Chocolate and Hazelnut Muffins

Ingredients

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chocolate-and-hazelnut spread
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup roasted and chopped hazelnuts

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 6-cup muffin pan with paper muffin liners.
  2. Gently melt the chocolate and chocolate spread in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl. Let cool for a few minutes.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and cocoa powder into a large bowl, then stir in the sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla, oil, and milk using an electric handheld mixer. When combined, stir in the cooled chocolate. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, using a rubber spatula or metal spoon, but don’t overmix. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Divide the batter among the muffin liners, filling them three-quarters full, then sprinkle the hazelnuts over the tops. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. When cooked, transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Makes 6 muffins.

Source: Chocolat

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Ginger-orange Duck Casserole

Ginger-orange Duck Casserole

Ingredients

8 duck legs (legs plus thighs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
2 slices thick-cut bacon
2 medium onions, sliced thick
6 (1/2-inch-thick) slices peeled ginger, cut lengthwise from a 2- to 4-inch piece
1 serrano chile, halved lengthwise
3 medium oranges, quartered
1 cup baby carrot
4 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
2 cups shelled edamame
1/2 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cups fresh chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Season the duck legs with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large ovenproof casserole over medium heat, add the oil, and swirl to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, and working in batches if necessary, add the duck legs skin side down. Brown, turning once, about 20 minutes. If the legs haven’t rendered most of their fat, cook a little longer. Transfer the legs to a plate and pour off all the fat (reserve the fat for future use).
  4. Add the bacon, onions, ginger and chile. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the vegetables have softened slightly, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the oranges, carrots, celery and edamame and deglaze with the Grand Marnier.
  6. Add the soy sauce and stock and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  7. Return the duck legs to the casserole, cover, and bake in the oven until a paring knife passes easily through the duck, about 2 hours.
  8. Serve from the casserole or transfer to a large shallow bowl and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Simply Ming One-pot Meals

Moroccan Chicken in Pita

Ingredients

100 ml Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons harissa
2 teaspoons each ground cumin and ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
pitta bread, shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes, to serve

Method

  1. In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, harissa, cumin, coriander, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread over the chicken breasts and place in a dish. Cover the dish and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
  3. Place the chicken breasts on a grid in a roasting tin and cook in the oven for 25 minutes until browned and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife.
  4. Place the pitta bread in the oven for the last 5 minutes of cooking, to warm through.
  5. To serve, cut the chicken into thin slices. Cut the pitta bread in half and open to form pockets. Fill the pockets with the sliced chicken, shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: North African Cooking

Meatless Eggplant Roll-ups

Ingredients

olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced red bell peppers
1 (10-ounce) bag washed spinach
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
3 cups crushed tomatoes
1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
salt
1/2 cup toasted almonds, soaked overnight in enough water to cover
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated on a Microplane grater

Method

  1. Preheat the grill and the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with the cooking spray, and place over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers to the hot skillet and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach and cook until wilted and the water has evaporated. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Spray the skillet again and place over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until a deep golden brown. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and half the basil leaves and saute just long enough to wilt the basil. Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture reaches a thick sauce consistency, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Spray the eggplant slices with cooking spray and season with salt. Grill the eggplant on each side until lightly charred, about 1 minute per side.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of sauce to the bowl with the vegetables, season with salt and red pepper flakes, and mix well.
  7. Place the eggplant slices on a clean work surface, making 4 overlapping, 5-inch-wide x 10-inch-long rectangles.
  8. Place an even amount of the vegetables and some of the remaining fresh basil leaves on each rectangle and roll up. Place the rolls on top of the remaining sauce in the skillet and spoon some of the sauce over each roll.
  9. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes.
  10. Place the almonds in a blender with just enough of the soaking water to blend them and process on high until it’s a thick and smooth ricotta-like texture, about 1 minute.
  11. Remove from the blender and place in a small bowl, add the cheese, and season with salt.
  12. Pool a little sauce from the skillet on each of four plates, place 1 roll on top, and top each roll with the almond mixture.

Cook’s Tips

  • Add 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the almond mixture for more tang.
  • Remove the cheese from the recipe to create a vegan dish.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Negative Calorie Diet

Italian-style Sea Bass with Tomatoes and Capers

Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 (6-ounce) fillets black sea bass or striped bass (1/2- to 1-1/4-inches thick) with skin
salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 thin lemon slices (less than 1/8-inch thick, from 1 large lemon)
8 sprigs thyme
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1-1/2 tablespoons drained bottled capers

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F, with rack in middle. Line a large baking sheet with foil, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil.
  2. Pat fish dry and sprinkle both sides with a total of 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange fillets, skin sides down, in one layer in center of foil on baking sheet and slide 2 lemon slices under each fillet. Put 2 thyme sprigs on top of each fillet.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then saute garlic until pale golden, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt and saute until tomatoes are softened, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in capers.
  6. Spoon hot tomato mixture over fish, then cover with another sheet of foil, tenting it slightly, and crimp edges together to seal.
  7. Bake until fish is just cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Check by removing from oven and lifting up a corner of top sheet of foil, then pulling up sides of bottom sheet to keep liquid from leaking. (If fish is not cooked through, reseal foil and continue to bake, checking every 3 minutes.)
  8. Transfer fillets with lemon slices to plates using a spatula (be careful not to tear foil underneath) and spoon tomatoes and juices over top. Serve immediately, discarding thyme before eating.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Gourmet Italian