Tuesday, July 28, 2015

S'Mores pie recipe from McCormick

No summer celebration is complete until the s'mores are served! This delightful recipe from McCormick offers a new twist on a classic summer sweet.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 
  • 7 tablespoons butter, melted 
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream 
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped 
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground 
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon McCormick® Extra Rich Pure Vanilla Extract, divided 
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme 
  • 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened 
  • 1 tub (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed 

Directions 

  • For the Crust mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Press into bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie plate. Set aside. 
  • For the Filling bring cream just to boil in small saucepan. Pour over chocolate in medium heatproof bowl. Let stand 1 minute then stir until smooth. Stir in cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Pour into prepared crust. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm. (Freeze 15 minutes for faster chilling.) Beat marshmallow creme, cream cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping until well blended. Spread evenly over chocolate layer in crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. Garnish with chocolate curls or toasted marshmallows, if desired.

Mocha peanut butter frosty recipe from Folgers

Anyone who says you can't enjoy coffee during the hot temperatures of summer obviously never tried this yummy drink recipe from Folgers!

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup chocolate soy milk or low fat chocolate milk, chilled 
  • 1 teaspoon Folgers Classic Roast® Instant Coffee Crystals 
  • 1 (4 oz.) container whipped chocolate yogurt 
  • 1/3 cup chocolate whey protein powdered drink mix 
  • 2 tablespoons Smucker's® Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, stirred 
  • Ice cubes 
  • Cinnamon, for garnish 

Directions 
COMBINE soy milk and coffee crystals in blender container until crystals are dissolved.
ADD yogurt, protein powder, peanut butter and enough ice cubes to equal two cups. Process 45 seconds or until smooth and frosty.
POUR into two tall glasses. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon, if desired.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Vegetable ravioli in lemon grass broth recipe


Preparation of home-made ravioli with ricotta
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Summer is almost here and for those of us who enjoy gardening, the time to enjoy our bounty of fresh herbs and vegetables is almost upon us. This amazing recipe is the perfect way to kick of the summer season!

VEGETABLE RAVIOLI IN LEMON GRASS BROTH 
  • 1 lb Chinese cabbage 
  • 6 scallions 
  • 6 oz snow peas 
  • 4 oz carrots 
  • 4 oz mushrooms, trimmed 
  • 2 oz vegetable oil 
  • 1 oz soy sauce 
  • 1 t sesame oil 
  • 1 T cilantro, chopped 
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1 ½ lb fresh stained glass pasta dough 
  • Water or egg wash as needed 
  • 4 stalks lemon grass 
  • 1 oz ginger root, sliced 
  • 4 scallions, sliced 
  • 1 qt water 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish 
Directions
Cut cabbage into fine shreds. Trim and slice scallions, trim snow peas and cut diagonally into a thin julienne, trim, peel and grate carrots, chop mushrooms coarsely. Heat oil in a large sauté pan. Add vegetables and sauté until wilted. Add soy sauce and lower heat to medium and continue to cook until vegetables are tender and there is no remaining liquid in the pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add sesame oil and cilantro. Season with salt as desired. Roll pasta dough into thin sheets. Lay half the sheets on your work space. Place ½ ounce mounds of the vegetable mixture on the pasta sheets about 3-4 inches apart. Brush exposed pasta with water or egg wash and top with remaining sheets. Press together to seal, making sure to press out any air bubbles around the vegetable mixture. Cut into round or square raviolis. Trim off and discard the tops of the lemon grass stalks. Crush the bases then chop coarsely. Combine lemon grass, ginger, scallions and water in a sauce pan. Simmer 10-15 minutes until water is lightly flavored. Strain and season with salt to taste. Drop ravioli into boiling salted water. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes, until pasta is cooked. Remove pasta with a skimmer and drain well. Arrange 5 ravioli in a broad soup plate and pour lemon grass broth over top. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Stained glass pasta recipe

Stained glass window.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This recipe is easy to make, but it can be quite time consuming until you are comfortable with the process. The end result, however, is totally worth it if you enjoy crafting truly unique food for your friends and family.

