Monday, August 27, 2012

Homemade Hot Fudge Sundae

What you are about to read is probably the easiest recipe known to mankind (and quite possibly the most delicious as well).  I will be honest, I never thought of making homemade hot fudge (this is obviously another one of Cole's family recipes).  I mean really, the jarred stuff is pretty good.  I never had any problem eating it by the spoonful.  But if you think the store-bought stuff is good, this homemade stuff is going to blow your mind (and the button of your pants if you're not careful).  

Hot Fudge
(aka chocolate "sause")    

What you need:
1 5 oz can of evaporated milk
1 cup sugar (although I think 3/4 cup is plenty)
2 T cocoa powder

I'm guessing Cole or one of his brothers wrote down this recipe at some point judging by the spelling, lack of details, and the handwriting.  The first time I made this recipe I started out with sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated, boy would that would've been a mistake.  Luckily I figured out my error before I added any of the cocoa or sugar and was able to steer clear of that crisis.

What you do:   

Mix all the ingredients together over medium heat and cook until the "sause" becomes thick and hot fudge-esque.  I would suggest stopping just before your ideal consistency unless you are going to serve it immediately because it will thicken up some while sitting.

Server over ice cream with some whipped cream, almonds and a cherry on top (of course).

If you were able to control yourself and have any leftover you should mix it with a little milk when you reheat the hot fudge. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

This recipe is so simple to put together.  I make it for weekend lunches or a quick weeknight dinner all the time.  The best part is that it's as easy to make for 1 to 2 people as it is for a big group.  I like to add guacamole, cilantro and red onions to my taco but sometimes I get fancy and make a quick mango salsa.  Sometimes I also get crazy and fry up some bacon and crumble it over the top of the shrimp.  However, I was making these at 1:30ish and it was our first meal of the day so Cole was about to faint from starvation (or so he said) so I just made these quick and dirty.

Side Note: We like our food spicy so if you don't you may not want to add the full amount of spices I have listed (particularly the cayenne pepper).

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

What you need:

Shrimp, peeled and deveined (you'll need 3-4 per taco)
1/2 small red onion
2 small limes
3 cloves garlic finely chopped (for 20 shrimp, use more or less depending on how many shrimp you are using)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
Olive oil

 What you do:

Season shrimp with garlic powder, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper and the juice of one whole lime. Heat olive oil in a medium pan.  Sautee garlic in the pan for a couple minutes, then add the shrimp.  Cook until done (approx. 5-7 minutes).  Serve in warm tortilla (corn or flour).  Like I said, I like to serve mine with guacamole and top with red onion and cilantro.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chicken and Eggplant Parmigiana

Carbs are my nemesis.  If I could I would eat pasta, potatoes, bread, etc for every meal.  Every. Single. One.  I once did the Atkins diet.  I stuck to it for 3 weeks and I lost, like, 15 lbs.  I was also in a permanent bad mood and literally cried when I was making dinner and served Cole his dinner with rice and I couldn't have any.  Suffice it to say, that diet did not last very long (and afterwards I may or may not have gone on a carb binge, but I'm not on trial here).

Point is, I love carbs.  Therefore, I love Italian food.  Cole and I are trying to put together an Italian Feast Night with a bunch of his friends so I thought I'd practice a bit before that.  Also, Olive Garden was playing a commercial for Eggplant Parmesan and it was making me crave it like no other.  I would complement them on their advertising, but it didn't make actually come into their restaurant.  So it probably didn't work out so well for them.  I decided to make some Chicken Parmigiana also because, well, it's delicious.

Chicken and Eggplant Parmigiana

What you need:

2 chicken breasts (cut in half so they are thinner, then pounded very thin)
Eggplant (cut into approx. 1/2 inch thick rounds)
Bread crumbs (Italian style)
2 eggs (beaten)
Mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
Garlic bread

What you do:

Slice mozzarella cheese.  (I'm not sure why I felt the need to picture this, but I did.  So there you go.).  Preheat oven to 350*.  Coat chicken and eggplant rounds in eggs then bread crumbs.  Pan fry the chicken and eggplant until they are nice and crispy on each side.  Don't worry about them being fully cooked, we are going to finish them off in the oven.  Put a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of glass baking dish.  Place the chicken and eggplant in the baking dish.  Pour a little more marinara sauce over the top of the chicken and eggplant, then top each one with a slice of mozzarella cheese and a bit of parmesan cheese.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is nice and bubbly.  While the chicken is in the oven cook the pasta.  Serve the pasta and marinara on the side of the eggplant and chicken.  And please, whatever you do, don't forget the garlic bread.     

