Salted, Malted Chocolate Bundt Cake

This cake came to me in a snow-covered dream. I woke up Sunday knowing I had to do three things: shovel my driveway, take my kids sledding, and bake something. It’s no secret I love to be snowed in; I view it as nature’s permission to let everything go — I don’t stress about it, I don’t complain about it, I just let it all go. Northern Virginia was in the epicenter of the recent “snowzilla” storm. We had historic snowfall and the world shut down for a few days. It was pretty wonderful. I’ll be back at work tomorrow, so while I’m enjoying my last day of snowed in freedom, I thought I’d hop back on the blogging wagon and share this wonderful, easy recipe. No mixer required, and I bet you have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

The malt powder isn’t absolutely necessary — meaning your texture won’t suffer if you leave it out. You’ll still have a delicious, moist chocolate cake — but it’s so, so good. If you grew up drinking malted milkshakes like I did (my dad made/makes the best milkshakes), you might already have a container in your pantry, and if you want a treat, you’ll want to make a special trip to grab some. It’s sold in most grocery stores in the coffee/tea/hot chocolate section usually. You can stir it into cold milk, add it to your favorite cookie recipes, or, of course, make milkshakes with it. It’s nostalgic, old-fashioned, and truly one of my favorite things. My son loves it too, which just makes me so darn happy– have I ever told you how much I love that little guy?

FullSizeRender

Salted, Malted Chocolate Bundt Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Credit: Ani Hughes — CookonaWhim.com

For the cake:

  • Non-stick baking spray (I am in love with Baker’s Joy) or butter for the pan
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup malt powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee 1/2 cup hot water (you can use all hot water, but I love the richness the coffee gives)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons malt powder (plus a pinch or two for sprinkling)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk (or enough to make a smooth, pourable glaze)
  • a sprinkle of sea salt (maldon flaked sea salt is my favorite, but kosher salt will work just fine)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10 – 12 cup bundt pan, or spray generously with baking spray. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in microwave or a small saucepan, remove from heat and add cocoa powder and malt powder. Whisk until smooth. Add coffee/water, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and whisk again until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Add butter mixture and whisk until smooth–this is a loose batter so don’t worry if it looks too thin.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes—don’t over bake! Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a large platter or cakestand. Let cool completely before glazing.
  5. While the cake is cooling, make the chocolate glaze. Place all ingredients except salt into a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and a thick ribbon forms when you hold your whisk in the air. You want this pourable, not spreadable.
  6. Generously drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. Wait 5 minutes for glaze to set a bit and sprinkle with malt powder and sea salt.
  7. Slice and devour

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili Verde

I get a lot of slow cooker recipe requests, so here is a new one to add to the list!

I had a hard time calling this just “white” chicken chili, because I used my favorite “verde” (green) enchilada sauce ingredients. The “white” in white chicken chili, to me, simply denotes the fact that there are no tomatoes or red chiles, and obviously chicken is whiter than beef. But I use thighs in this which are dark meat. Anyway, technicalities aside, this is so delicious and easy! Thighs can slow cook forever, so this is great to get prepped the night before, stash in the fridge overnight, and pop in the slow cooker before a long, busy day. You can even streamline it if you want and skip the browning of the thighs, but I really think this adds so much flavor and color. This is not a spicy dish either, as I replaced the typical jalapeños with just one large poblano in order to make it family friendly as well as slow cooker friendly. If you want to kick it up, add a jalapeño or two to the veggie mixture.IMG_8810

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili Verde

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 6-8hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (usually one regular-sized pack)
  • 1 lb tomatillos (6-7), husk removed
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 large poblano pepper
  • 3 16-ounce cans white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 16-ounce can hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil
  • fresh cilantro—one cup for recipe, plus more for serving
  • lime wedges and tortilla chips or strips for serving

To Prepare:

Preheat broiler to high.

Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, poblano in a large, oven proof skillet (I prefer cast iron), drizzle with vegetable oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place under broiler until the vegetables are blistered and very dark in spots. Alternatively, you can do this on the stove top over very high heat.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly, carefully peel the skin from the poblano—don’t get too fussy; it’s ok if you don’t get every speck of skin off—and remove and discard the seeds and stem along with the skin. Place the charred vegetables in a blender with a cup of fresh cilantro, one can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans, and one cup of your chicken stock. Blend until smooth and add to slow cooker.

Generously salt and pepper chicken thighs, and in the same pan you charred your vegetables, brown chicken thighs very well on both sides. Transfer thighs to slow cooker. While the pan is still hot, carefully remove excess fat from pan, pour in some chicken stock, and scrape to remove any brown bits of goodness. Add this liquid to slow cooker.

Add cumin, coriander, remaining two cans of beans, one can of hominy, and remaining chicken stock to slow cooker. Give it a stir and turn to low for 6-8 hours.

When you’re ready to serve, taste for salt and add more if desired—this will depend heavily on the saltiness of your chicken stock.

The chicken will be so tender and buttery, you can just shred it gently with tongs or a spoon. I like it a little chunky, but shred it however you prefer.

Serve with lime wedges, sour cream, fresh cilantro leaves, tortilla chips, and hot sauce. Enjoy!

Let’s connect!:

Twitter

Instagram

BlogLovin’

Slow Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini

Thanks to the lovely and talented Selma of Selma’s Table, a beautiful and delicious blog that I implore you to visit, I am participating in my very first blog party in celebration of Fiesta Friday’s first anniversary. Very exciting. There is such a wonderful community of bloggers, and I love meeting new friends who are so gracious and welcoming. I’m looking forward to meeting many more at the fiesta!

To get the party started, today’s theme is “happy hour,” and since happy hour isn’t complete without drinks and little bites I am sharing a few wine recommendations and my delicious recipe for slow roasted tomatoes, which I love to serve over goat cheese-topped, crispy baguette slices. Such an easy and beautiful appetizer. I hope you love it!

IMG_8311

Let’s begin with a drink, shall we? I am not much of a cocktail aficionado, but I am a wine lover, and these crostini pair beautifully with a crisp, cool white wine. These are my three favorites, and each one will compliment the tangy, creamy goat cheese, and the jammy, sweet tomatoes. It’s a winning combo whichever wine you choose. The first is Despagne Eclat de Sauvignon—a lovely, crisp white from the Bordeaux region of France. This wine won my heart with its refreshingly tart, almost effervescent grapefruit notes. I was pretty impressed with myself on this one, because I immediately tasted the grapefruit notes and, later, when I did some research I saw that many other tasters had described it this way! Next is my old standby: Pinot Grigio. I am a big fan of Cavit Pinot Grigio—Italian, crisp, fruity but not sweet. I have often described it as a very “friendly” wine, since everyone likes it and it’s always invited to the party. Finally, the H.B. Picpoul de Pinet is a wonderfully intriguing wine made in the South of France. It is crisp and dry with hints of citrus—delicate, floral, and really worth trying. These are three of my favorite whites—and guess what—they are all under $10 (at least they are at my local Wegmans!). In my opinion, good wine does not mean expensive wine. Drink what you love—life is too short to drink bad, expensive wine.

FullSizeRender

Now, on to the recipe. A printable version is at the bottom of my post, but here is the step-by-step with photos.

**I originally published this recipe in a piece called “When Life Gives You Tomatoes, Make Crostini” on DCFud.com, a great online food magazine covering the DC metro area. Check it out!**

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

 Ingredients:

  • Lots of smaller tomatoes such as roma, cherry, or grape, halved—about 8 cups (they shrink during the roasting process)
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch or two of red pepper flakes to taste
  • fresh herbs—oregano and thyme are my favorites
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss gently to coat the tomatoes and spread the entire mixture evenly on a parchment lined, large rimmed baking sheet or two sheets. You want an even layer with no overlapping.

