Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Imagine the richest, chocolaty, most fudge like brownie you have ever had. Now imagine that was the "bread" in an ice cream sandwich. Absolute hot weather heaven. That's what these ridiculously rich and decadent sandwiches are. They are tested on ages 2 to I shouldn't say, and were approved as an amazing and cooling summer treat. So while this heat rages on, or makes a comeback, and you don't think you could even contemplate hot food, whip up a delicious batch of these easy ice cream sandwiches for your next BBQ and be a dessert summer superstar.

Ice Cream Sandwiches:
7 oz of unsweetened chocolate
12 sticks plus 6 tbsp of unsalted butter
2 2/3 cups of sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
2 tsp of salt
2 cups of flour
1 container of Vanilla Ice Cream (with some leftover)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a heat proof/microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and the butter, stirring occasionally until combined and melted. Add the sugar and mix until the mixture is smooth and sugar is mostly dissolved. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, stirring after each addition. Stir in the the vanilla. Add the baking powder, salt, and 1 cup of flour and stir until just combined. Add the remaining cup of flour and stir until combined, do not over mix. Line two 9 x13 inch dishes with parchment paper and spray with non stick spray. Divide batter between the two pans and smooth so it is distributed evenly, and you have a thin layer of brownie batter in each pan. Bake until the top looks dry (the insides will still be a moist, and a toothpick will NOT come out clean), about 8-10 minutes. Let brownies cool completely, then remove from the pan by lifting the parchment paper. Freeze until cold and firm, about 10 minutes. Let the ice cream soften slightly. Flip 1 brownie over onto a tray lined with additional parchment, so that the bottom is facing up. Spread with a thick layer of vanilla ice cream. Invert the second brownie on top of the ice cream, so the the top side is facing up (if the brownies are stuck run a sharp, hot knife underneath). Push down on the sandwiches slightly and freeze tray until firm, about an hour or up to a week. Cut into sandwiches before serving, smoothing ice cream if necessary. (adapted from Martha)

Happy Eating.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Coconut Shrimp

I don't know why, maybe it was the marathon of Diner, Drive Ins, and Dives I watched, but I could not stop thinking about fried food. Fried anything, I just had to have it. Unfortunately we are in the middle (hopefully at the tale end) of a ridiculous heat wave and it is just too hot to cook anything on the stove top/in the oven. So I decided to see if I could turn my plain old gas grill (ok, so it's a little bit fancier than a plain old grill) into a range. Apparently, if you have an oven safe pan, and constantly remind yourself not to touch the handle, the answer is yes. I used my Wok, which doesn't have any melty-plastic parts, but any kind of oven safe pan would work. So if you live any where in the majority of the country, where it is currently too hot to cook inside, try using your grill in new and inventive ways. If not, this recipe would work just as easily indoors.

Coconut Shrimp:
1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 egg whites
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut, shredded
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
1/4 tsp of chili powder
Coconut Oil for frying (about 1/4-1/2 cup)
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 tbsp of Sriracha, or to taste

In a large wok or frying pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil. In a bowl beat the egg whites until frothy then add shrimp and stir until all shrimp are coated. On a small plate mix together the breadcrumbs, coconut, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Working with a few shrimp at a time, add the shrimp to the breadcrumbs, and roll them around to coat completely. Put breaded shrimp in hot oil, do not overcrowd the pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until shrimp are firm and golden. Repeat breading and frying until all shrimp are cooked. Add more oil as necessary, as the level gets to low, the oil should generously coat the bottom of the pan. I needed 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons. To make sauce, stir together mayonnaise and Sriracha. Enjoy!

Happy Eating.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Oatmeal Breakfast Cake

Today is a very special day for the blog. I am the guest poster on Chef Dennis' amazing More Than A Mount Full. I am so delighted and honored to be featured on such an amazing blog! For Chef Dennis, I tried to sum up all my culinary wanderings into one thing. So I settled on a bunch of favorites: baking, health, breakfast, blueberries. And came up with a delightful Oatmeal Breakfast Cake, exploding with blueberries and with a crunchy almond topping. I can't wait for you all to try a slice, so head over to Chef Dennis' blog to check out the delicious recipe!

