Tag: TodayFood

National S’mores Day!

Chewy, creamy, crispy and sweet. Add the word chocolate and I’ve probably given away that I am talking about S’mores. These delectable treats evoke so many great memories. Whether you made s’mores at sleep away camp or even camping with your family, most of us have a story to tell about making s’mores. I’ve always been a traditional girl with Hershey’s, marshmallow and graham crackers. But I’ve heard tell of s’mores made with Reese’s and Rolos!

When my daughters were younger it was such a special treat to make s’mores at home. We even had a special s’mores making burner and dish. As they got older we would make them in the fire place and when it was too hot to have a fire, we’d make a “dip” in a cast iron skillet. I’d layer Hershey bars and marshmallows in my cast iron skillet and let it melt and brown in the oven. Then I’d serve it with graham crackers. Excellent!

So, when I heard that August 10th is S’mores Day, I was all in. The ideas were endless. How about a S’mores pizza with a chewy graham cracker crust, melted chocolate sauce and brûléed marshmallow topping? I thought about making popcorn and dusting it with graham cracker crumbs and tossing in mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. There were even a couple of cookie options, marshmallow stuffed chocolate chip cookies, anyone?

After looking at so many recipes, I decided on Molten S’mores Lava Cakes and Chocolate Kiss Cookies with Graham Flour and Marshmallows. When I was making the cookies, my thought had been to use my kitchen torch to “toast” the marshmallows and melt the Kiss. I ran out of butane, so, had to go to plan B. I turned on the broiler and put the cookies in for minute and a half, for the first batch. They are the nice golden-brown ones pictured. During the second batch, I got on the phone and, we’ll, I got distracted. I got the cookies out before they were totally burnt. But guess what, in, family we always let our marshmallows set on fire anyway. The second batch tasted just like that perfect burnt marshmallow flavor.

The lava cakes were fascinating to me.  When I started my research for recipes, I was surprised to find that it’s not a two-step process, it’s just ingredients. They are also pretty easy to make. There are always lessons to be learned. My ramekins were a little too big; so, the regular size marshmallow I used wasn’t fully covered. I would say to err on the side of too small and just make more. I also think I would use a handful of the mini marshmallows, rather than the regular size. I also cooked them for the full 12 minutes and then cooled for 1 minute. Everyone’s oven is different, but for mine I think I’d bake for 10 minutes then cool for 1 minutes.  You really want a good lava ooze.

Summer is, sadly, winding down. However, you decide to celebrate S’mores day, make a special  summer 2018 memory!

S'mores Cookies
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Servings
4 dozen
Servings
4 dozen
S'mores Cookies
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Servings
4 dozen
Servings
4 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° Cream together butter and both sugars. Add egg and vanilla until blended.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Mix dry mixture into butter mixture until a workable dough forms. Scoop 1 inch balls onto a lined cookie sheet and give them a soft pat down.
  3. Bake cookies for 7 minutes until top is golden brown, do not overcook here. Remove from oven and push a marshmallow, sticky side down, into each cookie. Return to oven and bake another minute or two. Remove from oven again and top each marshmallow with a Kiss.
  4. Here is where I would have liked to use my kitchen torch to brown the marshmallow and melt the chocolate. You can do this or put the cookies under the broiler for a moment or two. WATCH THEM, or they will burn.
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Molten S'mores Lava Cakes
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Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Molten S'mores Lava Cakes
Print Recipe
Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Ingredients
Servings: 6-oz. cakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Butter and lightly flour 4 6-ounce ramekins.
  2. Melt together butter and chocolate. You can do this in a microwave at 15 second intervals, until melted or over a double boiler. Let cool slightly.
  3. In a medium bowl beat together eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt, until thick and pale yellow.
  4. Temper the egg and chocolate mixtures by first stirring, quickly, a tablespoon or two or egg into chocolate mixture and then a tablespoon or two of chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Then quickly whisk remaining chocolate into egg mixture and add flour until combined.
  5. Place one tbs. of marshmallows in the bottom of each ramekin and then spoon batter, evenly into each dish. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The sides should be firm but the center should still shake a little.
  6. Remove from oven and cool for 1 minute. Carefully, they will be hot, cover each ramekin with a dessert plate and turn over to unfold the cake. Garnish each cake with a rim of graham cracker crumbs. Serve immediately!
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It’s Watermelon Time!

