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Monday, November 29, 2010

Peanut Butter Bread + a GIVEAWAY--->cookies and a cookbook from Tate's Bake Shop anyone!?

Who likes crisp, buttery cookies that melt once they hit your tongue?  I do!  I do! {Hand waving wildly in the air!}  So does everybody else in this household, so imagine our delight when we opened up a few boxes of freshly baked cookies from Tate's Bake Shop...and the scent of butter assaulted our senses.  I do enjoy a good butter assault.  I wasn't surprised to learn that Kathleen King and Tate's Bake Shop have earned many awards over the years...because all three of the cookies we tasted were outstanding.  We tried Chocolate Chip, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, and Oatmeal Raisin.  I have to say what endeared them to me the most was that they taste like they came from the oven of someone close...and not from a package.  I must also admit that I liked getting a taste of the Hamptons right in my own kitchen.  I mean, if they're good enough for Ina, they're good enough for me.  Yes, the Barefoot Contessa carried Kathleen's cookies from the moment she opened her doors in 1980.
But you can read more about that when you open the Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook and read the foreword by Ina Garten.  You don't have to take just my word for it.  The cookbook is packed with goodies...and my copy is loaded with strips of many of which had my mouth watering just reading about them.  King has done all the hard work...the testing...the trials...the measuring...she's made the recipes very user friendly.  I had a hard time deciding where to begin, but since I didn't want to waste any time, I headed into the kitchen and whipped up her Peanut Butter Bread.  Uh. Maze. Ing.
Peanut Butter Bread
recipe from the Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook by Kathleen King
yield: 1 (9") loaf

2 c. all purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ c. salted butter, softened to room temperature
½ c. sugar
¼ c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan and set it aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars till they are combined.  Add the peanut butter and mix it in.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again.  Add the flour mixture.  Blend until combined.  The mixture will be dry.  Slowly pour in the milk and mix well.

Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 50 minutes or until the center springs back when pressed with a fingertip.

Cool the loaf for 10 minutes in the pan and remove the bread from the pan to a cooling rack to cool completely.
This bread is so moist and addicting!  It has the texture of a quick bread...but it tastes like a cookie!  So. Stinkin'. Good.

And though it may seem difficult to top a loaf of warm peanut butter bread, I think a GIVEAWAY comes pretty darn close.  That's right.  The generous folks at Tate's Bake Shop have graciously offered to give one of my readers the very same gifts I received....a gorgeous Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook and a Cookie Gift Pack which houses three types of freshly baked cookies (Chocolate Chip, White Chocolate Macadamia, and Oatmeal Raisin)!  Eeeek!  I told you it got better.
***This giveaway has ended!***
offer good to residents of the US only (sorry non-USers)

To enter:
Simply leave a comment on this post
...for fun, tell me what you think you'll do with the cookbook and cookies if you win...keep them for yourself (because after all, we all deserve some goodies) or give them to somebody as a gift (check somebody off of your list).

for extra entries do any of the following and leave a separate comment for each:
~Follow girlichef through Networked Blogs on Facebook (simply click box on sidebar)
~"like" girlichef on Facebook (also on sidebar)
~share this giveaway on Facebook, please tag both girlichef and Tate's Bake Shop if you do
~Blog about this giveaway with a link back to this post
~Tweet the following message (can be done once per day; be sure to leave a comment each time) or by hitting the retweet button at the start of this post:
Enter this #giveaway from @girlichef now for your chance to win #cookies & a #cookbook!

-All entries must be received by Sunday, December 5th at 6:00 pm Eastern time.
The winner, to be chosen by random draw, will be announced on Monday, December 6th!-

If you absolutely cannot wait, or if you just want to get a jump on things, head on over to Tate's Bake Shop website...I'm sure you'll find plenty of tempting things you can order right online.  As a bonus, Tate's is going sharing a 15% discount to my awesome readers...good on any purchase now through December 31, 2010.  Simply use the discount code "cookie" when placing your order!
*Both my cookies and review copy of the book were provided to me by the wonderful people at Tate's Bake Shop, as are the giveaway items.  The opinions expressed in this post are all mine.
*This post is linked to:
Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chow and Chatter Recipe App ~support a fellow blogger!

I am sure that most of you know Rebecca of Chow and Chatter.  Yes?  Well, if you don't, let me tell you a little bit about her.  Rebecca is a Registered Dietitian whose passion is travel and food.  She loves to travel with her hubby and adorable she writes (& does social media marketing for many other outlets), blogs, shares videos on USTREAM, and does a fun internet radio show on Blog Talk Radio where she talk to and interviews all types of people (including moi).  She is just about the sweetest person you'll ever meet...and personally, I could listen to her beautiful, sing-song British accent for hours.  Don't judge.

Although, what I wanted to complain talk to you about today was that fact that I don't have an iPhone.  Or an iPad.  Or an iPod touch.  That makes me kinda...okay very...jealous of those of you who DO own one or more of these new-fangled technological devices. You have the world right at your fingertips.  Which means that you are able to order Rebecca's latest endeavor...her Chow and Chatter Recipe App!  That's right, move over Martha.  Move over Bitty.  Make room for Reb, she's joining you on the big little screen!  Yes, my friend Rebecca is quite the entrepreneur, don't you think?
  "Rebecca travels around the world and brings you unique and healthy recipes from her travels. This App allows you too quickly and easily search her best recipes by Cuisine. If you are into cooking, and like to try new and exciting recipes from around the world, this is one iPhone App that is a must have!"
Order the Chow and Chatter Recipe App for your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad from iTunes's only $0.99!

Way to go Rebecca, I am so proud of you!  So, for those of you who have the ability to order this app, please support a fellow blogger and add it to your app collection!
Watch Rebecca's video explaining her app right here... can check out the Press Release here!
Saturday, November 27, 2010

SPARTAN (Green & White) Chili ....Go State!

Fists are pumpin'...mouths are wootin'...legs are dancin'...roofs are raisin'...

My boys are Big Ten Champs!!  Go Spartans!!  Okay, we're tied for first, but I'll take it.  This chili is perfect for a game day.  We warmed up with a bowl while tailgating...and refueled with a bowl during half time.  There's nothing a little GREEN and WHITE can't fix.  Not today, at least. 

I started by soaking Great Northern Beans overnight and then cooking them until tender.  I also made a turkey stock with turkey carcass, neck, and a few extra veggies and aromatics (carrot, onion, celery, parsley, bay, cloves, thyme, garlic, and peppercorns).  If you don't have any turkey stock and don't feel like making any, feel free to use chicken stock or broth.  Oh, and of course you could use canned beans, if you wished, as well.
Green & White Chili
MSU Spartans Chili
Big Ten '10 Champs Chili
makes a big ol' batch (~1 - 1½ gallons)

olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
8 cloves garlic, peel & smash
2 poblano chiles (roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded), chopped
2 Tbs. Hatch chile powder (or another green chile powder)
1 gallon turkey stock
3 c. cooked Great Northern Beans (or another white bean)
2½ c. cooked white hominy
4 c. cooked, pulled turkey (or chicken)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

sour cream
avocado, diced
cilantro, chopped
pepperjack cheese, shredded
fried tortilla strips

Heat a couple of glugs of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion, green pepper, garlic, and poblanos.  Cook until the onions become translucent, stirring from time to time.  Add hatch chile powder, stirring, for ~30 seconds then add salsa verde. Let it bubble away for a few minutes, then add in turkey stock and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.  Add beans, hominy, and turkey meat to pot.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper, to taste.  Partially cover and simmer gently for ~20 minutes.
Serve topped with any or all of the garnishes.

Keeps well in a warm crockpot all day long.  Tastes even better after sitting (in the refrigerator) overnight and then re-heated!  

Go Green!  Go White!

*This post is linked to:
SouperSundays tailgatingtime

Friday, November 26, 2010

Time to bake the Brioche!

Thanksgiving came and went so quickly this year!  I'm not even posting our menu because we always do basically the same spread...with variations on the turkey, stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes.  We always have pumpkin and pecan another one or two desserts that try to make the yearly roster.  Occasionally a variation on green bean casserole will make an appearance.  We always have my homemade applesauce and cranberries.  My youngest sister always brings mac & cheese, sweet potatoes, and greens.  Usually broccoli salad pops up.  This year I decided I was going to focus on the breads.  Nothing else extremely exciting to share...nothing inspiring me to wax poetic.  Family, football, food...delicious, button-popping plates...but I only busted out the camera once or twice.  Can you believe it?  I made three types of rolls...and all were perfection.  Let's start with the brioche...

Brioche Rolls
recipe by Dorie Greenspan via BOM found here
makes 12 rolls or 2 loaves
(Don’t skip the overnight rest — it’s what gives the brioche its lovely texture.)

¼ c. warm-to-the-touch whole milk
¼ c. warm-to-the-touch water
3 Tbs. sugar
4 tsp. active dry yeast
2¾ c. all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
12 Tbs. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Pour the warm milk and water into the bowl of a stand mixer, add a pinch of the sugar, and sprinkle over the yeast. In another bowl, mix the flour and salt together.

