Wednesday, June 24

Poll: Animal, Vegetable, or . . . ?

Animal, Vegetable, or . . .
After reading a recent article about Americans decreasing their meat consumption in response to the current pathetic economy, we wanted to ask all of you about your own carnivorous tendencies!

Animal, Vegetable, or . . .
Has the recession inspired any change in your meat-eating habits?

Animal, Vegetable, or . . .
Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump

Sunday, June 21

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 4 dozen
Total Cost: NY $4.42
Cost per cookie: NY $0.09

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
As you’ve probably heard by now, Nestle has recalled all of its refrigerated cookie dough products, including Toll House. And. . . all this talk of chocolate chip cookie dough has made me crave cookies. Because yes, I am weird like that. So, no time like the present to make our own cookie dough!*

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe includes a neat trick that the LBUH picked up from a college roommate about how to keep your cookies chewy. Another great thing about this recipe is that it lets you satisfy your cravings for fresh chocolate cookies both now, and later. We always make a baking sheet (or two if we’re being honest . . . .) immediately, and store the rest of the batter in the freezer for later on in the week.** Later, just put frozen chunks of cookie dough on a baking sheet, and increase the first cooking time slightly.

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature (NY $1.50)
  • ¾ cup white sugar (NY $0.26)
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar (NY $0.35)
  • 2 eggs (NY $0.33)
  • 1 tbsp milk (staple)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (staple)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (staple)
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (NY $0.49)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (staple)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (staple)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (NY $1.49)

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 375 degress. Using an electric mixer or by hand if you prefer, cream together the butter and the sugars. Add eggs one at a time along with the milk and the almond and vanilla extracts and beat until well-blended. (If doing this by hand, whisk the eggs just to blend in a separate bowl before incorporating into the butter mixture.)

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. When thoroughly mixed, slowly stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Once combined, stir in the chocolate chips.

Place teaspoon-sized drops of cookie dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, and bake. After the cookies have been baking for about 5-7 minutes, remove the tray, and quickly slap the tray down on your counter. This should cause the bubbly cookies to quickly deflate and flatten. This is a good thing! Deflating the cookies helps them stay chewy after they have cooled.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Place the tray back in the oven and bake until the cookies are beginning to brown, approx. another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until they start to harden slightly (approx. 2-5 minutes), and then transfer cookies to a baking rack to finish cooling.

* So, you may be wondering, what’s the “healthy” angle on this recipe? Ummm, not loaded down with E. Coli? That’s sounds healthy to us! Not good enough? Then we’re going to have to go with “all things in moderation”.

**Or later in the month or season if you, unlike us, possess some of that “willpower” stuff they’re always babbling about.

*** Our oven unfortunately has a draft, alas, so it usually takes longer.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Nutritional Facts
Amount Per Cookie
Calories 108.5Vitamin A 2.9 %Iron 3.1 %
Total Fat 5.7 gVitamin B-12 0.5 %Magnesium 2.5 %
Cholesterol 17.8 mgVitamin B-6 0.4 %Manganese 5.0 %
Sodium 74.1 mgVitamin C 0.0 %Niacin 1.8 %
Potassium 44.8 mgVitamin D 0.3 %Phosphorus 2.0 %
Total Carbohydrate 14.2 gVitamin E 0.8 %Riboflavin 2.7 %
Fiber 0.5 gCalcium 0.8 %Selenium 4.0 %
Sugars 6.5 gCopper 3.2 %Thiamin 3.2 %
Protein 1.1 gFolate 2.8 %Zinc 1.2 %

Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump

Thursday, June 18

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad

Makes about 8 servings
Total price: NY $7.01/NY $ 7.60
Price per serving: NY $0.87/NY $0.95

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad
Now that its summertime, we’re all about the picnics in the park. Grab a couple of blankets, some snacks, a good book, a ball and the doggie and loll about in the sun for a lazy afternoon. It’s a terrific way to while away a summer day, even if you’re not watching your pennies. This recipe is one of my favorites for a picnic. The lemon is bright and zingy, the beans are creamy, the asparagus is crisp and bursting with freshness this time of year, the croutons crunchy and garlicky, and a little parmesan adds some dimension and salty snap. Its also unusual and not the same tired salad you end up seeing on every picnic table and at every barbecue. Make this one quick, as asparagus season is drawing to a close!

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad
  • 1 bunch asparagus (NY $1.99)
  • 5 tbsps olive oil (staple)
  • Zest of one lemon (NY $0.25)
  • Juice of one lemon (same lemon as above)
  • Salt (staple)
  • Pepper (staple)
  • 2 15 oz. cans cannellini bean (NY $1.90)
  • One large roll (NY $0.50)
  • ¼ lb. piece of parmesan (NY $1.98)
  • ¼ cup parsley (staple or NY $0.59 for one bunch)
  • 2 cloves garlic (NY $0.39 for one head)
Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad

Trim off the ends of the asparagus by feeling along the stalk until you find the spot where the woody root end gives way to the springy stalk. Snap off the ends.* Slice the asparagus on the diagonal into cuts about half an inch long.

