“Pricey” Brownies

At some point after we started dating my now husband decided that box-mix brownies were a waste of time. He came up with the following recipe and it has stood the test of time. These are a dense, slightly chewy, brownie with a deep chocolate taste.

"Pricey" Brownie

The name “pricey” comes from the fact that Ted calls for high quality chocolate. We typically use a bittersweet chocolate that we get from King Arthur Flour. The original recipe called for Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Chocolate. We’ve used the Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar with good success. The use of chocolate chips, no matter the quality, isn’t allowed when Ted makes these. 🙂

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Saturday night – 07/27/2013

Our menu this week is basically from Cook’s Illustrated. I decided that I wanted to grill some pork however I wasn’t sure how best to do it. Once I found a recipe I realized I didn’t have any idea what to make for sides so I trolled the site for ideas.

Grill-Roasted Pork Loin for Gas Grill with Sweet-and-Savory Rub
Curried Rice Salad with Cauliflower, Mango Peach, and Cashews
Spinach with Caramelized Onions, Pine Nuts, and Dried Apricots
Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil salad

Ted’s “Pricey” Brownies

Notes under the cut

Ginger Syrup

Ginger syrup is simple to make at home and produces the best ginger ale you’ve had in your life. I think we first realized the potential while at Ming Tsai’s restaurant Blue Ginger in Wellesley for a birthday dinner. The house ginger ale is out of this world and the Blue Ginger Gimlet, using the same syrup was just amazing.

Sliced Ginger

Drink recipes can be found in the notes at the end of the recipe.

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Chicken and Veg Stir-Fry

We made this one night this past week when my husband offered a vague desire for something “Asian” with noodles. As I often do I turned to Cook’s Illustrated for inspiration and found their recipe for Thai-Style Stir-Fried Noodles with Chicken and Broccolini.

The recipe is an exercise in repetition and restraint. After prepping everything you heat oil in the skillet, add some sauce and cook a component of the dish. Then you set that component aside and move on to the next one. At the end you add everything back and, presto, you have a complete dish.

Chicken and Veg Stir-Fry
Servings: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes


  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 ounces (1/4-inch-wide) rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 8 oz.cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 red bell pepper, cored and julienned


  1. Combine the baking soda with 4 tablespoons of water in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Clean excess fat from the chicken thighs. Cut into 1/4″ thick slices, cutting against the grain. Add to the bowl of soda and water. Toss to coat and let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Rinse chicken in cold water, drain well and set aside.
  3. Bring 8 cups of water to boil. Place noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water over the noodles. Stir well to separate the noodles. Let sit for 5 minutes. Stir again and let rest another 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Shake to remove excess moisture. Return to the bowl, add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and toss to coat.
  4. Place the mushrooms in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes on high. Drain the mushrooms of the accumulated liquid and set aside with the onions and pepper.
  5. Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon vinegar, molasses and fish sauce in a bowl.
  6. Crack eggs into a bowl and give them a good scramble.
  7. Heat a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of oil and the garlic. Stir to coat and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is browned and aromatic.
  8. Add the chicken and 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Toss chicken with sauce and spread chicken across the skillet in an even layer. Cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the chicken and again, cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes.
  9. Move the chicken to one side of the skillet. Add 2 teaspoons of oil and the eggs to the empty side of the skillet. Gently stir eggs until the are just cooked (they should be still wet). Stir the eggs into the chicken and cook until the eggs are fully cooked, maybe 30-45 seconds more. Transfer the chicken/egg mixture to a bowl.
  10. Add 2 more teaspoons of oil to the empty skillet and heat until it starts to smoke. Add the onions, peppers, mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Toss to coat and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the chicken/egg mixture.
  11. Add the remaining oil to the empty skillet and heat until it starts to smoke. Add the noodles and remaining sauce to the pan; toss to coat. Cook until the noodles begin to brown, maybe 2 minutes. Add the chicken/egg and vegetables back to the skillet and toss to combine. Cook, without stirring, for 2-3 minutes until everything is warmed through. Sprinkle with remaining vinegar, toss to coat and serve.

Microwaving the mushrooms in advance releases some of their water and allows you to cook them much more quickly in the skillet.

Grilled Chicken and Sausage

This chicken & sausage came together using a couple of recipes. I used parts Nigella Lawson’s One-Pan Sage-and-Onion Chicken and Sausage and combined it with some of the technique in the Grilled Lemon Chicken with Rosemary recipe from Cook’s Illustrated.

The result was nicely colored meat with a fairly moist interior.

Grilled Chicken and Sausage
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 75 minutes
Total time: 115 minutes


  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 3 quarts water
  • 12 chicken drumsticks, skin removed, bone-in
  • 12 sweet Italian sausage links
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • salt & black pepper for seasoning


  1. Make a brine by combining the sugar and salt in a large bowl or 2-quart cup glass measuring cup. Heat 2 quarts water to a boil and then pour over sugar/salt. Stir until the sugar/salt is dissolved. Add remaining cold water (or ice) to reduce the temp of the brine. The temperature needs to get down to at least room temp before moving on. Colder is better, say 40-50°F.
  2. Cut 1/2″ slits, about 1/2″ apart, on the both sides of the drumsticks. Transfer to a large bin or zip-top bag. Add the cooled brine and seal. Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet or small pan over medium heat. Add the sage leaves one at a time and cook until crisp, about 1 minutes. Transfer the leaves to a double-layer of paper towels to remove some of the excess oil. Allow olive oil to cool.
  4. Zest and juice the lemons while the chicken brines. Crumble about sage into small pieces. Combine zest, lemon juice, 1/2 the crumbled sage, Worcestershire and Dijon in a small bowl. When oil cools whisk it into the mixture to create an emulsion. Add salt and pepper to taste. This will be a dressing and basting liquid for the chicken & sausages.
  5. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Transfer to a large dish, add the sausage links and add about 1/3 of the lemon/oil dressing. Rub the dressing onto the chicken and sausages.
  6. Heat gas grill on high for 15 minutes. Clean the grill grates, leave half of the burners at high and turn the rest to low. Lubricate with vegetable oil.
  7. Place the drumsticks on the hottest part of the grill and arrange the sausages around the drumsticks. Close the grill and cook for 8-10 minutes. Flip the drumsticks and sausages over; brush with with basting liquid. Cover and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes.
  8. Check the temperature of the chicken and sausages. If it is in the 175°F range then remove it from the grill to a clean dish. If it hasn’t hit 175°F yet turn it over again, baste it once more and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Repeat until all the pieces are cooked through.
  9. Brush cooked meat with any remaining basting liquid and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
  10. Transfer meat to a serving disk, sprinkle with remaining sage leaves. Serve.

If you have the time and forethought, make the brine the day before, let it cool to room temp and stash it in the fridge overnight.

I served this with some grilled onion segments. Cut peeled onions (top to root) into quarters or eighths, depending on their size. Place the onions in a microwave safe bowl, toss with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes to soften the onions. When you flip the chicken the first time place the onion quarters on the grill. Flip them after 4 minutes. It takes a bit of dexterity however if you leave a bit of root in place they should stay together.

Burnt Sugar Rye Bread

My husband Ted is the bread baker in the family. We took a yeast dough class when we first started dating. He really enjoyed it and when the weather is reasonable he will make bread for our Saturday night gatherings. Sometimes he’ll make it on his day off or if he wants to try something new. It is great stuff, freshly sliced or toasted the next day.

He made a rye loaf a couple of weeks back and I captured this picture of it before we sliced it up for dinner.

Burnt Sugar Rye Bread

Burnt Sugar Rye Bread

I posted the same picture to on Facebook and a friend asked for the recipe. I’ve taken what Ted wrote there and formatted it for this blog. Enjoy.

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Cauliflower, Potato and Spinach Curry

I found this recipe in Joy of Cooking a few weeks back while looking for carrot recipes. No carrots here but cauliflower is near carrots alphabetically and this caught my eye.

The spinach makes a nice addition to what would otherwise be a rather beige dish. We enjoyed it over hot rice.

Cauliflower, Potato and Spinach Curry
Servings: 4-6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes


  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and rough chopped
  • 3 lg. garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1 2-3″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 Serrano chiles, seeded and minced
  • 2 medium onions, 1/4″ dice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 14 oz. can lite coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 16 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 12 oz. spinach, stems removed and chopped into bit size pieces


  1. Prep all your ingredients before you start cooking. Chop the cauliflower, dice the potato, slice the apple, etc. Measure out oil & water, open the cans, drain the chickpeas. It really makes things easier when you start working at the stove.
  2. Combine the curry powder and flour in a small bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. 3/4 fill a large sauce pan with water and bring it to a boil. Fill a separate bowl with cold water (few ice cubes would help but aren’t necessary).
  4. While the water comes to a boil combine the apple, garlic, ginger and peppers in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Processor for 10-15 seconds to finely chop the apple and combine.
  5. Once the water is boiling add the cauliflower, return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. When 5 minutes is up remove the cauliflower from the hot water and transfer to a the cold water bath.
  6. Add the cubed potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer these to the cold water bath as well.
  7. In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the chopped onions and apple/garlic/ginger/pepper mixture. Stir to coat and cook until the onions begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
  8. Add the curry powder/flour mix and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook for ~3 minutes to bloom the spices in the curry powder and cook out the raw flour taste.
  9. Add the coconut milk, water and salt. Stir and bring to a boil.
  10. Drain the cauliflower & potatoes; add them to the curry along with the chickpeas. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  11. Dump the spinach on top of the curry and cover the pot. Let the spinach steam for a minute then stir it into the curry. Cook for 3-5 minutes; you want the spinach cooked but not lifeless.
  12. Taste and adjust salt & pepper as you wish. Serve.

I used Penzey’s Sweet Curry Powder in this dish. I use it when I don’t want to make my own blend.

I’m always surprised by how much green comes off of spinach when you rinse them properly. Other greens can easily be substituted for the spinach.

The recipe seems to have a lot of steps. OK, the recipe has a lot of steps. The boiling/shocking steps can be a bit of a pain however I think it helps with the overall texture of the dish. You could probably skip the food processor if you want to grate the apple and chop garlic, ginger and peppers fine yourself. The end result is definitely worth the effort, at least in our opinion.