Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The best chocolate cookie ever...

A chocolate cookie with an Andes Mint melted on top.  YUM and pretty!  Tastes like a chewy thin mint.

A coworker brought these and I cannot stop thinking about them.



¾ c. butter
1 ½ c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. water
12 oz. bag chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 ¾ c. flour
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1+ boxes of andes mints ( I used like 3 mints from a second box when I made them so you can get away with just one box)

Melt butter, brown sugar and water.
Add Chocolate chips and stir until melted.
Let cool for 10 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and then chill dough for at least an hour.
Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 8 to 9 minutes.
Remove from oven and place half an Andes mint on top and place back in the oven for around 10 seconds.
Once removed swirl the top of the cookie with a spoon and let cool.

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 13, 2014

We met at Mary's, along with guests Cecilia and Stephanie. 

Our meal started with spicy guacamole, chips and a mango cocktail served in chilled, sugar rimmed tumblers.

The cocktail also featured tequila which kept with the Caribbean Nights theme.  I did not realize how versatile tequila is and I have made it my alcohol of choice lately (sorry, rum).                                                                    
The Stephanie Special
Mango sparkling soda (Trader Joe's)
Tequila
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Top with champagne
Garnish with a lime wedge and serve very chilled

Our meal continued with conch fritters (used clams) with a zesty dipping sauce, a colorful black bean salad, fall-of-the-bone tender ribs and white rice.  Thank you to Tonya for the cool picture below!

The fritters were a mixture of finely chopped clams, green and red peppers, celery, onion, jalapeno (seeded), egg, flour and baking powder.  Make these into small balls and fry in oil for about three minutes.  Turn to get browned on both sides.  The oil may foam up.  Do not be alarmed.

Tonya's salad was full of fresh flavors with corn, red pepper, avocado, and cilantro.  It was a perfect compliment to the rich ribs.  The rice also went nicely with the spicy ribs and served as a base to soak up the juices.

Now... the ribs.  YUM.  These were so tender that you did not need a knife.  The flavor was complex with hints of cinnamon and cloves.  Mary prepared these prior to our arrival and they cooked as we prepared the fritters.








We had not one but TWO desserts.  Cecelia's mom's flan and a rum cake that I prepared.  The flan was denser than most recipes, using cream cheese to give it more of a cheesecake texture.  The rum cake was like a drunk pound cake.  While there is no rum in the cake itself, there is some in both a syrup and a glaze.  These add flavor and keep the cake very moist.

Flan
Ingredients:

Custard
1 can (14 oz) of Nestle Condensed Milk
1 can (14 oz) of evaporated milk
1 package of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 TBSP of vanilla extract
3 eggs

Caramel
1 ½ cup of regular sugar

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a small nonstick saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat until it is dissolved and begins to brown. Pour caramelized sugar into a pie or cheesecake dish, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan evenly.
  3. Combine custard ingredients in a large bowl. With a mixer, mix for one minute. Pour over the caramelized sugar dish.
  4. Place the dish into a larger pan and add 1 inch of HOT water to the outer pan. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until set.
  5. Remove dish from oven and allow to cool down.
  6. Turn upside down when cool.




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

June 8, 2014

Mary, Tonya and I came together for a cooking feast at my house. 

Appetizer:  Guacamole, Angie
Salad: Tropical Fruit Salad, Mary
Side: Bourbon Slaw
Main:  West Virginia Trout Tacos
Cocktail:  Paloma, Angie
Dessert:  Mexican Chocolate Pots de Creme, Tonya

For a cocktail, I picked the popular Paloma.  I have seen it mentioned on tv many times lately.  It is simple to prepare with grapefruit soda, tequila and fresh lime or grapefruit juice.  Very refreshing and fresh tasting with the fruit juice.




Eva Longoria's Guacamole

  • 4 large ripe avocados, chopped
  • 1 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 small Serrano peppers, ribs and some seeds removed, minced
  • Coarse salt
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Tortilla chips, preferably lime-flavored 


Our salad was prepared by Mary.  It featured fresh fruit and a sweet, zesty dressing. 


Tropical fruit salad

Cubed cantaloupe
Pineapple
Mandarin orange segments
Mango

Honey Lime Dressing 

Honey-- about 1/4 cup  (I like it a bit sweet)
Lime zest of 2-3 limes
Fresh lime juice-- about 3 large limes
Pinch of salt
Couple teaspoons of vegetable oil
A couple teaspoons of brown sugar

Mix all the ingredients and adjust amounts to taste.  Let dressing sit in refrigerator for a couple of hours so that flavors can develop.  Lightly dress the fruit about 30 minutes before serving.

The main dish was one I saw on a recent episode of  The Kitchen.  I love fish tacos and this recipe included a side of slaw so I thought it would be a good dish for the Gourmet Gals to tackle. 




 Tonya made the most delicious chocolate dessert.  The pot de creme was creamy and rich with a hint of cinnamon.  She garnished with nuts, simple Mexican cookies and whipped cream.  It was happiness in a ramekin.