Friday, December 16, 2011

Easy Chocolate Truffle Cake

You will love me for this recipe.  Or hate me, I guess, if your New Year's resolutions including losing weight.  This cake is the richest, most compact chocolate delivery system I think I've ever had.  Cut yourself a small piece... and a strong coffee with it is divine.  This recipe is originally from some chocolate cookbook I checked out of the Blarney library... and then had Mr. Kluges photocopy the recipe. The cake should be made at least one day before glazing.

Easy Chocolate Truffle Cake

250g/9 oz. plain chocolate, chopped [Use GOOD quality chocolate from a real chocolate shop, not just some semi-sweet chips.  Seriously.]
225g/8 oz. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
75g/ 3 oz. sugar
120ml/4 fl oz. whipping (heavy) cream
15ml/1 Tbl vanilla essence (vanilla)
6 eggs
[a bunch of boiling water for step 4]

Chocolate glaze:
175g/6oz plain chocolate, chopped [see previous note]
50g/2 oz. butter, cut into pieces
whipped cream for decoration
rose petals for decoration [optional]

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.  Generously grease a 9" by 2" deep round or scalloped spring-form pan (23cmx5cm deep).  Line bottom with waxed paper and grease waxed paper.  Wrap bottom of pan in foil.
  2.  In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate, butter and sugar with cream, stirring frequently until smooth; cool slightly.  Stir in vanilla.
  3. With electric mixer, beat eggs lightly, about 1 minute.  Slowly beat chocolate into eggs until blended.  Pour into spring-form pan and tap gently on work surface to break any large air bubbles.
  4. Place spring-form pan into larger roasting pan and pour boiling water into roasting pan, about 2 cm/ 3/4" up the sides of the spring-form pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes, until the edge of the cake is set, but the center is still soft.  Remove spring-form pan from water-bath, and remove foil.  Cool on wire rack competely; cake will sink in center and may be cracked.
  5. Remove side of spring-form pan, and turn cake onto wire-rack placed over baking sheet to catch any drips.  Remove pan bottom and waxed paper.
  6. Cake should be made at least one day before glazing.  Prepare glaze.  In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.  Pour over cake, tilting rack slightly to spread glaze.  If necessary use palette knife [or spatula] to smooth side.  Leave to set.
  7. With palette knife, carefully slide cake onto serving dish.  If you like, pipe whipped cream border around edge. [Or sprinkle designs with powdered sugar or whatever.] 
  8. Note - we've never attempted the sugared rose petals, but here are the directions if you're feeling especially fancy & brave!  Dip the rose petals in lightly-beaten egg white, then in caster [super-fine].  Allow to stand on greaseproof [waxed should work or parchment] paper in a cool place for about 2 hours.  Place iin center of cake.  Serve with softly whipped cream on the side.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Orange Cranberry Sauce

My mother-in-law made this cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving & it was so yummy I had to ask her for the recipe.  She says it's easy, can be made ahead, and that she used a bit less sugar than called for because she likes her cranberries a bit tart.  I thought they were YUM, so you should use less sugar, too!  Thanks, Gramma Yori!

Orange Cranberry Sauce

1 pkg. (12 oz.) fresh cranberries
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin orange segments, drained, juice reserved
½ tsp. grated orange zest
Parsley sprig, optional

In pot, bring cranberries, brown sugar, reserved mandarin juice and ¼ cup water to boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop, 20-25 minutes. 

Cool: cover and chill 2 hours.  [I think she might have chilled it overnight - I'd sure think you could.]  Reserve 10 orange segments – chop remaining.  Just before serving, stir in zest and chopped segments.  Transfer to dish, arrange reserved orange segments on top of sauce.  If desired, garnish with parsley.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Kale Chips

We got this recipe a few years ago from our CSA in the newsletter, and I had to get it out again this year.  These kale chips are not at all like potato chips, except that they are salty & crispy & rather more-ish.

Kale Chips
1 bunch kale
1 Tbl. olive oil (approximately)
1 tsp. seasoned sale (or regular salt)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray a low-sided cookie sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.

With a kitchen scissors or knife, remove the thick stems from the kale (and put in the compost bin!).  Tear the kale into small pieces - maybe and approximately 1.5" square? Wash, then use a salad spinner to dry them thoroughly... or use the towel trick*.

Place kale pieces on to a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with (seasoning or plain) salt.  Bake until the edges are brown but not burnt, maybe 10-15 minutes.  Keep a close eye on it at the end - you want crispy, but not crumbling-to-bits when you eat it.  Let cool very briefly, then enjoy!

* Towel trick: Put your washed greens into the center of a kitchen towel - the flour sack kind works well.  Gather up the four corners into one hand so you've got the greens-filled part hanging down.  GO OUTSIDE.  Start swinging the towel around like you'd swing a jump rope.  Be amazed as centrifugal force causes more water than you would believe to be driven out from the greens!  It might take a couple spins until you've built up enough speed, but oh, is it fun!  :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

You women have good taste!

