Monday, January 31, 2011

Chocolate Fondue

Fondue is one of my absolute favorite desserts. It's easy, delicious and fun, and what doesn't taste better dipped in chocolate? I got this recipe from a friend and have literally made it dozens of times since.

Chocolate Fondue

1 cup (6 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tb. sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream

Combine chocolate chips, vanilla, and sugar in a medium bowl. In small bowl, heat whipping cream in microwave for 30-45 seconds, or until just barely boiling. Pour over chocolate chip mixture. Let stand for 1 minutes, then stir until chocolate is completely melted. Serve warm with dippers of your choice, such as:  strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, marshmallows, graham crackers, brownies, angel food cake cubes, etc.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Clam Chowder

My mom makes fantastic clam chowder, all of us (well, except for my little sister that is allergic to shellfish) love it every time she makes it. I finally learned how to make it on my own. I made a couple of adjustments based on a recipe I found on allrecipes (in italics, feel free to make them without if you want, they just add a little more depth of flavor) but otherwise it it really close to my mom's famous recipe. Enjoy!

Clam Chowder

6 slices bacon
3 cans minced clams (6.5 ounces each)
1 1/4 cups onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, diced
3-4 cups potatoes, diced
6 Tb. butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart half-and-half
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tb. red wine vinegar

1. Cook bacon in large stockpot until crispy. Remove bacon, but do not drain. In same pan, add onion, celery, carrots and potatoes. Drain juice from clams over veggies and add water until veggies are just barely covered. Cook over medium heat until veggies are all tender. Do not drain water.
2. Meanwhile in large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Slowly add half-and-half and stir continually until thick and smooth (mixture will be very thick). Add to veggie/clam juice/water mixture. Heat through, but do not boil. Crumble cooled bacon and add to soup along with clams (if the clams cook too much, they will get tough, so add them right before serving). Add seasoned salt, salt, black pepper and vinegar if desired. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fried Rice

This is a great side dish to go along with Asian-style entrees (like this sticky chicken or these sweet and sour meatballs or these bacon-wrapped chicken and pineapple skewers or this orange chicken). It is also the perfect accompaniment for stir-fried vegetables and sweet-and-sour sauce (I know it might be weird, but I just love the sweet-and-sour sauce poured all over the rice). I make this all the time, sometimes with other entrees, sometimes just on it's own as a stand-alone meal. It's very easy to adapt to whatever meat (feel free to use ham instead of bacon or omit the meat entirely) or veggies you might have on hand. Here is my favorite version, but feel free to fiddle with it to make it how you like.

Fried Rice
serves 3-4

4 pieces bacon
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
1/3 cup frozen peas
3 cups cooked rice
1 egg
1-2 Tb. soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook in large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon, set aside to cool and crumble.
2. Heat same skillet (without draining grease) to medium. Add onions, celery, and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add peas and cook for 3-4 more minutes, until veggies are translucent and peas are thawed.
3. Add rice and stir to break up and heat through.
4. In separate small bowl, beat egg. Pour over top of rice in skillet and continue stirring until egg is completely cooked through. Add soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nutella Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Have I mentioned that I have a love affair with Nutella? Whether on crepes, in stuffed french toast, in gelato, or in the world's most delicious frosting, I cannot get enough of it. So naturally, when I saw a recipe for Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl Brownies on one of my favorite blogs (Annies Eats!) I immediately had to make them, but with Nutella instead of peanut butter. Thus, these were born. They are probably the most rich dessert I have ever made (and that is definitely saying something). You absolutely have to eat these with a tall glass of milk or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Indulgent. Easy. Delicious. Hope you enjoy!

Nutella Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
Adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Kitchenist

7 Tb. unsalted butter
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flour

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Nutella
1 Tb. sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 8x8 inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. Combine butter and chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, then stir well until completely melted. Whisk in all remaining brownie ingredients except flour. Stir until smooth and well blended. Gently stir in flour until just combined (do not over mix). Spread evenly in prepared pan.
3. Make the Nutella cheesecake filling by beating the cream cheese, Nutella, and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and combined. Add egg yolk and vanilla and mix until completely blended.
4. Drop spoonfuls of the Nutella filling over the brownies in pan. Swirl batter gently with a knife.
5. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the center is just set. Cool to room temperature and move to refrigerator. These are best after chilling for at least 12 hours.

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