Monthly Archives: February 2011

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Mint Syrup

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I decided to try making mint syrup because I thought it would be nice with a Grasshopper sundae. Grasshoppers are made with vanilla ice cream, mint syrup (or creme de menthe), and hot fudge. The process is similar to making a mint syrup for cocktails except that the water and sugar is reduced longer to make it thick. I look forward to having this with some homemade hot fudge!

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Italian food is great with fine ingredients and simple flavors. Butter and sage, two simple ingredients on their own, make an excellent gnocchi sauce. Gnocchi is a type of potato dumpling pasta–it reminds me of a cross between polish Perogies and ravioli pasta. Gnocchi is usually made with white potatoes but I decided to try sweet potatoes for a more savory flavor. The sage fries in the butter as it browns which smells and tastes great.

As for the gnocchi making process it was surprisingly easy. The only thing to watch out for is overcooking the gnocchi. It really only needs 3 minutes and should be immediately scooped out when it floats to the top. I learned this the hard way by overcooking it by about 2 minutes which created a slimy bunch that was totally gross. I thought this recipe turned out really great, and I will be making this again–perhaps with pumpkin the next time to mix things up.

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Salsa Verde Carnitas

clipboard023I had a 3 lb. pork butt roast in the freezer and thought it would be put to good use as Carnitas. Carnitas, or “Little Meat,” is a kind of roasted pork used in Mexican food as a filling for burritos, tacos, and tamales. A great dish is all about the contrasting flavors and textures and I was very happy with how this recipe turned out. The pork was tender, yet crispy since it roasted in the oven. The sour salsa and the savory pork was a great contrast of flavors too. I filled the tacos with a little monterey jack cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo, and guacamole. Luckily, I have a lot of leftovers so I look forward to having this again!

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Salsa Verde

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I picked up some tomatillos for a mole sauce a few days ago and since I had a bunch left over I decided to make a salsa verde. This salsa tastes great with meat, especially pork, because of its sour and spicy flavor. It has a really bold taste so throwing it in some tacos was a great way to use this salsa. This recipe is pretty spicy so feel free to take out a few of the peppers for a milder sauce. The sauce can be easily frozen and stored too.

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Flourless Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Sauce

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Happy Valentine’s Day! In my opinion, chocolate and raspberries are a flavor combination that can’t be beat.B I don’t do a lot of baking so this was a very new thing for me to try.B Making a dessert that is “flourless” means only one thing: more room for chocolate and butter! As you can guess, this torte is very rich and dense. I was happy with how it came out though I wish it were a tiny bit more moist. Take it out of the refrigerator up to an hour before eating so that it softens a bit.

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Pork with Mole Negro Sauce

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Making a mole sauce is a bit time consuming and some ingredients are difficult to find. I knew it would be a fun challenge so I decided to give it a shot. The mole turned out well and I liked the nutty, spicy chocolate flavor of the sauce. The pork was excellent with those flavors. A lot of mole recipes are super complex and involved so I’ll try to make this one a little easier to follow.

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Reuben Sandwich

Since I have been craving some hot sandwiches, John recommended that we try Reubens. Then he told me that sauerkraut was involved and I got worried. The smell of sauerkraut is kind of intimidating. Then I tried it out of the jar and it wasn’t too good. John just spoons it out throws it on a hot dog and i’m just like ‘wow’.

I have also never tried pastrami before so this definitely was a whole group of new flavors. I like trying unfamiliar foods though so I decided to keep my mind open. The sauerkraut tasted a lot better after it had been drained and sauteed. It was actually really tasty on the sandwich since the dressing, rye, cheese, and meat were enhanced by its flavor. So, I will be using kraut again on reuben sandwiches for sure–but hot dogs? Noo way.

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Hot Fudge Sauce

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I am a big fan of baker’s unsweetened and semi-sweetened baking chocolate. They have great recipes written on the inside of their boxes and I think I have tried all of them at one point. My favorite of those recipes was the fondue sauce and this hot fudge is pretty similar to that recipe. The fudge is more syrupy and less rich (since there’s no heavy cream in it) than the fondue. The fudge thickens on the ice cream and can be easily reheated on the stove.

Hot Fudge Sauce
(Makes 2 1/2 Cups)
Printable Version

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • 7 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or rum

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter very slowly in the microwave, stirring frequently until combined.
  2. Heat the water to boiling in a saucepan.
  3. Stir the melted butter and chocolate mixture into the boiling water.
  4. Add the sugar, corn syrup and salt on low heat and mix until smooth.
  5. Turn the heat up and stir until mixture starts to boil. Turn the heat down so that it is just bubbling. Cook for nine minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. Stir in the vanilla or rum and serve.

Prosciutto and Mozzarella Panini Sandwich with Fig Jam

I had been wanting to try some different hot sandwiches for a while now. This sandwich is like the Italian version of a hot ham and cheese. I thought it turned out great and all the flavors tasted really good together. The smoky cured ham tasted great with the fruity sweetness of the fig jam. The crispy ciabatta roll and the melted mozzarella also provided a nice balance of textures. Next time, I would probably use a little bit less of the fig spread because it was quite sweet. I will be making this recipe again for sure!

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