Author Archives: Liz

My name is Liz and I’m a drinker, eater and traveler. I’m a food & wine blogger, writer, photographer, recipe developer, web designer, social media maven and Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW).

Happy German Chocolate Cake Day & Early Father’s Day

Written by Liz -

German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Sundaes recipe

My dad’s favorite cake has always been German chocolate cake. Early in this cake’s life, that meant using Samuel German’s baking chocolate to make a light-bodied chocolate layer cake, then adding coconut, caramel and pecan icing or glaze in between the layers and on top. You can see why he liked it so much!

When I was young, this was not my favorite cake to eat (no nuts or coconut for this girl, thank you) and it wasn’t the easiest cake to make either. My dad sometimes received a leaning tower of cake mess, other times a whole new version of the cake without layers or coconut or nuts after misreading the salt measurement — I accidentally switched the salt and sugar amounts — and dumping the entire first attempt into the creek behind our house. And for this, he should be thankful.

Today, I join my dad in loving German chocolate cake. And even though I now know how to make chocolate layer cakes (thanks to you Chris!) I really love to make these German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Sundaes instead. It’s easy and satisfying and I don’t even have to turn on my oven! The ice cream even has little bites of chocolate cake in it (and if you can’t find this summertime flavor, any chocolate ice cream with brownie chunks will do). The flavor takes me right back to countless Father’s Days and birthdays for my dad, which I can now make taste richer and creamier.

Here’s to you dad!

German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Sundaes

Ingredients:

Directions:

German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Sundaes recipe

COMBINE evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolk and butter in a large saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until thickened, as shown above.

German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Sundaes recipe

Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract, pecans and coconut. Pour into a bowl; cool to room temperature.

German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Sundaes recipe

PLACE scoop of ice cream into each of 6 bowls; drizzle with topping. Garnish with whipped cream and cherries, if desired as shown above. Serve immediately.

Related German chocolate recipes:

Rich & Creamy German Hot Chocolate recipe German Chocolate Brownies recipe
Rich & Creamy German
Hot Chocolate
German Chocolate
Brownies

10 Summer Grilling Tips + Zesty BBQ Ribs Recipe

Written by Liz -

Zesty BBQ Ribs recipe

Summer is grilling time! If you aren’t as familiar with grills and how to use them to their full, delicious advantage, you can be out in the cold this time of year. Well, we’ve got 10 grilling tips to get you heated up and in the swing of summer.

  1. Gas grills burn cleaner than charcoal grills, but give food a less smoky taste.
  2. Grilling is a great way to eat healthy (because grilled vegetables taste so good!) as long as you pick lean meats to grill.
  3. Make sure to preheat your grill 10-15 minutes before cooking, to get it to the right temperature and clean the grill.
  4. Cooking on high heat caramelizes the food on the outside, boosting flavors on the inside.
  5. Wet & dry rubs are a quick way to season meat and vegetables; marinades can be done the night before.
  6. Apply BBQ sauce after grilling or near the end of the grilling time. The sugar in the sauce can burn more quickly, charring the meat on the outside too soon.
  7. Try to turn the food as little as possible; keep the food on one side to get seared, turning it only once. If the outside is seared well and the inside isn’t done, consider lowering the heat or moving the food to the top shelf.
  8. Follow the FDA’s guidelines to safe cooking temperatures for meats.
  9. Pull food off the grill just before it’s done and let it rest for 5-10 minutes under foil; it will continue cooking and marinate in its own juices.
  10. If you want to cut fat off the meat, do it after cooking. Fat helps the meat retain juices during cooking and it will taste better.

Zesty BBQ Ribs (shown at top)

Ingredients for 8 servings:

RIBS

BBQ SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle adobo sauce

Directions:

FOR RIBS:  FIT rack inside large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Using knife, remove membranes from bone side of ribs (this step is very important for tender ribs). Pat ribs dry with paper towel; place on rack with meat side up.

