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Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


Something is horribly wrong with my internet connection.  I’m loading and reloading web pages, checking and rechecking my email on the treacherous MS Outlook, starting and restarting my router…and yet still, the connection remains tenuous, sporadic, wonky.  I sigh noisily in frustration.  How can I work??  How can I do anything??

Being almost fully dependent on the internet for my job, and being likewise dependent on it for my hobby (this blog), leaves me, as you can imagine, in quite the frazzled state when my ISP decides to toy with me.  I can neither work nor play.  As I sit here and write this though, offline, I scratch my head and think…when did I, when did we all, get so dependent on technology?  I am part of that generation that straddled the time before the internet, and the time after.  I used a typewriter during university to write my papers (no delete, no editing, no copy/paste, and no spell check).  If I wanted to call my parents from school I used a payphone.  Planning jaunts with friends was based on your word of honor, there was no possibility of “texting” to say you couldn’t make it or were running late.  I can still remember those times so clearly, cast in the golden glow of a bygone era.

I also remember clearly, the moment the internet arrived.  We had dial-up (Oh that strange dial-up screech!) and I thought it was the cat's meow.  There were prehistoric chat rooms, all monochrome and basic, with none of the Technicolor bells and whistles social media has today.  There was my brother and I, jockeying for turns to “connect”.  I remember my first mobile phone…huge, unwieldy thing.  I remember the thrill of communicating through SMS.  After that, in what seemed to be a blink of an eye, although it’s really been decades, this new way to connect and communicate gained such size and speed and fantastical proportions that now many cannot imagine the world before it.

And as I sit here anxiously checking if the connection is up and running, I take a step back, a deep breath, and a little reality check.  There’s a reason it’s called “virtual”.  A lot of the times, best kinds of connections and the real and old fashioned ones.  A hug, a kiss, eye contact, a hand on an arm in emphasis, or one on the back for guidance and protection while crossing the street, your baby’s little hand grasping your finger with surprising strength, your dog’s warm body beside you in bed, a sonnet read aloud, happy tears, the way your mom smells.

Baking cookies for your child’s last day of school.

 Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted very slightly from the Ambitious Kitchen)

    2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
    1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup unsalted butter
    1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
    1/4 cup white sugar
    1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
    2 cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
    1 jar of Nutella, chilled in the refrigerator
    Coarse sea salt for sprinkling


- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a skillet until browned (not burned!), with a warm nutty aroma. You can find a fantastic tutorial on browning butter over at Simply Recipes. Set aside to cool a bit.
- Mix the butter and sugars in an electric mixer until thoroughly blended (give it a sniff…this mixture smells awesome, like all your candy dreams come true!).  Beat in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined.  To this, slowly add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Place the cookie dough in the refrigerator overnight (which I now try to do with all my chocolate chip cookie dough since this), or at least for 2 hours (to chill enough so you can form the dough).
- Once the dough is chilled measure about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball.  Flatten the dough very thinly into the palm of your hand.  Place 1 teaspoon of the chilled Nutella in the middle and wrap the dough around it.  Gently roll the ball and make sure that the Nutella is not seeping out anywhere.  Use little bits of dough to patch up any holes.
- Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet (I don’t feel the need to flatten the dough anymore as per the original recipe).  Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for 9-11 minutes or until the edges of the cookie begin to turn golden brown.  They will look a bit underdone in the middle but that’s ok, they will continue to cook out of the oven.
- Cool the cookie on the pans for about 2 minutes then sprinkle with a little se salt.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies were a resounding success with little C’s classmates and teachers.  I didn’t put any sea salt on the batch I sent to school with her but I did try some with and it is toe-curling good.  Really.  The cookie itself resonates with that nutty burnt caramel flavor you get from brown butter and the chewy, Nutella-seeping center can cure a myriad of ills.  This is now tied in first place for my favorite along with THIS one.  Like will most of the cookies I make, I only bake what I will use and freeze the rest of the dough, either in logs, or in the case of these Nutella-stuffed ones, in balls.  I can think of no greater comfort that knowing you have frozen cookie dough in your freezer, for, you know, “emergencies”.

Albeit I don’t get to do it that often, what with work and life and all that jazz, I love this act of making something for my child to bring to school and share with her friends.  Just the very old-fashioned, home-and-hearth-ness of it makes me feel I am giving her something good and solid (despite the fact that what I am really giving her is chocolate and sweets!).  It also, I fervently hope, makes up for the fact that I will most likely never teach her to finger-paint or do origami.


