Friday, June 29, 2012

Peanut Butter Cups with Coffee Ice Cream

There is no other way to begin telling you about this recipe other than that I'm absolutely crazy. It was incredibly time consuming but the outcome was so divine that I'm totally drooling all over my computer right now. I had a request from someone at my mom's office to make these and I wasn't quite sure what I had gotten myself into. I skimmed through Pinterest to try and find an easy way to make them but that wasn't going to happen. But, who doesn't like a Reece's Peanut butter cup!? And what makes almost anything better (other than more chocolate)? Coffee ice cream!!! Oh yes, my friends. I went there. I couldn't say no!!! These are homemade dark chocolate cups filled with coffee ice cream and a big old dollop of peanut butter. They are INCREDIBLY rich but oh my gosh they're so good!!! Next time you're entertaining, they make a FABULOUS dessert (and they're made a day in advance so you won't have to worry the day of!). You can certainly change the flavors around, like maybe using mint chip ice cream or just some vanilla. Enjoy the culinary adventure that is Coffee and Peanut butter Ice Cream Cups!!!

What you'll need:

24 cupcake tins
1 large container coffee ice cream
About 4 large bars of DARK chocolate (maybe more if you need)
1 jar creamy peanut butter
Cooking spray

1. Line 2 cupcake pans with tins and spray the inside of each with the cooking spray, quite liberally.
2. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon (remember, wooden spoons don't transfer heat the way metal do).
3. Using a pastry brush, paint the inside of each tin with the chocolate (about 2 layers is fine). Freeze for AT LEAST 2 hours (longer would be better). Set aside any extra chocolate to seal the tops.
4. After a few hours, place a spoonful of peanut butter in the bottom of each cup and top with 1 scoop of the ice cream. Freeze again for a few hours.
5. After a few hours, again, top with the remaining chocolate (you may need to use a VERY sharp knife to even off the tops. If the chocolate hardens, melt over the double boiler again. Let sit in the freezer overnight. Serve immediately!

enjoy :)
a happy eater :)

1 lb. dark chocolate

Salmon with Lentils

I feel as though I must tell you that I am NOT the biggest fan of salmon. If it isn't marinated just right, it tastes WAY too fishy for me. I usually only like it marinated in my beloved Soy Yaki, but a few nights ago my mom made this WONDERFUL salmon with lentils. Of course, the recipe originally came from the Barefoot Contessa, but we felt as though we needed to tweak it a little bit (and she uses far too much salt). The lentils are a much healthier alternative to a potato or rice to serve the salmon on and we added some spinach for color and flavor. You do not need a grill to make this, just a large pan that you don't mind getting a little messy. We bought the salmon at Costco (which is fresh and has the BEST prices) and there was WAY more than enough for 2, and froze the rest to have another night.
***TIP: When freezing fish or meat or chicken, portion everything into saran wrap and small ziplock bags inside one BIG one so it is easier to freeze and you don't have to defrost everything and throw away what you won't use!!!***
As with all of my recipes, this one is very simple and extremely delicious. It tastes, and looks, like it is from a restaurant. Next time you want to seriously impress someone but do very little work, make this salmon! They'll be BEGGING for the recipe!

What you'll need (for 2 people):

4 salmon filets (NO skin)
½ lb lentils
½ cup olive oil
2 cups onions
2 cups leeks (get the frozen kind at your market, make it easy!)
1 tsp. fresh thyme
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup vegetable broth (low sodium!)
2 tbs. tomato paste
2 tbs. red wine vinegar
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt & pepper
1 ½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
Enough fresh spinach for 2 people (about 3 cups)

1.     Preheat your oven to 450*.
2.     In a large pot of water cook lentils (follow the exact directions on the package).
3.     In a large pan, sauté the onions, leeks, thyme, ½ tsp. salt, and pepper for about 10 minutes. Add 1 tsp. of the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
4.     Add the cooked lentils, the carrots, celery, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Cover and cook over LOW for 20 minutes.
5.     While the lentil mixture is cooking, begin the salmon. Heat a cast-iron skillet (or any other oven safe pan) on high for about 5 minutes. Season each side of the salmon with olive oil, and 1 tsp salt and pepper on each side.
6.     After the pan is HOT HOT HOT, sear the salmon for 2 minutes on ONLY ONE SIDE (DO NOT LIFT THEM UP TO CHECK!!! THEY’LL RIP!!!)
7.     Flip the salmon and cook in the oven for about 7 minutes.
8.     At the last minute, sauté the remaining garlic in a large pan over medium heat. After about 10 seconds, add the fresh spinach and cook until wilted down (just a few minutes!). Finish with a tiny squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some salt and pepper.
9.     In a large white bowl (it looks best!), spoon about ½- 1/3 cup the lentil mixture, top with spinach, and finally one salmon filet. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme, and you’re good to go!
enjoy :)

