Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ice Cream Mud Pie

Coffee Ice Cream Mud Pie


My birthday is tomorrow, and being the food pusher control freak that I am, I am again making my own birthday "cake." This year, though, it's not an actual cake (see My Chocolate Birthday Cake), but instead it's a birthday pie. An ice cream pie. Mud pie. With coffee ice cream.
My first ice cream pie experiences were from Baskin Robbins. My dad always liked to have the Jamoca Almond Fudge ice cream pie from Baskin Robbins for his birthday. I think we would also get mint chocolate chip flavor sometimes. Those were special pies. Then in college, we would go to the Chart House in Long Beach, CA for their mud pie. Now THAT's dessert awesomeness in my book. They put a gallon of coffee ice cream inside a 9-inch Oreo cookie crust. Each slice is a tower of ice cream, Oreo crust, fudge topping, whipped cream and salted almonds. Oh my gosh. Back in the '80s it they charged $7 a slice. I have no idea what they're charging these days, as I don't live near a Chart House and I don't even think the one in Long Beach exists any longer. There are other locations, but really, it's easy enough to make, and I'm making it for my birthday this year.
I'm hoping that our family members who come to our celebration this evening don't want the coffee version. I've made a cookies 'n cream version to avoid wasting my coffee mud pie on slacker kids who will want a piece but not eat it when they taste the coffee. Yes, I am a planner. And a judger. It's my birthday. I can plan and judge if I want to.
The "recipe" for this pie is so simple, it almost seems like a "duh" recipe, but I did discover how a Kitchen Aid mixer makes it a lot better. So, read on, and know you can do this with almost any ice cream, unless it has ribbons of sauce in it. The Kitchen Aid method will mess that up. Enough. On to the recipe.
(P.S. It was my own kid who was the slacker after all. He said he wanted the coffee ice cream mud pie and only ate a couple of bites, leaving the rest to melt into a sad puddle. I'd have eaten his, but I'd already eaten the piece you see above BEFORE dinner, and then another AFTER dinner. Yeah. I felt sick for the next 18 hours or so.)

Coffee Ice Cream Mud Pie

Ingredients:
  • 24 Oreo cookies, creme filling scraped out
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (preferably salted butter)
  • 2 28oz. conatiners of Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream (or half gallon of other ice cream) 
  • hot fudge sauce (recipe below)
  • sweetened whipped cream
  • chopped salted almonds
Instructions:
Pulverize the Oreo cookie wafers in a large zip top bag or in a food processor. Add melted butter to bag or food processor and completely mix the cookie crumbs with the butter.
Press cookie/butter mixture into a 9-inch pie pan--bottom and sides. Press in pretty firmly so it will hold up to cutting later. Set crust aside.
Soften the ice cream by letting it set on the counter for about 20 minutes (maybe longer depending on how hard it is when you start). When ice cream is soft enough to scoop out easily, scoop it in large chunks into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until ice cream is smooth (about 1 minute).
Spoon/pour ice cream into prepared crust and carefully spread it with a silicone spatula into the pie crust, taking care not to pull away the crust as you spread. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze at least 8 hours.
Once the pie is frozen, it's ready to cut and serve with room temperature fudge sauce, whipped cream and nuts.
Makes 8 servings.

Hot Fudge Sauce
    --adapted from Epicurious.com

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 24 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions:
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt and half of the chocolate to a boil. Stir until chocolate is melted. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Add butter, vanilla, and remaining chocolate and stir until smooth. Cool sauce to warm before serving.





Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chicken Tinga


Chicken Tinga
Okay, I tend to talk about my teaching job quite a bit here, but really, I teach English as a second language to elementary age kids, and part of language development is working on oral language skills. Food is a topic applicable to ALL languages and cultures, so we end up talking about food quite a bit. Today I'd given my students a writing prompt that required them to write about a food they would like to learn how to cook, what they know about it, and why they want to learn how to cook it. We're still in the stage of prompt writing where I provide a lot of guidance, so there was more talking happening than writing today. 
Fourth grade Kelsi said she was going to write about "tinga." 
"What? Tica?" 
"No, tinga."
"Dinga?" 
Laughs all around from my latino students. (I actually do speak Spanish, by the way. I just don't listen very well.)
"T-i-n-g-a," says Christian.
"Oh, let me get my iPad to look that up." That look-up led me to this recipe from Honest Cooking. I've never seen, heard of, nor eaten tinga, but I decided then and there to make it for dinner tonight. I think Kelsi will be expecting a report in the morning. Hopefully I'll have a blog post to show her.
Once I got home and really read the recipe, I thought that the original four onions called for seemed excessive. I wasn't sure what size onions the recipe author was talking about, so I changed it to what you see below. You can click on the link for the original recipe. I also added some spices because so many other recipes called for oregano, marjoram, and thyme. Well, of course I don't have marjoram, so I omitted that. What you see pictured and written below is what I came up with in the end.
Post Dinner Comments:
Whoa! This was a SPICY dish! I've never really used chipotle peppers in my cooking before, and holy smokes, this recipe calls for a 7 oz. can of them! I mean, I know that chipotles are dried jalepeno peppers, but for some reason I didn't think about their heat. I really should have clued in when I saw that other recipes only called for two tablespoons of the chipotle adobo sauce. Next time I'll be putting in much, much less of that stuff. My husband thought it was awesome. I ate my one chicken tinga, but that's all I could take. The flavor was delicious, just super spicy. 
I don't know if it was my worked-over taste buds, but along with the heat, I thought this dish tasted sweet. I mean, I tried to eat a plain fried tortilla to neutralize the heat in my mouth, but it tasted really, really sweet. So sweet that I looked at the ingredients on the package to see if this new brand put sugar in their corn tortillas. Nope. My taste buds are just messed up for the moment. All that to say, tasty meal; very spicy. Good Mexican food for sure. 

Chicken Tinga
     --adapted from Honest Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 large tomato, quartered

  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 medium onion, quartered

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
 (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 7 ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
 (use less to make it more mild)
  • 4 teaspoons of salt, more or less to taste

  • 2 pounds skinless/boneless chicken breast

  • 6 cups of water

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • more oil for frying
  • Toppings
 (all optional)
  • Refried beans
  • Iceberg lettuce, finely sliced 
  • Avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced

  • Mexican crema or sour cream

  • Queso fresco or Cotija, crumbled

  • Salsa of your choice 
Instructions
1. In a medium sized pot: place chicken, 6 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 garlic clove, and 2 quarters of an onion. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes on medium to high heat. Reserve the stock. Allow the chicken to cool and then shred it.
2. In a blender add the remainder of the quartered onion and 1 tomato, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 chopped garlic clove, and enough chicken broth to fill the blender half way and blend until smooth.
3. Heat the oil in a large and deep pan over medium heat. Once it is hot but not smoking, stir in the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Then add chopped tomato, oregano, and thyme, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add the cooked shredded chicken, the chipotle sauce from the blender and more chicken broth if it is too dry. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.
4. In heavy skillet heat one-quarter inch oil. Fry tortillas, one at a time, in hot oil for 20 to 40 seconds on each side or till crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in foil in 250 degrees oven. Store bought tostadas can also be used.
5. To assemble, place a warm tostada on a serving plate and spread with some refried beans, if desired; spoon on chicken tinga. Add lettuce, avocado, crema/sour cream, queso fresco and salsa (any or all, if desired).

Serves: 10



Monday, September 24, 2012

Thinking About Adding Ads: A Look Back and A Look Ahead

Snazzy me in the 70's. No frills Kelly.
Chile Colorado Burrito--Thanks for the attention, Pinterest.
English Toffee. We all need to eat more of this.
Caramel Pecan Turtles
Cheesecake Factory White Chicken Chili. A new favorite.
Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting. One of my most searched recipes.
Hi, there! Yes, this post has more than just random pictures of food from this blog and a random photo of me as a kid. For those of you who are subscribers and get my posts via email, this is a note to you. I need your opinions, feelings, and thoughts as I am seriously considering "monetizing" on my blog, which means including ad space so I can make some money at this hobby. I've never been one to aggressively pursue money, and as I've mentioned here on my "About" page, every time someone tells me I should "open a bakery" or "write a cookbook," or "sell that stuff," I really cringe, because that's not what I'm about. The reason I started this blog, and the reason I love doing it, is because I like to share food with people, and I like to be helpful. I feel like that's what I get to do here. I've always thought I'd be selling out or messing with the purity of my blog by trying to make money from it.

I do live in modern America, though, and I have bills to pay, and ingredients cost money. I buy a LOT of Dove chocolate. I mean, obscene amounts. You'll see a lot on this blog. At any rate, thanks to Pinterest, and the photo of my Chile Colorado Burrito (that Foodgawker rejected, by the way), my stats are looking pretty healthy. When I started this thing two years ago, I'd do a dance if I got 100 page views in one day. I distinctly remember telling my principal at the school where I teach that I had over 10,000 total page views on my food blog. Lately I've been averaging about 10,000 page views a day. That's a lot. I mean, I don't expect to make millions by putting ads on here, but after reading up on it, I think I can make almost $300 a month.

