Nutella – The Food of the gods!

Today is World Nutella Day.

I know this for a fact because I saw it on the internet  (http://www.nutelladay.com/)  I have no idea what dear, dear person came up with this idea in 2007 over at the Nutella company but I think they should be given a promotion, a raise and one of those big fat bonuses like U.S. CEOs  get when they run their companies into the ground. I am eternally grateful to my German sister-in-law for introducing me to Nutella back in the days when we couldn’t get Nutella here in the states and they couldn’t get decent peanut butter over there so we traded mass quantities of the stuff at Christmas, along with tons of Milka candy bars. Now, unfortunately, the German high command does not allow us to mail packaged food into their country. At least we can buy our own Nutella in the grocery stores now. I’m always looking for ways to eat the stuff besides on crepes and my finger. If you are too, I highly recommend that you go here http://www.nutelladay.com/nutella-recipes/ where the Nutella think-tank has gathered about 400 recipes using Nutella from all over the blogging world.  I have a couple of my own favorite recipes to share with everyone. Enjoy!

Nutella Brownies (Food of the gods Brownies)

1 1/4 c. hazelnuts, toasted
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4 oz. milk chocolate
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 c. nutella
1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs

In a food processor, pulse toasted hazelnuts until coarsely ground. Melt chocolates with butter & Nutella. Cool slightly. Add eggs and sugar. Sift together flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Stir in flour mixture and hazelnuts into chocolate mixture until just combined. Pour batter into greased pan that has been dusted with cocoa powder. Bake @ 350º  for 35-40 min. DO NOT over bake. Toothpick inserted into brownies should have fudgy crumbs stuck to it.

Nutella & Almond Buttercups

CRUST:                                                       
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FILLING:                                                       
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup almond paste

In large mixing bowl, combine all crust ingredients. Blend well. Place 1 TBSP. of crust mixture in each mini muffin cup and tap down with a tart shaper.

Prepare Almond Filling by beating eggs in mixer bowl until foamy. Gradually add sugar and almond extract, beating until thick. Blend in almond paste; mix well. Fill each tart shell with 1 tsp. filling.

Bake at 350° for 20 – 25 minutes until light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan. When completely cooled, top with nutella and a slivered almond.

We’re Almost There

Tomorrow is World Nutella Day! Can you tell I’m excited? I hope you are, too.

Breakfast Tacos a la Cara

I’ve been buying a delicious green onion sausage from Ainsworth Meat Market since we’ve moved here and I discovered it 3 months ago. Most meat markets in this part of Texas make green onion sausage. It is very flavorful with a bit of an unexpected bite to it. My only complaint is that I can’t buy it in bulk form, so the first step in these yummy breakfast tacos is to take the sausage out of the casing, place the desired amount in a medium-hot skillet and crumble it as it cooks.

Thoroughly whisk desired number of eggs in a bowl. As soon as the sausage is completely cooked, pour the eggs over  and quickly scramble ’til the whole mess has reached the consistency that you like.

Serve the eggs and sausage with warm tortillas, pico de gallo, and Mexican Crema to drizzle over for an added creaminess.

Enjoy a little Tex-Mex breakfast!

I’m sick and I need flan

It’s true; I have a terrible cold and all I really want is flan. You know, feed a cold starve a fever. Whenever I come down with a cold or the flu, I feel like I’m starving. Flan is my absolute all time favorite comfort food. It’s so smooth and creamy, it feels so amazing in your mouth. I want real, homemade flan; not that disgusting fake stuff that comes out of a box or from a mix. The bad thing about comfort food is that usually when you most need it you aren’t in any shape to cook. Oh well.

Chicken Verde

This is my own little invention for nights when I need something fairly quick and uncomplicated; another non-recipe recipe. It’s a wee bit spicy. This recipe uses bottled Salsa Verde (you could use canned), which is a Mexican green sauce made from tomatillos, cilantro and jalapenos. It is easy to find in our Texas grocery stores but if you live elsewhere , you may have a difficult time locating it. Enjoy! 

Bake boneless skinless chicken breasts in a baking pan with a lip at 350° until done. (I told you it was uncomplicated!) Take the pan out of the oven. Pour some bottled salsa verde (Mexican green sauce) over the chicken breasts, then top each with a slice of pepper jack cheese. Put the pan back into the oven ’til the cheese is melted and bubbly. Top each breast with avocado slices and serve.

