Chocolate Sorbet

Chocolate Sorbet

With Valentine’s Day around the corner I thought I share one of my favorite chocolate desserts.  I feel that Valentine’s Day screams chocolate.  No other holiday has me wanting dessert badly.  Out of all the chocolate sorbet recipes on the internet I like this one the best, because the sugar is caramelized first before being  mixed with the chocolate.  Anything caramelized I’m game for.  Another reason I like this sorbet because it is free of fat, so there is no need of feeling guilty  eating an entire container of sorbet on Valentine’s Day.

Chocolate Sorbet

Adapted from Gourmet, February 2003

Sorbet in general is a pain to scoop out.  If you are having trouble scooping out your sorbet I would suggest you take your ice scooper and run it under hot water.  If that doesn’t work,  let your sorbet thaw for a few minutes.

1 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups water
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook sugar in a dry 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted into a deep golden caramel. Add water (caramel will harden and steam vigorously) and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved.

Add cocoa and salt, whisking until dissolved, then transfer to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally. Stir in vanilla, then chill, covered, until cold (about 2 hours).

Freeze in ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup

This recipe was discovered by the fact that I didn’t have much to cook with.  Rummaging through the fridge and cabinets trying to figure out if I can make something with the limited items I had. Then searching the internet to see what I can make with those items.  I’m so glad I found this recipe   I was so close to eating canned soup and I hate canned soup.

I thought this recipe would be perfect to share because it’s a great pantry recipe and most people keep some of these ingredients in their kitchen.  Also, I don’t see too many recipes using evaporated milk for savory meals unless you go to carnation milk’s website.  I like keeping carnation milk in the pantry because it’s a  great substitute for when your milk expires or if you don’t have half and half on hand.

This soup really does taste like a bake potato but in soup form.  Most of the flavor comes from the chicken broth and the evaporated milk makes the soup creamy.  The skins from the potato is really needed because it’s a “baked potato soup” after all and gives the soup flavor and texture as well.  The best part of a baked potato is the toppings.  So I loaded my soup with cheddar cheese, scallions  bacon bits, and sour cream.

Baked Potato Soup

Adapted from Very Best Baking

2 large or 3 medium baking potatoes, baked or microwaved
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (14.5 fl. oz.) chicken broth
1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
Cooked and crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions (optional)

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in broth and evaporated milk. Scoop potato pulp from 1 potato (reserve potato skin); mash. Add pulp to broth mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes just to a boil. Dice remaining potato skin and potato(es); add to soup. Heat through. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Top each serving with bacon, cheese and green onions, if desired.

Black Bean Soup with Cumin + Jalapeno

We’re finally in October.  And It’s fall.  Though I’m a summer gal, I’m starting to appreciate what fall has to offer.

Black Bean Soup with Cumin + Jalapeno

Adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2004

Author Note:  I felt that this soup wasn’t spicy enough so I added the entire jalapeño pepper into the soup.  Also, I added Colby jack cheese, avocado,  sour cream and tortilla chips as my topping but feel free to add whatever you want.  I think a Mexican cheese would work in this soup other than feta.

To make this soup vegetarian, swap the chicken broth with vegetable broth instead.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño chile with seeds, divided
2 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, undrained
1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth or (vegetable broth to make vegetarian soup)

Chopped fresh cilantro

Chopped green onions

Crumbled feta cheese

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Mix in cumin and 1 teaspoon jalapeño. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, and broth; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer 3 cups of soup to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to pot. Simmer soup until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon jalapeño, if desired.

Ladle soup into bowls. Pass cilantro, green onions, and feta cheese separately.

Spiced Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

My food processor died  last week and  I was disappointed because I was hoping to buy an ice cream maker.  One of my favorite blogger was giving out a free kitchen aid food processor and I was hoping to be the lucky winner. Well I didn’t win.  I really didn’t want to buy one a new one because food processors are expensive.

Why are they still expensive and blenders are cheap to buy?

 It took me years before I purchased my first one.   I ended replacing my food processor instead since it’s something that I use all the time.  It’s only a matter of time before my blender stops working.  Talk about bad timing. Luckily the holidays is coming up soon.

Sorry for rambling.  I can’t help it.

So, I’ve made a upside-down cake for the first time. I wasn’t sure how well the cake would turn out.  I was afraid that I would burn the caramel sauce and the cake would be stuck in the pan.  But carefully following the instructions, it was  a delicious and easy cake to make.  Now I’m ready to tackle a pineapple upside-down cake.

Spiced Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

Adapted from Deblicious 

Author Note:

In the original recipe Deb uses peaches but any stone fruit would work in here.  I left out the brandy and cardamom because I didn’t have it on hand.  If you can’t find have brandy and cardamom, don’t worry about it.

This is a good cake.  It can be enjoyed plain or eaten with whip cream.  I even like cake at room temperature with a cup of coffee for breakfast.

Caramel Sauce:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brandy
3 firm nectarines, sliced with the skin on

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium sauce pan, stir together the butter, brown sugar, salt, cardamom, vanilla and brandy over low heat. Keep stirring until the sugar melts and the mixture starts to bubble and thicken.

Pour the caramel sauce into the cake pan and arrange the sliced nectarines over the caramel.    Set cake pan aside.

Cake Batter:

1/2 cup unsalted  butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Keep the pan over the flame, and continue swishing the butter round until it browns and emits a nutty fragrance. Immediately take the pan off the heat and pour the browned butter into a mixing bowl.

While the browned butter is cooling, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and salt; set this aside.

Go back to your browned butter, and beat in the sugar and vanilla. Before you add the eggs, make sure the butter is completely cooled because you don’t want your eggs to scramble.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, followed by 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix in half of the remaining flour, followed by the rest of the buttermilk. Finally, gently fold in the rest of the flour.

Spread the cake batter over the nectarines and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly prodded. Allow the cake to rest in the tin for about 5 minutes before inverting it onto a serving platter. Don’t let the cake cool for more than 5 minutes because the caramel and nectarine will stick to the pan.