Thursday, December 20, 2012

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

I have sworn by my Grandma Ray's Camping Treats my whole life.  Until now.  You see, before I found the recipe below, I made Rice Krispie Treats her way, by adding some peanut butter to the marshmallow mixture, then spreading the top with a semisweet chocolate layer.  That's over for me now, though, because I have found Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats, and I love you all enough to share the discovery.

If it looks like I just copied/pasted this, it's because I did.  It needs no tweaking and you should all make them RIGHT AWAY.  You neeeeeed these.  You deserve these!  Hide them from the kids and indulge on the couch after they're asleep.  You're welcome.

Deb Perelman | Smitten KitchenSalted Brown Butter Crispy Treats 
from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook 

Yield: 12 2-inch squares or 32 1-by- 2-inch bars 

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan 
Heaping ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt 
One 10- ounce bag large or miniature marshmallows 
6 cups puffed- rice cereal (about half a 12- ounce box; I've had luck with brown rice cereals as well) 
Butter (or coat with nonstick spray) an 8- inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides 

Brown the butter: In a large pot, melt 1 stick butter over medium- low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden, and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don't take your eyes off the pot: You may be impatient for it to start browning, but the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute. 

Make the crispy treats: As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off, sprinkle salt over butter, and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on over low heat until the marshmallows are smooth. Be careful not to cook the marshmallows, which will destroy their stretchy softness; you're just looking for enough heat so they will melt and smooth out. Remove the pot from the stove, and stir in the cereal, folding it gently with the marshmallow mixture until the cereal is evenly coated. Quickly spread into prepared pan. I use a piece of waxed or parchment paper that I've sprayed with oil to press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners and smooth the top, though a silicon spatula works almost as well. Let cool, then cut into squares and get ready to make new friends. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chicken in White Wine Cream Sauce

This recipe was so good that it should excuse the fact that I almost made a huge faux pas in making this for my husband's boss, whose religious persuasion could have made this dish a huge no-no.  Luckily, the boss isn't as religiously observant as I thought, and it all turned out okay.  WHEW.  The sauce was super yummy and you could vary what starch you put it and the chicken on top of each time you make the dish.  Make it fast, before you start thinking about how unhealthy it looks.  (And no, I have no photo of the finished product because I was so stressed out about finishing the cooking while getting the kids to bed right as Corey and his boss were arriving!)

Chicken in Wine Cream Sauce

8 ounces pasta*
3-4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 scallions, chopped**
2 teaspoons garlic powder***
2 teaspoons marjoram leaves
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Chardonnay wine****
1 cup chicken broth*****

1.  In a large frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the chicken over medium heat for about 8 minutes, turning once (4 minutes per side).  Remove pan from heat and set aside.  Do not drain the dippings out of the pan!

2.  In a medium saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in the scallions, garlic powder, marjoram leaves, paprika, salt, and lemon juice.  Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.

3.  Add the cream, Chardonnay, and chicken broth and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

4.  Whisk the flour into the sauce and make sure all those pesky lumps disappear.

5.  Now start the water to boil for the pasta.  When it's boiling, throw in the pasta and cook it to al dente.

6.  Stick the large frying pan with the chicken in it back on the stove over low heat.  Pour the cream sauce into the frying pan and spoon it over the chicken breasts.  Put the lid on and set the timer for 10 minutes.  Every couple of minutes, lift the lid and stir the sauce around to make sure it's not separating.

7.  Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes.

8.  Serve the chicken and sauce over the noodles and marvel at your culinary skill!


* I used fusili, but the original recipe called for wide egg noodles.  I bet it would be great over either white or brown rice.  You could also go crazy and experiment with something more exotic!  I like to cook pasta and rice in a mixture of about 1/2 water and 1/2 broth so give it more flavor.
** I actually made it with about 1/2 a small yellow onion (diced) because I discovered in the 11th hour that the scallions I imagined were in the fridge had mysteriously disappeared.  It turned out fine but probably lacked the nice green color of the scallions.
*** Next time I make this, I think I'm going to use fresh garlic.  I bet that would be awesome.
**** I actually used Pinot Grigio because I don't usually have Chardonnay on hand.  It turned out fine.
***** I had to use beef broth because I'm a moron and bought the wrong kind.