Friday, June 18, 2010

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes with Caramel Sauce

So, I don't like chocolate. Except for this cake! Brian made it a couple of weeks ago and it is THE BEST chocolate cake I've ever had! He got the recipe from Everyday Foods on PBS. It's really not hard at all. The most time consuming is making the caramel sauce and that takes under ten minutes. Mmm, it is so worth it!

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed, plus more, room temperature, for ramekins
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for ramekins
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
caramel Sauce for serving
whipped cream, for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 6-ounce ramekins, then coat lightly with sugar, tapping out excess. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter and chocolate. Microwave until melted, about 1 minute; stir until smooth. (Or melt mixture in a heatproof bowl set over, not in, a pan of simmering water.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, yolks, flour, and salt; add chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Fill each ramekin three-quarters full with batter; place on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate 15 minutes.
  3. Bake until center of a cake is soft but not wet when pressed, 27 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Serve cakes warm, topped with caramel and whipped cream.
Caramel Sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup sugar over medium-high until melted and brown at edges, 3 minutes. With a heat-resistant spatula, pull melted sugar toward center until all sugar is melted and caramel is deep amber in color, 3 minutes more.
  2. Immediately whisk in 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (take care as mixture is extremely hot and will bubble).
  3. Whisk in 1/2 cup heavy cream.
  4. Pour into a heatproof container and let cool. (To store, refrigerate, up to 3 weeks.)

If you've made toffee before, making caramel is pretty much the same. Brian burned the first two batches, then I took over and made perfection ;) You don't want to make it dark, since sugar burns VERY quickly. If making the sauce is too intimidating, you can always use store bought caramel, it's still good!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Make Your Own Rice Bowls

This is my latest brainstorm on fast, healthy meals. And everyone gets to make it how they like.

Start with cooked rice - hot or room-temperature (I made brown rice).

Fill your bowl about half full, or scoop a good-sized amount on a plate.

Set out bowls containing various ingredients and let everyone put what they want on it. The beauty of this is that you can just use what you have at the time and it only takes minutes to get everything on the table. Some suggestions:

Cooked meat - beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, bacon, whatever. Save leftovers from another meal so you don't have to cook it that night.
Shredded cheese
Soy sauce
Sweet Chili sauce
Italian salad dressing (one of my son's LOVES it)
Matchstick carrots, cooked or raw
Angel hair cabbage, cooked
Zucchini - grated or cubed, cooked
Sweet peppers
Jalapenos or serrano, diced small
Cream cheese (sounds weird but it was great)
Sushi grade fish (like tuna or salmon)
Sushi ginger (oh, I love that stuff)
Mushrooms - cooked
Kale - diced into teeny, tiny pieces
Peas - cooked
Steamed asparagus
Green beans
Nuts - crushed, peanuts, almonds or cashews work best