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Creative cooking blog that shows how to prepare food for family and friends. ecipes and ideas that inspire you to enjoy cooking.

It's Cookie Christmas Time!

posted by Kim & Carlinne

It's no secret that Cookie Christmas is one of our favorite traditions. This year we added two new cookies to our usual menu of cookies:  Vanilla Bean and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars.

The favorites that we bake every year are, CW2C Monster Cookie and the Chocolate Sugar Cookie pictured below and the popular Snickerdoodles featured in our opening picture.

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These delicious cookies could not be made without the use of the wonderful kitchen equipment that Carlinne's parents generously let us use every December!

If  you are baking this season let us know what your favorites are. We'd love to hear about your favorite Christmas tradition in the kitchen.

Friday Cocktail: Christmas Velvet

posted by Kim & Carlinne

It's been awhile since we have shared a Friday cocktail; we both introduced this Christmas Velvet cocktail at our Thanksgiving celebrations. How can you go wrong when it starts with Great Lakes Christmas Ale? This cocktail has a beautiful golden color and is an excellent choice for a cocktail before dinner. Fill a flute half-way with Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Use a dry sparkling white wine that's similar to champagne to fill the rest of the glass. The spicy notes of the Christmas Ale and the crisp, dry taste of the sparkling wine make for an absolutely delicious cocktail. The two together are a perfect combination. 

If you are looking for a special cocktail to share with your family and friends this holiday season, serve a Christmas Velvet. We speak from experience, this cocktail is a great way to start any holiday celebration!

CHEERS!

Soup for Supper: Roasted Tomato

posted by Kim & Carlinne

As much as I love soup and tomatoes, I am not a fan of traditional tomato soup. So when Molly asked for tomato soup, I had to think of a way to change it up. This meant it was time to consult with the other chick and come up with something delicious. We agreed that roasting the tomatoes and onions would add a layer of flavor that would make this soup special. Carlinne also suggested taking a look at Clinton Kelly's Creamy Tomato Soup, a simple recipe I decided to work from to make my own soup.

Start by taking 2 cans of San Marzano tomatoes, 1 large sweet onion, sliced4 cloves of peeled garlic and mix together with a big swirl of olive oil. Season with a big pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Roast for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Once the mixture is roasted, remove from oven and cool. In a large stock pot add the reserve juices from the San Marzano tomatoes, 2 cups of chicken stock, 1 teaspoon of dried basil, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano and the roasted mixture that is now cooled. Simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup of half and half and a couple shakes of crushed red pepper flakes. Using an immersion blender, purée until smooth.

This roasted tomato soup is perfect for an after school snack or with that grilled cheese sandwhich for a quick and comforting weeknight dinner.

Thanksgiving Ideas: From Sides to Sweets

posted by Kim 

Need some last minute ideas for tomorrow? Well here are a few. Above is a vegetable that is often seen in some form or fashion on most thanksgiving tables: brussels sprouts. Most of us grew up not liking brussels sprouts, but times have sure changed.  Now there are so many ways to prepare that green veggie so many of us plugged our nose to eat. How about a tangy shredded brussels sprout salad. The preperation is quick and the end result will compliment your turkey perfectly. Thinly slice 12 large brussels sprouts, 5 mushrooms and peel using a vegetable peeler 1 carrot. In a sautée pan swirl a little olive oil and toss in the brussels sprouts and cook for 3 minutes over medium high heat. The brussels sprouts will remain crunchy and will turn to a vibrant green color. Season with kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Top with the mushrooms, carrots, a handful of crasins and this wonderful zesty orange dressing. In a blender take 1 large orange, juiced and zested, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons agave, 1 clove of garlic, peeled, a pinch of kosher salt and a couple grinds of black pepper. Blend together until smooth. While the blender is still going slowly pour in 1/4 cup olive oil until combined. Toss with salad and serve. 

