Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Cranberry-Pecan Scones

Several years ago, I put up a recipe for banana, walnut, and white chocolate scones, which I still recommend for a treat.  But I now have a go-to recipe for scones that is much healthier while still delicious. Spurred by the enthusiasm of some guests today, I'm posting the recipe. It's simple enough to put together the recipe while the oven is pre-heating, and there's no handling of the dough needed--you just plop it in a round baking pan and press it down.  Enjoy!

            Cranberry-Pecan Scones
adapted from Liz Vaccariello, Flat Belly Diet Cookbook
8 servings, 308 calories/serving

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 c. plain no-fat or low-fat yogurt (if using Greek yogurt, may need a dollop more to get the dough to stick together)
1/2 t. vanilla <*see note below for possible substitution for the 3 ingredients in italics>
2 T. canola oil
1/2 t. dried lemon peel (or 1 t. freshly grated lemon or orange peel)
2/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries (or dried apricots, diced)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly coat a 9" round baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, vanilla, and lemon peel.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the yogurt mixture and dried fruit.  Stir just until blended.

Scoop out the dough into the prepared pan, and press it so it's evenly spread across the pan.  Score the dough with a knife to form 8 triangles.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*The original recipe called for 1-1/4 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt.  I usually have plain yogurt on hand, so I've substituted plain yogurt plus 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 t. vanilla.  If you'd rather use vanilla yogurt, take out the sugar and vanilla from the recipe as given above.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Delicious and distinctive roast chicken with carrots

Last week, in the middle of the Jewish holidays, my eye was caught by this recipe for chicken and carrots, marinated with honey, citrus, and mustard.  The commenters on the New York Times site were extremely enthusiastic about the recipe, so I gave it a try, incorporating a number of their suggestions (like doubling the marinade, using skinned thighs instead of a cut-up chicken, and adding potatoes). The recipe definitely lived up to their claims!  Although I made this just for David and me, it would be a great dish for guests, because the whole thing can be set up to marinate 24 hours in advance, and then all that's left to do is to put it in the oven. When I made it, I forgot to add the garnishes. I'm eager to make it again and include them the next time, even though it was delicious without. This is not your ordinary chicken-with-roasted-vegetables!

adapted from https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016808-sweet-and-spicy-roast-chicken (using several changes suggested by NYTimes readers)
makes 6 servings
In the video at the above link, Melissa Clark explains how she came up with this recipe.

Marinade (Note: A number of New York Times commenters suggested doubling the amount of marinade, so that's what I did, and that's how the amounts below were set. This made more than enough marinade, so if you wanted to use less than this—say 2/3 of amounts given—that would also work.)
2 lemons for blanched slices (step 1)
6 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T. kosher salt
6 T. freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 c. olive oil
3 T. whole grain mustard
6 T. honey (I used 3 T.  honey + 3 T. pomegranate molasses, as suggested by one commenter; see below for how to make pomegranate molasses—very simple. I had some on hand leftover from something I made a month ago.)
1 bay leaf
1 t. crushed red pepper
lots of freshly ground black pepper

chicken and vegetables
2-1/4 lbs. chicken thighs, bone in (I skinned before cooking) (or 1 4-lb chicken cut into 8 pieces)
3 cups sliced carrots, sliced 1/4" thick (about 7 carrots)
1 onion, halved horizontally and thinly sliced
2/3 cup sliced dates (can substitute raisins)
1 t. dried thyme (or 1 T. fresh)
12 baby potatoes, cut into eighths (or eliminate potatoes and serve on top of rice or couscous)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro, parsley, or mint
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cups chopped toasted pistachio nuts

1.     Quarter the lemon lengthwise, removing any seeds.  Slice crosswise, quite thinly, into small wedges and add to small pot of boiling, salted water. Blanch for 2 minutes and drain.  Set aside.
2.     In a saucepan, whisk together all the marinade ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool. (I put it in the refrigerator while I prepped the chicken and vegetables).
3.     Put the chicken in a bowl (or into a jumbo ziploc bag, which is what I did) and add the cooled marinade. Add carrots, onion, dates, potatoes, thyme, and blanched lemon slices. Turn mixture until all is coated.  Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.  (Or, if you're making the same day, you can marinate for as little as 30 minutes at room temperature.)
4.     Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
5.     Prepare a sheet pan with a rim:  Spray it with oil, even though you'll be covering it with foil, for easier clean-up.  Cover the sheet pan with foil. (I "seamed" together two lengths of foil to be sure the foil went up and over all sides of the pan; several Times readers commented on how hard the pan was to clean if juices baked onto it.)
6.     Transfer all ingredients to the pan, including the marinade. Put the chicken as the top layer; if using chicken with skin on, put skin side up.  Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 20-30 minutes for breasts and 30-40 for legs and wings.  Remove pieces as they are done cooking; cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.  Give the carrot mixture a stir and continue roasting until the carrots are tender, about 7-12 minutes longer.
7.     Spoon the vegetables over the chicken and top with the garnishes.

Pomegranate molasses
adapted from http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/pomegranate_molasses/

4 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 T. lemon juice

In a large, wide, uncovered saucepan and medium high heat, heat all the ingredients until the sugar dissolves and the juice simmers.  Reduce heat to maintain a simmer.  Simmer for about an hour, until the juice has a syrupy consistency and has reduced to about 1 or 1-1/4 cups.  Pour into a jar; let cool. Store in the refrigerator, where it will keep for about 6 months.