Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Groovy Kind of Love

I've hit a record low. I thought I was nearly there when I found myself drooling over a piece of cheesecake thinking, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the cheesecake told me so", but alas...that was merely the tip of the iceberg. I hit rock bottom last night when I found this souffle on my plate, staring back at me. I'm not sure why song lyrics come to mind when I'm salivating over my dessert, perhaps because I'm married to a musician. At any rate, this lovely bit of goodness had me humming, "Baby, I need your lovin'" and I became painfully aware that if there were such a thing as dessert rehab I would need to check myself in immediately. In the meantime, I'll carry on as usual with my shameful love affair, humming familiar tunes summoned by my rendezvous with sugar..."When I'm feeling blue, all I have to do..." well, you know.

Chocolate Souffle

3 large eggs, separated
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
5 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted
2/3 cup whole milk
2 Tbs. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. sour cream
confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease four ramkeins with softened butter. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar with a mixer until soft peaks begin to form. Add 1/3 cup sugar and continue whisking until medium peaks form 3-4 minutes.

In the bottom of a small saucepan, combine flour and milk. Whisk in milk and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for about 2 minutes or until mixture thickens. Whisk milk into chocolate. Whisk in egg yolks and sour cream. Gently fold in egg whites.

Fill ramekins evenly with batter, place on a baking sheet and bake for about 14 minutes or until souffles rise but the centers are still mostly liquid. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sweet and Salty

If you are living the sugar-free life or if you are diligently attempting to follow through on a New Year's resolution to kick the sweet tooth habit, then stop now and don't read any further. Go ahead and close your browser or click back over to Facebook. However, if you crave a little a sugar now and then or if you are especially fond of sweet and salty combinations, then stay right here and check out this super simple recipe. After making these treats for my bunco group last night, I was slightly disappointed that there were no leftovers! I may have to make more today...

Toffee Bars

12 graham crackers
1 (8oz) bag toffee bits
1 1/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup chocolate chips*
3/4 tsp. coarse salt (such as kosher salt or sea salt)

Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the graham crackers side by side in a single layer on the sheet, edges touching. Sprinkle toffee bits and nuts over the graham crackers. I used walnuts this time, but I've made these with pecans or almonds too.

In a saucepan, bring sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high heat and rapidly simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is syrupy, about 2 minutes.
Immediately pour the sugar mixture over the graham crackers. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes or until sugar topping is bubbly. Remove from oven and immdeiately sprinkle with chocolate chips and salt. Cut into 2-inch squares and cool completely on a wire rack. Can be stored in an airtight container up to one week, but it's doubtful they'll last that long!

*Live-it-up-variation: substitute peanut butter or butterscotch chips in place of the chocolate chips or mix together all three flavors.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Souper Simple

Can I tell you my favorite thing about this post? It isn't the simplicity of ingredients or the fact that the warming nature of soup is appealing during times such as these when I'm so cold I can hardly feel my nose or toes (okay, I'll admit it's my continued use of flip-flops in 40 degree weather that prohibits me from feeling my toes). Anyway, none of these things matter as I am simply thrilled that the above photo came straight from my camera...unedited. UNEDITED! Those of you who blog or simply enjoy playing around with photography will understand how rare it is to shoot the perfect photo on the first try. Especially when capturing food. Nearly all of my photo's get a little editing, from color balance to contrast adjustment or if nothing else, a little crop around the corners. But not this photo...ah, such a small thing to make my day complete. Now, for the truly important part - the recipe...

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium jalapeno, finely diced
1/2 green pepper, finely diced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 1/2 cup frozen corn
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 cans chicken broth
2 (14oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a heavy pot. Add onion, garlic, jalapeno and green pepper, sauteing over medium-high heat until vegetables become tender. Add the remaining ingredients...yes, put the chicken breasts in whole. Bring to a simmer and after about 15 minutes, remove the chicken breasts and shred with a fork (or use two forks, the chicken will be hot!). Return shredded chicken to the pot and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Serve topped with crushed tortilla chips and shredded monterey jack cheese.

Where Did the Time Go?

After numerous attempts to post on a more regular basis, I seem to have "done it again"...letting an unseemly amount of time pass between posts! Despicable, I know. I am editing food photos as I write with the sincere promise to provide some new fodder before the sun sets. In the meantime, let me assure you that my lack of posting has not been from a lack of doing! Business is growing at an exciting rate and between cake orders and catering obligations, I have been busy perfecting these cheescakes...

If you are local, you can begin trying them (and others) at our local historical landmark, the Hotel Fredonia. The deliciousness will begin tantalizing taste buds in February. I'm super excited to have teamed up with the hotel restaurant, J. McKinney's, in a mutually beneficial relationship. I sincerely hope your 2011 is off to as roaring of a start as mine. A belated Happy New Year to all!