Saturday, February 20, 2010

"CaribBean" One-Pot Stew

Tonight for dinner, I made this new recipe. I wasn't sure how we would like it because, honestly, the idea of sweet potatoes was a little strange. It was delicious.

Here is my mise en place (yes, I watch way too much Food Network). It is the celery, onions, green peppers, garlic and fresh ginger in the little bowl, and the par cooked sweet potatoes in the big bowl. Have I mentioned how much I love, love, love that giant bamboo cutting board? Definitely one of the best gifts my husband gave me.

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 pound pork loin, trimmed and cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 (16 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1. Prick sweet potatoes with fork and microwave on high for 6-8 minutes until tender. Set aside. When cool, peel and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Heat olive oil in large stockpot. Add ginger, garlic and jalapeno and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add celery, green pepper and onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Season pork with cumin, salt and pepper. Push vegetables to one side of stockpot and add pork, browning on all sides. Add kidney beans, tomatoes, broth and sweet potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until pork is tender.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprints

I love Nutella. I mean, I really love Nutella. And because today is a holiday - the last one for a long time - I decided to try out this recipe for chocolate hazelnut thumbprint cookies.

I have to say that I was a little disappointed. This was the first time I've made thumbprint cookies, so this might be the norm, but when the cookies baked, the little dents for the Nutella practically disappeared. I used my Teflon thumbs and poked them back down as soon as I took them out of the oven, while they were still hot.

Due to pantry limitations, the fact that it is snowing AGAIN and I didn't want to go to the store and the fact that I hate coffee flavored things, I made the following changes to the recipe; I left out the espresso powder since it was optional, and I did not have the nuts to roll the cookies in. This might make me like the cookie more, so I'll give it another try when I have hazelnuts.

Chocolate Hazelnut Thumbprints

Yield: 28 cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)


  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt; stir with a whisk. Place butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Stir egg yolks with a whisk, adding espresso, if desired. Add the yolk mixture and vanilla to butter; beat well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.

3. Turn dough out onto a sheet of wax paper; knead 6 times or until smooth and shiny. Shape dough into 28 (1-inch) balls. Roll sides of balls in nuts, pressing gently. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of each cookie, leaving an indentation. Bake, 1 batch at a time, at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Spoon a scant 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut-chocolate spread into center of each cookie.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentimes Day!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snowpocalypse = Baking

We went outside last night after it finally quit snowing and we ended up with 26". This means that we aren't going anywhere any time soon.

So, what to do when you are stuck in the house all day? Bake something! I decided on bread. This is the recipe I used and I think it turned out great

Bread dough after the first rise.

Dough after the second rise, ready for the oven.

Finished loaf - yummy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snowpocalypse 2.0 - Part 2

We went outside this morning for a little while to try to shovel out the cars before they got too deep and this is what we found. This was at about 11:00 this morning and it is still snowing.

I thought I would do a ruler in the snow picture like I did last time for comparison purposes. I stuck it in there as far as it would go and it completely disappeared. That was a two foot level. I imagine that we will have about 30 inches when it finally stops later tonight.

They called and canceled church in the morning, so we'll be sleeping in and taking it easy. Assuming that my sister-in-law can get out of her neighborhood in the four-wheel drive (not possible today), we'll go over in the afternoon and dig out my mother in law's driveway and sidewalk.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snowpocalypse 2.0

This weekend we are supposed to get our second 18" plus snowfall this winter. The first was a novelty. The second one, not so much.

I went to the grocery store last night for our regular weekly shopping because I knew that I wouldn't be able to get out this weekend to do it. Snow panic, coupled with the Super Bowl, made the Giant even more crazy than I anticipated. This is a picture of the check-out area in my store. Fortunately, every one was very polite and there were no fist fights over the last of the milk, no cart bumping or anything.

It started snowing around 10 this morning and is not supposed to stop until about 10 tomorrow night. Sometime tomorrow I will get the yellow ruler out again for a snow measuring update. I haven't been outside today, but I am guessing we have about 6" right now.