Friday, April 25, 2008

Fudgie Wudgie Brownies!!

So I was checking out my girlfriends blog, and she had eaten at this place called "The Farm of Beverly Hills" and apparently they had they best brownies ever! Well I guess enough people agreed with thie statement and requested the recipe from "Epicurious" and lo and behold they posted the recipe. So I thought I'd give it a try beings that the only recipes for brownies i've ever liked are the boxed ones, because they were never cakey. I hate dry cake-like brownies. If I wanted cake, I would make one!! So I gave them a whirl and holy fudgey-ness!!! Forget the frosting, you seriously don't need any, these hold their own, you may however, want to invest in a large glass of ice cold milk to wash it down!!What I loved the most besides their obvious fudge -like qualities, was the hint of saltiness in them.I didn't have to add any extra! I usually change one or two things in recipes that I try, but I can't think of anything I would do differently, except...and some of you may cringe, I would like to try it with some nuts..I'm a very nutty kind of gal, some toasted almonds or pecans would do the trick, or maybe coconut? The possibilities are endless!!! So many choices, I can hardly handle the turmoil going on inside, I may just have to make these again soon. SO Thank you Coleen for the recipe link....I knew your love for sweets could benefit me. A little blurry, but I was in a hurry to eat it!!
Check out the gooey-ness....
The Recipe
Chocolate Fudge Brownies
Makes 20 brownies
3 sticks of unsalted butter cut into pieces
12 oz. fine quality bittersweet chocolate-not unsweetened, chopped I used Bakers Semi-sweet
6 large eggs
1 1/4 c. cake flour- not self rising
1 c. plus 2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process) I used Hersheys
3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 13x9x2 inch metal baking pan, knock out excess flour. Melt butter with chocolate in a large metal bowl over a double broiler (or a pan of barely simmering water) stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Sift together flour and Cocoa powder in a separate bowl. Add salt and sugar. Stir in chocolate mixture, mix well. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven until top is firm and a tester inserted into center comes out with crumbs adhering (40-45 mins) Cool completely in pan on a rack anout 2 hrs, before cutting into 20 squares....if you can wait that long.
Brownies keep layered between wax paper in air tight container, 5 days.

Chow Down, Potato and Corn Chowder with Basil

I Love soup!! Even when it's 90 degrees outside!! This soup was really easy. I was looking in my fridge for dinner ideas and I saw a container full of corn, that I had made the night before and forgot to serve...yes I do that alot. Then I saw some red potatoes and onion and a ton of different breads that we had used 2 nights before when we had a fondue night. So I decided to make some kind of chowder, and the cooking began. About 45 mins later dinner was ready to serve! Annie loved it she ate 2 bowls, the crutons were the best part, no wait the soup, no.. the avocado? Ok, you can decide. It was super easy, and if you follow the cooking process, you don't have to use corn and potatoes, use broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, whatever! Be creative and have fun! Yummy ripe avocados!! Mmmmm so good!
Look at those honking crutons!!! So good when they soaked up the soup!

The Recipes

Potato and Corn Chowder with Basil

1/2 med onion minced
1 clove garlic minced
2 Tbs. basil infused oil
32 oz. chicken stock
1/2 c. white wine-no sipping
1/8 c. flour
2 c. red skinned potatoes med dice w/skin on
1 bay leaf
1 lb. corn -fresh or frozen I mixed white and yellow for multi color purposes
1/4 c. fresh basil rough chopped or 2 tsp. dried basil - I didn't have any fresh so I used dried
1 c. milk warmed
1/2 c. heavy cream warmed- I just mixed it with the milk then heated it
1/2 avocado sliced-optional
2 Tbs. crumbled bacon
Heat oil in stock pot saute onion and garlic until soft but not browned. Add flour to make a roux cook slowly for about 4 mins do not brown. Add Stock, bring to a boil stir to make sure it is smooth. Add the wine-hiccup! Add potatoes and bay leaf, simmer until potatoes are tender. Add corn and basil return to a simmer. Stir in warmed milk and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Top with Avocado, bacon, and crutons. Eat.
Seasoned Crutons
Cube desired amount of bread. I used seasoned french breads and foccacia bread, and bread with cheddar cheese baked into it. Drizzle with basil oil or regular olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat frying pan and toss in bread and stir until golden. I'm sure you can bake/broil these in the oven too and they would turn out just fine.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Girl friends

I have to say, growing up I wasn't blessed with an abundance of girlfriends. I had a best friend Sherece-Love ya, and many boy-friends. My best memories are with Sherece, I never laughed like I laughed with her. And we would laugh over the dumbest things, once I was driving and had, had enough of my icecream cone and went to toss it out the passenger window where she was sitting, and wouldn't you just know that the stupid window wasn't down like I thought? It seriously stuck there then slid down to the floor....It probably wasn't as funny as we made it out to be, but that was just us. I still giggle thinking about it...

As an adult, I am over whelmed with the amount of good girlfriends I have. Sherece lives a million miles away now- ok, not a million but Canada feels that far away. And I feel so blessed to have made so many friends since being married. It feels like the competitiveness of the teenager years have pretty much gone away, which has opened up many doors to great friendships. I have in no way replaced Sherece, I've just added a few more friends like her, which makes it easier to be so far from her. I just want to thank all my friends, neaar and far, for being my friend. I know I'm easy to like and everybody pretty much wants to be me....riiight. But seriously, I am grateful for you and your differences I love my life the people in it have made it so wonderful and fun. Thanks Girlfriends....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Husbands Favorite Icing...