I was scrolling through Recipeeps on a phone app at work (you can't search on the app) to find a specific recipe that was requested for the work cookbook.

And I've been working on eating clean - no processed foods, no refined sugars/flour.

And holy crap!! It took me almost 2 hours to find the recipe I was looking for because I kept stopping to droll over other ones! AND they're nearly all clean, or can be made that way! So I'm rediscovering Recipeeps and having a fantastic time.

Thanks, ladies! You rock.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May's Theme - Entry to Omnivorism

Hello, all! So, what do you do when you're just starting out cooking something new. Maybe you're venturing into a new style of cooking by trying out some of the venerable Julia Child's classic recipes. Maybe you want to embark on learning how to replicate a different ethnic/cultural cuisine, like, say Indian cookery. Maybe you just haven't done much cooking & want to get your toes wet, so to speak.

Or maybe you're a vegetarian, but you are raising a couple of omnivores and want a little help with some simple/basic meat dishes. :)

So, to help a friend out, let hear some of your quick and/or easy and/or basic recipes with meat. We're not looking for those elaborate, impress-the-guests recipes this time around (but feel free to post them, or any other recipe, anytime, regardless of current theme!), but more accessible ones.

If you've got recipes/ideas that are easily accomplished as meated/meat-free (like, say, cooking up a steak, slicing it, and serving it as part of a make-your-own-fajitas buffet along with sauteed onions & peppers, cheese (dairy & non?), etc.), here's a special plea to post those! Simple ideas that you don't think warrant their own post can certainly go in the comments section here.

Thanks much, Recipeeples!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cranberry-Glazed Pork Roast

Just had this easy, delicious pork dish for supper the other night. Since my girls are not big fans of sauces/stuff-on-their-food, I just served the cranberry sauce on the side. I've found this to be a nice company meal, because you can prep it all, throw it in the oven, and then pretty much just let it be while it cooks. If things run long, no biggie, just turn down the oven & let it keep warm.

(It's another recipe from my mom's recipe box, btw.)

Cranberry-Glazed Pork Roast

2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. grated orange peel (if you've got oranges on hand, no biggie if you don't)
2 Tbl. orange juice
2 Tbl. dry sherry or more orange juice (or white wine)
1 can (16 oz.) whole cranberry sauce
3 lb. boneless pork loin roast
(Opt. - potatoes)

  1. In small saucepan, stir together all ingredients except pork. Cook glaze, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened. Set aside.
  2. Place roast in a shallow baking dish. (I often surround it with cut-up red potatoes & let them roast at the same time. Yum.) Roast at 325F for 30 minutes. Spoon 1/2 c. glaze over roast & continue roasting for 30-45 minutes more or until internal temperature is 155-160F. (Roughly - you can do it at 350F if you need to, just make sure it's done through, but don't cook it 'til it's dry!)
  3. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with remaining sauce.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Links to 2 Favorite Kid Bento Blogs

Poor, neglected little Recipeeps! I had all sorts of good intentions re: posting every week. Well, it may be late, but here are the links to a couple of packing-kids-bento-lunches blogs I've especially enjoyed.

Over at Wendolonia, Wendy shares pics of lunches she creates for her 1st grader & those she sends with her toddler to daycare. Lots of great hints & tips, a few videos on how to use/stack some bento boxes, some of her life... I like the semi-weekly photo posts of that week's bentos for attainable inspiration. (Plus, I'm pretty sure I need to buy some food-safe markers now!)

The other site I've been following is Another Lunch. Last December, Melissa did a big "Twelve Days of Christmas" series, which is super-cute. In fact, a LOT of her bento lunches are really, really adorable, often with fancy picks or frosting eyes or other fun bento toys. She sometimes does thematic "Muffin Tin Mondays," where she uses a muffin tin instead of a plate for a fun at-home lunch for her kid(s). (I think she must get up earlier in the mornings than I do, though - some of her bentos are fairly fancy!)

Now, don't think that because these are kid-bento blogs that you couldn't use any of these ideas for yourself! I just found them looking for ideas for Pumpkin's lunches since she's now all-day as a first grader. I think all your coworkers would be jealous if you pulled out a frog-shaped sandwich with googly frosting eyes! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Fun: This is NOT the Swedish Chef You're Thinking Of How to intro this one?

This link is from our beloved Kashka_z.

And it has bacon.

...and a man smearing butter on a pan with his feet.

...while speaking Swenglish?

Go watch it. :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My bento-style lunch pix for my first grader

Ok, first of all, where did January go? I swear I didn't get the allotted 31 days!