Food Excursion: Israel

Words can't even begin to express how deeply sorry I am that I haven't posted in almost 3 weeks. I forgot to tell you all that I went out of the country with my sister on a trip to Israel. Don't worry, I'm fine, I promise! Anyways, for those of you who have been fortunate enough to be able to go to Israel, you will know what I'm about to say... THE FOOD IS INCREDIBLE!!! Not ONCE did I see an overweight person (unless it was an American tourist). Not only is the food so clean and pure, but it is cooked kosher (separating the meat and dairy and blessing it and cutting the meat a certain way) which just adds to the freshness. We went to many fabulous little restaurants and to 2 Shuks (an outdoor CRAZY marketplace). If you've never seen a shuk, it is basically about 200-300 stands and stores lined up down a few city block full of people yelling at each other to get the lowest prices on things. It was amazing. The first one we went to was in Tel Aviv which was pretty awesome (did some GREAT negotiating on a beautiful bracelet I bought myself) and the second one, the grandaddy of them all Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem.
A few things I noticed were that Israeli's LOVE cheese, nuts, falafel's, and they're known for their cherry tomatoes. Also, their iced coffee is our version of an ice blended, but much lighter and much more delicious! They're on every corner like a Starbucks here. I hope you enjoy these photos I took for you all and PROMISE me you'll try to go one day!!!
my FIRST falafel and coffee
Tel Aviv coffee bar
fresh herbs at Tel Aviv shuk
deli at Tel Aviv shuk
pastries at Tel Aviv skuk
not sure what the food was here, but he was nice to look at :)
bowl upon bowls of FRESH mozzarella
the BEST Jarlsberg cheese I've EVER had 
nut bar in the Tel Aviv shuk
the GORGEOUS cherry tomatoes they're known for

watching the falafels fry :)
my favorite falafel

cheese shop in Mahane Yehuda market place
cheese shop in Mahane Yehuda market place
cheese shop owner that let us taste EVERY cheese :)
margherita pizza
sheep's milk ravioli (UGH SO GOOD!!!!)
apple pie with vanilla ice cream
chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream
the aftermath
adorable cafe in the Tel Aviv shuk 
an indoor cafe that appeared to be outside
in the Mahane Yehuda shuk

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I came home Sunday afternoon to an incredible smelling kitchen. Mommy was roasting peppers over the stove (omg it smelled like winter and greatness and ahhh so good!!!) So right away I feel as though I must be honest with you and let you know that I had NO part in the making of this delicious (VEGAN!) dish. All of the credit goes to Diamonds and Pasta (as mother likes to call herself). They are VERY easy to make and very high in protein. If you're afraid to try them then make someone else do it first. And when they tell you they love them (as they definitely will!) you MUST MUST MUST try!!! These quinoa and tofu stuffed poblano peppers is the perfect side dish (or full meal) for someone who wants the taste of a hearty, comforting meal, but without all of the fat and calories!

What you'll need:
2 poblano peppers (the green, big, pointy ones)
Quinoa (follow instructions on the bag)
1 cup tofu, drained and chopped into pieces
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Daiya (vegan cheese)
Tooth Picks
Salt & pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 375*. Roast your pepper over an open flame for a few minutes per side, until they're charred all over. Cut in half, length wise, and let aside. 
2. In a large pan, bring together your quinoa (follow the instructions on the package) and add the corn, chopped tofu, cranberries, salt, and pepper. Sautee for a few minutes, until the tofu is nice and firm.
3. Begin assembling your peppers! Start with a small layer of the daiya.
4. Then, add about 1/4 of the sauteed quinoa mixture to each pepper, and hold together with tooth picks going right through (about 4 per pepper). Top with a little more daiya.
5. Place them on a lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes (everything is already cooked, you just want the cheese to melt and everything come together).

6. Remove and start grubbin!!!

enjoy :)

Food Excursion: Hana Sushi Bar

jessica roll at Hana Sushi Bar, Northridge, CA

Last night was Friday night date night. I'm going on a trip with my sister for the next two weeks and Daniel is on location for work, so he decided to treat me to my favorite food ever for our last dinner together. I find something so comforting about sushi. It's not too terribly filling to the point where you need to unbutton your pants. You know what else I love about sushi? It's always served on beautiful white platters, and we know how I feel about white! Anywho, I'm not extremely adventurous with my sushi; I usually stick to spicy tuna, albacore, yellow tail, salmon, and shrimp (I know, I'm boring). Please enjoy these pictures of last night's dinner thanks to my fabulous boyfriend :) If you're ever in Northridge, CA and looking for something yummy to eat, try Hana Sushi Bar. They were featured on a Food Network show (I think) for their "Shut Up Sauce" challenge. Of all of the sushi I've had around LA (some being INCREDIBLE!!!) this place is right up there with freshness and deliciousness! :)

jessica roll at Hana Sushi Bar, Northridge, CA
garlic albacore roll at Hana Sushi Bar, Northridge, CA
hot night roll at Hana Sushi Bar, Northridge, CA