Tuesday, January 10, 2012

27+4 = 12+3

It was boys-night last night so I dragged myself out of bed and cooked for them.

For dinner I made garlic pita chips (cut pitot into 4 wedges then separate the tops/bottoms. Drizzle with olive oil, salt & garlic powder. Toast on a higher shelf in a 200C oven for 8-10 minutes. (Check them often or the thinner ones may end up crisping too much.))

I served the 'chips' alongside a Chicken & Pasta dish. (No pictures because they ate all of it - even though I made a bag and a bit of pasta! But trust me when I say it smelled incredible and was pretty too!)

Chicken & Pasta
Ingredients:
2-3 chicken breasts into small bite-sized chunks.
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium zucchini, cut into small/med cubes
8-10 button mushrooms, sliced (I went slightly thicker so they'd hold together better)
2 tomatoes, diced (with their seeds & juices)
1/2 tsp dried basil
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth
1 package pasta

Directions:
Cook the pasta (make sure it's al dente cause you don't want it getting mushy! It also pays to make it first so you can nosh while you're cooking. Oh, only I do that? Yeah, I didn't think so...)
In a large pot saute the garlic in some olive oil until it's fragrant then toss in the zucchini and the chicken. Then season with the basil, salt & pepper. Give everything a stir so that the chicken starts to cook and gets seasoned.
When the chicken is just about cooked through toss in the tomatoes, and let them start to cook down - after about 2 minutes gently stir the mushrooms in too.
Pour in the wine and the chicken broth and bring the liquid to a simmer.
Now it's time to carefully add the pasta - (if your pasta has clumped together and cooled you can pour some boiling water over it and give a gentle stir to loosen and separate the noodles.)
Stir everything together, adjust seasoning as needed and make sure that the pasta heats through.

Even more exciting than the pasta was the dessert I put together. A while back a friend gave me a chocolate chip pound cake recipe which I tried but wasn't exactly thrilled with the results, I also tried another recipe (provided by the ever awesome www.tastespotting.com) but more than half of it ended up feeding Mr. TrashCan. A few weeks ago I found yet another chocolate chip pound cake recipe and decided to give it a spin. (Well - with a few personal tweaks for the heckofit.)
See those knife marks in the ganache? Yeah - that's a sign of gooood ganache (and for the record I didn't do it - it was the boys - I swear!) Anywho - I baked up this beauty in my 6 cup bundt pan (this recipe amount would probably make about 1 loaf if you don't have a cute little bundt.)

I tweaked the recipe from kosher camambert's blog - as she said it's not a light and fluffy cake, it's nice and dense, but it's also delicious and moist! I actually mixed 1/3 of the batter with cocoa powder and spread it on top of the white layer - it baked up gooey and almost brownie-like.
Marbled-ish Chocolate Chip Cake:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk (I actually used pareve cream - like Rich's whip)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cocoa powder (optional - noted in recipe...)
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips (does anyone actually measure these?!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375F
Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla too.
Combine the flour and baking powder then mix half of the dry ingredients into the batter.
Add the milk/cream and beat until just combined.
Mix in the rest of the flour.
(Optional - at this point you can move about 1/3 of the batter into a small bowl and beat the cocoa powder in until well combined.)
Stir in the chocolate chips. (If you opted to 'marble' the cake make sure to add chips to both parts!)
Spread batter into greased/floured pan (I put the yellow in first then carefully spread the chocolate on top of it.)

Bake for 30 mins, then lower oven temperature to 350F and bake an additional 8-10 minutes.
It's done when it passes the 'toothpick test' and a toothpick inserted carefully into the center comes out cleanly. (Just don't go poking any chocolate chips!) Pull it out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

If you're into ganache (which I am - very very much so...)
Heat up 1/4 cup heavy cream and chop up 100 grams of bittersweet chocolate. When the cream is nice and warm dump the chocolate in and stir like the dickens until you've got a beautiful, satiny puddle of chocolate. Let the ganache cool (stir occasionally so that it doesn't start to set up) and when it's thickened up a bit (which happens as it cools) drizzle it artistically over the top of your cake. Let it run down the sides and pool in the middle and when you're done be sure to lick the pot and the spatula - because the thought of wasting ganache makes me oh so sad!

All in all I'm pretty much sold on this cake. (Though I will do one experimental run with soy-milk/oil and see how that affects the texture - because really I'm too lazy to take the mixer out to make cakes in the middle of the week. And after that I'll also do an almond milk & barley flour test to see if it can be made Fructose-Friendly for those unfortunates who suffer.) Still, it's good to have to add to my ever-growing recipe collection.

Best part - it's got the boys stamp of approval. How do I know? Well - they DID eat more than half of it...

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