July 2011

Worms. That’s what Nanny used to say I’d get if I ate raw dough. Undaunted, I’ve spent a lifetime eating the stuff. So if I do have worms, I can only tell you they’re quite well-fed by now. But I recently read of brownies topped with egg-free CCC dough. Yes, chocolate chip cookie dough with milk to replace the eggs. Look, Nanny–no worms! 🙂

The recipes I saw made a 9 x 13″ pan of dough-topped brownies. I need that many brownies like I need a hole in the head–not to mention I’m partial to my own favorite brownie and CCC recipes–so here’s my own Katty take on these treats.

adapted from my all-time favorite brownie recipe from Ghirardelli & half my favorite CCCs
inspired by Brown-Eyed Baker

For the brownies

2 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup butter (1 stick), melted
¾ cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa
2/3 cup unsifted flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup dark chocolate chunks (chopped up Valrhona feves are my weapon of choice)

For the CCC dough
½ stick butter, softened
¾ cup flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup sugar (I used half regular, half turbinado)
¼ cup chocolate chunks (oh, yes, more Valrhona feves!)
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk (I used 1 T of milk and 1 T of heavy cream just ’cause!)

Make the brownies first!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a spoon, stir eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter.

You may already know my crazy kat trick: I save an empty Ghirardelli can to shake all the dry ingredients together ’cause I don’t like to sift. So shake or sift–it’s up to you!

Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks. Line an 8″ square pan with foil and butter it; spread batter into pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before you frost with dough. While they’re cooling–on with the dough!

It’s dough time!
Cream the butter, sugars, vanilla and milk (or cream!) until light. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients. Mix only until combined: do not overmix. Fold in chocolate chunks with a spatula.

When the brownies have cooled completely, ever so carefully frost them with the yummy CCC dough. As is often the case, slow and steady wins the race, so take your time!

Chill the brownies in the fridge for at least an hour. Use the foil to lift them out of the pan and slice with ease. Though I don’t usually refrigerate baked goodies, I did store these in the fridge all week in an airtight container and they kept beautifully.

Hey, hey, Julia…your parsley sauce has been a favorite of mine since this kat first had her own kitchen. I stay true to the very basic ingredients, but along the way, I’ve adapted the prep a bit.

As I attempted to run my knife through a board of parsley, it crossed my mind:  someone smarter than you would use a food processor. So I became that smarter person. Really slick idea unless maybe you have a mezzaluna, which I do not. I’ve always kinda wanted one–not just for the tool itself, but because I like to say mezzaluna. 🙂

My beloved blue pasta bowl bit the dust in a freak no-knead bread accident earlier this year–DOH/DOUGH! However, I was lucky to find a hot, red replacement from Italy (of course!). It is IMMENSE and provides plenty of space to toss the pasta and distribute everything evenly. Be sure you have a good-sized serving bowl for this recipe. Here’s a cool pic of my new bowl from this winter. Note the snow in the background and think cool thoughts! I hope we’ll make many beautiful meals together in the years to come!

For the first time, I added crumbled sausage to this dish. I wanted some meat to go with, and Public Market’s finest chicken sausage sounded good to me, as it always does! The original recipe is meatless. If you do add sausage, half a pound or so, cooked and drained, is plenty. So, shall we? Andiamo!

adapted from Julia della Croce

2 sticks butter
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 egg yolks
1 pound capellini (DeCecco and Delverde are my favorites)
about 2 cups or so fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup Pecorino Romano, grated

Melt butter in small saucepan. Add minced garlic and allow to infuse, slow and low.

Beat egg yolks in large bowl, where you’ll eventually toss the pasta and pull this all together.

Cook capellini according to directions on package. When you drain the pasta, quickly transfer it to the bowl with eggs while still dripping and toss with garlic and butter immediatemente to coat the pasta. Add cheese and parsley. If you’re adding sausage, get that in there, too.

Bonus points for you if you can think of a name for parsley sauce in Italian that starts with “p” besides prezzemolo. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

It sure is HOT, in and out of Katty’s Kitchen. Hope you’re staying cool. Ciao for now!

It’s been hot in my neck of the woods–and is on its way to hotter. Not that it ever stops me from baking. Are you kidding–I’m onto my third round of Mounds brownies already! But seems like time for a cool change. Let’s go Greek and make some tzatziki and lamburgers!

Rocky Hill’s West Side Market is my usual lamburger purveyor of choice, but this time I tried New Zealand lamb patties from Whole Foods. Both are delicious–I always season simply with salt, pepper and crushed rosemary. But they’re even better served with tzatziki, so let’s whip some up!

adapted ever so slightly from a very tasty recipe on About.com

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
7 oz. Fage Total Greek yogurt
½ cup sour cream
½ English cucumber, grated (don’t peel!)
2 teaspoons chopped dill

Whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in small bowl.

