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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Roasted Tomato Soup

Ever have some produce in your fridge that was just starting to go bad? Before I started mastering home economics, I would simply throw it out. Now, I have learned to use what I can in creative ways. So I made this roasted tomato soup with thyme,onion,and garlic; all of which I need to use up.
The recipe is simple. Simply throw everything in a pan (skins and all), drizzle with olive oil and season salt and pepper. Bake in the oven at 350 until soft. Puree and add water and additional seasoning to taste. I added sugar, dried italian seasoning and nutmeg. You could add cumin, chipotle peppers, and sour cream or bourbon and bacon ...
You're only limited by your imagination. Enjoy!

Broccoli and cheese soup

Fresh Strawberry sauce

Sunday, February 24, 2013

No comments from the Peanut Gallery: Peanut butter pudding

Peanut Butter Pudding

I have been on an unintended pudding kick. Don't get me wrong, I was that kid that wanted pudding in my daily school lunch, but I moved away from it. Now, I find myself constantly craving creamy, cool, pudding. Constantly making chocolate pudding because I have the ingredients on hand, can get old. 

Successfully making vanilla pudding, made me question what other flavors could be made. A few months ago, Joy the Baker suggested making chocolate and peanut butter pudding, but I ignored it because I did not have many of the ingredients on hand. However, the concept of peanut butter pudding intrigued me. After some google searches, I decided to make a small batch of peanut butter pudding to use as a garnish to my chocolate pudding. I was smart to make a small batch because this baby is rich! Use with caution!

This recipe was adapted from the peanut butter pudding recipe, found here. 

I decided to only make half of this recipe, but increase the peanut butter. To make a small batch:

Sift together 1/4 c of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of 2% milk and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and it bubbles around the perimeter of the pot. Take off of heat and whisk in 1/2 c creamy peanut butter and 1 tsp vanilla paste. Pour into serving container(s) and place a piece of cling wrap directly on the pudding and chill for at least 2 hours.

Here are some ideas for serving:

First, this rich pudding can be eaten alone, but you can kick it up by:

  • Remixing the banana pudding, by adding sliced bananas and cookies (graham crackers, ginger snaps, Nilla Wafers or Oreos).
  • With cinnamon whipped cream
  • With chocolate pudding as a Reese's Parfait (as I did in the picture above).
  • With chips: chocolate (white, dark, etc.), toffee, peanut butter, or cinnamon.

How would you eat your Peanut Butter Pudding?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Getting into some Purple Reign

Purple Peppermint Patties aka The Raven

Purple Reign

As you know by now, The Baltimore Ravens won the Superbowl. Seeing as though I live in Charm City, I hosted AFC and Superbowl parties in my home. As the hostess supreme, I had to come up with something purple and meaningful for the Ravens, so I came up with purple velvet cupcakes (Purple Reign) and purple peppermint patties (The Raven). Both were a hit; and quite lucky, if I do say so myself.  Cheers!

Take a look at the batter for the Purple Reign (velvet) cupcakes above. While the batter had a slight purple tinge to it, when baked, they turned brown. I used red and blue food coloring to color the batter. I do not recommend going that route. Instead, get some food coloring paste; that's what I used in the frosting. The difference in ease and coloring was astounding. 

I used the world famous Magnolia Bakery's Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe, found here, with one minor tweak: I used White Lilly flour instead of cake flour and had no issues. The cake was moist and as light as air. In fact, many people found themselves scarfing down more than one cupcake at a time, due to the airiness of the cake. Consider yourself warned.  

This icing, too, was as light as air. Again, I used White Lily flour, and I used 4-5 1/2 tablespoons of it; I literally lost count and hoped for the best. It turned out divinely and people raved about it. Also adding to the lightness of the icing was the use of skim milk.  That said, you can find the original recipe here. I wouldn't recommend using a butter cream frosting for this recipe; it may be too heavy.

Finished Product. Some have mini chocolate chips to add dimension. 
Icing tips to make piping easier.

The Raven

The minty filling of the Raven. Some were heart shaped; other were regularly formed. 

This recipe was originally scheduled to be a part of my holiday treat boxes, but when I got ill, they were shelved. That said, I had everything on hand to make this recipe; including the food coloring paste. I made a few tweaks to the recipe, to wit: 1/4 each of peppermint and vanilla extracts to the insides and  a hefty dash of peppermint extract in the chocolate coating ( I used regular chocolate chips for this). That said, this recipe is pretty fool proof and adjustable to your tastes. The original recipe is found here.  They keep nicely in the freezer, too. In fact, that is where I recommend that you store them. 

