Monday, March 30, 2009

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made this cookie recipe for the first time about a month ago for my hairdresser’s birthday. Last year for his birthday I made him the traditional Neiman Marcus cookies, so this year I decided to kick it up a notch and bake the Neiman Marcus Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. This of course meant that Scott and I had to perform some “quality control” testing. I have several chocolate cookie recipes (Mississippi Mud and Chocolate Raspberry) that I love to bake, however Scott said these were his new favorite. Scott is a serious chocoholic so this revelation came as no surprise.

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Neiman Marcus Cookbook
2 dozen cookies

3 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

· Pre-heat oven to 300°F.
· Place 2 cups of the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate chips in 30 second intervals, stirring chips after each interval until chips are melted, about 1.5 minutes.
· Place butter and brown sugar in a mixer bowl and using the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar for about 30 seconds until combined. Then with the mixer running on low, slowly add the eggs and melted chocolate. Slowly add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt to the mixing bowl. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl and mix a little longer, and then add the remaining chocolate chips and mix a little longer until chips are incorporated.
· Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a 1 oz (2 Tbsp) cookie scoop; scoop dough onto cookie sheet. Scoop about 9 cookies per batch.
· Bake cookies for 20 minutes.
· Let cookies rest for 1 minute on cookie sheet and then transfer cookies with a spatula to a wire rack to cool.
· Repeat process for remaining cookies.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spice Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Baby Carrots

Serves 2-3
Adapted from Bon Appétit, April 2009

This is a great dish to serve during the week for a simple dinner or to entertain guests since the oven does most of the work.

1 pound baby carrots, peeled, trimmed, leaving 1/2 inch of green tops attached
1 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, diced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 small jalapeño (preferably red), seeded, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1- to 1-1/4-pound pork tenderloins
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

· Preheat oven to 400°F.
· Whisk together water, EVOO, butter, garlic, jalapeno, honey, chile powder, cumin, and salt in a med bowl.
· Arrange carrots in a 9 x 13 baking dish and coat with seasoning mixture.
· Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
· While carrots are baking, make pork seasoning mixture by mixing together oregano, cumin, chile powder, paprika, and salt in a small bowl. Rub pork tenderloin with seasoning.
· Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add EVOO. Brown pork on all sides about 5 minutes.
· When carrots are ready, remove foil, and nestle pork tenderloin among the carrots. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the pork registers 145°F.
· Let pork rest 5-10 minutes before cutting to serve.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Iron Chef: Bobby Flay vs. Neiman Marcus

Last night Scott and I cooked a fabulous dinner inspired by Bobby Flay and Neiman Marcus. With spring around the corner, this was the perfect menu to get excited about the end of winter and the time change.

I love cooking recipes from Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill cookbook, every dish I have made always surprises with me new elements of flavor. Last year I had the pleasure of eating lunch at Mesa Grill in Las Vegas and in my opinion it was the best meal I had that weekend.
The Neiman Marcus tea room is a great lunch spot. However, I always get the same thing Chicken Tortilla Soup and a Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie to go. The Chocolate Chip cookies are the reason why I purchased the Neiman Marcus cookbook (even though I do have an email forward with the infamous recipe). While planning my menu for the evening I needed an appetizer or salad that would pair well with my Bobby Flay choices and the Southern and Southwestern roots of Neiman Marcus were a perfect fit.

Scott and I went with a divide and conquer method so he prepared the NM shrimp cocktail while I worked on the BF rib-eyes and mashed potatoes.

Neiman Marcus Ten-Spice Barbeque Shrimp Cocktail
Bobby Flay Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks w/ Chipotle-Honey Glaze and Whipped Potatoes with Cilantro Pesto

Ten-Spice Barbeque Shrimp Cocktail
adapted from Neiman Marcus Cookbook
serves 4

Ten-Spice Barbeque Mix and Shrimp
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
12 jumbo shrimp (about 1 lb), peeled and deveined
1/4 cup EVOO
Mix together paprika, cumin, chile powder, coriander, salt, garlic, onion, thyme, pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl. In a large bowl coat the shrimp with olive oil, and then sprinkle with 3 Tbsp of the spice mixture. Cover the shrimp bowl with plastic wrap and chill for a few hours. Cook on a grill, grill pan or skillet (with oil) 2-3 minutes per side.

*Save extra spice mixture to season chicken, pork, or steaks for another meal.

Roasted Corn-Jicama Salsa
yields: 3 1/2 cups

2 cups roasted corn kernels (from 3 large ears of corn)*
1 cup peeled and finely diced jicama
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup seeded and finely chopped red bell pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tsp seeded and minced jalapeno
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Mix together the corn, jicama, red onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and jalapeno in a large mixing bowl. Then combine with lime juice and salt to taste.

*Roasting the corn is optional. If you are pressed for time,corn fresh off the cob will still be very tasty.

**Extra salsa can be saved as a snack later or garnish for other dishes.

Cilantro-Lime Dressing
yields: 2 cups

1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tsp honey
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups EVOO

In a blender or food processor process the vinegar, lime juice, cilantro, honey, salt, and process while slowly adding olive oil.

*Dressing will last for several days in the refrigerator and can excess can be used for salads or season fish.


Margarita or Martini glasses make a great presentation for this shrimp cocktail.

Finely shred 1 heart of romaine and add to a mixing bowl with corn-jicama salsa, and ½ cup of the dressing. Divide salsa mixture among 4 glasses and top each with 3 shrimp.

Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks with Chipotle-Honey Glaze
Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook
Serves 4

1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
½ cup honey
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup canola oil
Kosher salt
4 (12 oz) rib-eye steaks
Black pepper
Roasted Pepper Relish*

Puree chipotle chiles in a blender or food processor. Place 1 Tbsp of chile puree in a medium bowl and reserve the remainder for another use. Add honey, mustard, canola oil, and 1 tsp salt to the bowl whisk together with the chipotle chile puree.

Preheat grill pan to medium-high heat.
Rub steaks with 2 Tbsp EVOO and season with salt and pepper. For medium rare grill steaks on one side for 4-5 minutes, then turn steaks over and brush with honey glaze and continue grilling for 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat and brush with more glaze. Let steaks rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Top each steak with the roasted pepper relish.

Note: I prefer to get my rib-eyes directly from the butcher so they can be cut thick about 2 inches. Prepackaged rib-eyes are usually cut very thin and will cook to fast.

*Roasted Pepper Relish

2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, cut into strips
2 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, cut into strips
3 cloves roasted garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
Kosher salt and pepper

Combine ingredients in a bowl.

Whipped Potatoes with Cilantro Pesto
Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook
Serves 4

3 lbs Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
Kosher salt
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup packed fresh flat leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp pine nuts
½ cup EVOO
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Black pepper
1 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup skim milk

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring potatoes to a boil over high heat and cook 25-30 minutes or until tender.

While potatoes are cooking make cilantro pesto and warm the milk and butter mixture.

To make pesto using a blender or food processer, add cilantro, parsley, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and then slowly add olive oil while processing.

Combine butter, cream, and milk in a small sauce pan over low heat.

Drain potatoes and return to the pot. Slowly add hot milk mixture while mashing potatoes. Then gently fold in cilantro pesto.