FullSizeRender(3)

Roast for 4-6 hours, gently tossing occasionally (or just shake and rotate the pan). The time is broad, I know, but it depends on the juiciness and size of your tomatoes and your oven. The tomatoes will shrink and their juices will dry slightly. Don’t take them too far; you want them to still have some juiciness. This really needs to be judged by eye, so just check on them occasionally.

FullSizeRender(2)

Enjoy straight from the oven, or transfer, along with all juices and herbs, to a mason jar or other storage container, cover with more olive oil and store in refrigerator.

FullSizeRender(1)

Note: The olive oil will harden upon refrigeration. Allow refrigerated tomatoes to sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes before using.

Slow Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini

Ingredients:

  • Baguette, or any good bread, sliced 1/4 inch thick on an angle
  • slow roasted tomatoes
  • Fresh goat cheese
  • Fresh basil

To prepare:

Drizzle or brush bread slices lightly with olive oil, and either toast in a 350 degree oven 10-15 minutes, or gently toast in a grill pan or skillet until lightly golden on both sides, but still tender in the middle. Transfer to a platter and smear with a tablespoon or two of goat cheese, top with oven roasted tomatoes, and sprinkle with fresh chopped basil. Enjoy!

Slow Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 4-6 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

For the Slow Roasted Tomatoes:

Ingredients:

  • Lots of smaller tomatoes such as roma, cherry, or grape, halved—about 8 cups (they shrink during the roasting process)
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch or two of red pepper flakes to taste
  • fresh herbs, oregano and thyme are my favorites
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss gently to coat the tomatoes and spread the entire mixture evenly on a parchment-lined, large rimmed baking sheet or sheets. You want an even layer with no overlapping.

Roast for 4-6 hours, gently tossing occasionally (or just shake and rotate the pan). The time is broad, I know, but it depends on the juiciness and size of your tomatoes and your oven. The tomatoes will shrink and their juices will dry slightly. Don’t take them too far; you want them to still have some juiciness. This really needs to be judged by eye, so just check on them occasionally.

Enjoy straight from the oven, or transfer, along with all juices and herbs, to a mason jar or other storage container, cover with more olive oil and store in refrigerator.

Note: The olive oil will harden upon refrigeration. Allow refrigerated tomatoes to sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes before using.

To make and assemble the Slow Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini:

Ingredients:

  • Baguette, or any good bread, sliced 1/4 inch thick on an angle
  • Oven roasted tomatoes
  • Fresh goat cheese
  • Fresh basil

To prepare:

Drizzle or brush bread slices lightly with olive oil, and either toast in a 350 degree oven 10-15 minutes, or gently toast in a grill pan or skillet until lightly golden on both sides, but still tender in the middle. Transfer to a platter and smear each with a tablespoon or two of goat cheese, top with oven roasted tomatoes, and sprinkle with fresh chopped basil. Enjoy!

Let’s connect!:

Twitter

Instagram

BlogLovin’

Shepherd’s Pie

This is a recipe I have made countless times since I started my blog. I’m not sure why I’ve never written about it, but I think my reasons are that 1.) It is very personal, and 2.) It is never quite the same each time. I just make it from memory and vary certain ingredients depending on my mood or my pantry/fridge. It is personal because my dad made Shepherd’s Pie a lot when I was a kid, and it’s one of those recipes I make when I’m really missing him (he spends most of his time in far-away lands). It’s reliable, inexpensive, I love making it, the leftovers are the best, and it is a real crowd-pleaser—everyone in my family loves it; if my sister finds out I’ve made it and haven’t invited her over, she gets very cross with me.

My dad often made it with beef, but sometimes with venison or lamb. Lamb is obviously traditional—shepherd’s = those who herd sheep; lamb = baby sheep. I have made it with lamb, and love it, I’ve even used ground bison just for fun, but I usually use ground beef. You can use whatever ground meat you want, even turkey or chicken if that’s your thing. I sometimes put a layer of frozen peas between the meat and potato layer, or serve peas on the side. My dad almost always served his with our home-canned green beans—we canned a zillion mason jars of them each summer, and ate them all winter. Somehow I never grew tired of them.

