Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cooking adventures

This past weekend was one of my first opportunities to spend time in the kitchen.  On Friday night, I made The Pioneer Woman's restaurant style salsa (yum!).  Early on Saturday, I made a minestrone soup in the crockpot (super easy!) and triple chocolate chunk cookies (my husband told me that I can't make these too frequently - very good!).

Mom joined us for lunch on Mother's Day and we had roast chicken, asparagus and mashed potatoes.  I tried out my roast chicken recipe on my mom and I think it was a hit.  For dessert, we had strawberry fool (something I have wanted to try for a long time).

Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
3 oz dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment until it’s uniformly brown and grainy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well on medium speed to combine (about 1 minute).
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the stand mixer running on low, add a little at a time to the butter mixture until just incorporated. Add all the chocolate and mix briefly to combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread out into one even layer as best you can — don’t worry if it doesn’t quite reach end to end though. The batter will spread while cooking.
Bake for 23-27 minutes, until golden. Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into 12 bars.

Strawberry Fool

1 pint strawberries
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 c sugar, or to taste
1 c heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 T powdered sugar

Hull and wash strawberries.  Chop into small pieces.  Toss strawberries with the orange juice and sugar. Set aside until the strawberries begin to make a juice in the marinade.

Place half the strawberries and all the juice in a blender and puree.  Put the puree in the refrigerator.

Whip the cream with an electric blender.  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and cream until stiff peaks form.  Remove the strawberry puree from the refrigerator and fold into the whipped cream.

Place a small amount of the whipped cream mixture in bottom of the serving glasses.  Add a layer of the slice strawberries.  Top with a final layer of the whipped cream mixture.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve (up to two hours).