Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chocolate Nut Clusters

I've been trying to be good all week. Cutting back a bit. Salads for dinner. But this morning, my inner child was stomping her feet and yelling, "Enough of the lettuce already!! Give me some chocolate and nobody gets hurt!" What can I say? I'm a wimp who loves chocolate.....I simply had to give in to her temper tantrum. It's not like I make this kind of thing very often, but sometimes you just have to be a little decadent.

Let me say that this is the easiest recipe known to mankind. All you need is a microwave, some chocolate, a little butter and mixed nuts. Since my kids don't like nuts, it's safe to say that Breen and I will be the only ones eating these. I think I might have to ask the kids to hide them so we don't eat them all in one sitting!

Chocolate Nut Clusters
1 cup of chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate of your choice)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup of mixed nuts

In a microwave safe bowl (I used a glass measuring cup), melt the chocolate and butter. It took me around 3 minutes and I checked and stirred the chocolate after each minute to make sure it didn't burn. Remove from microwave and add the nuts. If you have a hard time mixing, simply add A DROP or two of water to help it move a little. Once the nuts are coated in chocolate, drop spoonfuls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator until set. Store candy in an airtight container for up to one month OR eat them all in one sitting, but don't yell at me :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cashew Curry

This is the best curry recipe I've made to date. I prepared it for my lunch today and it was simply sublime and sensual. The vegetables and tofu simmer in a rich broth of coconut milk and curry. It was quick and easy to make. I've experimented with lots of curry dishes on this journey and I don't think I ever need to look further than this one. I prepared some white rice cooked in water and coconut milk. I spooned the rice in to my bowl and ladled the cashew curry over it.

One cup of coconut milk
1-2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 large red onion, chopped
One large garlic clove, chopped
1/3 cup of water
4 oz extra firm tofu (half a block), cut into small cubes
1/2 cup of snow peas
One cup cauliflower, cut into small florets
One red pepper, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup of cashews

Bring half the coconut milk to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in the curry powder and salt. Stir in the red onion and garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in the remaining coconut milk and water and then the tofu. Cook for another minute or two. Add the snow peas, cauliflower and red pepper and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for a minute or two until the vegetables become crisp tender. Remove the pot from the heat. Serve in a bowl over a little rice and garnish with the cashews.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cheese Straws

I was so busy this past week. I had the best intentions of featuring lots of "C" recipes and I simply could not find the time. Last week, I was out finishing some last minute errands for my husband's birthday when I came across a cookbook for $3. Here's the thing about cookbooks: you spend the money on them and, half the time, there are only about 6 recipes out of 100 that you actually like. Not this cookbook. This one is entitled, "Gifts from the kitchen" published by Love Food Books. Apparently, they have a series of others just like this. I swear I can't wait to bake all 40 of these yummy recipes. Each one is straight forward and easy to put together. Things like Chocolate Nut Clusters, Easy Nut Brittle, Pistachio Turkish Delight, Almond and Cashew Toffee and Herbs de Provence Oil. The pictures are gorgeous and mouthwatering too. Today, I'm featuring the Cheese Straws. These go great with salad and soup or for a nice afternoon snack.

Cheese Straws
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz Parmesan cheese
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Cream the butter in an electric mixer, then add the remaining ingredients (the mixture will be very crumbly). Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425. Slice off pieces of dough and roll them in to 1 inch balls. Then, with the palms of your hands, roll the balls into long, thin strips, like straws. Place them on a lightly greased baking sheet (I HIGHLY recommend using parchment paper instead of greasing the sheet; simply cut off a piece the size of the baking sheet and lay it on the baking sheet). Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden and crispy. Once cooled, store in an airtight container for up to one month.

Here are some highlights from the book: