Fabulous Fridays!

Happy Friday! I’ve decided to dedicate Fridays to a particular thing (food related, of course) that I have just loved throughout the week.  I feel like Oprah!  Unfortunately I will not be giving away my favorite things to my readers.  I wish.  Sorry.

Winfrey on the first national broadcast of The...

My favorite and fabulous thing this week is: Cooking Light Magazine!  You get a subscription!! And you get a subscription!!!!!! And you – wait.  I’m not Oprah.  Again, I apologize.

Cooking Light

Cooking Light (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After Thanksgiving, Franz and I were still craving something sweet.  I know, I know.  We had left over pumpkin pie and a cranberry/rhubarb cobbler, so we should have stopped at that.  We couldn’t let the craving go.  I had the latest copy of Cooking Light staring at me. Sir even used it as a head rest. I usually cook dinner Monday through Thursday.  And of those dinners, about 80% or more come from Cooking Light.  I even own The Annual Recipes 2009 and 2010 Cookbooks.  The recipes are almost always tasty and relatively healthy.  Occasionally I may tweak a recipe, but it usually isn’t necessary.

CL and Sir

The November cover photo is a slice of Baked Chocolate Mousse Cake.  I ran to Trader Joe’s to purchase 2 items I needed to make this devilish dessert: instant coffee and some whipped topping (Cooking light suggested a reduced-calorie whipped topping, but I opted for regular.).  I had everything else on hand.  Word of advice: always have ingredients on hand to make at least a simple cake or a batch of cookies.  It’s the only way to live.

Once again, CL did me proud!  It was easy to make, and it was delicious!  Here’s the recipe . . .

Baked Chocolate Mousse from Cooking Light

Baked Chocolate Mousse from Cooking Light

Baked Chocolate Mousse Cooking Light, November 2012

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa

1 teaspoon instant espresso granules

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1 tablespoon brandy (**I used Apricot Brandy.  Only kind I had on hand.)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

1/3 cup sugar

Dash of salt

1 1/2 cups frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed

Baking spray with flour (such as Baker’s Joy) (**I used butter and flour since I didn’t have the specified spray.)

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add cocoa and espresso, stirring until smooth. Remove pan from heat. Add chocolates; gently stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in brandy and vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture into a large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes; stir occasionally. (**I didn’t stir occasionally and it was fine.)

3. Combine eggs, egg whites, sugar, and salt in the top of a double boiler, stirring with a whisk. Cook over simmering water until a thermometer reaches 115° (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly with a whisk. Place egg mixture in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until ribbony, soft peaks form (about 5 minutes). (**It took my egg mixture about 4 minutes to reach 115 degrees.  To attain the ribbony, soft peaks, it took about 7 minutes.)

4. Gently stir one-third of egg mixture into chocolate mixture; gently fold in remaining egg mixture. Gently fold in whipped topping. Spoon batter into an 8-inch springform pan coated with baking spray, spreading evenly. Bake at 350° for 27 minutes or until almost set (center will not be firm but will set as it chills). Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or overnight. (**I buttered and dusted with flour a 9-inch spring form pan.  In my pan, it took about 21-22 minutes for it to cook.  Franz couldn’t wait the recommended chill time.  We cut into it after it was in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. It was fine.  But it was even better the next night!)

OR USE WHIPPED CREAM: If you substitute an equal amount of whipped cream for the whipped topping, you’ll add 62 calories, 6.7g fat, and 4.2g sat fat to each serving. You will also need to bake the mousse about 5 minutes longer.

Take Care and Happy Eating! (And have a fabulous weekend!!)


Hot Dogs at Daddy’s and Chili Time at Home!

I’m weird. I have no problem with eating soup in July. I love a bowl of chili for dinner during the summer. Of course I look forward to lighter, cooler entrees, like a salad with grilled chicken, quinoa with peaches, or veggies from my garden to dip in baba ganoush.  I can’t eat that way every day, no matter what the temperature is outside. Granted, I live in San Diego, so how hot does it really get? However, if the temperature is rising, I still crave hot stuff. Even if I have a nice cool grain salad, I’m still covering it with sriracha. I can’t get away from a little heat!
The other week, I realized I had some chorizo in the freezer that needed to be consumed. What else could I do but make a big pot of chorizo chili?? I used my go-to recipe for chili that I found on Cooking Light‘s website (http://www.cookinglight.com/ ) back in 2003. 2003? Yikes! The great thing about chili recipes is that you can substitute anything for what you might have in the cupboard or refrigerator!!

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All-American Chili  (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/all-american-chili-10000000438689/)

6 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage (I used chorizo with the casings removed.)
2 cups chopped onion (I prefer red onions or Vidalia onions.)
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground sirloin (I used ground turkey breast. It’s summer, so it’s lighter! haha)
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (I usually use a Serrano pepper.)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1 1/4 cups Merlot or other fruity red wine (Honestly, I use whichever red wine I feel like having a glass of later that night.)
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained (I use whatever beans I have in the cupboard. It’s all good!  Cannellini is always a favorite.  I like to put two different types of beans in this chili.)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage, onion, and the next 4 ingredients (onion through jalapeño) to pan; cook 8 minutes or until sausage and beef are browned, stirring to crumble.
2. Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients (chili powder through bay leaves), and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, tomatoes, and kidney beans; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaves. Sprinkle each serving with cheddar cheese.

And as Cooking Light notes, and as everyone knows, chili always tastes better the next day!

And what goes better with chili than hot dogs?  Now that is a food item I associate with summertime 100%!  My husband and I checked out Daddy’s Hot Dogs (http://www.daddyshotdogs.com/) on University Avenue in Hillcrest over the weekend.  William, the owner and possibly the only person who officially works there, gave us his recommendations and a couple other words of advice (He’s a talker!).

He was in the process of tasting a hotdog when we approached.  He went right into explaining that he was sampling a new idea and was playing around with different possible names for it.  Once we ordered, Franz went with the classic “Manhattan“, a hot dog topped with grilled onions, deli mustard and sauerkraut.  I chose the “Diego Dog“, a dog topped with grilled onions, jalapeno relish, and Russian dressing.  Everything is made to order, so the hot dogs come out super fresh and hot (unlike at Petco Park where Franz once returned a hot dog.  He’s a legend in my eyes.).   The hot dog is split and then grilled, so you get an all over tasty grilled flavor.  It reminded me of when I was a kid and made fried bologna sandwiches.  I would make the small cut in the bologna so it wouldn’t curl, and it seemed like the butter I put in the pan had a better opportunity to cover every inch of the bologna.  I would put a slice of Kraft American cheese on the bologna & put a lid on the pan.  It would only take a minute for the cheese to melt.   And, viola, I had the perfect after school snack on white bread ever made!  Sometimes, if we had them in the house, I’d put tomatoes on it.  Don’t think about the health factor.  Just let it go.

As we were enjoying our hot dogs, William told us about his being an ex-cop with the Feds and having a culinary background, which I thought was an interesting mix.  It’s easy to see he is very passionate about his food and kids – and the two things work together in a way.  He explained that he wouldn’t serve anything to a customer that he wouldn’t feed his children.  He sought out a leaner and healthier quality of hot dog which comes from the L.A. area.  If he can’t get a shipment of his dogs, and his shop runs out, he’ll have to close early that day, he explained.  As I took a picture of his hours, he was quick to point out that the posted hours are flexible and can change at any given moment.

But how did the dogs taste?  I really enjoyed mine!  The bun was soft and cradled the little dog perfectly.  I will say little because it’s small.  For lunch, I would probably have 2 or 3 and feel full.  Franz said he would need about 10, but he eats a lot.  The jalapeno relish had just the right amount of heat.  William told me that his kids have to be able to eat everything, so it can’t be so hot that you need a gallon of milk to cool the taste buds.  The Russian dressing was a nice touch, and it went well with the relish.  When we arrived, William had been sampling the Diego Dog topped with sauerkraut.  I think that’s the way to go next time!  Franz thought his was a good standard hot dog.  He did go with a classic, but he said he might have preferred one of the other ones listed.  I was eyeing the Reuben Dog: corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese and Russian Dressing.  Yum!

Given the location, I think this is a great place to stop when you are frequenting the bar establishments on University Avenue.  It only has outdoor bar tables, no seats, and it’s cash only (hot dogs are $3-$6 each).  So it’s easy to stop at the window, place your order, have a couple of dogs, and continue on your way.   While we were eating, William  came out and stood at a table and told us about his philosophy on food.  I would highly recommend stopping by and chatting with him.  Check out his website, too.  You really get a sense of his love of food and family.

Check out this video: Daddy’s Hot Dogs

Take Care and Happy Eating!

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