So, because you are the people who read my blog on a somewhat regular basis, I am asking you what you think. Will you think less of Food Pusher if I allow Google AdSense to put up ads? Will you let me know if it's totally obnoxious or even mildly irritating? Will you let me know if Google AdSense steps out of line and posts an inappropriate ad on my blog? I'd really appreciate your input.

Oh, and the reason I posted the random photos with the links in the captions is because I have to have a picture for each post. I've selected some of my favorite photos and/or favorite things to eat. I wanted you to be able to see something attractive in this post.

Thanks for your time and your opinions should you decide to share them. If I hear nothing, I'll assume it doesn't really matter if I put ads on here or not. So speak now, or forever hold your peace.

Email me or comment below. I look forward to hearing from you all.

Kelly


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cocoa Whipped Cream Cupcakes II


Cocoa Whipped Cream Cupcake II

I have a couple of versions of this recipe on this blog (see Cocoa Whipped Cream Cupcakes and Chocolate Times Three Cupcakes), because every time I make it, I change it up. So, then I have to take new pictures and post the complete recipe for the variation. It keeps me off the streets. 
I felt like making these cupcakes last night, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I just wanted to relax with my kids, and so I did. I couldn't get it out of my head, though, and because I was home anyway today because my sister-in-law came over to hang out, I decided to just go ahead and make these. I've made them enough that they actually don't take very long. And they ARE one of my favorites. Maybe even my very favorite. I might have to make them again next weekend for my birthday.
The cake itself is so tender, so soft, that it practically melts even before it gets to your mouth, and the cocoa whipped cream is just like fluffy chocolate ice cream, really. Light, creamy, and just lovely to eat. If you don't have cake flour, go to the store and get some. It makes a difference.
That's all I have to say. I think I'm going to go eat another one of these now.

Cocoa Whipped Cream Cupcakes

Cake (adapted from Ghirardelli.com) :
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa (or use 1/2 cup ground cocoa powder and increase the total amount of sugar below to 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Cake Enhancer (optional)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened (10 2/3 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cocoa Whipped Cream (recipe below)
Cake Instructions
Preheat oven to 350ºF.  
Line 2 twelve-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.  Set aside.
Into a mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, sift flour with ground chocolate, cake enhancer, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. 
Add butter and 3/4 cup buttermilk. Beat on low speed to combine ingredients. Scrape sides of bowl and then beat on low-medium speed for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup buttermilk, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat additional 2 minutes.  
Scoop/pour batter into a gallon-sized zip-top bag and cut about 1/2-inch off one corner.  Pipe batter into cups, 3/4 full.  Bake at 350ºF for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with only a couple of cling-ons. 
Cool in pan 5-10 minutes and then carefully remove cupcakes to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Pipe cocoa whipped cream onto each cupcake and top with sprinkles, if desired.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Cocoa Whipped Cream
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
In a small mixer bowl, mix cocoa and sugar.  Stir in hot water until a smooth paste forms.  Add cream.  Beat just until firm peaks form.  Do not over beat.
(From Nestle Cocoa box)

Makes 24 cupcakes

This cupcake is fabulously light.

Leftover Steak Tacos

Leftover Steak Tacos 

This "recipe" has an odd title that might turn you off, but really, it's one of my mom's many ways to use leftovers. If we happened to have leftover steak, Mom would slice it up thin, cook it in taco seasoning, fry up some taco shells and presto! A yummy dinner. 
Now, like several other of the recipes you'll find here on this blog, these tacos involve frying. My mom fried a LOT when I was growing up. I mean, I grew up (in Southern California, mind you) thinking that all burritos were fried in oil and that all quesadillas (called "cheese burritos" by my mom) were fried in butter. No, Mom was not afraid of frying. She's eased up a little on that action, but some of my favorite recipes from her do involve frying. At least I use canola oil now days rather than solid Crisco. Gosh, my mom is a good cook. 
So, you can use this taco meat for burritos, soft tacos, or store-bought hard shell tacos, but below is the recipe for how I like them best. The way mom used to make them.

Leftover Steak Tacos

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 pounds leftover steak (tonight it was leftover tri-tip)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 7-12 corn tortillas
  • canola oil
  • taco toppings like cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.
Instructions:
If your steak has remaining seasonings from the first round meal, rinse it off in cold water. Slice steak very thin across the grain and cut into 1/4 inch strips. Place in a shallow pan, add water and taco seasoning according to package instructions (I actually use less seasoning per pound because the meat is already seasoned a little bit and because I just like a little less seasoning). Bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
While meat simmers, bring about a half inch to an inch of canola oil up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit in a pan you're not afraid to fry in. Line a plate with paper towels to drain shells once fried. With tongs, place a tortilla in the oil. Immediately flip the tortilla with the tongs and then fold in half. If space allows, you can quickly do this with another tortilla. Fry on each side about 45-60 seconds, or until edges start to curl a little. Fry less for softer shells, longer for more crisp shells. (Be aware, though, that if you make them too crisp, they'll just break when you put the meat in.) Remove shells to prepared plate. I also like to fold a paper napkin and push it into the shell to absorb any oil from the interior. This is optional. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Make more shells if you have more meat.
Fill each taco with about a quarter cup of the meat. Top with desired toppings and enjoy!
Makes 7-12 tacos.


Shells fried and stuffed with napkins to drain
Leftover Steak Taco meat



Six Minute Egg



Six Minute Egg on Ciabatta Pizza Crust
My mom used to serve us soft boiled eggs. She'd boil them, tap off the narrower end with a knife, sprinkle on a lot of salt, and I'd dig in with a small spoon. I loved the runny yellow of the egg with just a little bit of the firm white. Mom even had these cute little egg cups that would hold my soft boiled egg for me. Good stuff.
So, when I saw a picture of this egg on Pinterest (from The Village Cook), I had to try it. Fortunately, a friend saw my pin and tried it before I did and told me six minutes was better than the four minutes in the original recipe. I think maybe four minutes is good if you start with room temperature eggs, but for the cold eggs I use, six minutes is perfect: The white is thoroughly cooked and so is a layer of the yolk, about 3 millimeters, and the rest of the yolk is warm, drippy, and yummy. 
The first pics I took of this I used whole wheat toast, but my lighting was awful, and whole wheat toast isn't very interesting. So, the next day, I used the ciabatta pizza crust that I accidentally over-baked the night before. Honestly, it was a little rubbery the following day, but I think it looks good with the egg on it.
Guy Fieri would hate this, but if you're an egg lover, you have to try it.

Six Minute Egg
     --adapted from The Village Cook


Ingredients:
  • water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1-2 eggs 
  • more water
  • ice
Instructions:
Bring water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add vinegar. Carefully place egg/s into boiling water and set timer for 6 minutes. Place cold water and ice in a bowl that will hold the egg/s you're cooking. When timer goes off, remove egg/s with a slotted spoon and place in ice water until they're cool enough to handle. Carefully peel the shell from the egg and place on toast, hash browns, or simply a plate. Cut into it and enjoy.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Light Wheat Rolls


Light Wheat Rolls



I can't have made these rolls in over two years. I keep thinking about making them because they are so, so good, but as with most yeast rolls, I am usually the one who ends up eating most of them because my husband likes sweets and my one son is super picky (and shouldn't be eating much wheat/gluten anyway). These freeze really well, so that's a good reason to make them too. So I'm making them now. Mostly to blog about them, but also to take to a family at church who just had a new baby. Mom is still eating for two, you know.
The title is really true: these are surprisingly light wheat rolls. With all the butter, they taste fantastic--the butter brushed on top before and after baking really give these an amazing crust. They're crisp, chewy, salty and buttery on the outside, soft and tender on the inside. The spiral is what makes them super special to me, so don't skip that step. I noticed that some people skipped it on Allrecipes.com where I got the recipe, but they just don't look as good.
These are not rolls that you can make up and let rise overnight in the refrigerator, by the way. I tried that with icky results. If you want to make them ahead of time. Bake them, cool, and then freeze. They warm up in the oven nicely after having been frozen. I can't give exact instructions on reheating, as I think I do it differently every time. Just keep your oven between 300 & 350 degrees and check on them every 10 minutes or so.


Light Wheat Rolls
    --Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
Instructions:
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Mix sugar, salt, 1/4 cup melted butter, egg, and whole wheat flour into yeast mixture. Stir in all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough, cover, and let rise in warm place until doubled again, about 30 minutes.
Butter 2 dozen muffin cups. Punch down dough, and divide into two equal portions. Roll each into a 6x14 inch rectangle, and cut rectangle into twelve 7x1 inch strips. Roll strips up into spirals, and place into muffin cups. Brush tops with melted butter. Let rise uncovered in a warm place 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and brush again with melted butter.

Makes 24 rolls
I think these look so cute all rolled up and ready to rise.


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