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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 28

Happy New Year everyone! The holidays have been busy for us with lots of family time and traveling. Since we spent Thanksgiving with my family this year, we stayed in Charlotte and celebrated Christmas with Brandon’s family. We rang in the new year in Asheville with The Avett Brothers and then headed to Atlanta on New Year’s Day for yet another Avett Brothers show and to spend the weekend with my family. It was so good to see them! My mom, Brandon and I went to the Georgia Aquarium on Saturday afternoon while my dad stayed home prepping our amazing dinner! He made Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Gumbo. SO DELICIOUS! He made his own seafood stock and made the perfect roux. It was exactly the dark color of Paul’s in the book. It was full of oysters, crab, shrimp and fresh andouille! I roasted up some okra for a side dish and my mom made my favorite banana pudding recipe. Yum! I love going home and enjoying my parents cooking! 🙂

I was happy to arrive home yesterday and get back in the swing of our normal routine. I attend an incredible hot yoga class every Sunday afternoon at 4. It’s the perfect way to end my weekend and prepare my mind and body for the work week ahead. Since I was a little crunched on time given our afternoon arrival home and wanting to make my yoga class, I was looking for an easy meal. It is freezing here (seriously – lows in the teens, highs in the 30s – that is cold in the South!) and slow cooked meat sounded like the perfect dinner. Our grocery store had chuck roasts on sale so off I went to Epicurious to look for a Gourmet magazine pot roast recipe.

I found this recipe for Oven Braised Beef with Tomato Sauce and Garlic. It only had three ingredients and had received numerous positive reviews. Decision made. You don’t even brown the beef before placing it in the dutch oven! Can it get any easier than that? Off I went to the grocery to grab the ingredients. I threw everything in my dutch oven before I left for yoga and came home to an amazing smelling house!

I was a little nervous because the recipe called for so much garlic but it really mellows out in the oven during the long, slow cook and adds a wonderful flavor. I admit that I added a couple carrots and some onion during the last hour of cooking but it totally wasn’t necessary! I just wanted more veggies. Brandon decided that this should be my “go-to” method for cooking roasts.

I served last night’s roast over mashed potatoes with a salad and french bread. I’m making shredded beef enchiladas with the leftovers tomorrow night.

And now for the announcement:
If you’ve read the “About Jen” section of this site you know that my second love is fitness and nutrition. One of the questions I get all the time is, “How do you cook and bake all that food and stay fit?” Well…I’m going to start sharing that information with you on the blog. Don’t worry, I’m not changing the focus of this blog. It is definitely still first and foremost a food blog but I am going to talk about my nutrition and exercise for the day/week in my posts. If you’re not into it – simply scroll down for the recipe!

In a nutshell, it’s all about maintaining a balance. I’m going to talk about that balance in my posts. I hope I can provide a little bit of motivation and inspiration that you can enjoy delicious food and stay fit!

Let me know what you think in the comment selection below and if you have any questions! Eventually, I hope to add separate fitness and nutrition page to the blog but that’s later in 2010!

And now for the most delicious 3 ingredient roast recipe…

Oven Braised Beef with Tomato Sauce and Garlic
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, February 2001)

Ingredients:

28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3-3 1/2 pound boneless chuck roast, trimmed
1 head of garlic, separated into cloves (unpeeled)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional: potatoes, carrots, onions or any other vegetables you’d like to add
Accompaniment: mashed potatoes, orzo or egg noodles

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Generously salt and pepper roast. Place roast in a large dutch oven. Pour tomatoes over the roast and then scatter around garlic cloves.

Cover and bake for 3-4 hours, until roast is very tender and shreds easily. Break into chunks or shred and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

*Note: if you’d like to add extra vegetables, add them when you have about 1 hour left in cooking.

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 27

I love, love, love banana bread and banana muffins – one of my favorite things to bake! So naturally, I had to try Gourmet’s Banana Bread recipe for 68 Days of Gourmet. I usually just make a small batch of banana muffins because I rarely have three ripe bananas on hand. But a couple weeks ago I found myself with three ripe bananas and knew it was the perfect opportunity to make this bread.

We enjoyed this banana bread but decided that our favorite recipe is still Cooking Light’s Classic Banana Bread. The Gourmet recipe is very moist and has a great banana flavor but I think the Cooking Light recipe produces a more tender cake with a nice crust.

I sliced this bread into individual slices, wrapped and froze them for a great breakfast on the go. I just pop it in the microwave at work for 20 seconds or so and I have warm homemade banana bread for breakfast!

Check out my other banana muffins:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
Easy Banana Muffins
Banana Nutella Muffins

Banana Bread
(Recipe source Gourmet, August 2003)

Ingredients:

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
1/4 cup crème fraîche, sour cream or plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups walnuts (4 ounces), toasted and chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 (9 x 5) loaf pans.

Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture is thick and pale and forms a ribbon when paddle is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream. Then mix in bananas, creme fraiche (or sour cream or yogurt) and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture and walnuts until just combined.

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly. Bake until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center  comes out clean, about 60-75 minutes.

Cool loaves in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack to cool completely.

Yield: 2 loaves

*Note: I halved the recipe for 1 loaf.

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 26

I usually leave the cooking of ribs to Brandon. This is the first time I’ve ever cooked them in the oven and not had him grill them. I’m not the biggest fan of ribs. I’ll eat them if someone else prepares them but I never crave them. I saw that baby back ribs were on sale at the grocery last week and remembered seeing this recipe for Hawaiian ribs in The Gourmet Cookbook. I decided to mix it up a bit and give it a try.

I put off making this for several nights because of the marinating time and just general lack of interest in the recipe. When I finally did get around to making it I was pleasantly surprised. I actually enjoyed these ribs and Brandon loved them. The Hawaiian glaze was super flavorful and had a nice sweetness. I only made a few modifications to the recipe. I subbed brown sugar for white sugar and cooked it at a lower temperature for a longer time.

If you are a rib fan this is definitely a good recipe to try – especially if you’re looking for a winter preparation to avoid the grill.

Hawaiian Ribs
(Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, published in Gourmet May 2003)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup medium dry Sherry
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 (1-inch) cube peeled fresh ginger, smashed
3 pounds baby back pork ribs (3 racks; do not cut apart)

Directions:

Stir together brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, Sherry and salt in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Pour marinade into a large pan or baking dish and add garlic, ginger and ribs. Turn ribs to coat and marinate, covered and chilled, turning occasionally. Ribs should marinate at least 3 hours or up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 300. Line bottom of broiler pan with foil and arrange ribs, rounded sides up, on broiler rack. Reserve marinade for basting – discard garlic and ginger. reserving marinade for basting (discard garlic and ginger).

Baste with marinade every 30 minutes (do not baste during last 10 minutes of cooking), until ribs are tender and glaze is well browned, about 2 1/2 hours.  Discard unused marinade.

Let racks stand 5 minutes, then cut into individual ribs.

Yield: 6 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 25

I love black bean soup. It’s easy, healthy and hearty. It’s been so cold here lately so I thought black bean soup and cheese quesadillas would be a great dinner. This was my first time making this recipe and overall I was very pleased with it. I was hoping for a little more kick spiciness-wise but otherwise it was perfect. The leftovers were even more tasty the next day. This will definitely be in my regular soup rotation!

Spicy Black Bean Soup
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, December 2008)
Printable Recipe: Spicy Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh jalapeño (2 inches), seeded and minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (19-ounces) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups water (I used half water/half chicken broth)
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf

Directions:

Heat oil in a 4-to 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Saute onion and jalapeno for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add black beans, water and bay leaf and simmer, covered. Stir occasionally until soup has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.

Transfer 2 cups of soup to a blender or food processor (I recommend a food processor – use caution when blending hot liquids!) and purée . Return to pot and heat, stirring frequently. Discard bay leaf. Season with salt and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 24

This biscotti was the second item in my Operation Baking Gals holiday package. I blogged about Operation Baking Gals and the Pecan Sables I made in my last post. I thought that biscotti would be the perfect thing to make since it’s pretty sturdy and has a longer shelf life than a drop cookie. I decided on the Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti after seeing it in The Gourmet Cookbook. I looked the recipe up online and saw that it was originally printed in 1994 and had received around 250 positive reviews. That sealed the deal on making this recipe.

Despite the double baking, biscotti is pretty simple to make. I love the thick dough and the process of the initial bake and then slicing and baking again. It’s fun to see the actual biscotti take shape!

I didn’t sample the biscotti but Brandon and my grandmother did (I sent her a package of extras). I know I’ve mentioned this before but super chocolaty desserts just aren’t my thing.  They both ate it for breakfast and said it was great – the chocolate flavor is definitely the star here. This would also be a nice snack or dessert anytime of the day!

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook, originally printed in Gourmet December 1994)
Printable Recipe: Double Chocolate Biscotti

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (I have subbed white chocolate chips for walnuts)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a large baking sheet.

In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined. Stir in flour mixture until a stiff dough. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.

With floured hands form dough into two slightly flattened logs on the prepared baking sheet. Each log should be about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Bake 35 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, leaving oven on.

On a cutting board, cut logs diagonally into 3/4-inch slices to form biscotti. Arrange cut sides down on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Biscotti keep in airtight containers 1 week and frozen, 1 month.

Yield: About 30 biscotti

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 23

I made these cookies as part of my holiday package for Operation Baking Gals. This is an organization that I’ve been participating in since the last holiday season. Check out what I baked for the other rounds here and here. Rather than me try to explain the organization, I’ll just give you a blurb from their Web site.

“Baking GALS (GALS stands for Give A Little Support) is a group of volunteer bakers from around the country who bake and ship homemade goodies to our heroic military men and women who are currently deployed in a war zone. Our goal is to show our support and send a little bit of home to remind them that we appreciate all that they do for our freedom.”

Basically, the way is works is that someone (usually a blogger) forms a team to host a soldier. Then they recruit people to join their team and bake. I’m so excited to report that there were 47 teams for this round of Operation Baking Gals. That’s seriously amazing! I joined Team Beantown Baker – hosted by fellow blogger, Jen. Check her awesome blog out here.

We baked for Rebecca. She and her husband Brian are stationed in Iraq. She still has about a year left in her 18 month deployment. Rebecca and Brian met in basic training and were married last Valentine’s Day. Our team baked for Rebecca and another team baked for Brian! I hope they’re enjoying all their treats 🙂

Rebecca and Brian

I decided to go with sturdier cookies for this round. I browsed through The Gourmet Cookbook and looked for recipes that said the cookies would keep for 5 days plus. Pecan Sables sounded nice and holiday-ish and I also picked Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that recipe!

The Pecan Sables were crisp and had a lovely balance between salty and sweet. The ground pecans in the cookie batter provided a nice nutty flavor. These are simple and delicious.

I tried a new packing method for this round. I wrapped the cookies in sets of two in cling wrap, then placed them in sandwich bags and then layered the sandwich bags in plastic containers. I have high hopes that they will arrive in tact and fresh tasting!

I was dreading the trip to the post office today to send off my package. I was shocked to discover that the post office was rocking – they had a system down and were fully staffed. It was a great experience. Once I got through the hustle of getting in and packing up the cookies in the APO flat rate box, I found myself waiting in line fighting back tears. It was such a juxtaposition that I was standing in the post office in the holiday hustle and bustle while Rebecca is serving our country and spending her holidays in Iraq.

I will be hosting an Operation Baking Gals team in 2010. One our friends is being called back into active duty to go to Afghanistan. I encourage you to participate with me. I will share the details when I have them. I will also be helping fellow blogger Tracy with a round in 2010. Her brother is currently serving in Afghanistan as well.

And now for the recipe…

Pecan Sables
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook, published in Gourmet November 2002)
Printable Recipe: Pecan Sables

Ingredients:

3/4 cup pecans (3 ounces), toasted and cooled, plus about 32 pecan halves (3 ounces)
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg, separated
Special equipment: a 2-inch round cookie cutter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

In a food processor, pulse toasted pecans with 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar until finely ground. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat together butter, remaining 2/3 cup confectioners sugar and vanilla on high speed until fluffy and lightened in color. This should take about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and beat well to incorporate. Slowly add flour and pecan mixture on low speed and mix until just combined, about 1 minutes. Dough should be crumbly but hold together when squeezed.

Halve dough and roll out half between 2 sheets of wax paper until 1/4 inch thick, about a 9-inch round. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Arrange 2 inches apart on baking sheets, reserving scraps. Roll out and cut remaining dough in same manner. Gather scraps, then re-roll and cut again.

