Sunday, July 6, 2014

Caramel Vodka Root Beer Float Shooter



Caramel Vodka Root Beer Float Shooter

Would it surprise you if I said I had more fun than usual with this recipe? And would it surprise you that I have had no shortage of guinea pigs to try this beverage? This root beer shooter is a fun adult twist on a classic and beloved drink. Serve some at your next gathering and watch them disappear!



Caramel Vodka Root Beer Float Shooter




I used caramel flavored vodka in this beverage, but there are a variety of other flavors that are equally tasty: marshmallow fluff, vanilla, and whipped cream. (I have tested them all!)  Have fun experimenting them on your own.You too will have no shortage of ready and willing taste testers!!

Caramel Vodka Root Beer Float Shooter




Caramel Vodka Root Beer Float Shooter:

2 oz. Edy’s Caramel Delight ice cream or similar
1 oz. caramel flavored vodka
3 oz. root beer
1 dollop whipped cream

Note: Adjust quantity to the size of your shooter glass, using a ratio of 1 part vodka to 3 parts root beer. This recipe is for a 5 oz. shooter glass.

Place two leveled scoops of ice cream into a  shooter glass using a 1 oz. scoop. Add vodka. Slowly pour in root beer, waiting for bubbles to subside before adding more. Top with a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 1.



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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Banana-Chocolate Dessert Shells


Banana-Chocolate Dessert Shells

I should have called this post “Plan B” because it was supposed to have some sort of strawberry shortcake title. My original thought was to do a twist on strawberry shortcake. As you can see, that did not happen. I played around with different ideas for the shortcake portion of the dessert. When I came up with this banana-chocolate sponge cake version, I knew I had a winner. Then it occurred to me that the dessert shell is too pretty to cover up with strawberries and whipped cream. Don't get me wrong—strawberry shortcake on a banana chocolate shell is a fabulous thing (I had a few the last couple of weeks)! But why limit the possibilities? I decided to make the dessert shells the star of the show.

Banana-Chocolate Dessert Shells



These shells could be the base for so many other things. How about topping them with ice cream sundaes? What about caramelized bananas, walnuts, and whipped cream? Try chocolate mousse. Now that I got the ball rolling, you can probably come up with some fantastic versions of your own.

If you are not familiar with dessert shell pans, this is what they look like.


The one on the left is the top side and the one on the right is the underside. It is essentially a muffin pan with the bottom of each cavity pushed in creating dome. Once baked, you invert the pan and the bottom becomes the top. All you need to do is fill the bowl with a whole lot of goodness.

This recipe yields 6 shells. I like to keep my dessert recipes small, mainly to avoid a lot of leftovers. My family of four is not a huge consumer of desserts (although ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate brownies do disappear at warp speed). Generally, we enjoy sweets in small quantities and in a nonconsecutive fashion. So when we have leftover, it is a lose-lose situation for me: I would have to deal with the guilt of throwing away good food or the guilt of overconsumption to avoid the guilt of throwing away good food. To avoid this dilemma, I like to create smaller portion desserts. If you need larger quantities, this recipe can easily be doubled.

Enjoy!

Banana-Chocolate Dessert Shells



Banana-Chocolate Dessert Shells:

3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup mashed banana
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder  
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat eggs on high until pale yellow, thick, and creamy, about 3 minutes. Slowly add 1 tablespoon sugar at a time and continue beating for a total of 2 minutes. Add banana and vanilla extract. Blend well.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Stir into egg mixture, blending to incorporate without overmixing. Grease a 6-cavity dessert shell pan. Pour 1/3 cup batter in each cavity. Using only half of the chocolate chips, sprinkle some into each cavity. Pour the remaining batter over chocolate chips, filling the cavities no more than 3/4 full. Top off with a sprinkling of the remainder chocolate chips. Bake for 10–15 minutes, checking at the 10-minute mark. Done when an inserted toothpick with a few specks of crumbs. Store in an airtight container. Serves 6.

Note: Best eaten the same day. If kept refrigerated or dries out, microwave each for about 15 seconds or until barely warm to soften before eating.



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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Great Grilling with Chuck Eye


Great Grilling with Chuck Eye

Hello! If you are looking for In Good Flavor, home of great recipes with great taste, you have come to the right place. The page may look unfamiliar because it just underwent a little facelift. I liked my old design but felt it needed a little change. My intention was to go for a white minimal look, but as the design progressed, it seemed to need a little of this and a little of that. In the end, this is what I ended up with. Hope you like it!

Onto the recipe…

Great Grilling with Chuck Eye



One of my favorite budget-friendly cut of meat is chuck eye, specifically labeled as “beef chuck eye steak—first cut” where I shop. It costs much less than choice rib-eye, sirloin strip, or T-bone, but it is very flavorful and tender. In terms of where it is located, it is the cut right next to the rib-eye. I discovered this cut of beef about ten years ago when a butcher at my grocery store ranted and raved over it. She said it was good for grilling; it was tender, economical, and great for feeding a crowd. She highly recommended it.

Chuck?

Grilling?

Tender?

Really?

My husband and I ended up getting some to grill (as I mentioned in one of my previous post, he likes to tag along. Seriously, doesn’t he have a game to watch or something? Sorry honey, I say it with love). We grilled with tepid anticipation. And good golly! To our pleasant surprise, the woman was right on all accounts! We were pleased with the steak and have been grilling it since—the type of meat, not the actual ones we bought ten years ago!

To get the best result, look for cuts that are kidney or lobed shaped. I prefer them over the triangular cuts of chuck eye. Also, choose ones that have some marbling and loosely separated muscle layers over the lean and the tightly packed muscles. If you don’t have this cut in your store, ask your butcher.

Great Grilling with Chuck Eye



The steaks in these pictures were about 3/4-inch thick and were grilled on high for just over two minutes per side. Regular 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch thick steaks take about 4-6 minutes and 6-8 minutes, respectively, per side for medium rare doneness. For optimal tenderness, do not cook beyond medium well as the meat tends to dry out more easily than the more expensive cuts.

This recipe is not so much about what to put on your steak (do use kosher salt—it makes a difference) but more about what cut I suggest for a pocket-friendly scrumptious steak dinner. Pair it with the Quick and Easy Thyme Baby Potatoes for a great weeknight supper or for casual entertaining. You will feel like you are eating a steakhouse dinner without the steakhouse price. Grill some this Fourth of July!!

Great Grilling with Chuck Eye



Great Grilling with Chuck Eye:

4 (8 to 10 oz. each) 1 1/4 to1 1/2-inch thick beef chuck eye steak—first cut 
1/2 rounded tsp. garlic powder
1 rounded tsp. kosher salt
1/2 rounded tsp. black pepper


Remove steaks from the refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or so if there is time (highly recommended). Season both sides with garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. 

Set grill on high. Grease grates with oil. Place steaks on grill, cooking until charred grill marks develop, about  4-6 minutes for 1 1/4-inch thick or 6-8 minutes for 1 1/2-inch thick steaks. Turn over and repeat the cooking time for the second side for medium rare. For medium steaks, increase cooking time an extra 2 minutes per side. Allow steak to rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting. Serves 4.





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Monday, June 16, 2014

Quick and Easy Thyme Baby Potatoes


Quick and Easy Thyme Baby Potatoes

These potatoes are easy, delicious, and a total cheat because all of the cooking is done in the microwave. It is my go-to recipe in a pinch, and it goes well with anything. I have it for weeknight dinners as well as casual entertaining. People always like it and no one ever says, “This tastes microwaved!” If I’m really pressed for time, I would make it early in the day to be reheated at mealtime. (No one ever knew!)

Quick and Easy Thyme Baby Potatoes




Quick and Easy Thyme Baby Potatoes:

1 1/2 lb. baby potatoes (about 1” diameter), washed
3 to 4 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. butter (or more; adjust to your preference)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp. dried
2 tsp. lemon juice (optional)

Poke each potato with a pointed knife to prevent bursting while cooking. Cut in half if greater than 1 1/2” in diameter. Place in a large microwavable bowl with a lid. Add 2 tablespoons water and cover. Microwave on high for 3 minutes (for 1200 Watt microwave oven. Increase cooking time 1 minute or so for lower wattage microwaves). Remove and mix potatoes to promote even cooking. Add 1 tbsp. or so water if almost dry. Cover and microwave 3 minutes.

Drain liquid. Add butter, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and thyme. Mix well. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes or until knife or toothpick slides in easily. Drizzle with lemon juice and mix to incorporate. Makes 4 servings. 



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Monday, June 9, 2014

Grilled Lemongrass Shrimp


Grilled Lemongrass Shrimp

I love lemongrass! It has a lemony-citrusy and some say gingery flavor. To me, it is wonderfully distinctive and pairs well with many types of meat—pork, chicken, beef, or seafood. Today, I am using it as a marinade for quick and easy shrimp skewers.

Grilled Lemongrass Shrimp



Lemongrass is not available in many supermarkets, but it can be found in Asian markets or specialty stores. I buy frozen minced lemongrass from the Asian market. It keeps for months and is readily available when I need it. It is a great product to have on hand. 

If you are not familiar with lemongrass, fresh ones look like this:

fresh lemongrass



To use, remove the outer layers to expose the slightly fleshier and more tender interior. Lop off the bottom 1-inch or so at end of the bulb and the upper 1/2 to 1/3 of the stalk. What remains is the usable section of lemongrass. (The end of the bulb has not been removed in the picture below.)

fresh lemongrass



Then slice, mince, and it’s ready to use!

fresh lemongrass



These shrimp skewers make great appetizers. To serve as a meal, just double the recipe. Enjoy!

fresh lemongrass



Grilled Lemongrass Shrimp:

2 tbsp. minced lemongrass, lightly packed (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 1/2 tsp. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on (I use 26/30 count)
2 fresh limes, quartered
8 skewers (soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes)


Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Add to bowl. Rub marinade onto each shrimp. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium.

Thread each shrimp through the skewer, piercing through the tail and head area to form a letter “C”. Use four per skewer, leaving a slight gap between each shrimp. Place one lime quarter at the tip of each skewer.

Brush oil on grill. Add shrimp skewers. Cook until pink and opaque throughout, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice for more tang (optional). Makes 4 servings.