Tuesday, January 30, 2007


This is another favorite of ours. It is easy to make, tastes great, and quests think you have outdone yourself. I have stolen the recipe from the Scharffenberger website and it appears they have stolen it from David Lebovitz. I was reading online about this cake. David Lebovitz wanted to name the cake in his book, Room for Dessert, the Chocolate Idiot Cake but he couldn't convince the editor. He argued that, "Any idiot could make it and it takes an idiot to mess it up."

It looks like there are a number of good recipes from the Scharffenberger website but this has been our tried and true. Obviously, the recipe calls for Scharffenberger chocolate which is a bit on the expensive side. I think they carry it at Trader Joes (we have yet to get one in Boise despite hundreds to thousands of Boisians lobbying for one). As I recall it was like 14$ worth of chocolate to make a cake. I have tried it with other chocolate and you can tell the difference. So, if you are feeling rich and decadent this is the recipe for you. A little bit goes a long way as it is very, well....... rich and decadent.

Recipe by David Lebovitz (from Room For Dessert)

9.75 ounces Scharffen Berger 62% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate
7 ounces (two sticks minus 1 tablespoon) butter
5 eggs
1 cup sugar

Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan, and line the inside with a round of parchment paper.
Set a large bowl over a pan of simmering water to create a double boiler. Cut the butter and chocolate into small pieces and put them in the bowl to melt, whisking occasionally.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar in another bowl. Thoroughly whisk in the melted chocolate.
Pour the chocolate batter into the cake pan. Place it in a larger baking pan, and pour in warm water to reach halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the cake appears to have set and when you touch the center, your finger comes away clean.
Remove the cake from the water bath and cool completely before serving, plain or with gently whipped cream. This cake can be refrigerated for several days.
Serves 12 -14.

P.S. You can also make this for a topping or a bottoming. I find it is extra work and I just do a dusting of powdered sugar on the top which makes a nice contrast. I have done the Creme Anglaise and it is good.

Crème Anglaise
1/2 vanilla bean, split
6 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk
6 egg yolks
Pinch of salt

makes 2 1/2 cups

1. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the milk in a heavy saucepan. Add the vanilla bean pod and the sugar and heat until the milk is warm but not simmering.
2. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath--a bowl partially filled with ice, with another bowl nested inside it. Lightly whisk together the egg yolks in a separate bowl, then gradually add some of the warmed milk, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
3. Cook over low to moderate heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, always scraping the bottom, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
4. Immediately strain the cooked custard through a fine sieve into the bowl set in the ice. Stir the creme anglaise with a clean spatula to cool it down. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Crème anglaise will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Easy Hearty Corn Chowder

This is an easy way to make great corn chowder, pair this with hot crusty bread for a winter warm up. I invented this recipe and fail to measure most things I invent, so make adjustments as you feel necessary...

1 box Imagine Creamy Sweet Corn soup (I get it at Trader Joe's)
1-1 1/2 lb bacon (depending on how bacon-y you want the soup)
1/2 med yellow onion
6-8 small yellow potatoes
1/2 bag frozen sweet corn
2 Tbs butter
salt and pepper to taste

Cube potatoes and put in a glass dish, slice butter over the top and season with salt and pepper. Cover and microwave 7 minutes on high.

Cut bacon into small pieces and chop onion, saute in stock pot while potatoes are cooking. Add potatoes and corn, to bacon and onions, saute until corn thaws, onions are translucent and bacon is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add creamy corn soup and let simmer 15 minutes.

Serve with hot loaf of crusty bread.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hey Dana,
I think I'm in!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

These are pretty good peanut butter cookies and the kiss inside adds a little surprise!

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 block (1/2 cup) butter
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 or 3 dozen Hershey’s Kisses (or your chocolate of choice, e.g. Droste pastilles)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream sugars, butter, eggs, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl. Add dry mix in little by little to sugar-peanut butter mix. Shape batter into little balls, burying a kiss in each (the batter will be soft and greasy). Roll in white sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, or until done. Cool on sheet one minute before transferring to wire racks

Chicken Parmesan

This chicken is so good... it is from Weight Watchers. We used spaghetti sauce once instead of tomato sauce which added points, but gives it more flavor. We also use the chicken tenders from Costco which are much smaller than the whole breast. You also don't have to pound the tenders as they are already pretty thin. (for those of you who want to know the points it is 5 points for 1 4-oz. piece or 3 of the tenders)

1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly pounded (four 4-oz pieces)
2 large egg white(s), lightly beaten
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.
  • Dip chicken in egg whites, and turn to coat. Then mix bread crumbs with Italian seasoning and dip chicken in bread-crumb mixture; turn to coat thoroughly.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet; add chicken. Cook until lightly browned and no longer pink in center, about 4 minutes per side; place on paper towels to drain.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of sauce into prepared baking dish; place chicken in dish and pour remaining sauce evenly over chicken. Sprinkle with cheeses and bake until bubbly, about 25 minutes.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


In my first year of college I lived with my mothers college roommate and her husband. One of the things I loved about living there was Marion's Granola. I have since been making my own from her recipe. It is healthy (better then Capt. crunch) and tasty. My sister has requested I post it

Mix together in a large bowl

4 cups oatmeal
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup bran
1 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cups walnuts chopped
1 1/2 cups almonds chopped

Mix in

1 cup powdered milk
1 cup raisins
1 cup oil (vegetable not motor) my first batch didn't turn out quite right
1 cup honey

You can add other things if you like but this is what I usually have in our Granola. It is handy if you have a store with the ingredients in bulk. I shop Winco and they do have everything in bulk or just about.

Place on cookie sheet. Bake at 250 for one hour and then turn granola put back in and cook until brown. It seems to be another 45 mins and check it. My wife likes the chunks so I let it cool before I take it off the pan. Don't let it cool too long or it is hard to get it off. I put it in a large zip lock bag. this recipe makes 2 3/4 full bags.

This granola is of course good as morning or anytime cereal. We also like it in yogurt, on ice cream, or as a snack by the handful. Warning in our household this lasts for at most 1 week.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Lemon Bars

These are our favorite Lemon Bars ever! They are Susan Branch's from her Sweets to the Sweet cookbook...

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. unbleached flour
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. lemon extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter an 8" square pan. With an electric mixer, cream all ingredients till soft and smooth. (Or, in a food processor, till it forms a ball.) Press dough evenly into pan and bake 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the topping.

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. lemon extract
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 c. unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
powdered sugar

With electric mixer, beat eggs well and gradually add sugar, until mixture is thick. Gradually add remaining ingredients, except powdered sugar. Continue beating till crust comes out of the oven. Pour lemon mixture over hot crust, return it to oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees. Bake 30-35 minutes till top is golden. Remove from oven and run a sharp knife around the edge. Cool 20 minutes; cut into squares, remove from pan and sift over powdered sugar. This recipe is easily doubled--use juice of 2 lemons, but zest from only 1. Second baking time should be increased 3-5 minutes.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Kitchen Tips .....

The Tips are a good idea, too. The hard-boiled egg & grater works. I use a potato masher with my hard-boiled eggs & that works great, too.

Here's another: if you don't want to use flour for thickening in stews & soups, add 1 or 2 tbsp. of tapioca. Works good and it's never lumpy.

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

We're a small household here (2) and this makes only about 8 small pancakes. But they're quick & no leftovers. We have it alot.

(Picture & recipe from "Light & Tasty" magazine")

In a small bowl, whisk together:
1 egg
1/2 cup low-fat lemon yogurt
1/2 cup fat-fat milk
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp lemon juice

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; pour yogurt mixture into the well; stir until moistened. Gently fold in 1 cup blueberries.

Pour batter onto a hot griddle coated with nonstick cooking spray. Turn when bubbles form on top of pancake; cook until second side is golden brown. Serve with more blueberries & lemon yogurt to put on top.

Croissant Chicken Salad Sandwiches


2 C chicken (or turkey), chopped
½ C celery, chopped
½ C cashews, chopped
½ C mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dill weed
salt (to taste)
grated parmesan cheese (to taste)
garlic salt (to taste)

(Spread between croissant halves not too far ahead of time so that the sandwiches aren’t soggy.)

Friday, January 5, 2007

Kitchen Tidbits...

I thought we could also share kitchen tips here as well.
So, my first tip that I learned this week is from Marilyn D. We were making egg salad sandwiches and she grated the boiled eggs. Yes, she *grated* them! It worked like a dream and then it was all uniform and easy to work with...

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Thanks Andrea for this recipe! Delicious! I am still in the mood for holiday baking and this fills the spot...
Originally from Cottage Living Magazine

1 2/3 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t cloves
1/4 plus 1/8 t salt
1 1/3 c sugar
1/3 c canola oil
1 c plus 1 1/2 T canned unsweetened pumpkin
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour loaf pan. Sift together first 5 ingredients; stir in salt. Combine sugar, oil, pumpkin in a large bowl; beat at medium speed until smooth. Add egg, beating until well blended. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating at low speed until blended. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour 5 minutes or until loaf is golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan.