Satan’s Circus Recipe

 

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That’s quite a name! Day 2 of gorgeous weather in Chicago means people are outside in full force. Monday afternoon I was walking down Broadway and the outdoor seating was filling up with people eating and drinking…this was at 3:30pm. Got to love Chicagoans, when the weather is good we take full advantage. We have to.

Hopefully you have been able to get outside for a walk or run. If you don’t have plans to visit any restaurants or bars soon here is a great drink recipe to make at home.

Satan’s Circus Recipe: Bon Appétit.

 

Tom Yum Goong Soup Straight from Thailand

I’ve been sick for the past 10 days so soup has been on my mind. Well, soup and tropical beaches since it’s February in Chicago. This is what I dream of:

Surin Beach Wave

It’s no surprise that my mind drifted to my honeymoon in Thailand and the wonderful cooking lesson I took with the head chef of the Oriental Spoon at the Twin Palms in Surin Beach. This soup is too good not to share! Continue reading

Chocolate and Peppermint Candy Ice Cream Sandwiches

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This is my first time making ice cream sandwiches and I’m happy to report this is an easy and delicious recipe that is perfect for the winter/holidays. Don’t let “homemade” scare you off, there are only four ingredients:

1 pint premium vanilla ice cream, 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, 1 cup finely crushed peppermint hard candies, and chocolate wafers.

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches Ingredients

Mix the first three ingredients together by crushing the peppermint candies and mixing 1/2 cup of them with softened ice cream and extract. Make sure you do not use more than 1/4 teaspoon per pint.

Peppermint Extract

Initially I tried to crush the candies by putting them in a ziplock bag and using the end of a rolling-pin. This will work but it will take a lot of time.

Crushing Peppermint Candies

Then I wised up and just threw them all in the blender and it took less than a 3 seconds.

Peppermints In Blender

See…crushed perfectly. Although it looks better to have bigger chunks of the peppermint candy it does make it hard to eat as the chunks can get chewy.

Crushed Peppermint Candies

Make sure the ice cream is slightly softened to make the mixing easier. I let mine get a bit too soft.

Mixing Ice Cream Peppermint Candies

Then scoop it back into the pint container and let it harden for about an hour or so in the freezer.

Peppermint Pint

The recipe says to work quickly when scooping the ice cream on each wafer, topping with another wafer and then wrapping in plastic wrap and freezing until firm.  I do not work quickly in the kitchen and given my relationship with plastic wrap I thought it would be a good idea to rip off the wrap for each cookie ahead of time.

Plastic Wrap

The recipe calls for using 1/4-cup ice cream scoop. However, I found this way too big for the wafer size and used a large spoon instead. This way you can also get a lot more sandwiches.

Open Face Peppermint Sandwich

Peppermint Sandwich

To help keep it cold I put the pint of ice cream back into the freezer every time I wrapped up each cookie. Then would take out the pint as I was putting in the wrapped sandwich.

Choco Peppermint Ice Cream Freezer

The sandwiches should stay in the freezer for about an hour. Then take them out, unwrap and roll in the crushed candy. Of note, the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of crushed candy for rolling but I did not even come close to using this amount. I definitely used 1/2 cup to mix in the ice cream.

Choco Peppermint Rolling Edges

Wrap them back up and put in the freezer at least an hour or until ready to serve. Voilà, you have just created deliciousness to share with lucky friends and family.

Chocolate Peppermint Candy Ice Cream Sandwiches Final

I will say that if you let the ice cream get too soft it will be a messy experience. When I make these again I will not let the ice cream get as soft and I will wrap the individual sandwiches very tightly so none of the ice cream seeps out of the sides and under the wrap. But even if you make a mess, it really doesn’t matter because these are so good no one will notice.

Original recipe is from Epicurious and can be found, here.

25 Ways to Use Sriracha

Image via bonappetit.com

Anyone who likes some heat has probably tried Sriracha. If you haven’t here is your chance with 25, yep 25 different ways you can incorporate some spice in your life. For those of you who already have a good relationship with Sriracha here are some ideas for you. What is your favorite thing to put Sriracha on? I’m a fan of using it in soups.

Some of the easiest ways: Sriracha Ketchup, Sriracha Deviled Eggs, and Sriracha Marinade. Recipe for the marinade can be found, here.

Sriracha Marinade

Image via bonappetit.com

Don’t forget the seafood.

Shrimp Sriracha

image via bonappetit.com

Here is the link to all 25:

25 Ways to Use Sriracha: bonappetit.com.

Bon Bini! Welcome To Aruba

There are plenty of restaurants in Aruba but none as laid-back and romantic as Passions on the Beach. Tables are set up 25 feet from the ocean literally on the beach so you can enjoy the sunset with your feet in the sand. Another plus, it is located away from the high-rise madness so no crowds to deal with. I was in a trance from the waves and the breeze and said “sure” when offered the “signature” cocktail, it was out of the 80s but made me laugh and just added to the fun.

Requisite Beach Cocktail

I’d like to say the meal was amazing but there was only one really great standout which turned out to be a very simple dish. The Watermelon Salad. The sweetness of the watermelon mixed with the saltines of the feta is always a beautiful thing but the addition of the chili dressing made this dish memorable. It’s also really easy to recreate which I have multiple times since returning from the One Happy Island.

Almost everyone that was dining on the beach was celebrating a birthday or anniversary or seemed to be on their honeymoon or with someone they loved so it didn’t matter that the food wasn’t the main attraction. Just being there was the point…oh and the view…

Here is a recipe I found that is a good reference to make your own beach watermelon salad creation courtesy of Miri Leigh. You should really make it while we still have summer.  Ban come! Let’s eat! 

10 sprigs thyme
1 serrano chili
1 small shallot
juice and zest of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 oz fresh baby spinach, rinsed and dried
3 lbs seedless watermelon
4 oz crumbled feta

Remove the thyme leaves from the sprigs by gripping each sprig with your thumb and forefinger near one end and, with your other hand, pulling the sprig away from you so that your thumb and finger run along the stem opposite to the direction that the leaves grow.  Set aside half of the leaves to use as garnish.  Place the remaining leaves in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade along with the serrano chili (remove some or all of the seeds for less heat), shallot, lime juice and zest, olive oil, canola oil, vinegar, and salt.  Pulse a few times until the chili and shallot are chopped, then process until the dressing is smooth and emulsified.

In a large bowl, toss the spinach with the dressing until it is fully coated, reserving 1/4 cup of the dressing for the last step.  Arrange the dressed spinach in equal quantities among four plates.  Slice the watermelon as thinly as possible and arrange over the spinach.  Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the watermelon and garnish with the remaining thyme leaves.  Drizzle the remaining dressing over the feta, about 1 tablespoon per plate.  Serve immediately.

A Night in East Germany

Via Wikipedia

Ingredients

1 bottle of Radeberger Pilsner (found at a European specialty store like, Genes, any pilsner can be substituted)

1/4 cup Bautzner mittelscharger Senf Medium Hot Mustard (found at a European specialty store like, Genes, any type of mustard can be substituted)

1/2 onion sliced

2 pork loin chops, cut 1-1/4 inches thick

salt & pepper to season

1 DVD of The Tunnel  –  Roland Suso Richter directed film loosely based on true events in Berlin following the closing of the East German border in August 1961.

1 East German boyfriend, for recipe contribution and history lesson (optional, any type of companion can be substituted)

Preparation

 Salt and pepper the chops to desired taste. In a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the pork chops in one layer combine the beer, mustard rubbed pork chops and the onions, turning the chops to coat them thoroughly. Let the chops marinate, covered for at least 30 minutes. The longer the marinade the tastier the chops will turn out.

Grill the pork chops on an oiled rack. While the chops are cooking grab your side dishes and drinks. Decide who gets to change the TV setting to video and queue up the movie. Have some extra Bautz’ner on hand, sit back and enjoy a taste of East Germany. 

Cheap and Easy

PHOTOGRAPH BY Elinor Carucci

Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Fresh Herbs: Recipe : bonappetit.com. This is one of those recipes that is little work but the pay off is fantastic. Basic ingredients and herbs make this refreshing for the summer and easy on the pocketbook. I’ve made this dish easily 10 times in the last couple of months. I like it so much I felt guilty not sharing. Hope you like it!