Don’t be misled though, I am in no way of the camp that decries the internet as “evil”.  I love the internet!  Which should be obvious as sit here and post on my blog…an activity that would be impossible without the internet and has, for me, lost none of its charm.  I love how it has given me another way to reach out, interact, and connect with people I would have otherwise never had the chance to.  It can truly be a wonderful tool.  But it is only one of many.  And even with the frustration of dealing with an iffy connection when you are trying to get work done, I am happy to be reminded of that.
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Salted Caramel Ice Cream


It might seem odd to describe something cold—ice cream—as sultry, but there is no denying genuine come-hither appeal. Based on a traditional candy from Brittany (and a favorite flavor pairing among French and American chefs), the combination of salty and sweet exerts an almost primordial pull, and cream, milk, and eggs provide lush, luxurious texture Elevit
.
Ingredients

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt such as Maldon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs

Equipment: an ice cream maker

Preparation

Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling skillet occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amberRubber Flooring Hong Kong.

Add 1 1/4 cups cream (mixture will spatter) and cook, stirring, until all of caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining cup cream, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar just to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally.

Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl, then add half of hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil). Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, then stir in cooled caramel company registration hong kong.

Chill custard, stirring occasionally, until very cold, 3 to 6 hours. Freeze custard in ice cream maker (it will still be quite soft), then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to firm up.

Cooks' note: Ice cream keeps 1 week.

Healthy Homemade Lunches


Toss the takeout and make your own power lunch with easy recipes and nutritionist tips
by Megan O. Steintrager

Doable Challenges: Lunch

A re you trying to increase energy to get through your workday (or workout), lose weight, or generally improve your diet? Eating lunch—one that's healthy and delicious—is as important as having a wholesome breakfast. "No skipping lunch!" emphasizes Tina Ruggiero, M.S., R.D., author of The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook: Mega-Nutritious Meals That Are Inspired headphone stand, Delicious and Fad-Free. It's one of your three main opportunities during the day to not only satisfy your appetite but also get crucial nutrients into your body for overall well-being.

In fact, rather than grabbing a hasty take-out lunch or mindlessly munching away on snacks because "there's no time to eat," the best way to eat better at lunchtime—or at any other meal, for that matter—is to make your own food. Doing so empowers you to make healthier choices, since you control the ingredients and portion sizes. And Ruggiero points out that even if you end up having to eat at your desk EGF, as she does four days a week, "having packed a healthy lunch gives you peace of mind" that you're taking care of yourself, no matter how tight your schedule.

Think you don't have time to make a healthy homemade lunch? Think again. The recipes and tips gathered here can help make a healthier lunch easier and quicker to prepare. Take Ruggiero's advice and then challenge yourself to create a healthy lunch every day—including weekends—for the next month. Soon, "you'll be in the groove of planning ahead and asking yourself what you can pack the night before," she notes. And chances are, the habit will stick. That is, as long as you're following another of Ruggiero's principles: Make lunches that are not just nutritious but delicious—and even exciting. "A healthy lunch is one you want to eat," she affirms reenex.

    Shop Smartly

"If you don't have junk, you can't eat it," proclaims Ruggiero. It's a simple concept that requires some self-discipline. Next time you stock up at the supermarket, instead of reflexively filling the cart with the same old standbys, she suggests shopping for lunch foods in much the same way as you would scour the racks for a great deal on clothes: Scout around and be selective. Take time to explore the inner aisles of the grocery store, where you'll find healthy pantry items such as tahini paste, ancient grains, pastas, dried beans and lentils, and new types of bread and bread stand-ins to try, such as pumpernickel, grainy rolls, naan, flatbreads, and whole-wheat tortillas.

Above all, be adventurous, and "try things you wouldn't ordinarily go for," Ruggiero advises. For example, canned tuna—"the unsung hero of the pantry"— is often on shopping lists since "it's cheap, it lasts a long time, and it's extraordinarily healthy, especially for the brain and vision." But don't stop there: Check out the other canned and cured fish, such as sardines, kippers, mackerel, salmon, and trout. Two of her sandwich recipes, Kippers and Bits (canned kippers or sardines) and Scandalous Scandinavian (smoked salmon and hard-boiled eggs), take advantage of these highly nutritious—and inexpensive—sources of protein. And when you do head to the outer aisles, stock up on hardier flavor-boosters such as chiles and lemons in addition to other fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

    Say "Yes" to Fats, Proteins, and Carbs

"You don't need to exclude foods to have a healthy meal," stresses Ruggiero. If you shortchange yourself by eating a skimpy lunch that doesn't fill you up, you'll most likely overdo it on snacks throughout the rest of the day. Instead, plan a lunch that will satisfy you and include all the macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and, perhaps most important, fat. Here's how to plan a balanced lunch:

    Put protein on the menu. Lean meats, soy, fish, beans, nuts, or low-fat dairy are excellent sources of protein. Not only does protein help preserve muscles and provide a sense of satiety, but it's also "critical for functions you don't think about, such as making hormones and enzymes, repairing tissue, and keeping immunity strong."

