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Showing posts with label delish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label delish. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Simply Vanilla Gourmet Cheesecakes: Simply Scrumptious

Simply Vanilla's Cheesecake Case
IN A WORD, Yessss!
We sampled our myriad of mini cheesecakes in front of the fireplace in the mall!

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

Simply Vanilla's wonderful selection of bars and brownies

Whoopie Pies, Massive Danishes, Muffins and Cookies

Simply Vanilla offers Vegan and Keto options




Social Distancing Parameters at Simply Vanilla

Key Lime Cheesecake by Simply Vanilla


Simply Vanilla Menu



 

Sharing is Caring, Simply Vanilla Gourmet Cheesecake

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Blueberry/Ginger/Bacardi Rum Jam: We Be Jammin'!

Today's feature is brought to you by an awesome sale on blueberries at our local Walmart. 12 oz. containers were on sale for $1 each.  This afforded me the opportunity to make a plethora of fruited goodies, namely jam.  I'd never made blueberry jam before and figured it was high time.  Following a successful venture with strawberries, creating a Mixed Berry Sake Jam w/Cardamom, a big hit with me and my family.  The recipe is super easy and relatively maintenance free, using my Ninja Foodi® and I was able to gift some of my family and friends their own special homemade goodies, it makes me feel good!  It pays to catch these impressive sales at local supermarkets and maximize on its benefits by canning and preserving for later.  With times as unpredictable as they are these days, every little bit helps, every deliciously sweet, fruity and spreadable bite!  I used Bacardi Rum for this recipe, but feel free to choose the brand of your own personal desire, I like to stick with the classics when cooking with alcohol. Don't worry, only the subtle spiced notes remain, not the booziness, so you can create memories that you can share with your kids after eating, unabashed and without the shame that sometimes comes along with a story starting with Bacardi Rum! Cheers!


 I'm by no means opposed to sugar and I know and respect its place in canning. I do however, feel that wonderful canned jams and jellies can be achieved with optimal yet reduced amounts.  This recipe provides a delightful and fruit forward spread and you will never miss the extra sugar! Try a heaping spoonful in your cottage cheese for a real treat or with the usual suspects like toast, English muffins or yeast rolls.  Breakfast, lunch or dinner, this JAM ROCKS!

Recipe:
8 -12 oz. containers of fresh blueberries, rinsed, picked through and examined for defectives
5 3/4 c. pure cane sugar
8 whole green cardamom pods
Juice and peel (without pith or white part) of 1 lemon
1 tsp. kosher salt or to taste
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 shot bottle of Bacardi Rum 1 1/2 oz.
2 boxes fruit pectin, optional
Instructions:
Place all ingredients except vanilla extract in the Foodi on the warm setting and allow the fruit to macerate and marry for 5 hours.  Doing so will break the berries down slowly and help them keep their form, concentrating the delicious flavors and 'becoming' with little effort.  Stir periodically.
Once the berries have given up their liquids and are fragrance forward, turn the setting to  sear/saute and bring the berries up to gentle simmer.
Remove the cardamom pods!
Once the berries have reached your desired consistency, turn off the heat and add the pectin mixed with a little water.  
If you choose not to use the pectin, simply simmer the berries down until visibly reduced and it is a bit thicker in the vessel.  It will continue to thicken naturally as it cools and sets.
Stir until fully dissolved and transfer to hot sterilized jars.
Add the lids and place the jars on the counter to seal naturally over the course of the next day.
You will be able to tell if they have sealed, by the indentation in the top lid, it will be concave. 
Label and date your finished gems, I like to adorn the gifting ones with butcher's twine for a personal touch, but feel free to omit or decorate as desired.   
Your jam is ready to be stored or gifted, I did both.
Makes 12 -1/2 pint jars, plus some to enjoy now, just place the remainder in a clean and airtight jar with a lid.
Refrigerate for longest shelf life and best flavor.  Keep in mind, this version has about half the sugar as the regular versions, so it may be more susceptible to losing freshness faster after opening, not that it will hang around though, as my young teens say "It's Bussin"!, which translates to delicious!


Monday, August 17, 2020

Creamy Parmesan and Bacon Tortilla Cups


 This appetizer happened so fast and was received so well, I had to share with my fellow Culinarians.  I had to stop in by Kroger, which is usually a once monthly deal, when I pick up my scripts and saw some sweet deals going on, my wallet approved of.  There was a gourmet dip in the deli section, reduced and reasonable, so I grabbed it up, taking advantage of something that would normally be out of my budget's comfort zone, saving me several dollars, that I would gladly keep for other essentials. 

 I was initially envisioning this gourmet dip, smothering a baked potato, turning a side dish into a main course with a few sauteed mushrooms or garlic shrimp and leafy green salad by its side.  As I made my way through the store, picking up some healthful steps with my Samsung Health app that's installed on my phone, I saw the tortilla cups.  These two items were not meant to converge, until I was back at home and having a few of the cups with a Spinach dip another family member picked up on the same visit.  I have a Ninja Foodi and it helps facilitate many of the spur of the moment ideas that may need my immediate attention, before I either forget, or fail to write down.  Luckily, this recipe became only a matter of putting 3 things I enjoy together and adding some heat.  I filled the cups with the Parmesan forward dip and sprinkled in a few real bacon pieces from the package, usually adorning a salad.  I placed my Foodi on the broil setting and in a matter of  minutes, there was this piping hot, cheesy, melty, crunchy and smoky 2 -3 bite snack, full of flavor and good enough to share with others.  The family loved it and looked forward to the next time they would be making an appearance.  That was good enough for me.  We don't normally agree on everything, at least not all the time, but this time, everything fell into place, like Plinkos on a game of The Price is Right, gotta love it when that happens!  

Recipe:

Tortilla Cups

Parmesan and Peppercorn Gourmet Dip, (Kroger)

Real Bacon Pieces

SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)


Instructions:

Fill cups midway with Parmesan Peppercorn dip.

Sprinkle with real bacon pieces.

Place in Ninja Foodi or under a broiler.

Broil until bubbly and melty.

Plate and serve. 

Makes as many as you don't feel guilty eating.

P.s. The shadow you see directly behind the plate is actually one of our dogs, Grizzley, he wanted in on the action! I was out by my herb garden, trying to catch some good natural lighting and he was curious about what smelled so darn good and if there was enough for him! 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Triple Cheese Burger: Muenster, American and Pepper Jack


There's a great burger waiting around virtually every corner and summertime is the perfect time for burger recipes worth the effort and here is one for the books.  The awesome part about this Triple Cheese burger is that it's completely meatless and is rocking two whole portobellos with a Beyond Meat® Burger sandwiched in between three slices of cheese, all bringing different elements of deliciousness to the table.  
I am rather fond of the Beyond Meat Beyond Burger™ for many reasons.  I like the option of meatless and less meat days and this burger fits the bill for a great fill in.  I won't say substitute, because this meat option stands on its own, full of flavor and fantastic texture. They are composed of pea proteins and a welcome smokiness, they even give the appearance of a burger cooked medium well. They are a bit expensive for a crowd, so using all mushrooms would rock too.  I've swapped it in on my pickiest girl, Genesis, and it went over very well. She didn't comment, one way or the other, but she ate it and afterwards said that she enjoyed it.  Although the results were not the same the second time around, I announced it before I served it and the girls were like "Mom, we're not Vegans". I expressed to them that I wasn't trying to turn them into Vegans, as much as I was trying to show them that there are plant based meat alternatives and that we can have plant based meal days as well as an omnivorous diet respectively, Bettertarians, consciously making adjustments towards better choices, decisions and health. 
Executing this recipe is breeze and you can dress it up or down any way you choose.  I used some gourmet greens I had on hand from another recipe, but you can use iceberg, bringing fresh crunch.  The portobellos are to me, best cooked on a grill pan, easily allowing excess moisture to escape.  The Beyond burger will take approximately the same time, so all you'll need to decide is what three cheeses you want to use, or not, of course it's up to you.  
This is certainly an indulgent burger, but not guilt ridden. It's easily 1/2 to 3/4  fewer calories and fat, than a full on triple meat and cheese burger, you're welcome.  Make your next meal POP with some delicious and nutritious alternatives to your meaty meals, you may be surprised at how great they taste. Now if you really want to get the crowd going, throw in some BACON! That usually wins over the last leary souls, afraid to think outside the box, the fast food box, that is.  
Recipe:
Portobello mushrooms, large, trimmed wiped clean
Liquid Aminos, optional
Beyond Meat™ Burgers, they come in packs of 2 and 4
3 types cheese, I chose one mild, melty and stretchy, one traditional and one with spicy kick 
Burger Fixins (lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mayo, ketchup and mustard), as desired
Hamburger Buns
SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
Olive oil for drizzling

