Thursday, March 15, 2012

Food Friday

I am really loving this Food Friday thing, are you? I've gotten some texts, emails, etc that say things like, "My wife made the most amazing 3-2-1 cake, you should try it sometime". I can only assume that her inspiration for the 3-2-1 cake came from last week's Food Friday  but of course, we can keep that our little secret. ;) Either way it makes me so happy that some of you are trying these things and telling me about it. So let's keep it up shall we? It makes me feel all Pioneer Woman-ish minus the million followers, the 2 cookbooks in print, and the cattle ranch, although I do have one cow so that's nearly a cattle ranch right? Right.

I've tried some new recipes this week but none that have blown our socks off. I've also served Spaghetti-O's, Taquitos, and Cookie Dough frosting for dinner one night so maybe I'm not the best source of culinary inspiration after all. Hey, it was a busy night, what can I say?!?  But that cookie dough frosting? OH. MY. GOODNESS. I'd give you the recipe but it's for one of the cupcakes I make for Suck It Up Cupcakes and those my friend, are TOP SECRET. But I'm sure if you google cookie dough frosting you'll come up with something nearly as good....maybe.

Since I'm a tease and will not give you that recipe, I AM going to give you something that is a star ingredient in several of my cupcakes, cakes, and other dessert items. It's homemade dulce de leche. Make sure you roll your tongue and sound like Catherine Zeta Jones when you say that, it's a requirement. Dulce de Leche is basically a thick caramel made out of sweetened condensed milk. You can buy it as Dulce de Leche in the Hispanic foods section of your grocery store OR you can do it the easy way. Like this:

Homemade Dulce De Leche aka Nectar of the Gods

Take one can of sweetened condensed milk, make sure it's not EVAPORATED MILK. They are easily confused except when you go to taste it, evaporated milk does NOT make good dulce de leche. Eww gross.

Do not open the can but you can remove the label if you want. If not, no big deal it'll come off later on it's own anyway.
Place the can in a crockpot.
Fill the crockpot with water.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Let it cool, then remove the can from the water bath and open.
Prepare to be amazed.

Now, I'm sure some or all of you are skeptical right now thinking this will never work without exploding and blowing up your kitchen. O ye of little faith, trust me on this, it works and I've never once had an explosion or a mishap and I've done it many, MANY times. Although, I do have to admit the first couple times I did it, I made sure the crockpot was far away from any windows or anything of importance. Go ahead and do that if it makes you feel better but you'll find you don't have to. I don't poke any holes in the can, I don't open it at all, I just take the label off and plop it in the crockpot full of water. I just did it on Wednesday as a matter of fact. And then I used it for some Better than S#@ cupcakes that are loosely based on something like this. I used the dulce de leche in place of the caramel and it is ahhhhmazing. It's thicker than storebought caramel ice cream topping so it doesn't disappear into the cake as much and tell me, who doesn't love ooey, gooey caramel oozing out of their cake when they take a bite? No one I can be friends with probably. The uses for it are endless (like this or as an ice cream topper, a fruit dip, or put it in a pie crust, chill in the fridge for a few hours then top with whipped cream or cool whip and call it a day or pie) OR just eat it with a spoon out of the can hunched over the kitchen sink, I'm not here to judge.

The next recipe I'm going to give you takes 3, count 'em, THREE, unassuming ingredients and about that many seconds and creates magic. Pure magic. I make these as an appetizer but you could make them to top steaks or burgers or other meats. I'll tell you right now, I didn't come up with this recipe OR discover it. Unless you consider "discovering it" to be eating way too much of it at a work treat day a long time ago and then demanding that the maker of the mushrooms share the recipe which she graciously did. Some of my favorite recipes have come from potlucks or treat days, this being one of them.

Magical Mushrooms otherwise known as Ranch Mushrooms
1 lb. mushrooms, rinsed, you can slice them, quarter them, or leave them whole, it's whatever you prefer but they'll probably stretch further if you slice or quarter them
1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix
1 stick butter, REAL butter, make Paula proud

Combine all 3 ingredients in a small crockpot and cook on low for a few hours. You'll know they're done when the mushrooms have cooked down and the butter has melted entirely. Give them a gentle stir and DONE. I can't even explain how good these are. They're so rich and decadent. Wow, look at me with my fancy food descriptions. But these mushrooms are deserving of fancy words like decadent because that's exactly what they are, even though they only took a whole 30 seconds of work. You might as well double the recipe and use a bigger crockpot because there will be crying and gnashing of teeth when they're gone.

Happy Friday! Have a fabulous weekend and eat well!

P.S. THIS  happens ONE WEEK FROM TODAY. We're going to the 12:01 a.m. showing and I could not be more excited. I've only been waiting all my life fourteen months for it! I may even dress up and become "one of THOSE people". Don't worry I'll tell you all about it.

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