Friday, February 27, 2009

Just a yummy snack!

Sweet Potato Chips & Dip

Sweet potato chips are just a yummy alternative to potato chips for snacking and offer a little more nutrition, but let's face it...this is a just a snack. I happened to have a lot of sweet potato's on hand and I thought I would try something new. I was also having a large group of about 20 over for lunch and while I was finishing off the meal, I wanted to offer a fun snack type appetizer. It was a big hit and they were finished off in quick order. Here's the recipe.

Safflower oil* for frying
sweet potatoes about 1 for every 2 people
kosher salt
your choice of seasonings, if you like - paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper

Slice the sweet potatoes nice and thin, I use an inexpensive mandolin from Target to slice them. Heat the oil up in a wok, yes a wok. It is a great pan to fry these up quickly in small batches and they come out evenly. When the oil is hot enough for a slice of sweet potato to sizzle and bubble but not smoke, gently drop in one or two handfuls of slices at a time. Use a slotted spoon and quickly stir them around so they cook evenly. When they are just lightly brown, take them out and put them in a large pan with paper towels to drain. Season them while they are hot tossing with each new batch to keep them warm. Keep frying until you are done.

Serve them with the dip you made the ahead of time, although they are good all by themselves!

*I use safflower oil for frying, it gets nice and hot as well as being a healthy oil.

Sour cream dip with bacon and green onion

2 cups good sour cream (1 16 oz container)
8 slices of cooked bacon, finely minced
6 green onions, finely minced
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Blend together and garnish with a little of the minced green onion. Let the dip sit in the refrigerator at least a couple of hours (preferably overnight) to marry the flavors. Serve with the sweet potato chips.

The same method for the sweet potato chips is great for potato chips. Try red potato slices fried in regular virgin olive oil. They make such a nice addition for a good homemade burger.

It's hard work learning to measure and taking pictures so I can post my recipes. I have been entertaining friends often and also testing recipes to cater a wedding in March. I will be posting those soon. I even had a couple friends come over and teach me one of their family recipes for the blog. When I get the photos from them, I will post that recipe for "Rouladen".
Send me your recipes or come over and we'll make them together!
Email me at

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Note About Chocolate

In the Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding recipe, I used chocolate chips. But when I have time to shop on the other end of town, I go to "Fresh and Easy" and I buy Scharffenberger bittersweet chocolate. I use it in my recipes and add organic sugar to sweeten. The good stuff gives a delicious chocolate-y richness and depth of flavor the supermarket brands just can't match. I found the Scharffenberger chocolate after a desperate search to replace the Jacques Torres chocolate I had used up. I hauled several bags of Jacques Torres chocolate home from New York ( an extra suitcase is always required to bring home food delicacies I can't find at home) and I tried to make it last...but hey, chocolate cravings come a callin' and I like to share my chocolate passions with my friends and family. I love Scharffenberger just as much as Jacques Torres chocolate in my recipes. I had a lot of fun trying different chocolates out. I could have bought a pair of designer shoes with what I spent...including the red wine to pair with the chocolate.

I went on a no white sugar, no white flour, no processed food vegetarian diet last year and was craving something sweet (even losing sleep over the craving). Stevia does not work to fill the need for sweets, it just irritated me that it even existed. So I drove an hour away to the fancy healthy food store and bought some expensive, Amazon forest organic unsweetened chocolate. I melted it over fat curls of unsweetened coconut with some crushed almonds with just the smallest bit of the hated stevia. Well, let me tell you, this guilt free treat is so wonderful, I enjoy it to this day. But I use the Scharffen Berger chocolate now.

Try your favorite recipe with a really good chocolate. Savor the deliciousness, the depth of flavor, the aroma...with your favorite red wine, of course!

What's your favorite chocolate for baking? Email me at with your favorite recipes and I will be happy to try them out, take some nice pictures and give you credit!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

This recipe is one that I get asked for all the time. I have a lot of things I make that people "must have the recipe" for, so I decided to create a blog for those recipes. The hard part is creating the measurements since many of my dishes were created on the fly.
This is one of those things. I had a dinner party with piles of leftover croissants because everyone was cutting down on carbs and fat. This dessert is my revenge. WARNING! It has lots of carbs and fat and calories....but it is sooo delicious.

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding
6 large croissants
6 eggs
2 cups cream
1/2 cup milk
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cut the croissants into cubes and throw them into a lightly buttered large baking dish. Beat the eggs, cream, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in the microwave (about 30 seconds) then carefully stir in the chocolate til its just about melted. Chocolate doesn't like to be too hot or it seizes up on you and you
have to start over. You can stick this back in the
microwave for 10 seconds at a time if the chocolate doesn't melt right away. Stir the chocolate slowly into the set aside eggs, cream, milk, vanilla and then pour over the croissants. Toss the croissants around so they can evenly absorb the chocolate-y custard-y goodness.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes til a fork comes out clean (without any uncooked egg bits). Let cool for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve warm with whipped cream and warm chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Sauce
1 stick butter
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup cream

Melt butter in the microwave and add semisweet chocolate chips til just about melted. Add cream and microwave 15 seconds more til warm and pourable.

This chocolate sauce is also delicious on pancakes. (I really impressed kids at sleepovers because they could eat dessert for breakfast at my house. They are in their 20's now and still want this for breakfast when they visit.) I would show you a picture of the finished presentation, but no one at this dinner party wanted to delay eating their dessert!

Coming soon!
Recipes for my famous crab/avocado/red pepper/spring greens salad, potato enchiladas, Mom's mexican rice and pork with chili. Yum, Yum.

Send me your recipes everyone is asking for and I will make you famous among friends.
Email me at