Here is my most recent version; I made it to take to my grandparents’ house for dinner and, after dinner, my grandfather implored me to share it with you all. You can thank him later.

**Printable recipe is at bottom of post**

IMG_7991

Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 6-8 usually with leftovers

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, finely minced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely minced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 1/4 cup wine—red, white, or marsala
  • 3 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (if I’m out of tomato paste I just omit it. No big deal)
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1 cup frozen peas (optional)

For the potatoes:

  • 2 1/2 – 3 lbs (about 6) yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 cup milk (you might not need the whole cup)
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the topping (optional):

  • 1 cup of grated, really sharp white cheddar

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Potatoes:

First, get your potatoes going. Add your peeled, chopped potatoes, whole peeled garlic cloves, and bay leaves to a large pot of generously salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until very, very tender. (you can get the meat mixture cooking while you’re waiting).

Once potatoes are tender, drain in a colander, remove bay leaves but leave the garlic, add potatoes back to pot and add butter and cream cheese. Let sit until the butter and cream cheese soften a bit.

IMG_7996

Then, with a hand mixer or potato masher, mix or mash until all potatoes are mashed. Then, add milk in stages while mashing until you reach the desired consistency. You want a nice soft mash, but not so soupy you won’t be able to scoop it out later. 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk should be plenty. Taste potatoes for salt, and add salt and pepper to taste. Usually a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper are sufficient, but taste your food! It should taste the way you want it to taste!

IMG_7997

Meat Filling:

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef until most of the pink is gone, about 10 minutes. Then, add carrot, celery, onion, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, and season with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook this mixture for about 10 minutes. If your beef is really fatty, scoop out excess fat. This is optional, and really depends on your meat choice.

IMG_7995

Next, add tomato paste and stir to combine. Then sprinkle flour over meat mixture and stir until you don’t see white anymore. Add wine and stock and cook for about 15-20 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom. The mixture will thicken. It should be a thick, gravy-like consistency.

Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray. Transfer meat to baking dish and spread into an even layer. If using peas, add them now. Just an even layer on top will do.

Next, add potatoes. I place large spoonfuls all around the top of the meat mixture, then I use a rubber spatula to spread it out, almost like frosting a cake, making sure to seal the edges. Sometimes I make too many potatoes. If you have this “problem” just put them in a dish and refrigerate them for another time. Having too many mashed potatoes is never a problem in my book.

IMG_7999

Now, if you really want to take it over the top, and if you have an uncontrollable passion for melted, bubbly cheese like I do, add a layer of cheese to the top. My dad did not do this.

IMG_8001

Place casserole dish on a rimmed sheet tray in case it bubbles over, and place in preheated oven until cheese bubbles and browns a bit. Should take about 30 minutes, but keep an eye on it. Take it out when it looks like this:

IMG_8003

Enjoy!IMG_8053

I hope you love it, and I hope you have leftovers. I really think I love the leftovers the most.

Check me out on Twitter and Instagram, too:

https://twitter.com/cookonawhim

http://instagram.com/cookonawhim/

Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, finely minced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely minced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 1/4 cup wine—red, white, or marsala
  • 3 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (if I’m out of tomato paste I just omit it. No big deal)
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1 cup frozen peas (optional)

For the potatoes:

  • 2 1/2 – 3 lbs (about 6) yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 cup milk (you might not need the whole cup)
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the topping (optional):

  • 1 cup of grated, really sharp white cheddar

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Potatoes:

First, get your potatoes going. Add your peeled, chopped potatoes, whole peeled garlic cloves, and bay leaves to a large pot of generously salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until very, very tender. (you can get the meat mixture cooking while you’re waiting).

