Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Toasted Almond Truffles

1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 (11.5 ounce) package Milk Chocolate Morsels
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sliced almonds, finely chopped, toasted

Combine evaporated milk and sugar in small, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in morsels. Stir vigorously until mixture is smooth. Stir in almond extract.

Refrigerate for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in nuts. Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve.

Olive Garden Chicken & Sausage Mixed Grill

2 tsp red pepper oil
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
3 bay leaves, broken into pieces
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts (4 oz each)
1 lb Italian sausage links, mild
1 pt cherry tomatoes
1 bag bamboo skewers
3 lemons, cut in half
Rosemary sprigs (2)

Mix olive oil, pepper oil, rosemary, lemon juice, salt, bay leaves and pressed garlic in a large baking dish.

Cut each piece of chicken in half length-wise. Thread each chicken piece onto a skewer; add a cherry tomato to the end of each skewer. Place chicken skewers in the marinade and marinate for at least 3 hours.

Bake sausage at 350°F for 20 minutes. Cut each link into three pieces and set aside.

Grill chicken until juices run clear and pieces are completely cooked.

Thread sausage pieces on skewer. Grill until sizzling and juices are running.

Place cooked skewers on large platter. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, lemon halves and any remaining cherry tomatoes.

Julienne's Double-Chocolate Espresso Walnut Cookies

1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3/4 cup (3 ounces) unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups fine-quality bittersweet (56% to 60% cacao) chips or 1/4-inch chunks
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (about 8 ounces)

Position the oven racks in the center and upper third of the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 4 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the semi-sweet chocolate and butter over medium-low heat until smooth, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the eggs, sugar, espresso powder and vanilla until blended and slightly foamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate mixture, then the flour mixture. Stir in the bittersweet chocolate and walnuts.

Using about 3 tablespoons of dough for each cookie, spoon the dough onto two of the prepared baking sheets, forming about 6 cookies per sheet. Bake until the cookies are cracked on top and moist in the center, about 14 minutes (do not over bake so as to keep the center of the cookies moist and fudgy). Transfer the baking sheets to a rack and cool the cookies completely before removing. Remove the cookies gently using a metal spatula.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Green Goodness Smoothie

1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup apple, chopped
1 banana, peeled and chopped
1 cup low-fat milk
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 tablespoon spirulina

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend for approximately one minute or until smooth.

Serves 1

El Torito's Deep-Fried Ice Cream

20 ounces chocolate chip ice cream
2 cups 4-grain flake cereal, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 teaspoon water
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
Oil for deep-frying
Whipped cream
4 maraschino cherries

Form ice cream into 4 balls. Place in baking pan and freeze solid, 2 hours or longer. Mix cereal, sugar and cinnamon. Divide equallybetween 2 pie plates or other shallow containers. Beat eggs with water.

Roll each ice cream ball in cereal mixture and press coating into ice cream. Dip coated ball in egg wash, then roll in second container of cereal mixture. Again press coating onto ice cream. Freeze coated ice cream balls solid, 4 to 6 hours.

To make each hourglass-shaped tortilla container, cut off curved slice from 2 opposite sides of each end with narrow waist. One end will serve as base for ice cream. Other end will be decorative fan.

Heat oil. Place tortilla between 2 ladles or large spoons of different sizes (smaller ladle on top). Place tortilla so that base end is cupped in larger ladle to form basket, with back of upper fan supported by handle of larger ladle. Deep fry until crisp. Drain and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Deep fry frozen coated ice cream balls 30 to 45 seconds. Place each fried tortilla in large-stemmed glass with fan part of tortilla standing vertically above glass. Set fried ice cream ball in base of tortilla. Top with dollop of whipped cream and decorate with cherry. Makes 4 servings.

Taix's Split Pea Soup

1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/4 head cabbage (1/2 pound), chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
3 quarts vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups dried green or yellow split peas
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or to taste

In a 6-quart heavy-bottomed pot, combine the onion, carrots, celery, cabbage, garlic, oregano and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat, loosely cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 45 minutes to an hour.

Stir in the split peas and bring back to a simmer. Cover loosely and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas have softened and started to break down, about 1 1/2 hours, thickening the soup. Add additional water if needed to thin the soup (we added 2 additional cups after 1 hour). This makes about 3 quarts of soup.

Season with the salt, white pepper and Worcestershire sauce, and let the soup simmer for a few more minutes to marry the flavors. Taste and season again as desired.