Tag: america’s text kitchen

I haven’t posted a recipe since March 30th (!!!!). What have I been doing for two-and-a-half months?! It’s not like I haven’t been in the kitchen. But I haven’t been trying as many new things, and what I’ve been trying I haven’t been posting. I’ve made a few recipes without taking any photos at all! I do not even recognize myself. A new meal without accompanying photography is like Christmas without Santa, right? RIGHT??

I’m coming out of my cooking writeup funk and am catching up on a bit of a backlog. But I may save some of them for fall; suddenly recipes I made in the dead of winter don’t seem so appealing in mid-June. This one, however, is a crowd pleaser anytime.

Read more on Skillet Penne with Sausage and Spinach…

The best thing about this week was making lemon bars. I’ve never made lemon bars before. I don’t know why, I sort of think of them as a snack food cliche. Like Suzy Homemaker who makes lemon bars for the new neighbors. But I came home Wednesday after work with this weird craving for them, and I looked through all my cookbooks until I found a recipe for them that used ingredients I already had on hand (2 giant lemons and no graham crackers). And they were awesome. So awesome they have consumed my thoughts for days, and now I have this new love affair with citrus curds. I’ve found recipes for key lime bars, bars with graham cracker crusts, all kinds of things. These have more of a shortbread crust, which Adam and I weren’t sure about at first. But now we’re both addicted. The crust has a buttery, salty flavor that cuts the extreme lemon flavor of the curd. It works on all levels.

Lemon Squares from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
Note: The book is very adamant that the filling and the crust both be warm when assembling the bars in step 4, so they bake through evenly.

Makes: 16 bars

1-1/4 (6.25 ounces) cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened

7 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 cup (7 ounces) plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon zest (the book says about 4 lemons, but I had 2 giant ones and got enough)
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (again, the book says 4 lemons. I only had 2 huge ones and got almost enough juice–had to use maybe 1 Tbsp of bottled juice)
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 Tbsp heavy cream
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Read more on Cure-A-Bad-Week Lemon Bars…

This is really good, and very zingy. The recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen: 30-Minute Suppers, and it’s another great recipe from that booklet.

spicy molasses-glazed steak tips

I served this with my Macaroni and Cheese, which I’ve tweaked after making it for the cookout and for dinner last night. I might not do that again, it’s kind of a heavy meal to have steak AND mac ‘n cheese. I could eat the pasta as dinner itself, but Adam thinks of it as a side dish and needs something else with it. Next time I make the steak I’ll serve it with some simple orzo or roast potatoes or something. Anyway, the macaroni and cheese page is updated with more photos and some more refined directions. I found this crazy Bacon Cheddar cheese block at Whole Foods this week; cheddar with bits of real cooked bacon dotted throughout.

bacon cheddar

I used it in the mac ‘n cheese last night, and it was pretty great. I learned 2 other things about my mac ‘n cheese last night: 1) Adam prefers it off the stovetop, not baked and 2) when you completely forget to buy whole milk, you can use a mix of heavy cream (1.5 cups) and 2% milk (2 cups) in a pinch and it gets just as creamy. Oh, I also learned that a full dish (9 x 13 pan makes 10 big side dish portions) of my macaroni and cheese is pretty much the highest calorie thing on earth. Possibly the universe. You really have to plan your day around it, but once in a while it’s so worth it.

Okay, here’s the beef recipe.

Spicy Molasses-Glazed Steak Tips (from 30-Minute Suppers)
Serves: 4 (I halved the beef but made the full amount of sauce and just had extra to drizzle after)

1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1.5 pounds sirloing steak tips, cut into 2″ chunks (I used 3/4 lbs. of sirloin steak and cubed it myself)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

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dark chocolate cupcakesWhen I was a kid, I had a dream that one of those cookie shops in the mall exploded and filled the mall with chocolate chip cookie. Big ponds of gooey chocolate chip and 1/4 mile pillows of cookie. To get out, I had to swim through the chip lakes and munch and climb through the cookie parts. I was probably nine or ten when I had this dream, one of those perfect-world kid dreams that for some reason I still remember.  Now that I’ve made these cupcakes, I wish I had dreams about them like that one.

Yet another never-lets-me-down recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (seriously, I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever need another cookbook again), these cupcakes were so fudgy and awesome that Adam and I just stared at each other through mouthfuls of perfection. The batter was more like fudge than batter, giving these cupcake tops a texture almost like a great chewy cookie. And I made frosting from 2 recipes in this book, too. They each make 3 cups of frosting, and 24 cupcakes need 3 cups. I halved the recipes and still had frosting leftover. Fantastic stuff, Adam thought this was the best chocolate frosting ever. I made them last weekend, and now I feel like I want to make them again already.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

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devil's food cakeI am always on the hunt for the ultimate chocolate cake recipe. The 5 year anniversary of our first date was on the 16th, and we’re making a lazy celebration weekend out of it (this week was long and not so great for both of us). So yesterday I made this cake, and we both agreed that it’s the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made. The vanilla frosting is exceptionally rich and buttery, and I’m not always a fan of that. It was delicious, but there is a lot of it. So next time I make this I’ll probably use one of the other frosting recipes I love, and it’ll probably be a chocolate frosting. But I don’t make layer cakes that often, so it’s still a treat we’ll be munching on all weekend. Especially after the Sunday dinner I’ve got planned for today–grilled steaks and the mac ‘n cheese recipe I have finally perfected (more on that later this week).

Both recipes are from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, which I use to death. The recipes in it are phenomenal, and many of our favorite dinners are from this book: Skillet Penne with Chicken and Broccoli, for example. Here’s the cake recipe.

Devil’s Food Cake

Read more on A Really Good Devil’s Food Cake Recipe…