July 26, 2011

chocolate-espresso 'faux soufflés'

Real mail is so underrated.
Well, maybe not underrated, just under-used. There's nothing so exciting as seeing a handwritten envelope peek out amidst countless credit card offers and ever-present bills. The useless mail is carelessly tossed aside (or dropped on the floor, who really knows) to free up both hands for envelope-ripping.
espresso shots are blurry, they just are.
What I'm trying to say is, I have this penpal. She is sensational. I met her through her blog and we've since embarked on a long journey of letter-exchanging, present-exchanging, music-exchanging and recipe-exchanging. It has really been wonderful.

I think everyone should have a penpal. Or at least write letters to people, just because. I can bet that it would brighten anyone's day.

What was I saying? What's the point of all this?

Oh right.

My penpal and I exchange recipes along with our letters. She sent me this one that is out of the book she is reading, called French Women Don't get Fat

I'm hoping that means I can eat three of these and not get fat.

They melt in your mouth and are sinfully rich. Delightful on their own or with a little ice cream.

Chocolate-Espresso 'Faux Soufflés'
4 Servings

8 oz. Dark chocolate
4 egg whites
4 egg yolks
2 T. Espresso

1. Melt chocolate over a double boiler.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form.
3. Whisk yolks into chocolate. Stir in the espresso.
4. Gently fold in 1/3 of the whites, then gradually fold in the rest.
5. Pour equally into four ramekins, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours. 

July 19, 2011

southwestern salsa/salad

I don't really know what to call this. It's so versatile. It's so delicious. I made half a batch yesterday and ate it all, then I made another half batch today that I will probably finish before the day is done.

But let's start from the beginning. One day (yesterday, actually), I wanted to make a salsa with my dangerously ripe avocado. As I dreamed up combinations in my head/rummaged through my pantry and fridge, I realized I had black beans and other favorite ingredients like such as*.  As I looked at the stuff sitting on my counter I realized I could come really close to making my favorite burrito combination at Chipotle which goes like this:

Black Beans
(sometimes chicken)
Pico de Gallo
Corn Salsa
Sour Cream

So instead of doing all that work (I wasn't going to make two kinds of salsa and guac. Really.), I decided I could deconstruct the components up there and just use the main ingredients but combine them all together into one perfect salsa/burrito topping/salad.  Make sense?

  It was perfect. Crunchy, fresh, spicy. I wouldn't recommend eating Cap'n Crunch for breakfast and then eating this for lunch because all the spicy juices get into all the cuts on the roof of your mouth from the Cap'n Crunch. Not super pleasant. Oh, then I did the same thing again today. Cap'n Crunch runs my life, apparently. Oh and not just plain ol' Crunch. Crunch Berries. In case you were wondering why I would let plain ol' Crunch run my life.

I did make a mini burrito out of it, with cheese and sour cream, and it was good. However, I found that I preferred it plain (I ate most of it with a spoon from there on out) because I could taste all the flavors better that way. I also found it to be really delish after a couple of hours in the fridge because the flavors married. They fell in love and they married.

I think this would also be excellent on some tortilla chips, which I might get around to doing if I could just stop eating it straight from the bowl.  You know what else? You can add rice and/or chicken or even couscous or quinoa, and make it into a more complete meal. See? So versatile.

Southwestern Salsa/Salad
Makes about 6 cups

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 
1 can whole kernel corn, drained (or use an ear of fresh sweet corn, which I didn't have)
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
4 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Avocado, diced
Juice from one lime
1 tsp. kosher salt

Mix together all ingredients except avocado, lime and salt. Add avocado, lime juice and salt. Toss.
Serve immediately or let sit in fridge for a few hours. If you are serving it the following day, leave out the avocado and add it just before serving.

July 14, 2011

individual blueberry crumbles

Summer is in full swing, which means:

1. Farmers markets.
3. Burned faces. Then tanned faces!
4. Perpetually dirty feet.
5. No makeup.
6. Perpetually sweating. Smelling bad. Losing friends.
7. Fresh Berries.
8. Beach. Little sandy surprises for 3 days thereafter.
9. Barbecues. Hot dogs.
10. Outdoor concerts. 
11. Hooray!

Ah, what's not to love? 
(Possibly me, cause I may or may not be one of those sweaty smelly people. Please hang out with me anyway though, I promise to at least roll around in deodorant.)

Two things from that list came together to create this perfectly lovely summer dessert. I think it's probably self explanatory which two things they were (Hint: it wasn't #4).

These crumbles are amazing. Sweet and a little tart (I did throw in a few raspberries in there cause I had them), with just the perfect amount of crunch. You need to eat them with vanilla ice cream. Need.

 Individual Blueberry Crumbles
2 Servings

1 cup fresh blueberries (or other berries of your choice)
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 heaping Tablespoon of sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. water

1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup quick oats
5 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. butter, melted
Vanilla ice cream, for serving.

Preheat oven to 350. 
Combine berry mixture ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. 
Combine all topping ingredients except butter in a separate bowl. Drizzle melted butter over mixture and combine with your hands until all the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture is crumbly and homogenous.

Divide berries equally into two ramekins. Sprinkle topping equally on both. 
Bake for about 20 minutes or until topping has begun to turn golden brown.

Serve warm with ice cream.

July 12, 2011

kale, bacon and caramelized onion pizza

I've never bought kale before.


I feel so slow on the uptake. Kale seems to be the darling green, making appearances in juices, soups, as chips, everything. It's downright cool. Kale is cool. Or kool? ...Nope, that doesn't work.

Forgive me if I'm behind on my trends (flashback to me in grade school), but I finally got some kale on my hands (from my wonderful farmers market haul) and was determined to do it proper.

So naturally I put it on pizza. It just felt right. 

This pizza was scrumptious. So scrumptious in fact, that when my husband asked me how I prepared the kale I didn't answer him for a good two or three bites. It was that particular kind of scrumptious where we made satisfied grunts or sound effects after almost every bite.

The sweetness of the onions acts as a perfect balance for saltiness of the bacon and the earthiness of the kale. 
And goat cheese is always a win. 

Kale, Bacon and Caramelized Onion Pizza

 Unbaked pizza dough of your choice (I made the same flatbread crust I used in this recipe. So good.)
4 pieces of bacon
1/2 medium-large sweet onion, sliced into approx. 2-inch slices
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 cups of loose kale, torn or cut into bite-size pieces (approx 6-8 stems)
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan or other similar cheese (I used parrano dutch cheese)
3 oz. fresh chevre
2 T. Olive oil
2 tsp. Honey
1 T. brown sugar
Salt and Pepper
Smoked paprika, optional

Prepare crust and roll or stretch it out onto a greased sheet pan or pizza pan. Preheat oven to 400.

Fry bacon in a large skillet. Remove and drain on paper towels.  In the same skillet, add the onion, garlic, and brown sugar to the bacon grease over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté, tossing occasionally, until caramelized and golden, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the bacon. Add the kale to the caramelized onion mixture and give it a few tosses to coat it. Add the bacon and continue to toss the mixture until the kale turns a beautiful bright green and is just slightly wilted, about 1 minute.

Mix together olive oil and honey in small dish and brush onto crust. Add kale/onion/bacon mixture to crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a little smoked paprika (if using). Sprinkle with parmesan or whatever cheese you chose. Crumble chevre on top, distributing evenly.

Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the kale has started to brown on the edges and the cheese is melty.

Kale success! 

July 9, 2011

farmers market haul

Isn't it glorious?

Raspberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Cilantro, Kohlrabi, Sweet onions, Basil, Carrots, Kale, Cucumber, and Lettuce.
Not pictured: cabbage that husband had already demolished for making coleslaw. Cute, huh? He's super excited to recreate this hotdog he made on the fourth of july. It goes like this: bun, hotdog, BBQ pulled pork on top of hot dog, coleslaw on top of BBQ pulled pork. It's actually really amazing.

I have so many great plans for these goodies...I'll keep you posted.

July 6, 2011

things i think you should do

1. Make this for lunch (I added feta and topped it with watercress).

2. Make this for guests (or hey, just for you).

3. Watch this for laughs.

Hope you had a fab 4th weekend! 
I've been living in some sort of twilight zone: it's been all eating and celebrating and hanging out with friends and fam, folks. I'm trying to remember what normal life looks like and hoping you had a similar experience.

Back to regular scheduled programming sooon!