Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

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This month, Random Recipes and We Should Cocoa banded together to create a wonderful challenge. Randomly pick a cookbook and randomly pick a recipe from said cookbook that uses . . . you guessed it! CHOCOLATE!

Somehow, despite being random, I keep picking my favorite cookbook off the shelf. Either I just need more cookbooks to be randomly selected or there’s some sort of magnetism that keeps this book coming back to me. Welcome again my favorite cookbook, Cook Yourself Thin. In the past, for Random Recipes I’ve made the Mediterranean Chicken and Better For You Breakfast Sandwich.

Anyway, once I was holding this cookbook, I counted the number of recipes in it that used chocolate. I then put into the random number generator and was directed to this chocolate cake. I was pretty happy when I saw what recipe the generator had chosen for me, since my boyfriend’s birthday is in February (today actually) and he had asked for a chocolate cake.

This cake was sort of dry, but he raved over and over that he hates moist cakes and was so happy because he likes dry cakes and no one ever makes dry cakes. While I personally like moist cakes a hell of a lot, the lack of butter does take away a lot of the moist in a cake. Additionally, he likes it when I accidentally overcook things, so a dry cake really was the way to go for him. All in all, it was a success. The beets were such a strange addition, but in the end, you don’t even taste them.

This was a great random recipe. The universe was aligned when I randomly chose this recipe!

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And with that, I’d also like to wish my love a very happy 31st birthday!

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Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE
1 1/2 cups flour
3 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 + 1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup finely ground cashews
5 tbsp cocoa powder
4 oz beets, peeled and finely grated
4 oz buttermilk
2 tbsp brewed black coffee
3 eggs
3/4 cups sugar

FOR THE ICING
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp brewed black coffee
2 tbsp honey

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray an 8″ springform baking pan with cooking spray.

3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, ground cashews, salt, and baking soda together. Set aside.

4. In a mixer, beat the eggs and sugar for 4 minutes using medium speed, until pale and fluffy. On low speed, beat in the beets followed by the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk and coffee and beat until the batter is smooth.

5. Pour the batter into the springform pan. Place in the middle of a hot oven and bake for 30 minutes. Your cake is done with a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

6. Cool for 10 minutes then unmold and set on a cooling rack. Cool until the cake is cold.

7. To make the icing, prepare a double broiler. Combine all the icing ingredients and stir gently, until the chocolate is smooth. Stir until the chocolate mixture thickens.

9. Pour the icing over the top of the cake and allow it to drip down the sides.

* I’m also sharing this recipe with Mix It Up Monday

Sugar Plums

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My 12 Days of Cookies sort of fell apart. Baking cookies every night and going to work is hard. Even without my trial (it got continued,) I just had a severe shortage of energy. I plan this weekend though to get all those cookies baked.

Anyway, before my energy died, I made these: sugar plums.

Buddy the Elf

As you may know, this month for Food ‘n Flix, I’m the host. I picked the movie Elf, to share my love of Christmas. Entries are due on the 29th of this month, so you still have time to participate!

I have two favorite Christmas movies: The Santa Clause and Elf. Elf is the story of Buddy the elf. Or rather, Buddy the human raised as an elf. Buddy leaves the North Pole to find his biological father. An elf is New York is quite the spectacle! Buddy has some trouble adjusting, as his father has a similar problem accepting his human-sized-elf-son. Buddy’s excitement to meet his father is not matched. His father is embarrassed by what appears to be a mentally unstable adult.

I can’t wait to see my dad! We’re going to go ice skating and eat sugar plums!

Now for a moment of honesty. I never knew what a sugar plum was. I heard this quote and I was like, “Okay, sugar plums, I’m on it.” I googled and expected to find sugary plums. I never knew that sugar plums were actually no-bake cookie balls filled with nuts and dried fruit. These went over really well in my house though. When I was making them I was visiting my mom. She really enjoys dried fruits, so this was perfect.

Just for a note too – the longer they sit in your fridge, the more delicious they taste because the flavors start to meld together. Expect more cookie posts coming soon, to a blog near you!

Sugar Plums
(source)

Ingredients
1 cup whole almonds
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp grated orange zest
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Arrange the almonds on a baking sheet. Toast for 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool. Once cool, chop finely.

2. Combine the honey, orange zest, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl. Then add the apricots, dates, and almonds. Mix together well.

3. Pinch off rounded teaspoon size balls of the mixture and roll into balls. The mixture is very sticky, so keeping your hands wet will allow easier rolling. Roll the balls in powdered sugar. Place on a baking sheet with wax paper. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator. After an hour place in airtight containers. They can last for up to a month kept refrigerated.

* makes 3 dozen
* besides Food ‘n Flix, this recipe is being shared with Weekend Cooking

Pistachio Spinach Pesto

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This month at Pasta Please, Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes hosted the pasta challenge of pesto. Each month a host provides a theme around pasta. Last month was peppers; this month’s was pesto. The pesto couldn’t have come at a better time, because I know you’ve all seen the pesto dishes I’ve been making lately (with different veggies and different nuts.) For this pesto dish I decided to use pistachios and spinach.

Matt’s been on a huge pistachio kick lately. We get flavored pistachios each week from the farmers’ market. This week we got onion-garlic and I figured that would pair well with my pesto.

I still have that cup of pesto in my refrigerator. Besides putting it on noodles, how do you suggest I use it?

pasta please

Pistachio Spinach Pasta

Ingredients
a bunch of spinach, washed and pressed in a paper towel to remove moisture
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 cup olive oil
8 oz noodles, cooked

Directions

1. In a food processor pulse together the spinach, garlic, cheese, and pistachios. Pulse until a paste is formed.

2. Add the olive oil a little at a time, pulsing consistently. Continue until you have pesto consistency.

3. Serve over noodles.

* serves 4
* Besides Pasta Please this dish is being shared with Tasteful Tuesday Party, Recipe Box, Tasty Tuesdays, &  Tempt My Tummy

Macadamia Tomato Pesto

Macadamia Nut PestoThis month at our very own Pantry Party, the theme is noodles! The goal of Pantry Party is to look through your pantries and use ingredients that are crying out to be used – ingredients that may have been forgotten about. Also, the dishes entered into the challenge should meet whatever the monthly theme is. This month I relied on some macadamia nuts that were hiding in my pantry. You’ll also see I used two different types of noodles, because I decided it made more sense to use the partial boxes than open up a new box.

I have a whole shelf of nuts. I have almonds, I have pine nuts, and I also have macadamia nuts. Well, actually, I don’t have them anymore because I used them – but you get it. I had macadamia nuts and then I used them to make this pasta sauce.

I love pestos and I had forgotten how much I liked making pesto from ingredients other than just basil and pine nuts. This was a delicious sauce and was a very easy meal to make.

So, don’t forget to enter this month’s noodle themed Pantry Party! I’d love to see what type of noodle-y dishes you have in store. Entries are due by the 26th of February.

Macadamia Tomato Pesto
(source)

Ingredients
1/3 cup macadamia nuts
2 tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 tbsp basil leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
pepper, to taste
9 oz noodles

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the noodles per package directions. Once cooked drain and set aside.

2. In a skillet dry toast the macadamia nuts until lightly browned, stirring frequently for about 4 minutes.

3. Place the nuts, tomatoes, basil, garlic, Parmesan, 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, and pepper into the food processor. Process until pureed, about 30 seconds.

4. In the skillet  over medium heat add the remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil. Pour the puree into the skillet and stir frequently for about 5 minutes. Toss the noodles with the sauce.

* Besides Pantry Party, this recipe is shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Meatballs from “A Homemade Life” and Mashed Jalapeno Sweet Potatoes

And now back to regular programming.

Despite not posting very often, I have in fact been cooking. Most of my blog time is taken up by school. I just keep having this school stuff to do instead of the fun blogging. This weekend I had the MPRE on Saturday. I’ve also been doing research on public defender’s personal morality versus professional ethics for one of my classes and I’m preparing for a suppression hearing I have on Tuesday (my first one yet! I have to cross-examine a police officer!)

So, needless to say, I’ve been busy as shit.

Back at the end of October I made these meatballs from Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life. They are made with the strangest mix of ingredients ever – raisins in meatballs? Who would ever think to do this?

Well, whoever it was is a genius.

I served these on top of mashed sweet potatoes with a jalapeno kick! The combination of the meatballs and the potatoes was great. I was intending to make meatball sandwiches with the leftovers the next day.. But there were not leftovers. :X

Doron’s Meatballs with Pine Nuts, Cilantro, and Golden Raisins
(all credit in the world to Molly Wizenberg and her book A Homemade Life. And the blog post of Molly’s.)

Ingredients
1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, crushed
1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 lb ground turkey
4 tbsp olive oil

Directions

1. Combine the onion, cilantro, pine nuts, raisins, bread crumbs, egg, salt, cumin, and black pepper in a large bowl. Add the ground turkey, mixing with your hands. Knead the meat to include all the ingredients, mixing until just combined.

2. Roll the meat into 1-1/2 inch balls.

3. Warm 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add about half of the meatballs into the skillet. As they begin to brown, turn them gently and cook on all sides. Remove from skillet and add the rest of the meatballs and cook.

* serves 4

Mashed Jalapeno Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 cup butter substitute
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp cilantro, fresh

Directions

1. In a large pot boil water. Once boiling add the sweet potato and boil for about 20 minutes, or until soft.

2. Once the potatoes are done, drain. Add the butter, orange juice and cilantro. Mash  until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a baking dish and bake in an oven at 350 for 20 minutes.

* serves 4

* Shared with Sunday Funday

Banana Walnut Waffles

I never knew until the morning I made these waffles that my boyfriend hates walnuts. What the? How have I been with this man for 2 years and not know something like this? Additionally, HOW CAN SOMEONE NOT LIKE WALNUTS? I think we either need to breakup or have an intervention – maybe both.

Well, or I can just get double the walnuts in everything from now on. That’s pretty much what I do with avocado since he’s allergic to it. Every possible opportunity I can to eat avocado I’ll eat it since I can’t do much with it at home.

In other news, I loved these waffles walnuts and all.

BANANA WALNUT WAFFLES
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Ingredients
3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup mashed banana
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

1. Preheat your waffle iron.

2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar.

3. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, bananas, and walnuts. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until incorporated.

4. Cook according to your waffle iron instructions.

* serves 4
* Shared with Foodie Friday