Archives for February 2012

Toasted.

Something happened. 

And it is entirely too magical for me to wrap my brain around. 

Remember that therapeutic shopping trip to Sur La Table that I took two days ago? We all know what went down there. Game face was on. Shopping occurred. I might have even asked the sales woman to give me a demo of their latest espresso machine, just so I could have a shot of the good stuff. Yes, that is correct. I do want to purchase a $1,000 espresso machine today, let’s me just see how good the actual espresso is. Sure. When I’m rich. 

Anyway, things were bought. Clearance. Gotta love it. I purchased my first donut pan. Yes, people. This is the something magical that I am referring to. Fresh, homemade donuts…in my kitchen…what the what? Best. investment. ever. $5.00. No biggie.

Look, Look! How easy is that?
I love me some frosted nails! Yummy!
Toasted Coconut makes everything better. 
Life can’t get any better
than this.

Donut Love.

Because donuts make the world go round’…that, and converse.
Chuck Love.


How do you like your Donuts? 

German Chocolate Donuts (Gluten-Free):

Ingredients:
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. pecan meal (if you can’t find at the store, grind pecans into a fine meal using a food processor)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. granulated sugar
4 eggs

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, pecan meal, and baking powder.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well using a spatula. 
5. Pour the batter into a 6-cup donut pan, filling each donut cup 3/4 full.
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the donut comes out clean.
7. Take the donuts out of the oven, and using a knife, twirl it around the outer edge of each donut until the donut comes out of the pan easily.
8. Dunk the donut into the coconut glaze, shaking off any excess glaze. Then place one side of the donut face down onto the plate of toasted coconut. 
9. Place the donut on a cooling rack that has been placed over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This will prevent any drippy messes from occurring on your kitchen counter.
10. You can choose to omit the coconut and dunk the donut 2-3 times in the glaze, making sure to shake off any excess glaze in between each dunk and allowing the donut to sit on the cooling rack in between each dunk for a few minutes. 

Coconut Glaze:

Ingredients:
2 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. coconut milk

Instructions:
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar and coconut milk with a whisk until smooth.

Toasted Coconut:

Ingredients:
1/2 c. unsweetened flaked coconut

Instructions:
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread coconut evenly on the prepared baking sheet and bake at 350 for 4 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
2. Place coconut in a bowl to cool.
3. Place toasted coconut on a flat plate for decorating the donuts.

MANGIA!!!

Baked.

Happy Ash Wednesday my little pretties (in the gnarliest Wicked Witch of the West voice ever)!

How was your Fat Tuesday? Mine was great! I had a job interview and discovered what I already knew, so I guess I can thank myself for being so damn smart. Word of advice: never let anyone make you feel less valuable than you are. Because I sure don’t. College degree. Check. Tons of experience. Check. Nine dollars an hour…peace out! Their loss. Anyway, to blow off my steam I did some therapeutic shopping with my birthday money at Sur La Table. I die. Thank God for the clearance section. Now that I am done with my little rant for the week, I bet you are wondering who that special winner of my Chobani Giveaway is. The random winner is…





Sarah from The Pajama Chef! Yay Sarah! I am so excited for you to get to try these ah-mazing Chobani flavors!  Sarah, contact me at chuychuychels@yahoo.com with contact information.

Moving on to the good stuff, today I want to get totally baked with you. Yes, I said it, baked. Geez…no, not the “I’m so high as a kite I can see Alaska from my house” baked, and not the “I have 40 tan lines from falling asleep while laying in the sun on a beach” baked. No, this is the best kind of baked…twice baked, sweet potatoes, that is. Yes, people, I am talking about the kind of baked that we all know and love. 

Our favorite sweet potato


 gets turned into an even sweeter, browned and melted kind of baked symphony 


then taken out of the oven, cooled, and skinned of it’s beautiful filling, which gets whipped into a delicious coco-nutty concoction,


 thrown into two ramekins, and baked a second time until it reaches a caramel-colored perfection, with crispy outer edges, and a gooey inside.

