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Triple Chocolate Layer Cake

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With cooler weather who doesn’t crave a rich chocolate cake with a glass of milk or hot cocoa. I adapted from Hershey’s a triple layer, double chocolate, with not one type of frosting, but two, and using both Hershey’s chocolate cocoa powder and Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder! Yes you will OD or go into a chocolate coma after indulging this super moist, triple layer cake with a chocolate butter cream filling and topped with a double chocolate ganache!

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Talk about going to “Chocolate Heaven”

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Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup HERSHEY’S special dark cocoa
1/2 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder

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1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

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2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

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1 cup boiling water

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

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Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

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Chocolate Butter Creme Frosting-Filling

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.

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Add small amount extra milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Make a child smile by handing over the beaters to lick!!!

Make a child smile by handing over the beaters to lick!!!

Double Chocolate Ganache Topping

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar

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Heat heavy cream in a small pot. Be careful to not let it boil over. Once it begins to boil, remove from the stove.
Pour heavy cream into bowl of cocoa powder. Stir and mix until chocolate is completely melted, add vanilla and sugar.

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Let ganache cool and set before frosting top of cake.

If top of cake is not even/flat use a serrated bread knife to trim the top of the cooled cake before frosting it.

If top of cake is not even/flat use a serrated bread knife to trim the top of the cooled cake before frosting it.

 

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Chocolate buttercream frosting for the layers.

Chocolate buttercream frosting for the layers.

Spread an even layer of frosting along the top of each layer. If frosting gets on the sides of the cake its okay. Once the buttercream frosting sets, you can add more frosting or top with the chocolate ganache.

Spread an even layer of frosting along the top of each layer. If frosting gets on the sides of the cake its okay. Once the buttercream frosting sets, you can add more frosting or top with the chocolate ganache.

 

Once the buttercream frosting sets, you can add more frosting or top with the chocolate ganache.

Once the buttercream frosting sets, you can add more frosting or top with the chocolate ganache.

 

Finished off with a double chocolate ganache!

Finished off with a double chocolate ganache!

 

Kid tested and approved!!!

Kid tested and approved!!!

YUM!!

YUM!

 

 

 

 

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Super Decadent Bacon Blondie’s And Maple Sauce

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Yes, I said BACON!!

Now not everything goes with bacon, but this dessert  most certainly does.

In some recipes bacon can pair well with desserts, especially for those, who do not care for desserts that are “too sweet”, the use of bacon can balance the sweetness out.

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A couple of years ago for my son’s birthday we ate at Slater 50/50, Now those who are unfamiliar with this restaurant, its known for serving burgers that are 50% beef and 50% ground bacon. My son had the turkey burger, but for dessert he chose the traditional brownie baked with chopped bacon inside, and that was DELICIOUS!

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At Apple bees they serve a blonde version of brownie with candied pecans and a maple sauce that is “out-of-bounds” fantastic. I’ve come across a few recipes for the maple sauce and none came as close to the sauce I adapted from Applebees. 

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The base recipe for a Blondie is pretty much made the same, but the maple sauce was challenging to replicate till now.

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Those with a die-hard sweet tooth know nothing is better than a home-baked warm Blondie with ice cream. This recipe takes it to a whole other level for the die-hard bacon fan. I posted pictures with Bacon and without.

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Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour, sifted
1/2 cup chopped walnuts; toasted and divided in half for Blondie and half for topping
1/3 cup butter or margarine; melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Optional:
1/2 cup bacon or about 8 strips of thick cut apple-wood bacon cooked and chopped; divided in half for Blondie and half for topping

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Directions For Blondie’s:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, after the bacon and walnuts are done.

Using large skillet over medium-high heat cook bacon till its nice and crispy. Do not under cook the bacon, it needs to be crisp!

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Remove and place on paper towels to dry completely.

Using a medium size skillet heat on medium-high, then add shelled walnuts. Stir often to make sure all walnuts are toasting evenly and to prevent burning, about 5 minutes.
Walnuts should smell toasted and have started to brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

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In a medium size bowl add all dry ingredients, shift together and mix well.

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In a larger bowl add melted butter and bowl sugar and mix with a hand blender till mixture is smooth.

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Then add beaten egg and vanilla extract, blend again till smooth.

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Add flour mixture, a little at a time, either using hand blender on low-speed or use a wooden spoon and blend together by hand.

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Add chopped nuts and bacon and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon, set aside.

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Stir in white chocolate chips.

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Spread out dough in a 9-inch pan.

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Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test if the center of your Blondie is done. Toothpick should come out clean.

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Serve warm with ice cream, Maple Butter Sauce, and of course don’t forget to top off with more walnuts and bacon.

Maple Butter Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4-1/2 tsp maple extract
Pinch of salt

 

Directions For Sauce:

Using a small sauce pan melt butter over medium-low heat.

