31 January 2012

The Healing Waters: Super Bowl Party: 3 Healthy Chips, 5 Healthy Dips

Deutsch: Tortilla-Chips, salsa, und guacamole ...

The Healing Waters: Super Bowl Party: 3 Healthy Chips, 5 Healthy Dips: From Denny: These unusual chips and dips are packed with flavor and spice sensations, both familiar and exotic that will make you the hit of the party. The food director of Prevention Magazine, Lori Powell, created some winners here.

We love creative uses of spices at our house. What is really a winner is that munching all night long on these combinations and a glass of wine or beer will keep you under 1,000 calories - and that's if you stuff yourself silly. Considering most hamburgers come in at 1,200 calories at most restaurants, well, this is good news.
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Celebrate Valentines Day With Fiery Chocolate Fondue

From Denny:  Chocolate fondue is the favorite of Valentine's Day menus.  This recipe is extra special with the addition of some Tabasco hot sauce to kick it up a notch - the romance, that is.  :)

It's also a ridiculously easy recipe, with only a few ingredients, sure to be a crowd pleaser at a party - or just for two.

30 January 2012

Cookies: Unusual Tabasco Chocolate Cherry

The Bing cherry owes its development to the Ch...
Image via Wikipedia

From Denny:  Enjoy a little pepper heat with your chocolate?  Then these unusual cookies from the Tabasco hot sauce company are for you.

Chocolate and cherries are another winning combination enjoyed during the Valentine's Day celebration season.  Tabasco just decided to kick it up a notch.

This recipe calls for making huge cookies that are shaped into football ovals and then decorated with icing to resemble the pigskin laces.  Instead you can shape them into hearts, piping icing with a heart inside a heart for decoration.

28 January 2012

Comfort Food From Louisiana: Mardi Gras: New Orleans Zulu King Cake

king cake 1

Comfort Food From Louisiana: Mardi Gras: New Orleans Zulu King Cake: From Denny: When you experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans one of the first things you want to enjoy again is the famous King Cake.

Here in Baton Rouge our grocery stores and local bakeries offer literally dozens of varieties from chocolate eclair to cream cheese and blueberry. Those are two of my favorites. :)

The Zulu King Cake has coconut and chocolate chips. Cinnamon, sugar and cream cheese is another popular version.
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27 January 2012

National Chocolate Cake Day Today! 2 Recipes

From Denny:  Like anyone had to inform the chocolate hounds that today is a special day. We all know we sure don't pay much attention to any other holiday - excepting Valentine's Day - 'cause only chocolate holidays rule. :)

What are the goals of National Chocolate Cake Day?  The Obvious:  bake and decorate a wonderful chocolate cake and then enjoy it with a few friends! Now that's what I call a plum assignment.

First off, everyone should have at least one basic good Simple Chocolate Sheet Cake in their bag of magic baking tricks.  This will make you a big hit at family or sports gatherings - read that at tailgating too.

People can cut the small or large size they desire.  Of course, the cake can end up looking like a bit of a messy disaster that way so usually most cooks choose to pre-cut the pieces.  I usually cut mine into long fingers like 1-inch x 3-inches.  The dieters (and the diabetics who are supposed to behave but can't) can slice that in half - and the Hungry Jacks can take two.  Everyone is happy!

Then try the Mexican Chocolate Fudge Pecan Cake where cinnamon is added to a basic chocolate and buttermilk cake.  Chocolate and cinnamon are natural pairings and the result is wonderful.

Chef Recipe: Chocolate Tart with Caramel and Cream

Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel and Spiced Chantilly Cream

From Denny:  Everyone who enjoys a chocolate tart every time they can, raise their hands.  Yeah, I thought so - sisters of the soul.  I sure order it from the La Madeleine restaurant or other local bakery whenever it shows up in the display case.  It's like a little piece of heaven in one tiny spot - a rich little chocolate pudding, a dollop of cream and some pie crust, simply divine.

This is a New York chef recipe from the famous restaurant Aureole.  Chef Christopher Lee uses Sicilian sea salt to enhance the sweet creamy richness of the indulgent chocolate dessert.

He also includes the unlikely addition of the chocolate malt Ovaltine to the bittersweet baking chocolate.

26 January 2012

Cookies: Spiced Chocolate Macaroons

Chop Chocolate So It Will Melt Quickly 
From Denny:  Do you like spice cookies but crave the addition of chocolate?  This cinnamon and chocolate pairing also happens to improve as the cookie ages.  What could be better than that? A stale cookie that tastes great! :)  

The cookie also contains the background dark note from a hint of cloves like I like to use in my morning stovetop cooked oatmeal.  There is nothing like the pairing of cinnamon and cloves to add richness to a dish whether sweet or savory.

The nut used in this cookie is slivered almonds.

Comfort Food From Louisiana: Tailgating Pancakes: Beer and Bacon Man Cakes

Beer and Bacon Mancakes

Comfort Food From Louisiana: Tailgating Pancakes: Beer and Bacon Man Cakes: From Denny: More ways to use beer and bacon in delicious recipes, two favorites men love. OK, if it uses dark beer even I'm intrigued. After all, many dark beers - like Boston's own Samuel Adams Cream Stout - have chocolate in the brew.

A favorite recipe from the Betty Crocker site is this one that includes bacon that is baked and candied with brown sugar. Then you crumble the bacon into the Bisquick mix, along with the eggs and beer. The result produces a large and fluffy pancake.

Talk about a cool recipe to use for tailgating. Can you imagine the smell of the bacon and brown sugar wafting through the RV parking lot outside of the stadium? You will have new best friends in no time! :)

25 January 2012

Unusual 2 Tasty: Chocolate Pudding In The Raw

RAWvolution: Gourmet Living Cuisine

Unusual 2 Tasty: Chocolate Pudding In The Raw: From Denny: There are devoted fans of the raw food diet. While not everyone can partake of this lifestyle there are many recipes anyone can enjoy. This Raw Chocolate Pudding is one of them - and so easy and quick to make!

Who doesn't love the taste pairing of chocolate and coconut? An added bonus is that in place of refined sugar the recipe uses agave nectar which is far superior on the glucose meter for diabetes and others sensitive to sugar.

The raw food diet, and this very simple and quick version of chocolate pudding, may seem unusual but it sure is tasty!
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Cookies: Chocolate Crackled

Photo by Denny Lyon

From Denny:  These chocolate chunk cookies are delightfully decadent as they also include ancho chile pepper that provides some smokey heat.  Cinnamon and extra vanilla extract balance the chile heat and intense semi-sweet chocolate.

A variation of this cookie is provided that enjoys using roasted ginger spice in place of the cinnamon.

Check out the interesting variations of your favorite chocolate chunk cookie!

24 January 2012

Comfort Food From Louisiana: Mardi Gras: Muffuletta Sandwich

Muffuletta Sandwich

Comfort Food From Louisiana: Mardi Gras: Muffuletta Sandwich: From Denny: Do you love the New Orleans tradition of muffuletta sandwiches? They are popular throughout Louisiana, especially at carnival time. During the parades people are always looking for snacks that are easy to grab off a tray and run back into the crowd to catch those all important beads. :)

This recipe is for an appetizer version where you don't have to worry so much about the high calories, salt and preservatives since it is a smaller portion.

There is even a recipe to show you how to make your own olive salad which can be used for more than just this sandwich, like a dressing on a garden salad or as a spread on French bread. It was originally developed by the Sicilian immigrants that settled in New Orleans about 100 years ago.
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Cookies: Triple Chocolate Pistachio Mint

Various types of chocolate.
Image via Wikipedia

From Denny:  These rich cookies are perfect for the holidays from Thanksgiving to Christmas to Valentine's Day to Mardi Gras.  Any celebration will do when it comes to chocolate!  

Chocolate and peppermint are a great pairing, each complementing the other.  What I like about this chocolate recipe is it uses bittersweet chocolate and white chocolate too.  The contrast of the very dark and the light white is awesome, balanced by the roasted pistachio nuts.  Can it get any better?

23 January 2012

Comfort Food From Louisiana: Mardi Gras: Winner Meatloaf and 3 Sauces

Mardi Gras 2008

Comfort Food From Louisiana: Mardi Gras: Winner Meatloaf and 3 Sauces: From Denny: Looking for a healthier recipe for the Mardi Gras season? While the kids are busy jumping off and on to the porch to grab fistfuls of chips and quick sandwiches and then run back to the parades, the adults might enjoy taking a plate of this crowd pleaser.

This recipe is so easy to make it's kid friendly. The versatility of this meatloaf is that it can be topped with something as simple as a warmed can of cream of mushroom soup or any of the three sauce recipes that follow.

One is a tomato sauce with brown sugar and mustard. Another is a sweet and sour taste. The final one is an Asian flavor using hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger and ketchup.
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Cookies: Double Chocolate Chunk Mint

Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cookies

From Denny:  Looking for a chocolate cookie with a deep, rich flavor?  This recipe combines cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate.

Chunks of tasty walnuts are perfect with intense chocolate.  And remember that peppermint extract you bought for the Christmas holidays and haven't managed to use up yet?  This is a winner of a recipe to make good use of it.  Yeah, had some peppermint extract languishing in the back of my pantry too.  I'm just saying... :)

This recipe reminded me of those delicious Hershey's mint miniatures that are almost completely disappeared from the holiday season.  And I was craving a chocolate-mint combination and then I happened upon this little gem of a recipe.  Enjoy!

22 January 2012

Cookies: Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip

Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Denny:  This is basically your standard chocolate chip recipe but with the difference of lots of extra vanilla extract to punch up the intensity.  They should probably rename these cookies to Intense Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cookies.

This recipe is from McCormick, the company we usually think of for spices.  Turns out they have quite an extensive recipe collection!

These cookies use light brown sugar along with white sugar.  We like dark brown sugar at our house and reduce the white sugar by half.  But hey, we are living in Louisiana where we like the molasses taste of dark brown sugar.

We bake and cook a lot with the cane syrup produced here.  Steen's cane syrup is a lot like black strap molasses in that it is an intense taste but much sweeter, just perfect for baking or making an awesome barbecue sauce.  I find it a bit too strong to pour onto pancakes.  Of course, my Cajun husband thinks it's awesome on pancakes and waffles.  :)

18 January 2012

Easy Triple Layer Mud Pie

Hummingbird Bakery Mississippi Mud Pie
Another delectable version of mud pie from Hummingbird Bakery and minniephoto @ flickr

From Denny:  This is an easy recipe for those chocolate lovers who are in a hurry to whip up a dessert and then forget about it for a few hours while it chills in the fridge.

Simple pies like this are also perfect for tailgating to those special sports events.

All you need for this simple dessert is part of a can of sweetened condensed milk, 3 squares of semi-sweet chocolate, a prepared chocolate cookie crumb pie crust, a chocolate instant pudding mix, some two percent milk, 1/2 cup chopped nuts and a small tub of frozen whipped topping of your choice.

What could be easier than that?  Hmmm... buying it already made at the grocery store?  :)  But this pie will taste so much better since you made it!

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