    Don't demonize carbs. They're not all bad; you just want to focus on the ones that are most beneficial. "Simple carbohydrates require little or no digestion," Ruggiero explains. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates— which can be found in unprocessed (or minimally processed) foods such as whole grains, beans and other legumes, and vegetables—have fiber and other beneficial nutrients, notes Ruggiero. So before you get rid of some pantry staples, think again: Ruggiero herself eats pasta several times a week, loves rice, and uses potatoes and bread to make New Delhi Belly, a stuffed naan sandwich. "Complex carbohydrates are used by every cell in the body and they're especially important to the brain, muscles, and central nervous system," she asserts. "Consumed for lunch, this macronutrient helps provide lasting energy reenex, keeps you alert, and—if you go to the gym in the early evenings—keeps you primed for a productive workout."

    Embrace fats. Ruggiero reminds us that "fat keeps you full." It also helps your body absorb certain nutrients, including vitamins D, E, and K. And as she points out, recent research suggests "good fats" can help protect us from free-radical damage, heart disease, and some cancers. Healthy-fat sources include olive and nut oils, canola- or olive oil–based mayonnaise, nuts, avocados, and oily fish.


    Don't Forget Fruits and Vegetables

Remember that a truly healthy lunch should also help you hit some of your recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. "Phytonutrients [plant compounds that include flavonoids and carotenoids], such as those found in fruit and vegetables, have powerful health-promoting abilities that we're just beginning to discover, so including fruits and vegetables at lunch—at every meal, really—can only be beneficial," says Ruggiero. So go ahead and add extra greens or sliced vegetables to your sandwich, mix an extra portion of cooked veggies into your pasta, or finish your meal with a piece of fruit mathconcept.



    Upgrade Your Sandwiches

Easy to assemble and transport, sandwiches are also easy to change up and make more nutritious. According to Ruggiero, "look at your favorite sandwiches and ask 'how can I make this healthier?'" When making over a sandwich, she likes to add crunchy or chewy textures (chopped nuts, raisins, arugula, dense breads), which make for a more satisfying eating experience. Introducing bright aromas and flavors (lemon zest, capers, and herbs) is a "simple, effortless"—and relatively inexpensive—way to perk up a sandwich without adding fat or many calories.

Ruggiero revisits the chicken salad sandwich in her Extreme Makeover Chicken Salad Sammy, making the old standard healthier by swapping out mayo in favor of Greek-style yogurt, which has more protein and less saturated fat. Texture, taste, and the healthy quotient are helped by adding grapes (sneaking a serving of fruit into your sandwich), dill and scallions (giving you an herbaceous antioxidant boost), arugula and radishes (upping your vegetable intake), walnuts (for a dose of healthy fats and protein), and multigrain bread (which has a fiber and nutrient edge over white bread). The same can be said about Ruggiero's mayo-less Tuna Tune-Up, which is bursting with flavors thanks to tapenade, roasted fennel, and mesclun.


    Get Serious About Salads

Does the idea of leaves for lunch leave you limp? Ruggiero can relate. Add some grains, healthy fats, and a nutritious source of protein, as in Siesta Special, Ruggiero's rice, avocado, tomato, and black bean salad. She favors hearty greens like kale and arugula, and loves to build salads around satisfying whole grains like quinoa, bulgur, and barley, and different types of rice (jasmine, basmati, black). "You want complex carbs," she explains. "Half a cup of rice in your salad is not going to make you obese." Beans, canned fish, nuts, and seeds are all easy-to-add sources of protein. And don't even think about using fat-free salad dressing! Make your own salad dressing by using olive oil, nut oils, or buttermilk, all of which give you a bit of satisfying fat and will help your body absorb all the nutrients from your vegetables.


    Plan Ahead and Utilize Leftovers

Healthy dinner leftovers—roast chicken, grilled pork loin, steamed vegetables, cooked beans and grains, and pasta—can handily be transformed into a healthy lunch. "I love having leftovers for lunch!" Ruggiero exclaims. "It's a complete meal and it's economical." Got leftover grilled salmon? Take a cue from Ruggiero, who mashes it with Greek-style yogurt and capers and then spreads it onto bread with some sliced onions. Or make a big batch of lentils or beans over the weekend to use throughout the week for salads.