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Add brown sugar and whisk together to combine.

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Pour heavy cream, and powder sugar in a saucepan and cook, constantly stirring on medium-low for 1-2 minutes or till sauce becomes bubbly and starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

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Be careful not to burn the sugary sauce.

Add maple flavoring to desired taste by starting with 1/4 tsp and stir until combined. Taste and add another 1/4 tsp if desired.

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I baked mine with toasted walnuts, thick cut apple-wood smoked bacon bits, served warm covered with a rich, sizzling maple butter sauce along with ice cream and its topped with more chopped walnuts, and bacon.

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Where Is Your Favorite Cut of Meat Taken From?

How to grill corn on the cob

Grilled corn on the cob; it’s not just a summer staple. It’s a summers delight!

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How many people out there in the land of the blogsphere do not know, or are unsure of how to grill corn on the cob? In my lifetime I’ve seen many variations on how to grill corn on the cob, and the unique toppings that go with this awesome summer staple  The truth of it is that there is no “correct or incorrect” method on grilling corn on the cob. What I will do is share my method with you, courtesy of Chef Bobby Flay.

First off and most important is to wash those “ears” of corn, and this is how I do that.

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I remove all the hairs and husk except the last 3-5 layers and rinse in cold water

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Once I have cleaned all the corn I put the corn in a large stock/tamales steamer pot and fill with water barely covering the ears of corn.

You want to make sure to leave just a few layers of husk, to cover the ears and create a steam while the corn is grilling.

You want to make sure to leave just a few layers of husk, to cover the ears and create a steam while the corn is grilling.

You want the corn completely emerged in water and soaking at least 20 minutes before you grill.

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By soaking the corn a head of time and placing wet corn on the grill creates steam from the wet husk, steaming the corn and creating a smoke flavor from charring the corn as well

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Don’t over crowd the grill when placing the ears of corn on it, if there is too many it will take longer, then if you had just split the ears into batches.

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Close lid to grill for five minutes, then check corn and rotate so all sides cook evenly. Repeat these steps till the corn is cooked.

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There are many variations for dressing “corn on the cob” today, so get creative.

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Here are a few popular choices.

Mexican style corn on the cob, can be dressed with any of the following ingredients, fresh lime juice, sour cream to mayonnaise, chopped cilantro, topped with Cotija cheese, Queso Fresco, Monterey Jack and sprinkled with ground cumin and/or paprika,

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Truffles & corn? Yep, I’ve read corn on the cob has been dressed with unsalted butter and truffle salt, Parmesan cheese.

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truffle.salt

Hey don’t toss out and remaining BBQ sauce, brush a little on an ear of corn and enjoy the smoky and sweet flavors

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Compound or Herb butter is basically a method of using room temperature butter and adding a lot of fresh chopped herbs, and lemon or lime zest and juice to your butter.

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Blend until well incorporated and spread it all over your ear of corn, and enjoy! 

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The Basics of Outdoor Grilling

Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to go outside and get your grill on.

What ?

You have never grilled or lit a barbecue?

No worries it’s not that bad or complicated. Despite what some experts may say, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Both have pros and cons to grilling methods, it really comes down to preference.

Today were grilling bone in “New York Strip Steak”.

First thing before you even fire up the coals get your steaks out as they need to be at room temperature before grilling or you will have steaks cooked uneven through out.

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Pick up a good meat thermometer and no matter what happens during the grilling process DON’T CUT INTO YOUR STEAK OR FORK IT TO SEE IF IT IS COOKED!

On any bone-in steak nearest to the bone will always be the rarest. Ideally for best flavor and tenderness you want a medium rare steak, but if you like your steak cooked well done, go for it.

Just before I grill, i brush both sides of the steak with light olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.Just before I grill, i brush both sides of the steak with light olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

Before you start make sure the grates on your grill are clean and free of any residual charred goo and gunk.

Build a nice pile of charcoal in the center of your barbecue, and add lighter fluid and not GASOLINE!

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Once the grill is lit let it preheat for a minimum of 20 minutes or until are an ashy orange

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Once your grill is clean, oil the grate by grabbing an oiled paper towel with some long tongs, and wiping it over the bars. You’ll need to use an oil with a high smoking temperature, like canola oil.

Now that your grill is hot and the grate is clean, food won’t stick to it as much, and you will likely get some of those classic grill lines on your steak.

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Limit the amount of flips you do to the steaks. Ideally, you should flip each item once during the grilling process.

Place the new york strip steaks on the grill with tongs. NEVER pierce the skin of the steaks with a fork!

Just before I start grilling my steaks I brush both sides with light olive oil, and sprinkle salt, garlic powder and fresh cracked black pepper. You don’t want to put too many steaks on at once as it will slow the cooking process. 

After about 2 minutes, use tongs to pick up the steaks, rotate 90 degrees and then place the steaks back on the grill for those nice grill marks.

