Tag Archives: water

sticky and sweet!!

With the holidays in full effect, it’s time to celebrate all things sweet!
Tonight we are heading off to a holiday party and I’ll be the bearer of good gifts, sticky toffee pudding.
This recipe takes a little time to make, about an hour and a half + tons of butter and plenty of boozy goodness [to add to the holiday cheer], but believe me its worth the calories [and heck it’s the holidays]!
I’m including the full recipe since baking is a science and you should stick to the steps to get it right. I highly recommend trying this dessert, it’s sticky, dense, buttery and sweet! It’s guaranteed to leave the partygoers cheering for more!

Ingredients
For the ‘pudding’:
2 cups medjool dates [pits removed]
3/4 cup spiced rum
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3.5 cups flour
1 tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt
2 cups light brown sugar [lightly packed]
1 stick butter [at room temp]
3 extra large eggs

For toffee sauce:
3 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup cognac
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350*.
Butter a 9×13 baking dish.
To make the ‘pudding’:
Combine dates, rum and 3/4 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for five to seven minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract. Let liquid cool, and then purée in a food processor. Set aside
While the purée is cooling, sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Combine the brown sugar and butter in a standing mixer on medium-high. Beat until combined. Next, beat eggs in one at a time. Then carefully mix in the flour mixture in thirds on low speed. Lastly, stir in the cooled purée.
Pour batter into the baking dish and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes [cake tester should be clean].
For the toffee sauce:
Make this while the ‘pudding’ is baking. Combine the butter, sugar, cognac and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking consistently. Cook until it thickens to a slightly saucy consistency, roughly 15 minutes.
For the finale, Remove the pudding and let cool for ten minutes. Using a skewer poke holes in the pudding about every inch or so [go crazy].
Pour half of the sauce over the cake and let it soak in for at least 20 minutes.
When serving [should be warm], drizzle some more sauce and finish with a nice dollop of freshly made whipped cream!

at a low simmer…
-R

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sticky and sweet…

After realizing I had a container of heavy cream in the refrigerator that needed to be used, the thought of making a caramel sauce popped into my head…
Easy enough to make and can hold up well, the process began… sugar, water, a touch of salt, vanilla and of course the cream then we were on the way to sensual, sticky, caramely delight!
One thing I cannot stress enough is the need to have a candy thermometer available because this cooking process goes pretty quick, and can go from gorgeous to the garbage in the blink of an eye…
Once everything is cooked, it needs to cool down before any real enjoyment can be had. The uses are endless and if you ask yourself, ‘can I use caramel here’, then more than likely the answer is YES!
From ice cream to popcorn, rice krispie treats to fruit, the possibilities are at your fingertips… have fun with it!

at a low simmer…
-R

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uh oh… my soup bowl has a ‘leek’

As the evening set in and the air became a bit brisk, the idea of soup for dinner ran through my head…
This past Sunday, I was given a beautiful leek and thought making a potato and leek soup was the perfect way to use this mildly flavored veggie!
To start cooking up this soup, I rendered some pancetta. Once browned, the pancetta was put aside, while the chopped leeks and some minced garlic got a quick sauté in the pancetta fat. After cooking till softened, in went a quart of chicken broth, some water, along with five peeled and cubed yukon gold potatoes. Everything was brought to a boil, then reduced down to a simmer. As soon as the potatoes were fork tender, I puréed them with an immersion blender and then added in a touch of cream, as well as some shredded extra sharp cheddar for a bit of richness…
Back into the soup went some of the pancetta for texture and flavor. Once heated through, it was time to eat!
Creamy, velvety, slightly crunchy and perfectly seasoned… this soup warmed us completely! Seconds were definitely in order…

at a low simmer…
-R

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a homestyle classic that always delivers!!

Tonight, thanks to a dreary day, felt like a perfect night for some homey, comforting cooking in the kitchen. I decided to make a hearty meatloaf dinner full of everyday ingredients that everyone has in their pantries… salt, pepper, eggs, breadcrumbs, olive oil, water and of course good ground meats. My meatloaf is a three-type meat blend of ground sirloin, lamb and veal, which I always get from the local meat purveyor.
Everything was added to a large bowl and gently combined… once thoroughly mixed, it was time for a long bake in the oven until cooked.
As a side dish, I normally would whip up [literally] some mashed potatoes. I wasn’t feeling that, but instead craved broccoli rabe sautéed in lots and lots of garlic and oil! So that craving became a reality on the plate…
The meatloaf was moist and flavorful, while its counterpart slightly spicy, but plenty garlicky!
I am so glad that there was enough so that tomorrow there is some for a meatloaf sandwich…

at a low simmer…
-R

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soups on!

As a cool, brisk day set in this Sunday afternoon the thought of a filling and hearty soup appeared a logical dinner choice!
Since I had lentils, carrots, celery, onion and garlic… lentil soup seemed a good idea. A simple soup that offers layers of textures and flavors and takes minutes to prepare [cooking time not included]!
A quick chop and sauté of all the veggies, a hit of crushed red pepper, a quick pick and rinse of the lentils, some chicken stock [or water and bouillon if you don’t have stock], salt if needed and that’s it! For an added extra, I tossed in some cubes of turkey ham. Everything is brought to a boil and reduced to a simmer and cooked until perfection has been achieved…
These hearty bowls of soup warmed us up on this chilly evening!

at a low simmer…
-R

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sticky, salty and sweet… YUP it’s dessert

After sitting back and watching some Food Network television this afternoon, I was tempted to make a dessert that I haven’t made in quite a long time [probably since I last saw this episode]. It was a chocolate caramel pie with a graham cracker crust [well technically they are bars, but I prefer to make it into a pie and not squares]!

It’s pretty simple to make… graham crackers, butter, heavy cream, sugar, chocolate chips [I use bittersweet], espresso powder, fleur de sel [this is what I used], water and brown sugar.

After baking the graham cracker crust, it’s set aside to cool. While cooling, I made the caramel. I combined the cream, butter, sugar and water, and stirred until velvety. Next, the soon-to-be caramel needs to come to a boil until it hits 240 degrees. This concoction is then poured into the crust, cooled and then chilled in the freezer until slightly hardened.

Last, but certainly not least, I combined the chocolate chips and cream in a heatproof bowl and rested it over a pot of slightly boiling water. Everything is stirred until smooth, then I whisked in the espresso powder. Once combined, the chocolate is poured on top of the caramel and spread out evenly. The top then gets a nice sprinkle of the fleur de sel.

After chilling out for a while, it was time to cut into this sexy pie. Chocolatey, slightly briny from the salt and sticky and sweet from the caramel… Now I remember why I made this the first time!!!

at a low simmer…

-R

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i’m feeling rice, rice, rice [and beans]…

Tonight on the menu was Spanish steak and onions served with rice and beans. The rice was made from a secret recipe, that I cannot share… what I can share is how absolutely incredible it was! A number of different flavors brought everything together and the outcome was, well delightful.
As for the steak and onions, I quickly pan seared the steaks that I sprinkled with adobo seasoning. Once browned, in the same pot I added onions, vinegar, olive oil, water, tomato sauce and salt to taste. When the liquid reached a boil, I reduced it to a simmer and put a lid on it and cooked until everything was tender.
This meal was filling and definitely required an appetite! Thank goodness I had just that…

at a low simmer…
-R

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rustic breakfast for dinner…

Fried eggs rested on a puddle of creamy polenta. The polenta was simple and peasanty with rustic flair. Milk, heavy cream and water simmered and the corn meal was gently rained into the warm liquid and stirred vigorously with a whisk, then over to a wooden spoon. A pinch of salt, grated pecorino and a secret sweetness was added to elevate the flavors and create something spectacular!
The fried eggs were cooked gently in a melted butter [I know butter, not normally how I roll] and breadcrumb mixture dressed lovingly with fresh thyme. Thanks to the breadcrumbs, the eggs were given a beautiful crusty aspect, while the yolks warm and runny…
Creamy, hearty and warming… it’s as simple as that!

at a low simmer…
-R

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