An Iowa Dinner

I love summer in Iowa because we have Farmer’s Markets that are full of fresh fruit, vegetables, baked goods, local meats and eggs, beautiful flowers and various homemade sewn goods. On Saturday morning I headed with the girls to our Farmer’s Market. Each week there are more and more vegetables and fruits to choose from.  My favorite Farmer’s Market finds are tomatoes and sweet corn.  BLTs and sweet corn were a staple of my childhood meals.

Our dinner was a delicious BLT (I switched the lettuce for some local sprouts), sweet corn, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, and pesto couscous.This is a perfect summer meal! ENJOY!

2 slices cooked bacon
lettuce (or sprouts)
2 slices tomato
2 slices crusty French bread

Preheat oven 425 degrees F. Lay slices of bacon on cookie sheet, cook for about 10 minutes. Once done lay on paper towels to absorb grease.

*This is the best way to cook crispy bacon!

1 bunch asparagus
5 slices prosciutto

Blanch asparagus. Wrap prosciutto around 6-7 pieces of asparagus. Lightly spray bundles with canola oil. Roast in 425 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes.


Pesto Couscous

The weather is finally warming up in Iowa; soon winter will have faded like a bad dream often does. Yesterday we enjoyed ourselves outdoors. I basked in the sun with a book. Warmer weather equals grilled meat. Alex pulled out the charcoal grill and grilled some delicious steaks (bought at the local meat locker). I made couscous to serve as a side. I used a box of Near East Original Plain Couscous. That is exactly what is was… PLAIN. So to shake things up a bit I added four generous tablespoons of Classico Pesto. The results were a delicious couscous with a faint green color and pesto flavor. The couscous cooks up in less than five minutes, and will be the prefect summer side dish . Happy grilling everyone. Enjoy!

Giant Crunchy Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Sasha all bundled up.

It has been extremely cold here in Iowa. We have received about 10 inches or more of snow in the last five days. This morning when I woke up it was -17 and with the wind chill it felt like -30. BRR that is really cold. Needless to say, Marley does not enjoy going outside when it is that cold. When he is outside he does his business and he does it fast. I have been cooking all the comfort foods this week. Including Chicken Noodle Soup and Chunky Potato Soup (I will include those recipes in a separate post).

On Monday I felt like turning on my oven and do some cookie baking. I came across this eggless cookie recipe on Patricia’s website. However she calls her cookies Chocolate Chip Whoppers. You need to use both your hands to eat these cookies! I added crushed pecans to my cookie dough. My cookies came out EXTREMELY crunchy, so I changed the name. I may have accidentally left out a cup of flour, which could have caused the cookies to become so crunchy. I will try to make these cookies again and see if the result is the same. Alex and Sasha love these cookies, and that makes me happy. In fact, Sasha has become a pro at saying “Cookie. Please.”

Giant Crunchy Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly–I used salted butter and omitted the tsp salt
1 c sugar
½ c packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 T water
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips –I used milk chocolate chips
1 c crushed pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and place rack in the middle of the over. Mix flour, soda and salt together. In separate bowl cream butter and vanilla with sugars. Add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. The dough will look crumbly. Mix in the water. The dough will become soft and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.

Using 1/4 c measuring cup, scoop dough onto baking sheet and smoosh until 3/4 in. thick. Place cookies at least 3 in. apart. Bake for 15 minutes, or until tops are browned with a few cracks.

Makes about 16 giant cookies.

Happy New Year

2008 is here! I hope the new year is off to a great start for you. I am sorry I haven’t written in awhile, things have been busy with the holidays.

Last Thursday, January 3rd was caucus night here in Iowa. I think both the Democrats and Republicans did a great job choosing their first place candidates. To celebrate I made Chicken and Broccoli Obama Stir-Fry with Edamame Fried Rice. It was tasty! We enjoyed our dinner while watching the victory speeches. I did not measure my ingredients, so I do not have an exact working recipe. I will give rough estimates below, adjust according to your seasoning preferences. Basmati rice is the rice I chose to use for my fried rice. I enjoy the softness and flavor of Basmati rice. I hope you enjoy my political dinner!

Chicken and Broccoli Obama Stir-Fry

3 large chicken breasts-thinly sliced
Soy Sauce
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 heads of broccoli chopped
1 c chicken broth
1 T corn starch
2 T peanut oil

Use frozen boneless/skinless chicken breasts. Set out to thaw for 30 minutes. While chicken is partially frozen, slice into thin strips. Put in dish to continue thawing. Once chicken is fully thawed, pour soy sauce over top of chicken and sprinkle with sugar. This creates a marinade, marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature. Heat wok over high heat. Pour in 1 T peanut oil. Stir-fry broccoli, garlic and ginger for 1-2 minutes, take out and set aside. Add 1 T peanut oil, add chicken and marinade (may need to work in batches) stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add broccoli to chicken mixture. Mix the cornstarch and chicken broth together, pour into wok, and stir until thickened. Serve over rice.

Edamame Fried Rice

1 package pre-shelled edamame
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped ginger
2 c cooked/cooled Basmati rice
1 T soy sauce
2 eggs beaten
2 T peanut oil, plus a slash

Add 1 T oil to hot wok. Add edamame and stir fry until soft 2-3 minutes. Remove from wok. Add 1 T oil to wok, add garlic and ginger; stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add rice, stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Make a well in the center of the rice, add a slash of oil and the beaten eggs. Incorporate the egg into the rice mixture. Add soy sauce and edamame and mix well. Remove from wok and enjoy.