Category Archives: Party Food

Guacamole Made With A Kick And Something Different Too

Are you ready for the big game tomorrow?  The Puppy Bowl XIV that is on Animal Planet.  😀

Our Green Grocer had absolutely gorgeous RIPE  Avocados on sale this past week, so I thought that a nice bowl of Guac would be appropriate for our game day snacking.  I’m sure you have your own recipe all set to go, but let me throw my hat into the arena.  😉

 

Auntie Doni’s Guacamole

2 Avocados, mashed

¼ tsp. Sea Salt

3 tsp. fresh Lime Juice

2 Tbsp. Litehouse® Guacamole Herb & Spice Blend

1/8 tsp. (more or less) Miners Mix Pepperhead’s Hot-Banero Seasoning & Rub

In a medium sized bowl, mash the Avo’s to your liking, I like mine on the chunky side.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Taste for seasoning, does it need more Hot-Banero?  Go for it!

Take a piece of plastic wrap, cover so that the plastic is touching the Guacamole, so as not to brown.  Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow everything to marry their flavors.

 

  

Can you see all of those Peppers in there and Spices in there?

Use the dipping utensil of your choice and …

ENJOY!

Miners Mix Hot-Banero Spiced Cashews

I’m pretty sure I mentioned to the class that I received a very generous gift of assorted Seasonings and Rubs from the Ole’ Miner at Miners Mix.

The spiciest mix of the lot is this Pepperhead’s Hot-Banero; can you see that this one has Ghost Peppers in it?  My husband’s good buddy, Mister Dear Friend, is a true Pepperhead and LOVES everything muy caliente!  So I was sitting here tried to think of what else I could use this warm spice with/on … DING! 💡  Spiced Nuts!

So I gathered my ingredients and got to work.

 

Miners Mix Hot-Banero Spiced Cashews

1 tsp. Miners Mix Pepperhead’s Hot-banero Seasoning

½ Tbsp. pure Maple Syrup

1/8 tsp. Sea Salt

1 C. raw-unsalted and shelled Cashews

 

Pre-heat our oven to 325⁰.

In a medium sized bowl, combine until smooth, the first 3 ingredients.

Add the nuts and mix until all the nuts are evenly coated with the spice mixture.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.

Spread the nuts in a single layer on the pan and bake for about 15-20, or until the nuts are fragrant.

Cool and serve or package in a zip bag for later munchies.

HEH! Christmas is coming, would this make a great gift for any Pepperhead?

ENJOY!

Triple Chocolate Half-Sized Bundt® Cakes, One To Eat and One to Share

I love Bundt® cakes!  For the most part, they’re moist and tasty.  I even have more than one type of Bundt® pan, with another one on its way.

I saw a recipe somewhere for Chocolate Bundtlettes, heh, I have a pan like that!

But as I thought about the recipe, I figured I could one up that!  I’ll make the cake in my Half-sized Bundt® pans and then guild the lily farther.

 

Triple Chocolate Bundt® with a Deluxe Ganache Frosting

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix

1 box Instant Chocolate Pudding (the small one)

1 1/3 C. Vegetable Oil

4 Eggs

½ C. warm Water

1 C. Sour Cream

1 C. Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 350⁰

In a Stand Mixer or using a Hand Mixer, combine all of the ingredients until smooth, excluding the Chocolate chips, stir those in last.  The batter with be like thick pudding.  Using a Baking Spray, grease the two Half-sized Bundt® pans; immediately pour the batter evenly between the two pans (I use a scale to be accurate).  Bake for 20-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Place the cakes on a cooling rack and set aside until completely cooled and then turn them out (I run a disposable plastic knife around the edge of the pan first) on to the rack, fitted in a sheet pan.

Now comes the fun part, frosting and decorating those two cuties!

I wanted a bumped up Ganache Frosting, so I kinda winged it.

Deluxe Ganache Frosting

1 C. Chocolate Chips

1 C. Half and Half (or Cream, we use ½ & ½ in our coffee)

½ C. Shredded Sweetened Coconut

½ C. Chopped Pecans

In a glass bowl, heat the ½ & ½  in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, just til hot but not boiling.  Add the Chocolate Chips and stir gently until all of the Chocolate is melted.  You might need to “nuke” it again for a few seconds.

Pour the still warm Ganache over the two cakes; sprinkle the Coconut and Pecans into the Ganache, pressing very lightly in so that they stick.

Slice and enjoy with a cup of coffee or a big glass of cold milk.

I took one of the cakes to our next door neighbors and put the other one into our Covered Cake Plate.

It should keep for 4-5 days, that is if you don’t devour it!

ENJOY!

Gluten & Dairy Free Cauliflower Crust Mini Quiches

Gluten-free and Dairy-free dishes have been coming to the forefront in recent times.  Some folks choose to be GF and DF for health reasons and others just do.  My Friend, Missus Dear Friend is now GF/DF and Vegetraian for a little more than a year now.  This has nudged me onto that culinary path and researching recipes has been very eye opening.  I made this dish for our Easter Brunch Potluck (yeah, I know I’m behind, but what can I say, we’ve been busy).

GF/DF Cauliflower Crust Mini Quiches

1 head of Cauliflower

1 tsp. Salt

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 tsp. Granulated Garlic

1/3 C. diced Sweet White Onion

½ C. Dairy-free grated Parmesan Cheese

Salt & Pepper to taste

6 Eggs, separated

Preheat the oven to 375⁰

*Rice the Cauliflower by either using a large holed Box Grater or whiz it up in a Food Processor fitted with its Metal Blade.

 

Place Cauliflower in a Microwave safe dish; stir in well the Salt and cook on high for 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool until you can handle it.  Transfer the now steamed Riced Cauliflower to a large piece of Cheesecloth, and wring as much of the water out as you can (this will take a lot of upper body strength, believe me!)

In a large bowl, whisk 2 of the Eggs; add the Cauliflower, Olive Oil, Granulated Garlic, Onion, Parm and S&P to taste, remembering that the steamed riced Cauliflower already has 1 teaspoon of Salt.  Combine well.  Spray a Muffin Tin well  and divide the Cauliflower mixture evenly in the cups.

I used a small round, flat bottomed glass to press the Cauliflower into each cup, pressing firmly, but you could just use your fingers, making sure to push the mixture up the side of each cup.  So what you’re doing is forming the crust on the bottom and side as evenly as possible.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and set firm.

Whisk the remaining 4 Eggs and pour evenly between all of the cups.

 

Here’s where you can show your personality.  Add in any fillings (or not, plain is good too) that you like in a Quiche.  I chose leftover steamed Rapini with Garlic and Olive Oil, leftover sautéed Crimini Mushrooms with Olive Oil and Garlic, diced Tomatoes, freeze dried Chives and topped each with more DF Parm.  Bake 15-20 minutes or til the Eggs are set.

Allow to cool slightly before removing, using a plastic-disposable knife is best.

Serving Suggestion above, either warm or at room temp.

*Cooks Note: For convenience, just buy a bag of already Riced Cauliflower, also they stick like a son-of-a-gun!  Be sure to spray non-stick-spray liberally just before putting in the Cauliflower mixture.

Also, Mrs. DF later tried this recipe as well and used a silicone Muffin pan, works even better!

This was a lovely Easter Potluck Brunch, what a schpread!

(You’ll note that the only  Meat, Dairy or Gluten ((those are GF Crackers and Chips there)) is the Ham and Cheese Sandwich Platter meant for DH)

Handheld Spinach & Artichoke Dip Bites

I’m not sure why I didn’t post this recipe and accompanying photos earlier, that WILL make you drool I promise you!  I made this for a cocktail party that we were invited to back in on New Year’s Eve, and I just plum forgot to share, shame on me.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip Bites

Handheld Spinach & Artichoke Dip Bites

Yield: 48 pieces

Dip Ingredients:

1 (8 oz.) Package of Cream Cheese, room temperature

¼ C. Mayonnaise

½ C.  Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced

1 (15 oz.) can Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped (not the marinated ones though)

1 C. Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and drained well

Bite Ingredients:

2 tubes of Pillsbury® Original Crescents

¼ C. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (more or less, it’s up to you)

Pre-heat your oven to 375⁰

In a large bowl mix together the Dip Ingredients (I used my Stand Mixer); set aside for now.

Take the dough from one of the tubes of Crescents and gently pull off just half of it.  On a lightly floured surface, press together all of those little breaks in the dough, to make one big square.  Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into 12 pieces as equally as you can.  Spray a mini muffin tin, lightly, and press each dough square into a cup, gently; repeat until all the cups are stuffed.

Now for the Dip part.  Use a teaspoon to add the filling to the dough cups, don’t over fill them; top with the Mozz, as much or little as you like.  Bake for approximately 12 minutes, the tops will be puffy and golden.  Let them cool on a rack until you can handle them.  Pop each lovely morsel of gooey deliciousness out on to another rack to cool slightly… and serve.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip Bites, well maybe 3 bites

They wouldn’t be around for very long.

ENJOY!

Mexican Themed Foods Continued

Somehow, growing up in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean, I was exposed to a lot of Mexican Foods.  My Dad loved it!  He made it all the time for us, maybe because it was so inexpensive.  The one thing that he never made himself was Chips and Salsa, I LOVE CHIPS!

Not so long ago, I found a large quantity of Corn Tortillas in our freeze, with many packages having expiration dates long past due.

¡CHIPS!

I stacked up my stash of tortillas; cut them into quarters and heated a high-sided pot of Vegetable oil to 375⁰.  How do I know it got to that temperature?  * Cooking Tip – If you dunk the end of a wooden spoon into the hot oil and it bubbles profusely, it’s ready.

Homemade Tortillas Chips, not Salsa though

Fry the tortillas (remembering not to crowd the pan) to GBD (golden brown and delicious); carefully remove to a paper towel lined sheet pan and salt immediately.

Esto es muy picante!

Esto es muy picante!

Serve warm with your favorite dip and as always …

ENJOY!

Tunnel Of Fudge Cake, Oh My!

I’ve fallen behind on my blog, I know I know, so to make this is up to you I give you,

CAKE!

I love a good cake, really, but not the ones with oodles of icing on it or that are overly sweet.

I think I told you folks that I ordered The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook.  Fabulous!  I watched the episode where they made this cake; I was drooling the entire show.  This recipe makes a large, rich, moist, over the moon, delicious chocolate Bundt cake with a ganache like glaze dripping down the sides.  I did have to share some of this cake with neighbors, as well as freeze a huge hunk of it, just to keep both my husband and I from devouring it.  And I’ll be honest with you, as the cake sat on the counter, it got better.  After the second day, I put it in one of those Dollar Store plastic cake carriers, they’re great.  Then I stashed the whole thing in the `fridge.  On the fourth day, I cried uncle and froze the last of it.  About a week or so later, I defrosted the cake in the `fridge for a couple of days and it was FANTASTIC!  I will be making this cake again.

Tunnel Of Fudge Cake

For the Cake:

2 ¼ oz. Dutch-processed Cocoa plus extra to dust the pan

½ C. Boiling Water

2 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped

10 oz. All purpose Flour

2 C. Pecans (or Walnuts), chopped fine

8 oz. Confectioner’s Sugar

1 tsp. Salt

5 Eggs, room temperature

1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract

20 Tbsp. (2 ½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

7 oz. Granulated Sugar

5 ¼ oz. Light Brown Sugar

For the Glaze:

¾ C. Heavy Cream

¼ C. Light Corn Syrup

8 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped

½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350⁰, with the rack at to the lower-middle position.  Grease a 12 cup Bundt pan and dust with some cocoa powder.  Set aside.

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and then pour the boiling water over it; whisk gently until it’s smooth.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, nuts, confectioner’s sugar and salt.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla.

In your stand mixer fixed with the paddle, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high until it’s light and fluffy, this will take about 2 minutes.  Turn it down to low; add the egg mixture and beat just until combined.  Add the chocolate mixture and beat until incorporated.  Beat in the flour mixture for about 30 seconds, don’t over work it.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out with an off-set spatula.  Bake until the edges start to pull away from the pan, about 45 minutes.  Testing for doneness with a toothpick won’t work here, because the cake is so fudgy.  If the cake springs back when you press gently with your finger, it’s done.

Cool the cake in the pan, set on a wire rack for 1 ½ hours, then turn it out on to a serving plate and let it cool completely for at least 2 more hours.

(I made the cake one day then glazed it the next.)

For the Glaze: Heat the cream, corn syrup and chocolate in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it’s smooth.  Off heat, stir in the vanilla and set aside to thicken, about 30 minutes or so.  Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it flow down the sides.  Let the glaze set for at least 10 minutes before serving.

This cake will keep at room temperature for 2 days, but that’s about when it really gets good, I think anyways.

CAKE!

CAKE!

Sliced Tunnel of fudge cake

*I’m sure that you noticed that this recipe uses weight rather than volume (ounces vs. cups) for some of the ingredients.  It’s much more precise this way and your baked goods will come out perfect!

I do think that the next time I make this cake, I’ll make only ¾ to ½ the amount of glaze though.  You see how it’s puddling a bit?  But, yeah, I mean, aren’t you drooling now too?

Please let me know if you try this recipe by taking a photograph and posting it on whatever social media site you use, with the hashtag, #mykitcheninthemiddleofthedesert.  I’d love to see what you’re making in your kitchen.

ENJOY!

St. Patrick’s Day Dessert, Texas Sheet Cake

That’s right, I made an appetizer, an entrée and I even made a dessert for our neighborhoods’ block party celebration.

I recently ordered The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook; I saw this recipe and have wanted to try it ever since I saw them make it on the show.

 

Texas Sheet Cake

For the Cake:

2 C. (10 oz.) All Purpose Flour

2 C. (14 oz.) Granulated Sugar

½ tsp. Baking Soda

½ tsp. Salt

2 Large Eggs + 2 Large Egg Yolks

¼ C. Sour Cream

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

8 oz. Semi-sweet Chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips)

¾ C. Vegetable Oil

¾ C. Water

½ C. (1 ½ oz.) Dutch-processed Cocoa

4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter

 

For the Chocolate Icing:

8 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter

½ C. Heavy Cream

½ C. (1 ½ oz.) Dutch-porcessed Cocoa

1 Tbsp. light Corn Syrup

3 C. (12 oz.) Confectioners’ Sugar

1 C. Pecans, toasted and chopped

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a half sheet pan (18X13 inch).

 

Start with the cake assembly:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, sour cream and vanilla until smooth.

Place a large saucepan on medium heat, add the chocolate, oil, water, cocoa and butter.  Stir constantly until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.

Whisk this mixture into the flour, then pour into your prepared sheet pan.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack.

 

Let’s make that Icing:

About 5 minutes or so before the cake is done, heat the butter, cream, cocoa and corn syrup in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir occasionally, until everything is nice and smooth.  Add the vanilla, off heat and spread this as evenly as possible over the cake that has just come out of the oven.  *This is a key part of the recipe to ensure a moist cake, you must ice the cake as it comes out of the oven.

Make sure to cover every little bit of the cake by using an offset spatula.

Sprinkle the chopped pecans all over.