Be that as it may, I do have some photos for you. I've been doing sort of American-food bento-style lunches for Pumpkin for school. They work well - she's a bit picky, doesn't always want the same thing, and has a short lunch time. So, by packing a healthy bit of this and a bit of that, and making it pretty if I can, I think she's eating more/better than she would if she just had a sandwich/fruit/treat every day.

Not that some days I don't wonder how she survives since almost everything's still in the box.

I try to include 2 sources of protein (pb in sandwiches/wraps counts), 2 fruits-or-veg, and two grain-y carb-y things. Usually there's a small treat, but not always. I use a small plastic container I got at Tar-zhay in the fall that measure 5 1/4" by 3 1/4" by 2 1/4" roughly. The bottom says it holds 1.7 cups or 0.4L. It comes with a small reusable ice pack that snaps into the lid. Penguin has the same one in blue, and often likes to have her own lunch packed, even though we are usually eating lunch at home anyway.

Without further ado, just a few pix:

*Oh yeah, those little green cups are silicone mini-cupcake cups. Two of them can fit on top of each other, so I often stack them, one with dried cranberries and the other with peanuts or similar.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January's Theme - Lunchalicious!

Yes, yes, I know... it's already January 12th & I'm just now posting this month's theme. Christmas clean-up and decluttering (still in progress) and finding a new place for all the lovely new things we received ate up a lot more time than I remembered it needed. Oh well, the tree's down now, so it's all good. :)

January is often a month of resolutions - to eat more healthily, to watch our wallets, to eat more veg/less junk, to try new recipes, etc. Now, you know we're here for you to find some delicious, friend-tested new recipes, right? I mean, just pick a category on the right sidebar & you'll find a ton of yummy ones!

Two years ago, January's theme was Healthy & Low-Cal. If that's what you're looking for, check it out! (Last year it was Procrastinators Unite! and posted on the 20th, so hey, I'm ahead of that by more than a week!)

This year let's look at lunches. It's a double-barreled focus - if you're trying to eat more healthily, lunch can be a good place to be virtuous. I mean, if you pack your own lunch, you're kind of stuck with whatever you put in, so packing more fruits/veg usually equals eating more fruits/veg! And too many lunches out can lighten the wallet about as fast as they pack on the pounds! So, packing your lunch can be a budget-minded choice, too.

I know this isn't a very "recipe" sort of theme, but I would really like to hear your tips/hints & what YOU like to bring/eat for lunch. While I usually am eating at home, it's the first year I've had to pack a school lunch for Pumpkin, and it's been really interesting. (Sometimes in a "how did you survive the day without fainting from lack of food, picky child?!" sort of way.)

So for this month, I'll post some links to some fun & inspirational blogs I've been enjoying for bento-style kid lunches, put up some pics of some of the favorite ones I've packed for Pumpkin, and share some tips/hints/ideas. But for now, I'd love it if you left a comment or put up a post about your lunch habits or suggestions for us to try!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jamie Oliver's Leek and Potato Soup

We like this classic soup found in Cooking Light magazine (Jan/Feb 2010), even though it's a brothy, not creamy version. Pusher, maybe it'll work for you... or at least provide a starting point for experimentation.

2 leeks (about 1 lb.)
6 c. fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (Of course, I used Better than Bouillon; if you were vegetarian, you could sub in your favorite veg broth.)
2 Tbl. olive oil
3 c. coarsely chopped onion (about 1 lb.)
1 c. chopped carrot
1 c. chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. cubed, peeled Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 lb.)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

1. Remove roots, outer leaves, and tops from leeks. Cut each leek in half lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices. Immerse in cold water; swirl. Drain.*

2. Bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. [Ok, maybe it's just me, but I'd start the broth heating and then work on the leeks to save time.]

3. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leek, onion, carrot, celery & garlic. Partially cover, and cook 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender; stirring occasionally. Add hot broth and potato; return to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in pepper and salt. Serve chunky or puree with an immersion blender or in a blender. Yield: 8 servings (serving size; about 1 1/4 c.)

Calories: 130; Fat 3.6g (sat 0.5g, mono 2.5g, poly 0.4g); Protein 3.4g; Carb 21.5g; Fiber 2.9g; Chol 0mg; Iron 1.3mg; Sodium 443mg; Calc 42mg

*I like to clean/wash my leeks by cutting off the roots, removing the tough outer leaves, and trimming the top very green parts off. Then I do cut them in half lengthwise as stated in this recipe, but then I pop them in a sink of water and/or rinse them out as needed. I find that washing/rinsing them like this, almost as a half-a-scroll, gives the water a chance to get into the leek, but it's not as hassle-some as cutting them all into bits first. THEN I cut them crosswise into slices.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Recipe Request

Does anyone have a good potato-leek soup recipe? Or should I just make vichyssoise and eat it hot?