Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Test: Beet, Blood Orange, and Quinoa Salad

When I saw this recipe, I knew that I had to try it. The colours were gorgeous and it sounded delicious (which solidifies my belief that the only recipes worth making have a picture). It surpassed my expectations, because I haven't actually eaten anything like this before and the flavours worked really well together. N claims that it was "one of the best things" he has eaten all year, though we may have to start qualifying that statement because he has been saying it a lot lately. Moral of the story: make this soon. (We skipped the kumquats, since we couldn't find any.)

Beet, Blood Orange and Quinoa Salad
from Cooking Light (January 2011)

¼ cup finely chopped green onions
2 teaspoons grated blood orange rind
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons blood orange juice
1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons EV olive oil

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 ¾ cups water
½ teaspoon salt, divided
1-cup blood orange sections, shopped (about 4 medium)
1 cup diced peeled avocado
(6 whole kumquats, seeded and sliced)
2 medium beets, cooked and cut into wedges

1. To prepare dressing, combine first 10 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring
with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Set aside.

2. To prepare salad, place quinoa in a fine sieve, and place sieve in a large bowl.
Cover quinoa with water. Using hands, rub grains together for 30 seconds;
rinse and drain. Repeat procedure twice. Drain well.

3. Combine 1 ¾ cups water, quinoa, and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a medium
saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes
or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Combine
quinoa, remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt, blood orange sections, avocado, and
kumquats in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine. Add dressing; toss
gently to coat salad. Spoon 1-cup salad onto each of 4 plates; top with ½ cup
cooked beets. Yield: 4 servings

Monday, February 21, 2011

Test: Chinese No-Clay Pot Chicken

I'm attempting to come up with lots of recipes that yield enough food for a few lunches and dinners. So far, it seems that soups and casseroles are the best bets. Not only are they usually lower in required effort, but they result in large quantities of food. For example, this dish yielded two dinners and a lunch for two people, and the best part is that I didn't get sick of eating it. This Chinese rice and chicken casserole is tasty, but didn't quite live up to the very high expectations set by the original post that I saw on the Kitchn.

Chinese No Clay Pot Chicken Casserole
From the Kitchn
serves 6

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 boneless chicken breasts, about 1 pound, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 scallions, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, roughly grated
2 ounces smoked sausage, such as Chinese lapchang or good Italian salami, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
10 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, caps thinly sliced
1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
2 cups Chinese long grain rice
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups chicken stock

Heat the oven to 350°F. Whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Stir in the chicken, scallions, garlic and ginger, and toss so that they are coated with the liquid. Place this mixture in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 15 minutes while you cook the mushrooms.

Place an oven-safe pan, like a 3-quart Dutch oven, over medium high heat on the stove. When it is hot, add the sausage and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the sausage slowly release its fat. When the bottom of the pot is slick with the sausage fat, add the mushrooms. Turn the heat back up to medium high heat and let the mushrooms cook, without stirring them, for 5 minutes. Flip them over and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pot, and sauté the rice briefly to develop some toasty flavor (you don’t want to brown the rice here, just sauté it for 1 minute or so), then add the salt and the chicken mixture from the fridge. Pour in the stock. Bring to a boil.

Turn off the heat, cover with a lid or with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Make sure to taste the rice for doneness before taking it out of the oven. I like my rice a little chewier; some might want it more cooked.
Let stand 5 minutes, covered, before serving. Stir up the rice before serving, as the chicken and mushrooms will have risen to the top during baking (see photo below). Stir thoroughly so that they are incorporated throughout the rice.

Garnish with chopped scallions and serve with extra soy sauce and chili garlic sauce, if desired.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Test: Peanut Butter-Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

N wanted cookies, "healthy cookies." Do healthy cookies even exist?? I tried my best to give these cookies a little bit of a facelift- adding some ground flax, using natural peanut butter, and cutting back on some of the sugar. I can't promise that they are healthy, but they are delicious!

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

2 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups salted whole peanuts (I didn't add any)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and flax in a medium bowl; set aside. (Martha wanted me to add salt, but I figured that peanut butter is salty enough!)

Put sugars, butter, and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low. Add oat mixture, and mix until just combined. Mix in peanuts and chocolate chips.

Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop balls of dough 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Test: Molten Chocolate Cakes

After my disastrous Valentine's dinner, I decided that I would wait to make dessert until the real Valentine's day. The wait was definitely worth it, because these molten chocolate cakes from Brandielle at Tasty Kitchen are scrumptious. Mine ended up a tiny bit overcooked. The cakes likely had a slightly different taste than if I had followed the recipe, since I used 70% cacao dark baking chocolate. The best part about the cakes is that it is extraordinarily easy to make them!  So, even though Valentine's Day has come and gone, these lovely chocolate cakes can make any day of the year a little bit sweeter. 

Molten Chocolate Cake
Total time: 25 minutes

4 pieces (squares) Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate
½ cups Butter
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2 whole Eggs
2 whole Egg Yolks
6 Tablespoons Flour
2 cups Real Whipping Cream (seriously It's So Much Better!)
2 Tablespoons Sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray 4 custard cups with Pam and place on cookie sheet.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl on high for about 1 minute, until butter is melted. whisk until chocolate is also melted.

Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.

Divide between cups.  Bake 13-14 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft. Let stand 1 minute.

Combine sugar and heavy cream and whip until stiff.  Invert cakes on dishes and top with whipped cream.

Test: Boeuf Bourguignonne

Next year, we are definitely going out for Valentine's Day dinner.  I had the brilliant idea of making boeuf bourguignonne while N was at the office (on a Sunday!).  The meal was amazingly delicious, but the process of making it was a DISASTER!  Not only did I almost set the oven on fire and burn a batch of cookies before I even started, I then singed my entire hairline. Apparently, you should not try to look too closely while you set brandy on fire, but alas I had to learn that the hard way. Despite the fact that my hair barely survived the boeuf bourguigonne, it was well worth the hard work. N said it was "the best thing he has ever eaten." This version of beouf bourguignonne is apparently "Penny Lane's" recipe as seen in a lovely cookbook/magazine called Mother's Best Comfort Food from the makers of Fine Cooking.

Boeuf Bourguignonne
From Mother's Best Comfort Food

5 lbs. beef chuck, cut into cubes
2 1/2 tsps. plus a pinch kosher salt (divided)
1 1/2 tsp. plus a pinch freshly ground black pepper (divided)
1/2 lb. bacon, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces (chill for 10 minutes in the freezer to make it easier to cut)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 medium yellow onions, finely diced
3 large carrots, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup brandy
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 (750 ml) bottle dry red wine, such as Burgundy or Pinot Noir
4 cups homemade brown veal stock or canned low-sodium beef broth (divided)
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme, 3 sprigs Italian parsley, tied together)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
10-12 oz. pearl onions, peeled
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat the oven to 350F. Arrange the beef in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and season generously with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium0high heat for several minutes.  When hot, add the bacon and cook until almost crisp and the fat is rendered.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving behind as much fat as possible.

3.  Increase the heat to high. Add just enough beef to cover the bottom of the pot without crowding.  Brown the pieces on all sides, using tongs to turn them, transferring them back to the baking sheet as they finish browning and adding more meat as the pot allows.

4. When all the meat is browned and removed from the pot, add the oil, and then the diced onions and carrots, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium-high and continue to saute until the begin to soften, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for another 3 minutes. Add the brandy and flambe. (To flambe, pour the brandy into the pot and light it immediately by holding a long match or barbecue lighter just above the surface of the liquid. BE CAREFUL not to light your hair on fire. Try to keep the flames going for as long as possible to burn off the alcohol.)

5. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the flour to make a roux.  Cook the roux, stirring, for about 3 minutes.

6. Stir in the wine, a little at a time, allowing the roux to absorb the liquid before adding more (to prevent lumps) and scraping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Add 3 3/4 cups stock, the browned meat, and the bouquet garni.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Remove from the heat, cover, and place in the oven for about 2 hours. Test for doneness by piercing the meat with a two-pronged fork.  If it falls away easily, it is done.  If the meat offers resistance or clings to the fork, return it to the oven and cook an additional 20 minutes.

7. While the stew is cooking, glaze the onions. Place a medium saute pan over medium-high heat for several minutes. When hot, add 1 tablespoon butter and teh onions at the same time. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and saute until browned. Add the remaining 1/4 cup stock, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook until the onions are soft and glazed, 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan now and then (they should be a bit shiny).  If there is still liquid in the pan by the time they onions have softened, remove the cover and continue cooking until all the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

8. Return the saute pan to high heat.  When very hot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and enough mushrooms to cover the bottom of the pan (the mushrooms need to be seared at high heat so they brown instead of steam).  Season with salt and pepper, and cook over high heat until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl with the onions.  Repeat if necessary with any remaining mushrooms.

