Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I made these strawberries the same day I was making truffles. While I posted that recipe over a year ago, the strawberries remained in my picture folder. Until today when I went looking at old pictures of recipe that never made it to the blog and found this one.

These are not your regular chocolate dipped strawberries. Not only are they dipped in dark chocolate, they are then rolled in dark chocolate shavings. Mu daughter loved these and they were gone pretty quickly. Use large strawberries so the double chocolate coating is balanced out with the strawberry flavor. This is a perfect recipe to use you dark cocoa brick.

You will need
10-12 Strawberries
1 oz. dark chocolate cut from a 70-100% dark cocoa brick
2 tbsp. dark chocolate shavings from a 70-100% dark cocoa brick
parchment paper

Rinse and dry the strawberries leaving the stem hat in place. Keep aside until needed. Shred the dark chocolate over a grater to get the chocolate shavings. Keep aside. Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler.

Dip the strawberries about 3/4 of the way in the melted chocolate and place on the parchment paper. When the melted chocolate starts to dry sprinkle the chocolate shavings over the top. Continue until you have dipped and covered all the strawberries. Leave them on the parchment paper until the chocolate has thickened.


This is my entry for week two, day three of BM #58 for the theme Tea Time snacks. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#58.

Caramelized Pears

Pears are always in season but they are rather plain. They rarely make it into my grocery list as there are so many other fruits to choose from. Caramelized pears on the other hand taste great and make a great dessert or an afternoon snack. You can serve it with ice cream or eat it on its own.

You could let the sugars caramelize until they are a darker brown. It does take a while so be patient. You could stop where I did, when the sugar are a light brown and the pears taste just as great. This was an experiment I wanted to try for myself just as I wanted to try grilled peaches for the longest time. Fruit are rarely cooked in my house so I have to plan in advance whenever I cook up a recipe with fruit.

You will need (single serving)
1 pear
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp. sugar

Peel the pear and and cut it in half. Remove the seeds. You could cut it into smaller pieces with desired. Keep aside. Heat the butter in a pan and sprinkle sugar over the melted butter. Add the pear and let it look on medium heat until the pear is cooked through and sugar begins to caramelize. Once you get to the desired color turn off the heat. Serve with ice cream or by itself.


This is my entry for week two, day two of BM #58 for the theme Tea Time snacks. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#58.

Caramelized Onions, Apple, Grilled Gouda and Brie Sandwich

Several months ago I read a status update from a friend on Facebook. She mentioned this sandwich, no picture. Just reading about it made my mouth water and I knew I had to make it. For months I have the title of this recipe in my grocery list on the phone. Finally I got a chance to make it when my daughter came home for a visit from college. This sandwich has so many layers of flavor, a new one hits you as you bite, chew and swallow.

I made these as a late tea/light dinner. You could make them any time of the day. I used red onions today and caramelized them on a medium high flame for over half an hour. They were sweet by the time I was done and tasted great on their own. I used Fuji apple to complement the onions. If you would like to use Granny Smith apples then I suggest you use sweet white/yellow onions. Either way you cannot go wrong.

The brie adds a creamy texture. Make sure you find a good source for the brie. I got brie imported from France at my local Whole Foods. I like the fact that they can cut you a slice as thick or thin as you want. I also got the Gouda at the same store. If using Granny Smith apples you could use sharp cheddar but please stay away from processed cheese.

You will need (4 sandwiches)
1 red onion
1 Fuji apple
8 slices of fresh country bread
1 block red wax covered gouda
1 small wedge brie
1/2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. oil

Peel and slice the onion making sure the slices are no thinner than 1/4 inch. Heat oil in a pan and add the onion slices. Set the heat to a medium high and allow the onions to caramelize. Stir frequently and do not allow to burn. 

After about 30-40 minutes the onions will wilt and turn color. They will be sweet and caramelized. At this point you can turn off the heat and keep aside. They will stay good for a few hours. When ready to proceed or if assembling right away, add a small dollop of butter and combine on high heat. Turn off the heat and keep aside. 

Slice the apples and the cheese. Heat a pan, I used cast iron. If you have a panini press heat that too. Assemble each sandwich. First place a few pieces of brie on one of the slices.

Next layer the apples.

Then the caramelized onions. I used a little more than the picture shows.

