Really Eating

Real Simple Chocolate Chocolate-Chunk Cookies

Posted in Recipes by Bethany on December 6, 2011

Real Simple did a cookie feature in the December issue where they featured 10 kinds of “base” cookies and then a few variations of each, yielding a total of 30 cookies. I read that article a few weeks before Thanksgiving and thought I would try to bake one kind every week until Christmas… yes, I was a little too ambitious! It took me about 4 weeks just to bake the first cookie, but now that it’s done, I’m a little more motivated to try another.

These cookies are DELICIOUS. They are pure chocolate-sugar-and-butter and were a hit with my co-workers. I think the marshmallow variation would probably be great too, if you’re a fan of marshmallows. Or you could toss in some almonds and make them rocky road cookies… yum!

One caveat -I didn’t have 24 oz of semisweet chocolate so I did half semi and half milk chocolate (after extensive Google searching to confirm it was okay). Another note- I switched up the order of some of the directions because they didn’t seem efficient to me… what’s the point of preheating the oven early if you’re going to have a 15 minute cooling period?! Unless you have a very slow oven, it would be a waste of power/energy/electricity/gas. The ingredients/directions below reflect what I actually used/did, but you can go to the website to get the original.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces (1 bag) semisweet chocolate chips, chopped roughly
  • 12 ounces (1 bag) milk chocolate chips, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

In another large microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and 12 ounces of the chocolate (I did half of each semi and milk chocolate). Microwave on high in 30-second intervals (uncovered), stirring between each, until melted and smooth. (I think I microwaved for a total of ~2.5 minutes). Let cool slightly (I think I let it sit for about 2 minutes). Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.

Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in the remaining 12 ounces of chocolate. Let cool for 15 minutes. I let mine sit out but in retrospect, I probably could have thrown it in the fridge to make the batter easier to work with.

During that cooling period, preheat the oven to 350° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use Silpat-type baking mats.

Once cooled, drop mounds of the dough (about 1 heaping tablespoon each) 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake until firm around the edges and cracked on the tops, 12 to 15 minutes.

Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. (Quick tip – pull off the parchment paper and stick the entire sheet on a cooling rack, run your baking sheet under cold water and then you’re ready to pop another batch in the oven!)

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Rosemary-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Posted in Recipes by Bethany on October 21, 2011

This was my first experience with pork tenderloin. I had always seen it in the grocery store and mentioned here and there in recipes, but I finally made the leap! I caught it on sale for $3.99/lb and dug through old recipes to figure out what to do with it.

Most of the pork tenderloin recipes I see mention that they’re ~1.5 lb and I was surprised to see that the package I bought weighed in at ~3lb! I then proceeded to double the recipe ingredients, only to find later that when I actually opened up the tenderloin, there were two in my package! Well, into the freezer the extra went.

Overall pleased with the dish. The cut is very lean, but yet moist. I wish my instant read thermometer was working (ordered a new one today) because I think I slightly overcooked the pork. We didn’t love love love the seasoning so I’m going to look around for an alternative way to cook the second tenderloin now in my freezer.

Other than pseudo-doubling the recipe, I followed the basic guidelines I found in Real Simple.

Rosemary-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Pank0)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (I assume you can use dried, but use half as much)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

In a large plate (or shallow bowl) combine the first four ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Rub the pork with the olive oil, coat with bread crumb mixture, then place on a rimmed baking sheet (I covered mine with foil and lightly oiled it to ease clean-up).

Roast til cooked through, approximately 20-30 minutes. If my thermometer was working, I would have pulled it out at 145 degrees (so should you!).

Let rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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Kale Smoothie

Posted in Ingredients, Recipe Fail by Bethany on February 24, 2011

It felt like I all-of-a-sudden started hearing about kale all over the place. I honestly don’t remember what I was reading that made me feel surrounded by kale propaganda, but it influenced me enough that I stuck a bunch of pretty green kale in my bag when I was at the farmers market and felt mildly confident that I’d be able to use it… somehow.

Then I came home and since it was a warm January weekend in LA (I know you’re jealous), I decided to attempt a smoothie of some sort. I referenced two recipes- one from Joy the Baker and another from the then-recent issue of Real Simple. For reference, here are the different ingredient lists:

Joy the Baker Kale Spinach & Pear Smoothie

  • 1 heaping cup spinach leaves
  • 1 heaping cup chopped kale leaves
  • 1/2 pear
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 1/2 cups cold almond milk (or soy milk or orange juice)
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Real Simple Kale Apple Smoothie

  • 3/4 cup chopped kale, ribs and thick stems removed
  • 1 small stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

So, if you couldn’t already tell, this is a RECIPE FAIL post. I created a new category for these types of posts because I figured it’d be fun and somewhat cathartic to lament my failures in the kitchen along with the successes.

Mistake #1: I bought the wrong kind of kale. In my absolute kale naivete, I would protest that I didn’t realize there were different kinds! Apparently I bought a variety called “black kale” that looks more like THIS than THIS. I honestly don’t know if they taste different, but I would say that the problems started with that.

Mistake #2: My close friends know that I’m very much a believer in “follow the directions” cooking and I stray far far far away from improvisation in the kitchen. This was one instance that I foolishly thought I could just throw things together in the blender by somehow combining the two recipes…. but… that was a bad idea. I should have followed the directions.

Mistake #3: Instead of using a frozen banana, I used a couple over-ripe bananas. I guess you can’t use over-ripe bananas in smoothies like you can in banana bread…

I think I ended up using the following ingredients:

  • 1 heaping cup spinach leaves
  • 1 heaping cup chopped kale leaves (ribs and thick stems removed)
  • 2 bananas (over-ripe)
  • 1 peeled/cut up apple
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 tablespoon honey (plus a lot more after tasting it)

You can see that I really tried to combine the two recipes… I thought it’d be a fusion of sorts. I had some second thoughts as I was cutting and dumping ingredients, but I remained optimistic until I tried my first sip. I somehow convinced myself to drink an entire cup full of the stuff, but ended up throwing most of it away.

Recipe, fail.