Centerbrook Cookbook

As a design firm, it goes without saying that creativity permeates our studio. For many of us, that also extends to our kitchens at home. Before we all began working remotely due to the coronavirus outbreak, it was commonplace to find any number of homemade goodies in the office.

With more time around the house for many under the current stay-at-home directives, we wanted to share some of our staff’s favorite recipes. Below are a few of the delectable delights, and here is a printable collection of each recipe submitted.

Rene Brakels
Florentine Chicken Ring
Recipe by Gwynne Widlicka, a friend of Kimberley Brakels

10 oz. cooked chicken
1/2 cup red bell peppers, chopped
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Refrigerated crescent rolls

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Add chicken to chopped bell pepper along with spinach, cheese, mayo, lemon zest and nutmeg. Mix well.
3. Unroll crescent dough, separate into triangles. Arrange triangles in circles on 2 pie plates with wide ends of triangles overlapping in center, and points toward the outside.
4. Scoop chicken mixture evenly onto widest end of each triangle. Bring outside points of triangles up over filling and tuck under wide ends of dough at center of ring.
5. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Jill Cartagena
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

Dry Ingredients
4-1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Wet Ingredients
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.
2. Mix all dry ingredients, then add the wet. Add chocolate chips last.
3. Spoon on to cookie sheet. Bake 14 min. Cool. Enjoy!

Leslie Henebry
Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

What makes this recipe a keeper is that it uses a lot of overripe bananas. Not just 2 or 3, but the giant bunch that got away from you on the counter. The best bananas to use are so ripe they smell like alcohol and have shrunk from their original size to almost half. Even better, this recipe uses no eggs and sneaks wheat flour past unsuspecting wheat flour haters. The trick is using really good cocoa powder.

2 cups overripe mashed banana
2-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. vinegar (white vinegar or rice vinegar)
1/4 cup oil (your choice, neutral flavored)
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder*
1-3/4 cup whole wheat flour**
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

*Cocoa Barry Extra Brute is worth the splurge. (Cocoa Barry is a division of Callebaut). Mild mannered Hershey’s will not give the same effect. Try making identical smoothies, one with mild cocoa and one with Cocoa Barry Extra Brute. You’ll be sold on it.

**Regular all-purpose flour will also work, or a mix of flours, your choice.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
2. Mix all of the wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until combined, but don’t worry about those pea-sized pieces of banana in there; they don’t have to be perfectly pureed.
3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips in a separate bowl and then fold gently into the wet mixture in the large bowl.
4. Transfer to the loaf pan and spread gently to even the batter into the corners. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top if desired.
5. Bake 45 minutes, then turn off the oven, but do not open the door. Let sit 10 additional minutes in the closed oven before removing. A toothpick inserted into the center of the batter should come out clean.

Kas Leiva
Turrón De Alicante
Recipe by various contributors

150 g Honey
150 g Sugar
250 g Almonds – peeled and toasted
1 Egg white
Wafer paper sheets (optional)

1. Pick a rectangular mold or baking pan that will accommodate the dimensions of the turron you intend to make. Line it with a long sheet of greaseproof baking paper lengthwise, then crosswise with another paper sheet. Cover the bottom with a wafer paper sheet. Leave the rest of the wafer sheets aside for later.
2. Heat a saucepan with honey and sugar. Stir continuously. Bring to boil and leave heat on for a few minutes, then remove from heat.
3. Add egg white to the mix, stirring constantly so that it does not set. Bring it back to the heat over a low temperature and keep stirring until achieving a caramel-like texture.
4. Add almonds. Continue stirring until all the ingredients are well blended. Remove from the heat and let cool.
5. Pour the mix into the mold until you have a 2cm thick base. Cover with another wafer paper sheet. Put pressure on top for even distribution of mix. Let cool.
6. Ready to eat!

