Recently I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to dinner. When that happens I fall back on old recipes that can feed us for the better half of the week so I can cook less often or I really push for eating dinner out or ordering in. This chicken dish was just what I needed, a quick a delicious dinner. It’s simple, doesn’t have a lot of ingredients and is a lot more exciting than your typical crusted, baked chicken.
The hazelnuts are a really nice surprise here and pair well with the rosemary and parmesan. Coating the chicken with the mayo and mustard keeps the chicken moist. Pounding the chicken out thin helps it to bake evenly without getting dry, a problem I often have with baked chicken.
Skinning the hazelnuts is by far the most time consuming (and frustrating! and messy!) part of this meal. After toasting them for a few minutes in a 375 degree oven, place them in a large, clean dish towel and rub them together, pound them on the counter, etc to get the skins off. Don’t worry if you don’t get all the skin off of every nut, though. Your store sells blanched hazelnuts?! By all means use those! And send me some! I am not a fan of skinning hazelnuts, and would love a little shortcut there.
I served this with steamed green beans and mashed sweet potatoes. It made for a lovely, colorful and tasty plate of food and a meal I’d definitely like to have again.
Did anyone else have the post-Thanksgiving blues? I got home after a week with family and had a rough time adjusting back to normal life. I wanted to stay in my pajamas and in bed all day. I scoured the freezer for meals, bought groceries to make pot pies but when it came time to make them I just didn’t want to do it so we ordered pizza, and one night I ate salad straight from the plastic container it came in instead of using a plate. Keeping it classy, y’all. I am back from my hiatus and have even cooked a couple of proper meals this week. Hopefully my post-Christmas blues don’t find me in this same predicament…
Christmas is fast approaching and while my shopping is mostly completed and our tree and lights are up I feel like I have a lot of cooking still to do. I’m excited to make some of the nostalgic cookies that bring me right back to my childhood, but I always like to try my hand at something new. So along with some reliable and time-tested recipes, I’ll also share some new ones that would be perfect for the holiday season.
I have a thing for rosemary. An herb that is lovely in savory dishes but really gets along well with sweet flavors, rosemary is also incredibly easy to grow. In fact, the rosemary plant I thought was dead and moved to the side yard to die a slow death is doing better than the one I have been caring for on the back porch. That should give you an idea of my gardening skills. The blog is already full of sweets that feature rosemary, but that isn’t stopping me from sharing another one with you!
These blondies were a big hit with my husband, who prefers his sweets more on the savory side. My 4-year-old was not a fan. My 2-year old ate them up happily, a girl after my own heart. It has butter and sugar in it? We are in.
Brown butter and dark brown sugar make these blondies quite rich. Add pecans and rosemary to the mix and the flavors are all warm and rich. The cranberries are a welcomed sweet-tart addition that make these blondies more balanced and super delicious.
I went heavy on the salt and rosemary, but realize that not everyone has my taste buds. Opt for less salt and less rosemary if you’re skeptical. Then if you think it needs more you can adjust the next time. I usually say it’s better to have too much than not enough, but that’s not the case with those ingredients.
Brown butter: Place butter in a small saucepan and heat over low-medium heat until butter begins to sizzle and spit. Reduce heat to low, watch closely and swirl the pan occasionally just until butter smells nutty. Pour into a bowl and let cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 325°F and butter a 9×13 pan.
Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and rosemary together in a small bowl.
Beat cooled butter and brown sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
Mix in flour mixture and then the pecans and cranberries.
Spread batter into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
I offered to bring a few things to Thanksgiving with my in-laws this year, including these rolls, a pie (still undecided on what I’m going to do) and a green bean dish. I thought about doing these green bean salads, but my sister-in-law is bringing a green salad and I didn’t want to double up. So I went in search of a green bean dish that wasn’t a rich heavy casserole, even though I love the stuff, but was still special. These green bean bundles are the perfect compromise.
I wanted something that wasn’t going to occupy too much stove or oven space and wouldn’t take too long. You can blanch the beans in advance, and partially cook the bacon beforehand, which means a quick 15-20 minutes in the oven is all you need to finish these off.
The original recipe I found here on Williams-Sonoma’s site. I changed a few things and was amazed at the results. The bacon becomes almost candied in the butter and maple syrup sauce, so these are a bit decadent but since you’re eating vegetables you’re going to be fine. It’s Thanksgiving after all. Nothing wrong with candied bacon on Thanksgiving.
I think these are adorable in their little individual bundles. It does require more work, but nothing too intense. With all the other sides you really only need one bundle per person, but make some extra just in case.
With Thanksgiving just a week away I wish you happy and stress free meal planning, traveling, prepping, baking and cooking. But most of all I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you thoroughly enjoy the day with family and friends!
Rosemary and Maple Bacon Green Bean Bundles
Makes about 12 servings
1 1/2 pounds green beans (6-8 green beans per bundle)
8 strips of thick-cut bacon cut in half crosswise, 16 pieces total
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Trim and blanch the green beans: Trim the end off of the beans. Boil a large pot of water and prepare a big bowl of ice water. Cook the beans for 3-4 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain, then plunge into the ice water. Remove from the water and pat dry with towels. Proceed with the recipe or store beans in the fridge for up to 1 day.
Cook the bacon: Heat a skillet over medium heat and fry the bacon partially, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Do not let it get crispy or you won’t be able to wrap the bacon around the beans. Proceed with the recipe or store the bacon in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
Melt the butter and whisk in the syrup, salt and rosemary.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
Wrap 6-8 green beans in one piece of bacon and lay on the parchment seam side down. Repeat with all the beans.
Drizzle each bundle lightly with the butter mixture. You may have some leftover, which you can either drizzle on the beans or toss depending on how much sauce you want.
Bake the bundles for about 15 minutes, until bacon is crisp. Move to a platter and serve.
I want to be good at biscuit making. Really good. So good that someday my kids or grandkids will say, “These aren’t as good as Mom’s biscuits.” when they have someone else’s. But I’ve only made biscuits a handful of times, and you can’t get really good at something unless you do it a lot. So I think I am going to start making biscuits more, and I’m starting with something a little out of the ordinary, but totally delicious.
This recipe comes from The Kitchn, I just added some fresh chopped rosemary and opted not to make the maple butter, which I am sure is truly heavenly. But I was looking for something a little more savory to serve with dinner.
These biscuits turned out very well, although not tall and fluffy like I imagine perfect biscuits to be. They are moist and the flavor is incredible. The sweet potato isn’t all that noticeable, but does add a nice sweetness to the biscuit and a lovely orange hue. The rosemary is just present enough without being overwhelming.
Serve these with butter, cause you can’t ever have too much. Enjoy them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I think a little bacon and egg on one of these would be a spectacular way to start the day. With a few slices of ham they’d make nice little lunch sandwiches, and serve them along side soup or whatever you’re having for dinner. Or just eat one as an afternoon snack.
Sweet Potato and Rosemary Biscuits
From The Kitchn
Makes 9 3-inch biscuits
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato (about 1 medium sized sweet potato)
3/4 cup butter milk (you may not use quite all of this)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Whisk sweet potato, 1/2 cup buttermilk and rosemary together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Cut butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your hands, until butter is a bit smaller than pea sized.
Fold in the sweet potato mixture, add a little more buttermilk if mixture seems dry. Bu it should still be a little sticky. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
Flour a work surface and turn dough out onto it. Pat out into a round, about 1 inch high. Use a 2 or 3-inch round cutter and cut as many biscuits out from the dough as you can and place them on the baking sheet. Pat the dough scraps together and cut more biscuits.
Bake for 15 minutes, then let cool (or not) and enjoy.
A good friend of mine made this when we met up for a playdate at her house a while back. I say “a while back” because it feels like just a few months ago but I think it might have been over a year ago, which reminds me just how quickly a year goes by. I can’t believe it’s almost 2014.
Candace paired this rich and savory tart with a spinach salad loaded with berries, which made for a well balanced lunch. I’m still amazed that she fixed this lunch for us since she’d recently had a baby. My meal of choice when having people over for a playdate is Chick-fil-A…or goldfish and raisins.
The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen and is something I can definitely see myself making again, especially for a lunch or brunch. It’s impressive but not too time or skill intensive. It’s also fine served room temp, so you can make it hours ahead or even the day before and re-warm it. I added bacon to the original recipe because I don’t see anything wrong with adding bacon to pretty much everything. Maybe my new motto for 2014 will be, “Put some bacon on it!” inspired by Portlandia… But of course it’s amazing without the bacon and fits into a vegetarian diet that way.
Other than the bacon, the rest of the recipe is unchanged. You can use a tart pan or pie plate for this. I had planned to use a tart pan because it’s just prettier than a pie plate. Something about that fancy fluted edge. But the dough recipe provided wouldn’t fit in my 10 inch tart pan, so I used a 9-inch pie plate. Thankfully the lovely filling makes up for the unimpressive pie plate. The dough wasn’t impossible to work with, but it was a little crumbly so I had to do some patching up in places. It was delicious and not hard to whip up in the food processor, so I’d definitely recommend it over a store bought crust.
If you don’t like blue cheese you probably haven’t read to this point in the blog post, and if for some reason you have I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be a fan of this tart. Which makes me sad, because it’s delicious…if you like blue cheese. I think you could use goat cheese, but haven’t tried it so I’m not sure how that will effect the final product. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!
A few tips:
Refrigerate your crust before filling to minimize shrinking during baking.
For making ahead, you can prep everything, store it in the fridge and assemble right before baking.
If using bacon, this cold oven method of cooking it has become my new favorite. No greasy pan to clean and your house won’t smell like bacon for days.
Make sure to let the tart cool or otherwise the filling won’t have time to thicken and could be runny.
1 Savory Tart Shell, recipe below, in a 9-inch tart or pie pan and ready to use
1 pound small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
4-8 slices of good bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoons finely chopped thyme and rosemary
Fine sea salt for sprinkling
1 and 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, diced
1 large egg
For Tart Shell
Combine flour, cornstarch and salt in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
Add in butter chunks and pulse until butter is in pea sized pieces.
Add egg and pulse until dough comes together. It will still be slightly crumbly.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times so that it comes together. Flatten into a disk.
Roll out into a 12 inch circle then transfer to your 9-inch tart pan or pie plate. Press out any air bubbles and trim or crimp edges as desired. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before filling.
Preheat oven to 350°F
Cook potatoes in a medium sized saucepan, just covered in water, over medium heat. Simmer until tender, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the water and drain. Lay the slices out on a clean dishtowel and gently pat dry with another clean towel or paper towels.
Arrange potatoes in concentric circles on the bottom of the crust, overlapping slightly, covering the crust entirely.
Sprinkle cheese over potatoes, followed by bacon and herbs.
Whisk egg and cream in small bowl and pour over everything.
Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake tart for 45 to 50 minutes until bubbly and browned. Cool on wire rack. Serve the tart warm, room temp or cold.
A while back I posted that I wanted this cookbook from Baked. So, I armed myself with a Barnes and Noble gift card and went out to fulfill my desire. My plans went awry when they did not have the book in stock. I bought the second cookbook from Baked instead, Baked Explorations.
The cookbook itself is quite wonderful. The photos are lovely and unique with a rustic appeal. Beautiful antique plates, platters and serving dishes display the sweet offerings of this cookbook. Wood grains, and all shades of brown dominate the color scheme with the occasional pop of color and accents of gold and silver. The recipes are keeping with the feel of this book, which to me feels like the cooler days of autumn. I can’t wait for it to be cool enough for me to make the whiskey pear tart! It’s 102° at the moment…
The first recipe I tried was the Rosemary Apricot Bars. I had one of these from the bakery when I was in Brooklyn last summer visiting my sister. It was such a great combination of sweet and savory, crunchy and gooey, and totally delicious. Mine did not quite measure up to the bakery standards, but they were good. So good that my husband asked for seconds. This is a rare occurrence, so I know this is a keeper recipe.
I made some mistakes with these bars. The recipe calls for a 9 inch square pan. I used an 8 inch, which made the bottom crust a bit too thick, and the topping a bit too thick, but the filling was just right. I skimped by 1 tablespoon on the crumb topping because that’s all I had left after the 12 tablespoons in the crust. As a result, a lot of the topping fell off the top of the bars when I cut them. Don’t skimp on the butter. My timing on putting these together was also a bit off, so the apricot filling ended up getting too thick and too reduced after sitting in a warm oven for almost 2 hours. Why? Well…
Our house is on the market, as of last week, but we hadn’t had any showings as of Sunday. So yesterday I struggled with myself a bit. Do I make these bars and risk a messy kitchen when someone wants to see the house at the last minute, or do I not make them and then regret it because no one came to look at the house anyway? I made the decision to make them. Having my house on the market shouldn’t mean sacrificing my freedom to baked goods, right?
I’d made all the parts of the recipe…crust chilling in the fridge, filling cooked and ready to be pureed, crumb topping mixed and in the fridge. Dirty dishes all over the place. Carson wakes up from his nap. I get a call from the realtors office that someone wants to come see the house as soon as I’m ready. I said 30 minutes and the frenzy begins to get things put away. 15 minutes later there’s a knock at the door. The dog starts barking, so Carson starts crying, so I’m trying to keep the dog from attacking the realtor as I try to get to the door. She apologized for being early, I asked for a few minutes to at least put my sweet guard dog in the back yard, I swept Carson up and we headed out to run an errand. I was a sweaty mess and then realized that I was holding a baby who’s diaper was just about at its breaking point. I was so tired.
