……………………………………………………. Baking our mark

Pecan-crusted chicken with fresh raspberry sauce June 19, 2012

Filed under: Dinner — krandle @ 6:02 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to want to take the time to make chicken taste good. It’s so easy to just toss it in the oven with a spice rub or throw it in the crockpot with some sauces or vegetables – and then have everything taste good – that I’m sometimes not very motivated to put any time into poultry.

This recipe, however, is worth the effort. I think it’s perfect dinner party food – and the sauce adds a color that you probably wouldn’t otherwise have on your plate (FUSCHIA!), unless you were serving beets.

It’s really moist, while also staying a little bit crunchy. It tastes fresh so is great for spring/summer. And, it doesn’t take very long or require too much attention, making it easy to serve while people are over. I’m already planning to serve this at my next dinner event.

Pecan-crusted chicken with fresh raspberry sauce – modified from B.A.

Raspberry Sauce
– Note: this makes about twice as much sauce as you need for this amount of chicken; it makes a great salad dressing, though, so don’t worry about cutting it in half

3/4 cup lightly packed fresh raspberries (about 3 1/2 ounces)
3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 cup safflower oil (works fine with vegetable oil too)
3 to 6 tsp. water (optional)


1 cup chopped pecans (about 4 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or plain dried breadcrumbs
1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
3 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
1/3 cup honey mustard
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 large skinless boneless chicken breast halves, butterflied
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 Tbs. peanut oil
4 cups baby salad greens (baby spinach is great here)
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

For Raspberry Sauce

Puree raspberries, white wine vinegar, and sugar in blender until smooth. With blender running, gradually add safflower oil. Add water by teaspoonfuls as needed to thin to desired consistency. Season raspberry sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

For Chicken

Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix pecans, panko and 2 teaspoons pepper on a plate with a lip, or in a shallow dish.

In a bowl, mix honey mustard, mint leaves, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken; coat and let excess drip off. Place chicken into crumb-nut mixture, coating both sides and pressing to adhere. To make things easy, don’t coat until you’re ready to put chicken directly into the skillets. And, when you have extra crumb-nut mixture left, put it into the skillet alongside the chicken, roasting it as well, then serving alongside the chicken for extra crunch.

Divide equal amounts of butter and oil between 2 large nonstick skillets; heat over medium-high heat. Add 2 chicken pieces to each skillet; reduce heat to medium and cook until chicken is light brown, about 4 minutes per side. Place chicken on rimmed baking sheet; transfer to oven. Roast chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Plate using salad greens first, then topping top with chicken. Drizzle sauce on top, and garnish with fresh raspberries.


Simple Appetizer: Goat-cheese wrapped grapes June 14, 2012

My favorite food group is snacks. I love tasting menus and happy hours and tapas and cocktail hours at weddings. Snack-sized things allow me to taste as many things as possible before I get too full to move.

And, when I headed to a friend’s house after work to look at vacation photos, I had the perfect excuse to make a lovely, simple snack / appetizer (an idea I borrowed from A Daily Something).

Grapes, wrapped in goat cheese, rolled in chopped pecans.

Not only do these involve some of the best parts of a cheese plate, they are also perfect for popping into your mouth whole, which makes you seem lady-like and prevents you from making a mess when you bring these to someone else’s house.

In case you were wondering, getting the goat cheese to stick to the grapes is not difficult; it’s kind of like playing with play-dough. Also, don’t make these too far ahead of time – the nuts will get a little soggy (and you will have a longer period of time to resist eating them all yourself).


Vintage Oatmeal Everything Cookies July 7, 2011

This recipe for oatmeal cookies will not change your life. It will not make you suddenly like oatmeal. You will not feel the need to discard any other oatmeal cookie recipes you have if you try these.

Still, I like this recipe…if only because it’s incredibly flexible and forgiving. I can put literally whatever I want in these cookies, and they happily accept the ingredients. And since for me, cookies are primarily about the mix-ins, these are pretty wonderful.

On the 3×5 card my grandmother typed up for my mother (back when you gave people typewritten 3×5 cards with recipes), it says “Add nuts, chocolate chips, coconut, dried fruit, etc. as taste dictates.” What a perfect sentence to have on a recipe card.

So, if you’re looking for a simple oatmeal cookie you can deck out in whatever you want, check these suckers out.

Vintage Oatmeal Everything Cookies

1 cup shortening or butter [the fact that this recipe calls for shortening and, on the original family recipe, has all the ingredients that you need one cup of in a line is what makes this a vintage recipe to me. plus it’s totally not gourmet; it’s just homey and inexpensive to make]
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
3 cups oats
2 – 2.5 cups whatever [Most recently, I did walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, and coconut]

*Note: I hate nutmeg in oatmeal cookies, so I prefer this recipe since it doesn’t call for it. I’m sure you could throw it in if you like to muddle the taste of your chocolate chips.

Cream butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl. [This is a recipe that you want a Kitchen Aid for–it’s a lot of heavy dough to blend by hand, and it would probably kill your electric hand mixer.] Blend in egg and vanilla. Separately, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Then add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Add oats and other mix ins, stirring in thoroughly. [If you’re using an electric mixer, you may want to do this step by hand.]

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 13-16 minutes, depending on your oven.


Pumpkin Pancakes March 19, 2011

Filed under: Breakfast — krandle @ 8:29 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I got this amazing All-Clad griddle pan from the boyfriend (who, knowing I wanted a pan for pancakes, did a bunch of research about which pan would be best…he doesn’t cook so had no idea exactly how awesome an All-Clad griddle pan is). And, it is absolutely wonderful for making perfect pancakes. I’ve never been able to put together flapjacks that look that Martha Stewart-inspired.

And, since it’s now March, I’ve decided I need to look for some new types of pancakes (yes, Krusteaz pancakes plain and with nuts and with chocolate chips and with blueberries are all delicious – but perhaps something more gourmet is in order). And, this recipe for pumpkin pancakes from Big Girls Small Kitchen won me over because it’s simple and is designed for only two people.

[As a note, I think Big Girls Small Kitchen has the most adorable blog in the world. I want their life. Promise that if you go check them out, you’ll still come back to read our just-beginning blog…please?]

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder [The first time I made these, I forgot the baking powder…pancakes were quite custard-y, but were still tasted fine. You should remember it.]
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg [Ew. Skip it.]
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 cup milk [I used almond milk one of the times I made these – it adds a nice flavor and keeps calories lower…and it’s vegan friendly]
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled [Don’t cool it too much or it doesn’t blend too well]
+ Nuts and caramel syrup to top pancakes (more…)