January 31, 2010

Chocolate Nutella Fudge

Ok...in an attempt to empty out my pantry as we prepare for a probable move within the next month....here is a little sweet treat made with some very simple ingredients screaming to be used up. I was able to share with all the folks that walked through our home on open house day!

Chocolate Nutella Fudge

Butter or butter cooking spray, for greasing the pan
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp good quality pure vanilla extract
3/4 pound (about 1 1/2 cups) bittersweet chocolate chips (60-70% cacao)
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, at room temp.

Butter or spray the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8-inch baking pan. Line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper, about 14-inches long and 7 inches wide, allowing the excess to overhang the sides. set aside.
In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the condensed milk and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate chips and butter. Put the bowl on a saucepan of barely simmering water and mix until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth, about 6 to 8 minutes (mixture will be thick). Using a spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until firm.
Run a warm knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the fudge. Remove the fudge to a cutting board. Peel off the parchment paper and cut the fudge into 1-inch pieces. Store refrigerated in an airtight container or freeze.


January 7, 2010

Chicken Lemongrass Dumplings

Dumplings....a classic in Asian cuisine...fun and delicious, and the varieties are endless.

With my recent lemongrass kick, I thought, why not add to some ground chicken and fry up the little packages.
The combination of the ground chicken with the citrus overtones of the lemongrass and other asian flavors make for an intoxicating treat.

Wine Pairing: a white sancerre or an american semillon would be a nice match to the lemongrass.

Chicken Lemongrass Dumplings

1/2 lb. ground chicken
1/2 can water chestnuts, finely chopped
1/4 lb shitake mushrooms, finely chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 stalk of lemongrass, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
1 egg yolk
1 package of wonton wrappers

Mix all ingredients together except for the wonton wrappers. Lay out several wonton wrappers at a time for easier assembly. Drop a small amount of chicken mixture onto the middle of each wrapper. Dip your finger into some cold water, and run your finger along the edges of the wrapper. You can either fold over into a triangle, or you can crimp the edges together into a purse shape. Press firmly to ensure you have a good seal, so that the filling does not leak out when cooking.

Once your dumplings are assembled, you can fry in a bit of peanut or canola oil until golden brown, or for a soup, you can add the dumplings into some boiling chicken broth already enhanced with some scallions, ginger and garlic.


January 5, 2010

Avocado On Rustic Toast with Shaved Parmesan

This is my idea of a healthy, quick and very satisfying lunch.

The many health benefits of the Haas Avocado, makes for a good reason to enjoy this little green gem.

One fifth of a medium avocado has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, making it a good nutrient source. According to many nutritionists, using avocado as a sandwich spread in place of other popular spreads may help reduce dietary intake of calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol. For example, 2 tablespoons of mayo has 109 calories, 2 tablespoons of butter has 204 calories, where as 2 tablespoons or 2-3 thin slices of avocado has only 50 calories. You gotta love that as much as I do!

Now that I'm convinced that I sold you on the health benefits of the avocado, you must try this easy and very tasty sandwich. The creaminess of the avocado with the salty parmesan cheese on a toasted rustic bread is sure to be a taste sensation! I promise!

Avocado On Rustic Toast with Shaved Parmesan

1 ripe Haas Avocado cut in half, pit removed
1 piece of rustic bread, toasted
Shaved parmesan reggiano cheese
a light sprinkle of large flaked sea salt

Spread some of your very ripe avocado onto your toasted bread. Add a few shaved pieces of a good parmesan reggiano cheese, and just a light sprinkle of some large flaked sea salt.


January 3, 2010

My Favorite Baby Back Ribs

If you are looking for a baby back rib recipe, that practically falls off the bone at a mere glance...you have come to the right place. A long rest in a low oven ensures you have a mighty juicy and tender result. Plus...wouldn't you agree that waiting for your food, makes it taste that much better!
According to my husband, the world would end if this was not made in our house on a regular basis, and because of this...I have tried and tested many ways with these baby backs...to find that this is by far our favorite recipe. I have been looking forward to sharing these with you, as we enjoy them quite frequently.

Wine Pairing: Petite Sirah always goes well with grilled or barbequed foods. Even though this dish is baked, you will find it to be a very nice match.

Spicy Soy Baby Back Ribs
Serves 6

2 slabs of baby back ribs (you could use spare ribs as well)
3 tbsp ground coriander
3 tbsp lemon pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup of soy sauce

In a medium bowl, combine all spices together. Rub both sides of the rib slabs with the seasoning mix, and place on a baking sheet. Let stand for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle the soy sauce all over the ribs and put into the hot oven and cook for 15 minutes. Drop the oven temp. to 300 degrees and cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes, flipping ribs over halfway through cooking.
Serve immediately and enjoy!