Polenta pizza

As promised, another recipe from The Cousin! May I say that this pairs beautifully with margaritas? :)

We made two sheet pans of this to feed the assorted family we had collected at the house that night; The Cousin wrote down the recipe for one sheet pan for a more reasonable size.

Polenta pizza

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups dry polenta
  • 9 cups milk
  • 2-3 cups Parmesan cheese
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Brink milk to a boil (it is so, so likely to boil over so don’t walk away), and slowly add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk then a wooden spoon as it gets thicker
  2. When mixture is starting to thicken stir in Parmesan cheese and salt; continue cooking, stirring fairly often until it is “uber thick” (so sayeth The Cousin)
  3. Spread onto greased sheet pan and cool uncovered in fridge until firm
  4. Top at will (see below) and bake at 400F until cheese is melted

Topping ideas:

  • The Cousin recommends fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and fresh tomatoes. I totally concur
  • Classic toppings like pepperoni, sausage, etc? Also good
  • Sun dried tomatoes on pizza rock my world. I highly recommend
  • Other than that? Go crazy! Let me know what you come up with

Honey soy chicken

Y’all, I have somehow done it again. AGAIN I have a lovely camera lens that is now in two pieces. I don’t even know how, but I do know that iPhone photos of food aren’t quite the same. Better than nothing, though, right?

This is based on the Honey Roast Orange Chicken recipe from The Minimalist Cooks at Home by Mark Bittman. The Yankee and I both loved it!

Honey soy chicken

Ingredients

  • You will need:
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (lower sodium kind is great)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Combine everything but chicken in a bowl and whisk to combine
  3. Lay chicken breasts in a single layer in a cast iron skillet or baking dish and spoon over about half the sauce
  4. Bake at 375F for about 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through, turning over halfway through cooking to keep it evenly coated in the sauce
  5. When chicken is done move it to a plate to rest, then pour remaining sauce into the skillet; cook uncovered on medium high until sauce reduces and thickens
  6. Slice chicken into strips (against the grain) and serve over rice and vegetables, using thickened sauce to finish it all off. So tasty!

This was so fast and easy. Let me know what you think!

Shortbread two ways

I got a new shortbread pan from King Arthur Flour last week and it included a recipe booklet. I had NO idea shortbread was so easy to make! The Yankee has taken several batches to work already, with more requested. Check this out!

Classic shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (unsifted)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla or maple syrup
  • 1 cup flour (unsifted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Cream the butter until the color lightens, then cream in powdered sugar, then vanilla, then flour
  3. Knead briefly without adding any flour until dough is smooth
  4. Press dough into nonstick sprayed pan and prick surface with a fork
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes until lightly browned, and cool in the pan for 10 minutes; turn onto a wooden cutting board and cut immediately (if you wait till it cools it will fall apart when you cut it)

For even more easy fun, try out some chocolate shortbread!

Chocolate shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (unsifted)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour (unsifted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Cream the butter until the color lightens, then cream in powdered sugar, then cocoa powder, then vanilla, then flour
  3. Knead briefly without adding any flour until dough is smooth
  4. Press dough into nonstick sprayed pan and prick surface with a fork
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes until lightly browned (make sure the edges do not brown too much), and cool in the pan for 10 minutes; turn onto a wooden cutting board and cut immediately (if you wait till it cools it will fall apart when you cut it)

Enjoy, and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Caesar dressing

We had one glorious almost-70-degree day here in Nashville and it made me SO READY for spring rightnowthisinstant. This, of course, made me want a good salad! I found this dressing recipe in Rick & Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures, which I love. The recipe is insanely quick, easy and good, which I also love.

Caesar dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Tbsp. water

Instructions

  1. Crush peeled garlic (putting it in the microwave for about 5 seconds first will make this easier) into a 2-cup glass jar with a lid
  2. Add all remaining ingredients into the jar, cover tightly and shake
  3. Store in jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Enjoy, y’all. Spring is coming!

Yogurt, revisited (the lazy method)

I’ve been making yogurt for about three years now, and no matter how I do it one thing never changes: each and every time I am amazed that it actually turns into yogurt. Amazed.

My method has evolved a bit over the years, and my friend Vanessa pointed out recently that my super lazy method never made it to the blog; I’m here to remedy that. My sweet friend Ginger from Mars Hill (it’s huge; I’m sure you’ve heard of it) taught me this one, and it’s brilliant.

Yogurt, revisited (the lazy method)

Ingredients

  • You will need:
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla or maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. starter yogurt (1 Tbsp. of a previous batch, or of any yogurt that says live and active cultures; ideally one that does not have pectin)

Instructions

  1. Turn your oven on to 350F for one minute and turn it off, and turn the light on in the oven
  2. In a heavy saucepan (I use an enameled cast iron one) heat milk to 180F and whisk in remaining ingredients (hold milk at 180 for about 15 minutes for super thick yogurt); let it cool to 120F and plop in the tablespoon of starter yogurt
  3. Put a lid on the saucepan and stick it in the slightly warm oven for 5-8 hours or overnight

THE. END. Do you see what I’m saying? Lazy and easy. Please to enjoy.

Apple cake muffins

Apples. Oats. Chocolate chips. How can this possibly go wrong?

It CAN’T.

My friend Vanessa came over while I was in the middle of winging these today, and they turned out to be the perfect dessert after our lunch of chicken and dumplings.  They’re based on Rick Bayless’ recipe for Grandma’s Moist Apple Cake from Rick and Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures. I tweaked and added and subtracted and adjusted and came up with these. And I’m not sorry.

You can add a chocolate glaze or a dusting of powdered sugar over the top of this, but I think they’re pretty great just as is. Let me know what you think!