Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cakemix Fudge

CakemixFudgewSprinkles

 

So I’m semi-notorious for using box mixes as ingredients for things other than their original intention, and cake mix is no exception. I’ve used it in cookie baking, as a milkshake thickener, to make pancakes and baked puddings, the list goes on. Until I stumbled across Chocolatechocloateandmore.com’s fudge recipe, however, using it in candy making hadn’t occurred to me yet. I made the above pictured fudge using key lime cake mix and white chocolate candy melts, but as it’s me and I don’t do the microwave thing (I don’t even own one), I did need to tweak the recipe a smidge more. If you prefer using your microwave, follow the link here: http://chocolatechocolateandmore.com/2013/07/cake-batter-fudge/

Below is the stove top recipe.

Either way, be sure to check out some of the other yummy recipes Joan has on her delicious site!

You Will Need:

16 wz cake mix of choice (about 2/3 – 3/4 of a standard box mix here in the US)

16 wz confectioner’s sugar

4 wz butter

2 fz whole milk

4 wz white chocolate chips (or any flavor compatible with your cake mix)

2 wz sprinkles (or other add-in)

Heavy bottomed saucepot large enough to hold all ingredients with a knuckle or 2 to spare, but not too much bigger – too much surface area will scorch the fudge

Parchment or foil lined 8X8 baking dish

 

Instructions:

Combine butter, milk, and chocolate in saucepot over low heat, stirring gently, but often.

Once chocolate and butter have melted and combined well with the milk, stir in cake mix and powdered sugar.

Increase heat to medium low setting, and cook mixture for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and fold in half of your add-in. You want them mixed in, but you don’t want the colors to run, so fold gently and quickly.

Pour into the prepared 8X8 dish and evenly cover with remaining add-ins.

Chill for 2 hours or until well set.

Score into cubes before pulling liner and fudge out of dish.

Finish cutting into cubes, placing them in parchment paper lined shirt box, making sure they don’t touch.

Cover the box and let them cure overnight. Depending on the weather, you can leave them out on the counter in a nice dry spot, or you can put them back in the fridge. You can also skip this step entirely, but I found the ones that were given a good curing had a stronger flavor than the ones I sampled immediately.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under All Recipes, Bites, Desserts, Parties, Uncategorized

2014 – The Year of ‘Ugly’ Food

We all have that one recipe that we really really enjoy, but really really cannot serve to company. It isn’t that it tastes weird, or could only be consumed by a pregnant woman at the ‘pickles and ice cream cravings’ stage. In fact, it tastes absolutely wonderful! It’s just that the finished product looks like something an elephant pulled out of a trash can and stomped on.

In Culinary school, we are trained to make it pretty or don’t serve it at all, because it’s widely accepted that we humans eat with our eyes. And I think that’s so very limiting and sad. Because some of the most nutrient dense and flavorful meals that I have been privileged to enjoy were not pretty to look at. But man, oh man, were they ever delicious!

So this year, I am paying homage to this frequently overlooked food genre. Check back here for recipes that aren’t restaurant approved, but taste fabulous anyway! I promise not to post any pictures, so you can decide to try them based on the ingredient list rather than some random visual aid.

This first recipe is one of my favorite ways to stretch the budget. I call it Pot Roast Puree. The friend who turned me on to this recipe lovingly called it Bat Barf Gravy.

 

You will need:

1/2 of a leftover beef or buffalo pot roast, complete with the vegetables made and served with it, and all of the juices

Between 8 and 12 ounces beef broth or stock (whichever you prefer)

Nutritional Yeast (about a shot glassful)

Salt and pepper, to taste

A blender or food processor

Heavy bottomed, non-stick pot with well-fitting lid

Patience

 

Instructions:

Puree the cold leftovers until smooth. Depending on the tool used, this will take anywhere from 3 to 7 minutes. It will look like baby food. I know, I know, but never fear – it gets worse!

