Sunday, February 12, 2012

S'mores Brownies

So rich and delicious, s'mores are one of those treats I never make unless I'm camping. And I'm never camping, so I thought this an excellent opportunity to get my fix! This recipe comes out of the Food Networks Magazine's "50 Brownies" booklet in the March issue. The recipe recommends making a graham cracker crumb crust with butter and the whole nine yards, but I just used whole crackers on the bottom, without any difference.

S'mores Brownies

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
4 large cold eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 325. Either line an 8x8 with foil or spray with non-stick spray.
Line the bottom of the pan with graham crackers. It's ok, there will be gaps.

To make the brownie batter, put the butter and chocolate in a medium-sized microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again, if needed until completely melted, maybe about 2 minutes more. I only had to melt it for 2 minutes once.
Stir in both sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.

Pour batter into the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, about 40 minutes.

Take brownies out of the oven and reposition a rack on the top level and turn oven to broil. Dump marshmallows on the top and toast under the broiler until golden, about 3 minutes. Do NOT leave the room or go anywhere, this will go quickly! I like my marshmallows on fire when I'm camping, but you do NOT want burnt marshmallows on your brownies.

Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps.

ENJOY! These are tasty and delicious, especially when eaten right away. I found reheating them(individually) for 15 seconds the next day helped recreate that gooey-ness too.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Curried White Bean Dip

We snacked on this dip the other night whilst cooking the real dinner. It was amazing! I hardly wanted to eat anything else after! Enjoy!

Curried White Bean Dip
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 packed cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
Zest of 1/2 large lemon

Dump it all into the food processor and blend until smooth! Enjoy with pita chips, wheat thins, triscuits or whatever!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Anyone from Utah, or Bountiful, more specifically, can tell you how amazing the sugar cookies from Parson's Bakery are. Don't get me wrong, everything on the menu there is tasty, but the sugar cookies are the best by FAR. They are always soft and warm, with a perfectly smooth coating of icing that has a little skin on it. I always get mine in a holiday shape or color, and not once have I had a Parson's sugar cookie without sprinkles. This is what makes me homesick. Don't get me wrong, I miss my family every single day I'm in Texas. But I can always pick up the phone and call my them. I can't do that with Parson's sugar cookies or Nielsen's pumpkin custard. My list of foods I miss from Utah can go on and on: squeaky cheese and root beer milk from Gosner's in Cache Valley, pine nut gnocchi from Cafe Molise, seafood chowder and veggie lasagna from Salt Lake Roasting Company, the turkey melt from The Training Table, a slice of pizza from ESTE or The Pie, Pad Pra Ram and Tom Kha from Sawadee!!

I'm begging my friends and family, if you're out there, if you're reading this: pay a visit to my foods for me. Tell them I miss them, and let them know I'll be home soon!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pasta Primavera and White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Last week I went grocery shopping at my favorite SuperTarget. I came home and realized (after I had started making the dish) that I had left three bags of produce at the store. Needless to say, I was salty and we didn't have this yummy dish that night. But good things are worth the wait, right? This was amazing last night, and I'm glad we waited, because we made a few tweaks that really made it shine.
Pasta Primavera
12 oz short pasta (we used wide egg noodles, but you could use fusilli or rotini)
1/2 lb sugar snap peas, halved
2 carrots, shredded
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced super thin
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese
4 oz cream cheese, cut into small cubies

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Watch the clock, because you're going to add the sugar snap peas, carrot and bell pepper to the water for the last two minutes of cooking, and you don't want your pasta to already be done when you put the veggies in. You'll get squishy pasta that way. When you go to drain it, reserve 1/2 C of pasta water before you dump it out. Return the pasta and veggies to the pot or a really big bowl.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil and add the garlic, cooking until just golden. Don't burn it! Then it'll be gross.
Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and a tsp of salt. Cook until the tomatoes wilt, two-ish minutes. Stir in the pasta water and pour over the veggie-pasta mix.
Add the parmesan and cream cheese and toss. Serve immediately while hot!
If you're a cream cheese fiend, you can definitely add more. But don't do too much or it'll coat the pasta too much and overpower the other tasty flavors. Same goes with red pepper flakes.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
For this one, I changed some things up too. It called for a full tablespoon of vanilla, which seemed like way too much to me. So I reduced it by half and added a teaspoon of almond extract to it. I must say, I think the almond flavor makes these cookies, but if you hate almond flavoring, just leave it out! I also thought it called for too many chocolate chips, and not enough cranberries. I'll give you the amounts I used, and you can tweak it, depending on what you like most. Remember, they're just cookies! I wouldn't mess with the flour/egg/soda/salt proportions, but the mix-ins can be played with, as long as you don't overload the dough with too much of them.

