"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rocky Road Brownies - from Plain Chicken

Kent's sister made these brownies for Father's Day, and I have to say that these are the most amazing brownies I have ever had!  She got the recipe from Plain Chicken, a recipe blog whose author also lives in Birmingham.  She has really amazing recipes - I have several I've been wanting to try!  I will definitely be making these brownies soon!

Picture from: PlainChicken.com

Rocky Road Brownies
from Plain Chicken and 
adapted from The Fat Witch Bakery
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 1/4 cup miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour a 9x9-inch pan.

Melt the butter, unsweetened chocolate and 2 Tbsp semisweet chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently.  Remove from the heat and let cool for about 15 minutes.

Beat the sugar and eggs together until frothy.  Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until incorporated.  Measure the flour and salt and sift together directly into the batter.  Mix gently until well combined and no trace of the dry ingredients remain.

Using a spatula, spread half of the batter evenly in the prepared baking pan.  Bake for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir the butterscotch chips, pecans, marshmallows and remaining 2 Tbsp chocolate chips into the remaining half of the batter by hand.

Spread the marshmallow mixture evenly over partially baked layer.  You may have to use your hands to spread it evenly.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on rack for 1 hour.  Cut just before serving.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Grilled Lemon Chicken with Satay Dip

Just before Christmas, Kent and I were at a friend's house, and I noticed that she had The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook sitting in the kitchen.  I picked it up to look at some of the recipes and immediately knew it was a cookbook I needed - I love everything Ina Garten makes!  I was looking for a new chicken recipe a few weeks ago and was sure that this cookbook would have a good one.  I'm really excited about this one because the grilled lemon chicken recipe is a good standard recipe, but the satay dip (a thai sauce) makes it taste completely different.  I kept the chicken breasts whole with the dip on the side when I served them, but Ina suggests cutting the cooked chicken breasts into strips and putting them on skewers to make an appetizer with the dip.  If the satay dip is not your thing, the chicken works beautifully on its own or as part of another dish.

Grilled Lemon Chicken
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
3/4 cup good olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. minced fresh tyme leaves (1/2 tsp dried)
2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme.  Pour over the chicken breasts in a nonreactive bowl.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.  Cook on the grill and serve! 

Satay Dip
1 tbsp. good olive oil
1 tbsp. dark sesame oil
2/3 cup small-diced red onions
2 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
1/4 tsp. creshed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. good red wine vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (I used sunflower seed butter.)
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. dry sherry (I used a white wine that I already had open.)
1 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

Cook the olive oil, sesame oil, red onion, garlic, ginger root, and red pepper flakes in a small, heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat until the onion is transparent (10 - 15 minutes).  Whisk in the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, peanut butter, ketchup, sherry, and lime juice; cook for 1 more minute.  Use as a dip for chicken - it can be served warm or cool.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Roadfood Eating Tours

A few days ago I happened across this website called, Roadfood.com.  It's a site that allows you to look up restaurants in different states, review them, ask questions, etc.  It also allows you to look up recipes and buy merchandise.  But, my favorite part is that it features a list of eating tours across the United States, including Louisiana Cajun Country Boudin Sausage, Memphis Barbecue Loop, New England Shore Dinner, and Yankee Donut Destinations.  Their main idea is to show folks "the most memorable local eateries along the highways and back roads of America".  For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, it's probably not surprising that Kent and I plan many of our travels around making sure that we get to sample the best local foods - what can we say - we love to eat good food!  I'm hoping that we'll get to try some of the recommended restaurants from this website soon!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hush Puppies!

Kent helping with the crawfish at our SS party!

I know I haven't posted as much lately, but there has been a lot going on around here!  For instance, we've had tons of fun going to several crawfish boils this spring!  We loved going to crawfish boils when we lived in Oxford, but haven't been to many since then.  We went to one at a friend's farm in early spring, one in our neighborhood in May, and then one with our Sunday School friends last weekend - so fun!  We decided to try making a few dozen hush puppies to take with us to our recent SS crawfish boil.  They were a big hit, so I wanted to share the recipe.  These would be great with seafood all summer!

Jalapeno Hushpuppies (By Emeril Lagasse)


  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced onions
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Essence, recipe follows


Preheat the fryer to 365 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, hot sauce, onions, and jalapenos, together. Stir in the eggs and milk. Mix until fully incorporated. Fry 1 tablespoon of the batter at a time. Fry the hushpuppies for 2-3 minutes or until they are golden brown. Stirring constantly will ensure over-all browning. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper-lined plate. Season with Essence.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
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