I also made a yummy Caprese salad as a little appetizer because, you know, there wasn't enough cheese with dinner.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mini Mondays-Olympic Edition: Sliders Around the World

As has been well documented on this blog, I love anything that is miniature.  What you may not be aware of is my love of the Olympics.  I have been looking forward to the 2012 Summer Olympics  since pretty much the minute the Beijing Olympics ended 4 years ago.  My excitement reached a fever pitch in May or June of this year (just ask Cole, I did a little happy dance every time an Olympics commercial came on TV).

Anyway, I knew that for this month's Mini Mondays I had to figure out a way to somehow incorporate the Olympics.  So Cole and I brainstormed and we came up with the idea to make chicken sliders inspired by various different countries.  I went a little overboard with this, I'm not going to lie.

Sliders Around the World

Slider Rolls

What you need:
1/2 c warm water
2 1/4 tsp quick rise active dry yeast
1 tsp honey
1/4 c butter 
1/2 c milk
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
3 1/3 c flour
Sesame seeds (optional, but highly recommended)

What you do:

Stir together honey and yeast into the warm water and set aside.  Melt butter in microwave until it's completely melted.  Add milk and 1 egg to the melted butter and stir well to incorporate.  Pour the butter/milk mixture into stand mixer bowl.  By now, the yeast mixture should be foamy.  Go ahead and pour that into the mixing bowl too.  Add in salt and 2 cups flour.  Stir until the flour is fully incorporated using the dough hook for the mixer.  Add the remaining flour slowly.  The finished dough should be smooth, but still somewhat sticky (you may need a little extra flour).  Lightly oil the bowl and dough, cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size (if you let it rise for more than 1 hour it's not going to hurt anything).  After you let it rise, punch down the dough and form into golf ball sized balls (you should get at least 18 rolls).  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, or spray the cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Do NOT use wax paper thinking that it is the same thing as parchment paper (not like I've done that or anything).  They are not the same thing.  Trust me on this.  Let the dough rise for at least 30 minutes (or longer, like I said, a little extra rising time never hurt anybody).  When you're ready to bake the rolls mix 1 egg with a couple tablespoons of water and brush the egg wash over the rolls.  Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes.  They should be golden brown when done. 


What you need:

Slider rolls
Various sauces and cheeses detailed below
Grilled chicken breasts (cut chicken into cutlets before you grill them)

Optional: Someone to grill the chicken for you when it's 107* out and you don't feel like standing over a hot grill.  And yes, I do have great creeper paparazzi photo skills.  

Today, we're featuring recipes from India, Thailand, Italy, China, Mexico and, of course, America (USA! USA! USA!  Sorry, I couldn't resist)

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

What you need:
Frank's Red Hot
Bleu Cheese

This one's pretty simple.  I just put some Frank's Red Hot on top of the grilled chick and topped that with some bleu cheese.  Just please, please, please do NOT undersauce.  You will need more than you think.  

Ghost Pepper Chicken Sliders

What you need:
Ghost pepper sauce
Cheddar cheese

This one is also very simple.  Just put some ghost pepper sauce on top of the chicken and top with cheddar cheese.  Be careful with this one, ghost pepper sauce is deadly.  I would err on the sided of undersaucing this one (and I hardly ever recommend undersaucing)

Thai Curry Chicken Sliders

What you need:
Sliced Jalapenos.
1/2 c coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp corn starch

Mix everything but the jalapenos in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking continuously.  Reduce heat and let the mixture simmer for another couple minutes.  

I used this sauce kind of like mayo.  I spread it on the bun and put a little extra on top of the chicken and topped with a couple slices of jalapeno.

Caprese Chicken Sliders 

What you need:
Sliced tomato
Mozzarella Cheese
Basil mayonnaise 

Spread basil may on the bun.  Top the chicken with mayo and tomato.  Simple.  Delicious.  Molto bene. 