9. Remove the stew from the oven, and gently stir in the sauteed mushrooms, onions, and bacon. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary with more salt and pepper; sprinkle with the parsley and serve with steamed new potatoes, mashed potatoes, or rice.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Test: Fig, Arugula, and Prosciutto Flatbread

This weekend three generations of ladies in my family came to visit me in my tiny little apartment. We had a lovely visit, and we had an even lovelier Saturday night- homemade pizza and hockey. My mom brought up some more of the flatbreads that we used for the roasted vegetable pizza at N's birthday party. We made a regular pepperoni and cheese pizza, and Taryn and Leah made a pizza with pesto, chorizo, caramelized onions, and mozzarella cheese. I made a pizza from Pioneer Woman- fig, prosciutto, and arugula- sweet, salty, and peppery. All three pizzas were delicious as well. The beauty of these flatbreads is that you can put any combination of toppings you want on top and are almost guaranteed to end up with something awesome.

Fig, Arugula, and Prosciutto Pizza
From the Pioneer Woman

Pre-made flatbread pizza crust
4 tablespoons fig jam
Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella
2 cups arugula
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 slices proscuitto
Shaved pecorino romano

Heat the oven to 400F. Place the flatbread on a baking sheet.

Spread the fig jam evenly on the flatbread, leaving an inch of the crust clean. Arrange sliced buffalo mozzarella on top of the jam. Brush the edges of the flatbread with olive oil. Place the pizza in the oven and cook until the cheese is bubbly and the crust starts to brown.

While the pizza is cooking, mix the arugula with a tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl. When the pizza is finished cooking, take it out of the oven and immediately sprinkle arugula and proscuitto on top. Shave the pecorino romano over the pizza and serve.

Family Recipe: Dawn's Kale and Blueberry Salad

I bought a bunch of kale the other day with the intention of making another dish, but after reading that original recipe and realizing I needed 3 hours to make it, the kale never made it out of the fridge. So, with my mom visiting this weekend, she suggested we make a salad that my cousin Dawn (the winner of the January giveaway) shared with her. I've been hearing about this salad since last summer, and now I know why!

Kale and Blueberry Salad

1 bunch kale, cleaned and chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup blueberries
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, whole

Chop the kale into bite size pieces and put into a metal mixing bowl.

In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the almonds and roast until fragrant. Pour the almonds and hot oil over the kale and mix well to coat the kale with oil. Let the oil cool enough so that you can massage the kale with your hands. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the kale. Add the blueberries and tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, mix, and transfer to the serving bowl.

My new secret is to rub the serving bowl with a clove of garlic. This will infuse the salad with just enough garlic.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Test: Salted Fudge Brownies

I'm starting Valentine's Day a little early, so I'm giving you all a little sugar and sweets. These brownies are deliciously good! They are the perfect combination of chocolate and salt. My advice though, make sure to actually follow the recipe. I managed to run out of sugar part way through, and I didn't actually measure the chocolate.  In any case, you should make these brownies. Your honey or your girlfriends or your tummy will really appreciate them on Valentine's Day! (You can't tell from the picture, but these brownies do in fact have sea salt sprinkled on top- this particular brownie lost all of the decorative salt somehow.)

Salted Fudge Brownies
From Jane Deere via Tasty Kitchen

1-½ stick Butter
2 ounces, weight Unsweetened Chocolate (finely Chopped)
¼ cups Plus 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 cups Sugar
3 whole Eggs
1-½ teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup All-purpose Flour
½ teaspoons Maldon Sea Salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Place two large pieces of foil in a 9-inch square metal cake pan with foil, draping the foil over the edges. Spray foil with cooking spray.
2. Melt the butter with the unsweetened chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Whisk to combine. Add the cocoa, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Grind sea salt evenly over the batter. Using a butter knife, swirl the salt into the batter. Grind a little extra on top, making sure to sprinkle it evenly and leave it setting on top of the batter.
3. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the edge is set but the center is still a bit soft and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out coated with a little of the batter. Cool at room temperature in the pan for about an hour, then refrigerate just until they are firm. Lift the brownies from the pan and remove foil. Cut the brownies into 12 or 16 squares.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Flatbread

Here is another recipe from the party we had for N's birthday last weekend (really from Kim). This pizza is awesome! It is full of flavour and the roasted vegetables were delicious. The best part of this pizza was the crust, if you are a Costco member,  head there now and try to find these (pack of 3 for $6.99!!).

