In My Kitchen ~ October 2018

Thanks to the International Dateline, it’s October in Australia when it’s still September in Oklahoma. Since October is my favorite month I thought, “Why not revel in it ahead of schedule?” I love having an extra day to play.

In My Kitchen… chocolate covered espresso beans from Nuts.com keep me happy — and peppy. (Limit 2-3 per day.) I often joke that my blood type is “C” for chocolate and caffeine.

In My Kitchen… heartwarming side dishes such as German Potato Salad have begun to grace our table now that the weather has finally turned cooler. The oval baking dish once belonged to my Grandma. Never mind that it’s still in the upper 80’s yet — in Oklahoma, that is cooler weather.

Orange Marmalde Toast

In My Kitchen… this Orange Marmalade from France (discovered at a local grocer’s of all places!) is not too tart, not too sweet. “Juuust right” as Goldilocks once declared. I love it on toast or straight out of the jar — especially with a good cup of coffee.

In My Kitchen… is another Grandma treasure. I brought her antique coffee grinder home with me over two years ago, but it’s been languishing in a cupboard ever since for lack of a sturdy place to mount it. (Such are the joys of living in a house with paper-thin walls…)

The other night while I was at choir rehearsal, The Man Of Few Words decided to surprise me by fashioning an “adapter” for it: a rustic-looking chunk of wood from one of his many projects. Imagine my gratitude — and huge wave of sentimentality — for his thoughtfulness.

Coffee has never tasted so sublime.

In My Kitchen… October is officially here and I’m ready to celebrate every moment… ahead of time.

In My Kitchen is a monthly gathering hostessed by Sherry Mackay of  Sherry’s Pickings, who happens to live in Australia and who cordially invites kitchen-lovers around the world to share their food, frolics, and finds. Click on her website above to access the link-up whether you wish to participate or just take a look-see!

Enjoying slightly cooler weather,

~ Kim

Chocolate Musings

Emergency Chocolate

Writing is chocolate for the soul.

I penned those words nearly ten years ago and I still abide by them.

(Hope you can zoom in on the instructions on my Emergency stash — now an empty box — but hey, some things are worth keeping, including decade old words.)

Lakegirl mug

Now that I’m officially a Lakegirl (woohoo!) I’ve had time to reflect on life and how I’m living it.

Make every day count. Do what makes you happy!

But, serve others with JOY — even if it’s via a random post — or chocolate. ;)

Enjoying LIFE at the lake,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ November 2014

Chocolates from Wayne & Dawn

In My Kitchen are were these spicy, chocolate-y, Tabasco-infused treats that Wayne & Dawn Nix of Louisiana shared with me in September. (See my Running Away From Home post for “why.”) I’m also still drooling over the gluten-free chestnut flour brownies shared by Celia in her October IMK post her most requested recipe to date! (Which says a lot to me, even if I’m a month late mentioning it.) Chocolate is always worth mentioning twice!

Coconut Oil

In My Kitchen… is organic coconut oil. (Sorry for the slightly fuzzy photo, but I’m still slightly fuzzy about what to do with it!) The question foremost on my mind is: “Can I use it like butter in cookie recipes?” The holidays are just around the corner and I’m craving home-baked cookies. What’s your opinion (or experience) on substituting it for ‘other fats’? I love coconut… and fats… (busted, lol!) and I’d really  appreciate your helpful hints, comments, and recommendations on incorporating this new-to-me oil into my holiday baking & cooking. Thanks!

Beef Broccoli

In My Kitchen is the most unorthodox (and most un-Asian?) pairing of flavors — beef, broccoli, and Bleu cheese stir fry. (Sorry, no recipe… it was a “one-time inspiration”… tasty, too.) Remind me to keep a pen & paper In My Kitchen! This dish was soooo playful I couldn’t resist doing the photo in ‘cartoon mode.’ (Life’s too short not to play!)

I’d also like to express my sincere, heartfelt thanks to all of you who commented on my previous posts (minus my usual enthusiastic reply…) — I truly appreciated your caring, sympathy, and concern, but I wasn’t quite up to par yet. Again, thanks! xoxo

And, thanks Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hostessing this fun monthly event! For details on how to join — or to see kitchens & goodies from ’round the world — please click on the link to Celia’s blog.

Enjoying playing In My Kitchen again,

~ Kim

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Sauce

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Sauce

After driving 3,000 miles a week during the trucking years, driving 3 miles to the grocery store is a delight.  Plus, the merits of shopping local cannot be overstated.

The idea of pomegranate sauce began teasing my foodie imagination when I saw a lovely display of crown-topped orbs in the produce section. I’d never eaten one before (better late than never), so I brought one home and munched on a few arils while I sieved, pressed, and extracted. I soon discovered that one pomegranate doesn’t yield much juice. Back to the store for another one.

But, those intriguing ruby-like gems had worked their magic on me and I found myself eating more than I was extracting. After a third trip to the store, I came home with a bottle of Pom Wonderful. (Those folks do a marvelous job of getting juice out of those lil’ buggers!) Homemade is my preference, but I come from the “whatever works” camp, too.

Then I simmered and savored until success (and sauce) was achieved. The cake is a good ol’ standby from 30+ years ago — source unknown and recipe considerably tweaked since then. And, trips down memory lane don’t require any driving either.

Flourless Chocolate Cake 3

Flourless Chocolate Cake

1 c. baking cocoa (I used Nestle’s Toll House Cocoa)

6 Tbsp. butter, softened

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1/2 Tbsp. whiskey (*see note below)

2 Tbsp. strong coffee, cooled

3/4 c. heavy cream

2 extra large eggs

Pomegranate arils for garnish (if there are any left)

(*May omit whiskey and increase vanilla to 1 tablespoon.)

Preheat oven to 325° F. Butter the bottom of a 9″ cake pan. Have a baking sheet with 1″ sides and a kettle of boiling water at the ready.

In a heavy saucepan, combine cocoa, butter, sugar, vanilla, whiskey (if using), and coffee. Whisk over medium heat until sugar  dissolves; remove from heat. Gradually whisk in cream until blended; set aside to cool.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer for 4 to 5 minutes or until color is pale yellow and volume is tripled. Gradually whisk eggs into cooled chocolate mixture.

With a spatula, scrape batter into prepared cake pan. Set cake pan on the baking sheet, place in the oven, and pour boiling water onto the baking sheet to a depth of one-half inch. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until cake is set.

Remove cake pan to a cooling rack (I leave the baking pan/water in the oven); cool completely. Refrigerate cake (covered) for 4 hours or overnight. Slice into wedges and drizzle with Pomegranate Sauce.

Garnish with pomegranate seeds, if desired.

Flourless Chocolate Cake 1

Pomegranate Sauce

(adapted from this recipe)

1/2 c. pomegranate juice

1/2 c. red wine (I used Briar Patch Black Cherry Wine; see below)

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

1 Tbsp. honey

3″ stick cinnamon

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture boils; reduce heat to low.  Simmer 25 to 30 minutes or until sauce is reduced by half and is thickened and syrupy. Cool to room temperature before serving.

About the Black Cherry wine…

We’re fortunate to have a small local winery with a huge sense of humor nearby. (Click on the photo below or like their FB page here.) Stop by the Briar Patch and say hi to Jim and Linda. Good folks, good fun, good wine!

Black Cherry Wine

Well it’s time to enjoy a slice of cake, so I’ll leave you with two words:

Shop local!

Enjoying pomegranate success (at last),

~ Kimby

Orange & Chocolate Treats for Halloween

With Halloween-related recipes making the rounds, I figured it was time to celebrate two of my favorite colors and flavors… chocolate and orange.  (Chocolate qualifies as a color and flavor, yes?)  First up, orange…

I grew up (or came of age) in an era when dessert drinks were popular.  The Brandy Alexander.  The Grasshopper.  Basically anything booze with ice cream!

It seems incredible now that we often ordered them after a substantial dinner.  Of course, there were “lighter” dessert drinks, too — The Pink Squirrel and The Golden Cadillac, to name a few.  (Booze and half & half… not quite as “dessert-y” to me, though.)

Clearly a compromise is needed to solve this dessert drink dilemma! ;)

Recently, I found myself with a leftover shot of Jose Cuervo.  (Bear in mind, I started with one of those teeny, tiny bottles — not the whole shebang.)  Anyhow…

What does one do with an ounce of pure Gold?

The first thing that came to mind was a Tequila Sunrise — or an orange-flavored Margarita.  (The contents of my fridge voted for the latter option.)  So, I spent the better part of a lazy Sunday afternoon messing around with a simple syrup infused with orange peel.

Ta da… The Orange-arita!

I took a sip… hmmm… close, but not quite.  (It was really sweet and I was out of limes or I would’ve rendered some sourness promptly!)

It needed… something.

Hmmm again.  (Opens fridge.)  Aha!

Heavy cream… the perfect compromise between ice cream and half & half.  (I love “aha” moments!)  After a gentle stir and a tentative sip, I deemed it creamy… dreamy… and much better than the traditional (vodka) versions I’ve tasted, in my opinion.

No trick — it was a treat!

