Madeleine Cookies

I have been wanting to make some madeleine cookies since I had them in Paris last summer.  I recently got the pan for them and started looking for recipes.  I found two different recipes, one in my Dorie Greenspan book and the other in America’s Test Kitchen Baking book.  The recipes were so different I made both to see which one was better.  Both had very good taste, but the ones from Dorie were much prettier.

You can see the difference in the two cookies in the above picture.  Where the one from Dorie is plump and golden brown (left), the one from the America’s Test Kitchen (right) is a little lighter, and it did not puff up as much.  The taste is very different as well.  Both were basic madeleine cookies, but Dorie’s has a lemon flavor, and the other has a rich vanilla/almond flavor.

All in all, I prefer the ones from Dorie Greenspan.  However, they are both good cookies. Plus the America’s Test Kitchen madeleine is much quicker to make, which is nice if you don’t have about 4 hours to wait until the cookies are done.

The America’s Test Kitchen Madeleine Cookie:

1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (if you prefer, skip this and add an additional teaspoon of vanilla; I personally like the almond flavor so I tend to add it)

10 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and cooled)

Method:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 12-cookie madeleine cooke mold.  Whisk the flour and the salt together in a small bowl.

The madeleine mold

With a stand mixer or an electric mixer, beat the eggs until frothy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Beat in the sugar and vanilla until very thick.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture, followed by the melted butter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared mold, filling to the rim.  Bake the cookies for 10 minutes (I found that they actually needed to be baked more like 12-13 minutes, but it will vary depending on your oven).

Let the cookies cool in the mold for 10 minutes then move them to a cooling wrack.

cooling in the moldsAbove: Cookies cooling in the molds

Below: Cookies cooling on the wrack

Makes 24 cookies (although it actually make about 20 cookies for me)

Dorie Greenspan’s Traditional Madeleines

2/3 cup all-purpose

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

zest of one lemon

2 large eggs at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Method:

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Working in a mixer bowl, rub the sugar and the zest together until sugar is moist and fragrant.  Add the eggs to the bowl.  Working with the whisk attachement, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla.  With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingrediants, followed by the melted butter.  Cover and refridgerate for at least 3 hours.

After the 3 hours, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 12-cookie madeleine mold (I used Baker’s Joy which works great).  Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top.  Bake for 11-13 minutes.  To remove the cookies knock the mold on the counter and they will slip out.  You can use your fingers for the ones that don’t want to cooperate.

Cool before serving.

Makes 12 cookies

Other comments on the cookies:

Both types of madeleines are best eaten the day they are made.  Because of this fact my friends Katie and Anna both got cookies today (Alec and I weren’t about to eat 36 cookies today).  Many people have not had madeleines before, so I will describe what you are looking for in a end product.  They are almost like tiny shell-shaped cakes.  The best way to describe them is kinda like a lighter pound cake with a crisp outside.  They are a wonderful little snack on their own or with some tea or coffee.

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Cuban Nights and a Tropical Rum Tart

On Saturday some friends from school and I got together with our significant others for a nice dinner.  At my somewhat joking suggestion, we had a Cuban theme to the get-together.  My friends John and Cassie graciously hosted, and everyone brought a dish.  Not surprising, I brought the dessert.  We had chicken with flaming pineapple, beans and rice, a cucumber and avocado salad, the tropical rum tart, and mojitos.  Everything was wonderful.

I decided that we should dress a little tropical for the dinner, although not required.  We got Lucy dressed in a cute little flowered dress.


Here are a few other photos from the night:

Here is Katie and Dave making Mojitos.  Katie made a pretty fantastic drink.

Here is Katie and Richard who will be tying the knot this July, yay!

And here is John and Dave bringing in the tart.  Apparently Dave wasn’t enjoying the picture taking.  And that is about when Lucy started getting fussy, so that is where the pictures stopped.

Here is the recipe for the tart:

I was looking through books trying to find a recipe that I thought would work for this dinner, and I couldn’t find anything just right.  So, I decided to make up a recipe.  I used the basic shortbread tart shell which I used in the tarte noire (I am going to add that to a basic recipe section on the site soon, so it will be easier to fine).  Then I made a rum flavored pastry cream for the filling, and topped it with mangos and kiwis.