Next add the gouda cheese.

Place the second slice over the top. Place a small dollop of butter on the heated pan and place the sandwich on it. If using the panini press place a dollop of butter on the sandwich and place the press. Alternately, wait for the first side to brown.

Flip it over and place your spatula over the top. Allow to brown completely. 

Take it off the heat and eat it while it is hot.


This is my entry for week two, day one of BM #58 for the theme Tea Time snacks. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#58.

Apple Oatmeal

For the last few months, I have made an effort to create some recipe that kids in dorm rooms can enjoy with the limited resources they have. My daughter is a freshman and could use some innovative ideas to help counter the unpredictable cafeteria food. Today I have a healthy dessert. It would taste great with the ice cream from the cafeteria but would be be fine without.

Depending upon how sweet your apple is you may not need any sugar. However, I would never call this a sugarless recipe. It has plenty of sugar from the apple.

You will need
1/2 an apple (Fuji or any other)
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 pinch baking powder
1 pinch cinnamon powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. oil
1 tsp. sugar (optional)

Peel and shred the apple. In a bowl combine the apple with all the other ingredients.

Microwave for 1.5 - 2 minutes. If it starts to bubble over then stop and restart. The oatmeal will change color and cook all the way through.


Microwave Steamed Vegetables with Soba Noodles

Anyone who has lived in a dorm knows how unpredictable the cafeteria food can be. One day they serve something okay and the next you cannot find anything you would want to eat. Since my daughter is now in college I have been trying to find a solution to this problem. I have posted a few dorm room recipes but they are mostly salads. This morning I had an idea. If I got a bag of vegetables that can be steamed in the microwave and I cooked specialty noodles also in the microwave, I could mix it all together for a meal.

This is what I came up with. I used soba noodles or buckwheat noodles as they cook up quickly. I used the bird's eye Asian Medley steamer bag. The vegetables are mildly seasoned. I added a hint of hot sauce and some soy sauce. Within minutes I had a bowl of steaming vegetables and noodles. This is something you can put together quickly, tastes great and all you need is your microwave.

If you are trying this at home you can source the vegetables, baby corn, broccoli, carrots and snap peas, steam them in a steamer until cooked but not mushy and season with salt and black pepper.

You will need
1 bag of microwave steaming vegetables (I used Bird's eye Asian Medley)
1.5 - 2 oz. soba noodles
1 tsp. soy sauce
Siracha sauce to taste
Black pepper to taste

Cook the vegetables as per package instructions. Keep aside. Add water to a large microwavable bowl and bring it to a boil in the microwave (about 3-4 minutes). Add the noodles and let them cook until just tender. It took me two 30 second intervals for a total of 1 minute. Rinse the noodles in cold water, drain and place them in a bowl. Add the steamed vegetables and the remaining ingredients. Tastes best when hot.


This is my entry for week one, day two of BM #58 for the theme Dorm Room recipes. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#58.

Black Bean, Spinach and Apple Salad

I love salads. They are quick to put together and can be light or hearty depending upon the ingredients you choose. The Back beans, apple and spinach in this salad make it a full meal. The flavors go well together with the apple adding that little crunch. The best part of it is this can be a dorm room meal after a visit to the grocery store. Shred the carrot and spinach. Chop the apples and pop open a can of beans. Even the dressing is simple and the ingredients store well.

I had previously posted a black bean salad with cucumber. It was while I was prepping for that salad that I realized I had run out of cucumbers and avocado. I had apples and carrots. I decided to add apples and carrots instead. They added such a delicious crunch I knew I had to blog about it. The salad keeps well for a few hours. The lemon juice in the dressing keeps the apple from turning brown. The flavors blend well but the apples do not lose their crunch. I have taken this as packed lunch with great success.

Use organic apple so you can leave the skin on. The avocado should be just ripe so it holds its shape.

You will need
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
a bunch spinach leaves, chopped
1 apple, diced
1 carrot, peeled and shredded

For the dressing
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp. cayenne pepper powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients for the dressing. Combine with the other ingredients.


Edible bread basket

Edible Spring Bread Basket / Braided Bread Basket

After I had made an edible bread basket I had this vision of a shallower basket that could be used as a centerpiece decorated with flowers. ...