The Tequila Dreamsicle

1 oz. Jose Cuervo Gold (or to taste…)

1 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/2 oz. orange-infused simple syrup (recipe to follow)

1 1/2 oz. heavy cream

1 orange peel twist, for garnish

In a shaker over ice, combine Cuervo Gold, simple syrup, and orange juice; shake until combined.

Strain mixture into a chilled Margarita glass.

Stir in heavy cream until smooth.  Enjoy!

Orange Infused Simple Syrup

1/4 c. water

1/4 c. sugar

Orange peel (including pith) from 1/2 an orange

In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; add orange peel.

Simmer several minutes until orange essence is infused.

Remove from heat; cool mixture to room temp.

Remove orange peel before adding syrup to shaker.

Note:  These quantities make one drink.  Feel free to multiply. ;)

And now for the chocolate… actually, chocolate and orange!

Trick or Treat!!!

Wish I could take credit for this delectable dessert, but it’s a photo of the beautiful chocolate-orange cake that my son surprised me with when I was in the middle of care-taking in August.

Thoughtful young man that he is, he invited me to a “night off” from cooking, including picking out a dessert from a local bakery that he knew would tickle my fancy.  (It did!)  He also treated me to his signature burgers hot off the grill (a recipe I hope to share with you one day) and garden-fresh potatoes sauteed to golden goodness.

I love thoughtful treats, don’t you? xo

Wishing you a Happy Halloween.  Be safe and have fun!

Enjoying a lil’ dreaminess in moderation,

~ Kim

Coffee or Chocolate?

It’s no secret that my life revolves around two main ingredients… coffee and chocolate.  It’s also no secret that it’s better to give than to receive!

In celebration of my first blog birthday/anniversary/blogiversary, I’m delighted to give something to you.  (Well, at least two of you!)

But first, a word from our sponsor…

Brought to you by… Steel Daffodils Cottage & Garden.

My friend/shop-owner/barista, Tammy, offered to donate a bag of Oklahoma’s finest java to the cause.  (Thank you, Tammy!)  Perhaps you didn’t know Oklahoma is a purveryor of fine coffees?  Yup.  Custom-roasted right here in the Sooner State.

(Excuse me, I got so excited about the coffee, I couldn’t hold my camera straight!)

Or… maybe I need to become a decaffeinated connoisseur? :)  If decaf is your cup of tea (or coffee!) there’s “Homestead Coffee” whose motto is: “It’s good to settle down.”

Whether you choose Statehood, Cattledrive, or Homestead, it’s Oklahoma coffee!

And then there’s the other love of my life… chocolate in any way, shape, or form!

You may remember my birthday cake from this post.

Chocolate upon chocolate upon chocolate!  Sigh.

So.. which do you prefer — coffee or chocolate?

(Two giveaway winners will receive one or the other!)

I’m leaning towards both… :)

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment below.  For an extra chance to win, please click “like” on the handy-dandy Facebook widget in my sidebar and say so, or tell me you’ve already “liked” me in your comment — no need to comment twice.  (Basically, one comment per person covers the whole she-bang.)  You may also comment on my Facebook page if you prefer.  Glad to see you at either place!

The winners will be picked out of a hat by The Man Of Few Words.  (Trust me, he’s impartial — and yes, I will write out two slips for every comment with a “like!”)  Winners will be notified the week of April 9th or as soon as humanly possible after the deadline.  Oh yeah, the deadline!  This giveaway ends at midnight CST April 9, 2012.

CONGRATULATIONS to Tina from flourtrader and Missy of Guns, Grub, and Other Goodies on winning the giveaway.  Thanks to all who entered!

That’s pretty much it, except to say thank you for a wonderful year!

Enjoying coffee AND chocolate,

~ Kim

Let Them Eat Cake…

I promised you cake.

Not just any cake.

Fudge-y, chocolate-y, mousse-y cake sooooo decadent you must beware the power of The Dark Side………

You get the picture.

As is my custom when the calendar rolls around to that fateful day marking my arrival in this world, I spend weeks — even months — in search of “The” Cake that will grace my table, and ultimately my tongue.  Where, oh where does one turn to fulfill such a primal request?

Food blogs, of course.  (Thank y’all so much for doing what you do!)

After drooling over many a fine recipe, I clicked on Gourmantine’s Blog and spied what she simply called:

Ultimate Chocolate Cake.

Need I say more?

Okay, you know me by now…

Not being one to leave chocolate well enough alone, I decided to top it with even more chocolate… the darker, the better.  Enter The Harried Cook‘s Chocolate Ganache Frosting.

Words cannot describe the wonder…

It was so dark… yet so light…  after one taste, I felt like I could quite possibly levitate the serving tray. ;)

Enjoying the chocolate side of The Force,

~ Kim