German Chocolate Frosting
3 egg yolks
1 c. sugar
1 c. evaporated milk
1 1/3 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. almond extract
2/3 c. sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 tsp. salt
Melt butter in sauce pan, add sugar, milk, and egg yolks. Stir until thickened. Add remaining ingrediants. Cool.
If you are not a big coconut fan, no big deal leave it out. And I actually ran out of pecans so I added sliced almonds and it worked just fine, I think it turned out prettier. Also, I love adding salt to my sweets, it takes it to a whole new level, so add the salt and taste, you may want to add more, this was a guesstimate, so start out with a little and then add as needed, I like the flavors to end with a taste of salt, not too much, but you do want to taste it.

Aye,Aye, Cap'n Crunch Chicken Tenders & Coconut Shrimp with Apricot dipping sauce

So I looove Cap'n Crunch Cereal, I will eat it any time, anywhere, And with most anything. In fact, the other day I got this great recipe from "picky palate" for "Girlscout thin mint cookie cheesecake bites" and boy were they good, but then I sarted thinking, "I bet this would taste great with Cap'n Crunch, and it did! By the way have you tried the cap'n crunch shake from Carl's Jr? ....mmmmm. Don't try to eat a whole one- holy full tummy!!! I didn't have to eat for 3 days!....But I did anyway. Back to the food, I made this the other night and my son said "this is the best dinner you've ever made!" Not so sure about that, clearly he's forgotten about my past culinary works of art! Just kidding , but it was pretty good. So, if you don't have cap'n crunch you can use Oh's cereal too, I had to use a little and it worked just fine. For the shrimp, I like the "Japanese Panko Bread crumbs" To me they taste better then regular bread crumbs, plus they are finer in texture. You can find them with the Asian food in the grocery store.

The Recipes

Cap'n Crunch Chicken Tenders
8 thawed chicken tenders
2 cups capn' crunch
1/2 tsp. salt/pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
3 eggs beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with pam. In a food processor pulse cereal until fine. Add seasonings, pulse to mix. Place in bag or shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg wash, then toss to coat in cereal place on baking sheet. Bake for 15 mins until cooked through.
Coconut shrimp
8 large shrimp peeled and deveined- I took the tails off
1/2 bag of panko bread crumbs
1 c. sweetened shredded coconut
oil for frying
3 eggs beaten
Heat oil -about 1/2 inch or so, on med high heat in shallow frying pan. In food processor, combine bread crumbs and coconut, pulse to mix add seasonings, mix.Place in small bowl or bag. Dip shrimp in egg wash, then toss to coat in bread crumbs. Fry in pan until golden then turn and repeat on other side.
Apricot Dipping Sauce
2 Tbs. Water
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 c. apricot preserves
1/2c. vinegar
1/3c. packed brown sugar
In a small bowl bowl whisk water and cornstarch until dissolved. In a sauce pan over med heat, combine jam, vinegar, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Add dissolved cornstarch; stir until thickened, adding more water until desired consistency. Remove from heat and let cool.
* This sauce is really tangy. I would suggest for a sweeter sauce, using orange marmalade and decreasing the vinegar to 1/4 c. and increasing the brown sugar to 1/2 c.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuned Up Tuna

Tired of same ol' tuna with mayo and salt and pepper? I took a recipe idea from "Everyday Italian" and modified it to my own liking. Instead of mayo I made a quick hummus. You can usually find hummus in most grocery stores if you are not up to making your own. The basil oil I bought at "Costco" it came in a 3 variety pack, garlic, basil and red pepper. I use these all the time! The tampenade, comes in many varieties, find a flavor you like and experiment, I found mine at "Trader Joes" I know "Super Target" also carries many varieties. Look in the deli section or try where the spaghetti sauces are in your local supermarket. My husband really liked this new take on tuna, it was pretty easy and you can add your own flare to it if you like.
The Recipe
2 cans chunk light tuna in water drained
1 handful black olives sliced
1 tbs. basil flavored olive oil
salt pepper to taste
1/2 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 handful fresh baby spinach
1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans) for hummus
1/4 c. red pepper and artichoke tampenade (basically a spread)
1/2 ripe avocado sliced
1 french roll
Drain tuna. Separate with fork. Add oil, oilves and tomatoes. Season, taste. Rinse spinach, pat dry. In food processor pulse chickpeas with tampenade until smooth, you can add a little oil if you want it a bit thinner. Taste, season if you want. Slice avocado. Toast french roll, spread hummus on both sides. Top with tuna, avocado, and spinach. Serve with extra hummus and pita chips.


I'm so excited to finally start a blog that I can totally focus on food and fun girl talk! I love cooking and I love sharing stories of everyday life, it seems that I have more then my share of tales to tell.

On this new blog I will be sharing favorite recipes I've found, created and have had shared with me! And don't worry I'll give credit where credit is due. Like the Big Chef on Ratatouille, I believe "anyone can cook." I'll share cooking tips that have helped me and will be happy to answer any questions that you may have,to the best of my ability that is, just because I attended "Cooking School" does not mean that I know everything, and I am not afraid to admit it! But I will do my best!
I will also try to do my best providing photos of recipes. We have a really great camera that I can use, only problem is, my husband thinks it's really great too and uses it for work...I mean what's more important taking pictures of teeth or food? Where are his priorities?!! I tell ya'... oh well my little point and shoot will have to do! At least you'll get the general idea of how things look. I hope you all enjoy and visit often, I'll try to update as often as I cook!