Saturday, April 18, 2009

lemon bars

i am a baker by heart, cooking is just a front. I thrive when I'm making sugar-y stuff...even when I am staying away from eating it, like now.
Lemon bars are a surprising thing for me, seeing as I spent a good 25 years hating lemon-based desserts. I initially wanted to make these for Billy, he likes that kind of stuff, and they looked easy.

Then I tried one, and I was sold. Lemons are now off the hit list, leaving only pancakes, mushrooms and bananas as things I truly loathe! Do I sound neurotic? meh. These smelled so good that I swore I could hear my neighbors lingering in the hall by my door because anything that makes the hallway smell better than it's usual aroma of "hamburger helper" is like heaven.

These are really easy, even though they are a two-step process, I usually try and stay away from things like that..but this one is so simple, you should definitely make them....

lemon bars

1 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of butter, cut into small pieces and chilled in the fridge

Making the crust:
Preheat your oven to 350 F, line a square pan with tinfoil (I used an 8x8 glass baking dish)
and leave some foil hanging over the edges so you can remove the bars easily. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt and sugar and mix them up well. Scatted the pieces of cutter over the dry mixture and use either a pastry cutter or something like that to work the butter in (I don't have a pastry cutter so I used a gigantic fork) until it resembles coarse crumbs. Press the crumbly mixture into the foil lined pan, make sure it's evenly pressed in, don't make the corners higher etc. Bake the crust for about 15-20 minutes or until you see it turning golden brown..don't worry about cracks, they are no big deal with these. Your kitchen should smell like shortbread-y goodness by now...lock your doors.

lemon part:
4 large eggs
1 and 1/4 cups of regular sugar ("granulated" if you are fancy pants)
2 tablespoons of lemon zest (grated from 2 whole lemons)
1/2 cup of lemon juice (again, from the 2 whole lemons)
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
icing sugar for dusting on top

making the lemon part:
wash and re-use your medium sized bowl from making the crust, less clean up = happy.
In that bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugar with either your fingers or a big wooden spoon, I used the spoon because I'm weird about hands + mixing things. The sugar will turn a lovely shade of pale yellow. Beat in the eggs, then the lemon juice, sift the flour and salt over the surface and mix them in. Pour the topping over the baked crust (it's ok if the crust is still hot from the oven) and continue baking for 25 or so minutes, or until you see the top is set and not sloshing around. Pull it out and cool. Dust with the icing sugar before slicing!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

chili-lime chicken

This chicken is unreal. I love the flavor of sweet chili mixed with time I make this, I am going to use a whole chicken (minus the terror this time) and even try barbecuing with this combination. I think that this chicken will become a staple for me, it was easy as hell, and super super good. I'm sure I will discover many chicken recipes as I go, that is because I don't eat red meat or pork, and I'm only a turkey fan when it's done for occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. Things like "Turkey Tacos" etc..never do it for me because ground turkey is always disappointing and dry. Anyways, back to the chili-lime chicken...

chili-lime chicken

I used 2 large chicken breasts (next time: whole thing! for sure)
1 lime
1 tablespoon of butter (recipe called for room temperature)
1/2 tsp of both salt and pepper
1/4 tsp of hot chili flakes (If you are like me and couldn't find these, use some chili seasoning and a dash of sweet chili sauce, found in the Asian foods section of a grocery store)

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Grate the peel from your lime into a bowl (use the whole lime) this made my apartment smell like a frat house doing tequila shots!
Stir in the butter, and add your chili 'situation'. Whisk that into a rub/sauce.
Place the chicken in a baking dish (I used a glass pie dish)
Pour the sauce/rub all over to coat the chicken, cut your lime into thick slices and toss them on top of the chicken, and put that guy in the oven, I covered mine in foil for the first 20 minutes, then removed the foil for the last 10-15 minutes, I just kept basting it and checking it with my meat thermometer until it was done. I served it on a BED of orzo. Haha..."bed"...I'm fancy.

This summer I vow to be obsessed with all things lime.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

On friday I went downtown and shopped around with Dean and Harry. We went for lunch and they split a buffalo chicken pizza, and I haven't been able to get the image of that thing out of my head. Looked so good, I should have ordered the same thing, but I decided to make it instead!

I am sort of combining two recipes found online together, and modifying it a bit and making it my's going to be okay though so calm down..I feel like I might know what the hell I'm doing by now. (HA). I am using pre-made dough though (Jamie Oliver makes it look so easy to make dough, yet I am still hesitant.) Im a pansy. Whatever.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza (aka HOT hottness in pizza form)

2 large chicken breasts (cut into pieces deemed appropriate for pizza eating)
Frank's Red Hot original sauce (or something equally potent)
2 tbsp melted butter
a bunch of grated cheese (I'm using mozzarella and cheddar)
ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing
diced celery (I am currently lacking this ingredient...and might call the husband to pick some up on his way home)

While cleaning my horrendously small kitchen, I let the chicken marinate in the fridge, in frank's red hot sauce for about 30 minutes. Prep time!
Grate the cheese (loudly singing along to ipod hip-hop based playlist is optional)
If you had celery, you would be chopping it up into bite sized pieces at this time.
Prepare the dough if applicable (ie: read directions on can. Nothing gets by you!)

I had a can of pretty basic pizza sauce, which I added a few tablespoons of frank's to, just to spice it up a bit and match the pizza. You could do a pizza sauce with just frank's and your dressing of choice, but I didn't feel like going that route. My weak Canadian taste buds might expolde from the heat. I coated the baked pizza dough in the sauce and layered it with the cooked chicken and cheese mixture. Slide that sucka in the oven at 400 degrees and I just watch it until it bubbles.
When it is done, drizzle some of the frank's and the ranch/or blue cheese on top. So good...would have been way better with celery, but ah well.