Monday, December 22, 2008

Chili Blanco

It's currently -3 degrees in St. Paul. I think the wind chill is somewhere around -20. Yesterday was worse. That means it's time to bring out the chili. I really love white chili with chicken, but had never made it before. I was a little afraid of trying it, but after searching a bunch of recipes, I decided to give it a shot.

If you like white chili, you must make this recipe now. It's rich, hearty, spicy, and just what you need on a really cold day.

White Chili with Chicken
Recipe from Gourmet, via Epicurious, adapted
Serves 4-6
Cook & Prep Time - about 30 min

1 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
two 4-ounce cans whole mild green chilies, drained and chopped
2 lbs shredded rotisserie chicken (I used a mix of dark & white meat)
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup sour cream

In a skillet cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat until softened. (I did this in my dutch oven).

In a 6- to 8-quart heavy kettle melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. (I did this in my dutch oven, too). Cook roux, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Stir in onion and gradually add broth and half-and-half, whisking constantly. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened.

Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt, and white pepper. Add beans, chilies, chicken, and Monterey Jack and cook mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, 20 minutes. Stir sour cream into chili.

Transfer to serving bowls and garnish as desired.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sugar Cookies

I'm back! No, I actually haven't fallen off the planet. I've been busy making Christmas goodies over the past few days, and today, I made sugar cookies. I don't know anybody who doesn't like basic, frosted sugar cookies. I hope you like these - we sure do. :)

Sugar Cookies
Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

Yields: 3 dozen cookies

2/3 cup butter, softened (this is about 12 1/2 TBSP)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sugar
icing, recipe follows

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla. Then, beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer and stir in the rest by hand. Form the dough into a ball cover, and chill for 30 minutes or until the dough is easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until about 1/8 inch thick. With cookie cutters, cut the dough into desired shapes. Place about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the edges are firm and the bottoms are barely light brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Frost with icing, if desired.

2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 TBSP milk

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Add additional milk, 1 TBSP at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Annie at Well, that would be telling tagged me. Actually, she tagged me a while ago, but I'm just now responding to my tag. Sorry, Annie. ;)

Here are the rules:

So, I have to tell you 7 secrets or weird facts about myself. Let's see what I can come up with.

1. I am an only child, and I never had any desire for any siblings. Seriously. I can't recall a single time where I ever thought to myself that I wanted a brother or sister.

2. I was an All-State Band clarinetist in high school. Then, in college, I dropped the clarinet and majored in vocal performance. I later resurrected the clarinet my junior year and joined the orchestra.

3. I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with my cats. I did not really like cats when I met my husband, and the cats sort of came with him. Now I can't imagine my life without them. In fact, I'm laughing at them as I write this.

4. Mountain Dew Cake and Brunch Burger indiscretions aside, I love Paula Deen. I think she's adorable, and I wish I was related to her so I could go to her house and have her cook for me. I completely understand the objections to her, but I prefer to think that those with the objections have never actually tried one of her recipes. They're delicious. I think it's all the butter. ;)

5. I do not like fish of any kind.

6. My not-so-secret dream is to operate a cat sanctuary. Yes, I'm aware that probably does make me a crazy cat lady.

7. I love bavarian cream doughnuts. I know they're really bad for me, but they're just so tasty that I don't care.

Now, I have to tag some people. Some of you may not know me... so, for those of you who are wondering who tagged you - hello. I love your blog. I'm sure I have several of your recipes bookmarked right now.

1. Charlie at Comrus
2. Carrie at Carrie's Sweet Life
3. Joelen at Joelen's Culinary Adventures
4. Danielle at Run With Spatulas
5. Amy at Sing for your Supper
6. Michele at My Italian Grandmother
7. Monica at Fickle Foodie

Monday, December 1, 2008

Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce

I know I've mentioned in this blog before that I think there are certain things everyone should know how to make, regardless of his or her own cooking skills. A basic cream sauce is one of those things. You can use it for so many things - Alfredo sauce, mac & cheese, a cheesy sauce for scalloped potatoes, or you can even eat it plain. One of my favorite ways to use a basic cream sauce is to make it into a roasted garlic cream sauce. Which is nice, because I also happen to love roasting garlic. You can turn any cream sauce into a roasted garlic cream sauce, but I recommend using the recipe below. So let's do it, alright?

Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
Serves 3-4

Prep & Cook Time - about an hour

1 head garlic, roasted (instructions to follow)
Olive oil
1 cup cream or half & half
2 TBSP milk
1-3 TBSP butter
1 clove garlic, minced
dash salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes, optional
Pasta (I like Fetuccini)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (I recommend using a toaster oven. It's super easy and uses a lot less energy than a regular oven).

Cut the garlic head in half (you should have a top and bottom half, not a left and right side). Place each half on a sheet of tin foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let sit about 5 minutes, and then open the tin foil to let the garlic cool.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente. Drain & set aside.

In a medium skillet, combine cream, milk, butter, minced garlic, and salt & pepper. Thicken by whisking in about 2 tsp flour, if necessary. Bring to just boiling. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese and whisk till smooth. If sauce is too thin, add some stock (chicken or veggie) or some more milk.

Now, squeeze the garlic out of the paper-y skin. The bottom half should take a bit more work than the top. They should just sort of fall out of the top with just a little squeeze from the top. You might have to dig a little on the bottom. Mash with a metal potato masher or the back of a fork. Add to the cream sauce and whisk together. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

Serve over pasta. Sprinkle with more red pepper flakes, to taste.