Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Recipe: TKS Blondies!

For the past week, I've been on a quest to create the perfect blondie recipe. I've decided to make the kids their lunch every school day (something they've done on their own since late elementary school) as a challenge for myself for the next several weeks. As I'm a cook by trade, I thought that maybe I should actually cook something.

You know blondies...right? They're not chocolate like brownies, but are more like a bar form of chocolate chip cookies. With searching and testing and tweaking, I think I've worked out a terrific recipe that is the perfect mix of ooey and gooey. You can even whip them up today without a trip to the store - they're that easy.

TKS Blondies
Makes 9 big blondies or 16 small
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional, but they're delicious!)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Spray an 8" x 8" pan with non-stick cooking spray. Tear a piece of foil approximately 18" long, then fold to fit bottom of pan, leaving excess hang over opposite sides to form a sling. Spray foil lightly with non-stick spray (like that --->).

Place melted butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl and stir to combine. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl, and stir well to combine (it will seem a bit dry, but just keep stirring until it is all just combined). Add chocolate chips and walnuts, then stir to combine again. Spread batter in pan and bake for 23-25 minutes, until center no longer jiggles when shaken, and edges are puffed and beginning to brown.

Remove pan from oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Use sling to remove blondies from pan and place on rack to cool completely before cutting...if you can resist. ;)

Chef Chris

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Recipe: Italian Potato Wedges

So, it's a weeknight and I'm in a pinch for dinner. I'm tired of cooking the same old stuff, but not feeling super inspired. You've been there...right? Sometimes I feel like I live there if you know what I mean. I want the family to be happy, but they're so not into all of the fab Asian-inspired dishes that I'm into right now, so I'm looking for stuff that doesn't bore me to tears but will keep them happy too.

Enter Italian Potato Wedges.

I had potatoes. I had my own homemade version of Italian dressing mix in the cupboard. I had olive oil and an oven. BOOM. Quick side dish, tasty, no familial issues. Try 'em; you'll like 'em.

Italian Potato Wedges

  • 4 baking potatoes, scrubbed, not peeled 
  • 1 T. homemade Italian Dressing Mix (recipe below)
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 Good pinch of salt (optional, depending on how salty your dressing mix is)

Preheat oven to 400-degrees with a rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Cut each potato in half lengthwise, then each of those in half, then in half one more time, resulting in 8 long wedges per potato. Place in a large bowl. Add dry Italian dressing mix, olive oil, and pinch of salt (optional) to bowl with potatoes and mix well with your hands (the kids love this part!) taking care to evenly coat the potatoes. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray or coat with a bit more olive oil. Place seasoned potato wedges on baking sheet, one of the cut sides down.

Place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until side touching the pan is brown. Turn all wedges over to place remaining cut side down. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are browned and tender.

Homemade Italian Dressing Mix (And yes, you should totally make your own. It's crazy easy and way tastier than the stuff you get at the market):
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 1 T. onion powder
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 2 T. dried oregano
  • 1 t. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t. dried thyme
  • 1 t. dried basil
  • 1 T. dried parsley
  • 1/4 t. celery seeds
  • 2 t. salt
Place all ingredients into a resealable container. Mix well to combine. Store in a cool dry place.

To make dressing instead of using the dry mix, whisk together 2 T. dressing mix with 1/4 c. red wine vinegar and 2/3 cup vegetable oil. Store in fridge.