Tandoori Cauliflower & Homemade Naan Tacos with Curry Yogurt Sauce & Cilantro-Mint Chutney

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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OK – these guys are pretty delicious but I found them impossible to photograph in a way that made them look as good as they tasted.  Please forgive the loser imagery & trust that these taste FAR better than these photos might lead you to believe.

I attempted tandoori cauliflower once before & it was a total failure.  It was FAR too heavily spiced & undercooked & just the worst.  This recipe was a great success.  I even found myself eating the leftovers cold, right out of the container.  And avocado might seem an odd addition but I found it added a lovely & mellow creaminess – as did the curry sauce – so I recommend using both.

The naan I made was thicker than I would like but that was because my dough was too tacky (I should have kneaded more flour into it) & kept sticking to the rolling pin.  I used the recipe HERE in this youtube tutorial.

My other issue is that the pan got too hot & burned the naan a bit.  I think I needed to have used a non-stick pan.  That said, it was damned tasty & I used naan as hotdog buns for the next few days.  Still, store-bought naan (like they sell at Trader Joe’s) would be fine if the idea of making it is overwhelming.  And – if making the tandoori sauce sounds like a pain in the ass – use a store-bought brand of that, too!   Some of my photos show a little side of the cilantro-mint chutney and some jarred Trader Joe’s mango chutney.

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Homemade Naan

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour

2 TBS melted butter

2 TBS yogurt

1 TBS minced garlic

1 tsp baking powder

Salt to taste

Water as needed (probably less than a cup)

Chopped cilantro – optional

DIRECTIONS (watch the video if the links are still good)

In a large bowl, blend the dry ingredients.  Add the butter, yogurt & cilantro & mix.  Then slowly add water until a dough forms.  Knead it fr several minutes, adding flour or water as needed until you have a soft dough that is no longer tacky.

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Wrap it in plastic wrap & let rest for 30 minutes or more.

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Break off golf ball-sized chunks & roll out (on a floured surface) to your desired size & thickness.

Heat a dry pan (a pan with a cover) until very hot.  Dampen a naan & drop damp side onto hot pan & dampen the other side.  Cover the pan & cook a minute or so or until it begins to bubble a bit.  Turn & cook the other side.

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There you have it!  But – watch her video for a clearer tutorial.

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Curry Yogurt Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup yogurt

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp salt

juice 1/2 lime

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 TBS mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS

Blend well.

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Cilantro-Mint Chutney

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup cilantro

1 cup fresh mint

1 TBS minced ginger

2 scallions – chopped

2 garlic cloves

2 jalapenos (red is prettier but green will do) – seeded

1 TBS olive oil

1/2 tsp honey (or sugar)

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DIRECTIONS

Puree in a food processor.  You can adjust the flavors here – if you feel it needs more mint or cilantro or honey or salt – or even more jalapeno.  I added some water to thin it out.

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Tandoori Cauliflower

INGREDIENTS

Cauliflower – broken into small florets

1 cup yogurt

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1.2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp chili powder

4 garlic cloves – minced

2 tsp ginger (fresh or jarred)

juice of 1/2 lemon

Red food coloring (optional) – just a drop or two

AS TACO GARNISH

Avocado – sliced (optional)

Red onion – sliced very thin

Cilantro – chopped

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Blend all the ingredients except the cauliflower (and not the avocado or red onion or extra cilantro).  When well blended – add the cauliflower & allow to marinate for an hour.  The red food coloring is totally unnecessary but it does give that distinctive color.  It gets EVERYWHERE – so be careful.

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Roast the cauliflower for 20 minutes or until tender.  Little blackened edges are OK!

Now – simply assemble your tacos.  Naan topped with tandoori cauliflower & then red onion, avocado, some curry yogurt sauce & cilantro.  Serve with cilantro-mint chutney and/or mango chutney.

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Red Curry Grilled Shrimp with Spicy Thai Fried Cauliflower “Rice” (Low Carb, Gluten Free & Paleo)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This recipe is easy & guilt-free.  The “rice” is actually just grated cauliflower & the veggies can be customized to suit your tastes or to reflect whatever vegetables you have handy.  I know paleo is all the rage but I am not 100% clear on which vegetables are on the “no” list – but I am pretty sure this is paleo.  If NOT – please write me & tell me why, OK?

The key to this is a pre-made red curry.  I bought this little far at my local Gelson’s.

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Asian stores have little cans of them like these that I buy at Bangluck Market.

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If you can’t buy it made, I am sure there are recipes out there on Pinterest or Google that will show you how to make a red curry paste from curry powder.  Having to make the paste sort of eliminates the ease I am professing about this recipe, though, so keep that in mind.  Try to buy it already made.

That said, I must insist that you try cauliflower “rice” at least once.  In a stir fry, you can hardly tell it isn’t rice & it is so much better for you!

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Red Curry Grilled Shrimp

INGREDIENTS

Skewers (optional)

Shrimp (about a pound)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp sriracha

1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed, if possible)

3-4 TBS red curry paste

2 TBS rice vinegar

4 garlic cloves – minced

3 scallions – sliced (reserve some for garnish)

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DIRECTIONS

Soak skewers (if using) in water for at least 30 minutes to help keep them from burning).

Peel & clean the shrimp.

In a bowl, blend the oil, sriracha, lemon juice, curry paste, vinegar, garlic & scallions.  Reserve some to use as garnish later (maybe 1/3 cup) and then put the rest in a Ziplock bag or other container & add the shrimp & mix it all about.  Marinate the shrimp for at least an hour or as long as overnight.

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When ready to grill the shrimp, either on a grill or in a grill pan, skewer the shrimp (two skewers make it easier to flip the shrimp) & grill for about 2-3 minutes each side or until done.  Serve with the spicy Thai fried cauliflower “rice” (below) and drizzle with extra red curry sauce & garnish with scallion slices.

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Spicy Thai Fried Cauliflower “Rice”

INGREDIENTS (use or don’t use or substitute according to your taste)

1 medium head cauliflower

Olive oil

10 green beans – trimmed & chopped

4 jalapeno peppers (red or green) – seeded & diced

1 cup brocoli florets

2 carrots – chopped

1 bell pepper – chopped

1/2 red onion – diced

1 cup peas

4 mushrooms – cliced

2+ TBS red curry paste

2 TBS soy sauce

Eggs – to scramble into rice (optional)

Thai (or other) basil – chopped

Chopped peanuts and/or sliced scallions and/or sliced cucumber and/or lime wedges – as garnish

Sambal oelek, sriracha or chili garlic paste to add kick – if you desire.

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DIRECTIONS

With a hand grater or with the grating blade of your food processor – grate the cauliflower & set aside.

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Whisk the soy sauce & red curry paste together & set aside.

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Prepare your veggies.

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Heat some olive oil (1-2 TBS) in a wok or very large pan.  I threw all the veggies in at once.

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Once they were tender, I added the red curry & soy sauce mix.

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Then I added the cauliflower.

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After about 5 minutes, I created a well & added two egs & scrambled them in the well.  When nearly done, I mixed them into the rice & vegetables.  I then added chopped basil.

Serve with chopped peanuts or scallions and maybe a lime wedge & some sliced cucumber.  Serve with the red curry grilled shrimp.  I have no photo of them together as my phone battery died.  Sorry!  I can promise – this is one yummy disj – especially with copious amounts of sambal oelek dumped upon it!