STAINED GLASS PASTA
Basic Pasta Ingredients
  • 4 large eggs 
  • 5 to 7 T water 
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • Fresh herbs or edible flours, as desired
Directions
In a large bowl, create a mound of flour and create a well in the center of it. Add the eggs to the well, beating gently with a fork while you add the water a tablespoon at a time. Slowly bring the flour from the sides into the well, adding more water as needed until all of the flour is moistened. Once a stiff dough is formed, create a ball and knead the mixture for 3-4 minutes, until the dough is elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 20 minutes. When ready to make pasta, lightly dust your work surface with additional flour and divide the dough into fourths. Roll out two portions as thin as possible, keeping unused dough covered until you are ready to use it. Lightly dampen fresh herbs or edible flowers with water and press into one of the dough sheets. Top with the second piece of dough and press and flatten the dough sheets with a rolling pin. Cut into desired shapes and use in your favorite pasta recipes.

For some beautiful examples of stained glass pasta, please visit The Novice Gardner on WordPress.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Craft Critique: Eel River Brewing Company's Porter

While out shopping at my local Kroger store a few days ago, I decided to peruse the beer section and see if there was anything new and interesting in the single bottles. After being confronted with what felt like row upon row of IPA's during my last trip, I was pleasantly surprised to see a wider variety of brews this time.

I have always been partial to stouts and porters, so when I saw Eel River Brewing Company's Porter on the shelf, I snatched up two bottles. One for me, one for my partner in beer crime. I am not a huge follower of the trend towards an all organic diet, but being able to put two bottles of organic beer into my mixed 6 pack did seem like a bit of steal to me.

Eel River offers this description of their Porter:

"This certified organic Porter uses a complex blend of five malts that compliment and highlight one another in a harmonious mixture. While decidedly in the robust porter category, Eel River Brewing Company's Porter has none of the harsh characteristics often associated with dark ales. Instead, you find a rich, smooth beer with suggestions of chocolate and just a hint of coffee. So smooth and malty, this porter will convert even the non-dark-beer drinker."

While not the most descriptive summary of a beer I have ever read, it is fairly accurate. Here is my review of this beer.

Appearance
This beer pours a dark brown hue with ruby highlights, reminding me of my favorite cola. It was topped off with a slight tan head that quickly fades to a thin ring around the perimeter of the glass. There was very little lacing as I enjoyed my beer.

Smell
The first whiff of my freshly poured porter instantly reminded me of red wine-very cabernet-ish. I could smell dark fruits and a slight musky presence. Upon letting the beer warm a bit, the wine smell dissipated and the aroma became more of what is expected from a porter-dark roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and a faint whiff of vanilla.

Taste
I was instantly put off by the initial taste of Eel River's Porter. It reminded me of black olives, kind of a dark fruit flavor and earthiness with an almost imperceptible touch of brine. Once the beer was allowed to warm, the flavor shifted into something very different. It presents with an obvious dark chocolate flavor with a malty sweetness and a touch of coffee. There is a slight acidic taste on the back of the tongue after drinking this beer.

Mouthfeel
This beer has a nice, medium body as it flows across the palate. It is neither thin and watery nor heavy and syrupy. The carbonation matches the heft of this beer perfectly. It finishes with a bit of a dry, crisp feel.

Overall Impression
My initial impression of this beer was not a good one. Taken straight from the refrigerator, neither the smell nor the taste appealed to me. However, letting the beer warm to the proper temperature for serving porters was a crucial step for my enjoyment. Nothing stood out to me as exceptional about this beer, but I do have to say it is a decent representation of what a porter should be. I would recommend it to anyone who has shied away from darker beers for fear of them being too strong or bitter but is still curious to try them. Food pairings for this brew would include barbecue, ribs, blackened fish or chicken, chocolate-peanut butter desserts, desserts featuring toasted coconut or with a high quality vanilla ice cream in a beer float.

Eel River's Porter is certified organic and has won a number of awards, including Gold Medals at the 2010 Australian International Beer Awards, 2009 Los Angeles International Beer Competition and 2006 California State Fair Commercial Craft Brewers Competition.For more information about Eel River Brewing and their beers, please visit their website, Facebook and Twitter.