Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chess Bars

Ok, I'm finally posting this recipe! I'm sorry, I thought I had long ago... These are embarrassingly easy for something that gets such rave reviews!

Chess Bars

1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon

Beat together and spread in a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch pan. May be necessary to butter hands to keep the mixture from sticking.

2ND Layer:
1 box confectioners' sugar (about 4 cups)
2 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon

Beat and spread over cake. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before cutting.

Chocolate Sorbet

This is so wonderfully rich and chocolatey! Better than chocolate ice cream, in my opinion. Make sure you use a large pot or it will bubble over. And don't skip the blender step--I did, and while it was wonderful, there were little bits of chocolate and I think it would be even better perfectly smooth.

Chocolate Sorbet
from The Perfect Scoop

2 1/4 cups water
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the water with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Let it boil, continuing to whisk, for 45 seconds.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it’s melted, then stir in the vanilla extract and the remaining 3/4 cup water. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker. If the mixture has become too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out. After freezing in the ice cream maker, transfer to another (cold) container to continue freezing until it's the right consistency (another hour or so).

You can probably make this without an ice cream maker--just put it in the freezer and stir every half-hour or so until frozen--probably 4 hours?

Makes 1 quart.

Vietmanese Clear Fish Soup

This soup has a very light, delicate flavor and is extremely quick and easy. It's a great way to make a pound of fish go farther. I like to serve this with Cilantro Lime Rice and Asian Carrot Salad.

Vietmanese Clear Fish Soup (ca nau ngot)

6 cups broth or water
1 lb firm-fleshed fish, cut in bite-sized chunks (ie-catfish, tilapia, salmon)
6 plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped.
1 TBS fish sauce
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
3 TBS thinly sliced green onion
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh dill, cilantro, or basil
optional: fresh lime or lemon juice

Bring the broth to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the fish to the saucepan, lower the heat, and cook the fish in the gently boiling broth until done, 2-5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, fish sauce, salt, pepper, green onion, and herbs, and then quickly remove the soup from the heat. Serve hot. If desired, add a squeeze of lime juice before you eat.

6-8 servings

(adapted from Quick and Easy Vietnamese, Nancie McDermott)

Cilantro Lime Rice

This is a really nice accompaniment to Asian or Mexican main dishes. Not much harder than regular rice, and very tasty.

Cilantro Lime Rice

2 1/2 cups rice
4 1/4 cups water
1-2 cubes bouillon*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup lime juice (or lemon)
1 tablespoon fresh lime zest (or lemon)
2 tablespoons olive (or other) oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin (sometimes I leave this out--just depends which taste you want)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced fine

Combine all ingredients except cilantro in a pot. Stir with a wire whisk to break up big clumps of seasoning. Bring to a boil, stir again, and cook 15 minutes or until rice is done. Add cilantro and serve.

(adapted from owlhaven)

*My favorite vegan bouillon is Edward and Sons' Not-Chick'n and Not-Beef. A bit hard to find--some Krogers have them in their natural foods section--but a wonderful flavor, not pricey, and healthier than many others.