Ben Mayne

My Favorite White Bread Recipe
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

4-1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (two 0.25-ounce packets)
3/4 cup + 2-2/3 cups warm water (divided)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
9 to 10 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, for brushing

1. In the bowl of a mixer, stir to dissolve the yeast in 3/4 cup of the warm water, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2-2/3 cups water, sugar, salt, room temperature butter, and 5 cups of the flour and stir to combine.
2. Using a dough hook, mix on low speed and gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is soft and tacky, but not sticky (you may not need to use all of the flour). Continue to knead until a soft ball of dough forms and clears the sides of the bowl, about 7 to 10 minutes.
3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn it over so it is completely coated. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free place to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Gently press it all over to remove any air pockets. Divide the dough in two and, working with one piece at a time, gently pat it into a 9x12-inch rectangle. Roll up the rectangle, starting on the short end, into a very tight cylinder. Pinch to seal the seams and the ends, tuck the ends of the roll until the bread, and place into greased 9-inch loaf pans. Cover the loaves loosely and place in a draft-free area until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
5. Position an oven rack on the lowest setting and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
6. Brush the loaves with some of the melted butter. Bake the loaves for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 195 degrees F).
7. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with more of the melted butter. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely before slicing. The bread can be stored in an airtight bread bag or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.

Recipe Notes:
Note #1: This recipe can be halved to make only one loaf.
Note #2: You can substitute active dry yeast for the instant yeast. Ensure that it is indeed activated in step #1 before continuing, and note that the rise times will be slightly longer.

David O'Connor
Jamaican Jerk Marinade for chicken or pork

Makes marinade for 5 to 6 pounds of meat

1 Scotch bonnet pepper (or habaneros), with seeds, chopped (add more for more heat)
1-1/2 medium onions chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic lightly chopped
6 stalks of green onion (scallions) chopped
8-12 stalks of fresh thyme leaves (leave on stalks)
1-1/2" bump of fresh ginger (2 teaspoons of ground ginger)
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (add more to liquefy marinade)
7 teaspoons of ground allspice
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor to create marinade. Marinade should have the consistency of ketchup (it will not be smooth like a puree).
2. Add to meat and marinate for a minimum of 1 hr, best if left overnight in the refrigerator.
3. Cook meat on direct medium heat and serve hot.

1. Use excess marinade to baste meat when cooking.
2. Best results are with a charcoal grill, but can also be done on a gas grill.

Patricia Valdez
Traditional Venezuelan Arepas

These are the classic, traditional Venezuelan arepas to be eaten with your favorite filling. (Pictured: beef, avocado)

PAN arepa dough (find it on Amazon or Latino markets)

1. Pour the water in a bowl.
2. Add the flour and mix with your hands until well incorporated.
3. Form balls of dough according to the size of your palm and make it flat about 3/4 inch and make a round shape with your hand.
4. Place into a pan and cook it in low to medium heat for about 8 min. Then flip it and cook them for 8 minutes more.
5. They will be ready when they look crispy.
6. Open each arepa, spread butter and fill it with any food you want. In this case I chose beef, but you can fill them with cheese, fish, chicken.

Andrew Wait
Hearty Winter Chili
Recipe by various contributors

2 Vidalia onions
4 bell peppers (vary color as desired)
2 lbs. ground beef (85% or 90% lean recommended)
30 oz. beans (vary as desired – pinto, black, etc.)
30 oz. tomato sauce
6 oz. tomato paste
Spices and seasoning as desired (cumin, paprika, etc.)

1. Dice the onions, about the size of a quarter. Simmer on low heat until onions start to become translucent.
2. Dice the peppers and combine with the onions. Before the peppers become soft, transfer to an eight-quart pot and continue to simmer on low heat.
3. Brown the ground beef, adding salt and other spices.
4. While the beef is browning, add the beans, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and spices to the pot with the onions and peppers. Taste, and add additional spices as required; a healthy amount of salt, a small, finely chopped carrot, or generous tablespoon of brown sugar can help mediate the strength of the tomato in the chili.
5. Add the browned beef to the pot. A slotted spoon or spatula work best.
6. Taste the chili, and add additional spices and seasonings as desired. When in a rush, the chili can be served at this point. Additional simmering for 5-10 minutes can help to better distribute flavor, but be careful to avoid overcooking the peppers. The slightest hint of crunch helps make this meal especially hearty and filling.

Enjoy your chili as prepared, or serve alongside ride and with cheese on top.