When all the yeast has absorbed some liquid, stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until you have a creamy mixture. Fit the mixer with the dough hook, add all of the flour mixture at once, and turn the mixer on and off in a few short pulses to dampen the flour. Set the mixer to medium-low speed and mix for a minute or two, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, until you have a shaggy, fairly dry mass. At this point, what you’ve got won’t look like a dough at all — in fact, it will be pretty ugly, but that doesn’t matter.

Scrape down the bowl, turn the mixer to low, and add the beaten eggs one third at a time, beating until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Beat in the remaining sugar, increase the mixer speed to medium, and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough starts to come together.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the butter in 2-Tbs. chunks. I like to squeeze the butter between my fingers to soften it even more just before I toss it into the bowl. Beat for about 30 seconds, or until each piece of butter is on its way to being almost incorporated, before adding the next little chunk of butter. When all the butter is in, you’ll have a dough that is very soft, really almost like a batter. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and climbs up the hook, about 10 minutes, or a little longer.

Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave it at room temperature until it’s nearly doubled in size; it will take at least 1 hour, maybe longer, depending on the warmth of your room.

Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator until it stops rising as energetically, about 2 hours; “slap” it down every 30 minutes.

Press the plastic against the surface of the dough and leave it in the refrigerator to chill overnight. The dough is ready to use after its overnight rest (and will keep in the refrigerator up to three days).

Divide the chilled dough into 12 portions, divide each portion into 3 pieces, and shape each piece into a ball. Place three dough balls into each of 12 buttered muffin tins.  Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap/film and set aside to rise, until doubled in size, ~1½-2 hours.
When the rolls are almost risen, preheat the oven to 400° F. Brush each roll with egg wash (1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water), bake for 20-23 minutes, or until risen and golden.
Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then unmold the loaves and allow them to cool for at least 1 hour.

To make loaves: Divide the chilled dough in half. Cut each half into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long.
Butter and flour two 7 1/2-x-3 1/2-x-2-inch [or larger] loaf pans and arrange 4 logs crosswise in each pan. Cover the pans and leave them at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. Place the pans on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the loaves are nicely risen and beautifully golden.  Cool as for rolls.  Let sit at least an hour before slicing.

*This post is linked to:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kids on Food Book Review: The Gigantic Sweet Potato by Dianne de Las Casas & some Sweet Potato Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you enjoy turkey day & that you have many blessings for which to be thankful... Salud!

photo credit

Isn't it funny how in the midst of pie baking, bread rising, turkey brining, stock making, cranberries bubbling, apples smooshing, sweet potatoes baking, green beans casseroling...regular day to day life still wants to continue?  Sheesh.  I mean, people still expect to be fed and clothed and helped with their homework.  Sometimes they even want to sit down and read a book to you...or be read to.  So, take a deep breath and read a book with the kids.  Even better, read one in the spirit of the season!

The Gigantic Sweet Potato by Dianne de Las Casas is a fun little adventure into the garden.  Ma Farmer develops a craving for some Sweet Potato Pie that she just can't shake.  Unfortunately she doesn't have any sweet potatoes growing in her garden, and since she prefers  home grown food, she decides it's time to plant one.  With a lot of love and care, that sweet potato grows bigger than she ever imagined, and it took the help of many to pull it from the ground.  It demonstrates the fact that no matter how small you are, you can do anything you set your mind to!  The Gigantic Sweet Potato is a great story for younger kids...and it ends in the sweetest way possible...with a recipe, of course!  Ma Farmer finally satisfied that urge for some Sweet Potato Pie...and we added it to our Thanksgiving table.

A few thoughts from the kiddos themselves...
Sweet Thang:  If you try, you can do anything!  It was great.
Drama Queen:  That sweet potato was gigantic.  Oh look, there's a recipe!
Both: Can we make it!? (of the pie)
...pshaw.  Like they even needed to ask.  It was a bit different from my "usual" version of sweet potato pie...which includes Bourbon...but we liked it!  And it super easy to make.  Dump all of the ingredients into a bowl and let the kids mix away.  Pour into your unbaked pie shell, bake...that's it!  The kids had a blast making it and can't wait to share it with the extended family.
Ma Farmer's Sweet Potato Pie
“From THE GIGANTIC SWEET POTATO by Dianne de las Casas, illustrated by Marita Gentry © 2010. Used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.”

1 lb. sweet potatoes, cooked and peeled
½ c. butter, softened
¾ c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
½ c. sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 (9") pie crust, unbaked (my pie crust)

In a mixing bowl, mash the sweet potatoes.  Add butter.  Mix thoroughly.  Stir in sugar, brown sugar, condensed milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.  Pour into an unbaked pie crust. Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve warm with a large dollop of whipped cream.  Mmm, mmm, mmm.

