Monday, February 23, 2009

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Pesto Butter

6 Deboned chicken breast halves

1/2 cup Fresh basil leaves, washed and dried

1/4 cup Grated parmesan cheese

1 clove Minced garlic

1/2 cup butter
1 eggs

3/4 cup breadcrumbs

Directions: In food processor combine basil, parmesan cheese, garlic and butter. Process until well combined. Cut a small slit in the side of the chicken breast with a boning knife, from that slit form a "pocket" in the chicken to stuff the butter into. (I just pound the chicken flat and roll the ingredients and use toothpicks to secure). Dip the chicken in the egg, dip them in the breadcrumbs. (I always need more egg and breadcrumbs). Place on pan to cook at 350F for about 35-45 minutes.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hot Fudge Sauce

hot fudge sauce

hot fudge sauce, bubbling gurgly, thick and shiny

hot fudge sauce

hot fudge sauce

Hot Fudge Sauce

This is a deep, dark fudgy bittersweet sauce that firms up on ice cream.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon rum (or other flavoring, such as a flavored liquer or vanilla extract)

Melt the chocolate and butter very slowly in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring frequently until combined. Meanwhile, heat the water to boiling in the small, heavy saucepan. When the butter and chocolate have melted, stir the mixture into the boiling water. Add the sugar, corn syrup and salt and mix until smooth. Turn the heat up and stir until mixture starts to boil; adjust heat so that sauce is just maintained at the boiling point, stirring occasionally. Allow sauce to boil for nine minutes.

Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. Stir in the rum and serve warm over ice cream.

Do ahead: Sauce can be easily and quickly reheated in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds. Stir and it will be shiny and even again.

Yields 2 1/2 cups


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bliss Layer Bars

Bliss Bars
1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. granulated sugar
2 c. peanut butter
3 c. rice krispies
2-1/2 c. corn flakes
3/4 c. unsalted butter
4 c. powdered sugar
2 regular sized vanilla pudding mixes (instant)
milk (as needed)
1/2 c. butter
2-1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Over medium heat, heat the corn syrup and granulated sugar; bring to a soft boil, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the peanut butter . Stir until it is smooth and creamy:

Have both kinds of cereals mixed together in a large mixing bowl. Pour the warm peanut butter mixture over the cereal and mix it until it's well combined. All of the cereal should be coated. Press it into a cakepan, packing it down with the bottom of a spoon:

In a saucepan, melt 3/4 c. butter. Add to this the powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mixes. Stir well; it will be very thick. Slowly add bits of milk until the mixture is the consistency of frosting, mix well. Spread this over the cereal layer in the pan:

In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together the last portion of butter and chocolate chips. Heat for 1 minute. Stir well. Continue to heat in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until the mixture is smooth. Spread over the vanilla layer.

Cover tightly and refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until chocolate is set. Cut into bars. These are extremely THICK bars.



Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pasta Carbonara con Pollo

Pasta Carbonara con Pollo - 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - 4-6 oz. pancetta, chopped - 3/4 cup white onion, diced - 4 egg yolks - 1/2 cup heavy cream - 8 oz. grated parmesan cheese - 1 TBSP dried parsely - 3-5 TBSP olive oil, in all - fresh ground black pepper - large amount dried fettucine or linguine Heat a pot of water to boil the pasta. Cut the chicken into small chunks. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks, cream, 6 oz. of the parmesan, and the parsely. Set aside. Heat 3 TBSP of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the chicken, remove to a paper towel. In the same skillet brown the pancetta, remove to the paper towel. Add a little more olive oil to the skillet, then add the onion and cook for 3 minutes or until just starting to turn translucent. Return the chicken and the pancetta to the skillet and heat through. Add some cracked black pepper to the skillet. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta, return to the cooking pan, and then add the egg mixture. The residual heat from the pasta will cook the egg without scrambling it. Mix through then combine this pasta mixture to the chicken and pancetta mixture.



To hone your blade, rest the honing steel on a counter top, or better yet, your cutting board. Stand it straight up on its tip. Then rest the blade on one side of the steel at an angle of 23 degrees (see graphic). With a medium amount of pressure, arc your blade down and towards you 8 to 10 times. Now switch sides of the steel, and repeat the process. Each time you switch, cut the number of strokes in half until you reach one. Wipe the blade down with a cloth before using. No one likes metal shavings in their food.

