Saturday, August 27

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bacon Truffles

Dood. Really?
Alright folks, here it is! The main attraction. Because what else is there to do in a hurricane, but eat copious amounts of chocolate? And bacon.

Yes, really.
As I write this, Irene is creeping her way up the east coast. It's pouring outside. I'm getting cabin fever and it's only been about 6 hours. (It's not really confirmed, but my ADD might apply elsewhere, not just seasons.) If I turn on the TV, the hurricane is all anyone is talking about. I'm pretty sure that all of our local news channels are having a contest to see who can come up with the most innovative, hi-tech map to detail Irene's path. I wonder what the prize is? Or how it's being judged? All I know, is that I WISH this was a snow storm. Le sigh.

There's not enough alcohol in the world to deal with this nonsense. So, let's move on to chocolate. Or better yet, both!

Really, really.
Let me just preface this by saying: Nothing, I repeat, nothing about this post is healthy. Except maybe that I used dark chocolate. But that's a stretch. Hey, at least I'm honest and upfront about it. Unlike Coca Cola in the case of Vitamin Water. Or Salads from Taco Bell. 

These little gems contain bacon fat. Yes, you heard me. Bacon. Fat. Which sounds gross, but is really just akin to butter or Crisco (ew ::shudder::) in terms of just being another solid fat, if you think about it. For a dessert made with a healthier fat, try this "Slime Time" (avocado frosted) cake. You'll feel better about it in the morning. If a hurricane's got you in the mood for more of a "sometime" food, keep reading. (Keep reading anyway, please humor me!)

Making truffles at home is time consuming in that ganache needs to rest a few hours after being formed, before you can shape it. Oh great, more waiting around, just what we were looking for. But if you're home all day anyway, might as well do something productive. Like cover bacon in chocolate.

Soundtrack: Give this a try!
  Belispeak by PURITY RING
Lofticries by PURITY RING
Ungirthed by PURITY RING

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bacon Truffles
Yield about 30 truffles

3 pieces crispy pork bacon, pan fried and chopped finely (make sure to reserve fat!)
12 oz dark chocolate chips, divided (try these, they're my favorite!)
1/8 c. peanut butter (or 2 tbsp if you don't have a 1/8 c measure)
1 1/2 tbsp bacon fat, cooled, but in liquid state (you can get this from pan frying 7-8 pieces of bacon, you'll only use 3 for the truffles, but have fun snacking on the extras! Don't worry about any sediment floating in the fat, it'll add more flavor)
1/2 c heavy cream
red sugar sprinkles (optional, but fun!)

First, in a small bowl, stir the bacon fat into the peanut butter until mixed through. The result will look like runny peanut butter. Set aside.

Place 6 oz of chocolate chips in a large heatproof bowl and have an electric whisk or hand whisk ready. Place the cream in small saucepan over medium heat. Heat just until the cream begins to boil (watch for bubbles at the edge of the pan). Quickly pour cream over chocolate and beat quickly with whisk. The cream will melt the chocolate to form a ganache, which will be smooth, shiny and thick. Check here for tips on how to fix the ganache if it doesn't emulsify properly.

Stir the peanut butter mixture and the bacon pieces into the ganache, using a spatula.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or plastic wrap). Spread ganache out into a thin layer using the spatula. Allow ganache to sit for 3-4 hours, until it is the consistency of toothpaste. (And then go brush your teeth. Just kidding.)

Using a spatula, scoop ganache into a gallon ziploc bag (or pastry bag) and cut the tip. Line the cookie sheet with a new sheet of parchment (or plastic wrap) and squirt about 1/2 tbsp of ganache out of the bag onto the cookie sheet. Repeat forming lines. Once all ganache has been divided, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Just like this little turd
Remove ganache from refrigerator and use clean hands to shape into balls. This gets messy and is best done with cold hands (you can run your hands under cold water before touching the ganache, but make sure to dry!). Keep in mind, they don't have to be perfectly round. Once all the ganache has been smoothed into balls, place back in the refrigerator for another 15-20 minutes.

After 15-20 minutes, use a double-boiler (or make your own by placing a metal bowl in a pan of shallow boiling water. Use a hot mitt to hold the bowl!!) to melt the remaining 6 oz of chocolate, stirring frequently with a spatula. Once chocolate is melted, immediately remove from heat. Bring the chocolate back to room temperature by stirring it around. (It is essential you cool the chocolate back down or you will melt your ganache.)

Dip the ganache balls in the tempered chocolate one at a time, using a fork to roll the around, then drip off excess chocolate. Place coated truffles back on parchment. If you are going to decorate them with sugared sprinkles, make sure to do this before the chocolate hardens. You can dip about 5 truffles, sprinkle, dip 5 more, etc.

Once all truffles are coated in chocolate, refrigerate again until hardened (about 20 minutes). Enjoy!

Start with 2 of my favorite things...
Joy of Cooking and Ghiradelli dark choc chips

I'm sorry. The bacon fat/ peanut butter thing DOESN'T look good.

Greedy. Just greedy.

I'm getting really good at these action shots!

Wet, bacony ganache.

Looks delicious doesn't it?

Little chocolate turds. All in a row.
My g-het-toe double boiler
Greedy. Again.

Thursday, August 25

Grilled Shrimp Burritos with Zucchini and Sweet Potato

First, let me just clear the air here. I know you're disappointed by the subject of this post and I know who you are. But I promise, the dark chocolate peanut butter bacon truffles are coming soon. I'm tweaking it to turn up the bacon and turn down the peanut butter. And in the meantime, I'm just trying to entertain taste buds and keep things healthy. Because if I talk about how much I ate last weekend one more time everyone that reads this has the right to block me forever. Oh no, I just did. Ok, starting now.

Can I have a bite please?
This week flew by for me. I'm not really sure why that is, considering I never fully recovered from last weekend (ps I didn't mention food) and I've had a really rough time of getting up every morning, but I'll take it! Tomorrow is Friday. And this brings up some philosophical questions for me. Like, will the memory of Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon performing together Rebecca Black's "Friday" ever NOT be the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the final day of the work week? Is it too early in the year to buy a case of Pumking this weekend? Do dogs find weekends confusing? How many hours will Adam spend playing FIFA this Saturday? And many others. I'm deep. In the words of a wise old (just kidding) man, "about as deep as a shot glass." (Dear Jess, yes, I stole that from your dad.)

Most importantly, however, is the age-old question, "What's for dinner?". And no, it's not beef. Ok, sometimes it's beef. But not this time!

Delicious. Healthy. Spicy. Sweet. Easy. Fast. These tacos. PS Adam created the seasoning for the shrimp. He asks that we call him "Skrimp Masta Flex".

Soundtrack: One more (nu?)disco dance party, in honor of the new Magic Tape (14!) ala the Magician, and then we will move on (and I will share my truffle recipe). I swear.

Magic Tape Fourteen by TheMagician

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Zucchini and Sweet Potato
Serves 2-3

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (ew!)
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into large cubes
1 zucchini, chopped
1 can black beans
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp chili powder, divided
1 tsp chipotle seasoning, divided
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp Old Bay
1 tsp garlic powder, divided
1/2 tsp paprika
1 lime
salt & pepper
flour tortillas
pineapple salsa (This is important. I use Wegmans, I'm obsessed)

Boil a small pot of water. Add the pieces of sweet potato and par-boil for 2-3 minutes, until just softened. Drain, chop potato to smaller pieces and set aside.

Heat grill and skewer shrimp. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 tsp chipotle, 1/2 tsp Chile power, 1/4 tsp garlic powder,1/2 tsp Old Bay, and a dusting of salt & pepper. Sprinkle the shrimp with this seasoning mix and juice from 1/2 the lime. Grill the shrimp for about 3 min on each side until done. After cooking, squeeze the other 1/2 of the lime over the shrimp, chop coarsely, cover and set aside. (Or have a Sue grill the shrimp, while you move on to the next step!) 

In a saute pan, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium heat. Add zucchini and sweet potato. Season with thyme, 1/2 tsp chile powder, 1/2 tsp coriander, and 1/2 tsp ground cumin. Saute until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan (I rinsed the same one from the potato for less dishes) heat the beans over medium heat. Season with paprika and 1/2 tsp garlic powder (And a big thank you to Pepperjack's).

While beans are heating, (yea this is a lot of action at once, it's ok, you can do it!) warm the tortillas according to package directions.

Assemble tacos using beans, zucchini, sweet potato, and shrimp. Top with pineapple salsa and enjoy!

Zucchini: it's so in season! Like white pants!

Check out Sue, sprinkling that seasoning!

Zucchini & Sweet Potato saute.. Ole!

You can just see the spices! Or just Jeremy's thumbs up
in the background... We're also reppen' the Wegs salsa!

Tuesday, August 23

Soba Noodle Salad with Mango and Red Pepper

This is the point in the summer where, if I'm going to be completely honest with you, I'm over it. I'm done. Throwing in the (beach!) towel, if you will. I can't be the only one. Seasonal ADD? Is that such a disorder? Will they ever find a cure?

I'm just ready to buy new jeans and cozy up in a sweatshirt. I want crisp leaves and pumpkins. I want to buy fall scented candles (OMG). Pumpkin beer? AND it's just about time for apples and that means apple desserts. See what I mean? You're totally agreeing with me, I can see it in your face! That's right... I can SEE YOU. Just kidding. Actually, I used to get nervous when I was a really little kid that people might be able to see me through photographs. Sometimes I tried real hard to see others through pictures of myself. Creepy kid stuff.

But back to my sudden preoccupation with all things autumn. It's unfortunate, because there is still some summer left. The more level-headed of us have not yet given up on it! Barbecues are still happening all around us! I know this, because I had a barbecue-type event at my home last Friday. This was in fact a "barbecue-type" event, due to serious lack of grilling that occurred after our resident deck-squirrel chewed a hole through the propane tube. The deck-squirrel has been hanging around all summer, I guess just waiting for the timing to be right.

But what does one make a side dish for a barbecue-type event, when even one more thought of pasta salad just seems unreasonable?

Soba Noodle Salad
Confession. I STOLE this from the original recipe. I wanted you to see how delicious this looks.
I didn't get a picture of mine. I was too busy drinking beer and eating these things.
Soba noodles.

Well, soba noodle salad to be exact. Type that into Google! What comes up? This recipe. So I had to try it. I will say, I found there to be way too much dressing, so I would suggest making the dressing, tossing everything together, and then adding to your taste. A bit more advice: I'd say the lime was the strongest, so definitely don't overdo it. Cut the mango into decent sized pieces; mine got lost in the mix. But other than that, the flavors were great and pretty complex. They don't muddle together and remain fairly distinct.

Soundtrack: Pure, unadulterated, disco funk. Old school status. Spun by Greg D

Greg D. - Live at Triumph Brewery, Philadelphia, PA 08.20.2011 by Greg D.

Soba Noodle Salad with Mango & Red Pepper
Made with slight adaptations from Garrett McCord's original recipe found on Simply Recipes
(Serves 12 as a side)

3/4 c rice vinegar
1/4 c sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp sesame oil
12 oz soba noodles
2 large red bell peppers, chopped
1 large mango, cut into pieces
1 c fresh basil, chopped
1 c fresh mint, chopped
1 c roasted, salted peanuts, chopped

Cook soba noodles, to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the rice vinegar, sugar and salt for 2 minutes, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in garlic and jalapeno. Set aside and allow to cool. Once cooled, whisk in lime juice, zest, and sesame oil.

