Thai Melon and Radish Salad

july 18, 2018

thai melon and radish salad

When it gets so hot outdoors I wilt from the humidity, I turn to cool things. Not cool as in trendy, but delicious things to enjoy which don’t involve cooking. Some days the very thought of standing at a hot grill turns me to melting mush. It helps that I have a bounty of beautiful Thai basil growing in pots on the deck, and that the anise-like flavor is most appreciated when enjoyed in the uncooked state. And that watermelon radishes are always available in warm weather months! The baby melons adorning store shelves and roadside stands have been calling me to craft tart and sweet salads with thin slices of their summer goodness. Continue reading

Key Lime Berry Parfaits

june 27, 2018

key lime berry parfaits

Exciting news on the blog! The Good Eats Company blog posts will be showing up soon on Yummly, a colorful and tasty site showcasing ingredient-driven recipes with mouth-watering photos and easy to make food and beverages for those who love to cook. Get the inspiration you want and need with a simple click of the “yum” button!

Today’s recipe comes to you courtesy of my dentist. Yes, my dentist. Some years back he shared his foolproof recipe for key lime pie, free of eggs and with only three ingredients. After my initial skepticism I became a fan of his simple version because it is really foolproof and so tasty. Now my summer client menus offer up a  key lime tart with shortbread crust and several more ingredients than Dr. Joe uses but with this same simple formula that always, always pleases. Operative word here is simple.

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Spring Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

june 13, 2018

spring quinoa breakfast bowl

A friend recently consulted a nutritionist who advised her to eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner. I get it—we really should start our day with a hearty meal and end the day lightly to promote restful sleep and sensible habits. Can’t say I always eat a light dinner unless I’m dining at home because evenings out are my favorite type of entertainment and I want a little of everything! Small plates rule, I say. But let’s not examine my habits too closely unless we’re talking about breakfast. Big breakfasts are my thing, whether we’re serving breakfast tostadas or a breakfast salad or a loaded smoothie bowl. No sweet pastry for me. Continue reading

Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette

may 30, 2018

vidalia onion vinaigrette

 

Sweet Vidalia onions are back in season and I’m putting them to good use. Know how they say you can eat them raw? Ever tried that? Me neither, but their mild flavor allows them to take up residence in salads, salsas and sandwiches without imparting a strong oniony aftertaste. You have nothing to fear from this seasonal salad dressing in the way of offending others!

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Strawberry Tarragon Lime Cocktail

may 17, 2018

strawberry tarragon lime cocktail

And just like that, it’s summer. We may have a month to go by the calendar, but when the temperature climbs and air conditioners kick on ( with more than a little grumbling that it’s May, dangit, and why can’t we wait until June?), we long for great outdoor dining adventures. Pretty lights strung up between trees, the first fireflies of the season and a light breeze rustling the leafy trees. Yep, it’s time to dine and entertain on the deck, in the yard and on the screen porch.

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Strawberry Banana Walnut Ice Cream

may 9, 2018

strawberry walnut ice cream

 

 

An early summer memory of growing up in the South involved banana ice cream. My mom and I would sit under a fragrant magnolia tree on the side porch, watching heat lightning, in floral cotton nightgowns, enjoying what we deemed homemade banana ice cream. In actuality, we simply smashed a ripe banana and mixed it with soft vanilla ice cream so the term “homemade” is relative. Continue reading

Chicken Lentil Eggplant Stew

april 25, 2018

chicken lentil eggplant stew

Some recipes come to life when all the right ingredients are at hand. Okay, quite often they are born when there is an excess of items in the fridge and pantry. Such was the case recently; too many boneless skinless chicken thighs, an eggplant unused for a cookdate and a full jar of French green lentils. Oh, and those four bottles of pomegranate molasses I purchased, thinking I would eventually put this wonderfully tart-sweet syrup to good use . Each ingredient was giving me the eye and daring me to ignore their union in this savory stew. Continue reading

Asparagus and Shiitake Stir Fry

april 11, 2018

asparagus shiitake stir fry

 

What better way to welcome spring and say so long to winter than with a recipe featuring elements of both seasons? Hey, there, asparagus, nice to see you again! Butternut squash, it was a good run, and now it’s time to make way for greener crunchies. With my quest to add more veggies to my daily meal plan (see previous post for Socca Pizza), I am finding that if vegetables are roasted ahead, or stir-fried ahead, I”m much more likely to heat and serve alongside my main dish. Continue reading

Socca Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes

march 29, 2018

socca pizza with roasted tomatoes

The esteemed food writer Michael Pollan said it best : Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Starchy carbs are not my enemy, but I do feel better when I stick with Pollan’s suggestion to let plant based foods become the star in my meal planning. There is no substitute for my beloved potatoes and they are always welcome at the table. Grain based products like pizza and breads are an occasional craving, so replacing starchy grains and enjoying a quick bread made with almond flour, or this pizza made with chickpea flour, is the way I choose to enjoy the things I love.  Continue reading

Chocolate Peanut Layer Cake

march 15, 2018

chocolate peanut layer cake

When spring rolls around, I dream of chocolate and peanut butter. Wait, what? Not even close to seasonal, you might think. Easter brings those egg-shaped Reese’s peanut butter treats, creamy milk chocolate covering a salty sweet peanut butter filling, and I swoon. Yes, they are available year round as little patties with ridges, and at Halloween as pumpkins, but the Easter ones have a very thin coat of chocolate and lots of slightly crunchy peanut butter filling. I’ve eaten more than my share lately, so today’s cake is all about the chocolate, with a little peanut thrown in for pleasure. Yep, this is a chocolate lover’s cake for those who also like peanut butter.

chocolate peanut layer cake

Is this a ” healthy” dessert? Not on your life. My motto regarding dessert is this: better to have a little bit of the real thing than a lot of lower calorie stuff that will leave you less than satisfied. There, I said it. Or wrote it. That’s my philosophy and I’m sticking with those words.

chocolate peanut layer cake

Is this an easy dessert? Relatively speaking, yes. All three components may be made ahead at different times and assembled when you have a bigger chunk of time. All purpose wheat flour would work just as well as the gluten free favorite in my pantry. The cake is a great keeper in the fridge for up to one week—simply let the servings sit at room temperature until they are soft and creamy. I’m certain freezing is also an option, but my tasters and I could not wait for that experiment. To keep the outside pretty, your freezer needs to be large enough to accommodate the cake dome, but if you make this tasty cake and decide on freezing leftover  pieces, wrap in plastic and rejoice in your ability to delay gratification. You have more discipline than the author of this post.

chocolate peanut layer cake

Chocolate Peanut Layer Cake

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes one three layer eight inch cake

ingredients

chocolate layer cake

1 ¾ cup 1-for-1 gluten free flour (my current favorite is Bob’s Red Mill) – all purpose wheat flour works just as well
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I use Hershey’s) – plus extra for coating cake pans
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter, melted gently and cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
1 cup boiling water

cake directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 3 eight inch cake pans with cooking spray, line with parchment, spray again and coat interior lightly with cocoa powder.
  3. In large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  4. In another mixing bowl whisk together butter, eggs, vanilla and milk; mixture will appear curdled.
  5. Whisk together dry and wet ingredients, then whisk in boiling water.
  6. Batter will be very thin; to fill pans evenly, use a large ladle; bake until tops spring back easily and cake begins to pull away from the sides, about 20 minutes.
  7. Let cool in pans about 10 minutes, then flip out onto waxed paper; you will be frosting the bottoms of each layer, as tops will be sticky.

peanut butter mousse

4 ounces (half a brick) of full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter ( I like Jif or Skippy natural)
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 or more cups powdered sugar
whole milk, about 2 tablespoons

mousse directions

  1. In large mixing bowl, use electric mixer to cream together cream cheese, salt, vanilla and peanut butter; mixture will appear dry and shaggy.
  2. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and blend well, then add 1 tablespoon milk.
  3. Add another cup powdered sugar, then ½ tablespoon milk; add more milk a few drops at a time if needed until mousse is creamy, but it must be firm enough to set between the cake layers.

sour cream chocolate frosting

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I like Hershey’s)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup full fat sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped, for assembly

frosting directions

  1. Melt butter and unsweetened chocolate over low heat in small saucepan, stirring frequently.
  2. Whisk in cocoa and add mixture to large mixing bowl.
  3. With electric mixer on low, add one cup powdered sugar, followed by vanilla and ⅓ cup sour cream.
  4. Add another cup sugar, then another ⅓ cup sour cream, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
  5. Add remainder of sugar, then rest of sour cream and mix well.

cake assembly

  1. Place one cake layer (bottom side up) on flat surface of cake server, cover with half the peanut butter mousse, then add the second cake layer, cover with remaining mousse and top with third cake layer.
  2.  With thin spatula (an offset spatula is best) apply frosting starting with the top, then the sides, and finally use spatula to create decorate spikes on the top layer.
  3. Using your hands, attach the chopped peanuts to the cake sides, a little at a time, and when peanuts fall onto the work surface,  you may scoop them up for the next application.
  4. Cake may be enjoyed immediately, or stored in the refrigerator up to one week; allow cake to sit at room temperature at least ½ hour to soften before serving.