We are at the peak of watermelon season and I am loving it! My husband buys a large watermelon, almost, every week. Some slices end up in the freezer. They are way better than any sugar filled popsicle (with no yucky food coloring). It’s great because you can walk by and easily grab a few pieces. I also saw online that someone made melon balls and rolled them in red gelatin then froze them. I haven’t tried these but imagine they are similar to frozen grapes. Maybe instead of gelatin you can use a superfine or sanding sugar.

Occasionally, I do run into a too big watermelon and the waste kills me. So this year I have been working on ways to use up watermelon. Some of the great ways I’ve tried include:

Watermelon Bruschetta, I used the slices as my crostini and topped with burrata and whatever fresh herb I had available. The tarragon was a knockout with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and olive oil with a pinch of flaky sea salt.  I made a watermelon gazpacho, inspired by a Tyler Florence recipe, that you an find online. I went with sweeter undertones and used Vidalia onion and White Balsamic Vinegar. I also used tarragon again here instead of dill. I have a lot of tarragon in my garden this summer.

The two standouts for me I share below. One is a Watermelon Sangria and the other is Watermelon Guacamole. The Sangria is SO refreshing and the guacamole is surprising.  I love the texture that watermelon brings. It’s crispy like jicama and adds a sweetness too. The Cotija cheese sprinkles on top add the perfect saltiness, too.

Please let me know how you like, your successes and failures.  Enjoy!

Watermelon Sangria
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Servings
8 5 oz. glasses
Servings
8 5 oz. glasses
Watermelon Sangria
Print Recipe
Servings
8 5 oz. glasses
Servings
8 5 oz. glasses
Ingredients
Servings: 5 oz. glasses
Instructions
  1. Blend first watermelon until smooth and strain into a large pitcher.
  2. Pour in all alcohol and stir well. Add in all fruit and chill for at least 4 hours so all flavors meld. You can our a splash of sparkling water or wine over the of each glass when serving.
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Watermelon Guacamole
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Watermelon Guacamole
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Before I go to deep into this recipe, let me tell you I often use store bought Pico de Gallo in place of the cilantro & jalapeño and onion. It's up to you because of the tomato, but it works just fine. Then you can just adjust your salt & pepper.
  2. Cut avocado in half and remove seed. Scoop the flesh into medium bowl, Smash with a fork until desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky.
  3. Add the onion, cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice and stir well. Fold in watermelon and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper. Garnish with feta. Serve with tortilla chips.
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Everything, Everything!

I remember when Everything Bagels first hit the scene. A New York bagel store employee was sweeping out the oven and instead of tossing the seeds and seasoning crumbs, he through them on top of a plain bagel. He thought he was being cute when he called it the “everything”.  They were amazing! All the bagel flavors you love were now in one bagel. Ahh, bliss! And if you toast them, forget it, HEAVEN! So imagine how excited I was when Trader Joes created Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. I love using this flavor blend and put it on, well, everything.

The blend is made up of sesame seeds, sea salt flakes, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, black sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Some of the great ways I’ve used this blend are: stir it into cream cheese, salad topping, stirred into scrambled eggs, a small shake on top of sour cream in soup or a baked potato.

My two favorite ways to use this blend are to stir about 1/4 cup into latke (potato pancake) batter right before frying them up. We like our latkes extra crispy and this seasoning brings out all the best flavors of the potato.  If you do this adjust your salt down, or even none. This seasoning has plenty of salt. The other great recipe is to use it as a chicken coating.

Chicken is the great blank canvas of food.  I mean it was just made for sauces and anything that adds flavor. The recipe below is simple and quick.  I make a dredge tray of seasoned flour, egg white and Everything but the Bagel seasoning.  You can use your own recipe for the seasoned flour. Remember to use little or no salt.

One other little tip. Some of you struggle on knowing when chicken is done when you bake it. The best way is to use a meat thermometer to 160°. However, 20 minutes per pound at preheated 325° oven is a great rule of thumb. You can cover the chicken foil half way through if it is getting too brown.

 

Everything Seasoned Chicken
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Juicy, baked chicken with all your favorite tastes of an everything bagel.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Everything Seasoned Chicken
Print Recipe
Juicy, baked chicken with all your favorite tastes of an everything bagel.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Combine flour and all spices, except Everything Bagel, together in a zipped plastic bag. Give it a good mix now and right before you use it. You don't want all the flavors to settle to the bottom.
  2. Set up your dredging station (I use shallow soup bowls). You want the first one to be the seasoned flour. The second should be your egg whites and the third is the Everything seasoning.
  3. I get my chicken good and dry with paper towels and then let it sit out about 20 minutes before starting the dredging process. I also keep one hand for dry and one for wet.
  4. Start with dipping chicken in flour. Give it an even coat and shake off excess so you don't have clumps. Then a quick dip in egg whites and let excess drip off, then right into the everything seasoning and into a butter baking dish.
  5. Into the preheated, hot oven and bake for 20 minutes per pound. You are probably at just about a pound with 4 chicken breasts so check at 20 minutes. It's okay to cut into one breast, if you don't have a thermometer. You want the juices to run clear.
  6. Serve with a green vegetable and rice or potato. Enjoy!
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Fourth of July Caprese Salads

