In the Kitchen

Salted Chocolate Pots de Creme for Two

It’s just the two of us and sometimes making a recipe as it’s called for makes way too much for us to enjoy. I love chocolate and dessert but choosing between eating it everyday for a week or being forced to toss it out just doesn’t work for me. I know, I’m crazy to not want to enjoy dessert every evening, but my scale tells me I’m not wrong. To solve this dilemma, I’ve learned to half recipes to make enough for two for a couple of evenings. Over the New Year’s Eve holiday I found a recipe for salted chocolate pots de creme and took it from 8 servings to 4. It was quite easy and I highly recommend this approach when baking sweets for two.

At first I thought this would be a difficult recipe to make, but was pleasantly surprised at just how simple it really was. If you can whisk ingredients together you can make these with ease.

salted chocolate pots de creme

Salted Chocolate Pots de Creme

The recipe calls for :

  • 4 oz of good quality 75% cacao chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons of whole milk (or 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Maldon Salt flakes to garnish

Chop the chocolate and place in a heat proof medium bowl and cover with a mesh sieve. In a medium sauce pan whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until pale. Add in the heavy cream, milk, and salt. Stir constantly over medium heat until heated to 175 degrees or for about 8 -10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Pour through the sieve over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Pour evenly into 4 5 oz. ramekins, let cool and chill for 4 hours. Sprinkle with Maldon salt flakes before serving. ( you can find it on Amazon, and no, I don’t have an affiliate link)

If you’d like to make enough for 8 servings simply double the recipe.

These salted chocolate pots de creme were a big hit with both Kevin and myself. I love that I can make these again easily when we want a sweet treat without over indulging.

A Simple Cherry Crisp

I love summer fruits and one that has always been a favorite are fresh cherries. I can eat them by the handfuls. I didn’t think I could eat two pounds of them though and decided to try a new recipe. We both love apple crisp and I thought why not try a cherry crisp.

I took to Pinterest to see what cherry crisp recipes were floating around out there and found one I thought I could modify a bit to suit our gluten free lifestyle. Most the recipes called for cherry pie filling instead of fresh cherries. I wasn’t interested in using canned cherries for this recipe. Honestly, what I came up with was pretty good.

Cherry Crisp

The cherry crisp recipe is pretty simple to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs of fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Almond extract
  • 1/2 cup gluten free quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup Almond flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9 baking dish or a deep casserole dish with butter
  2. In a bowl place the cherries with the sugar and almond extract, stir and set aside
  3. In another bowl mix the flour, quick oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt and butter. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly
  4. Pour the cherries into the baking dish and top with the flour mixture
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the topping is golden and the cherries are bubbling.
  6. Remove and set to cool. Serve with fresh whipped cream, Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream.

This cherry crisp turned out to be a fabulous dessert that also doubled as a quick breakfast when served with a bit of Greek Vanilla yogurt. I’m sure it will be made again soon.

Come the holidays when fresh cherries will be hard to come by, I may give it a try with cherry pie filling.

Fruits and Veggies

Kitchen Botany 101

We are very fortunate to have a nature preserve around the corner from our house that offers numerous guided hikes and lessons on everything from species found in the park to types of plants and ecosystems. Awhile ago we attended a kitchen botany class. Originally we thought it might focus on the plants in the park that could be incorporated into meals, or perhaps allow one to survive Naked & Afraid. Instead, it focused on how our fruits and veggies went from wild roots, stems and leaves to cultivated foods we take for granted. It turned out to be very interesting. Here are a few things we learned.

Did you know the weed Queen Anne’s Lace was the precursor to carrots. The root of the plant was cultivated to be the carrot. Colored carrots did not occur naturally. Across different parts of the globe, humans manipulated the genes of the plants to tease out certain colors. They were first cultivated near the Caspian Sea with the color purple playing a role. The Dutch developed the orange carrot in honor of the House of Orange. This manipulation is called genetic plasticity. Other foods that were considered roots at first are radishes and parsnips.

We learned that it took 7,000 years to cultivate the onion. Its wild origins are largely unknown, though. Today, we simply walk into a farmer’s market and have our choice of onions.

In the Mediterranean asparagus grows wild. Before being cultivated, it was considered a stem and is a distant cousin of the onion and leek. Cucumbers date back almost 3,000 years and originated in India.

The most interesting thing we learned was that bananas are a hybrid between two different plants. Every banana you’ve ever eaten has come from the same exact plant. Once it was cultivated, all of the crops grew from a single hybrid and were cloned billions of times. We are actually on the third version of the hybrid as disease wiped out previous crops.

I found the workshop fascinating and will never look at the produce section of my local market the same. It gave me a new found appreciation for the fruits and veggies available to us.

boozy popsicles gin and tonic

Boozey Popsicles for Grown-ups : Gin & Tonic

Popsicles were always a favorite summer treat as a kid. I recall the sticky drips of cherry on my toes that had me running for the pool to wash my bare-feet. Ah… childhood memories. Seriously though, why should kids have all the fun? This month, I’m sharing my favorite boozey popsicles for the grown ups.

The first is a classic summer cocktail that seeks to quench your thirst on a hot day. It was my Grandfather’s favorite drink, and often considered an old person’s drink by my husband. It is one of my favorites in the summer. There’s something a bit nostalgic about sipping a G&T on the porch in the late afternoon.


Instead of sipping one, I took the classic Gin & Tonic and froze it. How cool is that?

boozey popsicles gin & tonic

The recipe is simple. You’ll need a bottle of gin, a bottle of tonic water, the juice of half a lime, and thin slices of cucumber. Mix 1 1/2 cups of tonic water with the lime juice and 4oz of gin. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter which brand of gin you opt to use. I used Tanqueray as it’s what I had on hand. You could use a less expensive gin for these and arrive at the same result.

My first attempt came out a bit icy, but was still a fabulous indulgence of on a hot day.

I found a few interesting facts about Gin while writing this piece. Did you know it dates back to the Middle Ages and is derived from juniper berries? It was an easy liquor to distill with ingredients readily accessible to everyone. It started as a Dutch liquor and gained in popularity under the rule of William of Orange. Eventually it became known more as a British libation. Even today some of the best gin hails from the U.K.

Boozey Popsicles Gin & Tonic

These boozey popsicles will be a hit at your next pool party or girls night in.

Enjoy!

blueberry cheesecake

Easy No-bake Blueberry Cheesecake

We recently went blueberry picking and having picked about two pounds of blueberries I wasn’t too sure what to make with them. I could’ve made blueberry muffins, but I thought I would try something different. I discovered this super easy no bake cheesecake recipe awhile back and it’s been a frequent summer dessert for years. I decided to play around with it, thinking I could create a delightful blueberry cheesecake. The end result was just that, delightful.

fresh picked-blueberries

I started by making a simple blueberry sauce with a bit of sugar and a dash of lemon juice for just a bit of tartness. To make the sauce, place a 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of blueberries in a sauce pan on low to medium heat. I added the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir occasionally until the berries start to burst, then stir constantly until all of the berries have burst and the skins have mostly dissolved. Remove it from the heat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, mix together 8oz of cream cheese, and 3/4 cup of sugar until creamed. Mix in the cooled blueberry sauce and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Fold in an 8oz tub of Cool Whip and mix well. Pour into a pre-made graham cracker crust, spread evenly and then chill for up to an hour or more. I usually make this in the morning for dessert later in the evening.

If blueberries aren’t your thing, this can be made by omitting the blueberry sauce. I would add a teaspoon of vanilla extract when mixing the cream cheese and sugar.

No-bake blueberry cheesecake