Recently, I joined a meal exchange group with a few ladies from the area. I had thought on and off about starting a group in the past, but never got around to it in the craziness of life. When a friend sent out a message seeing who would be interested in being a part of a group, I got super excited and responded right away! If you don’t know what a meal exchange group is, here is an explanation of the basics. One thing that the ladies in my group are doing is posting links to their recipes in a shared document, the only slight problem I ran into when thinking of what recipe I was going to make,is the fact that a lot of my everyday recipes aren’t written down or in web format…I know, it’s a bad habit that I’ve slipped into, and one that has gotten way worse since I stopped working in the industry. So here is the first meal I’m going to make for the month of August, I’m sure there will be more posted in the coming months, so be on the lookout![amd-zlrecipe-recipe:1]
One of the desserts I made for Easter was a flourless chocolate cake. The idea for this cake came when I asked my friends at Savory Spice Shop if they could get in raw cacao nips, boy did they ever deliver. I had little idea what I wanted to do with the nips, other that just snack on them, but I figured I better use them in some kind of recipe. I started racking my brains of what I could make, and thought back to my time at Johnson and Wales. I had made a few flourless chocolate cakes while in school, but somehow most of my recipes that I worked on are MIA. After searching high and low in the black hole known as our garage, I went to work trying to create one from what I remembered, while adding some new touches. Here is what I ended up with, and while it still needs tweaking, it turned out pretty good for this non baking and pastry culinary girl.
Prepare 10" springform pan by buttering with 2 tbs. softened butter until there is a thin coating on all of the interior. Continue by dusting with the black onyx cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. This process will help to prevent sticking and will also give an extra dose of chocolatey goodness.
In a double broiler, add and heat the chocolate, butter, salt, and vanilla until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat and set aside.
Whisk egg yolks with sugar until mixture is a thicker pale yellow (ribbon stage). Once the ribbon stage has been achieved fold chocolate into egg yolk mixture.
In a separate bowl use an electric mixer to whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture until combined.
Pour into cocoa dusted springform pan, top with cacao nips and bake until center is just set, about 35-40 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a rack. You can either remove the ring and slice while it is still slightly warm, or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.
When I made this for the first time, I slightly over baked it, baking for 45 minutes. I believe that this led to a drier end product than I was looking for. If you find that reducing the time to 35-40 minutes still produces a drier product, I recommend baking the cake in a water bath to help keep some of the moisture.
“Once upon a time in a land not so very far away, lived a girl who loved peanuts in most any form they came. She would eat peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly of course), Reeses’s Peanut Butter cups, Butterfinger candy bars, and a multitude of other things containing peanuts. All was well until she found out that she was allergic to peanuts, one of her favorite foods. It was a very sad time in the Johnson house and there may or may not have been slight periods of mourning.”
Early this August, I went to the allergist for a food challenge, after a blood test had found that my levels for peanuts had dropped significantly. Nearly eight years after cutting peanuts from my diet, I was in the doctor’s office eating spoon after spoon of peanut butter—with a bottle of Benadryl and vial of epinephrine sitting on the table across from me. After eating almost a cup of peanut butter, I (peanut lover, turned deathly allergic) was cleared to once again eat one of my favorite foods!
Needless to say, Jason and I were very happy when we found out the wonderful news, and since we have been making up for lost time making/eating lots of yummy things. One such yummy thing has been this peanut butter pie. While the basics of the pie are like a lot of peanut butter pies out there, what makes this one different is its orange flavored ganache, giving it an intriguing twist.
While I’m not sure what my dad was thinking in this photo (or what he was planning to do with those paper towels) here is a picture of the pie right before my family devoured it.
As you can see from my mistake, the two hours chilling time is definitely needed…
This morning I was reading a post on friend’s blog about being Blessed beyond Measure and was truly encouraged by recalling some of the ways the Lord has chosen to bless me. I think about how the Lord continually provides for my family, how He surounds me with brothers and sisters in Christ, how He protects me…fights for me when Satan tries to discourage, how He encourages and teaches me by using those I think I should be teaching, and in many other ways that would take an entire post to list. That being said, one of the first ways that came to my mind is how He is allowing me to be a part of the steering committee for an AMAZING event that my church hosts every other year (click here for more information)!
In the Summer of last year, I was approached about heading up the food committee for this event and after some prayer Jason and I decided that it would be a great thing for me to do. I never would have guessed all the Lord would do to bless me by making that decision. I have been able to build relationships with a group of godly ladies that I might not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise. Every month we have our monthly planning meeting, which is always such a sweet time of community and fellowship. This month I hosted our last meeting at my house and of course, me being me, had to throw some yummy food into the mix. After the Lord laid on my heart what He wanted me to share during our devotion time I had to rethink a few of my menu choices that would have taken a little too much time/stress to do well. Thankfully the Lord allowed me to find easy things to prepare and serve that weren’t too far out there or expensive, as I will often make things myself since they’re generally more cost effective that way. Here is what we had on the menu…
Sweet and tangy meatballs
Praline cashews (A Southern Season)
Baked brie with crackers
Raspberry Tart (Trader Joe’s)
Orange cucumber water
I was very pleased with how things turned out, minus the slightly burnt brie (that’s what happens when you get caught up talking) and I know that God used our time during the meeting to get a lot accomplished. A few of the ladies asked for the recipes of my meatballs and brie so I figured I could just add them to the blog.