Once potatoes are tender, drain in a colander, remove bay leaves but leave the garlic, add potatoes back to pot and add butter and cream cheese. Let sit until the butter and cream cheese soften a bit.

Then, with a hand mixer or potato masher, mix or mash until all potatoes are mashed. Then, add milk in stages while mashing until you reach the desired consistency. You want a nice soft mash, but not so soupy you won’t be able to scoop it out later. 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk should be plenty. Taste potatoes for salt, and add salt and pepper to taste. Usually a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper are sufficient, but taste your food! It should taste the way you want it to taste!

Meat Filling:

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef until most of the pink is gone, about 10 minutes. Then, add carrot, celery, onion, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, and season with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook this mixture for about 10 minutes. If your beef is really fatty, scoop out excess fat. This is optional, and really depends on your meat choice.

Next, add tomato paste and stir to combine. Then sprinkle flour over meat mixture and stir until you don’t see white anymore. Add wine and stock and cook for about 15-20 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom. The mixture will thicken. It should be a thick, gravy-like consistency.

Assembly:

Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray. Transfer meat to baking dish and spread into an even layer. If using peas, add them now. Just an even layer on top will do.

Next, add potatoes. I place large spoonfuls all around the top of the meat mixture, then I use a rubber spatula to spread it out, almost like frosting a cake, making sure to seal the edges. Sometimes I make too many potatoes. If you have this “problem” just put them in a dish and refrigerate them for another time. Having too many mashed potatoes is never a problem in my book.

Now, if you really want to take it over the top, and if you have an uncontrollable passion for melted, bubbly cheese like I do, add a layer of cheese to the top. My dad did not do this.

Place casserole dish on a rimmed sheet tray in case it bubbles over, and place in preheated oven until cheese bubbles and browns a bit. Should take about 30 minutes, but keep an eye on it. Take it out when it looks brown and bubbly.

Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Scones with a Vanilla Bean Glaze

Happy New Year to you all. In the spirit of resolution making, yesterday I resolved to do two things: Delete my Facebook account and make Vanilla Bean Scones. Odd combination, perhaps, but it just worked out that way. Instead of setting some unreachable, obscure resolution, I went with two pretty much instantly gratifying goals. It worked.

Facebook, for me, was like some weird, grown-up (sort of) popularity contest. Having never been a super popular person, nor cared about being popular, I always had this nagging inner turmoil regarding my Facebook usage. Why do I care how many “likes” I get? Why do I not really know half the people I am “friends” with? I do not want to read personal, often graphic health details; I do not want to read religious or political rants. I found myself posting less and less, and I didn’t want to be one of those weird creepers who has a Facebook account but pretends like they don’t—a little too much like voyeurism for my liking. As much as I really did enjoy certain people’s pictures, posts, and comments, it was such a time suck—sucking time away from what I really want to do: write, cook, read, decide what I want to do with my life!

Anyway, my answer was twofold. Rid my life of Facebook and bake something to get my creative writing juices flowing again. Kitchen therapy fixes almost everything, and what it doesn’t fix it at least soothes for a while, and I needed some soothing. So, I made scones.

I made a version of these scones about a year or so ago after watching Ree Drummond AKA The Pioneer Woman make them on her show. I am wild about vanilla, especially when vanilla beans are involved. When I saw her make these, I knew I had to try them.

They were good—very tasty—but they needed some fiddling. So, I fiddled and came up with this recipe. Much, much better. Still soft and buttery, but not so crumbly they fall apart in the glaze.

And, how appropriate to make scones on Downton Abbey premier day! How very British of me.

