roasted red peppers

Previously, I cooked with pre-jarred roasted red peppers for any recipe that called for them…that is until I realized how easy they are to make!!! I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives a few months back and liked the film so much I purchased Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year. The introduction of the book has a plethora of tips and tricks when it comes to using fresh ingredients (and making them yourself). The preferred way to roast peppers is on a gas range, but if you’re like me and don’t have a gas stove, the below method works very well. :) Enjoy!

roasted red peppers

roasted red peppers

 Ingredients:

roasted red pepper ingredients

roasted red pepper ingredients

 

 

 

 

Red Peppers

 

 

 

 


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse peppers well and place them in a cast iron skillet. Once the oven is preheated, roast the peppers in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes (time fluctuates depending upon the number of peppers being roasted).

roasted red peppers - prepping the peppers

roasted red peppers – prepping the peppers

Once the peppers have a nice char to them and their skin begins to shrivel, remove the skillet from the oven and place the peppers in a sealed plastic bag, or container with a cover, where the peppers can sweat.

roasted red peppers - cooling the peppers

roasted red peppers – cooling the peppers

Once cooled, remove peppers from bag, peel the skin off and remove their stems. At this point the seeds can also be removed, however I leave the seeds in mine.

roasted red peppers - peeling the peppers

roasted red peppers – peeling the peppers

Transfer peeled peppers to a bowl covered with plastic wrap, a container with a cover, or a jar with lid until ready to use.

roasted red peppers - peeled and ready to use

roasted red peppers – peeled and ready to use

 

baileys dark chocolate lava cake with baileys ganache

While living in Orlando, Florida, my husband and I enjoyed visiting the Epcot Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World whenever the opportunity presented itself. With my love for chocolate and Bailey’s Irish Cream on the rocks being my choice alcoholic beverage, its no wonder my favorite sampling offered during the Festival is the Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey’s Ganache from Ireland. Each year we visited the Festival I would say how much I’d like to purchase their cook book to see what yummy samplings I could re-create at home…and finally, In 2010 I broke down and purchased the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Cook Book as they were “Celebrating 15 Years of Delicious Discoveries”. You can imagine I was beyond thrilled to notice the Lava Cake recipe was included!! I halved the original lava cake recipe from the cook book, and opted for bittersweet (dark) chocolate in-lieu of semisweet chocolate; I also added Baileys to the lava cake for additional adult flavor. Additionally, I replaced the milk chocolate with bittersweet chocolate in the ganache and omitted the heavy cream, using extra Baileys of course!! :) Enjoy!

baileys dark chocolate lava cake

baileys dark chocolate lava cake

 

baileys dark chocolate lava cake ingredients

baileys dark chocolate lava cake ingredients

Ingredients (Lava Cake):
6 oz Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Baking Chips
1 Stick Butter
2 1/2 Egg Yolks
2 Whole Eggs
1/4 Cup + 2 TBSP Sugar
2 1/2 TBSP + 1/2 tsp White Flour
6 oz Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur

Ingredients (Ganache):
2 oz Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Baking Chips
2 oz Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur

 
 

Instructions (Cake):

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a double broiler (or saucepan and metal bowl as pictured) set over simmering water, melt butter and cacao chips stirring until smooth.

baileys dark chocolate lava cake - melting the chocolate and butter

baileys dark chocolate lava cake – melting the chocolate and butter

Let chocolate mixture cool 10 minutes.

baileys dark chocolate lava cake - melted chocolate and butter cooling

baileys dark chocolate lava cake – melted chocolate and butter cooling

Using an electronic hand mixer, beat egg yolks and whole eggs in a medium bowl.

baileys dark chocolate lava cake - beating the eggs

baileys dark chocolate lava cake – beating the eggs

Add sugar to well beaten eggs and mix until thick and light, about 2 minutes.

baileys dark chocolate lava cake - beating the eggs and sugar

baileys dark chocolate lava cake – beating the eggs and sugar

Fold chocolate mixture into egg mixture.

baileys dark chocolate lava cake - folding the chocolate into the egg mixture

baileys dark chocolate lava cake – folding the chocolate into the egg mixture

Sift flour, then fold it into the batter, mixing until smooth.

baileys dark chocolate lava cake - folding the flour into the chocolate mixture

baileys dark chocolate lava cake – folding the flour into the chocolate mixture

Add Baileys to batter and stir just until combined.

baileys dark chocolate lava cake - adding the baileys

baileys dark chocolate lava cake – adding the baileys

Lightly spray a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray and distribute batter evenly among 4 of the muffin cups. (If you have ramekins you can certainly use those; a regular-sized muffin tin will also work)

baileys dark chocolate lava cake - baking the cakes

baileys dark chocolate lava cake – baking the cakes

Bake until sides of cake are set and middle is still soft, about 25 – 30 minutes. ** NOTE: For a runnier consistency, bake cake 25 minutes (maybe less depending upon your oven); for a more solid but gooey center, bake 30 minutes. ** (If using a regular-sized muffin tin, the baking time will be about 15 minutes total)

While the cakes are baking, prepare the ganache.

Instructions (Ganache):

Using a double broiler (or saucepan and metal bowl as pictured) set over simmering water, melt cacao chips with Baileys, stirring until smooth.

baileys dark chocolate lava cake - making the baileys ganache

baileys dark chocolate lava cake – making the baileys ganache

Remove cakes from oven and let cool 1 – 2 minutes.

Drizzle individual cakes with warm ganache and serve immediately

Yields 4 Servings

Weight Watchers: 1 Lava Cake topped with 1/4 of the prepared Ganache = 21 points plus (This recipe has a high points plus value, but is too irresistible not to indulge in every once in a while!!!)

falafel

My twin told me numerous times that I’d love the “deep-fried goodness” that is falafel, however his description made me think they were fried hummus balls and I can only eat so much hummus before the consistency becomes too much to stomach.

While researching eateries to try during a trip to NYC, I came across this recipe for Falafel. Once I saw the actual ingredients for falafel I knew my twin was right and I’d love them too. Although falafel is also made from chickpeas, to my surprise, it is not at all like humus! I took the recipe mentioned above and halved it as it made way too may fritters for one meal; I also adjusted the amount of spices to fit my mine and my husband’s tastes; feel free to alter the spice combination to make the falafel your own. :) Enjoy!

falafel

falafel

Ingredients:

falafel ingredients

falafel ingredients

6 oz (3/4 cup) Dried Garbanzo Beans (aka Chickpeas)
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 Red Onion, divided
2/3 Cup Fresh Parsley, divided
1/2 tsp Coriander, divided
3/4 tsp Cumin, divided
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper, divided
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt, divided
1/4 tsp Baking Soda, divided
2 tsp Lemon Juice, divided
1 Liter Grapeseed Oil (for frying)
 
 
Instructions:

Place dried garbanzo beans in a large bowl. Cover with 3 to 4 inches of water and let soak for 24 hours.

falafel - soaking the garbanzo beans

falafel – soaking the garbanzo beans

After 24 hours have passed, strain the garbanzo beans, shaking off any excess water.

falafel - straining the garbanzo beans

falafel – straining the garbanzo beans

Cut red onion in half and in half again; chop parsley and set ingredients aside.

falafel - cutting the onion and parsley

falafel – cutting the onion and parsley

Place 1/2 of the garbanzo beans in the bowl of a food processor along with 1/2 of each of the remaining ingredients (red onion, parsley, garlic, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, baking soda and lemon juice). Be sure to rinse the parsley before adding it to the food processor. I also cut the onion in half once again so it fits in the food processor better. Pulse the food processor until the garbanzo beans are minced, but not pureed. Transfer falafel batter to a bowl.

falafel - processing the batter

falafel – processing the batter

Repeat the above steps with the remaining 1/2 garbanzo beans and 1/2 of each of the remaining ingredients (red onion, parsley, garlic, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, baking soda and lemon juice). Combine first and second batches of falafel batter in the same bowl, stirring to blend well. (NOTE: If your food processor is large enough you can make the batter in one batch).

falafel - processing the remaining batter

falafel – processing the remaining batter

Heat oil to 350 degrees.

falafel - heating the oil

falafel – heating the oil

Using a cookie scoop, portion batter into ping-pong sized balls, rolling each ball with your hands to pack the batter together. Place well packed balls in basket of deep-fryer and fry about 3 minutes, or until GBD (golden brown and delicious).

falafel - shaping into balls and frying

falafel – shaping into balls and frying

Remove fried fritters from deep fryer and cool in a bowl lined with paper towels. Form remaining batter into balls and fry, adding each batch of cooked fritters to the bowl lined with paper towels.

falafel - fried

falafel – fried

Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.

falafel - with all the fixins

falafel – with all the fixins

Yields 15 fritters

Weight Watchers: 1 fritter = 2 points plus*; 3 fritters = 5 points plus*; 6 fritters = 9 points plus* (*toppings and pita not included in points plus values)