More dill

The other recipe I tried using dill was for biscuits, which I've never made before. These biscuits were good, but the butter was amazing... the biscuit ended up being more of a mechanism for eating the butter than a food itself.

Dill Biscuits
makes about 12

2c all-purpose flour
1t baking powder
1/4t baking soda
1t fine salt
12T cold butter, diced
2T chopped fresh dill
1/2c buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425.
Pulse flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Add butter and pulse to pea-sized pieces.
Add dill and pulse in buttermilk until dough just comes together.
Transfer to a floured surface and knead 3-5 times. Shape into a disk.
Roll dough until 1/2" thick.
Cut into rounds using a cookie cutter or a glass.
Place on a baking sheet and brush tops with buttermilk.
Bake until golden, 10-12 minutes.

Honey Butter

4T butter, softened
2t honey
1/4t sea salt

Mix all ingredients together until smooth.



Another one of those ingredients that I've never used before is dill. I didn't even know what it looked like when I went to the store. It ended up coming in such a large quantity that I made more than one recipe with it. First...

Lemon Dill Green Beans
serves 10

2 1/2lb green beans
3T chopped dill
2 1/2T minced shallot
2 1/2T olive oil
2 1/2T lemon juice
2 1/2T whole-grain mustard
3/4t salt
3/4t pepper

Steam green beans.
Whisk dill, shallot, oil, lemon, mustard, salt and pepper. Add green beans and toss.

You can definitely taste the dill in these, so don't try if you know you don't like dill. I thought they were good, and I would make them again, but they definitely weren't nearly as good as these lemon herb butter green beans.


Garlic Ginger Chicken Thighs

Lately I've been trying to cook more than bake, and to try recipes with ingredients that I would never otherwise eat. This recipe is simple enough that I wouldn't have minded spending time on it if I didn't like it, and it uses ginger, which I wouldn't normally eat. (I even had to google how to peel it.)

Garlic-Ginger Chicken Thighs
serves about 4

2lbs skinned, boneless chicken thighs
1c thinly sliced red onion
2T minced garlic
2T minced peeled ginger
1/4c soy sauce
1/4c orange juice
1t pepper

Combine chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, soy, juice and pepper in a plastic bag.
Seal and shake to coat chicken. Refrigerate at least one hour.
Preheat grill to medium high heat. Oil grate (or grill pan). Grill skin side down, 5-6 minutes.
Flip and continue to cook, about 5 minutes.

I used boned chicken thighs for this (my grocery store doesn't sell boneless but skinned chicken). If you do this, add about 5-10 minutes to the cook time.


As promised...

The best part of Jim's welcome home party (besides him finally being home) was....


I saw these on bakerella.com a few months ago and had been wanting to try them, but was waiting for a good occasion. They're very time consuming and really easy to screw up, but once you get the hang of them they're fun too. I wasn't adventurous enough to try any of the crazy designs shown over at bakerella, but I'm pretty sure they taste just as good no matter what shape they're in.

To make:
Prepare a box of your favorite cake mix and let cool completely.
Crumble into tiny pieces, then add 3/4 can of your favorite frosting, and mix together.
Roll mixture into balls and let chill in refridgerator or freezer.
Melt chocolate.

Take out 5-10 cake pops from freezer.
Dip stick into chocolate, then stick into the cake ball about 3/4 of the way.
Dip entire cake ball and stick into chocolate.
Tap stick against side of bowl to remove excess chocolate.
Put stick into styrofoam block and allow to set.

I found these to be much easier when working in small batches. The first batch I did, I melted too much chocolate at once and it ended up burning. I also took out all of the cake balls from the freezer at once and they started to get too warm by the end, so they were falling apart when I dipped them into the chocolate. But my mess ups turned into cake balls instead of cake pops!

These really are SO good and are worth spending time making... check out bakerella for more ideas and instructions.


Jim's Welcome Home Party

When Jim came home after a 40 day trip to Asia I wanted to do something special for him, so I decided to throw a welcome home party. We mainly had frozen apps, but I made a few snacks as well.

One of those things was chicken fingers. I've never found a homemade chicken finger recipe that I actually like better than fast food chicken nuggets until now. The cheese added into this makes them so good. And they're really quick and easy too!

Parmesean Crusted Chicken Tenders
serves 4

1/4c all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2c finely shredded parmesean cheese
1c coarse dry breadcrumbs
1lb chicken tenders
1T Italian seasoning
1t garlic powder
1/4t salt
1c marinara sauce, heated

Preheat oven to 450.
Place flour in one dish. Lightly beat eggs in another dish. Combine parmesean cheese and breadcrumbs in a third dish.
Toss chicken tenders with Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt in a medium bowl. Coat in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, then coat in breadcrumb mixture.
Place on baking sheet and coat top with cooking spray. Bake 10 minutes. Turn and coat other side with cooking spray. Bake about 10 more minutes.
Serve with warm marinara sauce.

And the even tastier dessert from that party is coming soon...


It's been a while...

I just realized it's been over 3 months since I last posted to here. I've still been baking and cooking, but every time I've sat down to post, I really haven't felt like it. But now with Christmas coming up, I'm finally motivated again... not that today's post will have anything to do with Christmas but those will be coming soon!

Over Labor Day weekend I was home and my parents decided to have a little party with some family and friends, and I couldn't have been more excited to try baking. Especially with my mom's big kitchen (and her help of course). We made lemon bars (see this post), and mini cupcakes.

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes
(from Magnolia Bakery)

1 1/2c self-rising flour
1 1/4c all-purpose flour
1c unsalted butter, softened
2c sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1c milk
1t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Line mini cupcake pan with liners.
In a smal bowl, combine the flours, then set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla.
Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake 12-15 minutes.

French Silk Frosting

2 2/3c confectioners' sugar
2/3c butter, softened
2 1oz squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
3/4t vanilla extract
2T milk

In a medium bowl, blend confectioners' sugar, butter, melted chocolate and vanilla.
Gradually add milk and beat until smooth and fluffy.