6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or broken in pieces
4 TBSP butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 TBSP strong coffee (brewed) —OR— 4 tsps light rum or brandy
4 large eggs, separated
2 TBSP natural sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
- Melt chocolate in a double boiler (or simulated double boiler – see below).
- Whisk butter into melted chocolate, 1 TBSP at a time.
- Stir in salt, vanilla and coffee (or rum/brandy) until completely incorporated.
- Whisk in yolks one at a time, making sure that each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
- Set chocolate mixture aside.
- Stir egg whites in a clean mixing bowl set over saucepan of hot water until slightly warm — 1 to 2 mins.
- Remove bowl from saucepan and beat with electric mixer set at medium speed until soft peaks form.
- Raise mixer speed to high and slowly add sugar, again, beating to soft peaks.
- Whisk a quarter of the beaten whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in remaining whites.
- Whip cream to soft peaks and gently fold into mousse.
- Spoon portions of mousse into six to eight individual serving dishes or goblets; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 24 hours).
- Serve with additional whipped cream if desired.
~ You don’t necessarily need an “official” double boiler to make this (personally, I don’t have one). You just need a small pot of boiling water on the bottom, and a larger pot that will sit securely on top (in which you would place the chocolate). Of course, since the pots are not “locked” together the way a real double boiler would be, please be careful that the pot on top doesn’t tip.
~ After 24 hours of refrigeration, the flavor and texture will begin to deteriorate, so it’s best to consume within that time period.
~ Personally, I’m not a big chocolate fan, so can really take or leave desserts like this, but I had never tried to make mousse before and wanted to give it a go. The kids (of course) really liked it =)
~ Use a gluten free vanilla extract if necessary to keep this recipe gluten free.
~ Adapted from “The Best Recipe” cookbook.
Beaten egg whites:
4 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP ground cumin
4 tsps black pepper
3 tsps pure salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
- Combine all ingredients and store in a sealed container.
~ This is a great mix to keep on hand. Simply saute ground beef with a few teaspoons of this seasoning mix, and lay out a spread of shredded cheese, lettuce, diced tomato, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, rice if you’d like, and you’re ready for a mexican feast with very little fuss!
~ Why not just keep those pre-made spice mixes on hand instead? Compare the ingredients for your answer…..
I prefer to take a few minutes to mix together my own high quality spices and keep that on hand for convenience — minus all the crud.
2 TBSP coconut oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
8 New Mexican green chiles cut in half lengthwise, stems / seeds removed and discarded
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, cut into strips
High quality tortilla chips, crushed (I used blue chips this time)
enough freshly grated cheddar cheese to cover top of casserole (2 – 3 oz)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp pure salt
- Roast the peppers, let cool for a few minutes, and peel off their skin.
- Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until soft and lightly browned, about 5 – 7 minutes.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Lay the chiles side by side in a coconut oil greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish and lay the sliced Monterey Jack over the peppers.
- Sprinkle with crushed tortilla chips and then the cheddar cheese.
- Beat the eggs with milk and salt.
- Add onion mixture to the eggs and carefully pour over the chiles.
- Bake, uncovered for 35 minutes at 350 (or until casserole is lightly browned).
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
~ This modified method of preparing chiles rellenos is easier than the traditional method (where you would stuff and batter/fry each pepper individually), but equally delicious.
~ If you can’t get New Mexican green chilies, substitute 6 large poblanos (as I did this time – see photos) or 12 Italian long hot peppers.
~ If your family doesn’t like spicy, simply substitute mild peppers such as bell. It won’t quite be chiles rellenos anymore, but it will still be yummy!
~ For photo instructions on how to roast peppers, click HERE.
~ Of course, a little salsa, sour cream, and/or guac on the side is a nice compliment to this dish, as is the cilantro-lime-rice I posted last week.
~ You can add ground beef to this casserole as well if you’d like. Simply saute it with seasoning and layer it over the peppers.
~ Adapted from “Chile Pepper”. I have changed the recipe substantially. An important side note: The method in the book (which I followed the first time I made this) suggests roasting the peppers whole, then slitting and deseeding afterward. I must say… What an unnecessary nightmare! I’ve always seeded my bell peppers before roasting, and I will continue roasting my poblanos the same way. The second time I made this, it took a fraction of the time to seed the peppers and there was a lot less huffing and puffing =)
1. Layer the roasted/peeled peppers in your baking dish.
2. Layer the sliced Monterey Jack cheese.
3. Layer the crushed tortilla chips (I used blue chips this time).
4. Sprinkle a layer of shredded cheddar over the top.
5. Beat the eggs with milk and salt, and stir in the cooked onion/garlic mixture.
6. Evenly distribute the egg/onion mixture over the casserole and bake.
7. Remove from oven and let rest 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
For this demonstration, I’m using poblano peppers for my chiles rellenos casserole, but of course, this method can be used with any type of pepper.
1. Preheat your broiler to high.
2. Cut your peppers in half and remove the stems, seeds and pith (white parts).
3. Place the pepper halves skin side up on a parchment covered cookie sheet.
4. Roast peppers until they’re quite charred — roughly 5 – 10 minutes (be sure the oven rack is close to the top of the oven — directly under the broiler — and check the peppers frequently after the 5 minute mark).
5. Remove tray from oven, turn peppers, return tray to oven and roast for about 5 minutes longer.
6. Remove tray from oven and set aside to cool.
7. Once peppers are cool enough to handle, simply peel off the skin with your fingers (once cooled, the skin will become baggy and this will be easy to do).
1 cup dry rice
1 & 1/2 cups water
1 TBSP butter
1/2 tsp pure salt
1/4 – 1/2 cup (to taste) chopped cilantro
2 TBSPs fresh lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
- Add rice, water, butter and salt to a small pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook (according to package directions).
- Mix cilantro, lime juice and lime zest into cooked rice until well combined.
~ If eating dairy free, simply use coconut oil instead of butter.
~ Season with additional salt at the table if needed.
~ This rice is great as a side dish, particularly to anything mexican and/or spicy — and it’s very simple to prepare, especially if you do what I do and keep a few kitchen staples on hand in the freezer: Every now and then, I’ll buy a big bag of organic limes and/or lemons, zest them all — storing the zest in an empty spice jar in the freezer. After zesting, I’ll juice the limes (or lemons) and transfer to my covered ice-cube trays (which hold roughly 1 TBSP per cube). When I need a tablespoon or 2 of lime or lemon juice, I just pop out a few cubes. Likewise, if I need some zest, I just open up the freezer & grab my jar. For more details on these tips and other suggestions for keeping things easier and more organized in the kitchen, see my older post on kitchen tips, tools & gadgets.
2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
2 TBSP Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tsps dried rosemary
2 tsps pure salt
2 tsps black pepper
8 lamb loin or rib chops
- Blend first six ingredients (AKA mustard-rosemary-garlic-paste) in a small food processor.
- Generously rub paste into chops (both sides) and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Broil under broiler for 5 mins on each side or pan fry stove top for a similar time period.
~ I tend to do this stove top and after cooking, cover the pan and let sit for an additional five minutes to be sure the chops are cooked through.
~ Mustard, rosemary, garlic paste adapted from The Grassfed Gourmet.
2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
2 TBSP Dijon mustard
4 tsps dried rosemary
2 tsps pure salt
2 tsps black pepper
- Blend in small food processor until thoroughly combined.
~ Adapted from The Grassfed Gourmet. Great on lamb — chops, ribs, or leg.
~ Covers about 8 chops, so scale up or down as needed.
For those who have set New Year resolutions relating to better self care, I’m excited to be able to offer my services in new ways moving forward — all of which were inspired by client inquiries / requests for more flexibility. While I’m bursting at the seems with nutrition and wellness information that would benefit all, I consider myself a failure if I’m not within reach of the people who need me. I frequently evaluate and revise my service structure to meet the needs of the community, so please continue to share your ideas and suggestions as to how I may be of service.
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1 cup (dry) rice, cooked
8 cups chicken-broth
2 TBSP butter
1 tsp pure salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
5 – 6 oz kale, stems removed, roughly chopped, and washed
4 eggs, lightly beaten w/ salt & pepper
parmesan reggiano to taste
- Cook rice according to package directions.
- Heat the broth.
- Add butter, salt, pepper, kale, and simmer over medium-low heat, covered, until greens are wilted (about 10 mins).
- Add cooked rice.
- Bring soup back up to a boil.
- Beat eggs and add gradually while stirring with a whisk.
- Sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese over each individual bowl to taste.
Serves 4 – 6 depending on portion size.
~ I started making this soup in early September after a conversation I had with friend,Vinnie Amico. We were talking about Italian wedding soup, and he mentioned he also likes making “Italian egg drop soup”. At the time, I had never even heard of it. I don’t know how he makes his, but this is how I have come to make mine. It’s become one of our favorite dinners. Thanks for the great idea Vin =)
~ Be sure the soup is back up to a boil before you add the eggs, or they will simply melt into the soup instead of forming into the “drops” we would expect for “egg drop” soup (this happened to me once – still tasted good, but consistency was off & it didn’t look as good).
~ Some would likely choose a small pasta such as orzo for this type of soup, but we prefer rice.
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP chopped fresh mint leaves
1 TBSP minced fresh chives
pure salt to taste
1 lb carrots (about 4 large), peeled & shredded
1/4 cup raisins (or a 1 oz box)
- In a salad bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, mint, chives, and salt to taste. Add the carrots & raisins & toss well.
~ I’m a big fan of carrot salads, and this is a good one! It’s very easy to throw together, especially if you shoot the carrots through a food processor with a shredding blade.
~ If you don’t care for mint, substitute another fresh herb (personally, I’m not a big fan of mint, but happen to really like it in this salad).
~ If you’d prefer, you can swap the raisins for currants.
~ Adapted from “Fresh Food Fast”.