Not Even Remotely Guacamole

I watched Nigella on the Cooking Channel this evening. I’ve only watched her on television once before and wasn’t impressed.Tonights viewing impressed me even less. Nigella claimed to be most proud of her guacamole. Being a born and raised Texan, I do have some idea of what a proper guacamole should look like and how it should taste. I have even made it on occasion and have a little knowledge of the basic ingredients. Apparently Nigella Lawson hasn’t got a clue. She proceeded to concoct a dish that did not remotely resemble guacamole except in that it did contain avocados. I grew more and more dismayed as she proceeded to add blue cheese, sour cream, and green onions to her avocados. The viewers were then instructed to add pickled jalapenos to the mixture. I would normally only use fresh jalapenos in guacamole but in a real pinch you could use the jarred variety, so this addition didn’t seem too terribly odd. Ms. Lawson then told her viewers that if they couldn’t locate pickled jalapenos in their local market, chopped cucumbers or pickles would work just fine! This statement actually sent me into a fit of laughter. I even had to rewind my dvr and rewatch it to make sure I had heard correctly. The “guacamole” was then sprinkled with paprika just before being served; PAPRIKA! This strange mixture may taste pretty good, possibly even slightly yummy, but it is definitely not proper guacamole. Thanks for listening to my little rant!

Sour Cream Muffins

This is the recipe I chose to accompany my last post about Paula Deen. This is one of her best. If you’ve never made Ms. Deen’s sour cream muffins, the recipe will look very odd to you. It only has 3 ingredients and doesn’t sound very appetizing. Oh but it is!  They are called muffins but are more like extremely tasty biscuits. The muffins fall apart in your hand and they melt in your mouth. Don’t put a thing on them except maybe a wee bit of honey or jam; you don’t want to cover up the delicate flavor. I don’t even want to know how terribly unhealthy they must be. Enjoy!

Sour Cream Muffins

2 cups self-rising flour
2 sticks butter, melted
1 cup sour cream

Combine all ingredients and spoon into 24 mini or 12 regular muffin tins (ungreased). Bake at 350° for 20 – 30 minutes.

Bless Her Pea-pickin’ Little Heart

Don’t we just love Paula Deen? I’m convinced that her rise to fame and continued popularity is attributable to the same factors which led to the love that the American people had  and still hold for Julia Child.  Ms. Deen has done for the fine art of Southern cooking what Julia Child did for French cuisine.  Like Julia, she has won us over with her honesty and lack of pretension; and both of these inspiring ladies have managed to convince us that we too can actually cook delicious meals in our home kitchens.  Julia and Paula have shown us that it isn’t necessary to be a willowy, size 6, fashion model type to be successful in the world of television food programming. They both achieved their culinary achievements comparatively late in life. We love their winning smiles and the ability to laugh at their own mistakes; neither have ever taken themselves too seriously.  They have  taught us that it’s possible to cook with and even consume copious amounts of real butter and cream, and still be worthwhile human beings. Or maybe we just can’t help being drawn to people with such lovely accents. Whatever the reason for Paula Deen’s continued presence on my television screen, I am extremely grateful.

Cheese Cracker Chicken

I promised to post this “recipe” for the benefit of my son in the Buffalo, NY area. I learned to make this dish from my maternal grandmother about 25 years ago. My hubby and all the kids love it. I can’t even pretend that it is healthy but it is definitely delicious. Enjoy! (As soon as I get my camera up and working again I will add some of my terrible photos! I really need help in that area.)

Cheese Cracker Chicken

Grease a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish. Place uncooked chicken in the dish; you can use boneless skinless breasts, thighs, or tenderloins, bone-in pieces, or a whole chicken cut up but with the skin removed; it doesn’t matter. I made it with 6 large boneless skinless breasts today but I prefer the whole cut up chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. Smear a pint of sour cream over the seasoned chicken. Crush about 1/2 - 2/3 of a 16 oz. box of cheese crackers and pour over the sour cream layer . Pour 6 TBSP. melted butter over the top and cover with foil. Bake at 350°   – and here’s the tricky part -  ’til the chicken is cooked through. I honestly don’t know exactly how long I bake it because #1 I use different types of chicken and #2 I haven’t ever actually timed it. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Then remove the foil and bake for about 10 minutes longer.

Technically Breakfast 2

I previously made the case for Oatmeal  Cookie Dough as breakfast. I think I was able to prove that it is in fact nearly identical to granola. I would like to put forth the premise that Blackberry Pie w/whipped cream is also technically breakfast. By my way of thinking it is no different than having toast w/blackberry jam or say a blackberry turnover and a glass of really cold milk. Think about, then agree with me so I won’t feel guilty!