Thursday, August 23, 2012

Double Chocolate Rocky Road Bars

I enjoy getting the mail when it holds more than bills, as I'm sure goes for everyone. Yesterday, the newest issue of "What's Cooking" arrived. Normally only a handful of those recipes appeals to me, but every page of the newest  has something that had me drooling.
In case you don't get it, today I share with you the recipe for double-chocolate rocky road bars. Oh yum!

Makes 36 servings
30 Oreo cookies (or any creme filled cookie would do, I imagine)
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1 can (300 ml) sweetened condensed milk

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F
Chop 4 cookies, set aside. Crush remaining cookies; mix with butter.
Press onto the bottom of a 13 X 9" pan sprayed with cooking spray.
Cover with layers of chips, marshmallows, buts, coconut and chopped cookies. Pour milk over all ingredients.
Bake 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

If your family cannot  have nuts, simply replace the nuts with an additional cup of mini marshmallows.

Sounds good, doesn't it?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Potato Salad With Cream Cheese Dressing

Recently, I was gifted with a wonderful copy of "How To Cook Everything Vegetarian" by an old family friend. It's a massive book, written in 2007, but this copy is in pristine condition! Now, I'm not a vegetarian, I love a good cheeseburger, but lately, we've been trying to make the grocery budget stretch farther. Sometimes we like to have a meat-less meal. So to this end, vegetarian meals are just what we're looking for. I'm sure this book will help us do just that. So, without further preamble, I'd like to share a section on salads, and then a recipe.

"Recently a big fuss has been made about raw foods, as if they were going to save the human race And although there's undoubtedly something to be said for including uncooked foods in our diets, it's worth remembering that a salad can include cooked vegetable as well and that the salad bowl is a perfect place for leftovers or vegetables you cook in advance, knowing you're going to serve them at room temperature or cold- which is just about all that distinguishes many salads from vegetable dishes.

A salad is, in fact, one of the most difficult things to define. A few leaves or a sliced fruit with a minimum of dressing, something refreshing at the beginning or end of a meal, or a bowlful of vegetables that is the meals's centerpiece?"

Potato Salad With Cream Cheese Dressing

Makes 4 servings
Takes 25 minutes, plus time to chill

An intense potato salad that rates about a 10 on the decadence scale and whose origins are in Peru, the land of many potato dishes.

1 1/2 pounds potatoes, like new red potatoes, fingerling, Yukon Gold or even russet baking potatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
minced fresh chives, parsley or dill

* Peel the potatoes if you like, or wash and scrub them well, then cut them into bite sized pieces. Put them in a pot with enough water to cover them and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the water bubbles gently. Cook the potatoes until tender but still firm and not mushy. 15 minutes or so, depending on the potato. Drain, rinse in cold water for a minute, then drain again.

* While the potatoes are boiling, put the cream cheese and cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring occasionally until the cheese is melted and the dressing thickens. Remove from the heat, whisk in the lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let the dressing cool a bit.

* When the dressing and potatoes are still slightly warm but not hot, pour the dressing on the potatoes, sprinkle with chives and carefully fold the mixture together. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly cold. Before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chevy's Icicle Pickles

I'm pleased and proud as punch to report that we spent a bit of the morning canning! We've now got eight jars of Chevy's Icicle Pickles. So far, they've all set as they should (I love hearing those lids ping!) and they should taste delicious if the last batch made with this recipe is any indicator! Yes, that's them to the left.
Here's the recipe.

Makes 5 500 ml jars

Approx. 12 pickling cucumbers
6 med size onions, sliced and cut into pieces. OPTIONAL

Pickling liquid:
3 cups granulated sugar
4 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup pickling salt
5 cloves garlic
5-6 heads fresh dill or 10 tsp. dill seed

* Fill boiling water canner with water. Place 5 clean pint (500 ml) mason jars in canner over high heat.

* Wash cucumbers. Remove blossom ends, at least 1/16th of an inch of all cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers into 1/4" spears, set aside.

* Place Snap Lids into boiling water, boil 5 minutes to soften sealing compound.

* Combine sugar, vinegar, water and pickling salt in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan, bring to a boil. At this time, you may wish to add onion pieces.

* Place 1 clove garlic and 1 head fresh dill (or 2 tsp. dill seed in a hot jar. Pack cucumber and onion (if desired) to within 3/4' of the top rim. Add pickling liquid to cover cucumbers to within 1/2" of top rim. Remove air bubbles by sliding a rubber spatula between glass and food, readjust head space to 1/2". Wipe jar with a clean, damp cloth, removing any stickiness. Center Snap Lid on jar, apply screw ring/band just until fingertip tight. Place jar in canner. Repeat for remaining cucumbers, onions, garlic, dill and pickling liquid.

* Cover canner, return water to a boil, let boil for 15 minutes. Remove jars and let cool. Check jar seals after cooling. Sealed lids curve inward and should not bounce back when pressed lightly. Wipe jars, label with contents and date, and store in a cool, dark place.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chunky Mole Beef Chili

I found this recipe in a small recipe book at the store, called Canadian Living New Slow Cooker Classics. I love our slow cooker, so I picked up a copy. The first recipe out of the book to try, I thought, was the Chunky Mole Beef Chili. Before I get to the actual nuts and bolts of it, let me tell you a little about Mole sauce. It's pronounced [ˈmole]) Mexican Spanish, from Nahuatl mulli or molli, "sauce" or "concoction") Modern mole bears little resemblance to it's historical roots. In pre-hispanic times, chocolate was a beverage among the mesoamericans, and not included in their pepper sauces, called "mulli" Different mole sauces varied widely by region and availability of ingredients, and they could contain pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cilantro, garlic, onion, cinnamon and chocolate.

I thought that a big selling point around here would be the chocolate content, so I gave the recipe a try, but I had to leave out a few of the peppers for this crowd. Here is the recipe as it is in the book.
2 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1" cubes
2 sweet bell peppers
2 onions, diced
1 cup sodium reduced beef broth
1 cup bottled tomatoes (I used canned)
1 can tomato paste
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp each ground coriander and cumin
1 tbsp liquid honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

In slow cooker, combine beef, red peppers, onions, beef broth, strained tomatoes, tomato paste, chipotle pepper, jalapeno pepper, garlic, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin and coriander.

Cover and cook on low until beef is tender, 8-10 hours.

Stir in honey, salt and chocolate until chocolate is melted.

Makes 4-6 servings, depending on bowl size.

Now, a few words of caution here. Don't cut corners on this recipe. I had to omit the jalapeno and  chipotle peppers, due to a few non-pepper eaters here. I figured I could use whatever chocolate I had a round the house. You can't. The chocolate I had was sweetned, and combined with the honey and cinnamon, it turned out to be too sweet for at least one member of the family. The rest of us judged it to be somewhere between "pretty good" to "too sweet, cut back on the cinnamon"

When I do this again, I will not cut out the peppers (the non-pepper eaters will be offered a different choice), I will cut back the cinnamon to 1 tsp. and the honey from 1 tablespoon to 1 teaspoon. That should solve the sweetness issue.

I was wondering how this recipe would taste with chicken instead of beef. I'll have to give that a try in the future.

Have you tried this recipe before? Curious enough to try it  some day?
I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on it!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Brief Appetizer To Entice

This is the first post of my new foodie blog.  Food is awesome. It nourishes us, entertains us, brings out our creativity, our passions and memories. It can excite us, disappoint us, make special moments even more memorable. Food can be an amazing thing.
In this blog, I'll be discussing the textures, the dishes, the elements that make up those special meals that we all remember. I'll talk about the tools we can use to make stunning meals, the tools the pioneers used, as well as old time recipes from the North, South, East and West. I'll discuss basic food prep methodology and terminology that many of us may not know about. I'll introduce you to new ingredients, new dishes and new ways of looking at what we put into our mouths. I'll feature cool places to eat, cooking schools, other foodie blogs that you should know about and up and coming cooks, and maybe even some of their recipes. I'll share some of our favorite meals with you too, along with what makes them special. I'd love to hear about what makes up your best recipes, your special meals and food related traditions. Do you cook well, or are you trying to improve your cooking skills? What is your favorite comfort food?
Let's have a conversation about food...