Monday, June 27, 2011

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake.  There's nothing at all wrong with those four words.  People think this is difficult or fidgety, it's not, it's easy, quick and best of all, it stores in the freezer and you can pop it in the oven and have chocolaty, cakey, liquidy, fudgy deliciousness oozing all over your plate in mere moments.  The recipe is below, here's the process (and beauty shots!)

Melt the chips and butter in the microwave, set aside to cool down.  Butter mini mason jars liberally.  You can store in the freezer in these dishes and bake in them as well, I do my pork pies and meat pies in them and keep them in the freezer.  You can serve up one or two of the savory pies whenever the urge hits without the time and effort (and leftovers that get tossed) of making a full size pie.


Try to keep melted chocolate yumminess away from any lurking 12 yr old boys.

Whip eggs in the kitchenaid and add sugar and flour.  Beat until it's fluffy, add the chocolate and fill the mini dishes about 3/4 full.  Put lids on and freeze or bake at 375 for 11 minutes.



I pour the mixture back into the measuring cup to make it easier to fill the dishes, it's up to you.


IF you bake right away, it's 375 for 11 minutes, I cook them on a sheet pan.  Run a knife around the outside and invert onto a plate.  Have them plain or add some poured cream or cream out of a can.  Either way, these are crazy good. 


Inverted success!

Oooziness success!

Sure, add whipped cream!

My Lava Cake recipe; 

1 cup of semi sweet chips
1 stick of butter
Combine to smooth and set aside. 

In mixer: 
Whip 3 eggs until very thick and pale. 

Slowly add 
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour

Beat until very thick, add chocolate mixture and fold quickly.  Divide between buttered ramekins or small dishes.  Bake on a tray at 375 for 11 minutes or freeze.  If cooking from frozen, bake at 375 17-19 minutes.  It should still look wet in the middle. 

Quick, simple, delicious.  Not too sweet yet desperately chocolatey. 


Monday, June 20, 2011

Pie in a Jar

There is always room for pie.  Sometimes you need pie, not just feel like pie or wish you had pie or think that pie would be a good idea.  Sometimes it's a need that if you don't satisfy you'll burst into flames.

I can fix it so that you never, ever, have to be without pie again.  You don't need to run to the store or *gasp* the bakery.  You certainly have to open your freezer but it's YOUR freezer filled with YOUR pie.  You can have one or twenty and there is absolutely no waste.  This works for a family or a single, I've been both and I've always had pie. 

This is a cheat version.  Trust me, frequently I peel some apples, shred them into a pan with some melted butter, sugar and cinnamon and cook them down a bit and use that as my filling.  Not this day, this day we're straight out of a can because I had a can and really, I had to be wasteful.

On that note, I know how to make pastry, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.  It's your call, if you WANT to make pastry; go for it.  If you don't want to make it, help keep those Pillsbury people employed and buy a box (or two) when they go on sale and keep them in your freezer for pie making day.  That's today. 

The only other thing you need is the mini jam (mason) jars, short and wide mouthed is what we need here.  These are about 2 inches high and you can buy a gross at Walmart for next to nothing.

Assemble your ingredients, however fresh or homemade they may be.  You need pastry, some sort of fruit filling, some lemon and some cinnamon and the half mason jars.  If I use canned apple filling (this one is sugar free) I add a squeeze of lemon and some cinnamon to it in a bowl and chop the apples a bit, it makes the filling 'brighter' and less 'canned'.

Roll out whatever pie dough you feel the urge to use and line the mason jar.  Fill almost to the top and put the 'lid' on, seal it up the best you can.  I should have left more up the sides or maybe not filled it quite so full, it's a trial and error thing.

After you put the top crust on it, put the mason lid on and shove it in the freezer.  

I baked this immediately on pie day without having been frozen because I couldn't stand the wait.  I sprinkled a little bit of sugar on it and baked about 40 minutes.  I drizzled a little cream on it and ate it right out of the jar after it rested about 15 minutes, it's too molten much before that.

I baked this one from frozen solid at a lower temperature, I could have let it go longer to get a darker crust but I wanted pie!  There was some explosion but really, it's all good.  I did run a knife around it and invert it on a plate, it was cool and it made my mother (who was skyping me at the time) green with envy at my instant hot apple pie.  I covered it with heavy cream and ate it ruthlessly.  