1 C butter, room temp or softened in microwave
1 C brown sugar
3/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 T vanilla
1 t almond extract
1 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
3 C flour
1 C dried cranberries
1 C white choc. chips

Heat your oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until they look fluffy and pale-ish. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, not as large, mix the flour, salt and soda. Add to the butter/egg/sugar mixture a third at a time until it's all combined. Add cranberries, and chocolate chips. Scoop onto greased baking sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes. These cookies don't spread out a whole bunch, so size them pretty close to what you want the finished cookie to be.
These little treats are sweet and tart, soft and crunchy. I would even go so far as to say they were a good breakfast cookie, like my Merm's oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are. Oh, what? Those haven't made it to InThreeMinutes yet? Hmm. I'll have to change that! Or maybe I'll keep that one a secret, since they are so amazing.
Enjoy your cookies asap! They will go fast, even though this recipe makes 5 dozen :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Maple-Ginger Glazed Salmon, Orange Spinach Salad and Toffee-Coffee Tartlets

Today was my Merm's birthday, so we made dinner extra special. The salmon was fresh, the salad was tangy and crisp and the dessert was rich. Oh, and the company was great, too!
Part of this meal almost turned to disaster, but luckily I saved it! More on that later...
This meal comes from... you guessed it! Food Network Magazine. But, there are a few modifications. You'll see!

Oranage Spinach Salad
1 bag spinach, rinsed
1 sliced avocado
2 oranges, segmented
chopped pecans
1/4 C orange juice
1 T honey
1 lime, juiced
1 t dijon mustard
1/2 t salt
3 T olive oil

Whisk the oj, lime juice, honey, mustard and salt. Add the olive oil and continue to whisk. Toss the spinach, pecans, avocado and orange segments in a bowl and drizzle with the dressing.
The original recipe called for watercress instead of spinach and hazelnuts instead of pecans, but I put pecans on EVERYTHING. Those two substitutions made it great and very tasty.

Maple-Ginger Glazed Salmon
For this one, you want to get 4 oz of salmon for every person eating. We had three people, so Evan picked up a 12 oz fillet. The glaze should be enough for up to 3 lbs of salmon, so unless you're feeding an army (which 3 lbs would probably feed, actually), stick with the original proportions.

appropriately sized salmon fillet, skin on
2 t ground coriander
s&p (preferably kosher salt)
1/4 C maple syrup
1 2-inch piece ginger, grated and peeled
1 lemon, juice and zest!
2 t butter

Heat your oven to 425. Put your salmon in a baking dish (glass, metal, whatev) and sprinkle with the coriander, 1 t of salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Set it aside, and just let it be for 10-15 minutes.
While you're waiting, put the maple syrup, ginger, lemon zest and butter in a small saucepan and put it over medium heat. Let it get a little thick, 5-7 minutes, take it off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Brush the fish with half of the maple-ginger glaze. Put it in the oven for 12-ish minutes, until it's a bit firm and barely golden on top. Turn the oven to broil and move the rack to the top level in your oven. Brush the fish with the remaining glaze and broil another 2-3 minutes. Check for done-ness and remove from oven. Let it rest for 5 minutes before diving into it.
When you slice it up, the skin should come off fairly easy. Serve it with the skin on, it won't stick to the fish when you pick it up with your fork. I used to be very freaked out about having the skin on when it hit my plate, but it's actually no big deal. It comes off easy and isn't weird at all. Ok, there's my schtick on fish skin.

Toffee-Coffee Tartlets
THIS is the dish I had a little mishap with. The recipe says to boil the cream and coffee grounds, let chill, then whip until stiff peaks form. I whipped that crap for 30 minutes and nothing happened. My hand mixer overheated, and I was schvitzin about ruining Merm's birthday dessert! But I threw it in my ice cream maker and turned it into rich, (almost too) creamy coffee ice cream that I then scooped into the tarts instead. I'm going to include the method the way I did it, but remember you can always try whipping the cream instead!

1 1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 C ground coffee
3/4 C caramel topping
2 T butter
1/2 C powdered sugar

1 10 oz pack frozen puff pastry shells
1/2 C semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 C toffee bits (I couldn't find any at the store, so I bought Werther's and hit them with a hammer)

Bring the coffee and cream to an almost boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Turn it down to low and let it cook there for 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and strain it through a fine mesh strainer. Set it aside.
Put the caramel topping in another saucepan and bring to a boil, over med-high heat. Reduce to medium and go for 2 more minutes. Take it off the heat and stir in the butter. Carefully and slowly whisk the caramel-butter mixture with the coffee cream mixture. Refrigerate until completely chilled, about an hour.
Bake the pastry shells according to package directions. Once cool, pull out the centers. You won't need these so you can throw them out or find something else to do with them..
To melt the chocolate chips, you can either place them in a glass bowl over a pot of almost boiling water and constantly stir, or you can microwave them VERY carefully, 20 seconds at a time stirring between each time until melted. Either way, don't let the chocolate get over cooked and crumbly. That's bad.
Pour the toffee bits onto a pie plate. Dip the rims of the pastry shells in the chocolate, then in the toffee bits. Set aside.
Once your cream mixture is cold, beat in powdered sugar. Now you can either try to beat the whole thing with a mixer until stiff peaks form, or throw it into your ice cream maker and churn according to how your machine works. Either way, once you have a finished product, spoon it into the shells, drizzle with caramel topping and enjoy!
Really, it doesn't matter how you choose to do it! How can you go wrong with heavy cream, caramel and chocolate??

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kitchen Misadventures...

I think failure is too harsh a word. I definitely feel like one a lot of the time, but when it comes to cooking, I'd like to think that a little exploration and creativity shouldn't be marked as such. That's why I'm going to call this one a misadventure. It makes it sound like some great culinary undertaking was about to happen, if it weren't for a tiny misstep. Yeah, I like it. Look for this as a reoccurring theme here at InThreeMinutes. Misadventuring is just as important as adventuring!

This misadventure is brought to you by the Food Network Magazine and grapefruit. This month's issue had a section called "10 minute desserts". I love desserts AND races against the clock, so I was thrilled to try it out. The dessert I attempted was Grapefruit Brûlée. Here are the instructions given:
Slice a grapefruit in half.
Segment it, but don't take the segments out.
Sprinkle with sugar.
Torch the sugar with a kitchen torch.

Done and done. Guess what I got? A burned grapefruit. The sugar soaked in faster than I could torch it, and so I was left cooking the top of the fruit. I did get a little gummy sugar coating from what sugar did stay on top, but there was too much water in the grapefruit for it to get crunchy.

Nothing lost, nothing gained, right?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spicy Egg Salad Sandwiches, Quinoa with Greens and Apricot Oat Bars

This was our menu tonight. It was filling without being heavy, healthy yet comforting. And it was quick. I really wasn't feeling it as far as making dinner, so it was nice to have a good meal without having to work too hard for it. Since everyone has different preferences for how... dressed.. they like their egg salad, and we each have our own threshold for spiciness, feel free to tailor this recipe to your liking. As for the salad, throw on whatever veggies you have on hand, whether frozen, raw or cooked.

Spicy Egg Salad Sandwiches
5 eggs, hard boiled
1/4 C mayonnaise
1 dill pickle, diced
S&P to taste
Sriracha or other hot sauce
crunchy, nutty whole grain bread

Cut/mash up the eggs in a bowl. Just make sure there aren't any big pieces hanging out, they don't have to be uniform slices. Add the mayonnaise a little at a time until desired wetness is reached. Toss in the pickles and season until it tastes good. Then, add hot sauce 1/8 tsp at a time and mix thoroughly until it's as hot as you want. Toast your bread and top it!
I'm betting there are some eyes rolling out there, as this isn't even a real recipe. Silence nay-sayers! It's tasty, and good, and easy. And I would make it again and again. So THAT is why it made it to this blog.

Quinoa with Greens
1 C quinoa, rinsed
1 C frozen peas or other veggies
S&P to taste
Salad greens (we like Organic Girl's Good Clean Greens 50/50 mix)
Light vinaigrette, honey mustard or cilantro-lime dressing

Boil quinoa in a large pot of salted water. It should take between 10 and 12 minutes, just like pasta. Drain it using a fine mesh strainer. If you don't have a fine mesh strainer, pour out most the water, put a doubled up layer of paper towels in your colander and then pour the quinoa out of the pot. Put the hot quinoa in a bowl and toss with your veggies, adding salt and pepper. Put in the fridge until it's cool(at least room temp, if not colder).
Plate a serving of greens onto each plate and top with a few heaping spoonfuls of your quinoa/veggie mix. Drizzle with a bit of dressing for flavor (not for swimming in). Yum!

Apricot Oat Bars
I'm not going to lie. I stole this recipe from Giada de Laurentiis. It smells like heaven out of the oven, with its warm cinnamon, crunchy oats and sticky apricot preserves.

1 1/4 C apricot preserves
8 dried apricots, chopped

1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 C brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
3/4 t salt
3/4 t baking soda
1 3/4 C oats
1 C chopped walnuts (or pecans!)
1 C butter, melted
1 egg, at room temperature, beaten
1 t vanilla extract

Put your rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix the jam and the apricots. Set aside.
In a big bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Stir in the oats and nuts. Add the melted butter, egg and vanilla and stir until it's all gooey and mixed together.

Make sure your hands are clean and press half of the crust mixture into the bottom of the baking dish you just greased. Then, spread the filling over the crust leaving a tiny 1/2 inch border around the edge of the pan. Cover the filling with the remaining crust mixture and press it ever so lightly to flatten it out.
Bake about 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool for 1 hour, if you can keep your paws off it that long!

PS. Don't cut into it too soon, or it'll just crumble into a million delicious pieces. It's worth it to wait just a little while so it can be enjoyed in large forkfuls.