Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mango Mint Sorbet with Prosecco

Announcement: I have a job.

I have a job! I'm employed! I'm officially a fully integrated, contributing member of society.

Time to celebrate.

*Happy Dance*

*Action shot*

My celebratory drink: Champagne, obviously. With a twist.

1 large mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
2-3 sprigs mint
1 bottle Prosecco

Special Equipment: Ice cream maker, Blender


1. Combine water, sugar, and mint in a saucepan. Bring to a bubble, then turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for 15 minutes. Pluck out the mint leaves and discard.
2. Chop the mango. Combine the simple syrup and mango in a blender and process until smooth.
3. Run the mixture through the ice cream maker for 20 minutes. Freeze overnight.
4. Scoop out the sorbet into a glass. Pour champagne over it.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Carrot Cakeys

We celebrated my mom's birthday this past weekend (her second 30th of course...) and I knew I had to make her something sweet. Her favorite dessert is carrot cake — but I wanted to jazz it up a little bit.

The answer: Carrot cake balls.

One of my besties from college, Molly, had a knack for making cake balls. She was ahead of the curve — now it seems cake balls are all over the place (trend-wise, that is). I got the recipe from Molly, and adapted it for Mom.

I'm typically not one for super messy recipes, so I came up with a way to keep my hands out of the batter as well. It's pretty clever if I do say so myself ;-)


1 box carrot cake mix (Duncan Hines has
a decadent kind with actual carrots and raisins in it -see right)
1 can cream cheese frosting
1 8-oz can crushed pineapple, drained
3 bars Baker's white chocolate NOTE: Yes, it must be Baker's. Not plain ol' chocolate chips. Baker's       melts much better, spreads thinner, and stays melted longer.

Special Equipment:
1 cupcake pan
non-stick cooking spray
plastic wrap

  1. Combine the cake mix, pineapple, and whatever else the cake mix tells you to add (usually vegetable oil and eggs). Cook the cake according to the directions.

While the cake is still warm (not hot!), smash it all into a bowl until it's goop. Not pretty, but still delicious.

Add the whole container of frosting. Yep — already looking tasty.

Line the cupcake pan with plastic wrap and spray lightly with cooking spray. Spoon the cake mixture into the cupcake pan, smushing a little to get it filled up and even on the top.

Put the little cupcake-balls into the fridge and let it chill for an hour.

When you're ready, melt the Baker's chocolate according to the directions (I zapped it in the microwave — worked just fine).

Pop the cupcake balls out of the tin. Spread the chocolate over the balls evenly as you can.

Let these sit for 15 minutes until the chocolate hardens. Flip them over and cover the bottoms.

Happy Birthday, Mom!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tequila-Lime Chicken with Fried Plantains

I'm baaaaack.

Yes, I know. I've been away for far too long. But in my defense, I've had several job interviews (yaaay), have been doing some part-time editorial assisting (yaaay), babies have been born in the family (yaaay!!) and I have been sick on and off for the past couple weeks (booo) — and thus did not have the time and energy to blog.

Not that I haven't been cooking/eating. See? Here's proof:

Carrot Cake for cake balls {post coming soon}
Mocha chocolate chip cookies
Chicken salad from The Lemp Mansion cafe

BBQ Brisket sandwich from The Lemp Mansion cafe 
Divine French onion soup from The Lemp Mansion cafe.
Perfect mango

Roasted butternut squash
The only artichoke pesto you'll ever want.

Darla is doing well also, in case you were wondering...
Though she's questioning her fashion sense.
Anyway, a little while ago Justin and I decided to branch out of our typical Italian-style dinner and go Central/South American. Fried plantains and rice were the inspiration, and because Justin is an excellent chicken roaster, we thought we'd put a saucy spin on his signature dish with tequila-lime chicken.

For the rice:
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 serrano pepper
1 sprig cilantro
1/2 tsp salt

For the beans:
2-3 cups dried pinto beans
2 bay leaves
1 bell pepper
1-2 garlic cloves
1 tsp oregano

For the chicken:
1 2-3 lb whole chicken
3 tbsp tequila-lime seasoning
butcher's twine
roasting pan


  1. Soak the beans overnight in a big bowl of water. Drain. Either in a slow cooker or in a heavy-bottomed pot, put in the beans and other ingredients (I cut the bottom off the green bell pepper, you can use about half if you like), and fill the pot with water so that you cover the beans by a couple inches. Simmer for 4-5 hours or until the beans have soaked up the water and they're soft. You may have to add more water as you go. Disclaimer: Don't salt your beans. It'll mess up the cooking process. You can salt them once they're cooked.

2. Pluck out the bay leaves and pepper before serving.
3. For the chicken, smother the meat with the seasoning and roast the chicken at 425 for about an hour.
4. For the rice: combine the chicken broth, rice, the tip of a serrano pepper (don't put the seeds in), salt, and cilantro sprig in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, covered. Turn off the heat and let the rice absorb the broth for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
5. For the plantains: Fry them up for 2 minutes on each side in some olive oil. Salt them when they come out.

Plantains are starchier and not as sweet as bananas. With the rice and chicken, they lend a hint of creaminess and crunch with a subtle sweetness that goes very well with the spice of the rice and beans. 


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