Flourless Chocolate Cake

28 Apr

Kosher for Passover, delicious anytime!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 10 oz good-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • mint springs and assorted berries for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 350 F. Grease a 10″ springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine chocolate and butter. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, and salt with a whisk. Add eggs and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Add 1/3 of chocolate mixture and stir until incorporated; repeat with remaining 2/3 of chocolate.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes until just set but still soft in the center. Let cool completely.
  5. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top of the cake. Garnish with mint and berries.

Quick Gumbo

26 Apr

Not as good as Ms. Cindy’s authentic Louisiana gumbo, but since she would never share her recipe with me, this will have to do. ;)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb shrimp
  • 1 tsp seasoning
  • 1/2 lb andouille sausage
  • 1 1/2 T butter
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 T pepper sauce
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 c stock
  • 1 1/2 c okra
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 T fresh thyme, chopped
  • 4 scallions, sliced at an angle

Directions:

  1. Head butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add celery, pepper, onion, bay leaf. Season to taste. Cook 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add flour and cook 2 more minutes.
  3. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Add okra, shrimp, and sausage. Stir in tomatoes and half the thyme. Bring back to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Season to taste. Serve over rice, garnished with thyme and scallions.

 

 

No Cream Creamy Spinach Soup

25 Apr

Super healthy soup has a creamy texture without using any dairy.

From Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Ingredients:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 medium leeks, green parts discarded and white parts washed and chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 c stock
  • 2 T fresh basil, chopped
  • 2-3 c fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 c cooked chicken

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic, leeks, and zucchini. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add 1 cup stock/broth. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add basil and the rest of the stock/broth. Puree until smooth.
  4. Stir in spinach and chicken. Cook 4-5 minutes.

Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

25 Apr

Potluck classic!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz elbow pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1 12-oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 10-oz packages cheddar cheese, shredded (about 5 c)
  • paprika

Directions

  1. Mix pasta, evaporated milk, milk, butter, salt and pepper, eggs, and all but 1/2 c shredded cheese in the slow cooker. Sprinkle reserved cheese and then paprika over top.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours, 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Savory Sweet Potato Pie

25 Apr

Excellent for brunch or really any time!

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • 10 T cold butter, cubed
  • 1/3 c ice water

Filling

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c parmesan, shredded
  • 2 cloves minced garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. For the crust: Pulse flour and spices together in food processor until mixed; add cold butter and pulse until it creates crumbs. Drizzle cold water and pulse until the dough comes together. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate 1 hour to 2 days.
  2. In a large pot, bring the sweet potatoes to boil in salted water. Reduce to medium-low and simmer for 50 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; remove peels.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together milk and olive oil; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat sweet potatoes and butter together until smooth. Stir in milk mixture, eggs, parmesan, and garlic until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll dough and press into pie pan. Pour filling into crust. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool about 5 minutes, and serve hot.

Lemony Carrot Soup

26 Mar

This delicious puréed soup is excellent as a side or a meal. I’ve played around with the recipe a couple times, and it always comes out easy and yummy and very lemony. So it’s pretty flexible if you want to make a few edits of your own.

In general, I change the original recipe to chicken stock (instead of vegetable broth) and add chickpeas for more protein. I also leave out cream/milk because it’s plenty thick on its own. Also, the first time I made it, I was pregnant and I had run out of milk thanks to my chocolate milk craving, but that’s just coincidence. ;)

Other times, I’ve added extra ginger, which is my favorite, pregnant or not. I’ve also added pumpkin purée when I had about 257 cups of it in the freezer after my adventure in pumpkin roasting. Once I did carrots plus a few parsnips. So yeah, feel free to edit the recipe to suit your needs and tastes. For example, it’s super easy to make this vegan if you so desire. It’s hard to mess this one up, and other than the time it takes to chop up a bunch of veggies, it’s straightforward and fast.

I had mine with a couple slices of baguette, a hunk of cheese, and bacon crumbled on top. Enjoy!

Lemony Carrot Soup

1/4 C butter or coconut oil
1 1/2 C chopped onion
1 T chopped or minced ginger
1 1/2 tsp (~3 cloves) chopped or minced garlic
1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
zest of 1 lemon (about 1.5 tsp)
juice of 1 lemon (about 2 T, reserved)
4 C vegetable or chicken stock
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo peas), drained and rinsed

Heat butter/oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 4 minutes. Then add the ginger and garlic; cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the carrots, tomatoes, and grated lemon peel; stir well and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and the chickpeas, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are tender — about 20 minutes.

Blend well with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor. Stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

DIY Tea & Honey Gift Set

18 May

I have always hated coffee, and I’ve always loved tea. Of course, growing up in the south meant super sweet, super strong iced tea. (In case you’re wondering, outside of my mom’s house and local, out-of-the-way barbecue joints, the best place to get a good sweet tea is Bojangles, the second best is Chick-Fil-A, and the third is McDonald’s. I have opinions on this.)

As an adult, I still enjoy a good glass of sweet tea, especially when I’m eating barbecue or fried chicken. But I’ve expanded to hot tea, and I really enjoy a classic cup of black tea as well as various herbals. My rising interest in tea began with a search for a healthier alternative to the Coke I’d been having daily, and then really took off as I started watching BBC shows. (When every character has at least one cup of tea per episode, I just start thinking, “Well yes, a cuppa would be quite nice.”) Nowadays, take me to a nice little tea shop, and I’ll be lost for hours.

I wanted to share my love for tea with others, so I put together this adorable little tea set as gifts for my coworkers one Christmas. They would make excellent small gifts anytime of the year — for teacher appreciation, hostess gifts, anything. I think these particular pieces would serve better for occasions needing multiple sets, so you can order in bulk, but do whatever works for you.

Here’s what you need:

Tea supplies

1) Tea – Oliver Pluff & Co’s Signature Earl Grey is my absolute favorite right now – I drink a cup every morning. I’ve also purchased looseleaf tea from The Spice & Tea Exchange and from Teavana, and I’ve ordered tea and herbs (lavender, lemongrass, ginger, fennel) online. The cool part about this project is that you can blend your own flavors!

2) Press ‘N Seal Tea Bags – I found some on Ebay.

3) Sweetener of your choice – For this project, I used these super awesome honey lollipops. They come in delicious flavors like ginger, jasmine, or lemon. I would also recommend mini jars of honey. Savannah Bee Company has my favorite honey.

4) I found both the green chevron gift bags and the gray & white baker’s twine on Pick Your Plum.

Now all you have to do is assemble! Read the notes that came with your tea purchase or just do a little googling to figure out how much tea to put in your tea bags. Each tea is different, and each tea drinker has their own preference. But a good general rule of thumb is a heaping teaspoon per six ounces of water. However, most Americans use coffee mugs rather than traditional tea cups, so they pour considerably more than six ounces, resulting in a pretty weak cup of tea. So for my tea bags, I went with two flat teaspoons per tea bag. Not too much, not too little, IMHO.

Looseleaf Tea

Seal your tea bags with an iron. I actually have a hair straightener that I have dedicated solely to crafting purposes, which is way more easy to handle than a big iron. My bags sealed within 5 seconds.

IMG_3120

I recommend placing your tea bags within a plastic bag to keep the tea airtight before placing in your gift bag. A zip-top bag would be fine. I put 5 tea bags in a 6×3.75″ clear treat bag that I picked up at AC Moore and sealed them shut with cute washi tape I got from Pick Your Plum.

IMG_3122

The bag of tea bags and the honey stick went into the gift bag, tied shut with baker’s twine. I didn’t get a picture of it, but I also wrote the name of the tea (including info about caf/decaf!) and instructions for steeping time on the blank side of a business-card-size piece of pretty scrapbook paper and added that to the gift set.

Tea & Honey Gift Set

Go forth and give! I think anyone would appreciate this lovely little gift set.

Linking Up With:

Let It Shine from Still Being Molly
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately