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Archive for January, 2010


This cake — itself a take on the Oreo cookie — is so much fun to make and utterly amazing to eat. Layers of rich, moist chocolate cake sandwich creamy vanilla filling that’s blended with crumbles of Oreo cookies. A thick and decadent dark chocolate frosting made of butter, confectioners sugar and ghirardelli cocoa podwer coats the entire cake. Kudos to fellow food blog Annie’s Eats for the recipe!

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Warm, hearty, salty and flavorful, this slow-braised beef shank atop a bed of homemade pumpkin seed spaetzle is the perfect winter weekend dinner.  The recipes — from the January issue of Bon Appetit — are a unique take on a classic Austro-Hungarian dish. I love the rich, complex, vinegary flavor of the tender beef and the unique nutty component in the spaetzle. Departing from the recipe, I cooked the dumplings in the beef stew liquid instead of in a separate pot of water.  Also, since I like my spaetzle slightly larger than the size produced by a potato ricer, I used my fingers to create the nuggets. (Roasted carrots and brussel sprouts make a great side!)

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This cake was my baptism into the world of Bon Appetit magazine. And as I’m sure any of its devourers can attest, the surviving sister of Gourmet Magazine offers up some pretty sweet stuff (no pun intended). The January issue names this recipe among its “top desserts of the year,” and while I might not go that far, it is indeed wonderfully decadent and delicious. The cake is moist, fluffy and coconutty, laden with scattered, irregular fragments of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate.  The top of the cake is an amazing minefield of toasted coconut, gooey chocolate and a creamy coconut glaze. I served it as a coffeecake for a brunch but it could easily have been a dessert course for a fancy dinner party.

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Maybe its the “Minnesota” in me, but in the midst of a winter deep freeze there’s nothing I like more than a hot bowl of homemade chili or soup. But in this latest plunge of cold air, I’ve decided to deviate from my old standby’s of a tomato-based chili or a variation on chicken vegetable soup and instead decided to Go Green.   Enter fresh tomatillos, poblano peppers, cilantro, celery…. and a frozen leftover half of Thanksgiving turkey (no, it wasn’t green).

The recipe is an adaptation of Joy of Cooking’s “Chicken Chili Verde” with homemade diced, roasted poblano peppers and homemade turkey stock/diced turkey meat instead of chicken. The result is a zesty and flavorful chili packing a little heat from the jalepeno and poblano peppers.  The medley of cilantro, lime, tomatillos, garlic and cumin cries out for some salty tortilla chips or a bed of steamy white rice. Incredibly delicious and healthy too.

Turkey Chili Verde

1 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

6 medium fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed and diced

1 bunch of cilantro chopped

3 poblano peppers roasted, peeled and diced

1 finely chopped jalepeno pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 cups turkey or chicken stock

3 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey

(1) Saute onion, celery and garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or soup pot until tender. Add dry spices and cook an additional minute.

(2) Add tomatillos, peppers and broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes uncovered.

(3) Add chicken, cilantro leaves and fresh lime juice. Simmer for 5 to 10 more minutes until heated through.  Add salt to taste.

(4) Serve over tortilla chips or white rice or eat alone.

If you want to get extra fancy, try making your own chicken/turkey stock at the outset using the carcass of your frozen or freshly leftover bird.  And also try roasting your poblano peppers directly over open flame on your gas range if you have one!

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