Side dishes such as Red Quinoa with Pistachios as well as breakfast items like smoked salmon or frittata—use the latter to make Zucchini Tomato Frittata Sandwiches—can double up as tomorrow's lunch, too. Or simply make a double batch of a healthy dinner, such as pasta with lots of veggies that you can eat at room temperature or a chili you can reheat in the microwave.


    Eat What You Love

Bottom line, says Ruggiero, "don't eat something just because you feel it's healthy for you"—whether for lunch or any other meal. For her, that means sometimes lunching on chicken thighs instead of a boneless, skinless breast, or passing up a plain turkey sandwich in favor of something more exciting like Crazy Cantina Chili or BLT with Avocado Spread. Ruggiero's ultimate goal is to make eating nutritious meals "a source of joy, pleasure, and satisfaction" for all. That's a challenge that's not just doable, but also palatable, over the long haul.

American Wine & The Art of the Restaurateur


Did you know that there are more than 7,000 wineries in the US? Clearly American wine deserves its own book. While American wine has been covered before, I'm not sure it has ever been covered quite so comprehensively as it is in American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States. The book is good for helping to sort through the American viticultural areas (AVA's) and works for wine drinkers, armchair travelers as well as those looking to actually venture into the places in the United States where wine is being produced lace wigs uk.

For each region you get history, culture, a bit about the geography and a sense of who the major players are, and some great profiles of winemakers. There are maps and wine labels and glossy photos and the writing is straightforward and not too fussy, as you would expect from two preeminent wine writers, Jancis Robinson of the UK and Linda Murphy the former wine section editor at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Make no mistake, this is a coffee table book, but also a very useful guide for wine lovers. I can see it will be my go-to book when trying to familiarize myself with different American wine regions.

Jancis Robinson will be in the Bay Area this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

You can meet Jancis Robinson and Linda Murphy for a wine and cheese reception at Raymond Vineyards in Napa on Sunday Gemstone jewelry, March 17, tickets are free of charge.

Attend a Commonwealth Club program with Robinson and Murphy, hosted by Leslie Sbrocco on Monday March 18, ticket prices vary depending upon which reception you attend.

Have your book signed by Jancis Robinson at Zuni Cafe later that evening from 8 - 10 pm and get a chance to meet Nicholas Lander, author of The Art of the Restaurateur. Lander's book will also be available. It features profiles of prominent restaurateurs the world over, and is definitely an "inside baseball" or perhaps inside restaurant book.

While we often hear from chefs, few restaurateurs are in the limelight, sharing their stories and secrets. This book is a bit erudite, especially since the author himself was once a successful restaurateur, but should be required reading for anyone even thinking about getting into the restaurant business. Space is limited, and RSVP is required.


Lunch with Robinson and Murphy on Tuesday March 19 at Quince Restaurant. Tickets include a three course lunch and signed book hong kong work visa.

Endive Salad with Prosciutto Recipe


Growing up I ate a green salad pretty much every night with dinner. In Italy, we did the same, though it was served at the end of the meal . These days, I find it hard to convince my other half to eat salad. My solution is to make main dish salads. This one uses Belgian endive and is easy to make for one or a group. It has many delicious things added to a base of endive and fennel, namely candied walnuts, fresh mozzarella and prosciutto Tape replacement.

Endive and fennel just seem to have a natural affinity for one another. Both are crisp, but fennel has a chewier  texture and a sweetness, while endive is lighter and juicier and has a slightly bitter edge. You could use them to make a simple side salad but this one has lots of goodies to make it a main dish. Use a Champagne vinaigrette or a Dijon mustard vinaigrette to dress it. Or even just lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil Vitamin.

One of the tricks to this salad is that one thin slice of prosciutto pulled into shreds adds loads of flavor. If you have jamon de Bellota, by all means use it. That's what I originally used in this salad. Just be sure to add it at the very last minute. Make extra candied walnuts, they are terrific for snacking.

Endive Salad with Prosciutto
One serving

1 Belgian endive, sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh fennel
1/4 cup diced fresh mozzarella
1 slice prosciutto, shredded into about 5 thin strips
2 Tablespoons walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Pinch salt
Vinaigrette

Make the candied walnuts by very gently heating the walnuts, sugar and salt in a non-stick skillet until the sugar melts and the walnuts toast facial treatment./ Swirl the pan so the sugar sticks to the nuts. Set aside and let cool while assembling the salad.

In a salad bowl toss the endive and fennel with a couple tablespoons of dressing. Place the salad on a plate and top with the mozzarella culturelle kids, walnuts and the prosciutto.

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