In a large bowl, combine sesame noodles, mango, and red pepper. Begin to toss in dressing slowly, until noodles are flavored. You may not use all of the dressing.

Toss in basil, mint and peanuts (unless storing overnight, then add basil, mint and peanuts immediately before serving) and serve.

Easy prep

Squeezing the life outta some limes


Just add mango. To everything.

Sunday, August 21

My Weekend of Gluttony (and friends!)

I swore off eating yesterday. Obviously it didn't work out, seeing as I'm currently sitting here eating yet another piece of this bread. But I said it. And meant it, at the time. And you would have too, if you ate as much as I did this weekend. "What exactly did I eat?" you must be wondering. Well, let me me show you the highlights.

First, there were sausages and ribs and hummus and guacamole. Bacon & peanut butter dark chocolate truffles and soba noodle salad (recipes to come soon). Good beer. It was your typical "spend all day grilling and eating with lots of good friends" type of day. And there were lots of good friends, old and new. Saw some great music at night. And it was a really really perfect day.

These brownies were shared by a new friend.
Yea, that's a brownie with a graham cracker crust and toasted marshmallow on top.
I had "one more bite" of these like 20 times. Sad, but I'm not kidding.
This is the infamous pumple cake from  Flying Monkey Bakery. That is an apple pie in vanilla
cake on top of a pumpkin pie in a chocolate cake. That is at least an inch of frosting.
Ordered by a ridiculous (but awesome) friend Josh, just looking at this cake will make you gain a pound. Might as well eat it and make it worthwhile.
Then! The next day, I went to an all you can eat crabfest with these awesome people.
(The picture is a little washed out. I tried to fix it, no dice)
The carnage.
 Then as I took my last bite of crab, I said to myself, "I am never eating again." But then I thought of you all. And I wouldn't want to let you down. So, here I am, eating fluffernutter bread and dreaming about dinner. You're welcome. See, I love you.

Wednesday, August 17

FlufferNutter Bread

Hello. Good evening. How are ya? I'd like to introduce you to my first guest blog.... Drum roll please.... Internet world, meet Becca. She's awesome and funny. We have that in common. We also both like to dance and make delicious foods (both separately and simultaneously).

 I also LOVE love LOVE love LOVE Fluff. So much so that I have actually received tubs of it as a birthday present on more than on occasion. And I am SO excited about this guest post.


Hi. My name is Becca. I like to bake (sorry if you don't.) I also like to dance (and I'm really sorry if you don't.) Meghan has graciously allowed me to share a recipe with you, but if we're being completely honest here, I mailed Meghan some baked goods, demanded a guest post in return, and now you're stuck with me. You're welcome.

Meghan and I instantly bonded a little over a year ago through mutual friends. And although I only see her once in awhile, we are practically Internet best friends. Her recipes make me want to eat my computer screen, and one night when I was in Northern Virginia, I was lucky enough to eat two of these to go with the whole pint of chocolate peanut butter ice cream I ate as well.

Don't worry, I'm actively judging myself, too. Those darn cupcakes were like little pieces of heaven in my mouth, and the cupcakes (and Meghan!) deserve a +1 because bananas could be one of my favorite things to bake with. Seriously.

When I go to the store to buy bananas, about 30% of the bananas will go on top of my peanut butter waffles or in smoothies that I make for a quick meal. The other 70% do not have the same fate. They are left to sit on my kitchen counter until I deem them "ready to bake with".

I decided one day that I would take it upon myself to recreate a sandwich that I had as a child growing up. I was that kid in elementary school whose parents' refused to buy them Lunchables unless it was a special occasion. I begged and pleaded with Fred and Zena to buy them because if I didn't show up to school with one for lunch I would be deemed an outcast, and end up with no friends. And look at me now. I'm forcing myself onto food blogs to make invisible Internet friends.

So instead of opening my lunchbox and finding a Lunchable, I would normally find a sandwich of some sort. Ham on a bad day (I don't like ham), and peanut butter on a good day. But, on the best days I would find a fluffernutter sandwich! And everyone knows the ONLY way to have one of these is with a banana, right?! And that is why my friends, the fluffernutter banana bread was born.
In the first batch, the banana overpowered the bread and the marshmallow was an afterthought. I decided then and there I had to bake it again, with some modifications. After some serious deliberation and conversations with myself this past Saturday, I decided to make a second batch. And this one was just right. Since baking with the fluff, I have decided it is the STD of baking. It gets everywhere. It's messy. You find it in places you don't want it to be...I think you get the idea. Maybe you'll want to choose a marshmallow more wisely, ifyoucatchmydrift.

The perfect music to bake to on a rainy afternoon.
Wolf + Lamb Podcast: Slow Hands - Live at Ego (Aug 2011)

Fluffernutter Bread - Yields 1 standard-sized loaf or 3 mini loaves
Inspired by my Childhood

1 stick of butter, softened (Earth Balance is also good, I used this in the second trial)

1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1.5 cups AP flour (I used a 50/50 combination of AP flour and Whole Wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 very ripe medium-sized bananas, a little less than a cup's worth
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (you can substitute sour cream, but I always have Greek yogurt on hand, and the amount of protein (11g) makes me think this bread could be deemed healthy...)
1/2 cup Reese's peanut butter chips
1/4 cup unsalted, natural, creamy pb (I use TJ's peanut butter, it's less than $2.00 a jar here!)
1 cup marshmallow fluff, or miniature marshmallows - set aside a little for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar - add two eggs to the mixture.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Add dry ingredients to your butter mixture, until just combined.

In another bowl, combine the mashed banana, Greek yogurt, and vanilla. Fold in the Peanut butter chips.

Add the banana mixture to the other ingredients, and slowly fold the banana mixture in with the other ingredients.

In a separate pan on the stove, or a microwave safe bowl, melt the peanut butter and marshmallow together.

Grease your pan of choice. Begin the layering process by first adding the batter, and then a generous scoop of peanut butter marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl the peanut butter mixture around the batter. Layer more batter on top, and repeat the same process until you are about half-way up the pan. For the top layer, I took some fluff and swirled it on the top, and it gives the bread a nice marshmallow-y, yummy coating.

Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes if you're using mini-pans, or about 55 minutes for the larger pan. If you are unsure if the bread is done baking, see if the edges are dark brown, and stick a toothpick in the middle. If it comes out clean, the bread is done.

Take out of the oven and let the bread rest (in the pan) for 5 minutes, and then transport bread to a wire rack to cool

Monday, August 15

Grilled Eggplant Flatbread Pizza

One of my favorite things about this blog is the way in which I can often use it to procrastinate, operating under the pretense that I am still doing something pretty productive. This works to my advantage in a lot of situations; dishes, dog walks, ironing my granny panties. (Just kidding on that last one.. I don't iron them.) 

My favorite though, is blogging instead of putting my clean laundry to put away. I don't know what it is about laundry; I have NO problem getting it to the point of being a clean pile on my bed, but I just have the hardest time motivating to actually put. it. away. It usually takes me rounds and rounds of complaining and Jagger making a bed or two out of my clothes before I finally move it. This is probably one of the main reasons I should never live alone. No accountability. There would be clean laundry everywhere and I would just cook/bake myself into oblivion and have no one to feed.

I also make up some pretty embarrassing dance moves when I'm alone. And god forbid one of those was to get too much practice and somehow slip its way into my repetoire. No no, it's better I let other people keep me in check.

Pizza Pizza!
Anyway. I love flatbreads. So much so, that every once in a while at work, I find myself typing flatbread, instead of flatbed (that's right, I type "flatbed" at work. A lot.). Roll instead of role. Hunger for Hunter (it's a gentleman's name; it comes up frequently as well). This leads me to a whole 'nother set of issues. We'll save that for a different posting shall we?