Add yogurt and sour cream.
Shred cucumber. Dig my handy shredding box!

Add dill and shredded cuke to the rest of the ingredients.

Cool as a cucumber and oh so creamy! No vampires anywhere in sight, either!

Tzatziki loves a lamburger.

Sad to say, that’s not Connecti-corn hiding behind the main attraction (shhh, I made this more than a month ago). But, of course, native corn, outstanding in its field, is now available! Berruti’s in South Glastonbury had Providence butter and sugar last week–and their “even better” Montauk variety should be out now. May require another ride across the river this afternoon.

My goal for today, and for the next few of increasing heat, humidity and haze: to be a cool cat. You stay cool, too!

Ever wonder what four pounds of freshly picked cherries look like?

Not that you need all of them for this recipe, but they sure do look pretty–even patriotic–in my star basket! Ah, Cherry, Cherry…you’ve got the way to move me to make as many cherry treats as possible during the limited, two-weekend timeframe that is cherry pickin’ season in the Land of Steady Habits.

Persistence paid off, as did a height advantage, when we hit Belltown Orchards in South Glastonbury early Saturday morning.

Having a partner in pickin’ helped fill the bucket quickly, too. Thanks, Ma!

By now you know my pickin’ always leads to the kitchen, so let’s see what kinda deliciousness we can stir up with these cherries.


½ cup almonds, toasted
2 cups sweet Bing cherries, pitted
1.5 cups whole milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons mascarpone
1 tablespoon amaretto
½ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon salt

Toast nuts in a frying pan over medium high heat, shaking/stirring regularly till they are golden and fragrant–about 5 or 6 minutes. Let them cool about 5 minutes, then buzz ‘em up in a food processor till they form a paste.

Add almond paste to milk and heat on medium to  medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, till small bubbles form at edge of pan. Remove from heat.

Beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to hot milk, whisking constantly.

Cook over medium-high heat and continue to whisk until mixture reaches 160 degrees F and custard coats the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil!

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl. When you do, you’ll notice you’ve left some ground nuts behind. Scan for and remove any eggy bits, then add the nutty part back to the gelato. Whisk in the mascarpone.

Meanwhile, since you already have the food processor out, why not use it to chop the cherries for you? Once chopped, add the almond extract and amaretto to the fruit.

Stir in cherry mixture and salt to the custard.

Let cool to room temperature. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard in the fridge overnight or at least four hours.

Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 10 minutes. Now, commence the spin cycle: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions.

Happy Birthday, America! Cherry cheers to you and yours this 4th of July!

What does something from Michigan have to do with the Land of Steady Habits, you ask? In fact, the Michigan dog is not a Michigan specialty at all, but one of Plattsburgh, NY. More on that in a bit.

Back in high school, some of my friends worked at Buster’s Drive-In, a seasonal hot dog stand in Bristol, CT. Beyond great shakes and onion rings, Buster’s is known for their Michigan dog–a hot dog topped with a sauce similar to chili, but thicker–a very dense meat sauce. I had forgotten about it until I reconnected with an old friend who reminded me how much I love ’em.

Fueled by nostalgia, and coached by faraway friends with connections to Plattsburgh, I was fired up to make my own Michigans! I riffed ever so slightly on a recipe said to be from Clare & Carl’s. It’s super-easy to make and a definite crowd-pleaser…not to mention it’s hot!

adapted from Clare & Carl’s via Susan W. (Thank you!)

2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
2 pounds ground chuck
8 teaspoons (2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) chili powder – I use Penzey’s Medium Hot
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
4 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot
2 teaspoons onion powder
black pepper
2 teaspoons coarse ground mustard
one tomato can (8 oz.) of water

Brown the ground chuck, breaking up the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Drain fat, then add all the remaining ingredients. It will look soupy at first. Not to worry!

The water will cook down as it simmers on your stovetop. Once it’s nice and thick, it’s ready to serve!

I grabbed some 12-inch Mucke’s from Stop & Shop to put a Connecticut spin on these hot diggity dawgs. Not only do chopped raw onions make Michigans even tastier, but also, if you “bury” them in the bun, under the dog, as well as sprinkle them on top of the sauce, it distributes the flavor nicely and helps keep all the toppings safely held together! Don’t forget to butter and grill your bun! HOO-AHHH! Three cheers for all-American comfort food: the Michigan dog!