COMBINE sugar, coffee granules, salt, garlic powder, coriander, pepper and cocoa in coffee or spice grinder; cover. Process until smooth. Lightly rub ribs with oil. Sprinkle with rub mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere to the ribs. Let stand at room temperature for no more than 1 hour.

PREHEAT oven to 250° F. Pour beer into bottom of roasting pan. Cover pan with foil; bake for 4 to 5 hours (this will be long enough for the meat to be very tender, but not falling off the bones). Prepare sauce during the last 30 minutes of baking.

PREHEAT grill. Grill ribs over medium flame, turning once, for 5 minutes. Brush with sauce during grilling. Let ribs rest for 10 minutes before serving.

FOR BBQ SAUCE:  HEAT oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook for about 3 minutes or until tender. Add ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and bouillon. Stir until sugar and bouillon are dissolved. Stir in mustard, chili powder and adobo sauce. Cover; cook for 30 minutes. The sauce will thicken as it simmers.

Cook’s Tip: Double or triple the spice rub and store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place. It will remain fresh for up to 1 month. Use 2 to 3 teaspoons rub per pound of meat. Rub is also great on pork chops, pork tenderloin, skinless chicken breasts and salmon fillets!

More rib recipes:

Coffee-Spice Rubbed Ribs Recipe Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe
Coffee-Spice Rubbed Ribs Grilled Sticky Ribs

Remaking a Classic 1950s Dessert: Baked Alaska Cups

Written by Liz -

Baked Alaska Cups recipe

If you’re like me, you have nostalgic taste buds and you remember Baked Alaska being a fancy dessert your mom only made for special dinner parties. It went very well with an Old Fashioned cocktail, Beef Wellington and brightly colored polyester pantsuits. She probably learned how to make this dessert from her mom, who impressed her 1950s dinner guests even more than her daughter did.

This dessert is a version of ice cream cake that’s finished by flash-baking it in a very hot oven to brown the outside, keeping the inside frozen. It originated in Switzerland & France, then migrated to America with several modifications, like replacing the outer pastry crust with whipped egg-whites with sugar, otherwise known as meringue. The dessert picked up its current name by a pastry chef in New York, who made it famous during the time the U.S. acquired the Alaska territory.

Our Baked Alaska Cups recipe uses brownies for the cake portion, strawberry ice cream, then classic meringue in individual serving cups — canning jars work very well for this! And it’s easier than you think. You can make them ahead of time, then store the cups in the freezer until dessert time. Just pop them in a 500-degree oven for 2 minutes and your guests can enjoy their own retro-chic treat. The combination of frozen ice cream and brownie with hot meringue is sublime.

Baked Alaska Cups

Ingredients for 6 servings:

Directions:

PLACE six 8-ounce custard cups on baking sheet; set aside.

SPRAY 11 x 7-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; line pan with foil, allowing foil to hang over edges of pan. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Baked Alaska Cups recipe

PREPARE brownie mix (or your favorite brownie recipe) according to package directions; spread in prepared pan. Bake according to package directions. Cool completely in pan; lift brownie from pan using foil overhang. Cut into six rounds with a 3-inch diameter cookie or biscuit cutter. (If you’re using canning jars, you can use the jar to cut the brownies to correct size: turn jar upside down, press into brownies, turn back over and press brownie down with spoon, as shown above).

Baked Alaska Cups recipe

PLACE each brownie round in the bottom of the custard cups. Top with ½ cup of slightly softened ice cream and smooth to sides of cup, as shown above. Place on baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

Baked Alaska Cups recipe

BEAT egg whites in an electric mixer with whisk attachment on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar; continue to beat until soft peaks form, as shown above. Slowly add sugar and vanilla; continue beating until glossy peaks form.

Baked Alaska Cups recipe

REMOVE cups from freezer. Spoon the meringue evenly over the top of each cup (roughly ½-3/4 cup each), covering the top completely and swirling the meringue into a high dome, as shown above.

PREHEAT oven to 500° F.

Baked Alaska Cups recipe

BAKE for 2 minutes or until meringue is browned, as shown above. Serve immediately.

More ice cream pie recipes:

Caramel Coconut Cookie Ice Cream Pie recipe Caramel Macchiato Ice Cream Pie recipe
Caramel Coconut Cookie
Ice Cream Pie
Caramel Macchiato
Ice Cream Pie

Quick & Easy Dinners: Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas

Written by Liz -

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas mean different things to different people. To some, they mean spicy chicken or pork, topped with red chile sauce. To others, they’re tangy green chile sauce with cheese. Still others add sour cream or cream cheese, potatoes, peanuts or almonds. And to purists, enchiladas mean simple tortillas heated on a stove-top one-by-one, dipped in chile sauce, then folded once and topped with cheese and onion.

This Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe means quick, easy and scrumptious. I made them with my new boyfriend and my dad — they’ve cumulatively eaten a lot of enchiladas — and it was agreed these enchiladas were delicious (better the next day and even more so with a fried egg on top for breakfast).  And don’t forget flexible! This recipe features chicken, cheddar cheese, tomato salsa and cream cheese, but make a few changes and you can please even your pickiest friends and family members. Just use any variety of salsa or enchilada sauce you like (I used tomato-raspberry-chipotle salsa; the sweet/spicy combination was addictive!) and substitute different cheeses like smoked Gouda, sharp white cheddar or queso fresco. You can also use Greek yogurt or sour cream in place of cream cheese.

Find out what enchiladas mean to you.

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast meat
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups (12-ounce bottle) chunky salsa, divided
  • 1/2 of an 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 8 (7- or 8-inch) soft taco-size fat free or regular flour tortillas

Directions:

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Spray large, nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Add onion; cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender.

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe

Add chicken, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup salsa and cream cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheeses are melted as shown above.

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe

SPOON a scant 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place in 13 x 9-inch (3-quart rectangular) baking dish as shown above.

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe

Drizzle with remaining salsa. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese (as shown with queso fresco above); cover. Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through and cheese on top is melted.

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe

I served mine with fresh cilantro (shown above), a dry rosé wine, and a green salad. Salud!

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe

More enchilada recipes:

Chicken Enchiladas in Red Sauce  recipe Slow Cooker Enchiladas recipe
Chicken Enchiladas in Red Sauce Slow Cooker Enchiladas

Caramel Coconut Cookie Ice Cream Pie & a Slew of Summer Pie Recipes

Written by Liz -

Caramel Coconut Cookie Ice Cream Pie recipe

When summer rolls around, there is one dessert I really crave — ice cream. I love to make ice cream in all it forms: ice milk, frozen yogurt, sorbet, granita, etc. And when I need a dessert to please a group, ice cream pie is one of the easiest ways to turn this iconic summer treat into a dessert for all.

This ice cream pie recipe features a homemade crust and homemade whipped topping, sandwiching one of Dreyer’s & Edy’s new summer Slow Churned  flavors: Caramel Coconut Cookie Ice Cream. And homemade pie crust is actually pretty easy. To make the crust, just blend together graham crackers, coconut flakes, coconut oil and butter (see full recipe below).

And just think of the twists you can make on this pie crust recipe! Here are some ideas:

  • Instead of chocolate graham crackers, use honey or cinnamon graham crackers or any of your favorite crunchy cookies (ginger snaps, thin mints, milanos, etc.)
  • Instead of coconut flakes, use powdered caramel creamer or coffee mix, finely chopped ginger or any citrus zest.

And in the topping, I can think of many fun ingredients:

  • Add softened cream cheese to give it a frosting taste
  • Add a dash of any kind of flavored schnapps, maple syrup or almond flavoring
  • Use chocolate sauce or fresh fruit instead of caramel.

The possibilities are limitless when you think of all the ice cream flavors available! And don’t forget you can make just about any ice cream flavor you want. I’m looking forward to these additional summer flavors from Dreyer’s/Edy’s:

  • 3 Stripes You’re Out (Grand only) – vanilla ice cream with mixed berry and strawberry swirls
  • Sunny Salted Caramel Pretzel (Grand and Slow Churned) – vanilla ice cream with a salted caramel swirl and pretzel pieces
  • German Chocolate Cake Spectacular (Grand and Slow Churned) – chocolate ice cream with a caramel coconut swirl and brownie pieces
  • Take the Cake (Slow Churned only) – yellow cake-flavored light ice cream with a frosting swirl and multi-colored sprinkles

I don’t know about you, but I can think of a different ice cream pie I can make each week of summer! It’s definitely going to be a good one at my house.

Caramel Coconut Cookie Ice Cream Pie

Ingredients for 8 servings:

CRUST

  • 9 large chocolate graham cracker rectangles, broken into rough pieces
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FILLING

  • 1 container (1.5 quarts) DREYER’S or EDY’S SLOW CHURNED Limited Edition Caramel Coconut Cookie Light Ice Cream, softened

TOPPING

  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut
  • 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 325° F.

FOR CRUST:

Caramel Coconut Cookie Ice Cream Pie recipe

PLACE graham crackers, coconut and sugar in food processor or blender; cover. Honey grahams are shown above.

Caramel Coconut Cookie Ice Cream Pie recipe

Process for 30 seconds or until mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Place crumbs in medium bowl; stir in melted coconut oil and butter. Stir until crumbs are moistened. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom and up side of 9-inch glass pie plate.

BAKE for 20 to 22 minutes or until crust is set. Cool crust completely on a wire rack.

FOR FILLING:

Caramel Coconut Cookie Ice Cream Pie recipe

SPREAD softened ice cream into pie crust. Cover; freeze for 6 hours or until ice cream is completely firm, as shown above.

FOR TOPPING:

Caramel Coconut Cookie Ice Cream Pie recipe

PLACE cream and sugar in chilled medium mixing bowl. Beat just until stiff peaks form. Evenly spread whipped cream over ice cream. Sprinkle with toasted coconut; drizzle with caramel topping (above shows chocolate sauce). Cut into slices; serve immediately.

Links:

Related recipes:

Frozen Vanilla Peanut Butter Pie recipe Caramel Macchiato Ice Cream Pie recipe
Frozen Vanilla Peanut Butter Pie Caramel Macchiato Ice Cream Pie

Easy Spring Pasta Recipe: Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks & Thyme

Written by Liz -

Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks and Thyme recipe

Spring has sprung in California – as well as most of the country. To me that means spring vegetable season; asparagus, leeks, peas, artichoke, fennel and fresh herbs are bountiful in farmers markets. Much of this produce is available year-round, but spring is the best time to get the freshest spring vegetables, whether at your local market, grocery store or from your own garden!

fetpeasveg

And those fresh spring flavors really come through in this easy spring pasta recipe, Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks & Thyme. It’s a cinch to make and it’s packed with flavor and nutrients, plus spring is a great time to get hooked on the Mediterranean way of eating. Adding a bit of the pasta water instead of using sauce is a traditional way to make pasta dishes in Italy. This recipe is a sure way to eat more vegetables and wow your friends with your culinary savvy!

Wine Pairing

  • Italian wines can be hard to find, other than the super popular Pinot Grigio. If you can find a Soave wine, it’s a soft, fruity, clean wine with crisp lemon flavors and really complements this dish.
  • Grenache Blanc with its acidity and rounded flavors, or Sauvignon Blanc with its herbaceousness, would also be great wines with this pasta.

Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks & Thyme

fetpeaingred2

Ingredients for 3 servings:

Directions:

PREPARE pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup cooking water. While pasta is cooking, prepare leek mixture.

fetpeasstove

HEAT oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek; cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden. Stir in peas; cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, as shown above.

fetpeaslast

ADD reserved pasta cooking water, thyme leaves and cheese; stir in gently. Toss pasta with leek mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Links:

More spring pasta recipes:

Vegetable Tortellini Soup Recipe Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Fresh Herb Pesto recipe
Vegetable Tortellini Soup Butternut Squash Agnolotti
with Fresh Herb Pesto
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,667 other followers

%d bloggers like this: