Some people are chocolate fiends. I am not one of those people. However, I do like chocolate. I am of the variety that likes chocolate with something: berries, vanilla ice cream, that sort of thing. I especially like it when it is warm and there is vanilla ice cream on top and it melts with the warmth and congeals (I know, great visual word) to form a sort of gooey result. Mmm…so when we found this Chocolate Molten Cakes recipe I knew Chris would be game right away. He was. We’ve made it our own (using dark chocolate), and the best part is that you can make them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you want to bake them. A wonderful idea because it means you can have them warm and right from the oven each night.
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
2 tablespoons of dark chocolate cocoa powder
3/4 cup of butter
12 ounces of dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup of heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup of flour
Prepare ramekins by coating the inside of each with melted butter by swirling it around. Then sprinkle the insides with cocoa powder, completely coating the bottom and sides.
To make the batter, put dark chocolate chips, butter, and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth. When chocolate has cooled slightly, stir in eggs, sugar and flour. Pour into prepared ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (and up to a few days).
When ready to eat them, bake them at 450 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or just until the outsides and most of the top have set, but the centers are still a little runny. Let them cool for a few minutes, then flip them over onto a plate or bowl. We topped ours with vanilla ice cream and sprinkled some cinnamon on top. Yum!
You cannot put that book down, you lose precious sleep at night because you want to read one more page. A different book moves you emotionally to think differently about your life and make some needed changes. Yet another book prompts you to make small moves toward a more sustainable lifestyle.
“The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks” by Kathleen Flinn had an impact on me and the food I consume. Chris and I have found ourselves in a food rut. We make the same few meals each week, and continue to alternate them. Yes, most of the time it is what I crave and want, but what if I do not know what I crave and want because I have not given myself the option to try something new? Over the weekend we went to a Portland restaurant that we have wanted to go to for ages. It took us about two months to find a reservation that would both fit our schedules and be a normal hour to eat dinner (before 10:30 pm). We had an assortment of items all new and different, but one really inspired me: spacatelli, sausage, broccoli, provolone. It was very simple, and yet so delicious. I look up at Chris and say the book I just finished has inspired me and we need to radically change how we think about food. We can make this dish at home.
That does not mean that we do not eat well on a regular basis. I think we have a very balanced diet, what I wanted to radically change was our routine. With the changing season from summer to fall and soon to winter there are so many different options to try. New soups and stews, and warmer dishes we would not want in the summer. So many options to explore, inspire, and change our ways. Flinn’s book is inspired by a woman she met in the grocery store:
“No wonder we’ve forgotten that the most essential thing we do is to feed ourselves and the people we care about. When I saw the stuff the woman had in her basket, it struck me as antinourishment.” Page 22-23
As a country, we eat from cans, the freezer, and over-processed boxes of chemicals. It is what we know, and yet many of the processed foods are a very long list of chemicals that provide no nourishment at all. Flinn sets out to teach a group of women who do not know how to cook how to make food from scratch and replace the quick and easy processed counterparts. She shows them how to make Alfredo sauce from scratch in the same amount of time as you would the boxed version, and she proves that cooking from scratch is not only affordable but the tastier option. She also talks about how much we waste.
We buy food in bulk at stores such as Costco and Sam’s. It seems like a better value, but what we often do not realize is how much waste we create. Why buy one good head of lettuce when you can get three for less? They do not taste great, but oh well. You then do not feel bad when you throw away the other two heads. Which leads to what has been called: “Eating Down the Fridge.” The tactic? You do not buy groceries for a week and instead get creative and eat down all the food currently in your fridge. We would starve in our house because we often only have fresh fruits and vegetables in the fridge and eat them down each week, but we could still join the cause and make sure we are eating the salsa, and other condiments that often are forgotten and grow into other entities within the fridge.
Do an Internet search for: Eating Down the Fridge, read Flinn’s book, and use the changing season to jump-start your food inspiration!