31 July 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

I know, that last thing you guys want to hear about in the middle of bathing suit season is an indulgent dessert.  But this is DELICIOUS.  Its chocolate and peanut butter.  Its crunchy and creamy.  How could that go wrong?!?  And because this is so rich, you don't need to eat much, just a few bites will do.

This is a 3-layer dessert bar.  It has a crunchy caramel-y crust, topped with a creamy chocolate peanut butter layer.  Then that is topped with a final layer of chocolate.  YUM!

17 July 2011

Summertime Treats

With high temperatures topping out over 90 every day, I've been in the mood for frozen goodies.  And it doesn't help that every recipe resource I look at has tons of recipes for popsicles and ice creams and frozen yogurts (oh my!).  But I don't have an ice cream maker or popsicle molds.  So I've been wondering if I could take any recipe for a frozen treat (popsicle, frozen yogurt, ice cream) and make it in a different format, as a popsicle or granita.  It would give me a lot more flexibility

So I took 2 recipes, one for a popsicle and one for frozen yogurt, and made granitas out of them.  I would say that, overall, the experiment was a success.  One recipe was chunky, and it didn't do well as a granita (which is sorta what I expected), but it froze into a nice texture being stirred occasionally.  The other worked out very well as a granita.  Both would work great as popsicles.

What I learned from all of this is that I could take any recipe for a frozen treat and make in a format other than what was suggested in the recipe.

Grilled Pizza, 2 Ways

Over the fourth of July weekend, Jonathan and I went to visit his family in Asheville.  It was an awesome weekend, I love visiting Asheville!  One of the evenings we were there, Jonathan and I made grilled pizzas for everyone.  I think grilled pizza is one of the most fun dinners that I know how to cook.  Once all the ingredients are assembled, its really quick to make.  The crust gets nice and crispy, almost like a flatbread.  And the grill adds a phenomenal smoky flavor to the pie.  I also like that it is a really freeform dish, it looks super rustic.

I picked up a growler of Fullsteam Summer Basil Farmhouse Ale to go with the pizza.  Its a really good summery beer with just a hint of basil flavor.  The basil gives it a good little zing.  Ever since I tasted this beer last year, I've been wanting to drink it with grilled pizza.

Black Bean Burgers

A couple days ago, I decided to cook vegetarian.  I do this a few times a week, but it usually isn't very interesting.  This time, however, I tried my hand at black bean burgers.  I've made them several times before, but they are always really finicky.  Too much or too little moisture, and the patties won't stay together when you cook them.  Too little binding and the patties will fall apart, too much and they won't really be black bean-y.  And the patties are incredibly delicate.  You have to get a good sear in order to flip them in one piece, but you don't want to burn them.

13 July 2011

Roast Beet Salad

A couple weeks ago, I got beets in my CSA basket.  I've always thought beets were really pretty - they have super vibrant colors (red, yellow, orange, pink) and the insides have an almost swirly pattern when you cut them open.  But I've only even eaten beets once, let alone cooked them.  The one time I've eaten beets, they were served with warm goat cheese, candied walnuts, and honey.  

I wasn't a huge fan of the beets in that dish (they were boiled), but I know that roasting deepens the flavor and caramelizes the sugar in a lot of semi-sweet vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, etc).  So I decided to roast my beets to see if I liked them a little better.  I've heard of roast beet salads from several cool chefs, so I figure what better to do with my roast beets?  And, I ended up really liking this.  Enough to make it again sometime for sure.

Tex-Mex Tabbouleh

Jonathan has been doing SO well with eating well this summer, I try to let him pick out the recipes when we cook together.  This one, in particular, was a winner.  When we made it, we didn't have a ripe avocado, so we just made it without.  And for anyone who reads this regularly or eats with me regularly, you know that this is a flavor combination that I use ALL THE TIME.

While bulgur wheat is traditional in tabbouleh, I substituted quinoa in this recipe because (a) quinoa makes it a heartier, gluten-free salad, with a less commonly used grain, and (b) my grocery store had quinoa and no bulgur wheat.  OK, so the real reason I made this substitution is that there wasn't any at my grocery store.  But let's pretend it was for all those other cool reasons.

12 July 2011

Sorry for the Break, Again

I apologize for the month-long break from posting.  I don't really have a good excuse this time... I've just been super busy.  But I am finally back in Newport News for more than 4 days, so I am going to try to catch up on the posts over the next week.  But I have some pretty tasty recipes lined up for you!