

“I’m going to make some Blondies,” I said. “Now? Can I bring them to the guys at work tomorrow?” David asked. “Sure.”

I knew these things were going to be delicious when I brought the spatula with the raw batter on it into Anne’s room for her to lick, and she went into the kitchen when she was done and scraped every iota of raw batter out of the bowl.

The Butterscotch Blondies are out of the oven now. David has declared, “I am not bringing these anywhere!”

They take less than 5 minutes to put together from stuff you probably already have (you might have to get the butterscotch chips) and they totally rule. I swear they are my new favorite sweet thing.

I beg you to make them.

Butterscotch Blondies (recipe by Garrett McCord)

Ingredients

* 1/2 cup of butter, melted
* 1 cup of tightly packed dark brown sugar (I only had light brown sugar and it works just fine)
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 1 teaspoon of vanilla
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
* Pinch of salt
* 1 cup of all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup of butterscotch chips

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour an 8X8 pan. Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a bowl.

2 Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk.

3 Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, mix it all together. Add the butterscotch chips and stir.

4 Pour into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve.

Makes 9 blondies.

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Ultimate Porkchops

Until I found this pork chop recipe, my pork chops were always dry no matter what I did–cooked them fast, cooked them long and in liquid—it didn’t matter, they were rarely ever moist and juicy. Now I always use this method to make pork chops because it is no fail. The secret is two-fold—the brining makes them juicy and moist, and the fresh bread crumb coating keeps them juicy and moist throughout the cooking process. Even though the recipe says you can use dried herbs, I always use fresh ones for this. The difference in how much flavor the fresh herbs impart is noticeable and worth it.

I’ve tried modifying the recipe by using the brine technique and using dry breadcrumbs instead of fresh, or panko, and frankly, both tries were not nearly as successful as the original recipe. I’m convinced that you HAVE to use fresh ones for this recipe to be amazing.

Sometimes I can’t find the thin 1/2 inch pork chops at the market, and if that’s the case I’ll either cut 1 inch pork chops into 1/2 inch ones, or I’ll cook the thicker chops in the frying pan until they are browned on one side, and then flip them over and place them in a 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes so that they get cooked inside before the coating burns. (If you try to get thick chops cooked all the way through on the stove top the breadcrumbs will burn before they are cooked inside.)

If you’ve always been disappointed with a dry and flavorless pork chop in the past, I urge you to give this one a try.

Ultimate Porkchops (adapted from a recipe from Epicurious.com)

2 cups milk
2.5 teaspoons salt
4 (1/2-inch-thick) pork chops (with or without bone; 1 lb total)
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (from 5 slices firm white sandwich bread, ground in a food processor or blender)
1.5 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Brine pork chops:
Stir together milk and 2 teaspoons salt in a shallow 3-quart dish, then add pork chops. Marinate, covered and chilled, turning over once, at least 1 hour (and up to 4 hours but no more than that).

Fry pork chops:
Stir together bread crumbs, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and remaining half teaspoon salt in a shallow bowl.
Lift pork chops from milk 1 at a time, letting excess drip off, and dredge in bread crumbs, lightly patting crumbs to help adhere, then transfer to a tray, arranging in 1 layer.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté pork chops in 2 batches, without crowding, turning over once, until golden brown and just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer as cooked to a platter and keep warm in oven. (Add more oil and butter to skillet if needed.)

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Crispy Panko Chicken

This is a really simple and fast way to just use a few ingredients to end up with a surprisingly delicious and fairly healthy main dish. Panko rules–if you’ve never tried this type of bread crumb, you’re in for a nice surprise. The outside gets nice and crispy and brown, and the inside says very moist and tender and the mustard gives it a great kick. I like making this when I am pressed for time and don’t want to make a big mess doing a more traditional ‘breading’ which requires lots of bowls of stuff and goopy fingers, too.

This recipe serves 2, but you can easily double it or triple it if you’re serving more people.

Crispy Panko Chicken

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp mustard –i like Dijon, but you can use whatever kind you prefer
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (found in most supermarkets in the Asian aisle)
small amount of flour
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Melt the butter and mix with the panko in a small bowl.

2. Dry the chicken with a paper towel. Dredge the chicken in a little flour and shake off the excess.

3. Coat chicken breasts with mustard. Place on a greased, foil-lined baking sheet, top with crumbs and bake approximately 15 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.

That’s it!

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