Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Brownie Cookies

Brownie Cookies
If you believe that chocolate makes the world go round then we can be friends.  There is not much that chocolate cannot solve or heal or fix.  Maybe I should send some to Washington.  

I found this recipe in my Uncle Willy’s files (do you see a trend here?).  The kids gravitated towards the name.  The batter is really thick like brownies and can be molded into little balls before baking if you like a perfect little round cookie.  And life is pretty close to perfect when you eat chocolate so, but do as you please.  They taste good either way.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine flour, soda and salt.  Melt butter in a large saucepan and remove from heat.  In a mixing bowl, place the cocoa powder and sugars, pour melted butter in, and mix.  Add yogurt and vanilla, continue mixing to combine.  Add flour mixture and combine until fully incorporated. 

Spoon mixture onto prepared cookie sheets (I made cookies using both a ½ tablespoon and a 1 tablespoon size spoon).  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (for a ½ T size cookie – bake for longer if you make a larger cookie).  Cool on sheets for 2 minutes or until firm.  Remove and cool completely on wire racks.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Chicken Strudel

Chicken Strudel
Hold your horses.  Stop the presses.  Blow me over with a feather.  H*** has frozen over. Elizabeth tasted a new dish (with both chicken and spinach) that was placed in front of her and said “that is good!”  I think there was even an exclamation point in her voice.  

I tried to make this dish years ago.  Don’t think it was received with the same results.  But I found this recipe listed in Uncle Willy’s binder so I decided to try it again.  Warning: there is a pain in the rump factor of about a 7.  Working with phyllo (said: “fee-low”, not “f-eye-low” as the kids keep reminding me) can test your patience more than a 3-kid teen+tween combo.

If your kid eats it and praises you simultaneously, I say “suck it up and make the strudel!”

From Stop and Smell the Rosemary, The Junior League of Houston Cookbook

  • 1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached and chopped into small pieces (about 2-3 cups of cooked chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound fresh spinach – or one box frozen
  • 12 oz Muenster cheese, shredded (3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large beaten egg
  • 1 lb. frozen phyllo pastry – thawed
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • Paprika

Heat olive oil and saute onions.  Add spinach and cook for 5 minutes.  Let cool.  Stir in cheese, wine, salt and pepper, and egg.  Add chicken.

Set oven at 375 degrees. 

Place one sheet of phyllo dough on waxed paper.  Brush with butter and sprinkle each layer with 2 tablespoons bread crumbs.  Repeat to make 4-5 layers.  Spoon half of the chicken mixture onto one end of the dough.  Roll and tuck in edges and end.  Brush top with additional butter and sprinkle with paprika.  Repeat steps above to make a second loaf.  Make diagonal cuts on top of each loaf – about 1” apart.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool before slicing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


We are on a biscuit-quest.  We have tested numerous recipes many of which tasted like wet flour that was baked.  Appealing, right?  And then we have back-to-back delicious biscuits at both Culinary Dropout (in Phoenix) and Street’s Fine Chicken (in Dallas).  I think it may have to do with the melted butter and the drizzle of honey, but hey, I can do that too (I can’t fry chicken like either place though so I guess I’ll be going back).   

During our chili/soupaplooza and coffee cake baking extravaganza, Andrew wanted to make something so my sports-playing, show-no-interest-in-cooking-ever-before kid chose something easy like biscuits (haha).  He found a recipe that we hadn’t tried before, this one from Bobby Flay.  The method seemed so similar until you drown it in heavy cream right before baking and then brush with melted butter after (we chose not to top with ground black pepper – it messes with the honey). 

By the way, Sam Fox, your next Culinary Dropout and Olive & Ivy need to be in Dallas.  We already have Flower Child.  Email me – I’ll help you scout your locations (but only if you share your Culinary Dropout biscuit recipe). 

Happy (big X-0) Birthday Michael!!!

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing
  • 1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with butter or line with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Combine until the ingredients are incorporated. Cut in the butter using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and gently mix until the mixture just begins to come together.

Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Pat the dough into a 10 by 12-inch rectangle about 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 2-inch squares or use a 2-inch round cutter to cut out biscuits. Press together the scraps of dough, and repeat the process. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with cream. Bake the biscuits until lightly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Brush the tops with the melted butter. Cool on a baking rack.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Franklin Barbecue Sauce

Franklin Barbecue Sauce
Guess what?  Franklin Barbecue has a cookbook (we are officially obsessed.  That must be what 5 hours in line does to you.  It makes you committed).  Travis let me buy it and then the kids gave it to David and then Travis stole it from David and started reading.  That sounds about right.  The happy outcome was the homemade BBQ sauce that Travis made - we all agreed that it is worth the effort to make your own.  It tasted pretty darn good on David’s pulled pork sandwiches on a buttered bun (everything is better on a buttered bun) with this cole slaw.  Hello 2018!!  

  • 1 ¾ cups ketchup
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ¼ cup + 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and warm over medium heat.  Stir occasionally.  Do not boil.  Your goal is to melt and integrate the ingredients.  Remove from heat; cool.  Serve and enjoy.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Happy Birthday Gigi, Ed and Jeff!