Roasted Vegetables and Goat Cheese Flatbread Pizza

1 premade Flatbread pizza crust (I purchased at Costco a pack of three)
8 to 10 mini sweet peppers (red, orange, and yellow)
1 zucchini, sliced about 1/8” thick on a slight diagonal
1 small sweet onion, sliced
2 roasted artichokes
1 to 1 ½ cup shredded mozzarella
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon of Italian seasonings
Salt and pepper to taste
3 ounces goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Toss prepared vegetables in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, Italian Seasoning,
salt and pepper. Bake vegetables in oven for 2o minutes; turning over
vegetables at least once during cooking. Remove vegetables from oven. Turn
oven down to 350 degrees.
2. Brush the flatbread pizza with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle the
shredded mozzarella on the top of flatbread. Arrange the roasted vegetable
on top of mozzarella. Top the vegetables with the goat cheese.
3. Cook flatbread in oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the chesses are boiling.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Birthday Cake! White Chocolate with Raspberry Filling and Chocolate Ganache

This weekend was Nigel's birthday, which gave me a lovely excuse to make a cake, a REAL cake. He requested a very odd and uncommon kind of cake- white chocolate. After searching high and low, I found a recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook at my parent's house. The book has an awesome section on cakes, with every kind of cake you may ever want and lots of different types of icings too. I used my favourite type of jam, Bonne Maman Raspberry Jam, for the cake's filling (you can get this jam at most grocery stores). The chocolate ganache icing is from a Tasty Kitchen post by The Sugar Tree. I topped the cake with fresh raspberries and white chocolate shavings.

This cake was quite good the first day, but it was even better the next day as leftovers! The best bites were the ones with all three components- cake, icing, and jam- yum! While somewhat labour intensive, the hard work was definitely worth it.

White Chocolate Cake
from Better Homes & Gardens 

4 egg whites
1-3/4  cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 ounces white baking bar, chopped
3/4 cup half-and-half, light cream, or milk
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1-1/2  teaspoons vanilla
4 egg yolks

1. In a mixing bowl allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour two 8x1-1/2-inch round baking pans; set pans aside. Stir together flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside.

2. In a small heavy saucepan melt the chopped white baking bar with 1/4 cup of the half-and-half over very low heat, stirring constantly until baking bar starts to melt. Immediately remove from heat; stir until baking bar is completely melted and smooth. Stir in remaining half-and-half; cool.

3. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until combined. Add the dry mixture and the white baking bar mixture alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low to medium speed after each addition just until combined.

4. Thoroughly wash the beaters. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Gently fold egg whites into the batter. Spread batter in the prepared pans.

5. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool thoroughly. Makes 12 servings.

My advice is to not put the cake in the refrigerator before serving it (if you do, take it out about 4 hours before serving).

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Icing 
From The Sugar Tree on Tasty Kitchen 

1 package (12 Oz) Semisweet Morsels
1-½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
3 Tablespoons Butter

Melt chocolate morsels and whipping cream until chocolate beings to melt (you can do it in a double boiler or the microwave on 30 second intervals). Whisk until smooth. When it’s melted, remove from heat (if using double boiler). Whisk in butter, and let the mixture stand for 20 minutes. Then beat at medium speed for 3-4 minutes or until soft peaks form.

Check out Joy the Baker for a great picture tutorial on frosting a cake.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Test: Homemade Ranch Dressing

After this weekend, I feel like I need to purge fat, sugar, and anything else naughty out of my diet. We had a birthday celebration on Saturday night and the Super Bowl on Sunday, and I felt like I couldn't fit into my work pants today.

We served this ranch dressing on Saturday with the Buffalo wings that I made. The dressing was delicious and was actually slightly lighter than the Tasty Kitchen version, so don't be afraid to use light mayo and light sour cream.

Ranch Dressing

2 cloves garlic
Salt to taste
¼ cups Italian flat-leaf parsley (I skipped this)
2 tablespoons fresh chives
1 cup light mayonnaise
½ cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Other optional ingredients: buttermilk, white vinegar, cayenne, paprika, fresh dill

Mince the garlic with a knife and then sprinkle about an 1/8 to ¼ teaspoons of salt on it and mash it into a paste with a fork. Chop the parsley, chives and any of the optional herbs very finely and add to the garlic.
In a bowl combine all ingredients, adding other optional ingredients as you wish, tasting frequently and adjusting seasonings as needed. Chill for a couple of hours before serving, thin with milk or buttermilk if desired.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday to the K & K Test Kitchen

