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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Caramel Rice Krispie Treats with Smoked Sea Salt

Recently I was asked to create desserts for the Causes for Kids fundraiser. This is a great cause that is committed to working to protect childred by preventing child abuse.

I felt the theme of the desserts needed to be fun and child-like, but with an upscale twist. Boozy Pudding Shots, Chocolate Kahlua Brownies with Whiskey Soaked Cherries and Red Velvet Cake Balls all worked perfect for whimsical childhood treats. But I couldn't shake the idea of the most classic dessert of them all- the rice krispy treat.

We've all seen rice krispy treats with other flavors of cereal in them, we made thousands of them at the restaurant. But something more 'refined' was needed for the guests attending this soiree. Using a caramel marshmallow base was pure genius (yup, patting myself on the back for this one) - the treats stayed soft for a week! Adding the smoked salt really put it over the top. It's almost like a salted caramel with crunch, but really more like a caramel-y rice krispy.

There is no reason why all of us are not involved in or giving to a charity, so do your part. It will make you feel good. There is also no reason to wait for a fancy party to make these ooey gooey Fat and Happy treats. They will also make you feel good, trust me!

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: Purchase smoked salt at a local spice store or make your own by smoking it on the grill or soaking it in liquid smoke. Search the net for exact specifications if you decide to make your own.

Smoked Salt and Caramel Rice Krispy Treats

8 tablespoon butter
6 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
 6 tablespoon cream
20 marshmallow
6 cups rice krispies
1 tablespoon smoked sea salt

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar, don't worry if it doesn't doesn't all come together at this point but do be careful not to burn it. Continue to whisk while the sugar melts. Then whisk in the cream, this should all come together at this point. Simmer for about 2 minutes to make sure the sugar is well dissolved. Add in the marshmallow, turn the heat to low and stir until they are melted and the mixture has come together.

Quickly add in the rice krispies and stir to combine. Pour into a greased pan and quickly smooth the top. Sprinkle on the smoked salt immediately. Allow the treats to cool slightly before cutting them or just dig in with a spoon while they are still hot.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Balsamic Beet Salad with Toasted Macadamia Nuts

I love beets. Love, love, love them! I can't quite remember when it happened, but what I do remember is going from dislike to love was an overnight sensation.

My relatives were beet farmers and every time we visited their amazing farm the smell of the beets drove me mad. Funny that now I can remember that earthy smell and long for it.

The question now is not whether to eat them, but how to prepare them. A beet carpaccio? A beet and chickpea salad? A chocolate beet mousse torte?

Beets take so well to a simple vinaigrette it's almost too easy. I started there, but wanted to add just a little further texture to them - using toasted macadamia nuts gave the beets a little sweetness and life. Macadamia nuts are not as hard as other nuts so the soft crunch adds to the salad rather than distracts from it. The second technique that gives this beet salad variety is mixing part of the vinaigrette with a bit of Greek Yogurt, creating a tiered salad dressing and flavor profile.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Crispy Microwave Potato and Turnip Chips

January is moving along at a clip, everyone is settling back into the routine and there is a good chance your resolution to eat lighter is already waning. You can barely even get those egg whites in your mouth anymore, much less swallow them.

For me it's all about crunchy snacks - the very things that are often the worst options. So when I find a new trick that is crunchy, simple to make and light - I'm all in!

Admittedly, the word 'microwave' in the title of this post is a complete rarity. I would even go so far to as to say you may never see it here again. But I have to admit, this technique that has been floating around the internet for the past few years actually works. And works well!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Recipe Swap: Pumpkin Maple Zabaglione over French Toast

Zabaglione - sounds fancy, doesn't it? Simply put, it's a delightfully light egg and alcohol custard. Deceivingly easy to make, the required constant whipping creates tiny bubbles that give this custard its light and airy 'foam' texture.

There are many versions of Zabaglione but traditionally it's a dessert made with Marsala and often served with fruit or spooned over a cake.

Because this is a Recipe Swap, how could I stick with a dessert version? Savory ideas from cheese to spicy pepper meandered through my mind, yet the idea of a sweet custard would not stop interfering.

A Pumpkin Liquor sent by great friends as a Strange Ingredient gave me the inspiration and base for this recipe. Imagine a Pumpkin Zabaglione with a hint of maple dripping down the side of buttery golden brown french toast. Plus Dave loves french toast and I've been forcing him to eat a lot of healthy dishes this past week, so it will be the perfect surprise breakfast.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Spinach Soup

Whether you want to admit or not, whether you want to do it or not and whether your partner will play along or not- you need 'lighter' fare after the holidays.

Now is not the time to wrinkle your nose and hide behind that bulky sweater. Eating light and healthy doesn't mean eating cardboard rice crisps but rather enjoying simple tasty fair that isn't loaded with fats and sugars.

You'll be surprised how clean a spinach soup can taste even though it is void of heavy cream or cheese. Use this as a loose recipe. Add more garlic if you like or remove the celery if that isn't your thing. Try more broth for a creamier soup or less for something chunkier that will make you chew and think you are eating more than just soup.


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