recipe

Chocolate refrigerator cakes, best chocolate chip cookies, googly bands and fun

nabisco famous chocolate refrigerator roll We love chocolate at our house – well, except my husband and instead of deeming that a character flaw (which it surely is), I have decided to embrace the positive result of this particular preference which basically means…more for me. It does mean I don’t have to hide chocolate (except from the children…not that I would do that) and I know any stash (if there were such a thing) would never be disturbed even if discovered. So – all good for me. Above is a picture of a easy fun cake to make with kids that a friend just reminded me about (we made it last for a favorite stuffed animal’s birthday party).

Basically it is Nabisco FAMOUS chocolate wafers, whipping cream and vanilla. Here is the recipe from NabiscoWorld.com including the nutritional information – oh, come on, there is some vitamin A in there and some calcium.  My mom made this with us when we were young (it is a classic) and it is so easy (whipped cream and chocolate cookies). Let even the youngest of toddlers stack the cookies and spread the whipped cream. Sure, it’s a little messy but the little ones can make their own and will be so excited about it. Freeze for about 4 hours. When cut on a diagonal (by an adult) it is really cute. Almost rainbow cake cute but a black and white version.  A good project with no baking but you still get a cute, fun cake.

I made the following amazing (I am so modest) chocolate ship cookies for the same friend (a while ago! but talking to her just now made me connect the two) and just made a batch for teacher gifts on Tuesday. Best chocolate chip cookies ever. From the Ghiradelli bag of milk chocolate chips and the Ghiradelli website.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

11 1/2 ounce(s) Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup(s) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup(s) sugar
3/4 cup(s) brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
2 1/4 cup(s) unsifted flour
1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1 cup(s) walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Directions
Heat oven to 375ºF.

Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. I use the milk chocolate chips – or semi-sweet if you must. Really, really good.

Now…same friend and I talked about the crazy craze for googly bands.  I was going to post on these anyway because I answered a call to action from TwitterMoms about getting googly bands and writing about them but was shut out by the ferocious response by other mom bloggers like the post here on child hood – I also found out that there is a contest for designing new shapes of googly bands.  My kids love these and are all about getting more. Here is the weird thing, for me anyway. These self-same bands were out – oh, about 7 years ago in pastel colors and farm animal shapes. I know because they came in a little plastic suitcase and we gave them as a goody bag gift for a birthday party (Wow. I have way too much trivial information stored in this brain). Nonetheless, we did. When a sister asked if my girls were into them (3 weeks ago) I replied that we were past those…thinking of the ones oh-so-long ago. Thanks for the reminder of these fun things, KR!

googly bands on capability mom

Rewards for Mom or Brownies for me – Dried fruit for you

This was first posted as a page reminder to write about the reward system I rigged up for myself when my little one were, well, little. I was soooo tired and really needed energy and an evil friend gave me a delicious and easy brownie recipe and also instructions to freeze them but first cut them into small squares – I think this was portion control on her part but it just made it really easy for me to have – oh, I don’t know, 40 or 50 a day? It went something like this: “Did you (Capability Mom)  just straighten that dish towel?  Good for you…have a brownie” or “Look at you (again, me) , walking by the freezer…time for a brownie reward”. When the children asked what I was eating, I said “Prunes”. Now they ask to smell my breath…for chocolate.

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter

1 12-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons vanilla

dash salt

Preheat oven to 300°. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Melt butter and chocolate chips together in the microwave and add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 45 minutes. Cut when still hot into small squares, but then let them cool for a few minutes before taking them out of the pan. Then you freeze some of them. You will probably eat a few of them still warm, not that I would…

From Verbatim blog

smitten kitchen does it again – Ratatouille’s ratatouille for dinner

Cannot wait to try this – friends made it (twice already) and it looks amazing. http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/07/rat-a-too-ee-for-you-ee/

Update:  This was amazing and loved by all. I served it with a great geen salad and chicken stir-fry and with the cous-cous and goat cheese as suggested by smitten kitchen.  Easy to make – just a lot of slicing unless you have a kitchen mandolin which I do not.

Persian lamb shanks with garlic and eggplant, Chef Michael Mir of bha! bha! bistro, Naples Florida

This is the amazing lamb shank recipe that I coerced from the Owner/Chef Michael Mir of bha! bha! and finally have in my hot little hands.  I know it has been a while since I made this (and only the one time) so I am not clear on how long it took me but I have exaggerated it to two days.  By next year it would have been up to three days.  I know I never got the sour grapes and just did without but this time I am going to find some and no, this is not the Easter Sunday menu.  I am either making a roasted turkey roulade or ordering something already made…grin.

Persian lamb shank with garlic and eggplant

from Chef Micheal Mir 

 bha! bha! bistro  Naples ,Florida

Dinner for six

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium lamb shanks, trimmed
  • 2-3 large eggplants
  • 3 large ripe (not too soft) tomatoes (cut into wedges)
  • 12-16 cloves of garlic
  • 3 large Spanish onions (thinly sliced)
  • salt, pepper, turmeric and curry powder
  • 1 cup of tomato paste
  • sour grapes in brine(can be purchased in Persian stores – called GHOUREH)
  • olive oil
  • vegetable oil.
  • Place the trimmed and washed shanks in a large stock pot filled with water until all are comfortably submerged.  Place two thinly sliced onions together with 1 tbsp. turmeric, 1 tb black pepper, 1 tbsp. salt. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes and then continue cooking on medium heat for 1 hour or until the shanks are fork tender.  Although the liquid has been reduced, there should still be plenty for the shanks not to be exposed to the air. Set aside and keep the lid on.

Peel the eggplants and slice lengthwise into 6 slices each and lightly salt the eggplant. In a deep dish ( a wok is good) bring 2 cups of vegetable oil to smoky hot.  Pat the eggplant dry, and carefully submerge in the hot oil.  Turn them over once.  Keep the heat high (eggplants will not be greasy this way). When the eggplant is a dark golden brown, take them out one by one and set on a rack (or a colander) to drip their oil.

In a separate deep dish, sauté pan, start sauteing 1  thinly sliced onion in 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the desired amount of garlic cloves.  When translucent, place the lamb shanks one by on into the oil with onions and garlic. Add the tomato wedges and the 1/3 cup of tomato paste. Try to turn everything over at least once. Add 1/2 tbs. curry powder. Add remaining 2/3 cup of tomato paste. Try to saute the paste as well.  Add 1 cup of lamb stock (that you have from the original pot – first skim any fat).  To this you can add 1/2 cup of chicken stock or plain water. Do not allow the tomatoes become too soft or mushy. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Add 3 tablespoons of sour grapes along with the juice.  Bring to a quick boil and reduce the temperature, Simmer for 15 minutes.

To serve:

It looks glorious in individual rustic clay pots or tagines. Place one lamb shank, 2 or 3 slices of eggplant, and add sauce with tomato wedges and garlic cloves and make sure that some sour grapes also find their way in. Place in a warm oven until served. Serve with a nice plate of saffron basmati rice or warm bread.

You can also serve it on a large (semi-deep) clay or ceramic tray or pot. Place all shanks with eggplant slices between them and pour the sauce and remaining ingredients in top, making sure that the tomato sauce is not over-served. Serve with a large tray of steaming saffron basmati rice.

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