January 27, 2011

Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

It was one of those blah kind of days, where nothing particularly bad had happened but the hum-drum of day-to-day tasks left me unmotivated. But then, sunshine convinced me to take the dog on what turned out to be a most refreshing walk along a new path. And what beats watching a puppy race along a creek whilst you sing songs because you're in the woods by yourself? That would be heading back home to discover a recipe gem on Twitter for which you have all the ingredients.

A few clicks and a couple of hours later, I was molding Tollhouse dough around Oreos, the only store-bought cookie I care much for (besides Milanos). Some people tweeted its similarity to a turducken (chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey), but I liken it more to fair food like the fried Snickers, combining sinfully decadent treats.

Conclusion: Sharing colossal cookies with chocolate-cream gooey centers at the end of the day, that makes people smile and reminds me that ordinary wintry Wednesdays are for loving life too. Of course they are best eaten hot out of the oven, but the Oreo center stays nice and soft for a few days afterward too.

Update March 2012:
My mom's coworkers says the highest points of his life are:
1. coming to know Jesus
2. his wedding
3. the birth of his children
4. eating an Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookie last year

January 25, 2011

Dinner: Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

The South is taking too many cues from Northern winters and forgetting that people like me choose to live here for a reason. I do not approve of winter temperatures hovering significantly under 50 degrees (I'm spoiled, I know), except that it makes soup taste extra soul-warming.  

I tend to stereotype chicken soups as being somewhat bland. However, if you cook up some fresh veggies first and throw in a bit of half and half at the end for this one, it won't disappoint fans of fresh-tasting, flavorful soups. 

Necessity: Warm, crusty bread.
Bonus: Bakery cranberry bread a very nice person brought home for me.

The wild rice adds a nutty flavor to this thick (not very broth-y) concoction, but the other ingredients keep it from being too overpowering.

Tell me, friends, what are you making to warm you up on dreary winter days? (Yes, this is a comment request, pretty please.)

January 18, 2011

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake

Short Version of Why You Must Eat This Cake: (Reverse) Reese's Cup in Cake Form: Chocolate Cake. Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting. Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache.

Not-As-Succinct Version: The cake is the most moist, fluffy chocolate cake I've tasted. Scratch cakes tend to be dry and heavy, but this is so the succulent polar opposite that it going to be my go-to chocolate cake now that I am a baking elitist who cake taste slight chemical-y taste in box mix. 

Rich and peanut-buttery, the icing makes the cake, and the ganache provides a chocolate seal with a pretty flair.  I accidentally bought fat-free half-and-half for the ganache, so mine was a lighter and less photogenic, tasty nonetheless layer. It also conveniently left drippings at the bottom of the cake to taste test.

Now, this cake is super rich, but there's no need to worry that it will go to waste, assuming you have friends who appreciate splurging on a dessert of this caliber. If in doubt, send four college girlfriends to a cabin in the woods for a long weekend, and it will promptly be consumed, first cut in nice, neat pieces and then directly attacked with forks to salivate each crumb. (Clarification: said girlfriends did give away a few pieces before retreating and managed to hike and lift logs between cake attacks.)

January 11, 2011

Spinach Brownies

Before you start conjuring up images of chocolate and spinach (yuck), let me tell you that these are savory cheesy appetizer brownies. However, beware of googling the recipe; you will find chocolate brownie recipes that make claims to sneak in nutritious spinach. I don't believe them.

These finger food treats taste like quiche. There's plenty of cheese and onion to cover up any super-green spinach taste that can turn some people off. True to the nature of brownies, they are certainly an indulgence, but I did find the stick of butter in the original recipe unnecessary.

These are sure to become anyone's potluck favorite. We've been eating them at family gatherings for years. Be sure not to trash leftovers; I love to eat the them as a grab-and-go breakfast.

January 4, 2011

Dinner: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry Sauce

The roasted pork tenderloin I grew up on was easy and tasty but a bit ordinary. This sweet, slightly tangy sauce makes a weeknight pork meal taste like a fancy dinner out. I have fond food memories of eating chef creations of blackberry sauce on beef medallions and elk tenderloin, and this easy dish ranks with those.

Rum, orange zest, dijon mustard, and ginger add zesty flavor to simple fruity preserves. Best all, the sauce only requires dumping five ingredients in a pot and letting it cook 5 minutes-- doable, right?

We ate it with wild rice and acorn squash because it's winter, but I want to try it in the spring with a fruit-filled green salad.