Happy Eating.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Grilled Stromboli

The other night I sat staring at the ingredients for a pepperoni pizza, willing them to be something else. The dough was already made, the sauce was simmering on the stove, the grill was hot, I was having pizza, there was no way around it. I don't know why I really didn't want it, just not in the mood, I guess. In a last ditch attempt to be inspired I opened the fridge and spotted a container of ricotta. Jackpot. Next thing I new, I was grilling up some Stromboli and my whole attitude for dinner had changed. Yes I know, that pizza and Stromboli are all the same ingredients, just assembled differently, but somehow, this made everything different, new, and exciting. And I guess, that was all I needed.

1 recipe of pizza dough
1 cup of ricotta cheese
2 cup of mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 lb sliced of pepperoni
Olive oil
Tomato Sauce, for serving

Preheat the grill. Divide pizza dough in half. Roll out one of the dough halves into an oval, about 1/4 inch thick. Spread half the ricotta cheese over the left side of the dough, leaving about half the dough uncovered on the right, and a small section on the left uncovered as well. Put 1/2 the pepperoni on top of the ricotta and top with half the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Roll the dough into log by pulling the right side over and folding the empty part on the left side under the right. Then wrap the right side around as far as it goes. Repeat with the remaining dough half and ingredients. Brush both Strombolis with olive oil. Grill on direct heat, fold side down for about 2 minutes, then flip over and transfer to the top rack. Cook until dough is browned lightly and puffy, about 8-10 minutes.

Happy Eating.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Daring Cooks: My Noodle Hands

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for SpƤtzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

I loved this challenge, but I have already done it. I love making pasta, and I got a hand roller for Christmas this past year, so this is how I make pasta (although I do sometimes use the food processor to make the dough). So I decided to add a personal challenge to this: ravioli. I have wanted to make ravioli for some time, this is actually a second attempt at it. The taste great and texture came out great, and these came out a lot better than the first attempt. However, I'm not going to put this in the total win column yet, because as you can see, they are not so pretty. They tend to come out very large and in a variety of shapes and sizes. But they are delicious, and one day they will be beautiful too. I did learn something very important from this challenge. It is MANDATORY to let the dough rest. It makes it so much easier to work with! I cannot even believe the difference. The dough was so beautiful (before I mangled it into ravoli that is), I am confident that had I just done fetticuni it would have come out looking so incredible (but less cheesey, tradeoffs). Here is my methodology and recipe for this awesome challenge!

Pasta Dough:
2 cups of unbleached AP flour
1/2 tsp of salt
3 eggs
1 tbsp of water (varies)
Semolina flour, for dusting

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl and form into a dome, make a hole in the center. Crack eggs into the hole. Slowly mix the flour into the eggs, until flour is incorporated and a sticky dough forms, add water as needed to form dough. Knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Roll the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, let the dough rest for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours. Assemble your pasta roller. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Keep the pieces you aren't using covered with plastic wrap. Flatten out a piece of the dough using a rolling pin until it is thin enough to go through the pasta machine. Lightly flour dough with semolina and run through the machine on the 0 setting, then fold the dough in half and run through again. Repeat until dough is extra smooth, about 9 times, ending so that the dough is in a fairly uniform rectangle. Change the setting to 1 and run the dough through. Run the dough through each setting until 7. Lay the rolled dough on a paper towel and cover with a damp paper towel. Be careful not to let the dough touch itself or the other pieces because it is very sticky. Repeat with remaining dough.

1 cup of part skim riccotta cheese
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of mozzerella cheese, shredded
1 egg

Mix together the cheeses and salt. Beat in the egg. To assemble ravoli, Take one sheet of pasta at a time and cut it in half. Along one sheet drop cheese by heaping teaspoon, about 1 inch apart, (I did about 5-6 per sheet). Place the other half of the sheet on top and press edges. Using a knife or a pizza roller, cut inbetween the cheese. Press the edges to seal. Repeat with remaining sheets. Cook the ravoli in boiling water until they float to the top, about 5-6 minutes.

Tomato Broth Sauce:
1 can of italian style plum tomatoes
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
3 cloves of garlic
1 handful of fresh basil
Any leftover of the riccotta mixture, (I had about 1 tbsp)
Salt, pepper
Extra Virgin Olive oil, for drizzling

In a large skillet over high heat, heat the tomatoes and their juices. Break up tomatoes using a wooden spoon. Add the sauce. Dice the garlic and basil and add to sauce. Add any leftover cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over cooked ravoli. Drizzle ravoli with olive oil before serving.