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Spicy Lemongrass Grilled Shrimp & Vietnamese Egg Roll (Cha Gio) Vermicelli Salad Bowl

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I’ve loved Vietnamese food since high school when my parents & I would go to the Saigon Inn in the Combat Zone (red light district) in Boston in the late seventies-early eighties.  It was a tiny place on the edge of Chinatown in an old, white, free-standing building that had once been a White Castle or something.  There were 4 or 5 tables and maybe six stools at a counter & everything on the menu was under $4.  It is here that I learned about hoisin sauce & sambal oelek & vermicelli bowls and about eating their little egg rolls (cha gio) wrapped in lettuce leaves & dipped in nuoc cham (sweet chili dipping sauce).  We would go there late nights after seeing bands like Bauhaus or X or Gray Numan somewhere in town – like The Channel or The Rat.  And I walked around looking like this:

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My parents long bragged that they loved the Saigon Inn so much that even the discovery of a cockroach in my step-dad’s half-consumed iced coffee did not dull their passion for the place.  In fact, that roach should have come as no surprise as this restaurant was situated in one of the filthiest & most run down areas of downtown (Chinatowns everywhere are seldom famous for their hygiene & fresh scents – and red light districts have their own grotesquerie to offer).  Also, the roaches at Saigon Inn were bold & you were hard pressed to eat there & not spot a few walking nonchalantly up walls or across menus.

As a quick aside, let me share this gorgeous photo I found as I hunted for a shot of the Saigon Inn.

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Boston, Combat Zone 1970 – by Jerry Berndt.  Found HERE.  Isn’t that sensational?

This one, too, by the same guy.

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And this (though I do not know if it is from the same guy or exhibition in Boston).

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So – with that, I present my Spicy Lemongrass Grilled Shrimp & Vietnamese Egg Roll (Cha Gio) Vermicelli Salad Bowl!

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A key to this dish is the dipping sauce – the nuoc cham (or spicy chili dipping sauce).  If you cannot find it in an Asian store like this

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then there are lots of recipes for variations of it, if you Google the term.  Here is the basic recipe (from www.VietWorldKitchen.com):

Basic Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

Makes ¾ cup

3 tablespoons lime juice (1 fat, thin skin lime)
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup water
2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce

Optional additions:
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 or 2 Thai chilis, thinly sliced or 1 teaspoon homemade chili garlic sauce or store bought (tuong ot toi)

1. Make limeade. Combine the lime juice, sugar and water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Taste and as yourself this question: Does this limeade taste good? Adjust the flavors to balance out the sweet and sour.

2. Finish with fish sauce. Add the fish sauce and any of the optional ingredients. Taste again and adjust the flavors to your liking, balancing out the sour, sweet, salty and spicy. Aim for a bold, forward finish — perhaps a little stronger than what you’d normally like. This sauce is likely to be used to add final flavor to foods wrapped in lettuce or herbs, which are not salted and therefore need a little lift to heighten the overall eating experience. My mother looks for color to gauge her dipping sauce. When it’s a light honey or amber, she knows she’s close.

Notes

Advance Preparation – This sauce may be prepared early in the day and left to sit at room temperature.

Variation – Use half lime juice and half Japanese rice vinegar for a less assertive sauce. Some delicately flavored dishes require this.

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The Vietnamese egg rolls can be purchased like this

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but these might be hard for you to find.  They are nice because they are tiny – about the size of one of my fingers cut in half.  These are also nice because they are vegan.  But, if you cannot find these you could Google a recipe to make them (traditionally, they are filled with ground pork) or you could just use any old frozen egg rolls of your choice.  If they are big egg rolls, just slice them up after frying.

I added shrimp to this dish because I wanted it to be more substantial & I didn’t want to eat a dozen fried egg rolls.  You could go all shrimp or all egg rolls or even add grilled veggies.   These vermicelli bowls were topped with all sorts of things (sliced meats, meatballs etc etc) at the Saigon Inn, maybe even some things we are glad we are unaware of, so feel free to customize this to your taste.

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I had this for dinner two nights in a row.  The first time was less successful because I used fresh vermicelli like this

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which got gooey & clumped together.  These guys are far better for soups, like my Vegetarian Pho.

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As another side note – if you love that pho but do not want the calories those noodles represent, why not try my ZERO CALORIE ZERO CARB Vegetarian Shirataki Pho?

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Last night I made the salad bowl with these dry vermicelli noodles.

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They worked far better so I recommend this type for the salad bowls.

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Spicy Lemongrass Grilled Shrimp & Vietnamese Egg Roll (Cha Gio) Vermicelli Salad Bowl

INGREDIENTS

Vermicelli noodles – cooked as directed, rinsed in cool water & left at room temperature.

Egg rolls – fried as directed (or baked, if you prefer)

Shrimp – peeled & cleaned

Cucumber – cut into matchsticks

Carrot – grated

Sprouts

Red or green leaf lettuce – roughly chopped (leaving some pieces large enough to wrap around bite-sized egg roll slices)

Basil and/or mint (even cilantro works) – to be hand torn & mixed into the bowl after serving

Lime

Peanuts – chopped

nuoc cham (recipe above or bottled)

Sambal oelek or sriracha – as additional condiments, if you want to add a kick

For the shrimp marinade

1 lemongrass stalk

1 shallot

3 jalapenos – seeded

2 hands full basil (I used both Thai basil & Thai hot basil but any basil will do)

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/4 cup sambal oelek (or chili paste or sriracha)

1 TBS sugar

2 TBS olive oil

4 garlic cloves

Juice of 2 limes

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DIRECTIONS

Peel & clean the shrimp & put them in a Ziplock bag or a lidded (preferably glass) container.  Hit the lemongrass with a tenderizer or (as I did) with a heavy pepper mill or something & bruise it up.  Slice it into large chunks & add to the shrimp.

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Puree the shallot, lime juice, jalapeno, basil, fish sauce, sambal oelek, sugar, garlic & oil.  Add to the shrimp & toss well.  Refrigerate for an hour or as long as overnight.

Then simply cook the vermicelli.  This is a room temp dish with warm toppings so – make the noodles & assemble them in a bowl(s).  Surround them with the lettuce, cucumber, carrots, sprouts, basil, lime wedges & top with peanuts.

Grill the shrimp & cook the egg rolls.  Add them to your bowl.

Serve with the dipping sauce (you can even pour it on top of the whole lot & mix it all up).

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BEER! And other lunch items at Spitz, 3 Dog Cantina, Mission Cantina & Golden Road Pub – in & around Hollywood, California

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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The last time my badass boyfriend, Miles, was in town from Little Rock – it was over 100 degrees nearly every day of his week-and-a-half long stay.  Hot like the temperature recorded on my drive to LAX – in that photo above.

That is the heat reading on one of my two trips to get him at LAX (as his first attempt to leave was thwarted by the total incompetence of American Airlines – a fact that also allowed us a few extra days together so – there’s that).  Driving round trip from Hollywood to LAX is usually unpleasant, at best, but when it is 105 in your house & you have no air conditioning, you find yourself quite content on the 110 south in bumper to bumper traffic – because it is your only access to free AC.  Even the typically irritating fact that you cannot access the carpool lane because you are alone in the car is an inconvenience that rolls off you like the sweat on your own back.  Sweat that has dried & even causes a little chill as you blast the AC into your face so hard that your hair looks like a fright wig at the happy reunion with said beau.

The result of the uncivilized & oppressive & unyielding heat was that Miles & I spent far too many daylight hours in air-conditioned public places – usually ones with bars.  Not jail bars – but “belly-up-to-the” bars.  Bars with friendly bartenders.  Bars serving cold beer & the kind of acidic, unpleasant wine that most bars serve by the glass.   MMMMM!  That’s livin’!

The first time I picked him up at the airport, it was literally 105 in Hollywood so we went directly to Mission Cantina because Miles had a taste for Mexican food & because they serve this Pasadena-made beer – Craftsman 1903 – that I really enjoy.  He got a chicken burrito & I got a couple of fish tacos.

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Everything was delicious.  I’ve written about Mission Cantina before – when Miles & I first went there & then to the Museum of Death.  Here is the interior & outside patio.

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Our only issue on this day was that they had all their doors wide open & it was only a few degrees cooler in there than the oven just outside the doors.  I had sweat rolling down my legs and when a gal is wearing shorts & sweat runs down her legs – well – does the word “incontinence” mean anything to you?  It isn’t a pretty picture.

So – the next time I picked him up at the airport (an hour after dropping him off there) it was still 105 outside.  So – we decided to try a new place we spotted on our drive back home – Spitz.  I had never heard of it & the exterior gave nothing away as to what we might expect inside.  Here is the inside:

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They had Golden Road AND the Craftsman 1903 – both made locally.  I’m a fussy beer drinker so this pleased me a great deal.  So – Miles & I ordered beers & checked out the menu.

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Nearly everything on the menu had a carnivorous & vegetarian option!  That is a great thing for me (a vegetarian) & my “all meat all the time” boyfriend.  Unfortunately, neither of us were very hungry so we ordered only the Street Cart Fries which we were promised would be amazing.  And they were!

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Somehow, despite being loaded with a lot of damp toppings, these fries remained crispy & delicious.  Then we noticed – MY GOD – it was happy hour!  So I ordered a glass of white wine & Miles got another beer.  The wine was far more drinkable than your average happy hour white & served in a real wine glass AND it was a deep pour.  Suffice it to say, I will be returning to Spitz!

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On a hot Sunday, Miles & I staggered in from the heat – and I mean it was Africa hot – to 3 Dog Cantina.  I’d considered the place before but a peek inside revealed it to be MASSIVE & with a sports bar vibe.  Neither Miles nor I can tolerate sports so this place has been on the back burner.  Until that boiling hot Sunday.  We entered 3 Dog Cantina!

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Promptly seated in one of those huge booths by the window, I checked us in on Four Square because, as I’ve said before, I am a huge dork.  And because, sometimes, you get a little reward.  This check-in rewarded Miles with a free beer!  Bravo!  I ordered this cucumber margarita & it was pretty awesome.

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If I’m not mistaken, Miles also ordered a lemonade & a Coke with his beer & they were served in huge Mason jars.

Here is the menu.

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Not a fan of mahi-mahi, I ordered shrimp tacos & Miles got fajitas.

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The food was great, the room was very pleasant (despite sports on every wall) and it wasn’t crowded so we lingered as long as it took Miles to eat ALL of that chicken – which he did.  A miracle.

On the last full day of Miles’ trip, the temperature dropped into the nineties so I decided we could brave an outdoor meal.  We had been planning to try the Golden Road Brewery Pub and so try it we did.  It was even bigger that 3 Dog Cantina & offered indoor seating, outdoor seating & outdoor games.  Empty, it had the vibe of those massive bars in – like – Ensenada – that cater to college kids.  The sheer optimism of the size of it was intimidating.  Being there when it is crowded must be brutal.  But they had parking & it wasn’t crowded so we pressed on.

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HERE is the menu.  Far more creative than I have come to expect at pubs.  I ordered the avocado fritters & the banh mi (because I have never seen a veggie one before).  Miles, predictably, got ribs.  And we both got their Point the Way IPA.

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I’ve had fried avocado before & found it mushy, warm & gross.  THESE were crispy & delicious.

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I cannot comment on the ribs but Miles seemed to enjoy them a great deal & he ate ALL of that hunk of cornbread.  I guess southerners like the cornbread crumbly while, southerners say, Yankees like it wet.  As a Yankee, that was news to me – though I am definitely in the “moist with fresh corn added to it” camp.  Miles, if you haven’t figured it out, is a light eater despite the fact that (or maybe because) everything he chooses to eat is heavy.  Meat meat meat.  If it is fried – even better.  “Vegetables” for him include (and are almost limited to) mac & cheese & french fries.  How he stays at 135 lbs at 5’6″ – I will never know.  Especially when you factor in the beer.  By I digress.

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That is the banh mi.  In fairness to Golden Road – I am not a huge tofu fan.  I don’t dislike it – as in – I will not avoid it but I never add it to anything that doesn’t already include it.  I don’t buy into that whole “Vegetarian?  My god!  How do you get your protein?” bullshit.

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So – I found the tofu in the sandwich sort of pointless & replaced it with the fried avocado.  Also, in fairness to Golden Road, they offer a sandwich with the fried avocado.  And the bread was ridiculously awesome.  So, next time – I will get that fried A.L.T. they offer.  And there will be a next time because it was distinctly pleasant to sit out on their big porch & drink their beer & nibble the goodies they offer.

So – there you have it!  Four new joynts to try out – whether you are a degenerate carnivore, a persnickety vegetarian or just an inveterate drunk.  Enjoy!

In closing – here are two completely unrelated but cute little animal posts.  You’re welcome.

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Reese’s Brownie Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting & Salted Caramel and Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache, Raspberries & Cream

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

~

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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OK, kiddies, it was my friend Alyse’s birthday this week & I hosted a little dinner for her.  And I made CUPCAKES!  I seldom eat dessert foods myself – mainly because I prefer to get my sugar from a wine glass – so I have posted precious few dessert recipes.   But a birthday certainly called for a dessert item so I seized the opportunity.  Please know, I am not part of this whole cupcake craze but cupcakes really are a superior choice for birthdays (in my opinion) as they are a reasonable serving size & you can kinda mix up the flavors a bit more than one can with a cake.  And they travel easily.

For these guys, I had a huge, industrial-sized box of brownie mix:

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Then I went to store & bought everything I could think of that I might want to use for brownies including eggs & powdered sugar & cream cheese & pudding & jimmies & sprinkles & raspberries & marshmallows & marshmallow fluff & Reese’s Cups & two kinds of frosting etc etc.   Then I realized I was only feeding four people so there was no need to make 4372 cupcakes.  After some consideration, I elected to make the cupcakes from the brownie mix – and chose to top some with peanut butter frosting & drizzle caramel sauce on them & salt them.  Others – I filled with a marshmallow fluff center & a raspberry inside & atop the chocolate ganache frosting.   Unfortunately – the one cupcake I cut into for the photos had an anemic amount of cream – or maybe the cream was inserted off-center so it is hiding in the photo.

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But know – I sent the bulk of these cupcakes home with my friend Rose for her teenage sons & I saw a photo she took of one & the center was creamy, indeed.   Here is that photo:

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All I know is, I injected a bunch of cream in them & then they settled – leaving a gap in their volcano openings – so I rammed a raspberry inside each of them.  Indelicate but delicious!

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Reese’s Brownie Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting & Salted Caramel

INGREDIENTS

Brownie mix (be sure to have the eggs & oil you need as per the box)

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (I used full-sized)

Caramel sauce (from the ice cream aisle)

Course salt

Peanuts – for garnish

For the peanut butter frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used chunky)

1/2 cup butter (or lard or shortening)

2 TBS milk

1 tsp vanilla

2-3 cups powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

Make the brownie mix as per box.

For the frosting – blend all but the powdered sugar ( I did this in my food processor).  Then I added the sugar.  Start with 2 cups & test for sweetness.  Add more – if you think it should be sweeter.

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To assemble, I lined a cupcake pan with liners, put a tiny dollop of brownie batter to just cover the bottoms, put a Reese’s Cup in each & then topped with more brownie batter.  Bake them according to box instructions.  Then, frost them with the peanut butter frosting.  Drizzle the caramel on them, lightly salt them & top with a peanut.  Put them on the ground and roll around on them naked.

Or serve them to your friends.  Your call.

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Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache, Raspberries & Cream

INGREDIENTS

Brownie mix (be sure to have the eggs & oil you need as per the box)

Raspberries

7 ounce jar of marshmallow fluff

4 TBS butter

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp water

1/4 tsp salt

For the ganache

1 cup chocolate chips (dark chocolate is nicer but I used semi-sweet milk chocolate)

3/4 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

Make the brownie mix as per box.  Bake them as directed.

To make the cream filling, dissolve the salt in 1 tsp hot water.  Blend the fluff, butter, powdered sugar, salted water, and vanilla.  I did this in my food processor.  I then put this in a Ziplock bag & cut a corner out.  I used this as a make-shift pastry bag.  A real pastry bag would be great, too.

When the brownies are done & cooled a bit, use a paring knife & create little cavities in their centers.

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Squeeze some cream filling into each.  Fill to the top & let rest a bit.  If the cream settles – either add more cream or shove a raspberry in there like the killer on Twin Peaks used to shove a tiny letter under the fingernail of his/her victims (remember that?).

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Over low heat, melt the chocolate chips.  A double boiler is best for this but I was lazy.  I melted them a bit & then just added the heavy cream & whisked it all together.

Dip the cupcakes into the ganache & then top with another raspberry.  Voila!

These are also good to roll around on nude but that can get awkward at a birthday party.  Maybe just stick them all on a tray & serve them the traditional way.

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Fig & Gruyere Quesadilla with Balsamic Glaze & Honey or Fig, Spinach & Whipped Goat Cheese Pizza with Honey

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I can’t resist figs now when I see them at the store.  They are beautiful to look at and so delicate & versatile – I love them.  But they tend to go bad fast so, when I buy them, I end up eating fig everything.  To extend their shelf life, I put them in a Ziplock baggy & put them in a single layer on a shelf in the fridge.  That seemed to add a day or two to their lifespan.

These are not really recipes.  These are really just suggested ways to use figs.

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Fig & Gruyere Quesadilla with Balsamic Glaze & Honey

INGREDIENTS

Flour tortilla

Gruyere cheese – sliced

Figs – sliced

Honey

Balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

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Bring some balsamic vinegar to a boil & then reduce to a simmer.  In 20 minutes – my 1/4 cup of balsamic reduced to only one or two teaspoons of glaze – so boil down an appropriate quantity.

Layer the cheese & figs on a tortilla, fold it over & grill it on both sides until the cheese melts & the tortilla browns.

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Slice it up & drizzle with honey & the balsamic glaze.  MMMMM!

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Fig, Spinach & Whipped Goat Cheese Pizza with Honey

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (mine is HERE)

Spinach

Figs – sliced

Mozzarella – grated

Goat Cheese

Cream cheese

Olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

To get whipped goat cheese – simple blend goat cheese with some cream cheese at approximately a 2 to 1 ratio, like – 4 ounces goat cheese to 2 ounces cream cheese.  Go heavier with the goat cheese if you want that flavor to be stronger.

Now just roll out your dough, put it on a greased baking sheet and smear some whipped goat cheese on it.  Layer some spinach & drizzle with olive oil.  Add figs & then some grated mozzarella & bake at about 450-500 (be sure the oven is at full temperature before putting pizza in there) for about 12 minutes or until the cheese melts & the crust browns.  Drizzle with honey!

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Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dressing with Lime & Dill

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is far lighter than it seems because it is made with yogurt rather than mayo & you can control the amount of olive oil yourself.  The oil is used mainly as a thinner & you could probably even use water instead – if the fat from the oil concerns you.  Beyond that – all you do is stick the ingredients in a food processor or blender & whip them up!   PS – there is no onion in this dressing but the magenta-red looked so pretty – I included that onion in the pictures.

Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dressing with Lime & Dill

INGREDIENTS

1 large avocado -peeled cut into chunks

1/2 cucumber – cut into chunks

6 ounces Greek yogurt

juice of 1-2 limes – depending on how juicy the limes are

1-2 tsp fresh dill

1-2 tsp fresh cilantro (or parsley)

3 garlic cloves

1/3 cup olive oil (more or less – depending on how thin you like your dressings)

S&P to taste

1 jalapeno (optional) – if you like kick

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DIRECTIONS

Blend everything except the olive oil in a food processor until smooth.  Drizzle oil in until it reaches the consistency you prefer.  If you want it thinner than 1/3 cup oil makes it – maybe consider adding a bit of water to thin it.  Add S&P to taste.  Adjust lime & dill & cilantro to suit your tastes.

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