Directions:
Marinate the Portobellos(2) in 2 tsp. Liquid Aminos for 15 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
Brush mushrooms and Beyond burger with olive oil and place on hot grill or grill pan.
Start the mushrooms on the flat side.
Once mushrooms start to release their water, It's time to flip, about 5 minutes.
SPST, both burgers and shrooms.
While the proteins cook, prep the rest of the burger.
Lightly grill or toast the buns, drizzled with olive or a smear of plant butter, optional
Add cheeses during the last 2 minutes. 
Assemble burgers and make some memories! 






Beyond Meat Burger, World's First Plant-Based Burger, Vegan, No ...





Thursday, June 11, 2020

Mulberry Molten Cakes w/Lemon Curd and Blueberries


Summer has a flavor and it's bright, tangy, fresh, creamy and AH-mazing.This recipe is inspired by a delicious classic, Lemon Meringue Pie and anything with a molten center, hot or cold.  I used a combination of homemade and store bought ingredients, along with some fresh picked and homegrown  delights like the Mulberries, scratch made Lemon Curd and mint from my herb garden.  The cakes are a simple store bought boxed variety of French Vanilla, with the freshly picked mulberries nestled in the bottom of each one.  
The mulberries have a fleeting existence, subject to the elements of wind and nature, the birds, who quickly make light work of the sweet ripened berries, that will fall at the slightest touch when ready to enjoy.  My youngest Bronwyn assisted in gathering the berries from our backyard, which are a part of the breadfruit and fig family and grown in China for its leaves, which are the only variety of leaf a Silkworm will eat! Mulberries provide an array of noteworthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These gems contain  Vitamin C and K, iron, potassium, fiber, polyphenols and anthocyanins giving their brilliant dark red color, plus rutin and myracetin, which are both excellent compounds for reducing cancer risks. 
The sweet tang of the curd is a first time for me, inspired by a Lemon Curd recipe from a popular site.  The icing is of the whipped variety, a specialty item from the grocer, favored for its icing consistency, but without the sickly sweet taste of some traditional icings.  The whipped icing helps to keep this recipe 'light', in taste and mouthfeel.   
The family received the recipe well, as did I.  They are easy enough to make for a special dinner dessert or as a great bring-along to your next cookout, when the opportunity permits.  




Monday, March 30, 2020

Foraging: Morel Mushroom Flatbread

 Old Macdonald had a farm, we learned from way back and if he made flatbread, this would be it.  This flatbread's components are staples and part of everyday farmlife.  We have the grains or bread of course, then we have the meaty, earthy and nutty flavor profile of the morels, then we have our dairy cows with the butter, a little duck fat and a bit of garlic sauteed with the mushrooms, then removed to provide the perfect kiss of goodness. 
I actually used large butter flavored refrigerator biscuits to create the flatbread, creating a delicious and time savvy flavorbomb, with a lid on the stovetop pan to create a mini dutch oven.  After being flipped, the flatbread will reach a crispity, texture filled, crusty bottom, caramelized and to your standard's perfection.  This a recipe perfect for small hauls or when you want something to showcase the mushroom's delightful aromas, texture and flavor. Feel free to toss a few fresh thyme leaves or edible flower petals for an over the top, spectacular presentation! For best results, allow biscuits to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes, for ease of stretching.

Recipe:
In a medium nonstick pan over medium high heat, melt 1/2 pat of butter and about 1/2 tsp. duck fat.*
Swirl pan to combine and add mushrooms, about 1/4 c. cut in half and 2 smashed cloves of garlic.
Saute for about 2 minutes.
SPST . (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
Meanwhile, take 1 of the jumbo butter biscuits mash and stretch with hands until about 2 1/2 times its normal size, and about 1/4 inch thickness.
Push mushrooms together in pan, remove garlic, making sure textured sides of morels are facing down, then cover with dough.
Turn temperature down to medium heat.
Place a plate or tightly fitting lid over pan to cook/steam the dough.
After about 3 minutes, remove lid and carefully flip flatbread over (you may press on top lightly to ensure mushrooms adhere to bottom) and cover again.
Cook until bottom is slightly crisp and golden brown, but not burned, check as needed.
Place on paper towel to absorb any excess oils.
Makes 1 flatbread.

*If you do not have or want to use duck fat, olive oil, schmaltz (chicken fat) or bacon renderings will make great variations.


If you would like this recipe and future posts delivered right to your mailbox, simply join us by adding your email in the subscription section at the top of the web version!  Thanks in Advance.

Best,
D. Smith :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

That's Just 'Souper', Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Sage Soup for the Soul

It's Fall and the weather is finally starting to realize it.  This summer past has been a scorcher, the hottest on record as a matter of fact.  The leaves have long reflected change, partly because of the drought, their colors mottled with striations of yellows, limes and browns.  They present crunchy underfoot, falling in the day's cool sunlight, their last hoorah!  Fall, sweet Fall, welcome. You bring my birthday, and the things I love most about the seasons; chilly crisp air, sweet, warming baking smells and spices...my favorite time of year.  Better late than never, am I right? 

A friend inquired about what I could do with a pumpkin, dropped during decorating, but viable. She utilized the seeds inside by roasting and seasoning.  The following recipe is what I did with the pumpkin meat, after roasting it off for approximately 40 minutes, drizzled with olive oil and lightly sprinkled with kosher salt. My friend was pleased with results and so was my family of tasters.  I served this with everything bagels, toasted and smeared with some Plant Butter, Coconut, it's delicious. I've also tried the Almond Plant Butter and it's Ahhhmazing too! Bettertarian by design.
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The following recipe will help kick Autumn into full swing. Unlike some of the traditional Pumpkin soups, this one isn't the type to stick to your spoon like ice cream, it is a thinner, broth based soup with a small amount of milk.  Of course you can adjust as desired, by adding less broth or milk, but I find this way most pleasing.  The thicker ones are to me like baby food from the jar, delicious I'm sure, but just not my favorite. Alas, you can decide for yourself and enjoy the delicious results.


Recipe:
4 cups Roasted Pumpkin*
5 cups chicken or veggie stock
3 tbsp. yellow onion, diced
2 tbs. Vermont cultured butter or other butter, plant or animal based
2/3 c. milk, I used 2%
1 1/2 to 2 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Sage leaves
SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
Immersion Blender, optional but Optimal

In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, heat to medium high and drizzle with olive oil.
Add butter, then onions and cook until translucent and fragrant, stirring often, about 3 minutes.
Add stock and pumpkin and use immersion blender to combine and smooth.
If you don't have one, you can press the pumpkin through a sieve before adding to pot and that will aid in creating a creamy, but not thick texture.
Check Seasonings and SPST.
Reduce heat to medium and simmer for several minutes.
Stir in chiffonade of Sage.
Remove from heat and stir in milk.
Place back on burner and simmer for several more minutes, taking care not to let boil.
Serve with toast, crackers or everything bagels.  Great as is.
Serves 6 to 8.

*Note:  I used the regular carving type pumpkin for this recipe, the sugar pumpkin or 'pie pumpkin' featured above is for decoration and other uses, including but not limited to pies, baking vessels, serving bowls, etc...




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Smokinhotchef
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