Here’s the delicious recipe with step-by-step pictures:

Vanilla Bean Scones with a Vanilla Bean Glaze

Makes 24 scones

Ingredients:

Scones:
2 whole vanilla beans
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 and ½ tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, diced and very cold
1 egg

Glaze:
1 whole vanilla bean
1/2 to ¾ cup milk, start with ½ but you may need the full ¾ cup
5 cups powdered sugar

To Prepare:

For the scones:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out all the vanilla seeds inside.
IMG_7902
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla seeds. With a pastry cutter, two butter knives, or your fingers, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture. Keep going until the mixture resembles crumbs.
IMG_7905
IMG_7908
Mix the cream with the egg in a large, spouted measuring cup. Pour the cream in slowly while gently stirring the dry ingredients with a fork just until it comes together.
IMG_7910
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and lightly press it together until it forms a rough rectangle. Cut dough in half and stack one half on top of the other, press back into a rough rectangle. Repeat this process one more time. The stacking process creates perfect, flaky layers. I do this same trick when I make biscuits.
IMG_7911
IMG_7912
IMG_7913
Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle about 12-by-7 inches and 1/2-to-3/4-inches thick. Then cut the rectangle into 12 squares/rectangles.
IMG_7914
IMG_7915
Next, cut each square/rectangle in half diagonally, to form two triangles. Transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 17 minutes. The bottoms will just be getting golden, but the tops should still be quite pale.
IMG_7916
IMG_7917
Allow to cool completely before glazing.For the glaze:

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla seeds, and milk in a large bowl, adding more powdered sugar or milk if necessary to get the right consistency. Stir or whisk until completely smooth and pourable.

IMG_7920
IMG_7921
One at a time, carefully dunk each cooled scone in the glaze, turning it over to coat completely. (Your hands are the best tools for this. It’s messy, but so much easier than anything else I’ve tried. So wash your hands and roll up your sleeves.)
Once dunked, transfer to parchment paper. I do this in two steps, because as they sit the glaze will pool up a little. So after about 20 minutes, I carefully transfer the glazed scones to a fresh sheet of parchment so I don’t end up with a thick bottom layer of glaze when they set completely.
Alternatively, you can just dip the tops, or you can use a spoon to zig-zag the glaze over the tops. I go for the total submersion method.
IMG_7924
IMG_7926
Enjoy! The vanilla beans really do make these so special. I hope you love them.
IMG_7929

PS: My daughter wanted to help me type; this is her contribution. She typed it all by her little self: “Ava and mommy made scones we had fun.” It’s the truth.

https://twitter.com/cookonawhim

http://instagram.com/cookonawhim/

Spanish-Style Slow-Cooker White Bean and Sausage Stew

I have a confession: I used to be kind of snooty about slow-cookers. My dad never used one, I don’t think we even had one in the house when I was a kid. I just always thought overcooked, mushy, drab-colored things came out of slow-cookers.

Phew. I’m so glad I got that off my chest.

I’m happy to report that my opinion has changed over the past few years. Becoming a busy mom/student has made me appreciate the comfort and reliability of slow-cookers — especially during the fall and winter months. It’s so nice to come home to something warm after a long, cold day.

This recipe is so easy, so comforting, and so delicious. It’s a jazzed up version of a recipe I saw in Real Simple a few years ago. The original recipe was pretty bland, so I put my little thumbprint on it and made it mine by adding some exotic, floral, distinctly Spanish saffron (think paella) and a few other things. My kids love this, and it must be served with some toasty bread rubbed with garlic.

Ps: the leftovers are fantastic.

Here’s how I made it:

IMG_7500

Spanish-Style Slow-Cooker White Bean and Sausage Stew

Serves 6-8

Cook time: 8 hours on low

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried white beans (such as great northern or navy)
  • 14 ounces andouille sausage or spanish-style chorizo (NOT Mexican chorizo!), halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (one big carton)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes — fire-roasted if you can find them
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of saffron–about 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 cups fresh spinach (a couple big handfuls)
  • chopped fresh parsley for serving (optional)
  • bread, for serving

IMG_7505

To Prepare:

In a 4 to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the beans, sausage, broth, tomatoes (and their juices), onion, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, saffron, wine and water.

IMG_7501

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until beans are tender.

Just before serving, stir in the spinach and chopped fresh parsley.

Serve with bread, and enjoy!

IMG_7517

Spanish-Style Slow-Cooker White Bean and Sausage Stew

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 8 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Spanish-Style Slow-Cooker White Bean and Sausage Stew

Serves 6-8

Cook time: 8 hours on low

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried white beans (such as great northern or navy)
  • 14 ounces andouille sausage or spanish-style chorizo (NOT Mexican chorizo!), halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (one big carton)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes — fire-roasted if you can find them
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of saffron–about 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 cups fresh spinach (a couple big handfuls)
  • chopped fresh parsley for serving (optional)
  • bread, for serving

To Prepare:

In a 4 to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the beans, sausage, broth, tomatoes (and their juices), onion, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, saffron, wine and water.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until beans are tender.

Just before serving, stir in the spinach and chopped fresh parsley.

Serve with bread, and enjoy!

Shrimp in Red Thai Coconut Curry Sauce with Fresh Sweet Corn

Earlier, I was enjoying this gorgeous spring day with my windows open, a pot of Bolognese sauce bubbling away on the stove, and chocolate chip cookies cooling on the counter. Can you tell I’ve missed cooking? I mean, I’ve been cooking; my family hasn’t gone hungry, I assure you. But I haven’t been cooking, cooking… Like, the kind of cooking where I wake up in the morning and spend most of my day doodling around in the kitchen, making up dishes like the one I’m about to share with you.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t have my first Thai food experience until I was at least 25 years old. My dad cooked a lot of Asian-style food when I was a kid, but Thai was not part of his repertoire. Since discovering Thai food, I have become completely and hopelessly addicted. You can bet that if I’m having a wildly uncontrollable food craving, it will be a Thai food craving. It is just so flavorful and balanced. I love the heat; I love the combination of salty, sweet, and sour; I adore coconut milk, Thai basil, and cilantro. So, the other night the craving struck. And, yes, we have a great Thai food restaurant nearby, and yes, they deliver. But I felt like cooking, and my creative juices were already flowing.

This is what I came up with:

 

Shrimp in Red Thai Coconut Curry Sauce with Fresh Sweet Corn

IMG_5906

**Note: this takes minutes to prepare, and it really should be served with rice–jasmine rice, please. So, before you start prepping your ingredients, put a pot of jasmine rice on to cook (instructions follow). It will be ready to soak up all the yummy sauce by the time you’re done cooking.

Ingredients:

For the rice:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 3 cups water

For the curry:

  • 1 pound shrimp-peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 1 cup of fresh corn kernels, cut from 2 ears of corn
  • 2 red fresno chile peppers, seeds and ribs removed and finely sliced into long strips
  • 4 garlic cloves-sliced
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger-peeled and julienned (you can grate it if you want, but I like the long, thin pieces of ginger)
  • 1 14 ounce can of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • juice from 2 fresh limes
  • Cilantro and basil (Thai basil if you can find it!)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

To Prepare:

For the rice:

In a medium sauce pan, add rice and water and bring to a full boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to lowest setting, clamp on a lid, and set your timer for 20 minutes. Don’t stir it; don’t lift the lid; just let it cook for 20 minutes and you will have perfect, fluffy rice.

For the curry:

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, until very hot–I used cast iron. Add vegetable oil, swirl to coat pan, and add shrimp in a single layer. Cook for no more than 2 minutes, tossing to get both sides cooked, remove from pan and set aside. They will cook a little more in the sauce, so don’t overcook them here. Overcooked shrimp are not worth eating.

Add corn, garlic, ginger, and peppers to the same pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add curry paste and stir for about 30 seconds, then add coconut milk and fish sauce to pan. Stir to combine and scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium, add shrimp to sauce and cook for about 5 minutes. The sauce should be at a gentle simmer, not a full rolling boil. When your shrimp are just cooked through, and your sauce is slightly thickened, remove from heat, add lime juice and a big handful of chopped cilantro and basil, and you’re done!

IMG_5907

Serve with jasmine rice and enjoy!

IMG_5917