Happy Eating.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Quick Pulled Chicken Tostadas

Generally speaking, I have a really hard time delegating, in life and in the kitchen. I always feel like I'm cheating (in the kitchen, that is) if I don't make everything that can be made from scratch from scratch. I take pride in my work and I love knowing that I made everything I am eating, plus I love knowing every ingredient that is in what I ate 100%. However, sometimes, this is a lot of work, and sometimes, I just want something and I want it fast. So I swallow my pride and pick a quality version of a product, and enjoy it, even though I know I could have made it myself.

Pulled Chicken Tostadas:
2 Chicken Breasts
1/2 bottle of barbaque sauce (I like Bull's Eye Texas Style)
1/4 cup of water, plus more for boiling
1/2 tsp of salt
1 large Onion
6 small corn tortillas
1 tsp of canola oil
salt, pepper.

Pre-heat the grill. Bring a pot of water and 1/2 tsp of salt to a boil. Boil chicken until mostly cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain water from the pot. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken. Add barbaque sauce and 1/4 cup of water to the pot, cook covered on low until ready to eat. Cut the onion into thick slices and rub with oil. Season the onion with salt and pepper and grill until charred and softened, about 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Grill the tortillas for about 1 minute on each side, until crisp. Serve tortillas topped with pulled chicken and onions.

Happy Eating.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Peanut Butter Snickers Cookies

I have been experimenting with new cookies, branching out if you will. I could eat a crispy, buttery cookie every single time, and be perfectly happy, if it weren't for the my kitchen pride. I want to be able to do anything in a kitchen, please any preference. So the quest for soft and chewy cookies continues, and the more that I make them, the more I am loving them I have to say. The first of these cookies I tried, I was like these are pretty good, no crispy chocolate chip, but pretty darn good. About a day later, the bag of cookies and I were inseperable, and I literally could not stop eating them they were so delicious. So if you are a soft and chewy cookie lover, or trying to convert a crispy cookie person, these are the cookies for you.

PB and Snickers Cookies:
1 stick of salted butter, softened
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp half and half
1 tsp of almond extract
11/4 cups of flour
3/4 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 a bag of mini snickers bars, chopped
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Beat the butter and peanut butter together on medium speed until smooth, add in the sugars and mix until fluffy and well combined, about 5 minutes. Add the egg, half and half, and almond extract and mix until combined. Add the flour, baking soda and baking powder and mix until just combined. Stir in the snickers and chocolate chips. Line 2 cookie sheets with partchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. Drop by rounded tablespoon, and then flatten each cookie slightly. Bake until golden, 9 to 11 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from partchment. Makes about 3 dozen. (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Happy Eating.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Soy Glazed Flank Steak

This is my favorite summer dinner, not necissarly flank steak, or this particular marinade (although both are delcious), but meat, onions, peppers, and corn, all grilled. It's absolute summer perfection, with almost no clean up after (always a plus). I could eat charred onions every single day, it just doesn't get any better, unless you are adding them to a delicious steak. This dinner is so easy to throw together and so incredibly delicious, it will taste like you must have worked hard, but really, it's just a great piece of meat, cooked to the right temperature and the summers best produce, shining on it's own.

Soy Glazed Flank Steak:
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
2 tsp of sesame oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 flank steak, about 1 lb
Salt, Pepper

For Serving:
1 Onion
2 Bell Peppers

In large ziplock bag, mix together the soy sauce, Worcestershire, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, sesame oil, and red pepper. Lightly salt and pepper the flank steak on both sides. Add to the plastic bag, and shake and rub the steak, so the marinade distrubes over the meat. Refridgerate overnight overnight. Pre heat the grill, and let meat sit on the counter. Cut the onion into thick slices. Remove the stem and seeds from peppers, by cutting the top off and pulling out the ribs and seeds. Shuck the corn and lightly butter. Wrap corn individually in tinfoil. Place corn on the top wrap of the grill and onion slices and peppers in the back of the grill. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Remove steak from bag and shake off the excess marinade. Put steak on the grill and cook 6-7 minutes each side (medium rare). Flip the onion and peppers when appropriate, and rotate the corn. When meat is finished let rest 5 minutes. Remove corn, peppers, and onions from the grill (I like mine onions/peppers very charred, if you like them less burnt remove sooner). Slice steak against the grain. Serve steak with onions, peppers and corn.

Happy Eating.