Monday, March 31, 2008

Chicken Fajitas

It's my full, complete intention to do a week of dinners this week. In part, due to me baking so much I realize people need dinner ideas... people cannot live on cupcakes alone. And due to the other fact that I lose recipes and can't find them ever again.

I'm sure you have no idea what I'm talking about, right? Right.

Chicken Fajitas:

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
canola oil (about 3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon chili powder*
2 teaspoons garlic powder* (divided)
salt and pepper
3 colorful bell peppers, cut into slices
1 sweet yellow or red onion, cut into slices

For serving:
6 inch corn tortillas
fresh limes
sour cream
anything else you deem necessary for fajita fixin's

Preheat boiler, place a rack in the highest position. Cover at least two cookie sheets with foil.

Cut the chicken breast - carefully, cut tenderloins off breasts and then cut breasts in half width-wise (tricky, I know). Place chicken on foil lined cookie sheets, drizzle them with 1-2 tablespoons of oil and season with chili powder, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, salt and pepper. With clean hands, rub everything all over the chicken, place chicken in a single layer and place under the broiler. Broil 6 to 8 minutes.

(For those with a more sensitive palate, rub chicken with salt and pepper and call it good. My boys aren't too fond of "that spicy stuff" that "burns" their tongues.)

While chicken is cooking, place sliced peppers and onions on another foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with one tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, salt and pepper. Rub all over veggies and try to place in a single layer.

When the chicken comes out of the broiler (on my case, top of my oven), put veggies under the broiler and cook 7 to 9 minutes, stirring the veggies every 3 minutes.

Let the chicken rest for a few minutes and then cut into strips.

Place a dampened paper towel on a microwavable plate, layer corn tortillas and another damped paper towel. Microwave on high for one minute to make tortillas soft.

When the veggies come out of the oven and the chicken is sliced and the tortillas are warm, eat up! And enjoy!

*Always, always, always make sure your spices are gluten-free. I purchase mine from Penzey's who lists the gluten if it's included. For other spice manufacturers, check out their website.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lemon Cake

Sometimes, cooking seems too precise. And it’s rather ridiculous, actually, for everything to be perfect and the same every time. When I make this lemon cake, it always turns out great regardless if I use big lemons, little lemons, two lemons or one lemon. Sure, you can measure the lemon zest to three tablespoons if you want, and the lemon juice to two tablespoons if you so desire. But I like to not waste lemons and simplify my recipes. So use what you have on hand and experiment a little!

1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

zest of two lemons

juice of one lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (make sure it is gluten-free)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mix

glaze: juice of remaining lemon and 3/4 to 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Meanwhile, butter a loaf pan with the butter wrapper.

Add eggs, one at a time, to mixing bowl. Add zest, lemon juice and vanilla and mix until combined. Slowly add buttermilk, mix and scrape down the bowl.

On low, add salt, baking powder, baking soda and xantham gum and gluten-free flour mix. Mix until well combined, scrape down the sides and the beater and mix again.

Scoop batter into loaf pan and spread. Bake in 350 oven 45 to 60 minutes until done (crust will be brown) and a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cake cool to room temperature and remove cake from pan and place on a plate.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and 3/4 cup powdered sugar until smooth. Add more powdered sugar until you achieve a consistency you like. (Personally, I like it so thick it barely drizzles, so I use about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.) Drizzle glaze over lemon cake, encouraging it to flow over the edges. Let glaze set up (if you can wait that long) and enjoy!