This flatbread pizza is definitely the type of thing that, among those that I live with, only I will eat. It's totally Meghan-food. Goat cheese (adorable!), grilled eggplant, fresh basil. I also don't know if I've told you this before, but I'm obsessed with arugula. So it's the perfect thing to make when you are on your own for dinner (or lunch!). Or if you've got a buddy or two who also appreciate fresh vegetables and goats (so cute!), more power to ya. Just double or triple the recipe and you're there! And if you're not into goats as much as I am, you could probably sub out the cheese; just don't skimp on the fresh basil. 

Sountrack: This is quick, not a lot of time for a full soundtrack. But here are some of my Jimkata favorites, just to be inspiring:

Devil's In The Details by Jimkatamusic Ghosts And Killers by Jimkatamusic

Grilled Eggplant Flatbread Pizza

3-1/4 inch thick slices of eggplant (medallions, if you will)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 personal sized flatbreadfor example 
2 tbsp pizza sauce (or pasta sauce will do if you've got a jar open)
1 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
3-4 leaves fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1 handful fresh baby arugula
salt & pepper

Preheat a toaster oven (or regular oven) to 350.

Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the eggplant slices and season with salt and pepper. Make sure eggplant slices are thoroughly coated in vinegar (I stacked them and moved them around a little) and give them a minute to soak it up. Meanwhile, drizzle a little EVOO in a grill pan (just enough to grease) and heat over medium flame. Once pan is heated, place eggplant onto the pan. Cook 4 minutes on each side, until the center of the vegetable begins to appear translucent. Remove the eggplant from the heat and cut into smaller than 1 inch pieces.

Place flatbread on foil (or small cookie sheet). Cover in sauce. Top flatbread with eggplant, goat cheese and fresh basil. Place in the oven for 4-5 minutes, until cheese begins to melt. Remove from heat and top with arugula. Serve!

Tres Amigos!

Tres grilled Amigos!

Ready for it's close-up

Saturday, August 13

Summer Berry Bread Pudding

Confession: I love bread pudding. Obsessed with bread pudding. I never make it, (why??) but honestly a good bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts. If you think about it, it's a little gross; stale bread, covered in sugar and milk, baked in the oven. But it's so good and if it's wrong I don't want to be right.

This bread pudding is a little different. It's never baked; it's refrigerated and served cold. It's light and refreshing and perfect for summer. I originally saw the recipe here, on Melissa Clark's blog. I love her philosophy on food and her recipes are to drool over. My pudding didn't quite turn out as beautiful as hers, but nevertheless it was delicious. And that's really mostly what matters right?

I've been waiting for an excuse to make this for weeks. Then the cosmos aligned. My oven is broken (I know, it's devastating...). I went to a bbq. And it was perfect.

Melissa writes in her post that this dessert "greatly benefits from something rich on the side" and I whole-heartedly agree. She serves her pudding with Creme Anglaise, but I saw this as an opportunity to let whipped cream shine. Let me explain. You know how whipped cream is usually a garnish? Or something you squirt into your mouth while your standing with the refrigerator open? But it's never NECESSARY! I've never eaten something before, taken a step back and thought, "You know what this NEEDS? A dollop of whipped cream." But!! But!! This dessert can depend on whipped cream like whipped cream usually depends on ice cream. And it feels good (for the whipped cream, of course).

So, here is the recipe and some pictures from my attempt. It's a very easy dessert and definitely worthwhile. You can use any mix of berries that you'd like. I used currants, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries.


fabriclive 36 mixed by james murphy and pat mahoney by julienbritnic

Summer Berry Bread Pudding
By Melissa Clark via

5 c. mixed berries (ex. currants, strawberries (sliced), blackberries & blueberries)
1/3 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
1 to 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
10 to 15 slices soft whole wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed

In a medium saucepan, combine berries, water, and sugar. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes. The berries will just begin to break down to the beginnings of a syrup. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. The mixture should be sweet, yet tart. You can adjust this to taste. 

