Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chocolate Cabernet Espresso Granita With Lemon Zest Whipped Cream

  • 2 C water
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Cup of "good" Cabernet (make sure it is one you would drink, not cooking wine)
  • 1/4 C fresh brewed espresso
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t lemon zest (plus more for garnish)
  • Chocolate shavings (for garnish---you can use a vegetable peeler and any chocolate bar/candy)
  1. In a small sauce pan, combine water and 2/3 C sugar to make a syrup (it is not a simple syrup, which is typically equal parts sugar and water...that would be too sweet for this recipe).
  2. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. 
  3. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. Brew 2 double espresso shots and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  5. In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder and 2 T of syrup.
  6. Whisk well (and it will take effort) to thoroughly combine.  You do not want any granules of cocoa powder, so be sure to whisk until completely smooth.
  7. In a glass baking dish, combine cocoa mixture, 1 C syrup, wine, and 1/4 C espresso.
  8. Whisk until well combined.  It will become a dull red/brick color, but will deepen during the freezing process.
  9. Place covered in freezer for two hours.
  10. Remove cover and scrape with a fork using back and forth and diagonal motions. 
  11. Re-cover the mix and place back in the freezer for at least one hour.
  12. In a medium mixing bowl, combine whipping cream, 1/3 C sugar, vanilla extract and 1 t of lemon zest.
  13. Beat on low, and gradually increase speed until you have solid peaks (about 3-4 minutes).
  14. Remove granita from freezer and repeat scraping process.
  15. Scoop into a cappuccino mug or into a wine glass.
  16. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.
  17. Garnish with chocolate shavings and lemon zest.
PLEASE NOTE:  This is not like cooking with alcohol, and it is not suitable for children.  This made two one cup servings. You will also have leftover syrup - use to flavor ice teas, lemonades, or make cocktails. Enjoy, responsibly!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bacon Basil Chicken with Bleu Crushed Potato and Haricot Vert

  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts cut into 1/4" thick medallions
  • 5 slices of thick cut bacon
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 dash of nutmeg
  • 15 chopped fresh basil leaves (using dry would alter the flavor--you can find these in your supermarket's produce section usually for under $2)
  • 5 small russet potatoes
  • 1/4 C bleu cheese crumbles
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 C frozen haricot vert (fancy schmancy name for long green beans)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Wash potatoes thoroughly and pierce the surface with a fork several times around the potato.
  3. Bake potatoes for 45 minutes. 
  4. Using a masher, lightly crush the potatoes to expose the inner potato.
  5. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Turn off oven and remove potatoes.
  7. Fry bacon in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.
  8. Once the bacon is crisp (about 7-10 minutes), remove and drain on a coffee filter.
  9. Reserve the bacon fat in the pan.
  10. Crumble the bacon along the potatoes. 
  11. Add bleu cheese and return to the oven to warm.
  12. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken medallions and add to bacon fat.
  13. Saute until the chicken has turned completely white (about 4-5 minutes per side).
  14. Add butter and lemon juice, cover, and reduce heat to low.
  15. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  16. Whisk in cream and add basil.
  17. Cover and turn off the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  18. Steam the haricot vert for 4 minutes until becoming a dark green color.
  19. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and serve.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I've been nominated for a Liebster Award!! :)

The Liebster award is German for “favorite” or “dearest” and is given to new blogs with under 200 followers (on the blog, not on facebook), by fellow bloggers who like their work.

I can't believe several months ago I did not even know what a blog was!  Thank you all for following the Cook At Home Dad, and PLEASE check out TWO BORED HOUSEWIVES and show them some love for nominating me :)

The Rules:
There’s a theme here…11-11-11!
According to the rules, once you’ve been given the Liebster Award, you:

  1. “Accept” the Liebster Blog Award on your blog.
  2. Link back/shout out to the blogger who presented the award to you. 
  3. Showcase the Liebster Award “icon” on your blog. 
  4. Nominate  11 new blogs that you love/would like to be recognized for the Liebster Blog Award. 
  5. Let the 11 blogs know they have been chosen by leaving a comment/or emailing the honoree.

11 Random facts about The Cook At Home Dad:

  1. I'm incredibly shy in person.  I've battled it my whole life, but the older I get the better I am getting at not letting it inhibit anything I do.
  2. I have terrible stage fright.  I originally wanted to be an actor and during a monologue on stage I got out of character and froze.
  3. I'm left handed but was forced to use my right by my grammar school teacher.
  4. I lived in Los Angles for years and would love to move back.  My wife hates the beach, sunny days, and warm air (really, hon?).  ;)
  5. I used to be an avid hiker.  I get winded walking to the car now.
  6. I used to teach roller blading.  I could win an Olympic gold for my skills.
  7. I did not have TV for years growing up.  We had a 12" black and white set with rabbit ears (did I just date myself?) and all we got was PBS.  I would watch Julia Child and that little Italian lady cook religiously.
  8. I did not like chocolate, ice cream, cookies, or any sweets until my wife became pregnant with our oldest. 
  9. I gained 40 pounds during our first pregnancy.  Breast feeding did not help shed the weight ;)
  10. I have been a stay at home dad for 7 of the past nine years.  My twins will start full time kindergarten in September.  I am completely devastated and am very aware that no career endeavor will match the satisfaction, pride, and wealth that this career endeavor has provided.
  11. When we found out we were having twins, I yelped so loud in disbelief that the entire practice came running into the room.

11 New Nominees:

11 Questions for The Cook At Home Dad:

What motivated you to start blogging?
I used to send my wife updates written from my daughter's perspective for the first year of her life.  I didn't realize that was blogging.  I've been called the Cook at Home Dad for about seven years, and a year ago started writing a cookbook.  I made a New Year's resolution to start a blog, and here we are :)

What does your blog name mean?
I am a dad and I cook at home. ;)

What is your favorite movie?
This is a tough one.  When I was a kid I would watch certain movies 100 times.  Now I can't watch a movie more than once even if I love it.

If you could rename the book “What to Expect when Expecting”, what would you call it?
Expect the Unexpected:  Instructions not included.

What is your Theme Song?
I literally have a theme song.  I wrote and recorded it about 9 years ago and it is called "My Everything, My Love."  It sums everything up. :)

What 3 things do you need to get you through the day?
Coffee, laughter, potato chips (every single day its an obsession).

What really makes you mad?
Current events and the splintering on them that perpetuates bs.

What famous person would you invite over for dinner, and what would you cook?
This is a tough one.  I think Barack Obama and I would make Bacon Basil Chicken with bleu crushed potatoes and haricot vert.  But that is only because that's the latest recipe I created.  I'd ask him simply: 'why?' and would not accept "because" as an answer.

Describe yourself in one sentence.
I am the cook at home dad and I have the perfect ingredients for a great recipe.  (That is only minimally referring to actual cooking).

What’s on top of your refrigerator?  
Cleaning products, knick knacks, a casserole dish, and money.  Ohhh, I forgot that was there.

Drink of Choice, and why?
Coffee.  I can't get through a day without it.

11 Questions for new nominees:

  1. First thing in the morning:  coffee or check your page first?
  2. Paper or plastic?
  3. If you did not have a computer, would you still blog/write?
  4. Did you journal whilst growing up?
  5. Song Title that sums up your blog?
  6. Are there enough hours in your week?
  7. Is yours your favorite blog?
  8. What's in your cup?
  9. Do your kids/family know that you blog and if so, do they follow?
  10. Do you have specific goals for your blog?
  11. If you could rename the book “What to Expect when Expecting”, what would you call it?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Beverage Tip: Ice Coffee

A CAHD Tip:  Ice coffee season is finally here!  Next time you brew a pot of coffee, reserve enough to fill your ice trays.  You get the benefits of chilling your coffee without watering the coffee down.  Hope it is warm where you are. Enjoy!

Chicken Cannelloni

In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 large eggs, 1 C all purpose flour, and 1 1/2 C water (you may need more water as water type—hard/soft—will make a difference in the texture). Mix until well combined and the consistency of slightly runny pancake batter. 

On low heat (3-4 for an electric stove, just above low for gas), heat a medium fry pan coated with cooking spray. Place 3/4 of a standard soup ladle full of the mix in the pan and tilt and swirl to evenly coat. Cook for one minute until the surface becomes dry. Using a small rubber spatula, go around the edges of the pan until the crepe "lifts." Gently lift the crepe and flip to cook the other side. You will only need about 30 seconds to complete the cooking process. Spray the pan generously with cooking spray before making each crepe. See demonstration link below.

Place 2 large skinless boneless chicken breasts with 2 C chicken stock in a slow cooker. Add 2 T fresh lemon juice, a liberal amount of salt, and a dash of black pepper. Cook on high for at least four hours, or until the chicken easily shreds with a fork. This can be done a day in advance.

Place one piece of prosciutto and one slice of Lorraine Swiss cheese on a crepe and layer with 2 T shredded chicken, 2 T fresh baby spinach and a 1/2" wide strip of roasted red bell pepper. Gently lift the side of the crepe facing you and tuck tightly into the other side of the filling, being careful to keep the filling in as you roll into a tube. Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray and line up the cannelloni making sure to not overlap.

In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, melt 2 T butter and 2 T flour until combined. Stir constantly using a wire whisk and slowly add 1 C chicken stock and 1 C half and half. Bring the sauce up to a hot temperature, making sure not to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 C Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Ladle sauce over the cannelloni and cover with aluminum foil. Place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Let sit for at least ten minutes before serving.

Serving suggestion: Cut the cannelloni diagonally and stack atop some of the drizzled Parmesan sauce. This dish is sure to please even the most finicky eater (and is a great way to sneak some veggies into your kid's diet).
Click Here For Crepe Demonstration

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Punxsutawney Tomato Bisque

This tomato bisque is one of my favorite summer day recipes and I usually serve it cold.  Thanks to a groundhog's epic fail, we are stuck in perpetual winter.  I made this and served it warm and it was delicious, though not quite the gazpacho-feel it normally has.  Hence, the groundhog spin on this summer classic!

  • one 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • one 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes (I use diced to create a bit of texture when I puree the soup---if you don't like tomato bits, you can use 2 cans of crushed)
  • 4 C chicken stock (one 32 ounce box)
  • 1 C half and half
  • 1 C sour cream (plus more for garnish)
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh dill (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled (about 10-12 cloves)
  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t red pepper flake
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Add 4 T olive oil and whole garlic cloves to a large sauce pot over medium high heat.
  2. Tilt the pan to create a "deep fry" environment to ensure the garlic browns evenly.
  3. Once the garlic has come to a rich golden brown color, add the red pepper flake.
  4. Slowly and carefully add the two cans of tomatoes (stirring will help prevent it from spattering).
  5. Add the dill and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to low.
  8. Using a hand blender, puree the bisque to desired consistency (as noted above, I like to leave the diced tomatoes in bits to create texture in the bisque). If you do not have a hand blender, you may ladle the bisque into a blender and carefully blend 1/2 blender full at a time--pulse to prevent it from exploding out of the blender, you will have to place it in a third container until it has all been blended, and then return it to the sauce pot
  9. Add garlic powder and onion powder.
  10. Slowly whisk in the half and half.
  11. Place the sour cream in a small bowl and add one ladle of the bisque to temper (this will prevent the sour cream from curdling in the hot bisque). Stir well and add to the bisque.
  12. Cover and simmer on low for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.
  13. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill and drizzle with a few drops of olive oil. This goes perfect with a grilled mozzarella, bacon and avocado grilled cheese on Italian bread.
  14. If you are so inclined (and many of us here on the east coast probably are at this point), add some fried groundhog to the bisque.  But I do not condone the actual cooking (or consuming) of groundhog.  I'm just really miffed that Phil was so wrong this year. ;)