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After 2 more minutes, you are ready to flip the steaks. Pick them up and flip them over.

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After another 2 minutes, rotate the new york strip steaks another 90 degrees. Now grill them for a final 2 minutes and they should be ready.

Now you can use your new meat thermometer.

Let your steak sit for about 5-10 minutes after it comes off the grill and before you dive into it. The juices will redistribute and settle as well as allowing the meat to reach its final tenderness as the temperature evens out.

Here is a chart with temperatures and grilling times.Here is a chart with temperatures and grilling times.

You can always stick your steaks back on the grill for a few minutes if they aren’t done enough.

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What do you know, now you can grill corn and steak. :)


Remember this, the longer you keep your steaks on the grill, the more well done they will end up.

Remember this, the longer you keep your steaks on the grill, the more well done they will end up.

 

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Is Your Grill Ready ?

 So with Memorial Day approaching we all know that means the opening season of summer grilling is near, and I have to ask.

Is your BBQ Grill, Smokers or Pits ready?
Are your racks clean and free of any left on food particles?
Are your grilling utensils old, rusted and falling apart.

When there is a build up over time of both grease and burnt food particles build on the grill racks, it can change the flavor of what you are barbecuing. Also a dirty grill could be a host for potential carcinogens. However, the most important reason to clean your grill is that all of those food particles sitting on the grill could grow bacteria, especially if they are not burned off completely.

I’ve read many article on how to clean your grill, and most suggest from using WD-40 to placing your racks in a large trash bag and spray with an oven cleaner. Why would anyone want to clean their grill with a product containing many toxins, and then place raw meat to cook? I used to think if I fire up my grill close the lid for about 15-20 minutes, we would be good to go. WRONG!!

Your grill needs to be clean each time, either before or after your done grilling.

So in my quest to find a clean but less toxic solution to cleaning my barbecue I found two very easy methods, and 100% safe.

Keep your barbecue grill in top condition by making a soft paste of 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup water. Apply the paste with a wire brush and let dry for 15 minutes. Then wipe it down with a dry cloth and place the grill over the hot coals for at least 15 minutes to burn off any residue before placing any food on top

Brew a full pot of coffee, pour it into a basin and then soak your grill grates. This will also works for barbecue utensils or oven burners. Let it sit for about an hour, give it a quick scrub and then rinse with warm water. The racks should be good as new.

Any utensils, or wire brushes you’ve used that are now rusted, my suggestion is to toss them out. These items are fairly inexpensive to replace and are not worth the time or risk to re-paint.

TIP..The best time of year to replace any grilling accessories is right around the time when Christmas decorations go on display. I’ve picked up high quality utensils for just a couple of bucks and when its time to grill I’m ready to go.

I added a slide show containing a few temperature charts on getting the perfect rare to well done steak, along with some images of what I love to grill myself, and the unusual, but oh so delicious.

What do you like to grill?

 

 

Oven Seared Potatoes With fresh Herbs

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Are you a potato lover whose tired of plain mashed potatoes?

Now don’t get me wrong I am a tried and true spud lover, but there’s only so many way to dress up mashed potatoes.

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Well it just so happens that I came across a recipe from Cooks County that takes the ordinary potato and elevates it to a not only visually a beautiful platter of potatoes, but this dish literally melts in your mouth at first bite accompanied with a crispy golden sear on the outside and with each bite you’ll get a punch of flavor from using fresh herbs and a rich chicken stock. These potatoes are to die for and very easy to make and can be served with chicken, beef or lamb.

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The first time I made this dish I had used only dill, it came out better than I imagined, so why not bump up the flavor next time by using a variety of herbs and for a kick of spice added red pepper flakes.

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If your making beef or lamb use same stock or go vegan and use vegetable stock and the result is a creamy center with a rich flavor from using good stock. Also if your main dish has a gravy or sauce these potatoes will soak it up very nicely.

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Believe me when I say once you try this recipe you’ll want to make these delicious potatoes again and again, and they do make a beautiful plate of food.

Adapted from Cooks County 2006

Ingredients:
3 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbsp parsley
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups low sodium chicken broth or use your own.
5-7 garlic cloves, finely minced (if you are not a garlic fan you can add less)
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or to taste

IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure you DO NOT use a glass baking dish, use a metal baking pan. A glass baking dish can shatter in a very hot oven.

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Directions:

Place oven rack in upper-middle position of oven and pre heat oven to 500 degrees.

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Square off ends of potatoes and cut into ¾ to 1-inch thick disks.
Rinse potatoes and pat dry with paper towels.

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Combine melted butter, red pepper flakes, finely chopped herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

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Toss potato slices in butter mixture and arrange in a single layer in a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan.

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Roast in oven for 15 minutes.

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Remove pan from oven and use a spatula to flip potatoes over.