One last thing: Wondering what you should do with the remaining evaporated milk? Make my vanilla ice cream pudding! 

Take care and let your team spirit shine,


Friday, February 1, 2013

Vanilla Pudding

Double Vanilla "Ice Cream" Pudding

If you read this blog regularly, you know that my inspiration materializes from my desire to use ingredients that I already have on hand. See, I will become enamored with a recipe, have to try it, purchase the ingredients, and then get stuck with the remnants of said ingredients. If the ingredient is ubiquitous like chicken, I'd have no waste. But what do you do with something like an opened can of evaporated milk? Can you use this milk on cereal? Can you freeze it? How long does it keep in the fridge? My mind was aflutter with questions. To be on the safe side, I decided that I would find a recipe that called for at least a cup of evaporated milk. My first point of research was the can itself.  I noticed that the can proudly branded itself as "the cooking milk." So, I thought about recipes that called for milk and immediately recalled my last post for chocolate pudding. 

I'm aware that vanilla pudding is its own delight and should be treated as such, so I consulted several recipes and decided to use this recipe, with some tweaks. My recipe calls for two types of milk, so I thought, "Self, why not use two types of vanilla." The end result yielded a soft, creamy pudding that tastes like soft-serve vanilla bean ice cream; the good kind. I recommend using the best vanilla that you can get your hands on. Also, if you cannot access vanilla paste, but have vanilla beans on hand, use that. Simply steep the vanilla pods in the milks. Have vanilla sugar? Use that-I'm sure you get my drift. 

Happy cooking and Go Ravens! 


1 1/4 c evaporated milk
3/4 c whole milk
3 tblsp* cornstarch
1/2 c white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tblsp unsalted butter

Warm the milks to a bubble over medium heat. Meanwhile combine salt, sugar, and cornstarch together. When the milk is ready, sift the dry ingredients into the hot milk. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the mixture coats one side of the utensil, but do not boil. When ready, take off of the heat and whisk in butter and vanilla flavorings. Pour into serving containers and chill. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin forming. 

*This makes a soft-serve texture. If you'd like a firmer pudding, you may want to increase the amount of cornstarch. Naturally, you should sift in the additional cornstarch; this helps to minimize the risk of lumps.

Can you see the specks of vanilla beans? 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chocolate Pudding

Double Chocolate Pudding

I have plenty of chocolate on hand. I have cocoa powder, mini chocolate morsels, dark, semi and milk chocolate baking disks, etc. Since, they'll keep, I didn't have to make anything, but I was bombarded with images of pudding. See, I am a my fan of the television show Scandal. On it, there is a character called Edison, who bares an uncanny resemblance to Bill Cosby. The pudding jokes were everywhere and endless. Couple that with my other adoration, Pinterest, where a plethora of chocolate pudding recipes suddenly appeared, and I figured that the universe was trying to tell me something: make some pudding. When I glanced at some of the recipes, I found that I had everything that I needed to make this favorite. I chose a recipe without eggs, and that I thought I could experiment with; in essence, a template. I choose to make this recipe somewhat straightforward, but you could add coconut extract and garnish with toasted coconut. Or maybe some peppermint extract and crushed peppermint candies. Perhaps you can add a dollop of peanut butter or hazelnut. How would you customize your pudding?

This recipe was based on the Simple Chocolate Pudding recipe 

The List:

1/2 c sugar
3 tblsp cocoa powder
1/4 c cornstarch to start (you may need to add more if the mixture isn't thickening. Make sure to sift this in. Otherwise, it will be lumpy).
1/8 tsp salt
2 3/4-3 c milk (go buy feel. The weather will impact ingredients).
1-2 tbls butter (depends on the milk used. If using full fat milk, you can reduce the butter. If you're using reduced fat milk, increase your butter).
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 bag of chocolate morsels*
Sift the dry ingredients to fully incorporate the ingredients and to smooth out lumps. Then add milk and heat. Whisk continually until there are no lumps and mixture is thickened. You may need to add more cornstarch; just be sure to mix well. Or sift it in; your choice.When the mixture is just starting to boil, take it off of the heat.

*this makes very smooth and creamy. It also gives the pudding an extra boost of chocolate flavor. You can skip this step, but then it wouldn't be double chocolate pudding, right? I melted my morsels over a double boiler and then added it to the pudding, off of heat, with the butter and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and then chill in the fridge for 3 hours. Enjoy!