The Run Pastry Cream:

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk

6 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup corn starch

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3 1/2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons rum

Method:

Bring the two cups of milk to a boil.  Meanwhile mix together the egg yolks, sugar, and corn starch in another sauce pan.  Once the milk boils, add about 1/4 cup to the egg mixture to temper the eggs.  Slowly add in the rest of the milk, stirring constantly.  Once mixed together, put back onto the burner and boil for a minute or two until thick.  Add the vanilla and the rum.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Because this recipe makes enough pastry cream for two tarts, I decided to split the cream in half and add rum to one and Chambord to the other.  In the above picture the rum is on the left and the Chambord is on the right.  I will come back to the Chambord cream in a bit.

After you add the vanilla and liquor, let sit for five minutes.  Add the pieces of butter and whisk in.  Put in the fridge to cool for 4 hours.

Once the cream is cooled, spoon the mixture into the baked and cooled tart shell.  Smooth out with a spatula.  Add fruit to the top.  For the rum tart I cut up kiwi and mangoes.

To the Chambord tart I added fresh blackberries.

Alec and Jennie Go Out

Alec and I were out to lunch the other day, and we thought wouldn’t it be nice to keep track of where we eat and if we liked it? That led to the creation of the blog: Alec and Jennie Go Out.  We both came up with the same name on our own, which is somewhat amusing.

Alec at a restaurant in Grasse, France

Each post has a review from both of us, which is nice because we have rather different tastes in food.

Jennie at the same restaurant in Grasse, France

Since we have a baby and don’t go out like we used to, we will also feature some guest reviewers.  Each review is based on a 1-100 scale broken down into 4 categories.

Tomorrow is our anniversary, and we are headed to the 112 Eatery.  We will certainly have a review for that.  So, check out our site if you want and maybe find some new places to eat in the cities.

Here is the link:

http://alecandjenniegoout.wordpress.com/

Thanks!

 

Lemon Cream

I wish someone would have told me about Lemon Cream earlier in life.  It is a bit like lemon curd but silky and smooth.  You can use it in a variety of ways.  Since I have been into tarts lately, I made a lemon cream tart.  However, you could use it in between layers in  cake or use it in a pie.  With a little imagination, I am sure you could find plenty of uses for this delicious sweet.  If you are a fan of lemon, you need to try this recipe.

The recipe is actually a little easier than it sounds, but you need to have about 30 solid minutes where you won’t be interrupted to make the cream.  It is a bit temperamental and you need a thermometer, a double boiler, a fine strainer, and either a blender or a food processor.  I almost did not make it yesterday because I thought it seemed like too much trouble, but I am glad that I did it.  It is worth the work.

Ingredients:

I cup sugar

Zest of 3 lemons

4 large eggs

3/4 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

2 sticks, plus 5 tablespoons butter (I know that is a lot of butter), cut into tablespoon sized pieces

Have all your equipment ready: food processor, strainer, thermometer.

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a sauce pan.  Get a heatproof bowl that fits into the top of the pan.  This will make the double boiler.  Do not put the bowl on the heat yet.  Put the sugar and the zest into the bowl.  Using your fingers, rub the zest and the sugar together until fragrant.  Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.

Now set the bowl over the saucepan.  Attach the instant thermometer.

My thermometer didn’t attach to the side, so I tried to tape it.  That really didn’t work very well.  I will do something different next time.  It kept falling off.  This is the part that is a little tough because you need to stir until the mixture reaches 180 degrees.  As it gets closer to 180 degrees it will thicken.  Once you hit that mark, take if off the heat and strain it into the food processor/blender.

The cream is thick at this point so it take a little work go get it through the strainer, but you want to get the zest out of it.  I used a spatula to push it through the strainer.  Now once the cream has cooled to 140 degrees, which for me was very quick, turn on the processor and add the butter about 5 pieces at a time.  This is the step that actually makes the cream creamy.

Let it blend for three minutes after the butter has all been added.  Remove the cream from the processor and put it in a bowl.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set it.

Before it was chilled
After it was chilled

For the tart, I made the same shell as I did when I made the Tarte Noire (see a few posts ago).  Make the shell and let it cool completely.  The cream recipe makes enough to fill two tart shells.  It would be enough to fill one pie crust, pre-baked and cooled.

