Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Recipe: ATK Classic Brownies

This recipe from America's Test Kitchen (ATK) is based on the March 2004 recipe for "Classic Brownies" from Cook's Illustrated. It is listed as one of the top ten recipes on the Cook's Illustrated web site. Prepared on May 19, 2013. Makes 24 two-inch square brownies.


1 cup walnuts (optional)
5 ounces (1¼ cups) cake flour
½ teaspoon table salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
2¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. With a rack in the middle position, heat the oven to 325°.
  2. Prepare a 13"x9" baking pan, lining it with aluminum foil. Place two sheets of foil in the pan at right angles to each other extending several inches beyond the edges of the pan. This "sling" will help remove the brownies.
  3. Chop the walnuts, medium, and roast them on a baking sheet until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  5. Break up the chocolate and the butter and carefully melt them together in the microwave oven (do not burn the chocolate) until completely smooth.
  6. Whisk in the sugar.
  7. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
  8. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  9. Fold in the flour mixture in three equal portions, mixing until the batter is smooth and homogeneous.
  10. Spray the foil-lined baking pan with vegetable spray and pour in the batter.
  11. Smooth the batter with a spatula and distribute the walnuts evenly over the surface.
  12. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 30-35 minutes.
  13. Cool the brownies on a rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.
  14. Using the aluminum foil, remove the brownies from the pan and cut them into 2" squares. (A pizza wheel does this very nicely.)
Line a 13"x9" baking pan with aluminum foil.
Toast chopped nuts at 325° until fragrant.
Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

Carefully melt together the chocolate and butter in the microwave oven.
Whisk in the sugar.

Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then whisk in the vanilla extract.

Fold in the flour mixture in three equal portions.

Spray the baking pan with vegetable oil, spread the batter with a spatula, and sprinkle on the nuts.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Recipe: Broccoli Salad

This recipe comes from my sister, Dena, who got it from a co-worker around 1990 when working at a nuclear power plant (of all places). It is been a favorite of her family ever since. I served it with Sunday Dinner on May 4, 2013. Serves 3-4.



1 bunch fresh broccoli
½ cup shreddedmozarella cheese
&frac12. pound bacon
1 cup mayonnaise
&frac12. cup sugar
1½ tablespoons distilled vinegar


  1. Fry the bacon until crisp, drain and cool on paper towels, then crumble.
  2. Clean and cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets, discarding the stem.
  3. In a medium serving bowl, mix together the broccoli, cheese, and bacon.
  4. In a small bowl, which together the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar.
  5. Mix the dressing into the broccoli mixture and serve immediately.
Fry the bacon until crisp, drain, and crumble.

One bunch (or is is a head?) of broccoli.

Cut it  into individual florets, discarding the stalk.

Mix the broccoli, bacon, cheese, and dressing, then serve immediately.

Recipe: Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Lime Glaze

Based on a recipe for Quick Weeknight Ribs from the May 2013 issue of Cook's Illustrated I served it with Sunday Dinner on May 4, 2013. Serves 6.


1 rack baby back ribs (1-pound)
2 tablespoons table salt
⅔ cup lime juice
⅓ cup ketchup
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt


  1. Cut the ribs into three equal-sized pieces.
  2. Add the salt to 2½ quarts of water to a dutch oven.
  3. Submerge the ribs in the brine.
  4. Bring the brine to a simmer on high heat then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the internal temperature of the ribs is 195°, about 20 minutes.
  5. As the ribs simmer, heat the gas grill using medium-high heat.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, ketchup, brown sugar, and salt.
  7. Remove the ribs from water and pat dry with paper towels.
  8. Brush both sides of the ribs with the glaze and grill, with the grill cover open, flipping and rotating the ribs. 
  9. After 10 minutes brush the ribs with the glaze again and continue cooking until the glaze is caramelized, about 20 minutes total.
  10. Remove the ribs from the grill to a cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and rest for 10 minutes.
  11. Cut between bones and serve.

Cut the rack of ribs into three pieces.

Submerge in salted water and simmer.

Mix together lime juice, ketchup, brown sugar, and salt to make a glaze.
Brush both sides of the ribs with glaze.

Grill until the glaze is caramelized and the meat tender.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Recipe: Peg's Sloppy Joe

This is an old family recipe which came from my Aunt Peggy. It is titled Beef Barbecue but everyone calls it  Sloppy Joe. For many years Aunt Peggy was a cook at Oneida High School. Family lore says that she made this recipe at school, but there is no way to confirm that now.  Prepared for Sunday Dinner on April 29, 2013.  Makes 8-10 slider-sized sandwiches.

28 Feb 2014:  I noticed that I had omitted sugar from the recipe when I first published it, so I added it.


1 pound ground beef
1 onion
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon water, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
¾ cup ketchup
Salt and pepper


  1. Dice the onion finely.
  2. Combine the ground beef, chopped onion, vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, sugar, mustard, and ketchup in a medium sauce pan.
  3. Using a spoon, break up the ground beef until no large pieces remain.
  4. Simmer over low heat for several hours, stirring occasionally and breaking up any remaining large pieces of beef. Add additional water to maintain the right consistency. (This is more likely if you use lean ground beef.)
  5. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  6. Serve on hamburger buns.

Chop an onion.

Combine the ingredients in a sauce pan, break up the ground beef, and stir.

Simmer for several hours, adding water if needed.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Recipe: Quick Easy Boston Beans

Based on a recipe for Easy Boston Beans from The America's Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook, p. 356.  Prepared for Sunday Dinner on April 29, 2013. Serves 8.


2 slices bacon
1 onion
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans
1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup molasses
1½ tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1½ teaspoons cider vinegar
Salt and black pepper


  1. Chop the bacon.
  2. Chop the onion fine.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans.
  4. In a large saucepan render the fat from the bacon over medium heat, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the diced onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the beans, broth, molasses, mustard, and vinegar.
  7. Simmer with frequent stirring until the beans are softened and the sauce thickens, about 20-30 minutes.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Drain and rinse the beans.

In a large sauce pan render the fat from the chopped bacon.

Cook finely chopped onion in the bacon until softened.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer with frequent stirring 20-30 minutes.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Recipe: Roasted Carrots

Based on a November 2010 recipe from Cook's Illustrated.  Prepared for Sunday dinner on April 21, 2013. Serves 4.


1½ pounds carrots
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Table salt and black pepper


  1. Heat oven to 425° with a rack in the middle position.
  2. Melt the butter (not in the oven).
  3. Peel the carrots and cut them in half crosswise. Cut the larger halves in half again lengthwise so the carrots are all roughly the same size.
  4. In a large bowl toss the carrots with the melted butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  5. Spread the carrots in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  6. Cover the baking sheet tightly with foil. If the foil is not large enough to cover the baking sheet you can combine two sheets of foil.
  7. Cook for 15 minutes then remove the foil.
  8. Cook until the carrots are well browned and tender, about 30 minutes, stirring twice.
  9. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Cut carrots into uniformly sized pieces then toss with melted butter, salt, and pepper.

Bake on a tightly covered baking sheet.

Remove the foil and continue cooking until the carrots are browned and tender.