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad
Cube the roll. In a skillet, heat 2 tbsps olive oil over medium low. Peel the garlic cloves and add to skillet. Heat until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic cloves and reserve. Add the bread cubes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove from heat.

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad
Bring remaining 3 tbsps olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, a few dashes salt and several grinds pepper to a simmer in a large saucepan. Stir in beans and asparagus and let stand. Mince the reserved garlic and grate the parmesan and combine both with asparagus mixture. Store salad and croutons separately until ready to serve, then toss to combine.

Adapted from Gourmet, April 2006

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad
* Don’t discard the ends, but save for stock!

Amount per Serving
Calories 230.3Sugars 0.3 gFolate 12.5 %
Total Fat 13.1 gProtein 11.4 gIron 9.4 %
Fat 3.9 gVitamin A 8.7 %Magnesium 4.0 %
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 gVitamin B-12 3.3 %Manganese 6.5 %
Monounsaturated Fat 7.5 gVitamin B-6 3.5 %Niacin 3.7 %
Cholesterol 11.2 mgVitamin C 15.7 %Phosphorus 14.1 %
Sodium 434.5 mgVitamin D 0.0 %Riboflavin 7.1 %
Potassium 125.4 mgVitamin E 9.1 %Selenium 10.4 %
Total Carbohydrate 17.0 gCalcium 26.2 %Thiamin 5.8 %
Fiber 5.9 gCopper 3.8 % Zinc 4.6 %

Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump

Saturday, June 13

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad

Makes 12 servings
Total price: NY $15.66
Price per serving: NY $1.30

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
This pasta salad is amazing. Before you snort skeptically and hit your back button in disdain, I should emphasize that I fully realize that a pasta salad is not one of those dishes you would normally think capable of being “amazing”. Double chocolate, seafood trio, quattro formaggio, these are the kinds of words that spring to mind when one thinks of recipes that “amaze”. But, hand to heart, this one does too. I once brought this to a rooftop barbecue and nearly had to arm wrestle some late-lingering guests to get my Tupperware back. I wasn’t allowed to depart until after we’d scrounged up the last clean plate in the apartment to dump the remaining pasta salad out onto. As I exited in a snit, tightly clutching my storage container to my chest, I could hear them behind me, digging in with drunken gusto. Yes, to a pasta salad.*

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
This recipe makes enough to feed a small army. Its best slightly cool, not cold. You’ll want to make this not too much in advance: its best freshly made and cooled in the fridge for a bit or eaten within a few hours of preparation.

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts (NY $4.42) **
  • 1 lemon (NY $0..25)
  • 1 pound penne (NY $0.66)***
  • 1 red pepper (NY $1.75)
  • 1 green pepper (NY $0.87)
  • 3 cups celery (NY $1.39 for a bunch)
  • 1 red onion (NY $0.54)
  • 1 ¼ cups Kalamata Olives (NY $4.49)
  • ¼ cup fresh dill (NY $1.29 for one bunch)
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar (staple)
  • 2 tbsps mayonnaise (staple)
  • 2 tbsps Dijon mustard (staple)
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil (staple)
  • Salt (staple)
  • Pepper (staple)

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
Cook the penne in boiling, salted water until al dente. Strain into a colander and refresh the pasta under cold water.

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
Meanwhile, heat a grill pan on a burner, and brush the chicken with approx. 1 tbsp olive oil. Grill the chicken breasts for about 8 minutes, then use tongs to flip over. Continue grilling on the reverse side for about another 6-8 minutes, until cooked through but still moist. Remove from heat and transfer to a shallow dish. Pour the lemon juice over, and allow the chicken to cool.

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
While the chicken and pasta are cooking, chop the peppers , onion, olives and dill, thinly slice the celery, and combine in a large**** bowl. Toss together with the cooked pasta. Remove the chicken from the dish, making sure to reserve the juices. Slice the chicken thinly, and add the slices to the penne mixture.

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
In a small bowl, combine the reserved chicken and lemon juices with the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, a few grinds of black pepper and a few dashes salt, to taste. Whisk well, them stream in the olive oil as you continue whisking. Pour the dressing over the penne mixture and toss well. (Go ahead and lean over the bowl and smell the fragrant dill, the bright lemon . . . . ) Check seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
Adapted from Gourmet, June 1990

*Hmm, OK, now I’m a little worried I’m ratcheting your expectations up a wee bit *too* high. OK, maybe this can’t compete with, say, a seared filet mignon with caramelized shallots and red wine reduction, BUT it is the best darn pasta salad I’ve ever had. And this is the internet. I can’t just stand next to you modestly and say with eyes downcast “Oh, this is just a little something I threw together”, while slipping a little on to your plate. If you’re ever to taste this, I have to be convincing enough to get you off the couch, out to the store, shelling out some cash on the groceries, then heading back home for some time in the kitchen . . . So! Most amazing pasta salad ever! Now, grab your keys, switch off the Desperate Housewives of Wherever, and off you go!

** If you feel like spending a bit more, this is excellent with more chicken.

*** Hooray for sales on dried pasta!

****Really, you’re probably going to want to drag out your most humongous bowl for this. I at first got out my only moderately monstrous dish, and found myself looking down into it apprehensively half way through: “Uh-oh, I think I’m going to need a bigger bowl . . . “ And I did.

Grilled and Dilled Chicken Veggie Pasta Salad
Nutritional Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 308.7Vitamin A 12.9 %Iron 8.5 %
Total Fat 16.0 gVitamin B-12 0.5 %Magnesium 2.3 %
Cholesterol 4.1 mgVitamin B-6 5.8 %Manganese 3.9 %
Sodium 583.4 mgVitamin C 49.7 %Niacin 4.3 %
Potassium 157.9 mgVitamin D 0.0 %Phosphorus 2.7 %
Total Carbohydrate 35.7 gVitamin E 5.4 %Riboflavin 1.6 %
Fiber 2.3 gCalcium 1.7 %Selenium 2.1 %
Sugars 1.3 gCopper 1.7 %Thiamin 2.3 %
Protein 6.6 gFolate 3.7 %Zinc 0.9 %

Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump

Monday, June 8

Lemon Squares

Makes 24 squares
Total price: NY $2.02
Price per square: NY $0.08

Lemon Squares
I’ll be honest: I didn’t love these and didn’t at first think them blog-worthy. When I mentioned to our guests that I wasn’t thrilled with these and apologized,* though, they all told me I was wrong and that they were delicious. Well, sure, duh, of course they would because our friends were not raised by wolves. I wasn’t fooled.

Lemon Squares
But then they all went back for seconds, then thirds and then the next thing I knew the plate was empty. Now, the LBUH and our friends are polite, but they’re not that polite. The LBUH in particular is certainly not clear-the-plate polite if he’s not loving something, he’s more of the thank-you-for-your- efforts-and-scrape-the-plate-into-the-dog’s-dish-while-you’re-not-looking kind of polite. So I let the empty plate convince me: these may not be to my own taste**, but they’re a crowd-pleaser. Indeed, one of our friends even whipped out his fancy professional camera and took some pictures of his own in an effort to convince me to post about these. How could I let his pics*** go to waste?

Lemon Squares

  • 1 stick butter (NY $0.75)
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar (NY $0.43)
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (NY $0.12)
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour (NY $0.14)
  • 2 eggs (NY $0.33)
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested (NY $0.25)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (staple)
  • Confectioner’s sugar (staple)
Lemon Squares
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease an 8 inch square baking dish. Cream the butter with ¼ cup of sugar, and stir in ½ cup of the all purpose flour and the whole wheat pastry flour. Press the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for 15 minutes. (It won’t look cooked at this point, but that’s OK! Its going back into the oven a little later.) Allow partially baked crust to cool slightly as you prepare the filling.

Lemon Squares
Beat together the eggs, lemon juice and zest, baking soda, remaining granulated sugar and 2 tbsps of all purpose flour. Pour filling mixture over the prepared crust. Return to over, and bake for approx. 20 more minutes. (The squares should be firm at the edges, but still soft in the middle.) Cool, then sift confectioner’s sugar over the top, to taste. Cut into squares and serve! If, unlike me, you end up with leftovers, store these in the fridge.

Lemon Squares
Adapted from Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything

* As I seem to recall Amanda Hesser noting in Cooking for Mr Latte, doing so isn’t terribly polite, as it interferes with your guests’ enjoyment of their meal. Also, its generally akin to fishing for compliments. I give myself a pass on this one, however, as we’d gathered friends expressly for the purpose of vetting recipes for the blog. Thus, our friends came prepared to be asked for and to express frank opinions, as well as braced for experimentation.

** My beef with these was that I like lemon squares that are more little squared off pieces of lemon tart than like a lemony bar cookie. This recipe creates more of a bar cookie square. If that sounds delish to you, than you’ll like these. In the meantime, and with all due respect to the generally infallible Mr. Bittman who put these in the bar cookie section of his very handy tome, I’m still on the hunt for the perfect tart-like lemon square recipe. I’ll let you know once I’ve found it!

*** All together now: OOoooooOOOOOoooo! Pretty!

Lemon Squares
Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 102.8Vitamin A 2.9 %Iron 1.6 %
Total Fat 4.3 gVitamin B-12 0.8 %Magnesium 1.3 %
Cholesterol 27.9 mgVitamin B-6 0.9 %Manganese 6.5 %
Sodium 58.9 mgVitamin C 1. 5 %Niacin 1.7 %
Potassium 23.4 mgVitamin D 1.2 %Phosphorus 2.2 %
Total Carbohydrate 15.4 gVitamin E 0.8 %Riboflavin 2.6 %
Fiber 0.4 gCalcium 0.5 %Selenium 6.2 %
Sugars 11.1 gCopper 0.8 %Thiamin 2.5 %
Protein 1.2 gFolate 2.1 %Zinc 1.0 %

Recipe and Nutritional Information after the jump
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