Transfer to heavy bottomed pot and cook, covered, over medium high heat until the bottom scorches. See? I told you it got worse. Yes, I’m telling you to burn dinner. Sort of.  I’ll explain why later. Just do it. If you set off the smoke alarm, you’ve over-burned it and the dog won’t eat it. Don’t do that. Just burn it enough to get a good smokey flavor and some nice crunchy bits to highlight the smoothness of the puree.

Now stir in the broth (use more broth to make a lovely cream of bovine soup, or less to make a thicker gravy-like goop) and turn the heat to the lowest setting on your stovetop. Simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Add the yeast, then salt and pepper to taste.

I love how versatile this recipe is. Below are just a few ways to use it.

Soup: serve with a garnish of parsley, carmelized onions and garlic, or even some parmesan shavings for a tasty winter soup.

Gravy: serve over warm biscuits and fried eggs for a hearty winter breakfast.

Meatrolls: Spread an even layer of thick goop onto pizza dough rolled out thin. Roll up like a cinnamon roll, slice into 2″ thick pieces, bake according to the dough recipe, and enjoy!

Pasta Bake: Skip the simmer stage. Double the broth, add your favorite dry pasta in an amount equal to the amount of broth, some shredded parmesan cheese, chopped fresh spinach, and minced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and parsley. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit (or your local equivalent) until the pasta is al dente. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with a dollop of sour cream or ricotta.

Ravioli: Combine equal amounts of ricotta cheese and puree and use as filling for home made raviolis.

 

Notes:

Why burn the puree? For better texture and flavor. Scorching the ingredients prior to pureeing would still add that nice smokey flavor, but the meat and veggies would dry out and get stringy. By burning the puree instead, you get that great flavor without the grainy texture that stringy dried out meat and veggies would create.

This recipe freezes quite well without losing too much in translation, so any leftovers from this round can be safely saved for months if stored in an air tight container such as a zipper bag or by using one of those vacuum sealers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Egg Substitutions

Just realized you are a couple of eggs short of the waffles, cake, cookies, or bread that you were about to make, and don’t have time to get to the store?

Pulse equal parts (1:1 ratio) of whole flax seed and hot water in the blender and allow it to ‘set’ until it gets good and gooey. Yes, it will look like something out of a bad ‘B’ movie if you’ve done it right – that’s the fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and water combining – and it’s a good thing.

You now have a super cheap and easy egg replacement.

1 ounce (30 mL) of the goo is equivalent to one whole eggwhite.
2 ounces (60 mL) equals 1 whole egg.

Also great to use when baking goodies for people with egg allergies or who are looking for ways to reduce their cholesterol intake.

Not into alien slime? That’s ok. 3 ounces (90 mL) of mashed banana or applesauce works well, too. Or 2 ounces of either plain yogurt or avocado oil. Avocado oil has a buttery taste, but usually isn’t strongly flavored like olive or peanut oils, so it’s great in sweet as well as savory foods.

2 Comments

Filed under All Recipes, Breads, Desserts, Entrees, Gluten Free, Sides, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized, Vegetable-arian

Disgustingly Easy Super Cheesy Better Than Store Bought Crackers

I first started making these when my daughter became addicted to a pricey store-bought cheese cracker. I couldn’t have afforded her ‘habit’ without this recipe. The best part, for me, is that they can be so easily adapted to accommodate food allergies, taste preferences, and seasonal influences. And yes, it’s another ratio recipe.

Ingredients:

3 Parts Your favorite firm cheese, shredded (Use really sharp cheddar if you want to replicate They Who Must Not Be Named’s crackers.)

1 – 2 Part(s) Baking Mix (ambient humidity affects this recipe greatly)

Milk or water

Toppings to add just before baking, if desired

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to (US) 350F (or your local equivalent).

Melt the cheese over medium/low heat on the stovetop, stirring constantly.

IMG_20131109_172407_033

Add a splash or two of milk to thin out the cheese. Keep stirring over the heat until it is like a thick potato soup.

IMG_20131109_172538_783

If you want to add dried herbs or veggie bits, now is the time to do so.

Turn off the stove, but keep the pot on the burner.

Add the baking mix a handful at a time, stirring each addition in before adding the next. When you find yourself chasing a big lump around the pot, it’s ready to be turned out onto a baking mix sprinkled flat surface for the next step.

IMG_20131109_172645_729

Roll out to 1/8 – 1/4″ thickness and cut into desired shapes. I like to use cookie cutters, but some people prefer to just slice the whole slab into squares or rectangles.

Use a fork to poke holes in the center of each cracker after transferring to ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with more cheese or crushed nuts at this point, if you want them to be topped.

Bake until golden brown (about 15-20 minutes, give or take).

Transfer to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

Notes:

If the dough in the pot is really greasy and not coming together after you have added all of the baking mix, add milk (or water) a splash at a time until it comes together. Not more than 1/4 cup, though, or you’ll end up with really thin flat biscuit-like things, not crackers at all.

If fully cooled before being stored in an airtight container, these crackers have a shelf life of… Hmmm. I have no idea – they’re always gone within a week of baking. so they last at least a week. Probably longer, but I can’t say for sure.

Do NOT (I repeat DO NOT) microwave the cheese – the end result is not pretty. It’s not edible. It does make for fabulous home defense weaponry, if you can get the intruder to eat one.

Microwaved cheese makes these crackers way too hard. Not the ‘oh dear that’s a really crunchy cracker’ kind of too hard, but the ‘honey call the dentist I just broke three teeth’ variety.

And, as I found out this week, always make sure the oven is set to Bake, not Broil, or this happens:

IMG_20130922_124017_599

Leave a comment

Filed under All Recipes, Bites, Breads, Gluten Free, Grains, Parties, Techniques, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized, Vegetable-arian

Baking Mix

I blame my sister Bonny for this one. She was on this ‘make-a-mix’ kick for a good couple of years before we figured out how to make our own baking mix without having to purchase industrial shelf-stable shortening that we couldn’t really afford. The only drawback to it is that you have to store it in an airtight container in the freezer. Not the fridge; and definitely not the cupboard. Use it the same way you use your favorite boxed baking mix, and enjoy the savings.

Super Basic (mix up a little bit as you need it) Recipe:

1 C Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking powder

1/4 tsp Salt

1 TBSP Room temperature stable fat/oil:  this can be shortening, lard, butter, coconut oil, or chilled olive or grapeseed oil, or even rendered fat*

Instructions:

Combine everything in the blender or food processor (or you can whisk it by hand, but that takes a very long time and a rather strong arm). Process until the fat is completely absorbed and the whole mix is a powder. Store up to 6 months in an airtight container in the freezer. I label my stuff with the date to toss so I can keep track.

Big Batch (keep it in the freezer) Recipe:

6 C Flour

3 T Baking powder

1 tsp Salt

1/3 C Room temperature stable fat/oil

Notes:

The ratios do change as you increase the overall volume. Slightly less salt is required as you get larger amounts, while the fat content goes up a smidge. 

The other thing to keep track of is your fat/oil. Some things go rancid faster than others, while some things have stronger or softer flavors than others.

Coconut oil has a strong scent, but almost no flavor. It is also still solid at room temperature and doesn’t go rancid very fast (one of the reasons you find it in so many products).

*Rendered fat – the fat or grease that is left in the pan after dry-cooking any meat such as pork, lamb,  or duck. Bacon grease blends in to the baking mix beautifully, but will impart a very salty bacon flavor on milder recipes. My favorite coffeecake recipe came out too salty, for example. But my biscuits and gravy turned out great!

For a gluten free mix, use equal parts brown rice, tapioca, and oat flours in place of the regular flour.

For vegans, I advise the use of Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil for multiple reasons, not least of which is that it is organic and coconut oil has more nutritional value than the other non-meat options.

Leave a comment

Filed under All Recipes, Bites, Breads, Grains, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized, Vegetable-arian

BoozeyFruit and Basic Homemade Tinctures

IMG_20130904_094144_149

Do you make your own extracts and tinctures? I do. With a little modification to my original process, I have found that I not only get great full-flavored tinctures, but the vodka-infused fruit left behind is pretty cool, too!

This is a measurement-less recipe as the time of year, fruit used, personal taste, and your location will affect how much vodka and fruit you need. 

You will Need:

1 1-Quart mason jar
Fruit of choice
Vodka
Sauce pot
Mesh strainer
Cookie sheet
If fruit is small, like berries or grapes: wash and leave whole.
If fruit is larger, like peaches or pineapple: wash, peel as needed, and cut into rough, thumb-sized chunks.
Fill sterile mason jar with fruit, then add vodka to brim.
Pour the whole lot into a sauce pot over low heat (I do mean the very lowest possible setting on your stove).
Warm the fruit, but do not cook or stir it. Takes about 15-30 seconds.
Transfer everything back to the mason jar. Cap tightly and store in a cool dark place.
On the 3rd day, strain most of the fruit bits out of the liquid.
Transfer the strained fruit to a cookie sheet and into the freezer. When fruit pieces are solid, transfer to a freezer-burn resistant container (This is your BoozeyFruit).
Reseal the liquid and remaining fruit, and put back into a cool dark place for at least six more weeks (This is your tincture).
The best part? Everything gets used! I still kick myself when I think of all that fruit I wasted over the years.
A Note:
I have done this with vanilla beans, and then used the infused beans (made into a paste) instead of extract in a couple of my baking adventures.
The flavor overwhelmed my sugar cookie recipe, but really made my sage bread stand up and shout!

Leave a comment

Filed under All Recipes, Beverages, Desserts, Gluten Free, Parties, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized, Vegetable-arian

Adventures In Frozen Comestibles…

IMG_20130813_150623_187IMG_20130813_151553_361IMG_20130813_152059_639

This is my new favorite way to get my daily serving of fruit. I prefer to make this with berries that were fresh when I froze them, but the bananas should be at the ‘only good for making banana bread’ stage of ripeness. That’s the key to the creamy texture without any dairy or sugar added.  The super cool thing about this recipe is that it’s really forgiving. It’s a ratios recipe, so no specific measures or conversions will be needed.

Basic Recipe:

1 part Frozen Banana, cut into chunks
1 part Frozen Fruit of choice (or frozen homemade apple pie filling, as pictured below)
When fruit chunks are well and truly frozen, put it into a food processor. Blend on high until smooth. Put mixture into a container and back in the freezer until refrozen.
IMG_20130901_125031_867IMG_20130901_125021_684
To serve:
Eat this the same way you would normally enjoy ice cream.
Works great in a cone, or as the base for a Sundae, or even in your favorite milkshake or smoothie recipe.
   ~Or~
Scoop balls of the mixture onto a cookie sheet and freeze overnight.
IMG_20130901_162332_810
You can stop here (see above picture), or dip them in chocolate and place back on the cookie sheet in the freezer for another hour.
Viola! You’ve just made mostly-healthy frozen bonbons!

Hoochielicious Recipe:

2 parts Frozen Banana, cut into chunks
3 parts Frozen Boozey Fruit
When fruit is well and truly frozen, put it into a food processor. Blend on high until smooth. Put mixture into a container and back in the freezer until refrozen.
Black Cherry un Ice Cream
To serve: Scoop into a Martini or Highball glass. Garnish with fresh berries on a cocktail pick, if desired.

Leave a comment

Filed under All Recipes, Desserts, Gluten Free, Parties, Techniques, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized, Vegetable-arian