Feta Cheese and Pine Nut Stuffed Pork Roast

  • 1 boneless pork loin (1.5-2 pounds)
  • Kosher Salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butterfly the roast by cutting down the center of the roast and stopping about a half-inch before you get all the way through. Spread the roast out flat on a plastic cutting board. Sprinkle the inside with salt. Make the stuffing by combining feta cheese, pine nuts, apples, and rosemary. Spread a thick layer of the stuffing on the "inside" of the pork roast. Press down to help it stick. Gently roll up the pork roast and tie off with butcher's twine. Using cooking spray, coat the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the roast in the pan and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour 15 minutes. If the roast has a layer of fat, put the fat side up. It should crisp up golden brown when cooked. Start checking the internal temperature of the roast at about one hour. Pork must get to at least 140 degrees. Make sure thermometer goes into the pork and not into the stuffing. When finished remove from oven, and let sit for 10 minutes. Carefully cut away the twine and slice the roast into 1/2 inch thick slices.


Cocoa Candied Pecans

Needing a quick dessert slash snack food this evening, I pulled this recipe out of my hat. It's way too easy to make, and it could be a great snack food for your super bowl party this weekend. The addition of cocoa powder gives this basic sugary pecan a heavenly twist.


  • 2 cups pecan halves and pieces
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 TBSP cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a long cookie sheet or baking pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl sift together the cocoa powder and sugar.

Put the pecans in a large colander or strainer and run it under cold water. Stir the pieces around to coat them well. Turn off water and shake off any excess. Transfer the pecans to a large bowl.

Slowly mix the sugar mixture into the pecans, turning them over constantly until the pecans are sticky or all the sugar mixture is gone. Transfer the pecans to the baking pan, using a spatula to spread them out.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring them about ever 3 minutes. Be careful not to let them get too dark as that will turn them bitter.

Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy.


Chocolate Chip Pecan Scones

Chocolate Chip Pecan Scone

I'm a sucker for scones. Based on the number of scones I've made and posted here, I'd say it is an unhealthy obsession. Well, I do have a passion for pastries and most things that are sweet and for breakfast. Here's my recipe for a decadent chocolate chip and pecan scone with a maple flavored icing.

The Scone:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/4 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 Tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 Tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

The Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-3 TBSP water
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter and mash together with your finger tips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the pecans and chocolate chips and stir through.

Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract and mix until a soft dough forms. Dust a pastry board or your counter top with some flour and turn out the dough. Knead the dough about 10 times. Roll the dough out into a circle about 1/2 to 1/4 inch high. Using a pastry cutter or a knife, cut the dough into about 8-10 pieces. Place the pieces on the prepared cookie sheet and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack.

In a medium bowl, add the powdered sugar. Slowly add the water while whisking until a smooth icing forms. Whisk in the syrup and vanilla.

After the scones have cooled, brush the icing over the top and sides of each scone.


Steak Au Poivre

It's a conundrum. A mystery. An enigma. This awesomely delicious and totally easy dish has a French name and French roots. Then again, so does Texas. Nonetheless, Steak au poivre is one of the most delicious ways to eat steak, and the methodology is simple.

Steak au poivre (pronounced [OH-PWAHHV]) is translated as Pepper Steak. Sounds simple, doesn't it? It is. The name comes from the use of cracked peppercorns directly on the underside of the steak as it cooks. Typically, the dish is accompanied by a pan sauce, which is made with the drippings, or fond, from cooking the steak.

Yes, I know that you probably think that steaks should only be cooked over a grill, but here's a big secret. Many steak restaurants do their steaks in pan, just like this.

I played a hunch when cooking this dish and added little bit of dried thyme to the pan sauce. It added a wonderfully bright flavor that complimented the cognac well.


  • 2 strip steaks about 1-inch thick
  • 3 TBSP Butter
  • salt & pepper (for seasoning the steak)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or beef broth
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup cognac
  • 1 TBSP cracked black pepper
  • Pinch of thyme

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Season your steaks with salt and cracked pepper. Be generous with the pepper. Add the butter to the skillet and wait for it to melt. Now sear the steaks on each side about 3-4 minutes, depending on how done you like your steak. Remove the steaks from the pan and tent with foil while you make the sauce.

Add the broth to the pan right away and begin stirring with a whisk to scrape off the fond stuck to the pan. Continue cooking until it reduces slightly. Now add the cognac and ignite with a lighter or match. Be careful not to burn yourself. You just want to burn off the alcohol fumes. After the flames extinguish, continue whisking and stirring until the sauce reduces by half. Add the cracked pepper, thyme, and half and half. Give it a quick whisk then sit back and let it reduce to a nice medium-thick sauce while stirring occasionally.

Taste before serving and adjust the flavor with salt. Serve over the steak.


Grilled Pineapple Spears with Brown Sugar Glaze

What a great way to cook pineapple and in such a simple recipe, too. Good desserts do not have to be complex cakes cookies or candies. Some are just simple fruit with a sweet glaze. The particular pineapple was peeled and cored right in front of us in the grocery store, so we knew it would have the ultimate in fresh flavor. The addition of lemon juice to the glaze adds a bright flavor.


  • One half pineapple, cut into long spears
  • 1 TBPS butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp. cinnamon, in all
  • lemon juice

Fire up the grill to medium heat. Before putting the pinapple down, sprinkle the spears with half of the cinnamon and a little bit of brown sugar. This will facilitate a sweetness and instant carmelization when they hit the grill.

In a small saucepan, heat the butter, brown sugar and the rest of the cinnamon. Heat until bubbly and the sugar is properly melted.

Grill the pineapple spears over direct heat about 2-3 minutes per side, turning occaisionally. Each time it turns, baste with a brush of glaze. When finished, plate up and drizzle a final amount of glaze on top.


Shallot Butter Bacon Sauce

I do believe this could be the most well-named and delicious sounding sauce ever contrived. The only way it could have been better and more appropriate is if it were called the Porky Pork Fat Fatty Porky Pork Pork Butter Cholesterol Sauce. But that might not sell as many copies.


  • 1/4 lb. peppered bacon
  • 1/4 cup shallots, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. chives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

    In a heavy skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan, reserving 1 Tbsp. of bacon grease; drain any remaining grease from the pan. Coarsely chop bacon; set aside.

    Return 1 Tbsp. bacon fat to skillet. Add shallots, chives, white wine, and white wine vinegar; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce liquid to 2 Tbsp. Add cream and bring to a boil. Whisk in butter until melted, add in chopped bacon and continue stirring until sauce is hot. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

    Store sauce in refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat to serve. (

  • Bread Pudding Flan

    I really did not know how else to describe this other than "flan." They are cooked similarly to flan or custard, in small ramekin cups. But they require far less work in preparation than flan.


    • 6 slices white bread, staled
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/3 cup milk
    • 2TBSP strong coffee or espresso
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 Tsp. vanilla
    • 1 Tsp. cinnamon
    • 4 TBSP Butter in all
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 TBSP Brandy or Cognac

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a kettle of water to boiling. Slice up the stale bread into small cubes, about 3/4-inch thick. Set aside. Grease 4-6 ramekin dishes with some butter or shortening.

    In a medium sauce pan, heat the milk, coffee, and 2 tablespoons of the butter just to a simmer. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, white sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add the bread cubes and toss to combine. Now add the milk mixture and turn gently to combine. Let the mixture set in this bowl for about 5 minutes for the bread to absorb the liquid.

    Ladle the mixture into small ramekins and place in a deep casserole or pan. Before putting the pan into the oven, pour in the hot water into the pan around the ramekins to go about 1/2 the way up the sides. Cook in the oven for about 40 minutes.

    Remove from oven, and remove ramekins from water bath. Let cool 15-20 minutes to set up completely.

    Make the brown sugar sauce by whisking the brown sugar, butter, and brandy over medium heat until the mixture simmers.

    Invert the ramekins over individual plates and let the flan fall away. Spoon the sauce over the top and serve.


    Hot Chops

    Since we've been spending a bit more time being choosy at the store, I have made it a mission to grab some less expensive cuts of meat from the store and try to make something great from them. These were four pork chops, bone-in, and there about $2.75 altogether. They were slightly thin, and a little bit fatty, but I had a idea that turned out great. HOT CHOP!


    • 3-4 thin cut pork chops
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 2 TBSP chili powder
    • 3-5 TBSP thai chili sauce
    • Drizzle of olive oil

    Mix together the brown sugar and chili powder in a bowl then liberally rub all over the chops. After that, rub on the chili sauce and olive oil to coat them well.

    Grill the chops over medium-high direct heat for about 2-3 minutes per side (depending on the thickness). And watch out ... they are spicy! :)


    Dr Pepper Sauced Boneless Wings

    Boneless buffalo wings are pretty much just chicken nuggets covered in sauce. But I don't care about that. The taste good anyway! I was inspired to make this recipe after eating at a local chicken wing joint the wife last weekend. It turned out very nice and I highly recommend it. :)


    • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into nugget sized pieces
    • 3/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 Tsp salt
    • 1/2 Tsp. pepper
    • 1/4 Tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 can Dr. pepper
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup ketchup
    • 1/2 Tsp. Tabasco sauce
    • 2 TBSP butter
    • Oil for frying

    Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss the chicken in the flour mixture, coating completely. Put the coated chicken in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This will help the coating adhere to the chicken during frying.

    Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the can of Dr. Pepper to a boil, reduce heat and simmer briskly until reduced to about 1/8th the amount. Add the brown sugar, ketchup, Tabasco and butter and simmer until a nice thick sauce. Set aside.

    Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Remove the chicken from the fridge and fry in the oil until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. when all chicken is cooked, toss in the sauce until completely coated.

    Serve and enjoy.