Chocolate Cream Pie

When I feel like indulging myself in chocolate, I tend to rely on this recipe. It’s fast, it’s simple and it’s extremely tasty.

What you’ll need:

2 cups of Whole Milk

2/3 cup of Sugar

1 egg

3 tablespoons of cornstarch

pinch of salt

1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

2.5 ounces of Ghirardelli Chocolate (60%)

Whipped cream

shaved chocolate

1 deep dish pie crust (the frozen kind is what I use, there’s no shame in doing so)

Our misenplace today will involve baking our premade pie shells. First preheat the oven to 325*. Next fill the empty pie shells with dry beans to stop the pie shells from puffing up. Were going to bake the pie shells for about 15 minutes, being careful not to over bake the pie shells.

After the 15 minutes are up, check the pies, you should notice browning on the crust, that’s a good indicator to tell if the pie crusts are finished or not. Next remove the pies from the oven and pour off the beans, some beans may require some coercing to come out of the crust, but they should come out easy.

For the filling:

In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup of milk, 2/3 sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt and egg.

Mix the ingredients until combined with a whisk.

set the mixture aside.

In a saucepan, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk.

Gently heat the milk on low temperature until you see bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan.

Pour the heated milk into the milk/cocoa mixture very slowly and gradually, making sure to whisk the mixture constantly.

Pour this mixture back into the saucepan that we used to heat the milk earlier. Cook on medium until the mixture becomes very thick. Again, making sure to constantly stir the mixture to prevent it from burning. When the mixture thickens, turn the heat to low and cook for 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the prebaked pie shell and smooth the mixture evenly.

 Press plastic wrap directly onto the chocolate pudding mixture, making sure every inch of covered with plastic wrap.

Allow this to cool completely, You can refrigerate overnight like I chose to do and continue this the next day.

The next day, remove the pie from the fridge and take off the plastic wrap.

the first thing you’ll notice is that the filling has thickened. This is what we are looking for.

Now top the pie with your whipped cream.

You don’t have to smooth it out perfectly, leave it messy, it’s rustic looking. Top this with the shaved chocolate.

Now you can of course place this back into the fridge and wait for dinner to come around or…

You can cut yourself a big slice and dust it with the same cocoa powder you used in the recipe and indulge in a chocolate induced coma.

Seared Turkey Chops with Apple Pan Sauce

Today were going to use a french technique to create a pan sauce.

After frying our turkey chops you’ll see that you are left with brown bits of meat on the bottom of the pan. The french call this “fond” which means base. The french then “deglaze” this fond with a liquid, stock, liquor, even water will work, but use something flavorful, rule of thumb dictates that adding something with flavor will give extra flavor, instead of water. After we deglaze the fond, were going to add some more flavor by adding some fall flavors to the pan. Were going to finish the pan sauce with a tablespoon of room temperature butter, it’ll create a richer and thicker sauce for us.

Also used in this recipe is a mashed sweet potato that i made specifically for this dish. (click the link for the recipe)

What you’ll need:

4 turkey “chops”

olive oil

1 tart apple, peeled, diced

1/2 stick of butter, softened

1/4 cup of sweet vermouth

1/2 cup of apple cider

1 cup flour

1/2 tablespoon seasoning of your choice

Misenplace: Peel and give the apple a small dice, toss with lemon juice to prevent browning.

For the recipe:

In a saute pan, cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil, do not turn the heat on yet.

Using kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, season your turkey chops liberally on both sides.

Take a shallow dish and mix the 1 cup flour with the seasoning you chose. I picked poultry seasoning, i think it’s perfect for this situation, however there’s not too many choices that are wrong. Now coat the turkey chops with the flour, making sure that you carefully remove all excess flour from the chops.

Heat the olive oil in the pan on low-medium.

Carefully place the chops into the hot oil, by laying the chops away from you. You do this because the oil is hot, and you are still young and wish to keep your eyebrows.

Cook the turkey chops for approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Carefully flip your chop over and cook for another 3 minutes. After the 3 minutes are up, remove the chops to a platter.

See all of the brown bits of food in the bottom of the pan? No, no it isn’t a dishwasher’s worst nightmare. It’s flavor, just waiting to be harnessed and turned into something great. In order to do this, (while keeping the heat on low) were going to pour off as much as the fat you can from the pan. Don’t scrub the fat out, just let it pour.

Next were going to pour the vermouth into the pan, itll become angry and start to boil and steam and look crazy, just allow it to do it’s work, making sure to scrub the bottom of the pan with a fork or heat safe spatula.

Next add the diced apples and the apple cider to the pan and allow to reduce by 1/3. Add the room temperature butter to the pan sauce.

Now were going to arrange our food, we worked hard on it, so take some time and decide how you want to plate it.

I chose to place some mashed sweet potatoes on the plate, and top it with the pan seared turkey chop. Next were going to spoon some of the pan gravy over the turkey. Don’t forget to add some apples as well, it doesn’t have to be perfect, just make it look clean and appetizing.

There you have it, a simple, elegant recipe that you can use anytime of the year, and you can impress a date, your significant other, friends or family.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

This is a simple way to serve what some people consider to be only a thanksgiving side dish. I disagree, of course. Sweet potatoes are very versatile and can be used in many applications. I prove it here, with a sweet potato mash, using sweet fruit flavors to boost it past it’s normal, butter, brown sugar status.

What you’ll need:

6 small sweet potatoes

1/4 cup of crushed pineapples

1 tablespoon of orange zest

3/4 cup of light brown sugar

1/2 stick of butter, softened

1/4 cup of cream

Our misenplace today will involve the sweet potatoes. Peel them the sweet potatoes using a vegetable peeler, try not to use a knife, sweet potatoes are tough and we don’t need to add more scars to our hands.

Cut the sweet potatoes into quarters and slice them 1/2 inch thick.

For the recipe:

Add the potatoes to a large pot of water and bring to a rolling boil, turn down to heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. If you are unsure what fork tender means exactly, it’s when you stick a fork into something, and the fork releases easily from the something with no resistance.

After approximately 20 to 30 minutes later, your potatoes will be fork tender, remove them from the pan by carefully draining them ino a collander,

Sorry about the steam, I  couldn’t wait for the potatoes to cool down. you don;t mind though, right? It’s what “The Turtle Man” from”call of the wild” would call LIVE ACTION!! ahem, so yeah, potatoes.. return them back to the pot.

Using a potato masher, mash the sweet potatoes with the butter and the cream, once completely mushed and smashed, Add the orange zest, brown sugar and the crushed pineapples.

I used this mash with another recipe.. Pan seared turkey chops with apple pan sauce. 

Crystallized Ginger and Greek Yogurt Cake

It’s not often I find something that I can eat everyday without every becoming sick of it, some of those examples would be french bread pizza, Filipino Adobo, Cinnamon rolls, pancakes, my wife’s ham and egg sandwiches, coffee, and now this..

This cake involves two rather strange ingredients. The first being Crystallized ginger. A quick search of Google tells us that Crystallized ginger is ginger that’s cooked in a sugar/water mixture then coated in sugar.

If you don’t know what Greek yogurt is, it’s yogurt that’s been strained of any excess liquid, creating a yogurt that’s healthier and thicker.

what you’ll need:

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Vanilla Greek yogurt
3/4 cup crystallized ginger, cut in tiny pieces

Our misenplace would be taking the butter and the eggs out ahead of time, so they’ll be at room temperature when were ready to use them. Also, preheat your oven to 300* were going to cook this sucker slow and low.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the room temperature butter for approximately 4 minutes, allowing it to lighten in color.

Add the sugar, and the vanilla.

Mix until thoroughly combined together. Next, add the eggs, one at a time to the butter/sugar mixture.

The mixture will be thick, this is what we want. Now, were going to add the dry ingredients, so mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture.

Next were going to alternate between the flour mixture, and greek yogurt. So take 1/3 of the vanilla yogurt and add it to the butter mixture. Continue doing the alternations until both the Greek yogurt and the flour mixture are used up. Next add in the crystallized ginger to the cake mix.

Prepare your bundt pan by rubbing shortening (or butter) on the inside of the pan and then coating the shortening with flour. Pour the cake mix into the pan evenly. Once all of the mix as been placed into the pan, gently tap the bottom of the pan on a counter top to ensure no air bubbles will be present, and to make sure that cake was evenly distributed.

Bake this at 300 for 1 hour. Of course, if your oven is as evil is mine is, you can start checking for doneness at the 50 minute mark.

Once the 1 hour is up, remove from the oven, allow to cool in the pan for approximately 15 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan to a wire rack. When the cake as cooled completely (about 2 hours) place the wire rack into a sheet pan.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of milk and about 2 cups of powdered sugar.

Pour the icing over the cooled cake.

I just realized that i don’t have a picture of this cake on a plate, oh well, I guess i’ll just have to make another!! *wink*

Just a quick note, I’ve successfully made a variation of this cake, omitting the ginger and adding orange zest and juice. It was just as good, I think the variations would be endlesss. I’m going to add fresh strawberries next time.

Chili

I know it’s been a while, I don’t really enjoy cooking in the summertime, It’s extremely annoying when you don’t have access to an air conditioner. I’ve a small collection of recipes that need to be published, I’m going to start with what I cooked today.

Chili!

I have a love/hate relationship with Chili, as it’s traditionally seasoned with a spice called Cumin.

I.

Hate.

Cumin.

I find it vile and repulsive, I just don’t like the taste it gives food, also I feel it’s extremely overpowering.

So, this Chili isn’t authentic, and it’s not seasoned with Cumin.

What you’ll need:

1 pound of ground beef

1 8ounce can of tomato sauce

1 onion, diced

1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes

1 cup of water

1 can of small red beans

1 tablespoon of vinegar

1 teaspoon of chili powder

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of diced, seeded jalapeno

1 bay leaf

Today’s misenplace is simple, dice the onion and jalapeno, and open all cans so they are ready to add into the pan.

In a saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until it’s hot.

Add the diced onions and jalapeno into the hot saute pan, and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until the onions soften up. Please add a pinch of kosher salt and a few cranks of black pepper.

Next add the ground beef.

Cook until the meat is fully browned, about 10 minutes on medium.

Thoroughly drain all fat from the ground beef, and transfer the beef to a larger pot. This is the perfect opportunity to taste your seasonings and adjust them accordingly. In a large pot, you are going to add 1 can of red beans, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of tomato sauce.

you are also going to add the water, vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder to the pot.

Stir to combine and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat so that the chili is simmering gently. Cook for approximately 2 hours, the chili should be thick and reduced by almost half.

Serve the chili with whole picked Jalapenos, cheddar cheese and diced onions. Having some cornbread around wouldn’t hurt either.

The Shake Shack (Philadelphia)

The Shake Shack is well established in New York City, and it’s considered a burger institution there. They just recently opened a branch in the Famous Rittenhouse Square, located in Center City Philadelphia.

Their menu includes Cheeseburgers, Hotdogs, Fries, and Milkshakes.

 

We ordered 1 Shack burger, 1 smoke shack burger and 1 cheeseburger,1 sha-cago dog 2 orders of french fries and 3 milk shakes.

 

 

 

The way the process works is that you place your order, and you receive a paging device that vibrates when your tray of food is ready to be picked up.

Yes, that bill really says $43.42.. The place is extremely is expensive, But this is normal of Philadelphia, and good food.

The food is of extremely good quality, The burgers had good flavor, and the bacon was cooked well.

This is the ShaCago dog, It’s basically a Chicago style dog. (Onion, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Relish, Pickles, Sport peppers, Celery Salt, Mustard) To be truthful, I didn’t enjoy it, Only because there are so many different flavors going on, that the hotdog is lost in translation somewhere.

This is the smoke shack burger. (Bacon, Shake sauce, Chopped cherry peppers and cheese) This is easily in my top 3 hamburgers, The price is steep, but it’s worth every ounce of meat. I could have easily eaten another, if I didn’t have to walk about 8 blocks to the hotel, i would have gorged myself on another.

The milkshakes are good, but not very big for the $5.00 pricetag.

If I was rating this place, I would give it an 8, it gets negative marks for its poor value vs. portions

A series of unfortunate events..

This is my Wife’s blog (the silly lily) she doesn’t use it very often, even though she is a fantastic writer.

This link below is a recollection of an incident that occurred recently to my wife in the Philippines, she is still living the after effects of the incident.

http://thesillylily.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-one-night-can-shatter-my-semi.html

To give a quick synopsis of the event:

My wife went out to buy food at a supermarket she’s never been to before. This particular supermarket doesn’t have a taxi line, so my wife was forced to go on an adventure to attempt to procure a Taxi. In the process of doing so, some lowlife, thieving coward decided she was a soft target for a purse snatching. The punk snatched her purse, and ran off, leaving my wife shocked, traumatized and stranded.

What is a Snatcher?

For those who don’t know, snatching is something that is common in The Philippines. It’s easy to execute, and it’s a very fast, very easy way to make some money.  It basically involves two people, one person waiting on a motorbike, and the “snatcher” who is bold enough to pull a purse off the shoulder of a female.  I’ve heard stories of jewelry being ripped off of necks, and wrists as well. (because snatchers are cowards, men are usually never targeted) The snatcher then runs to the partner waiting on the motorbike and they flee the area. Now of course, there are plenty of other setups for snatchers, but this is the setup that was used against my wife, so that’s why it’s mentioned here.

Being a husband, I feel that it is my duty, my oath that I took when i said those magic words, to protect my wife. Nothing makes me feel more helpless, or useless then when my wife has been a victim of a crime, and I cannot even defend her. I keep thinking over in my mind that thecoward wouldn’t even have tried to target her, if I was there with her. Don’t get me wrong, I perfectly understand that’s not 100% true, it’s possible it may still have happened, but for those 3 seconds when he was struggling with her, I would have grabbed him, and choked the ever loving shit out of him.

I’ve mentioned it to my wife, about 100 times now, the items that were stolen were and are replaceable, and that I’m extremely happy that she was not harmed, hurt or attacked by this coward. Her pride is wounded, her safety was comprised, she was violated by this coward, She was forced to take several measures to feel safe in her own home, and to be truthful, I believe she doesn’t even feel safe, as I write this post.  As a man, as a husband, I feel like a failure in protecting her and keeping her safe.

She continues on with her life, something that I am extremely proud of. She will not let this coward ruin her warrior spirit, she will not allow him to terrorize her every night (even though he is there, trying to) She is showing how strong she is right now, by continuing to live her life, and she tells me that she is feeling slightly better with each passing day. Slowly, but surely she is improving her confidence, and completing the tasks she needs to in order to move on past this traumatic experience.

I just would like to take a moment to really express to everyone how important it is to continue on with your life. How important it is, to not let these cowards put fear into you, by their petty attempts at theft. I really believe to allow them to fear you into staying at home, and becoming a hermit, to avoid anything from happening again is wrong. I think that it’s important, not only for confidence, and your own well-being, but also to show yourself that you are not scared of cowards, and punks who think it’s okay to target woman.

To my wife,

I Love You.

Now, in the future and forever.

Spreading happiness through food

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