Carrots seem to be a staple this time of year. Try heightening their flavor by tossing them in this simple citrus glaze.  Take 8 large carrots peeled and cut into matchsticks. Blanch them in boiling salted water for 5 minutes and drain. In a sautée pan add a big swirl of olive oil over medium heat. Add I head of roasted garlic and make a paste. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and wisk together. Squeeze the juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon into the mixture wisking until smooth. Season with kosher salt and a couple grinds of black pepper. Toss in carrots and serve.

To complete your thanksgiving dinner, here is a perfect sweet treat. Simply make a vanilla wafer cookie if you have extra time to spare or use store bought nilla wafers. Use frosting (as the glue) and add a hershey kiss to one side and a miniature white chocolate chip to the other side. Trim the cookie around the hershey kiss and you have perfect little acorns to share with your family and friends. 

Thanksgiving is a time when we are thankful for many things. On the top on our list is family, friendship and food! Being able to create and share such wonderful food with our family and friends gives us both a great feeling of accomplishment. Cook with 2 Chicks hope that all of you enjoy this time of thanks and cherish your thanksgiving day spent with your loved ones. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Fall Fennel Salad

posted by Kim

Fennel is an ingredient that I do not often cook with. The flavor of black liquorice is not a big hit with my family. However, I enjoy fennel and tonights salad was about me!  Honey crisp apples have been especially sweet this week. I knew that the black licorice flavor, the peppery taste of arugula and a sweet tangy honey crisp apple would be a great combinaiton.    

The four ingredients to this fall salad are arugula, fennel, honey crisp apple and dill. Dill is part of the celery family so I thought it would pair nicely with the other ingredients mentioned above.  Thinly slice 1 fennel bulb, 1 honey crisp apple and place onto of a bed of arugula. Sprinkle 1 tsp of dried dill and set aside while the dressing is being made.

Toss the salad with this zesty dressing by whisking together 4 TBSP of olive oil, 1/2 lemon squeezed, a few shakes of red pepper flakes and 1tsp of agave.  Taste the dressing and if it is a little to tangy add some water.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad and let the flavors merry.  If a crisp flavorful salad is something you are looking for than look no further. The Fall Fennel Salad is exactly what your taste buds are craving.

CW2C Cuban Panini

posted by Kim

A couple of weeks ago we posted a brisket from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. The dinner received rave reviews from my family. However, I bought a brisket that was a little too big, so we had leftovers. We usually don't eat left overs, unless they're transformed into something new. Unless it's for breakfast or an after school snack, my kids prefer not to eat the same dinner twice in the same week. With this in mind I decided to use the left over brisket in a totally different way (a panini) that would satisfy everyone. I have never made a cuban panini but have ordered one out and really enjoyed it. I knew that with the exception of the pickles for some, the panini  would be enjoyed by all.

Assembling the panini is so simple. Once the panini maker is hot, slice the ciabatta roll in half and lightly butter both sides. Put the buttered side down onto the panini maker and begin layering your ingredients. Start with a light spread of roasted garlic-dijon aioli. This mixture take seconds to make but is best when allowed to sit in the refrigerator for an hour to merry the flavors. Mix together 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons of dijon mustard,  5 cloves of smashed roasted garlic, a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Place 2 slices of black forest ham for your next layer followed by a few sliced kosher dill pickles, a slice of swiss cheese and a final light slather of the aioli on the top half of the ciabatta roll. Slowly close the panini maker and let the magic happen. Cook the panini for 8-10 minutes. Remove and add your favorite coleslaw, if desired. I used a green cabbage instead of red; it was delicious. The coleslaw took this panini to the ultimate flavor explosion. Make this great CW2C Cuban Panini; you will love it!

What's For Dinner? Brisket and Roasted Potato 'n' Carrot Coins

posted by Kim

Having a spare hour on any day means it's a good day! It sure doesn't happen often, but when it does I love to pull out one of my favorite cookbooks and pick out the next family dinner. Carlinne and I have a few favorite cookbooks and browsing through them gives us both ideas for dinners that we have featured on CW2C. Both cookbooks by Jenny Rosenstratch from Dinner: A Love Story are favorites of ours.  Not only are her books easy to follow, but she also has many tasty recipes you will be sure to make again. Another cookbook on the top of our list is The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelaman. Not only are Deb's recipes to-die-for, her photos will make you think the food is right in front of you! My love for photography makes this cookbook especially appealing.

Deb's recipe for this "holiday brisket" (as she calls it) is quite simple. Mix together 1 cup of beef stock, 3-4 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, 4 teaspoons of paprika, 2-3 teaspoons of worcestershire, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon  of onion powder. Pour the sauce directly on top of your 4-5 pound piece of beef brisket that is seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper  Bake in a Dutch oven for 3 hours at 350 degrees. 

When the meat is almost done, peel a bunch of carrots and a handful of small potatoes toss together with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, a few grinds of black pepper and 1 tablespoon of dried dill. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. After 20 minutes flip the vegetables and roast for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the brisket from the Dutch oven and transfer to a large cutting board. Cut the brisket into slices and return to the boiling sauce and keep warm until ready to serve. I served the brisket over noodles and topped it with the sauce. The roasted vegetables were perfect as a side to this delicious brisket.

If you are inspired by this meal, there are many more recipes that will please your family for any occasion in Deb's cookbook. It is worth the purchase; your family will be sure to thank you!  

Do you have a favorite cookbook? We would love to hear from you!

Fire Roasted Tomato and Barley Soup

posted by Kim & Carlinne

Fire Roasted Tomato and Barley Soup is hearty, thanks to the barley. It's perfect for fall and could even be considered a comfort food. If you need something to warm both the body and soul, try this soup.

It only took about 30 minutes to prepare this soup because  the barley was cooked earlier that morning. Barley takes about 40 minutes to prepare and is a great grain to have on hand. Sauté 3 chopped celery stalks and 1 large chopped sweet onion in a swirl of olive oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper and sauté over medium heat for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a big glug of white wine and cook down for 3 minutes. Add several fresh basil leaves, chopped and the cooked barley. Add as much as you like to make this soup to as thick as you like. Add 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes and 2 cups of chicken stock. Stir and let simmer for 15 minutes. Top with shredded white cheddar and a slice of toasted baguette. Enjoy!

Chicken Isabella

Posted by Kim

With fall quickly arriving and winter not far behind we begin to think about comfort food. CW2C tends to stay on the lighter side with our meals, so we don't have a lot of comfort food recipes. However, once in a while, we like a meal that's cheesy and even slightly rich. Chicken Isabella has rich flavors, and when I make it today for my family, I recall many fond memories while the aromas fill the kitchen.

My Mom served this dish often when I was growing up. The recipe originated from her good friend who, coincidentally, has the last name Isabella. I guess that must have been a prediction of my future friendship with Carlinne. The hands-on time for this dish is in the preparation. Once you put it in the oven, you are free to do other things, like drink a glass of wine while your kitchen smells delicious.

Slice 6 chicken breasts into long pieces similar to chicken tenders, season with kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cover with 4-6 beaten eggs, and let rest in your refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Soaking the chicken in eggs is an important step; you won't believe how tender this chicken is. 

Once the chicken is tenderized, remove from the eggs. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Set up your dredging with the melted butter in one bowl and panko bread crumbs in another. Dip each chicken piece in the butter and then the bread crumbs. Once the pieces are breaded, they are ready to brown.

Swirl 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a heated skillet. Once your oil is hot, place the tenders in the skillet without crowding. Cook on each side for 4-6 minutes until golden brown.  

Pour 2 cups of chicken stock into an oven-proof  9 X 13 pan. Add the chicken in an even layer. Add 4 cups of sautéed mushrooms on top of the chicken, and cover with provolone cheese. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 45 minutes. Serve with your favorite seasonal vegetable and enjoy!