*Although I received this book free of charge to review from the publisher, the opinions in this post were all mine.  And Sweet Thang's.  And Drama Queen's.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chocolate Stout Cake and Cable TV

So I finally gave in.  Two and a half weeks ago.  After what seems like ages, we once again have cable.  I don't actually remember how long it's been since the last time we had it or a dish or anything of that sort, which in itself means it's been a long time.  I'm thinking around eight years.  Wow!  It's not like I've been in the dark...I have a computer, after all.  We'll catch some of the vast world of television at a hotel or one of my many family members homes...because they can't do without...but that's been the extent.  I actually like renting whole seasons of shows I've missed and watching them in one fell swoop.  No commercials...back to back waiting.  Actually I'll continue to do that since I drew the line at premium channels.  Dexter, Weeds, True Blood...I actively work to avoid their story lines until the next season is don't you dare say anything.  One channel I am truly head over heels for, though.  The Cooking Channel.  That wasn't around last time we had cable.  Sure, I like Food Network...but it's the Cooking Channel I always find myself watching.  And DVRing.  Don't even get me started on DVR. Heaven!  Many new celebrity chefs have emerged since I last had the ability to sit and check them out.  But in all honesty, my favorites remain unchanged.  You all know that Rick is my favorite. Right?  Unfortunately he's not on either channel.  Lidia is right up there, as well.  She's not on either channel. Ugh.  But fortunately I can still watch Jamie and Nigella and Julia (thank you, Cooking Channel).  But I can SHOUT with no qualms that I have a new favorite to add to my list.  Thanks to somebody who introduced me to him before I even knew I'd be able to watch him every week...and somebody else who reminded me of that introduction after I actually was able to watch him every week.  Friends rock...always looking out for you...  He's tattooed and extremely adorable.  He's awesome in the kitchen and he's full of passion. Beauty. I canNOT get enough Chuck HughesDo you watch Chuck's Day Off?
photo credit: Food Network Canada
Major Crush. I can't help going a bit ga-ga over that Canadian accent and adorable smile...especially when it's only the icing on the cake.  The he's-an-amazing-chef cake. His love for food and the people he feeds is the biggest turn on.  I wanted to make absolutely everything he made on his Beer Show...and I will...but I started with dessert.  Can you blame me?
Chocolate Stout Cake
recipe via from Chuck Hughes via The Cooking Channel
makes ~4 svgs.

1½ c. Stout Beer
½ c. heavy cream
½ c. + 2 Tbs. sugar
1¼ c. semi sweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 c. French bread w/ crust, cut into 1" cubes I used a Tuscan Boule
whipped cream for serving
Preheat oven to 325° F.
Bring the Stout, cream, and ½ c. of the sugar, to a simmer in a medium saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Add 1 c. of the chocolate chips and whisk until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the eggs and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture.
Add the bread cubes and the remaining chocolate chips to the custard, and toss to coat. Transfer to 1½-quart shallow, greased baking dish. The batter should come close to the top of the pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over top. 
Bake until the custard thickens and center is just set, about 50 - 60 minutes.
Serve warm, cut a circle using a round biscuit cutter. Garnish with partially whipped whipping cream, lightly sweetened with sugar.
You can see this is basically a bread's rich and complex and delicious!  The lightly sweetened cream is a necessity since the cake itself is so...well...deep for lack of a better word.  Sheer indulgence.  And YES, you CAN taste the Stout.

I knew it would happen.  I've grown to love having cable again.  Perhaps that's why I put off getting again for such a long time.  That and the price.  Now I don't know if I'd be able to give it up...without major withdrawal, that is.
*This post is linked to:



Tuesday Night Supper Club

Monday, November 22, 2010

How 'bout throwing back a few SNOWBALLS with me?

Although we saw a light coating of snow a couple of weeks back, that quickly disappeared and we've been enjoying quite a bit of an Indian Autumn!? here in Northern Indiana this year.  It's almost unheard of to be snow-less the week of Thanksgiving...not that I'm complaining.  Give me a couple of weeks of snow in December and I'm all good.  I used to love it as a kid, but once you have kids to start worrying about...or rather the road conditions and other loses some of its sparkle.

I'm just fine with kickin' back with a few of these Snowballs!  Eggnog, rum, and lemonade mixed together in a glass to form a "grown-up ice cream soda"...adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe.  Head on over to Cocktail Puppy where I posted the recipe...join me in throwing back a few Snowballs!

Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast