Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread, my way

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So, apparently this recipe broke the Internet. Not by my hand, mind you. I first came across it on Smitten Kitchen, but the original is made by Alison Roman, from her book Dining In. I could totally have followed the instructions - they're easy - but as it was I decided that a shortcut was fine and I skipped the last step of eggwashing and sugaring the outside of the cookie. For the original recipe please follow the links above. This is just my way.

I really like how fast this is to make. I really appreciate when you can make the dough in advance and  keep it in the fridge - or even freezer - until you're ready to bake. And this is definitely one of those. I made my rolls a little smaller than the original I think, since I got over 40 cookies where the recipe said 24. But this is a good size. (And as the famous saying goes, if they're small you can have two!)

The cookie itself is crumbly and a little sandy, like the very best shortbread. I used a few different types of chocolate and found that to be a good way, but whatever you use make sure you really like it. The flavor of the chocolate makes a big impact.

Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread, my way
about 40 cookies

255 salted butter, directly from the fridge, in small pieces
100 g granulated sugar
50 g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
295 g all-purpose flour
170 g chocolate, mostly dark (I used about 30 g milk, and two different kinds of dark), cut into chunks
for sprinkling: sugar and flaky sea salt

Beat butter and both sugars together, I use my Kitchen-Aid for this. Add vanilla. Add flour and mix until just mixed in, and then finally the chocolate.

Shape into logs, about 5 cm in diameter, and wrap in plastic. Let them rest in the fridge for at least a few hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 175°C.

Slice the cookies onto a lined baking sheet, sprinkle with a little bit of granulated sugar and flaky sea salt if you so wish. (My six-year old was very into this)

Bake until the edges are lightly golden - about ten minutes in my oven.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Instant Pot Tomato Bulgur

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Here's a real favorite for my family. We've been making various versions of tomato bulgur for years. but when we got the Instant Pot we worked out a version to take advantage of that.

This is a versatile side dish, but one of my favorite ways to serve it is with chicken - either sweet chili chicken legs, or magically crispy chicken - a pico de gallo and a creamy cold sauce of some kind, maybe a ranch dip.

Instant Pot Tomato Bulgur
Serves 4 generously (we always have leftovers and they're very good cold in a salad)

1 small onion, finely chopped
olive oil
400 ml bulgur wheat, the coarse kind
1 tin (400 g) crushed tomatoes
400 ml water (just use the tin above)
1 tsp Vegeta (optional but gives a little extra oomph)

Set the IP to Sauté and heat the oil. Fry the onion for a few minutes, Add the bulgur wheat. Press cancel, and add tomatoes, water and vegeta (if using).

Place the IP on high pressure for 12 minutes (I use the rice setting) and then do an instant release. Season with salt and pepper as you see fit.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Baked Polenta Fries


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Dante, my 6-year old, likes to look in cookbooks. He'll frequently use post-its to mark recipes he wants us to try, and recently he picked a recipe for Polenta Fries. It was a fairly complicated one that included deep frying and as delicious as that probably is, I just wasn't up to it.  So I decided to use a simpler method, and it turned out really well. Dante and I loved it. (The older kid - not so much.) 

You have to plan ahead a little bit here, as the polenta needs to cool down. 

Baked Polenta Fries
375 ml polenta (I use a quick version) 
125 ml milk 
250 ml water
1/2 tsp Vegeta (this is an all-round spice/flavor enhancer that you can totally leave out, I just happen to like it) 
1 tbsp butter
large handful grated parmesan
cooking oil 

Bring water and milk to a boil. Add polenta and vegeta if using. Stirring all the time, cook until thickened. it will go fast - just a few minutes - and it will be a little dangerous because of a tendency to sputter so be careful and don't let the kids do this. 

Remove from heat, and stir in butter and parmesan. 

Pour onto an oiled cookie sheet (or a smaller baking pan if you wish a thicker polenta). Shape a little, so it's roughly a thick rectangle. Cool completely, ideally for a few hours on the fridge. 

When ready to cook, heat the oven to about 200°C. 

Cut the polenta into fry-shaped rectangles. Oil them on all sides and place on a lined baking sheet. Cook for about ten minutes on the first side, flip and then for maybe five more minutes. Your goal is to get them slightly golden brown, but don't over do it because they will burn easily. 

Eat straight away. The unbaked polenta keeps well in the fridge for several days but the baked ones are best freshly cooked. 

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Eggless pancakes

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So. One of the kids needed to be egg-free for a while. Swedish pancakes are a necessity though so we had to figure out how to make a good version. These are just as good as "regular pancakes", but can be a little harder to flip. I'm sorry - no great pic - but the recipe is worth saving.

Eggless pancakes
serves 2-3

200 ml flour
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
3 tbsp oil
375 ml milk

Stir together all the dry ingredients, add oil and milk. Fry in butter until starting to turn golden at the edges, flip and cook through.


Friday, February 08, 2019

Instant Pot Taco Soup

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I made this super simple taco soup with the kids. There's barely any work to it at all. I browned my meat separately but will not do that next time - I use a fairly lean meat so I might as well do it all the Instant Pot since it's so much easier. (But if you have a fattier meat you might want to strain off some of the fat.)

Feel free to add beans, chickpeas, whatever stuff you'd like - but my kids don't like it, won't eat it and thus we made this bare bones. For toppings, the kids used cheese and tortilla chips, but sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado are also good options.

Instant Pot Taco Soup
serves 4-6

cooking oil
500 g minced beef
1 chopped onion
taco spice mix - you can use a ready-made one, or just add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, a little chili, cayenne, cumin and coriander.
1 small can (about 200 g) corn
1 can - 400 g - crushed tomatoes
water - use your judgement to get this as soupy as you want. I used about 600 ml.

Put your IP on the sauté setting and add a little cooking oil. Brown the minced meet. Add the onion and fry for a few minutes. Press cancel.

Add the taco spice, corn, tomatoes and water. Seal and turn your IP to high pressure for 15 minutes. Do a manual release of the steam, and turn off the Instant Pot.