Saturday, November 3, 2012

Everyday Food Mini Magazine

One of my favorite little recipe books that's put out seasonally is Everyday FOOD, from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living. I picked up a copy this past winter, their January/February issue, because it had so many recipes in it that sounded good! This past week I tried out two of them and as usual, they were a jumping off point and I didn't follow them exactly:

Rustic Chicken Minestrone Soup
olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
6-8 cups of chicken stock
1 cup shredded, cooked chicken
1/2 cup uncooked pasta (I used elbows)
1 cup baby carrots, sliced
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 zucchini, diced into quarter slices
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 frozen basil cubes from TJ's
salt and pepper

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat and add the chopped onion, cooking until softened (about 5 minutes), then add the garlic and cook another minute more. Add the tomatoes with all of their juice and cook for 5 minutes more.
2. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the carrots and cook for a couple of minutes, then add your uncooked pasta (it will cook in the hot broth). After another 5 minutes, add the chickpeas and the basil cubes. After another couple minutes you can finally add your zucchini and spinach. Those last two will cook pretty quickly so you want to be careful not to overcook.
3. It's important to remember that the soup will continue cooking while it cools once you turn the stove off, plus it will cook more anytime you reheat if you've made up a big batch. Season to taste - so try a spoonful and if its needs a bit more flavor, feel free to add some salt and pepper.
4. Serve with some fresh parmesan sprinkled on top!

I used chicken from Sweet Cheeks BBQ restaurant, so this minestrone came out really smoky - probably too smoky for some people's tastes, but I liked it! That is easily avoided by using your own chicken, from a meal earlier in the week or just shred a chicken breast after cooking it. I also learned in a cooking class that you should never use uncooked macaroni in a soup because it will get overcooked and keep soaking up the liquid. It seemed to work okay this time though!

Triple Chocolate Brownies
SECRET INGREDIENT: 1/3 cup black beans!
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs plus 1 egg white
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and get your pan ready - lightly butter or spray your pan (9-inch square) and also line it with parchment paper, which will make getting the brownies out WAY easier.
2. In a food processor, puree the black beans. Then in a large microwaveable bowl, combine butter, beans and chocolates. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each until the combination is melted and smooth. Should take 2-3 minutes.
3. Whisk in the sugar, eggs and egg white, and vanilla until smooth.
4. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the melted chocolate mixture, but be sure not to over mix.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and you'll bake for about 25 minutes. A toothpick you put into the middle of the brownies should come out pretty clean or with crumbs attached, but not with liquidy chocolate on the toothpick - that means it's not done.
6. Let the brownies cool before you try to take them out with the parchment paper hanging over the edges.

These brownies are pretty fudgy and less cakey - but they were a big hit! Everyone was so surprised to hear there were black beans in the dessert - the three types of chocolate really make them rich and decadent, oh yeah - and delicious! I would even try making them with more black beans instead of some of the butter or egg yolk next time.

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