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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Salted-Caramel Sauce

In 20 minutes, you could be swimming in this!
Salted-caramel sauce is the essence of life. It's good on anything from cakes, pies, ice creams and just plain fruit. It's so easy to make and lasts for over a month in the refrigerator. I usually keep it in a piping bag.

Here's a video of how to make it, and the recipe is listed below:



Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (if making salted-caramel)
Directions:
  1. Add sugar to small pan, being careful not to get any sugar on the sides
  2. Carefully pour the water in to the pan without splashing the sides.
  3. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar melts and turns the desired color (somewhere between iced-tea for light caramel and Coca-cola for dark caramel).
  4. Heat the cream in the microwave for about 45 seconds.
  5. Add the cream a little bit at a time as it will bubble up.
  6. Once all the cream is added and stirred in, stir in the butter a few tablespoons at a time.
  7. Pour the caramel onto a heat-safe plate.
  8. If making the salted caramel, sprinkle 1/2 tsp course salt over the surface of the caramel.
  9. Let cool and use as needed.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Maple Oatmeal Banana Bread

Maple oatmeal banana hearty goodness!

This recipe has three things I love: maple syrup, oatmeal and bananas. And the best part? It uses a blender. It couldn't get any easier!

Of all the quick-breads I've come up with, this one is by far my favorite. Since it has oatmeal and banana, I've decided it belongs in the "vegetables and fruit" group of my food pyramid. Seems legit!

If you want to see a video of me making two loaves of this recipe, I put one up on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WdzfnpGCzk

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Miso Chicken-noodle Soup


A steaming bowl of Japanese deliciousness!
During a recent pilgrimage to Costco, I found Miso broth. In case you're not sure what it is, it's the broth from that really thin soup you get at a Japanese restaurant as a first course. It's also become extremely popular as a main ingredient in Asian salad dressings. I've always loved the flavor of miso soup, but I'm a meat-and-taters kinda guy and I feel like soups that're all juice are just a delay tactic to getting real food in my belly.

In typical Costco fashion, the bulk impulse-purchase was hogging up room that was desperately needed for more important acquisitions... like the 40 pound sack of flour and the 55 gallon drum of olive oil. I decided to make chicken noodle soup with it. It was fast, easy and I could reclaim the pantry space. I wanted the well-seasoned miso flavor but with actual solid food to back it up.

This recipe involves no cutting, peeling or chopping (though you do have to use two forks to shred a single chicken breast).

What I did not foresee is how freaking amazing the soup was going to taste. Rich, savory, and all around Ermagerd!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Rum Pound Cake


If there is one thing that reminds me of my grandmother, it's rum cake. Hers was EPIC. With the precision of a surgeon and the care of a grandmother, she'd be standing there making slits in the cake with her icing spatula and ever so gently pulling them open to one side while drizzling the hot buttered rum syrup into it.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gnocchi

Gnocchi in rich, gooey cheesy truffle cream sauce
Gnocchi (pronounced "Neeyo-kee") is an Italian potato dumpling that's eaten like pasta. It can be covered in any sauce you want. In Italy, you can buy them in near the bakery where they're made fresh daily. They're light and fluffy like little clouds. But in the US, unless you're eating in a really high end restaurant, chances are you're eating factory made gnocchi that's been sitting on shelf for a long time and is kind of dense and powdery.

It's a great pasta to make at home because it's quick, easy, takes only a few ingredients and doesn't require any special skills or tools. (Though, I do this so much that I finally shelled out the $5 for a gnocchi paddle to use instead of the fork for pressing in the indentations.)

It reheats really well for several days, so it makes great leftovers. (Though, the only way I've ever had gnocchi leftovers is by hiding them under the carrots in the veggie drawer. Ha!)

I use instant potatoes which makes it even simpler. Making this recipe from beginning to end takes about 45 minutes and the recipe feeds about 4 really hungry people. This is a great starter "pasta" if you've ever wanted to make your own but felt overwhelmed.

It's also a great recipe to get your kids involved in the kitchen because you can leave all the rolling out to them. I mean... it is literally like working with Play-Dough. So, wouldn't they be the world's foremost experts anyway?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Shepherd's Pie - The perfect makeahead dish


Casseroles became wildly popular in the 1950s as women joined the workforce and looked for quicker and easier ways to make dinner without a lot of fuss. They're great for leftovers and you can get a lot of extra meals out of them.