Random Awesomeness in Pictures

Sometimes things don’t quite come together. Tonight was one of those nights… I had plans for this blog post, but Jdubs is not cooperating so I had to redirect. But now maybe it’s going to be something more awesome than I had originally planned.

I looked through my random photographs and there are several I haven’t been able to use elsewhere. So I decided to write this post as random awesomeness in pictures.

A few days ago United Supermarkets had a sale on berries. I LOVE berries, and since it was cold, I made oatmeal and berry awesome in a bowl. And I have serious coffee every day. This is pressed coffee. The French version of Cowboy Coffee; it’s not for sissies.

French Press Coffee. Old fashioned oats, fresh berries, walnuts and a splash of cream.

Supper tonight. I made vegetable soup and chicken salad from a leftover roast chicken. The bread is the awesome country French bread we got at Central Market on Sunday. Oh and those are the little garden tomatoes I picked when they were still green, just before the killing frost. If you leave them out, they will ripen.

Soup and sandwich supper.

I almost peed my pants when I saw this (at Central Market on Sunday). You know how I love Scharffen Berger chocolate. Well here is a giant block of San Francisco chocolaty awesomeness!

OMG. I've died and gone to chocolate heaven.

The UPS man left a great big cat playhouse on the front porch. (That’s what I told the cat, anyway). Awesomeness in a cat toy.

This is awesome until the cat tries to play at 2 a.m., then not so awesome.

Who doesn’t love Sock Monkey? This hat is random awesomeness!

This Sock Monkey hat was a big hit at the supermarket tonight.

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

This is a gem of a cookie recipe. And the best part is that it’s a “light” recipe. I very first found this recipe in one of my Cooking Light magazines. Cayenne is the secret ingredient, which adds a great punch of complexity that you can’t place, but know it’s what makes it all work. I don’t know what it is, but chocolate and red pepper go so well together.

The key to making this a wonderfully scrumptious recipe is to use really good chocolate. It needs to be bittersweet with 60% cacao minimum. Good brands that are easily available are Ghirardelli, Lindt and Baker’s. Don’t forget to look in the “candy” aisle for the good chocolate.

If you can get to a luxury grocery store, like Central Market, you can find tons of good chocolate. Scharffenberger is the very best American chocolate (HSO). Valharona is overpriced and overrated (another HSO). (HSO=Hot Sports Opinion).

If chocolate is the star of the recipe, use the good stuff. Life is too short for crappy chocolate regardless. For other recipes with Scharffenberger see Chocolate Covered Strawberries.

Just remember mediocre chocolate = mediocre results.

Very respectable American Chocolate from San Francisco.
30-second intervals will keep you from scortching the chocolate.
Satin-smooth chocolate.

This is perfectly melted chocolate. Look how shiny and smooth it is.

Cayenne is the perfect complement to chocolate.

You don’t want to pinch cayenne pepper with your fingers. The oils adhere to your skin and God forgive you if you accidentally rub your eye or nose (or any other precious body part with tender skin!). This is the dandiest trick to adding just the right amount of cayenne. Stick your knife into the spice bottle and get a dab on the tip of the knife and add to the dry ingredients. If you would rather use measuring spoons, it will be equivalent to about 1/8 of a tsp.

Butter, sugar and a farm fresh egg.

It’s hard to believe this recipe only has a ¼ stick of butter in it. Just for reference, traditional chocolate chip cookies have 1 cup of butter (4x the butter in this recipe). Believe me, the two greatest flavor-adding ingredients are butter and bacon grease.

Sous chef Jean-Guilliam.

I had my favorite sous chef in the kitchen today. I love cooking with my little boy. Hopefully he will know a few recipes by the time he’s 12 or 13 and can be responsible for cooking a meal a week (totally ripped this trick off from Dr. Jen.)

We drank a keg of this and I still love it. (It took us a few weeks to drink the keg, BTW)

It is Friday night, after all. And the best way to keep from eating all the dough is to drink a beer while you work. Beer and cookie dough is a no go.

Tasting the product. Always a good sign in an aspiring chef.
Payoff. Licking the beaters.

If the dough is good the cookie will be even better.

After 10 minutes in the oven, this is the outcome!

The cookies will have a slight crackling to them. This is perfect. When you break them open, the outer shell should be crispy.

Chocolate awesomeness! Crispy on the outside and chewy, moist greatness inside..
Powdered sugar makes it pretty.

A little dusting of powdered sugar for a festive look … and vla. Chocolate cookie awesomeness.

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

5 oz. bittersweet chocolate

3.4 oz. all-purpose flour (3/4 cup)

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

Dash of pepper

Dash of cayenne

1 ¼ c. sugar

¼ c. butter, softened

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put chocolate in glass bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until just melted. Set aside to cool.

Weigh or measure the flour and put in a small bowl. Add cinnamon, baking powder, salt, pepper and cayenne. Give all the dry ingredients a stir.

In a separate (and larger bowl), beat the [soft] butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until just combined. Add the cooled chocolate. Beat for a few more seconds, then add the dry ingredients by stirring it in until just mixed. Use a tablespoon or scoop to drop uniform dollops of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, until cookies are just set. When cooked, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 32ish cookies.

Enjoy, Y’all.

Bacon Chocolate and a Man-Date

Bacon Chocolate and a Man-Date

Not so long ago my husband and his Runnin’ Buddy ran off to Ft. Worth under the guise of getting ingredients for a crab boil to have a special dinner for the four of us.  

Runnin’ Buddy’s wife and I are always jealous when our hubbies take off like this because they have wonderful “Man-Dates.” They go eat at nice restaurants, (Reata) go shopping and usually end the “Date” with a trip to the foo-foo grocery store, Central Market.

We are all foodies—Runnin’ Buddy’s wife even went to culinary school – she’s a chef! So for us, Central Market is good times. My hubby and Runnin’ Buddy come home from their Man-Date with a truck load of crab and other sundries. 

As parting gifts they brought us Bacon Chocolate Bars. Very interesting mix of sweet and salty.  Not sure I want to eat it every time I need a sweet fix, but it’s very good.  My favorite chocolate is Scharffen Berger.  That is happiness in a wrapper.

Give them chocolate before we tell them about the "Man-Date"

Anyway …After they gave us chocolate, they told us of how the Central Market Foodie was handing out chocolate samples and took a shine to them.  According to the husbands, the CM Foodie gave them about $45 each in chocolate samples.  After they left the area she, then had the audacity to track them down a few aisles over and give them more chocolate.  

Many other [female] shoppers were left standing in the aisles wondering where they got the samples.Apparently the Foodie wasn’t as generous to the ladies shopping for their households in the middle of the day as she was of the dudes on the Man-Date. 

 In all my single years, I don’t think I’ve ever had as good a time on a date as these two did on their Man-Date.