Sweet and sour chicken sliders 

What you need:

Bell pepper
4 T brown sugar
1 T ketchup
1/3 rice vinegar (or white vinegar if that's all you have)
1 tsp soy sauce
4 tsp cornstarch dissolved into 4 tsp water

Mix brown sugar, ketchup, rice vinegar and soy sauce in a small sauce pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil.  Add in the cornstarch and water mixture and stir to thicken.  

Put the sauce on top of the chicken on the bun.  Top with pineapple and bell pepper.

Enchilada Chicken Sliders

What you need:
Enchilada sauce (I used canned sauce and added some cumin and chili powder)
Sour cream
Tomatillo avocado salsa (or guacamole)
Cheddar cheese
Sliced jalapenos

Top chicken with enchilada sauce, salsa, sour cream and jalapenos.  Make sure you have a napkin for this one.

And now I know you're dying to know who the medals were awarded too.  These were all delicious, so it was not an easy decision.  We both agreed that Italy came in a strong third, and they were awarded the bronze medal without much debate.  However, the judges had a difference of opinion as to who won gold and who got silver.  Personally, my favorite for the Thai Curry Chicken Slider.  It was the perfect amount of sweet from the coconut milk and spicy from the curry and Sriracha.  Cole, preferred the Sweet and Sour chicken slider.  The sweet and sour sauce was, well, the perfect combination of sweet and sour.  The pineapple and bell pepper added a nice contrasting texture to the chicken.  However, since it's my blog, my opinion obviously reigns supreme (plus my brother agreed with me), therefore the gold medal is going to Thailand.  China was a dark horse for me.  I was not expecting to like it as much as I did and I am very happy to award the silver medal to China.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Polish" Salmon and Risotto

I'm not sure if this recipe is really Polish or not.  I just know that it's delicious, and that I got the recipe from my friend (who is Polish).  Regardless, it's delicious.  Since we were making this for a Saturday stay-at-home date night I paired the salmon with a tasty leek-pancetta-pea risotto and artichokes.  Artichokes are probably my favorite vegetables.  It makes me so sad that they are kind of on the expensive side because if they weren't I would have them a couple times a week.  But since I'm not part of the 1% (even though my boyfriend likes to tell me I am because I have things like multiple sets of sheets and kitchen towels) I'll settle for having them a couple times a month when they are in season.  And, as I have said before, making risotto really is a 2 man job.  You need a partner who can help you stir when your arm gets tired/when you get bored.

"Polish" Salmon

What you need:
1 side of salmon (skin-on)
Salt and pepper
1/2 stick butter, approx. (I used smart balance because sometimes I try to be healthy)
2 T fresh dill (or to taste)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 T lemon juice
2 T dry white wine
1-2 bay leaf (cracked into pieces)

What you do:

Heat oven to 400*.  Rinse of the salmon, pat it dry and season it liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.  Place the salmon skin side down on a large piece of aluminum foil inside a baking dish.

In a small bowl mix together the butter, lemon juice, wine, dill and garlic. Spread the butter mixture over the salmon and distribute the bay leaves over the top of that.  Bring the edges of the foil up and crimp them together so it makes a loose tent/pouch.  Bake for 15 minutes.  

Leek-Bacon-Pea Risotto

What you need:

6 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (not going to lie, I just use whatever wine I'm going to drink that night)
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 leek, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
2 slices of bacon cut into small strips
1/2 cup frozen peas (optional, but highly recommended)

What you do:

In a small pot bring the chicken broth to a simmer.  Meanwhile, in a large straight sided skillet cook the bacon until it's medium brown (but not crisp) then add the leeks and cook for another couple of minutes until they are softened.  Add the rice and stir until translucent around the edges.  

Add the wine and stir until it is evaporated.  Add 1 cup of chicken broth and stir until it's absorbed by the rice. 

Keep adding the chicken broth like this, 1 cup at a time, until the rice is al dente and the risotto is nice and creamy (you may not need all the chicken stock).  Stir in the peas after you add in the last cup of chicken stock.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese.

When it comes to artichokes, I am a traditionalist.  I just steam them until the leaves are tender and serve them with mayo to dip in.  Deeeeelicious.  

Sorry this picture is not the greatest, you're lucky you got a picture at all because I was dying to eat this by the time it was on my plate.  In fact, I was all set to dig in and stuff my face when Cole was like "WAIT! You need a picture for your blog!"  Anyway, there were no leftovers from this so I'll consider that a successful dinner in my book.