Make it, use any cooked filling and fill your freezer with these pies.  You can do sweet or savory fillings and if you don't want to use a pastry crust you can do a crumble topping.  Make this, you'll be happy happy happy and you will never be pie-less during your next pie emergency.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Brisket 101

I live in Austin, Texas.  Making a good brisket is a residency requirement, it's sort of like having big hair and drinking margaritas. I made a pretty decent roast beef when I arrived in Texas, it didn't cut it.  I have played with many briskets over the years, each one, I think, was better than the one before.  I'm all about experimenting.  I finally mastered a killer brisket a few years ago.  I make it as often as I can get away with it, I love it, it's my favorite brisket in town and it's sadly simple.  There are all sorts of people here in town making killer briskets but they have 2 page recipes from the 35 ingredient rub to the special wood you need to smoke 'em as well as the fact you have to babysit your grill to keep the smoke at the right temperature and direction.  Really, I shove mine in an oven and frankly I'd put mine up against any of them...and now I'm going to share with you.

Take 1 brisket, any size.  Here I find they range from about 10 lbs to 24 or so, this works with any size.  Rub it liberally with salt and pepper.  IF you have a favorite rub mix, do it.  I rubbed this one with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, cumin and smoked paprika.  IF you don't have a favorite, use loads of salt and pepper, trust me, it'll be delicious. 

Rub your giant hunk of untrimmed meat, cut a gash or two if you are feeling artsy fartsy, don't if you're not.  Put the brisket in a large pan and seal it TIGHTLY with tinfoil.  Heavy duty is best.  Be sure you seal this baby up. 

Put it in a 225 oven and go have a life.  In about 5 hours (or before you go to bed) pull it out, gently peel the corner back and pour out any liquid, there'll be loads.  Reseal it tightly and put it back in the oven.  This is going to be 24 hours from start to finish.

Here's the start and the finish!


Rip a hunk off the short end (this was a random piece that got particularly dark, check the bark!!  The fat gets crunchy and hard and the meat, oh the meat is so tender and juicy and delicious!


After 24 hours, turn the oven off, leave it in there, covered about an hour.  Pull it out and it'll have rested and be sliceable.  Use a sharp knife, this stuff is crazy tender juicy!

You can rip it apart or slice it


There are some things in life I do very well, this is one of them and now it's one of yours!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pan roasted Chicken with Sugarsnaps

My local HEB  puts chicken breasts on sale frequently.  I can buy these three breasts, skin on, bone in, for $3.00.  Really?  They also had sugar snaps peas on sale the other day so I grabbed a handful that cost me $1.00.  Ok, $4.00 spent and I'm about to put a sweet meal on the table.  The 3 of us will eat well, these are huge breasts and when you cook them with skin and bone, they stay ridiculously flavorful and moist and juicy, yeah, it makes me happy.  

Salt and pepper the chicken liberally and drizzle with some olive oil.


After they are browned DARK on the skin side, flip them, let them sizzle for a moment and pour some water or chicken stock or wine in the pan.  WHOA, steam and it boils like crazy, we like that!

I squeezed half a lemon into the molten juices and tossed the lemon in the pot as well as a clove of garlic. I put the pan in a 400 degree oven until the chicken was just cooked through, 20 minutes I think these took, I just stab a knife in the thickest part to be sure they're done. Take them out of the oven, put them on a plate and cover them loosely with foil, we don't want the crispy skin to sog out on us.

Ah, my resting beauties.  In the mean time, put the pan on pretty high heat and stir up all the chickeny juices, I added a drizzle of cream but you can just boil it down to have a think juice to pour over.  It's your call.  Cream is better though ;)  Add a few scrapes of nutmeg into the sauce and let it boil like crazy to reduce and thicken up.  It'l also darken from the brown bits on the bottom.

I picked the ends off my sugar snap peas, tossed them into a steamer and turned the heat off and let them sit there for a few minutes.  We like crisp tender here.  Toss them with a little butter, salt and pepper and voila, the veg done! 

When the peas are done, the sauce has thickened.  I had some corn in a can I heated up to add to the plate.  I cut the chicken off the bone in one large piece and sliced it, added the peas and corn and drizzled the thickened sauce over all.

About an hour from deciding we needed dinner to sitting down eating a pretty nice feast.  It's fresh, delicious, filling and light all at the same time.  It also fed us WELL for $4.00 and there was leftovers which will be a cold chicken/pea/corn salad tomorrow that I'll toss with a little mayo, lemon juice, curry powder and tarragon.  I will pile it into one of my french baguettes, sliced length ways and lightly toasted and I might just like meal 2 as much as meal 1!   

Hope you make it, you'll certainly enjoy it!!