Monday, March 29, 2010

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last month, John and I spent a relaxing weekend in Lancaster County, PA (also known as "Amish Country"). In addition to horse-drawn buggies, bonnets, and towns with oddly suggestive names (Intercourse and Blue Ball.... haha), Lancaster County is also home to the Wilbur Chocolate Factory. It was at this wonderful place that I picked up two beautiful bags of chocolate chips. One bag of chips ended up in my Samoa Bars, and the other sat in the pantry, waiting for their higher calling. That calling came on Saturday when I clicked over to the Cook's Illustrated website, where these Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies were a featured recipe.

The cool thing about this recipe is that you melt the butter, so you don't have to wait around for your butter to come to room temperature like with most cookie recipes. You actually have to melt it and cook it until it's just brown... then you whisk it with sugar to form a delightful caramel-y base for your cookies. 
 While calling them "perfect" might be overstating things a bit (I still have yet to find the "perfect" chocolate chip cookie), I would say that these cookies are pretty fantastic. Thick, chewy, and a little crispy around the edges... how can you go wrong?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chipotle Bean Burritos

John and I have been enjoying a lot of recipes from my Cooking Light subscription lately (and our pants are fitting better for it, I'm happy to say). While perhaps not as exciting as, say, tiramisu, these burritos have a lot of other admirable qualities: they are tasty, healthy, and easy to make. Plus, it's hard to come by a cheaper protein source than beans (and John says he didn't miss the meat). We stuck to the recipe, but you could definitely add additional spices or toppings (I was a little disappointed that I didn't have an avocado on hand to roll up in these). We used regular tortillas, rather than the low-fat ones called for in the recipe, but I doubt it made too much of a difference in the calorie count (with the low-fat tortillas, you're looking at 360 calories per burrito). And the regular tortillas probably taste better... just sayin'.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Eggplant Rollatini

Sometime within the last year or two I realized that I actually really like eggplant.  That's as long as it's prepared and cooked properly.  I was afraid of it as a kid, as I'm sure most kids are, and never thought to try it again until recently.  I'm not sure where I saw or read how to prepare eggplant, but I thought I'd give it a try a couple weeks ago and decided on eggplant rollatini.  I didn't follow a recipe, just an idea I had of what I wanted it to be, and like most foods I love, it involves tomato sauce and ricotta cheese!  I used my tomato sauce recipe and the ravioli filling recipe for these, the rest is made up by yours truly.  Not exactly rocket science here, just a little common sense and a little suggestion from Bec to bake the eggplant instead of fry it.  Good idea my dear.  This is a great recipe to use up the leftover ravioli filling and extra tomato sauce from your last Italian feast!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Roasted Garlic Hummus

This hummus contains a triple punch of garlic: there's roasted garlic, garlic-infused olive oil, and a garlic chip topping. The recipe requires two (!) whole heads of garlic. And the longer you let it sit in the refrigerator, the more garlicky it becomes. Don't be scared... this is really, really good. We didn't find the garlic flavor to be overpowering at all.

If you've never made your own hummus, you should give this a try. I think it's a lot smoother, creamier, and more flavorful than the pre-packaged stuff. Plus, squeezing the roasted garlic out of its skin is delightfully therapeutic.

Serve this with pita wedges or fresh veggies. And, um, maybe some mints.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pear, Walnut, and Feta Salad

Salad is not normally something I get too excited about... I like it, sure, but I usually throw one together as an afterthought when I realize I should have something green with my meal. This, however, is one crave-able salad. My friend Martha made this for a dinner party a few weeks ago. The original recipe called for blue cheese, but Martha made a brilliant swap-out for feta. The dressing is really bright, and all of the textures and flavors are well balanced. This has become my go-to salad for company. People actually ask for seconds of this! Even people who aren't really "salad people". Give it a try, and don't skimp on the feta...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pasta with Asparagus, Pancetta, and Pine Nuts

As you may have noticed, we've been eating a lot of desserts around here lately. So, in the interest of balance, here's another recipe from the Cooking Light files.  This is from the current issue and it has all kinds of good things in it... pasta, pine nuts, and pork products. The one thing I found weird about the recipe was that it has you toast the pine nuts and cook the pancetta in the oven (these are things I'd normally think to do on the stove).  However, we followed the recipe and it came out great (but I still think you don't really need to turn on your oven for this). Final verdict? This is a satisfying dish that's easy to prepare, and it's only 385 calories per serving, so eat up!