I am so proud of Kelsey for sticking with her conviction to create a blog that would inspire both of us to try new recipes. She faithfully posted and photographed the different recipes throughout the year. As I look back over the year, I must admit that I, being not so techie, did not contribute as much as I should have over the year. But I did try many more new recipes and expanded my cooking repertoire greatly during 2010. It has been a great inspiration to me and I find myself searching the Internet to find new recipes to try. So in honor of our one year anniversary, I made a complete dinner with new recipes. In keeping with Kelsey's Mexican theme this week, I choose a Turkey Black Bean Chili recipe from Kevin Nelson, executive chef at Terra Bistro at Vail Mountain Lodge (printed in Sunset Magazine, January 2011), Honey Cornbread Muffins which I found on Food Network contributed by the Neelys, and a Spinach, Endive and Tangelo Salad which I found in the January/February edition of Cooking Light. The chili recipe was very good but needed more heat (spice) to it, the cornbread muffins were disappointing and did not live up to the reviews given online and the salad was a refreshing alternative. To our faithful followers, I thank you for continuing to read our blog and to my special daughter, thank you for adding so much to my life and my waistline. Bon Appetit!

Turkey Black Bean Chili

From Kevin Nelson, executive chef at Terra Bistro at Vail Mountain Lodge (printed in Sunset Magazine, January 2011)

2 tbsp. safflower oil or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 large poblano chili, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. ground turkey
2 cans (28oz) diced tomatoes
2 cans (15 oz) black beans, preferably reduced sodium, rinsed and drained
3 tbsp. tomato paste
3 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 ½ tsp. agave nectar or 2 tsp. of sugar
Juice of a lime
Kosher salt (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese and chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, bell pepper, chili, and garlic, stirring often for 5-6 minutes. Add turkey, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring often and breaking meat into small chunks. Cook until it is no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Stir in tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and sugar. Cover and bring chili to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors are blended, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in lime juice. If you like, add salt to taste and serve with cheese and cilantro.

Can be made ahead and stored for up to 3 days in refrigerator.

1 ½ cup serving 251 cal. , 33 % fat,, 16 g protein, 8.8 gram of fat, 27 g carb, 6.4 gram fiber, 45 g chol.

Honey Cornbread Muffins
Recipe courtesy The Neelys
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 12 muffins

• 1 cup yellow cornmeal
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup whole milk
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 stick butter, melted
• 1/4 cup honey

• Special equipment: paper muffin cups and a 12-cup muffin tin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Into a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the whole milk, eggs, butter, and honey. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.
Place muffin paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin. Evenly divide the cornbread mixture into the papers. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.

Spinach, Endive, and Tangelo Salad


2 tablespoons torn mint leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons grated tangelo rind
1 tablespoon fresh tangelo juice
2 teaspoons thinly sliced green onions
1/2 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons walnut oil
4 cups baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup sliced peeled tangelo
2 heads Belgian endive, halved and thinly sliced ( I substituted Arugula)
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

*note: I did double the recipe for the dressing as I was afraid it would be too dry!

1. Combine first six ingredients in a medium bowl. Gradually add walnut oil, stirring constantly with a whisk.
2. combine spinach, tangelo slice, and endive in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad, tossing to coat. Arrange 1 cup salad on each of 6 salad plates and sprinkle with walnuts and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Test: Dark Gingerbread Pear Cake

Today is K&K Test Kitchen's 1st birthday and it also happens to be another co-worker's birthday. Since I've promised everyone on my team treats for their birthday, and treats of their choice (well sort of...), I am on the hook to bring in something delicious. This particular fellow said something about ginger and about "not too sweet." The result: Dark Gingerbread Pear Cake from Epicurious (originally in Gourmet in Oct. 2008).

Dark Gingerbread Pear Cake
from Gourmet via Epicurious

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup grated peeled ginger
1 1/2 Bosc pears

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan, knocking out excess.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt.

Melt butter with water.

Beat together brown sugar and molasses with an electric mixer until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well. Beat in flour mixture at low speed until just combined. Add butter mixture and ginger, beating just until smooth. Pour into cake pan.

Peel pear and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Scatter over batter. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly.

Happy Birthday K&K Test Kitchen: The Best of Year 1

K&K Test Kitchen turns one today! It has been a wonderful journey so far! Here are a few of our favourite recipes from the past year. If you haven't tried these babies, you are missing out on mouthwatering deliciousness!!

Clockwise From Top Left: Tex-Mex LasagnaRoasted Chicken and Butternut Squash SoupBaked Buffalo Wings (perfect for Super Bowl Sunday!)Chickpea Salad with Cumin VinaigretteTurkey Meatloaf Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese, and Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

Now for some sweet stuff:

Clockwise From Top Left: Vegan Mint Chocolate CupcakesChocolate Peanut Butter BallsIna Garten's Fruit Salad with Limoncello, and Samoa Blondies

A huge thank you to all of our followers! Please keep sharing the blog with your friends and family. We hope you've enjoyed the blog as much as we have over the past year. Now, let the next year of fabulous food begin!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Test: Tex-Mex Lasagna

Cheese was on sale the other day at the grocery store, so obviously we bought two gigantic blocks. We originally had the idea that we would make lasagna, but the idea of regular lasagna just wasn't quite making my mouth water tonight. That's when I remembered that I had a shelf full of cookbooks. I took a few off the shelf, but I didn't even have to open one, because on the back of one of them (Cooking Light: Superfast Weeknight Dinners) was a picture of Tex-Mex lasagna, and I knew that was what I wanted to make. I roughly doubled this recipe so that there would be enough for lunch tomorrow, and added ground beef. All I can say is that the result was an awesome dinner! It tasted fresh, but was also very comforting. It will definitely show up on the dinner circuit again soon.

Tex-Mex Lasagna
from Cooking Light: Superfast Weeknight Dinners

3/4 cup bottled salsa
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 (14.5oz) can no salt-added diced tomatoes
1 (8oz.) can no salt-added tomato sauce
Add: 2 tbsp. hot sauce (Louisiana or Tabasco)
Cooking spray
6 precooked lasagna noodles
Add: 1 lb. ground beef
1/2 package taco seasoning
1 cup water 
1 cup whole kernel corn 
1 (15oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded cheese (Cooking light suggests pre-shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese blend)
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add dried lasagna noodles. While you're cooking the noodles, brown the ground beef on medium-high. When the beef is browned, add 1/2 a package of taco seasoning and the water and simmer.

Combine first five ingredients; spread 2/3 cup sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish (I used 9x13) coated with cooking spray. Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; top with ground beef, tomato sauce, and cheese. Add another layer of noodles, then top with the corn, black beans, tomato sauce, and cheese. Add a third layer of noodles, tomato sauce, and cheese. Cover and bake at 450 for 30 minutes or until noodles are tender and sauce is bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes. Sprinkle with onions.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Anzac Biscuits (test) and Haystacks (an old favourite)

I've come to realize that despite the extreme cold here (it was actually -16°F/-27°C here the other day!*), Canadians have learned to make the best of the winter. They go outside in that extreme cold to skate, to ski, to snowshoe, etc. For the first time on Sunday, I truly appreciated the cold weather here when I went skating on the canal in Ottawa, the world's longest skating rink. After two hours skating, I was very happy to go home to a hot cup of coffee and the treats that I had made earlier in the day. I made haystacks and Anzac cookies, since I originally thought that my fellow skaters would be coming over before we went out on the ice. The Anzac cookie recipe came from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook. Unfortunately I am still (after a year) adjusting to my oven, so the Anzac biscuits were more like Anzac rocks. However, I'm not convinced that the recipe really could have turned out anything but rocks, due to its lack of moisture. These rocks were actually quite tasty, just be careful that they don't send you to the dentist!

The other recipe here is one from our family friend, Wendy. This recipe is pretty foolproof, as combining butterscotch, peanut butter, and chocolate inevitably results in something delicious. If you have kids or even co-workers, these will disappear before they even chill completely!

Anzac Biscuits
From The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup regular oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tbsp. water
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp. golden cane syrup or light-coloured corn syrup
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, coconut, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add water, butter, and syrup, stir well. (Tip: don't overwork the dough, this may be why my cookies turned into rocks.)

Drop by level tablespoons 3 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray (cookies are supposed to spread). Bake for 12 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Note: Cooking Light claims these are much better with cane syrup, and I used corn syrup... so that may be my problem.

Family Favourite:
From Wendy via the cookbook my mom made me

6 cups Cornflakes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 12oz. bag butterscotch chips
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1 cup of peanuts (optional, but highly recommended)

Combine butter, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter in a large pan over low heat. Stir constantly until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

Pour Cornflakes in large bowl then pour butterscotch mixture over top and stir until coated. Stir in chocolate chips and peanuts. Spoon into mounds onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate until hard.

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