I’m baaaaaack! I have been feverishly working on my first cookbook, Cake for Breakfast. It’s great and I know you are going to love it.  I thought maybe writing it was the hard part, but now I’m looking for an agent. This is hard. It’s a leap of faith that someone can really see who you are and hear your voice from a flat piece of paper. Once the right agent and I find each other, I will let you know when the book is coming out.

In the meantime, it’s almost July fourth and you’re probably looking for something “theme like” to serve or take to a party. I’m simply arranging a tray in the shape of an American flag using raspberries, white chocolate covered pretzels and a bowl of blueberries.  It’s super easy. Just cover it with some plastic wrap and it’s totally portable.

I know it’s kitschy, but I like the idea of doing a red, white and blue item. This year my head is in a farm to table place, so I started playing with the idea of a spiralized veggie pasta salad. I stumbled on the blue, so I just kept brainstorming. I think I have come up with a great idea… Red, White, and Blue Caprese Salad.

What I love is that you can do a lot of customization on this yourself. I’m doing burrata, tomatoes and a savory blueberry sauce. You could do strawberries, a vanilla meringue, and a sweet blueberry sauce or mix it up with the strawberries and a slice of mozzarella. You’ve got a lot of options.

For serving or taking, just stack them on a platter.  You can drizzle the sauce and then have some extra on the side. You can serve them on crostini or just as the stacks.

Have a safe and tasty Fourth of July!

Fourth of July Caprese Salads
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Servings
8 individuals
Servings
8 individuals
Fourth of July Caprese Salads
Print Recipe
Servings
8 individuals
Servings
8 individuals
Ingredients
Servings: individuals
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil. Cook the shallot until just transparent.
  2. Add the bluberries, vinegar, sugar and thyme. Stir together and add salt & pepper.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Mash the blueberries a little bit when stirring. Let cool.
  4. While the sauce is cooling slice the tomatoes in 1/8" slices. Take the burrata by 2 Tbs. pinches and stack on tomatoes. Sprinkle with a nice finishing salt like fleur de sel or maldon.
  5. Drizzle cooled sauce over stacks. I like to use a white platter.
  6. Serve as is or with toasted crostini. Enjoy!
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Grandmother’s Fudgy Frosted Brownies

Oh, my Grandmother’s brownies! I remember and crave them still. She never made any secret about using a box mix for the brownies. I vaguely remember a Betty Crocker box. But she always made this frosting. It was more like fudge, but she wouldn’t put fudge on a brownie, or would she?

The frosting was thick and chocolatey. It had a graininess that let you know how much sugar was in the frosting, but it was so good. The whole brownie was sweet yet not cloying. My Grandmother always put nuts in her brownies., usually walnuts or pecans. I know that cooks are hesitant with nuts these days. I say give nuts a chance!

I tried many “southern” fudge frosting recipes and none matched my grandmother’s. So, I went to a good old-fashioned fudge recipe and changed it up a little.

It’s not too late for a quick Valentine’s Day bake so quickly run to the store and get your ingredients and get to it!

Follow the directions on the box for your brownies. While they are baking get started on your frosting. If you can pour the frosting over the brownies when they come out of the oven its great!

 


Grandmother's Fudgy Frosted Brownies
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Grandmother's Fudgy Frosted Brownies
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar, milk, and butter in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly.
  2. Let boil for 4 minutes, while constantly stirring.
  3. Remove from heat and add in chocolate chips, salt and vanilla.
  4. Stir until chocolate has melted and it is smooth.
  5. Pour over brownies and let set-up for 2 hours. You can refrigetrate them, but it is optional. Let them cool completely before cutting.
  6. Cut into 24 brownies and serve.
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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Super Bowl is almost here. Now that the teams have been chosen (Patriots & Eagles) those of us that plan the parties are working on our menus.  Even I am thinking of recipes, as a guest. This year I am on a roll with healthy eating and my 10K-a-day walking. So, the thought of going to what turns out to be Thanksgiving in February is daunting.

Seriously, cheese dips, huge sub sandwiches, chili and desserts galore. All of this is before we even discuss all the alcohol.

This year I am already planning. I love stuffed mushrooms. The buttery breadcrumbs, the wonderful spices, and cheese! Yep, I’m going down the food rabbit hole again. But I have a great recipe that indulges the quest for flavor and cheese without spoiling your healthy eating plan. The trick is to get lots of flavor in without lots of fat or salt. I admit it is “carb-heavy” but they are good carbs; brown rice, cashews, dried apricots and lots of fresh herbs.

There’s a couple of really great things about this recipe. I made them for demo purposes I used large Portobello mushrooms. For the big game, use the “baby bellos”. That way you have bite-sized options. While the recipe calls for “seeds”, you can use any crunch factor. I actually used cashews. Again, the recipe calls for cranberries, but I used dried apricots. For the herbs, you can use whatever you have on hand or get creative in the store. Remember if it smells good together it will probably taste good together. I love to combine Tarragon, Thyme and a little Mint. It’s such a fresh flavor.

I think of this kind of recipe as a canvas. It’s great for changing ingredients or adding ingredients. The best part is the “stuffing” is so good you can make it as a side dish on its own. Just remember to adjust your seasoning like salt & pepper and especially your herbs.

Make lots because these will go fast. The big he-man may hesitate and look for pizza or chili, but once he’s had one of these he will want the whole tray!

Enjoy and as always, send me back pics of your variations. I love to hear from you.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
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Ingredients
Main stuffing mix
Tahini Sour Cream Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly brush mushrooms with olive oil. Season, inside and out with salt & pepper. Place open face on baking sheet.
  3. Heat a little of the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add onion and garlic and saute until really fragrant, but not caramelized.
  4. Place cooked rice in a large bowl and mix in onion/garlic mixture, seeds, dried fruit and herbs. Season with more salt and pepper.
  5. In a separate small bowl, mix together tahini, lemon juice and water (if needed). Stir into rice mixture.
  6. Adjust seasonings and mound into each mushroom cap.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through.
  8. Take out of oven and srpinkle evenly with shredded cheese and sesame seeds.
  9. Return to oven for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Sauce
  1. Mix together Tahini, lemon juice, sour cream, garlice powder, salt & pepper, until smooth. Use water to thin out, if necessary.
  2. Drizzle sauce over hot mushrooms and serve immediately. Serve extra sauce along side.
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Try Something New! DIY Protein Powder

Well, here we are a few days after New Year’s and, so far so good. I’ve been able to stay on track and feel great. One of the things I’ve been doing is having a homemade protein powder on the counter, at the ready. This makes it so easy to grab something healthy when cravings strike.  I also use it for a quick breakfast.

There are literally thousands of ready-made protein powders on the market so why do I feel compelled to make my own? I have never been able to find one that doesn’t taste, I’ll say it, GROSS, to me. I have very sensitive taste buds. That means that in some powders I will taste every vitamin. In others, I can taste the chemicals. Or worse, in the “natural” ones that it tastes like I’m drinking grass. The others I’ve tried and liked are not natural and so sweetened that I know they aren’t healthy.

So, I started my research and came up with my own recipe. It gave me a starting flavor I like and flexibility of adding chocolate, vanilla, berry, and others. This base is so great because you can get creative.  How about making the chocolate powder version and adding peanut butter and banana? I love to add frozen cherries to the vanilla and to the chocolate. Truly the possibilities are endless.

Enjoy and be sure to let me know what you try!

 

DIY Protein Powder

1/2 cup protein source like dry milk, whey, whole nuts, seeds or hemp hearts, choose one or mix it all up.                                                                                                                                                               1/2 cup rolled oats.                                                                                                                                        Optional-add fiber  – 1/3 cup of chia seeds, ground flax seed, wheat germ or hemp hearts.                   Add some Flavor:                                                                                                                                       2 T. cocoa powder or                                                                                                                                       1/4 of a vanilla bean, scraped or                                                                                                                  1 T. espresso powder or                                                                                                                             2 T. ground, freeze-dried berries

Grind your desired ingredients, in a food processor, until it is a fine powder. I make several different flavors at one time. Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator.

To make the smoothie, add 2 T. powder, 1 cup milk (regular, seed, nut or coconut), and 1/2 frozen banana. You can use other frozen fruit, but I start with bananas because of the thickness they give.

This morning I had chocolate powder and added 1 T. PB Fit powder. I used unsweetened vanilla coconut milk. YUM!!!

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