Cool the cake to room temperature on the rack for about an hour.  This may be tricky, but place the cake, still in the half sheet pan, into the `fridge to set, for at least an hour.  I had to do quite a bit of rearranging to make this happen.

Cut the cake into 3 inch squares to serve 24.

This cake can keep in the refrigerator, covered,  for up to 2 days.

 

 

This is a VERY CHOCOLATE-Y cake. Folks at the party thought that this was a tray of Brownies, NOPE!  Its cake alright, a very dense, fudge-y, cake.  It was delicious, and a lot of it, so this is why I was waiting for an occasion just like this to try this recipe.

ENJOY!

Stromboli or Rolled Calzone

A while back, I posted my SIL’s version of what she called Rolled Calzone, that I have now come to find is actually called Stromboli, I mean DE~LI~CIOUS~NESS!

We were invited to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in our neighborhood, basically a block party, and I decided that this would go over well as an appetizer, so I made two.  One of our neighbors asked if I share my recipes, OF COURSE! so Debra, this is for you.

I got Trader Joe’s refrigerated Garlic and Herb Pizza dough and a plain one as well (I like this better than Pillsbury Pizza dough).  I rolled each out on a floured surface to about a 14” X 10” rectangle; I don’t like it doughy, yaknow? But if you do, make it smaller.  Now, of course you could make your own Pizza dough as we have discussed previously, but, in this instance, well, I wanted quick and easy.

I spread about 2 ounces of jarred Pesto out, leaving a 2 inch boarder on the top and bottom edge.

Preheat the oven, by the way, to 400⁰.

Now comes the goodies.

Take about a quarter pound each of your favorite cheese and Italian deli meats ( I use sharp Provolone, Boar’s Head brand Pesto Ham, Genoa Salami and Hot Capocollo) and layer each evenly, again leaving a two inch boarder on the top and bottom edge.

I also like to use jarred Roasted Red Peppers, cut into strips and diced Hot Cherry Peppers for some heat.

Here we go…

Starting from the edge closest to you, roll it up as tightly as you can, tucking as you go so that the fillings stay inside.

When you get to the end, pinch the edge to stick to the roll and seal it; tuck the ends under the log.

On a parchment lined half sheet pan, sprinkle some cornmeal and place the roll (I put both on one pan), seam side down.  *Edit: oops, I forgot, at this point brush the Stromboli with a beaten egg white.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until just browned.

Cool on a rack to room temperature and slice as desired.

Stromboli or Rolled Calzone

*note: this tray is less eight, yes 8 slices that my husband had to test taste!

This makes a great appetizer or a light lunch with a nice green salad.

ENJOY!

Our New Year’s Day Feast

Fried Saimin

Okay, so in my last post, I was telling you about how we eat noodles for good luck on New Year’s; here’s what else we had with our noodles.

NYD Sushi platter

I’ve got this thing for I don’t know how many years now, that we have a sushi platter on New Years.  Now that we live in the middle of the desert, I’ve had to learn how to make this; pretty good, huh?

Limu Ahi Poke Bowl

Limu Ahi Poke bowl, yes again.  My favorite place to buy fresh fish, still had fresh Ahi Tuna on sale for $8.99 per pound, so I figured, why not.  This is simple, make the Poke of your choice and serve it over hot steamed rice.

Chicken Katsu

Chicken Katsu, MMM!  This dish is a snap, think Fried Chicken, but with a twist.  Just pound out a boneless/skinless Chicken Thigh, or Breast, thin; dredge it in Mochiko or Rice Flour, dip in an egg wash and then roll it in Panko Bread Crumbs.  I like to press the Panko into the flesh firmly and leave to rest a few minutes on a rack.  Then just shallow fry the meat until GBD, golden brown and delicious!  Cool on a rack and slice; serve warm or at room temperature.

Noodle Plate

Look at that beautiful crust, Come on man!

YUM!

Cheers!

I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year,

E Hauoli Makahiki hou!