August 28, 2013

Summer Gratitude

This season I have been thankful...
For meals with 20 people who share my last name, and fruit of my dad's new massive "Bubba Grill" smoker.

Grilled Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Kebabs
For the grill on my back patio, the lovely woman with which it came, and all the meals and fellowship it has brought to our table.

For far-from-weak mint juleps in frosted glasses, chopsticks with which to stir them, and thoughtful persons who make them possible.

Grilled Chicken, Grilled Zucchini, Caprese Salad, Strawberry Scones
For self-taught grilling lessons and friends who affirm my gifts for culinary creations.

August 23, 2013

Tomato Watermelon Salad Stacks

I think I am eating out too much. Because I  plated my salad to look pretty yet have few degrees of functionality. To eat this masterpiece, you must in fact slash it up into pieces that end up looking like a normal tossed salad.

Blame my leaning tower of tomato and watermelon on Chis Hastings' tomato salad stacking at Hot and Hot. Or blame Slice's tomato-watermelon fancification. That's where the idea come from.
Still, I did dumb down chefly salad over-orchestration to six simple ingredients. And  mint+tomato+watermelon+feta tastes like an explosion of the fresh sweetness of summer in your mouth.

So try it in towers that can topple, or just cut it all up and toss it together like a normal person. Your call.

August 14, 2013

Mocha-Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake

Ina Garten is a brilliant woman. She dreamed up layering chocolate chip cookies with a tiramisu-like mocha cream in a spring form pan.
But in the name of "Barefoot Conetessa How Easy Is That?", her recipe calls for packaged cookies. Dessert blasphemy! I baked Tollhouse ones from scratch.

Actually I baked cookie bars in a jellyroll pan because it was like 9:30 p.m., and I did not want to be scooping dough and cooling cookies for forever. So I ended up with three thick layers of cookie and Kahlua/marscapone wonder instead of the five the recipe calls for. If I did if over again, I'd make thinner cookies so that cookie+cream melds together more seamlessly.
 Icebox desserts: Madoline's solution to serving seasonally appropriate chocolate desserts in the summer since the Strawberry Icebox Dessert wonder of 2010, or actually since Cooking Light's Chocolate- Eclair Icebox Dessert of my teenage years.

August 1, 2013

Chocolate Cream Pie Squares with Oreo Crust

Let me tell you about the day my life forever changed.

It started with a seething cauldron of sin. Chocolate and cream and such churned into the most decadent creamy cocoa-y yum that has ever gone between Oreos and real whipped whipping cream.

And there was enough of it to feed all the dudes who ate bread and fish that day in that Bible story. Almost. 

But for real, 20 people ate it at the lake on a Saturday, I shipped off slices to my parents' house and my brother's house, and then I divvied up like eight servings when there ended up being a viewing of super-interesting documentary Searching for Sugarman (check it out, fellow documentary-nerdy friends/anyone who likes music) at my house the next night. 

And then I ate a final solitary piece all by my lonesome one night.

My not-so-pretty photos just don't do it justice.
And now dessert-obsessed me is struggling to brainstorm any other confection to make for people because all I can think of is this, the most perfect way to eat chocolate in summertime. Ever.

Every time I try to think of something new, all that comes to mind is the way the rich fudgy chocolate cream is cut by creamy whipped cream and held together by a buttery-chocolate crisp crust. Ohmygoodness.