Sunday, April 18, 2010

Julia Child's Best-Ever Brownies

These brownies are so good and so rich that I only needed to eat one* to feel satisfied. That's fantastic in my books. They have this chewy crust on the top and bottom, while the centre stays perfectly moist and gooey.

I think it's best to let the brownies cool completely before cutting into them. Otherwise they look underdone. Kind of like a chocolate molten lava cake. But who can wait? These were great hot from the oven and cold the next day. Very effective at curing any chocolate craving. Here's how they look before they have cooled:This recipe's ingredient list is simple too, which I always appreciate. The suggested preparation is not. It is Julia Child's recipe after all. Hand whisk until it doubles in volume--no way. I didn't follow the recipe's method at all and found they turned out just as many food bloggers online described. I also decreased the sugar by a half cup. I posted my easier method and recipe here instead.

(Maybe one day in the future, when I have more time and patience, I will try Julia's method and see how and if it makes a difference.)

* I originally thought: "I only needed to eat one to feel satisfied." Who am I kidding? These were so good, my family devoured them all by the end of the next day. Amazingly evil brownies. If you have them in the house, they will haunt you.


1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
8 ounces butter, (1 stick)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (4 squares Baker's chocolate)
2 ounces chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In electric mixer bowl, add flour, salt, 1/2 cup of sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until the batter doubles in volume.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate together in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.
  4. Add 1 cup of sugar to the butter and chocolate mixture and stir for half a minute, then remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Little by little, pour chocolate mixture into the batter and fold in gently with a spatula so the chocolate doesn't cook the eggs. Keep folding until the batter is evenly brown.
  6. Poor the batter into a buttered 8x8 baking dish.
  7. Bake the brownies for 25-28 minutes. The top and sides will be set. The insides will appear slightly undercooked and gooey.
  8. Wait until they cool to cut them into perfect squares.

Inspiration: From This Week For Dinner food blog. You can see the original recipe and method here.

Roast Chicken with Emeril's Baby Bam Seasoning

I stumbled upon this recipe while I was making Dr. Oz's vegetable soup recipe. I thought the soup was bland so I searched for ways to kick-it-up-a-notch. That's when I discovered Emeril's series of recipes for kids, which includes this all-purpose seasoning recipe, which makes a fantastic rub for roast chicken.

I cooked my chicken up-side-down. It was a pure accident, but it kept the legs tucked in and the dark meat juices drizzle down to the white meat, so its a good idea really. I also stuffed an onion and garlic cloves in the cavity of the bird.


1/2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp dried parsley
2 tbsp salt
3 tbsp paprika
1 whole chicken, or chicken pieces
1 onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves


  1. Rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Stuff an onion and garlic cloves into the cavity of the bird.
  3. Rub Baby Bam seasoning on the chicken liberally.
  4. Bake in the oven at 375 F until the chicken is done according to a meat thermometer. (About an hour and 15 minutes depending on the size of the chicken.)

Inspiration: Emeril's web site

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Orzo Pasta Salad

My family loves Orzo Pasta Salad. I usually cheat and buy it from the salad bar at the grocery store. But I have also made this version too, which we first had at my sister-in-law's. She said she got it from the Barefoot Contessa's show on the Food Network. I searched the Internet, but could only come up with this dish that had dill, Orzo, and came from the Food Network. I'm pretty sure this is what she cooked--only served cold and without shrimp. It's definitely what I cook now. We think this pasta is great, especially my three-year-old. I'm so fortunate that she relishes strong flavours.


3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced

  1. Prepare Orzo pasta according to package directions.
  2. Rinse pasta under cold water to cool and pour in a large bowl
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir.

Inspiration: Adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Roasted Shrimp and Orzo recipe.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Elmo's Red Vegetable Alphabet Soup

During a short-lived "I love Dr. Oz" phase, I made this soup from the Dr. Oz web site for my daughter. She loved the soup, even though it turned out more like a healthy version of Alphagetti.

Also, I thought it was a little bland for our liking so I added about a teaspoon of Emeril's Baby Bam seasoning.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
5 cups low-sodium tomato juice
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry alphabet pasta, cooked according to package instructions.
6 tbsp Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp of Emeril's Baby Bam

  1. In a medium soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onions, celery and carrots until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomato juice and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in cooked vegetable alphabet pasta and cook for another minute.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a dollop of the yogurt.

Inspiration: The Dr. Oz Show web site

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Turkish Zucchini Fritters

I finally attempted this Turkish classic. Finally! My Turkish husband was so pleased. I've made them twice now. The first time, I used cheddar cheese instead of feta and I didn't have any mint. But they were great. Just like my mother-in-law makes. The second time I used feta and found they were saltier.

Although there are lots of steps, I would say this is a fairly simple Turkish recipe because most Turkish recipes are labour-intensive. And this makes a great side dish or appetizer. Turkish people call appetizers Meze. My daughter likes to walk around snacking on these. Except for the oil they are fried in, I think these are quite nutritious. An easy way to eat green.


3 large, firm zucchini, grated with their skins
1 onion, chopped or sliced
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed with salt
3 tbsp olive oil
3 eggs
3 tbsp flour
8 oz feta cheese, or cheddar cheese, crumbled or grated
1 large bunch of dill, chopped
1 large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 large bunch of mint, chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
salt and pepper


  1. Grate the zucchini and sprinkle with salt. Let weep for five minutes, to remove bitter juices, then squeeze out and drain the excess water. (Meanwhile chop the onion and mince the garlic.)
  2. Heat olive oil in frying pan and fry the onion, garlic, and zucchini until they begin to colour. (Meanwhile, chop the fresh herbs.)
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with flour to make a smooth batter.
  4. Stir in cheese, herbs, and spices. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir in the zucchini mixture.
  6. Heat oil in frying pan.
  7. Drop spoonful or two of the zucchini mixture into the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. I used a 1/4 cup scoop, and had to flatten the batter out into ovals with the back of the scoop.
  8. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot or cold.

Inspiration: Classic Turkish Cooking, pg 102, by Ghillie Basan

Monday, April 05, 2010

Homemade Teriyaki BBQ Sauce

I made Hawaiian BBQ for my in-laws on Easter Monday at my husband's request. I've been trying to recreate a Hawaiian BBQ dinner he had on a business trip to California. Apparently, I came close. I botched the presentation. I should have layered the ingredients on the platter in this order: iceberg lettuce, white rice, pineapple, and the saucy meat.

As for the meat, the taste was bang on. I marinated the beef flank steak and chicken thighs according to these recipes I posted previously. While BBQing, I basted the meat with this homemade Teriyaki sauce I found on the web. Everyone agreed that this sauce was fantastic. A definite keeper and so easy to prepare.


1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, or blender.
  2. Add liquids and mix very well.
  3. Transfer to a tightly sealed jar and refrigerate for at least four hours, overnight is best.
  4. Stir well before using.

Inspiration: Robert's Recipes