In an 8-in loaf pan, drizzle a bit of the liquid to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Cover this layer of liquid with a layer of bread by cutting the pieces of bread so that they fit together to cover the bottom of the pan completely. Spoon 1/3 of the fruit and liquid over this layer of bread. Repeat, layer by layer, until all of the fruit has been used. The top layer should be fruit. Allow the pudding to cool completely on the counter.

Cover the pan with a layer of plastic wrap and set a something on top to weigh everything down (I used The Other Boleyn Girl, by Phillipa Gregory). Refrigerate overnight.

To serve, cut into slices and garnish with fresh whipped cream (see below).

Fresh Whipped Cream

1 c heavy cream
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. With an electric whisk attachment or electronic mixer, beat on high until cream becomes stiff.

Merry berry


Ogres are like onions. They have lots of layers.

Berry-licious (Kerry, I thought you'd like that one)

Purple. My favorite.

Q: What do we do with all of these crusts?

A: Croutons!!

Look at that whipped cream. Star!

Tuesday, August 9

Jalapeno & Mango Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese reminds me of two times in my life. 1) Being a little kid and 2) being a drunk college freshman at 3 AM. Not that those two things are really all that different: poorly thought out decisions and sloppy eating at their finest.

Regardless, I'm sure we can all agree that mac and cheese is an amazing food. Some might call it a super food. Not to be confused with superfoods. (Add ketchup. Enjoy!)

Just add mango

But now I've graduated. My tastes are more refined. Sophistication has won the day. No more boxed mac for me. It's actually really crazy how easy homemade mac n cheese can be to make once you get it out of your head that it's hard. No need for Easy Mac. Seriously, there is NO NEED for Easy Mac (I'm talking the just add water stuff here, not the boxed stuff in general. I love boxed mac and cheese.) Because it's NOT really that much easier to just add water to dehydrated cheese than it is to add milk and butter. Unless of course you don't have a refrigerator and your only means of cooking is in the microwave, then sure, get your Easy Mac on (HELLLOOO college memories...).

AND, I hope you aren't totally repulsed by the idea of cheddar cheese and mangoes. I know, it's weird. But if you are skeptical (as SOME people that I live with were...), you are dead wrong. The sharpness of the cheese. The sweetness of the mangoes. Match made in heaven. Those are not complete sentences. All balanced out perfectly by the hint of spiciness from chipotle and jalapenos. Baking the dish is key to fusing all these flavors together.

The responsible, healthy eater that I am, I went ahead and served this mac and cheese with a nice healthy salad. It was full of carrots, bell peppers, yellow (!) cherry tomatoes, and green beans. The more colors the better! And I slept better at night, know that I got my veggies in for the day.

Soundtrack: ALO

Jalapeno & Mango Macaroni and Cheese
(Serves 4 as a main course)

3 tbsp butter
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 c 2% milk
1 tsp chipotle seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
2 c sharp cheddar cheese (white)
About 1/2 box of elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
1 small jalapeno, chopped very finely
1 medium mango, chopped
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Create a roux by melting the butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour, stirring until completely combined. Remove from heat.

Begin to whisk in the milk, adding a little at a time and whisking quickly to avoid lumps. Turn the heat back on to medium. Heat, stirring constantly and making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan until it begins to boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens (about 3-5 minutes). Season with salt, pepper, chipotle, and paprika and simmer on low for another 10 minutes, continuing to stir often.

Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Add macaroni noodles, mango and jalapeno. Transfer mixture to a grease baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and bread crumbs are toasted.

Thickened white sauce.. hmmm

Little mango flowers!
Look! It's the leaning tower of Cheese-a!

Baked Cheese. Yum.
What else can you really say?