Monday, December 22, 2008

Chef Stephanie's December Treat!

Chef Stephanie has blessed us again with another fabulous recipe. I've just about over dosed on sweets so this sounds especially appetizing.

Oven-Fried Cajun Chicken

I don’t know about you, but this time of year I always end up with extra buttermilk in the fridge from baking various Christmas treats. Usually I am wishing I could buy a much smaller container of the stuff – how can you possibly use an entire pint!?

Well, I have a dinner recipe for you to use up the rest of that buttermilk. Turns out not only does it give a nice, tender crumb to cakes, but it also magically tenderizes chicken.

This recipe is so fast to put together, it is perfect for these harried holiday evenings when you don’t feel like you have time to make a proper dinner. And it is delicious, thanks to the crispy panko breadcrumbs (look either in the Asian section or with the other breadcrumbs) which are larger and airier than regular breadcrumbs and give a great texture. If you can’t find them, though, it is fine to substitute regular breadcrumbs. And, you could substitute any spice mix that you want for the Cajun spices, but I love the savory spiciness that they lend. You can use white meat or dark meat chicken too – but my favorite for this type of recipe is chicken legs (usually I use only legs for the recipe) – they stay extra moist and are most reminiscent to me of eating fried chicken at my grandma’s house.

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Cajun Oven-Fried Chicken
(4 servings)

1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon salt-free Cajun seasoning (such as Spice Hunter)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 chicken breast halves (about 1 pound), skinned
2 chicken drumsticks (about 1/2 pound), skinned
2 chicken thighs (about 1/2 pound), skinned
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish. Place panko in a shallow dish. Dip chicken, one piece at a time, into buttermilk mixture; dredge in panko.

Place chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until done, turning after 20 minutes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some music for inspiration

Instead of our usual weekly inspirational quote, thought I'd suggest you visit this site, Unable to to work - or pretty much do anything - in silence, this site particularly caught my eye.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

From our favorite Chef: Cranberry-Ginger Upside-Down Cake

How delicious does Nourish Chef Stephanie Ito's cake look. Here's what she's got to say about it.

Two years ago for my mom’s family Christmas, I made this cake – one of my favorite fall/winter cakes. It is really hard to get anyone in my family to try a dessert that is not a pie, but at the end of the day this cake was gone, as were about four assorted pies.

This cake requires a couple of bowls and a hand- (or stand-) mixer to whip the egg whites into stiff peaks. When you fold the fluffy egg whites into the rich vanilla batter, it gives the cake a bit of a lift – making it much lighter than it would be otherwise. Despite the extra dishes to do, this cake is worth it! It is perfect for the December/January holidays, especially with its dark-red cranberry-studded top.

The lovely soft cake serves as a pillow for the caramelized cranberries and ginger on top of the cake (or on the bottom while it is in the oven). The cranberries and brown sugar and ginger turn into a jammy sort of layer, still slightly tart to contrast with the sweet cake. And even better, the recipe is originally from Cooking Light magazine, so it shouldn’t contribute (at least not TOO much) to holiday weight gain.

I made this cake again last night (I make it at least once a year around this time) and served it to friends. Fortunately for me, it makes a pretty generously-sized cake, because I can’t wait to have a piece again tonight for dessert, maybe warmed up for a few seconds in the microwave. Even better!

Happy Holidays!!

Cranberry-Ginger Upside-Down Cake

Cooking spray
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat a 9-inch round cake pan over medium heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Add brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter to pan, stirring until melted. Stir in ginger; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; arrange cranberries on top of brown sugar mixture.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine 1/4 cup butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with a mixer at medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter; pour batter over cranberries in prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes; run a knife around outside edge. Place a plate upside down on top of cake pan; invert cake onto plate.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Last day for free shipping!

Today is the last day to receive Free Shipping site-wide. Simply type in Free Shipping in the coupon section at check-out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Our December Pumpkin of the Month!

Here's Audrey, our newest pumpkin of the month! Her mom Jennifer added this note:
I love Hand Picked Pumpkin because the fabrics are so soft and durable for little ones to play their hearts out in! And the fabrics make them fashion forward too!

Congratulations on Audrey and Jennifer on receiving a $50 hpp gift certificate.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Two Easy Ways To Give

Give them the option to shop for themselves!

Available in amounts ranging from $25 to $250, the Hand Picked Pumpkin gift card makes a thoughtful gift for the little ones on your list.

Email a Hand Picked Pumpkin gift card and we will send it to your recipient right away


Choose to mail our brand new paper stock gift card at no extra charge.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Exclusively Yours, 20% off for 5 days only

We are offering our loyal subscribers 20% off all items until Friday, December 5th. Enter promo code holiday08 in the coupon section at check-out or over the phone to receive your discount.

*Offer expires December 5, 2008 and can not be combined with any other offer.