This is very simple: take your very favourite brownie recipe and add peanut butter! Again, like all my recipes, I turn to America’s Test Kitchen (”ATK”). This recipe used unsweetened chooclate melted with butter added to eggs/sugar/vanilla and then flour/baking soda/salt folded in. I toasted some pecans as well for, you know, protein (?).
Then swirled in 1/3 cup of smooth peanut butter and baked 20 minutes @350.
They were yummy and dense with a lovely fugdy feel. It may be my sweet-tooth talking, but next time I might mix the peanut butter with a little icing sugar to get a nice peanut butter cup type taste.
I made this pizza for our supper tonight! The recipe for the dough was very easy (via America’s Test Kitchen) and the sauce even easier (garlic, olive oil and a can of diced tomatoes). I topped it with loads red peppers, green onions and bacon; parmeasean and mozzarella.
I’ve read a few DIY pizza oven hacks, but I’m plum out of bricks and I don’t own a pizza stone so I had to bake the old fashioned way - in a pan (gasp). Baked at 450 for 15 minutes you get a nice crispy and chewy golden crust,
Once I pulled it out of the oven I sprinkled it with fresh chives and basil and paired mine with an unoaked chardonnay - perfect!
We ate at Mexico Lindo today. I had heard many, many good things about this place and shamefully, had never been. It has quite a fierce following in Halifax so I wanted to try it.
The bright orange tables and fun colourful decor meet you along with the very cheerful owners/staff when you enter. They bring some tortilla chips and spicy salsa while you read the menu. The salsa had a great flavour albeit a little runny. It’s not a complaint - just need to be careful you don’t goop all over the tables, menus and yourself. I’m very goopy when I eat.
I got the beef taco combination plate (w/rice & beans) ($10.95) and it was very, very tasty. The shredded beef was tender and flavourful in the crispy shell with plenty of your standard lettuce, cheese, sour cream toppings. For some reason it did not occur to me, until my very last bite, to put the salsa on the tacos. Durr! taco fail!
I’m not quite sure what it is with local tex-mex places and their obsession with refried beans. It’s tasty enough, but pulverized beans with a sprinkle of cheese just isn’t something that I flock to. Why not mix in some black beans into the rice pilaf? but I digress.
I have to mention the very delicious glass of agua fresca I ordered. I believe that it was made with watermelon and strawberry and perhaps another fruit and was totally refreshing for a muggy gloomy day (like today) ($1.99). A few tables had pitchers of the peachy-coloured sweet drink so it is very popular.
Considering the generous portion of food (2 big tacos, loads of rice and refried beans) and the lovely drink, I think that I got an okay value. My lunchmates had a chimichanga plate and a chicken burrito plate and all looked very tasty to me!
I will defintily go back again - even if it is just for a big cold pitcher of agua fresca!
Sunday Dinner: July 18
Roast beef dinner evokes a lot of fond memories for me. Mainly rich gravy-filled memories. The gravy I made for this beauty wasn’t as plentiful as I’m used to, but was very potent and lovely, lovely.
Inside round roast salted overnight, cover it in some oil and coat with pepper. Sear each side 3-4 minutes in a large skillet and bang the whole thing in the oven. Bake at 250 for 1:15h, turn heat off and let it sit for 30mins inside the hot oven. Again, I need to rely on my thermometer more than my timer, because this was about 7-8 minutes over done. It was at 140 degrees when I served it, but I think that a nice 130-135 degrees would have been perfect. Still, you get a juicy and tender roast with lots of good meaty flavour. Just salt and pepper – no need to go crazy with a roast. Let it work its juicy meaty magic and you’ll never be disappointed.
Use the pan drippings to make a nice pan gravy: shallots, flour and water: easy!
I served this with some new potatoes (butter/chives) and a little asparagus, red pepper stirfry.
Sunday Dinner: July 11
Sometimes, you just want to fill your house with the heavenly aroma of a roasted chicken. I’ve done chickens many times before, but I had never done the full-on butter the outside and under the skin thing before. Frankly when I see this done on cooking shows it makes me a little queasy. It’s well worth getting over stretching and separating the skin membrane from the meat to get the butter and herbs under there.
Cooked at 370 for 40 minutes and then 30 minutes at 450 you get a succulent chicken with a crispy skin which will make you feel like a billion bucks. Separate the fat from the drippings and make your gravy (flour/chicken stock).
The vegetable stir may or may not have been cooked with some of the reserved chicken fat – you’ll never know. (they were!)
Sunday Dinner: July 4th
This was our first weekend in the new place. I was determined to make a fabulous Sunday dinner. This recipe for steak with red wine sauce comes from America’s Test Kitchen, basically my Bible for cooking and baking.
I’ll admit that steaks aren’t my forte and these were cooked just a little too long. They still had some pink in them but I should have taken them out of the pan a few minutes earlier. The sauce was crazy good. Shallots, wine, chicken stock and butter.
I boiled the potato wedges first and then tossed them in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper until crispy. Then tossed in some more butter, garlic and snow peas.
Greek salad is our favourite and the feta cheese from Fox Hill Cheese House is always so creamy, salty and tangy – it’s perfect with some lightly dressed greens. I know that croutons aren’t a traditional addition to Greek salad, but I made these up so soak up the dressing and sauce. I probably won’t make them out of whole wheat again, nothing beats buttery and crispy white bread!
Strawberry Cream Layer Cake
Strawberries? Good! Cream? Awesome! Cake? Even better!! You can’t go wrong with this cake. If people don’t like it, they aren’t human. Make this cake when you want to wow your dining guests with some simple ingredients.
1 recipe Yellow Cake
1 quart strawberries
4 cups whipped cream cheese topping
While your gorgeous fluffy cakes are cooling you can start on the strawberry filling. Cut the strawberries in half and sprinkle a few tablespoons of sugar. Set them in a strainer over a bowl to catch that wonderful strawberry juice. Stir often. After roughly an hour pour the juices into a small pan with a few tablespoons of orange juice. Reserve 40 strawberry halves and put the rest into the simmering pan along with a pinch of salt. I also added a few frozen blueberries and a little extra sugar to make it a tad bit colourful. Mash them up a bit Reduce for 5 – 10 minutes and let cool.
Whipped cream cheese topping
1 block of cream cheese
½ C sugar
2 cups whipping cream
Whip that all up until soft peaks form.
Assemble the cake
Cut each layer in two. On first layer arrange strawberries on the outside to create a border. Mine were small so I just spaced out 10 evenly. In the centre put 1/3 of the strawberry sauce mixture in the centre. The cake will soak most of it up. Top layer with 1 cup of whipped cream.
Repeat with next two layers.
Spread the whipped cream over the top layer and garnish with a few nice strawberries. You’ll see from this picture that is something I didn’t do. Instead I slopped on a few extra berries and cut immediately.