Madras Beef Curry and Chapatis

Tonight Alec made Madras Beef Curry for dinner.  It was wonderful.  I generally make the food in our house, so it was very nice to have the night off too! Although he did the cooking I took some pictures and saw enough to post the recipe here.  To accompany the meal, I quick made some Chipatis, which is are unleavened flat bread from India.  We also made some Ceylon tea because I mistakenly thought it was from India, but it is actually from Sri Lanka.  For some tea that is actually from India, you could try Darjeeling, Assam, or Nilgiri (Darjeeling is my favorite of the three).

First you need to start by making the Madras curry paste.  This recipe makes about 1/2 cup of curry paste.

2 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground tumeric

2 cloves crushed garlic

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/3 cup white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Dry-fry the coriander and cumin seeds for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, then move from the pan.  Grind the seeds to a powder with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

Put the coriander and cumin, the mustard seeds,  black pepper, chili powder, turmeric, garlic, ginger, and salt in a small bowl and mix together well.  Add the vinegar and mix to a smooth paste.  The paste will keep for about a month in the fridge.

Madras Beef Curry

1 tablespoon ghee (we used butter)

1 onion, chopped

3 tablespoons of the madras curry paste

2 pounds chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup beef stock

Sauté the onion in the ghee or butter until browned.  Add the curry paste and stir for about 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add the meat and cook, stirring, until coated with the curry paste.  Stir in the tomato paste and stock.  Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, and then uncovered for another 15.

When done the meat should be tender and the sauce will be nice and thick. See picture below:

Serve with rice.

Chapatis

Chapatis are much quicker to make than naan, which is why I chose it to be honest.  They remind me a little bit of a whole wheat tortilla with butter brushed on.  They are grilled instead of baked.  If you have a griddle, it works really well, but a pan would be fine too.

1 1/2 cup atta or whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

scant 1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon olive oil

melter ghee or butter

To make mine a little more flavorful, I added some cumin seeds and a dash of curry powder to the dough.

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl (if using extra spices, add them here).  Add the water and mix to a soft dough. I did this with the dough hook attachment on my Kitchen Aid Mixer.  Add the oil.  After mixing, turn out the dough on a lightly oiled surface.

Knead for 5-6 minutes or until smooth.

Place in a covered bowl for 1/2 hour.  Turn out onto a floured surface.  Divide into 6 equal pieces.  Shape each into a ball.  Press the dough into a larger round with the palm of your hand, then roll into a 5 inch round.

Heat a griddle or frying pan to medium-high heat.  If using a pan, cook the chipatis one at a time.  You can cook more with a griddle.  Cook for a couple of minutes or until they start to bubble and brown slightly.

When cooked, brush them with some melted butter or ghee.

French Sables and the current situation involving Macarons and Pierre Herme

As many of you know, I have been really into making shortbread since I learned how last month.  Shortbread cookies were always a special treat that I never though to actually make.  Turns out they are quite easy, and homemade ones are much better than store-bought ones.  I have made these French Sables three times now.  I should probably stop making them, but they are so good.  The recipe follows.

On other baking news, a while ago, I decided I wanted to make French Macarons–those lovely little brightly colored sandwich cookies that decorate every bakery in France.  While I was there, I ate an amazing fushia colored chambord flavored one.  Every since, I have wanted to make them.  There are few books written in English that are for French Macarons.  I read reviews on them on Amazon and ended up not buying any.  Today I decided that I was going to buy the one by Pierre Herme, the famed French Pastry chef.  The issue and reason I didn’t look to buy it before: it is written in French.  I took 4 semester of French in college, and I did okay while in France, but is complicated cooking in French really within my ability?  There is only one way to find out.  However, when I went to buy it, the cheapest I could find it on Amazon was $150.  Forget that idea.  I did end up buying the book he wrote with Dorie Greenspan (though I am under the impression she is more a translator??? I could be wrong), which I am now waiting for.  That book is in English, so that is a bonus I suppose, but I am not sure if Macarons are in it.  Reviews state that the recipes in this book are hard, but worth it.  We will soon see how good my baking abilities have gotten.  In the meantime, here is the rather simple recipe for Sables…

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature (save the whites in the freezer, I will have future recipes using only egg whites)

2 cups all purpose flour

decorating sugar (optional)

Method:

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth and velvety, not light and fluffy (if it gets light and fluffy, you have beat it too long).  Add in the sugars and salt, beat until well blended. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time.

Turn off the mixer and pour in flour all at once.  Drape with a kitchen towel to protect yourself from flying flour.  Pulse the mixer about 5 times for a couple of seconds each time.  Remove the towel and mix until the flour in incorporated.  Be careful not to over mix! The dough should look like this…

Gather the dough into a ball and divide in half.  Use plastic wrap to roll into logs about 9 inches long.

Put in the fridge for at least 3 hours up to 3 days.  Once they are chilled take them out of the plastic wrap.  This is where you can use a pastry brush, coat the dough in egg yolk and sprinkle with decorative sugar.   I have done this with clear sugar each time, but I am not sure if it is all that necessary because you can’t really see the sugar.  However, around the holidays I think it would look very nice with some colored sugar.  Cut the logs into discs about 1/2 inch thick.

Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.  Bake for 17-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

When done, they should be lightly browned on the sides and bottom of the cookie.

Coming up in future blog posts: Madeline cookies and recipes by Pierre Herme–keep reading!

Dill! Biscuits and Vegetable Salad

The other day I got a bunch of fresh dill, and I have been making good use of it ever since.  Two of the better things I made were dill buttermilk biscuits and a dill vegetable salad.  Both reminded me that once again summer will come, as will my organic farm share, and I will be able to eat fresh herbs and vegetables all the time.  I can’t wait!

Dill Buttermilk Biscuits:

This recipe makes about 6 biscuits.  It is made in the food processor so it is nice and easy.  It is important that you eat this biscuits right away; that is when they taste by far the best.

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 T. fresh dill (can use more or less depending on taste)

1/4 cup buttermilk (can use sour milk if you don’t have buttermilk)

1 T. sugar

2 t. baking powder

3/4 t. salt

1/2 t. baking soda

1 stick butter, cut into 8 pieces

a little more than 1/2 c. whole milk

Method:

Heat the oven to 450 degrees

Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a food processor to combine.  Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients. Pulse until it looks like course meal.

Transfer the flour/butter mixture into a bowl.  Pour the milks over it and stir until the dough comes together.  Be careful not to over mix! Pour out the dough and knead for about 30 seconds.

Using a biscuit cutter, or in my case, a low ball bourbon glass, cut circles out of the dough.  It should be about 1 inch thick and 2 and a half inches wide.  Space them out on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes at 450, then reduce the heat to 400 and bake another 12-15 minutes.

Cool slightly on a wire rack.  But do eat while still warm, they are much much better.

We made little sandwiches out of these biscuits.  We put ham, dill mustard, and white cheddar on them.

Vegetable Salad

I have made this salad many times, but I had never made it with dill before (usually I use tarragon or sage).  It is a great salad that you can make with a variety of different vegetables.  This time I used broccoli, cauliflower, and black olives, but other favorites include orange peppers and artichokes.

1/2 head of broccoli

1/2 head of cauliflower

2/3 can of black olives

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup vinegar (I generally use white wine vinegar, but you can use whatever kind you like most, though I would avoid balsamic)

3 T. mustard (for this recipe I used dill mustard)

1 T. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Steam the vegetables so they are still crisp.  You can use a steamer if you have one.  Since I do not, I put a strainer in a pot of water and steam them that way.  It works pretty well.

I mix all the non-vegetable ingredients together with an immersion blender, a regular blender would work just fine.  Pour it over the steamed vegetables and let marinade for at least three hours in the fridge.

Dinner Party: Recipes for French Onion Soup, Homemade Crackers, and Tarte Noire

Last night we had our friends Anna and Chris over for dinner.  They are a fun couple to entertain for because a) they are great people b) they are totally foodies, so it is fun coming up with a meal that I think they will enjoy.

Before we get to recipes, Anna made Lucy this beautiful giraffe.  This is Lucy looking him over this morning.  The giraffe is really going to be fun for her.  It is so cute, I think I am going to keep it in our living room instead of her room.  Plus, to be honest, once you have a baby, your living room kinda becomes a giant play room.

Now to the food, we started our meal with a cheese and sausage plate.  I got a nice assortment of cheeses that I like: brie, manchego, jarlsberg, and a blue.  We also picked up two artisan salamis made with wine at Trader Joe’s.  We had that with some French bread and these crackers I made.  This recipes is adapted from one in the America’s Test Kitchen Baking book.

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 T. olive oil

1/2 T. honey

1/4 t.  instant yeast

1/4 t. kosher salt

1/4 c. warm water

Put all the ingredients, except the water in a standing mixer fixed with the dough hook attachment.  With the mixer on low, pour the water slowly into the mixture.  Keep mixing until the dough becomes a ball.

Left: Dough before the water

Right: Dough after water was added and mixed

Let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours, depending on how warm your house is.  Because I live in a perpetually freezing house, I usually let my dough rise longer than a recipe says.

Once the dough has risen, roll out and place on a baking sheet.  Put a clean towel over it and let rise for another 10-20 minutes.  Once the dough has sat, brush on some olive oil and toppings of your choice.  I sprinkled mine with pepper, kosher salt, and a little parmesan cheese.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Watch it closely at the end.  At 20 minutes my cracker was still a little pale, and the next time I checked it, it was a little darker than I wanted, though it still tasted fine.  Sorry I didn’t snap a picture when it came out of the oven, I forgot and now the crackers are gone.  Once the giant cracker has cooled, break into pieces and serve.

French Onion Soup:

My next recipe comes from the master of all French cooking, the great Julia Child.  This recipe comes from her classic 1961 cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  The recipe is actually quite simple, though it takes a bit of time to make, about an hour and a half to two hours.

1/2 pound (or about 5 cups) onions sliced very thin

3 T. Butter

1 T. Oil

Cook the onion with the butter and oil over low heat with the cover on for 15 minutes.  It is important to have a nice heavy pan for this.  I used my Le Creuset, which works perfect.  Note, if you do not want to invest in such an expensive pan, there are other cheaper brands that I have heard work quite well.  Although I have not used it, the Lodge brand, which price about $50 gets good reviews.  Sometimes you can find Le Creuset and other less expensive brands at Marshall’s or TJ Max at a good deal too.  I do think that a large cast iron pot is essential for cooking.  I have two and I use them all the time–I do not think I could possibly be without them to be honest.

1 t. salt

1/4 sugar

Once the onions have cooked for 15 minutes, remove the cover and add the salt and sugar.  Cook uncovered over low-medium heat for 30-40 minutes.  I did mine for 40.  Once they are done they will look nice and brown, and they will smell just fabulous.

3 T. flour

Add in the flour and stir constantly over heat for three minutes.

2 quarts brown stock (It is important to use stock and not broth.  Broth is much to salty and strong for this recipe)

1/2 cup white wine (a dry wine–nothing too sweet)

salt and pepper to taste

Add the liquid and bring to a boil.  Drop the heat down and let the soup simmer for another 30-40 minutes.

The soup is done at this point.  To garnish, put soup into oven-proof bowls.  The only ones I have are fiesta wear bowls, which worked well.  Put a piece of french bread into each bowl and cover with shredded Swiss cheese.  Pop into the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.  Serve immediately.


Anna and Chris brought a wine that paired amazingly well with the French Onion soup.  Here is a picture of the label; I highly recommend it.

Tarte Noire:

I was awfully excited to make this dessert.  My mom recently bought me a tart pan in exchange for a promise of future desserts.  I looked through my Dorie Greenspan baking book looking for the perfect tart to try for my first tart.  So many looked wonderful, but I finally decided on a simple French classic–the Tarte Noire.  You make this recipe in two steps, first the shell then the filling.  You need a number of hours to complete the recipe, so make it ahead of time.  This recipe is for a 9 inch tart pan.

Sweet Tart Dough (the shell which is essentially a shortbread)

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar

1/4 t. salt

1 stick plus 1T. unsalted butter very cold or frozen cut into peices

1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, sugar, and salt into the food processor.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in.  Stir up the egg yolk and drop in little by little, pulsing for about 10 seconds after each drop.  Once the dough is starting to come together, pour out on a smooth surface and knead a little bit.  Press into the buttered tart pan (I use Baker’s Joy which always works fantastic though it is actually for bundt pans I believe).  When pressing into the pan make sure you don’t loose the crumbly texture of the dough.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cover the tart with tin foil. The book says you do not need to use pie weights because the dough has been frozen.  I decided to use them anyway.  If you do not have actual pie weights, dry beans work just fine, though sometimes it makes the house smell a little like cooked dry beans.   Bake the crust for 25 minutes.  Remove the tin foil and pie weights and cook for another 8 minutes.  Transfer the shell to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Note: This crust can be used for just about any sweet tart.

