Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sautéed Carrots

You may be wondering why on earth I'm posting sautéed carrots when I could share manicotti (coming soon), peanut butter pie (coming soon), or anything else that isn't, well... carrots. Here's the thing: These are my favorite carrots, and I'm very grateful to Me, Myself, & Pie for posting them two years ago. These simple vegetables used to trip me up. I mean, how do you flavor them? How to you get them softened without turning them mushy? How to you cook them without adding a bunch of weird ingredients like flour, sugar, and cream cheese icing? (Ok, I've never wondered that.) Trust me when I say you're missing the boat if you ignore this easy side.

Sautéed Carrots

2 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups diagonally sliced carrot
4 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.
Add carrots and water.
Partially cover pan and cook 10 minutes or until carrots are almost tender.
Add salt and pepper to pan; increase to medium-high heat.
Cook 4 minutes or until carrots are tender and lightly browned, stirring frequently.

Note: This is a Cooking Light recipe, and I've taken the liberty of doubling it for this post. When I make these at home, I also take the liberty of increasing butter, salt, and pepper. I'm wild, people.

The Vegetable Peeler is a workhorse. Some peelers wear out after a few uses, and others rust quickly. Then there are the ones that were a joke as soon as they came out of the package. I'll tell you just how great this is: It handles slippery apple skin like a boss. Also, this particular peeler is twelve years old but still working like new. Anyway, I peeled the carrots and then sliced the tops off with the 5" Santoku Knife, my favorite from the Forged Cutlery Collection. Everything is on the Large Cutting Board.

Yeesh... ignore this picture for the most part. This Veggie Slicer was introduced last season but got yanked from the product line immediately because of a quality issue. I do love working with a company that won't allow an item to be sold if it's not top-notch, but I hate that no one gets to experience this really cool thing that slices carrots so easily. Oh, well... You can still get the Easy Read Measuring Cup shown here! Consoled?

Salt. and. Pepper. I can't stress enough the difference quality salt and pepper make in recipes which feature them. These are the only seasonings in this simple side, and they really do make it. No pepper has ever compared to this Peppercorn Medley, and in case you're wondering about the salt, let me just tell you it's Himalayan. Yep, it's rock star salt. Bamboo Salt and Pepper Grinder Stand Set, anyone? As beautiful as it is functional. Hey, behind my skillet, you can see the bag of leftover carrots with a Twixit! Clip on it. Like the way I coordinated the clip's color?

The 10" Skillet from the Executive Cookware Collection is my favorite pan. I could go on and on about the benefits of this line, but I'll stop myself with two points: 1) Even heat distribution and 2) Simple cleanup. The spatula seen here is in the Basic Nylon Tool Set, and it's fabulous. These tools don't melt in pans, and they hold up in the dishwasher. Aaahhh... I love Pampered Chef products!

Have I convinced you to make carrots? Would it help if I said you could add sage if you were still skeptical? What if I mentioned that these were restaurant worthy? Ah, now I've got you...

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Chocolate Chip Toffee Pie

Do you enjoy gooey things? Do you enjoy chocolate? Do you enjoy homemade desserts that don't break the bank? Do you enjoy nodding "yes" repeatedly? Ok, so here's the deal. I have good friends who send me recipes and blogs that make them think of me. When Holly forwarded me a recipe from Very Culinary, I made not only the cookies she suggested, but this pie, too. I mean, the picture looked great, and the ingredient list was short. Short enough, in fact, that I had everything on hand. I whipped this up for a party, and the rest is history. A massive headache (and about ten pounds) later, I decided this had to be shared with the world. Here I am a year down the road, and I finally made it with pictures.

This is one of those recipes where you can make the base and add whatever you have available. In today's case, I had toffee pieces begging to be used, so I went with more toffee than chocolate chips. Also, I'm not huge on nuts, but the original recipe calls for a cup of chopped walnuts or pecans. Bottom line: I use one cup of chocolate/candy and ditch all nuts. I'm writing the recipe the way I adapted it, but the original, along with a bunch of other great stuff, is over at Very Culinary.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

1 stick butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, well-beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips, toffee pieces, or whatever else you like
1 unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients, and place in pie crust. Bake 40-45 minutes.

Yes, that's all.

You know how I always go on and on about prep work? Well, a couple of days ago I was in a hurry making my favorite chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing, and I decided to skip this step. For the first time ever, I made the mistake of using baking powder instead of baking soda. How, you ask? Well, I grabbed and poured things as I went instead of carefully reading my ingredient list and getting measurements together at the beginning. When my cupcakes didn't rise, I felt sick to my stomach. All that time and energy, and they weren't right! They were edible... Heck, they were still delicious, but they weren't as good as they could have been. I won't make that mistake again. I'm utilizing the Measuring Cup Set, the Measuring Spoon Set, the Easy Read Measuring Cups, and the Cutting Board here.

To save on dirty dishes, I beat the eggs in a Stainless Mixing Bowl and add everything to them after they're beaten. Perhaps that seems obvious to those who have baked a while, but it was a novelty when I realized I was dirtying one less bowl by doing this. See the Stainless Whisk? It never gets things stuck inside! Nor does it rust. Or bend. Or come apart. Or change at all. I allow the butter to melt in the 1 1/2-qt. Saucepan from the Executive Cookware Collection while I prep everything else. The Mini Mix 'n Scraper is in the pan, and notice it's not melting. Ah, I love our Silicone Scrapers!

This is Clean Jenny's Pantry Day. I finished off a bag of mini chips, a bag of regular chips, a bag of chocolate chunks, and a bag of toffee pieces. Hi, I'm Jenny, and I'm a genius.

How about this?!?! Don't you just want to eat all the batter? Trust me - it's good. I took my frozen crust from its foil and placed it in the Deep Dish Pie Plate because I needed Stoneware results and a beautiful presentation. If you've never used stoneware, let me tell you that you're missing the boat. This crust is going to be perfectly baked and flakey all around because of this dish's even heat distribution. I could go on and on, but it would take a long time to tell you just how fabulous this stuff is. The Mix 'n Scraper gets every bit of batter out of the Stainless Mixing Bowl to prevent waste, and then, well, I "clean" the scraper myself.

I really am thankful to have found this recipe. It's good to have a go-to in your arsenal that can easily be thrown together with basic staples. This is assuming, of course, that frozen pie crust is a staple in your house. It's not? Well, that's just a bad life choice.

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Shop Online 24/7 at
E-mail me: chefjennylyn[at]
Call me up: (205) 585-2464