Beat egg white until frothy and brush tops of cookies lightly. Place a pecan half on top of each round and brush pecan lightly with egg white.

Bake cookies for about 15 to 20 minutes, until tops are lightly golden. Cool cookies on sheets on racks 2 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Yield: about 32 cookies

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 22

I didn’t plan on making this pork tenderloin recipe. It happened out of desperation. I originally planned on making this Fennel Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Fennel Wedges. I bought all the ingredients for it and everything. Then I found out that my husband hates fennel – how did I never know that? I said “too bad, I’m making it anyway” but then the recipe would not load on Epicurious and it’s not in The Gourmet Cookbook. I looked everywhere online for it with no luck. It was 8:30 and I had to start something for dinner. I was hungry and cranky. I begged Brandon just to take it out and grill it but he refused…it was freezing out. I sulked off to The Gourmet Cookbook and began browsing through the pork tenderloin recipes. I was pleased to find Island Pork Tenderloin. It sounded like something we would love.

I will honestly say that I’m happy our original recipe didn’t happen because this Island Pork Tenderloin was wonderful. The spice rub is a great combination of warm flavors and the glaze is such a nice finish with brown sugar, hot sauce and garlic. Sounds strange but it totally worked. Also, I love recipes where I can start meat in a skillet and finish it in the oven. It frees me up to prepare the side items. I served this with roasted potatoes, salad and rolls.

Island Pork Tenderloin
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook)
Printable Recipe: Island Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:

FOR PORK
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pork tenderloins (a little over 1 pound)
1 tablespoons olive oil

FOR GLAZE
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon hot sauce (Tabasco)

Directions:

FOR THE PORK
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (I had my oven at 375 because of the potatoes. Just watched the internal temperature closely)

Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon and coat pork with spice rub.

Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over medium high heat until just beginning to smoke. Brown pork on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Remove from heat.

FOR THE GLAZE AND TO ROAST THE PORK
While the pork is browning, stir together brown sugar, garlic and hot sauce. Once you remove pork from heat, spread glaze onto top of each tenderloin. Roast in oven until thermometer inserted in center of  tenderloin registers 140 degrees, about 20 minutes. Tent with foil and let pork stand in skillet at room temperature 10 minutes. (Temperature will rise to about 150-155 while standing.) Slice and serve.

Yield: 2 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 21

I have to admit that I had a mini-meltdown during menu planning this week. I was all over the place and couldn’t make a decision. Sometimes menu planning is so simple for me – it all just comes together. Other times – not so much.  I was just really over thinking it for some reason. While we were unpacking groceries, I was rambling off the menu selections for the week. Brandon seemed pretty pleased with his options so I guess I pulled it off.

We decided to keep it simple tonight with salad and a baked potato. But not just any salad…Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs. I flagged this one in The Gourmet Cookbook because a) Brandon loves bacon and b) he thinks pretty much any food is even more delicious topped with an egg. One of his recent favorites has been a fried egg on hamburgers. Extra protein?

I actually made several changes to this recipe but it still turned out fabulously. First, we don’t love frisee – we usually pick it out of the salad mix or its left uneaten on the plate. You can’t even buy it on its own at the grocery store  where we shop and I was not going to make  a special trip for it. I had some baby arugula mix in the fridge so decided to go with that. Second, I realized I was out of red wine vinegar so I used a splash of white wine vinegar and a splash of balsamic instead. And last, I opted to use my egg poacher rather than use the written method for poaching eggs.

I will definitely be making this salad again. How can you not love this combination? And the warm bacon dressing is amazing…although I had to put it in the back of my head that it was essentially bacon grease and vinegar. This is a great easy weeknight dinner paired with soup or a baked potato. It would also be an impressive first course for a dinner party.

Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs
(Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, printed in Gourmet February 1999)
Printable Recipe: Frisee Salad with Lardons and Poached Eggs

Ingredients:

1/2 pound frisée (French curly endive)
6 ounces slab bacon or thick-cut bacon slices (about 6 slices)
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons shallot, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Directions:

Tear frisee into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. If using slab bacon, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Then cut bacon slices crosswise into 1/4 inch thick strips (these are your lardons).

In a heavy skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat when bacon is golden and beginning to crisp. Set skillet aside.

In another skillet, place 1 inch of warm water and set aside. Fill up a 4-quart saucepan halfway with water and stir in white vinegar. Bring liquid to a simmer. Break each egg into a teacup one at a time and slide into simmering liquid. Immediately push white around yolk with a slotted spoon, working gently. Egg should be oval in shape and yolk should be completely covered by white. Using the same method, add the remaining 3 eggs. Simmer eggs for about 1 1/2 minutes for runny yolks up to about 3 minutes for firmer yolks. Immediately transfer eggs to skillet of warm water.

Reheat bacon in its skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook for about 1 minute, stirring often. Add red wine vinegar and boil 5 seconds. Immediately pour hot dressing over frisée and toss with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide salad among 4 plates and top with drained poached eggs. Season eggs with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 20

The beautiful thing about 68 Days of Gourmet is that my options are wide open. When a food magazine is in publication for 68 years you can be sure that they probably have a recipe for most anything you’re craving.

We picked up a Christmas tree on Sunday. We planned on decorating it Monday and I thought I’d bake some cookies to be festive and go with our eggnog (and because I love any excuse to bake cookies). One of our favorite cookie combinations is Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. I’ve tried several different recipes in the past and decided to try Gourmet’s recipe since I’m in the middle of 68 Days of Gourmet.

This recipe was super simple. The dough was made and ready to go in the oven in less than 10 minutes. The cookies smelled great cooking and were the perfect treat for holiday decorating! These are great and we’ve enjoyed having them around the house this week.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
(Recipe source Gourmet, March 1994)
Printable Recipe: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and oats in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand-held mixer) cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy and lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and then slowly beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips after flour has been incorporated.

Drop dough in rounded tablespoons onto baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Bake for 12-15 minutes (I only baked mind for 9 minutes because we prefer soft and not crisp cookies), or until golden. Cool completely on wire racks.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Yield: 5-6 dozen (Recipe can easily be cut in half)

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 19

I have said this before but I have to say it again. Weekly menu planning and shopping makes life so much easier. I have converted so many friends to this practice and believe me, it’s life changing. First, you save tons of stress by not having to worry about what to make for dinner and having time to make it to the store. Second, you save money by planning meals based on weekly specials and only making one trip. On average I spend between $65-$80 a week on our groceries. Whenever I go to the store for just one meal, I never leave without spending $20-$30. That would quickly add up if you were making nightly trips. Also, if you don’t already have a plan, there’s the added temptation to go out instead of cook.

All that said, tilapia was on sale for $3.99 a pound this week. It was just too good of a deal to pass up and tilapia is one of the few fish that I can get Brandon to eat without grumbling. I found this recipe on Epicurious and was surprised to see that it had received 456 reviews and had a 4-fork rating. It sounded like something we’d really enjoy. This recipe was so simple to make. You could have this on the table in 20 minutes – easy. The chili lime butter was so full of flavor and wonderful melted over the pan sauteed tilapia. Brandon told me at least 5 times during dinner that he loved this preparation and wanted to add it to the regular rotation. We also decided that the chili lime butter would be good melted over grilled flank or skirt steak.

Don’t be scared of the peppers in the butter. The flavors are very balanced and it’s not overly spicy. I had a couple bites with some kick but nothing too bad. The lime juice and zest really add a brightness to the dish. This is a great fish dish to add to your collection.

Chili Lime Tilapia
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, July 2003)

Ingredients:

FOR CHILI LIME BUTTER
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lime zest, finely grated
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh Thai or serrano chile (preferably red), including seeds (I used jalapeno because it’s all I had)
1/2 teaspoon salt

FOR FISH
6 (5- to 6-oz) pieces skinless tilapia fillet or farm-raised striped bass fillets with skin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

FOR THE CHILI LIME BUTTER
Mix together the butter, peppers, shallots, lime zest and juice and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

FOR THE FISH
Rinse fish and pat dry. Generously salt and pepper and then dredge in flour and shake off excess. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and heat until shimmers. Carefully place fish into skillet and cook about 2-3 minutes per side, until fish is golden brown and reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees.

TO SERVE
Serve each piece with a dollop of chili lime butter. The butter will melt and spread over the fish.

Yield: 6 servings
(I made the full recipe of butter and only 2 tilapia fillets. We had a little bit of leftover butter but not tons – we are fatties and it was delicious! We kept spreading more on! 🙂 )

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