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Place back in oven for another 15 minutes.

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Remove pan from oven and flip potatoes over again, both sides should have a blonde color on both sides.

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Before putting tray back into the oven add 1 cup of your choice of stock and place back into the oven for another 15 minutes.

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Remove tray from oven and flip potatoes over one last time and add the last cup of stock.

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Back into the oven for the last 15 minutes.

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Creamy Seared Potatoes

Are you ready for my next dish?

Take ordinary potatoes and add some fresh herbs, minced garlic and a touch of chicken stock, then oven sear the potaoes and you’ll have a side dish that not only looks great plated, but it is oh so crispy on the outside and has a creamy rich flavor, with every bite you take! 

Just a preview for tomorrow post.

See you then.

Ciao ~ Clarissa
  

Mana2eesh

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Manakeesh or Mana2eesh is a popular flatbread with a sultry flavor that makes for a unique appetizer or served in wedges to compliment a main course or can be topped with thyme, cheese, or ground meat. Similar to a pizza, it can be sliced or folded, and it can either be served for breakfast or lunch.

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Manakeesh is popular in most Levantine countries, as well as in many cities throughout the world where people of Levantine origin have settled. Traditionally, Levantine women would bake dough in a communal oven in the morning, to give their family with their daily bread needs, the most popular form of manakeesh uses za’atar as a topping. The zaatar is mixed with olive oil and spread onto the bread before baking it in the oven.

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Za’atar is popular in the Arab world as both a herb and condiment.. Za’atar is a traditional spice blend of dried herbs, sesame seeds, and sumac, and often salt, a centuries-old mixture dating back to the 13th century. In much of the Middle East, za’atar recipes are closely guarded secrets, there are also substantial regional variations.

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Za’atar is popular in Armenia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey. Along with other spiced salts, za’atar has been used as a staple in Arab cuisine from medieval times to the present.

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Fresh za’atar, the herb itself, rather than the condiment, is also used in a number of dishes, it is used for seasoning for meats and vegetables or sprinkled onto humus. Za’atar is commonly eaten with pita, and when the dried herb is moistened with olive oil it becomes an aromatic delight that is spread on a dough base similar to pizza and then baked as a bread. In the Middle East it is sold in bakeries and by street vendors with za’atar to dip into or with a za’atar base filling.

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Its strangely addicting, I love putting it on popcorn as opposed to using salt. So try dusting some on eggs, oatmeal, or yogurt. Or add some to your next batch of lemon cookies. Lemon, thyme, and sesame are a trio with tomato, basil, and mozzarella. A perfect touch to add to sweet and savory foods.

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To make one 9×13-inch flatbread you will need the following ingredients.

Ingredients:

1 packet active dry yeast
3/4 c warm water  (must be 110 degrees F)
2 c flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c olive oil, divided
1/4 c Za’atar
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

Mix yeast with warm water in a large mixing bowl and allow to stand until a creamy layer of foam appears, about 10 minutes.

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Whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil, then gradually stir in flour and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

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Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and just a little bit sticky, 10 to 12 minutes.

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Place dough into an oiled bowl and turn dough around in bowl to coat surface with oil; cover bowl and refrigerate dough overnight.

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Coat baking sheet generously with about 2 Tbsp olive oil; place dough in the center of the baking sheet and flatten to spread out across baking sheet.

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Use your palms and fingers to gently press and stretch dough to the edges of the oiled baking sheet, making the flatbread as even in thickness as you can. With fingertips, make small indentations in the dough.

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Cover dough with plastic wrap and let double in size, about 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.

Brush dough with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Stir za’atar and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt together in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the flatbread.

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Let dough rest for 30 minutes uncovered.

Bake flatbread in the preheated oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

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Serve warm with some extra virgin olive oil.

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What You Should Know About Medical Marijuana for Pets

What You Should Know About Medical Marijuana for Pets

Dish With Clarissa:

What are youre thoughts on this subject???

Originally posted on TIME:

Now that 23 states have given medical marijuana the green light (with even recreational use now allowed in another four states and Washington D.C.), growing weed has become a growing business. The newest frontier: getting Fido and Fluffy on board with the cannabis revolution.

Relax. We’re not talking about rolling doobies with your dog, or seeing “pretty colors” with your cat. Nope, these are cannabis-containing edible treats and capsules that are meant for sick or aging pets.

“The cannabis plant has many compounds in it,” Matthew J. Cote, brand manager at Auntie Dolores, a San Francisco Bay Area-based edibles manufacturer, told ABC News. Auntie Dolores launched its pet line Treatibles last year. “Most people grow cannabis for the euphoric experience of THC. But they’ve been overlooking cannabidiol—commonly known as CBD—which is non-psychoactive,” he said.

CBD, in fact, does not produce a high, and it’s true that it’s been…

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