That was an awesome run-on sentence.

Hey, it’s whatever.


Wham, Bam, Thank You!

I am off to get some ashes, but I would love to know HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR SWEET POTATOES?









Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Toasted Coconut:


Ingredients:
1 T. melted coconut oil
1 large sweet potato
1/4 c. coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen)
1/2 T. cinnamon
1 T. agave nectar (or honey)
1/2 t. sea salt
2 t. unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
melted coconut oil, as needed


Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the sweet potato in half, crosswise. 
2. Rub the sweet potato halves with the melted coconut oil.
3. Arrange the sweet potato halves so that they are standing up on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, turning them once during the cooking time.
4. When the sweet potatoes are soft (check by piercing with a fork), take them out of the oven and allow to cool completely.
5. Scrape the flesh of each sweet potato halve into a medium mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk and mash together using a potato masher.
6. Stir in the cinnamon, salt, and agave.
7. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into two small ramekins, each well oiled with coconut oil. 
8. Top each ramekin with 1 t. of the shredded coconut. Drizzle each with a bit of coconut oil.
9. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the coconut is slightly golden.


MANGIA!!!

Packing on the Pounds.

Let’s get fat together.

Not really. 

You know what I mean.

It’s Fat Tuesday, and you deserve it. 

You have worked really hard since Monday, and I bet you spent the entire weekend tossing multi-colored beads into the air while screaming “Laissez les bons temps rouler,” (Let the good times roll). You may have even eaten a Beignet…or two, to pre-game for Fat Tuesday. Or maybe you indulged in a big bowl of seafood gumbo. 

Whatever you do to celebrate, eat, mangia! Eat a lot of good food, because, soon you may have to give it up, for Lent that is. I know that some of you are giving up your Friday night, and maybe Monday-Sunday night, desserts that involve everything from a thick slice of molten chocolate cake to a gallon of Blue Bell Homemade Ice Cream. Please, just do me this last favor, and…


eat these. 
Indulge
 without really indulging at all.

You can thank me later.

Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe adapted from Health Bent):


For the Cupcakes:
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/3 c. coconut flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 c. melted coconut oil
1/2 c. coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen)
1 t. vanilla extract
2 brown, spotty bananas
3 T. granulated sugar


For the Chocolate Ganache:
1/3 c. dark chocolate chips
2 T. coconut milk


For the White Writing Glaze (just for kicks, and Optional):
1/4 c. melted coconut oil
1/4 c. or more of powdered sugar (you want the glaze to be a thick paste)


For the Toasted Coconut:
1/2 c. large flaked coconut


Instructions:


For the Cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F and place liners in a 12 c. muffin tin.
2. In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add vanilla, coconut milk, coconut oil, eggs, and yolks. Whisk everything together to combine.
3. Sift the coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking soda over the mixing bowl.
4. Portion out the batter into the muffin tins, about 2 tablespoons full for each cup.
5. Bake for approx. 20 minutes until the center of the cupcakes feel springy, not mushy.
6. Once the cupcakes are cool enough to handle, remove them from the muffin tin and let them chill in the refrigerator.


For the Ganache:
1. In a small bowl, combine the chocolate and coconut milk. Microwave for 30 seconds, until the chocolate starts to look melty. Whisk well to combine.
2. Dunk the heads of the cupcakes into the ganache, twirling them around to get them nicely coated. Eat a.s.a.p. or refrigerate until the ganache firms up.


For the White Writing Glaze:
1. Whisk together the ingredients and shove into a pastry bag or zip-top bag, snip the tip off the corner of the bag. This glaze gets pretty hard, so you need to work quickly, before it becomes impossible to squeeze off.


For the toasted Coconut:
1. Spread the coconut out evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
2. Bake at 350 F for 6 minutes or until slightly golden brown.


Note: You can choose to decorate the cupcakes withe the glaze or the toasted coconut. I did both!