The filling:

8 ounces bittersweet chocoate, finely chopped (make sure this is good quality chocolate and not something like Roundy’s brand chocolate chips [although just fine for cookies].  You will really taste the quality of the chocolate in this recipe).

1 c. plus 1 T heavy cream

1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Put the chopped chocolate into a heatproof glass bowl

Bring the cream to a boil and pour half over the chopped chocolate.  Stir in small circles in the middle of the bowl working outward until all the chocolate is melted and mixed with the cream.  Add the rest of the cream and mix in the same manner until all is combined.  Stir in the butter pieces one by one until incorporated.  The less you stir, the darker and creamier your mixture (a ganache) will be.

Pour the mixed filling into the tart shell, and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.  Remove after the 30 minutes and let sit a room temperature until you are ready to serve the tart.

Here are a couple of picture of the finished product:

It is as easy as that, and in case you are wondering the tart is on a plastic parrot plate in the top picture–very classy.

Turkey Chili

I had a few bell peppers I needed to use up, so I decided to make some chili for dinner.  I rarely use a recipe for chili, and some are much better than others.  This one tonight was a win.  I realized that my most common mistake is using too much liquid, so I put in much less than I thought it needed, and it turned out perfect.  Not only is this chili tasty, but it is very healthy.

1 pound ground turkey (I use 93/7 fat content)

1/2 orange bell pepper

1/2 green bell pepper

1/2 red bell pepper

1 large onion

1 large carrot

1 large celery stalk

2 T. olive oil

3 cloves garlic

2 T. chili powder

1 T. cumin

2 t. salt

1 t. black pepper

1 T. white sugar

1-28oz can crushed tomatoes

4 c. vegetable stock

1/2 pound dried black beans soaked and boiled

A few splashes of hot sauce

Cook ground turkey over medium-high heat until done.

Chop peppers, onions, celery, and carrot.

Remove cooked turkey from pan and sauté vegetables in some olive oil.

Once vegetables are tender and a bit brown, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add spices to the pan.  Adding the spices to the pan before adding liquid brings out the flavors.  Add the  can of crushed tomatoes and vegetable stock (you could use chicken stock if you would rather).

Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Add the black beans.  Simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, cheese, and some corn chips.

Variations: Feel free to use ground beef instead of turkey.  To vary the amount of spice, add hot chilis and/or more hot sauce.  I will often use jalapenos, pablanos, and anaheim peppers, but any pepper of your choice is fine.

Mom Tea and Lucy

Today my mom came up and we headed over to Highland Park to go to the Tea Source.  It is my Aunt Karen’s birthday at the end of the week, and my mom wanted to pick up some tea for her.  Karen lives in Eastern Wisconsin and there is not a wide variety of fine tea houses in the area, or any to be more exact.  Of all the places that sell tea in the cities Tea Source is by far my favorite.  As you can see on the sign in this picture they have over 250 varieties of loose leaf.  Which for a teaophile (made up that word) like myself, that is pretty fantastic.

I was trying to be sneaky and snap a picture without anyone noticing, but I kept hitting the off button on my camera instead of taking a picture.  I was not very successful.  However, no one yelled at me for taking a picture inside the store, so all was well.

I have not been to the tea store for quite a while because I decided that I needed to use up what I have.  I have not bought any for months, and I still have a ways to go.  I broke down and got one knew bag of tea.  A nice flavored black tea called Black Mountain Spice.  After our outing, I brewed up a pot of it and had it with a little brown sugar and whole milk, yum.  Note, I always use either brown sugar or honey in my tea if I am going to sweeten them.  White sugar is too sweet in my opinion for tea.

After the tea store, we headed to lunch at Cafe Latte on Grand Avenue.  Lucy seemed to love it in there.  She was awake and staring at everyone and everything.  She likes being out and about and being able to see new and different things.  Which I love because she behaves when I take her places.  She is all tuckered out from the morning though and asleep in her little bouncy chair at the moment.

So, no recipe this time. I made some corn muffins this morning, but they weren’t really good enough to share the recipe.  I will no doubt bake something again soon.