I’d stashed the cooling apricots in the oven, which was warm from the beginning of a preheat, so when I get home the apricots were a seriously sticky and overly reduced mess. I warmed them up again with a little water and then pureed them. It worked out ok, given the circumstances.
Despite the craziness surrounding these they turned out well. I might play around with them in a 9×13 to get a thinner crust. I’ve learned a valuable lesson about using my kitchen and trying to sell my home. They do not mix. I think I will try to bake later in the evening instead of the middle of the afternoon to avoid the chaos I experienced yesterday.
Rosemary Apricot Bars
Courtesy of Baked Explorations
Rosemary Short Dough
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups dried apricots
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brandy
pinch of salt
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
Rosemary Short Dough
Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and line with parchment, overhanging on 2 sides.
In a medium bowl whisk flour, salt and rosemary.
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until fluffy.
Stream in the flour and mix on low speed until flour is incorporated, then turn the dough into the pan and press into an even layer. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.
Apricot Filling (Make while dough is chilling)
Place the apricots, sugar, honey, brandy and salt in a medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes, or until apricots are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated and thickened.
Let cool slightly, then puree in a food processor until smooth.
Spread over crust while it is still warm.
Combine sugar, flour salt and pecans in a bowl.
Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until butter is incorporated and you have a sand-like texture. (You can store this in the fridge until ready to use.)
Sprinkle crumb mixture on top of the apricot layer and bake at 350°F fr 20-25 minutes.
Let bars cool out of the oven for 30 minutes, then remove using the parchment and cut into bars.
In honor of Bastille Day…or possibly just an excuse to use the madeleine pan that has been sitting in my cupboard for a few years now? Regardless, these French lemon madeleines are light and lovely.
This was one of those times in the kitchen where you begin to wonder, “Is this just not in the stars for me?” First the butter exploded in the microwave, with great flair, I should add. Loud popping clumps of butter going everywhere. Then I was separating eggs and almost added the whites instead of the yolks to the bowl. Then I spilled cake flour all over myself and the floor, something I really hate cleaning up for some reason. Really? It was just one thing after another. A lesson in patience and being slow to anger? Maybe so.
Madeleines are beautiful little treasures, but impossible to make without a madeleine pan. I only have one small madeleine pan and I didn’t feel like waiting for it to cool, washing it out and re-greasing it before making another batch, so I used my remaining batter to make little lemon rosemary muffins. Simply grease 24 mini muffin cups, fill them 3/4 full and bake for about 12 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the tops are just beginning to brown. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy! They don’t have the same cute little ruffled shell shape, but they are just as good.
Fresh and light lemon flavor with just a subtle rosemary flavor, these little cake-like cookies are wonderful. I think they’d be perfect for a tea party, baby or bridal shower.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two madeleine pans; set aside. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl; Mix in chopped rosemary and set aside.
Put eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest and juice in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and thickened, about 5 minutes. Mix in butter. Using a spatula, fold flour mixture into egg mixture. Let rest 30 minutes.
Pour batter into buttered pans, filling the molds 3/4 full. Bake cookies, rotating pans halfway through, until edges are crisp and golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Let cookies cool slightly in pans on wire racks. Invert, and unmold. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
We ate this for dinner Friday night. I wish I’d had this recipe a few weeks ago when it was still chilly. This is really more of a cool weather meal, and it definitely qualifies as comfort food. Despite the warm weather we’ve had this past week, this was still a wonderful dinner and I will be making it again.
I did everything but bake it in the morning and kept it in the fridge until dinnertime. That meant I could sit with my husband, a glass of wine and some good cheese and crackers while it baked instead of cleaning up dishes.
Kate sent me the link to this recipe from The Kitchn (Apartment Therapy’s food blog). I don’t currently subscribe to the blog, but she’s shown me so many great recipes from it that I might just have to break down and add it to my reader. Here is link to the blog and the recipe. I’m being lazy with the blogging tonight and not retyping or reposting the recipe here. I am tired, and I need to go to bed.
The only thing I changed was to use emmental swiss instead of gruyere. The smallest block of gruyere at my grocery store was $15. I just couldn’t justify spending that much on cheese. The swiss was lovely. I got quite excited when it started bubbling away under the broiler. There is something magical about cheese in that state. Yes, magical.
Serve this with lots of good crusty bread. You do not want to waste any of the yummy juices. Enjoy.