Don’t forget to Enter my CHOBANI GIVEAWAY! You have until tonight at 12 midnight Central Time to Enter! Enter Now!


MANGIA!!!

Secret Recipe Club!

Happy Monday all!

I am happy to announce that the SRC is back, coming at you full-force! We took a little siesta over the holidays to figure out some things and re-group. I am thrilled beyond measures. Actually, I almost forgot about the big reveal today. So, on Saturday morning I started to panic! Seriously, what is all the anxiety about? Things in life should be simple. Cooking, baking, and sharing my recipes with all of you lovely people is what I was born to do! Right? Right? Yes. My passion is food and that is what I do. I have said this many times before, food is love. Not the kind of love that you can see when a couple walk hand-in-hand down the side walk, but the kind of love that you can feel. With every whisk of the eggs, roll of the meatball, and kneading of the bread, I am showing love. Love for you pretty people. That’s why I am super ecstatic that my secret blogger is Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls (what a great blog name, right?). Yes. 

Ann is an engineer/chef…I know, I know, pretty amazing right? She says she is not actually a chef, but seriously, I know a chef when I see one. You don’t have to go to culinary school people! Ann has a true passion for food and it shows right down to the beautiful and elegant details in her food photos. I am so jealous. Anyway, Ann is great and you should all go and visit her blog because she has some amazing “sumptuous” recipes, a lot of them super-healthy, A++! Go Ann! 

Back to how I was talking about things in life should be simple. I was so grateful that Ann had a recipe for her Mom’s Chocolatey Banana Bread because we all know that I am obsessed. I have made my banana bread 19053 times this week. You think I’m joking. However, I have yet to make it with chocolate chips. Perfect opportunity. Done. Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Bread it is! Like I said, things in life should be simple. Like waking up on a Saturday morning, skipping the gym, and instead, making this banana bread. You know I just had to go and make it gluten-free for all you celiacs out there. You can’t tell the difference. My dad takes my banana bread to work every week and his co-workers do back flips over it. Wait until they taste it with chocolate chips. 

Like I said, simplicity is key. 

So is a slice of warm, gooey, chocolatey, banana bread.
 You need this

now.

I just had to add this pic because it looks like Pac Man. 
Nom.Nom.

Choclate Chip Walnut Banana Bread (Gluten-Free):


Ingredients:
1 banana bread (omit the coconut, use 1 c. of chopped walnuts instead of 1/4 c.)
1 c. dark chocolate chips


Instructions:
1. Follow the recipe for banana bread.
2. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Have you entered my CHOBANI GIVEAWAY ? ENTER NOW!

MANGIA!!!

This little piggy.

Yes. This little piggy definitely went to the market. To buy a pork loin, that is. Yes people, it all went down this past week. There is pork on the blog! What the what? This is so out of character for me? Let me just say this. Best. Decision. Ever. I have discovered that I actually love me some pig. This pork-ster in particular was for my parents. So, I bought the leanest pork loin I could find, slathered it in my own herb-Dijon marinade, and o my word! 


If it wasn’t the tastiest thing ever! 

There is something about sliced pork that is just so…regal.

I could have eaten the marinade by itself. 

In fact, I just may use it on all my meat recipes from now on. Watch out world!
Herb-Dijon Roasted Pork Tenderloin:  

Ingredients:
1 whole pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 c. fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 T. honey
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Season the pork tenderloin liberally with salt and pepper.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the rosemary, thyme, honey, Dijon, and evoo. 
4. Place the pork tenderloin in a large plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the pork, making sure to completely cover the pork in the marinade.
5. Place the bag in the refrigerator and allow the pork to marinate for 1 hour or more.
6. Take the pork out of the bag, pour any marinade remaining in the bag over the pork. 
7. Place the pork on the prepared baking sheet and bake at 425 F for 12-15 minutes (or until no longer pink).
8. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.
9. Slice pork into thick slices. Serve.

MANGIA!!!