Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Poppy Bars

I apologize for my absence the past few days. My grandfather passed away and I haven't been able to concentrate on my blog. This post is dedicated to him.

These are named in honor of my grandfather. We were at my other grandparent's house and needed an easy, preferably no-bake recipe to send to him in a care package. I consulted my email folder full of Martha Stewart's Cookie of the Day newsletters. When I found these, I knew they would be perfect. They only have a few ingredients, and really, you can't go wrong with caramel and peanuts.

Caramel Peanut Bars (from marthastewart.com):
Makes about 16; possibly more or less depending on what size you cut them


2-1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts
1 14oz bag chewy caramels (about 50 caramels)
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 tablespoon water
Butter or cooking spray for pan


Butter or spray an 8x8 inch pan and lay parchment paper inside, leaving overhang on two sides. Spray paper and place second sheet on top crosswise, creating overhang on all four sides. Combine caramels, marshmallows, and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow to melt, stirring to ensure it doesn't burn.

While caramels are melting, coarsely chop 1-1/4 cups of peanuts. Spread evenly over bottom of pan. Chop remaining 1 cup of peanuts; set aside.

When caramels and marshmallows are completely melted, pour mixture over peanuts in pan.
Sprinkle remaining 1 cup peanuts over top and pat down.

Allow to cool at room temperature for 2 hours or in a refrigerator for 45 minutes. Cut into bars. Or squares. Or trapezoids.

Of course, I had to try these to make sure they were deserving of being sent to my grandfather. And they were. Chewy, delicious, and peanuty, these no-bake treats are addicting. Seriously. After we sent off the majority in the care package, my mom and I kept cutting of bits of the leftover bars "just for a taste". I dread to think what would have happened had my brothers gotten their hands on these... Would they have found their way into their cereal?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Maple Glazed Salmon

Whenever my mom is gone, it falls on me to cook. I got a little pamphlet thingy called "Inspirations" from The Fresh Market that had a recipe for maple glazed salmon. It sounded good and fairly easy, so I had my brother pick up salmon on his way back from dropping my other brother off at the gym. (Side note: The amount of peanut butter they put in their cereal is increasing. It's slowly but surely taking over the bowl. I'm afraid.)

Maple Glazed Salmon (from The Fresh Market)
Serves 4. Double if two of those people are teenage boys.


1/2 cup maple syrup (Don't you dare use Hungry Jack. I bolded, italicized, and underlined it because it's that important.)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
1-1/4 pounds salmon
2 tablespoons scallions or cucumber, thinly sliced


Mix everything but salmon and scallions together.

Place salmon fillet, cut in half if doubling recipe, in shallow dish or gallon plastic bag.
Drizzle marinade over fish, reserving 1/4 cup. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Place salmon on grill skin-side up.

Cook until fish flakes easily with fork, about 5 minutes per side.
It's flaking, all right. 
To serve, put reserved marinade out as sauce and top fish with scallions or cucumber.

This was very tasty. The marinade/sauce is pretty sweet, so I wouldn't recommend dumping it all over the salmon. My dad grilled the salmon to perfection, and the great salmon flavor went very well with the marinade. The fish doesn't keep very well, so eat the leftovers as soon as possible. This salmon goes well with polenta and a light salad.

The entire fillet couldn't fit in the picture. And yet, thanks to my brothers, we ate three-quarters of it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mom makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the universe. I know everyone says that, but in my case, it's true.  Chocolate chip cookies are adored by people of every age (for good reason), so when new neighbors moved in with young kids, I knew I had to bring over a batch.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER
Makes about 30


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/8 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cups chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
I weigh my flour. I've seen too many flat cookies; it's tragic.
Cream butter with both sugars until blended.

Stir in vanilla and egg.

Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt all at once.

Once mixed, add chocolate chips.
I had to use some milk chocolate chunks.

Form into spheres with a 1-1/2 inch ice cream scoop and place 2-3 inches apart on baking sheets.

Press down slightly. Bake one sheet at a time until light brown around edges, 13 to 16 minutes. (Don't overbake–they crisp up as they cool. They will seem a little underdone coming out of the oven.)

Store in airtight container at room temperature for one day, then freeze. (They're surprisingly good frozen, too.)

I love these cookies. The outsides are crispy and the insides are chewy and the chocolate chips are oh-so-gooey. (I'm a poet as well as a food blogger. Just kidding.) In addition to being amazing when baked, the batter tastes great as well. I can never resist grabbing a spoonful (or several) as I'm scooping the cookies.
I would have gotten 31 cookies...
It's a miracle that I haven't contracted salmonella yet. If it wasn't for the whole don't-eat-raw-eggs thing, I would just eat it from the bowl. However, the baked cookies are delicious... and much less hazardous.

Enjoy, new neighbors.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mango Lime Sorbet

Our new ice cream maker came the other day, and even though the books we ordered on ice cream making hadn't come yet, I couldn't wait. I found a recipe for mango sorbet online. Actually, I found several. And they're all the same. Every one. So to differentiate mine a little, I added lime zest.

Mango-Lime Sorbet (from every cooking site in existence)


4 ripe mangos
1 cup sugar*
1 cup water**
3 tablespoons lime juice, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon lime zest (optional, but highly recommended)

*If your mangos are very ripe, reduce the sugar a little.
**Measure water in the dry measuring cup you used for the sugar; simple syrup has to be equal parts sugar and water.


Pour water and sugar into small saucepan over medium heat.

Stir until all the sugar has dissolved.

Allow to cool. Meanwhile, slice mangos into thirds.

Cut off skin of middle section and remove as much mango flesh as possible.

Cut lattice pattern into outer sections and turn inside out.
Make more cuts lengthwise.
Remove mango chunks.

Put mango chunks, lime juice and zest, and simple syrup in blender.

Pulse until smoothly pureéd.

Taste and add more lime juice if necessary. Chill in refrigerator for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve or store in freezer.

This is such good sorbet! The lime and mango are perfectly balanced and create a zesty, yet sweet, sorbet. Since there's no cream, it freezes rock-solid in the freezer, but if you take it out about 10 minutes before serving, it softens to a scoopable texture. Just out of the ice cream maker, though, it's irresistible. My dad, resident ice cream fiend, loved it. The only problem is that I poured the pureé into the ice cream maker before starting it when I should have started it first.
This is what you get for not following the instructions.
I will definitely be making this again soon; it's the perfect, refreshing summer treat.