Category Archives: Quick

For a Dull Saturday: Broccoli-Jack-Salsa Scramble

It’s a dreary day today. Fairly warm, but damp and dark. I spent a lot of time this morning standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open, figuring out what I wanted for breakfast. Saturday and Sunday are the only days I have enough time to have a leisurely breakfast, and to come up with meals that satisfy my desire for stuffing my face with comfort food, but keeping a balance of good-for-me ingredients.

So, after the cats were fed and happy, the pot of Barry’s Irish tea steeping under the cozy on the counter, I stared into the depths of my cluttered fridge. Fried eggs and toasted multigrain baguette? Close, but no. Coddled eggs and toast? No. Cheese and tomato omelet? No. (Something about tomatoes in eggs turns me off. On the side, yes. In salsa, yes. Not in an omelet.) Breakfast burrito? No. (I really wanted that baguette, not a tortilla.) I eyed the old bunch of broccoli that I needed to eat while it was still good. (It amazes me how long broccoli lasts in the fridge. Is that genetic engineering?) I started getting an idea. Broccoli. Eggs. Pepper Jack cheese. Salsa. Yogurt. (Yogurt? Yep. Just wait.) Multigrain baguette. Mandarin oranges.

This is an easy way to throw together a breakfast (or lunch or dinner for that matter) on a dreary day that takes only a few minutes, will satisfy your comfort food craving, but not leave you feeling guilty for having indulged. It helps if you like broccoli. If you don’t. Hmmm. Find another green veggie that would work as well…I can’t think of any. But give it a go.

This is a recipe for one – obviously double, triple, or quadruple for a crowd.

Broccoli-Jack Scramble

2 eggs
Milk
Butter
Chopped broccoli, at least a cup
Pepper jack cheese – ½ cup or less
Salsa – couple tablespoons
Whole Milk plain yogurt – couple tablespoons
Multigrain baguette
Mandarin orange, or tangerine, or clementine…
Salt and pepper
Tea and jam

In a small, nonstick sauté pan, put your broccoli and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, but do not cover the broccoli. Put a lid on it and steam it on medium-low heat until bright green and still has a little bite. Do not overcook. While the broccoli is steaming, crack the eggs into a bowl, beat with a fork, adding a splash of milk to make it a little lighter and fluffier. Grate the cheese on a plate and put aside.

Turn the heat off the broccoli and push the broccoli to the sides of the pan, put 1-2 T of butter in the center of the pan, turn the heat back on LOW and let the butter melt, then redistribute the broccoli. Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli and put the lid back on for a minute or so, while you slice off a hunk of the baguette and put it in the toaster oven. Go back to the pan and start lightly turning the eggs and broccoli over gently in the pan so the eggs coat the broccoli and begin to cook/set. When they are about cooked, but not overcooked, turn the heat off, sprinkle the shredded pepper jack over the eggs/broccoli, and then drop spoonfuls of salsa over the cheese. Cover.

Warm your plate, butter the baguette and put it back in the toaster oven to keep it warm. Plate the eggs/broccoli/cheese/salsa with a spatula to keep the cheese/salsa on top. Put the toast and orange on the plate. Finish the eggs with a dollop of the whole-milk plain yogurt.

Enjoy with strong tea and your favorite fruit jam.

The idea here is to have more veggies than eggs in the scramble, so the eggs serve to hold it together. Don’t overpower it with too much cheese, but use lots of salsa and yogurt. The spicy heat of the salsa and pepper jack cheese goes great with the cool creaminess of the yogurt.

Chow for Now!

 

 

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Happy Holidays from Newzcook!

xmas16It’s Christmas Eve and I’m gearing up to finish my New Year’s cards and bake some cookies to take to my mom’s for Christmas Day tomorrow.

But as a Happy Holidays to everyone, I thought I’d share some easy, fun holiday recipes from past posts, including Christmas Bison Chili, Irish Whiskey Cake, Easy New Year’s Eve Appe-Tarts and the easy, yummy, Fudge-Filled Slice-n-Bakes, in case you’re running out of time and looking to dress up those last minute supermarket cookies-in-a-tube…

Have a Great Holiday, whatever you celebrate, and a Happy New Year!

Bison Christmas Chili was just one way my family celebrated the seaon "out of the box"

Bison Christmas Chili is a fun alternative to traditional holiday meals. You can substitute with veggies, ground turkey, tempeh, or other meatless alternatives.

Christmas Bison Chili

  • Olive oil
  • Crushed garlic
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 large sweet red bell pepper
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 1 lb. ground bison – preferably organic, or at least no hormones, no antibiotics, etc.
  • 28 oz. can vegetarian baked beans
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • red pepper flakes
  • ground sea salt
  • ground black peppercorns
  • 1 T. soy sauce

Saute’ garlic in a couple tablespoons olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven until fragrant, add chopped onion and bell peppers and cook till a bit soft. Push above to one side and add bison meat in chunks to pot. Cook meat through, but don’t overcook. No need to spoon or pour off fat, as the bison is lean and there won’t be much. Simply stir everything back together when the meat is cooked so the meat will pick up some of the flavor of the garlic, onion and pepper. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato paste and use spices to taste. Simmer for about 1/2 hour. You can add the peas late in the cooking so they retain some of their green color. For a portable/party meal, pour the chili in a crock pot and take it to your gathering. You can leave it on low and let people serve themselves. Because of the sweet peppers and baked beans the chili is sweeter, like Sloppy Joe. It’s great with tortilla chips, or crusty bread. And because it’s made with bison and with vegetarian baked beans, it’s probably lower in fat and cholesterol.

Irish Whiskey Cake

irishwhiskeycake

This recipe is modified from a recipe in “Traditional Irish Recipes,” by George L. Thompson and a recipe I saw in a newspaper, but can’t remember where. Basically, you’ll need a pound cake (I used Sara Lee), a cup or more of Irish whiskey (I used Powers), a large box of vanilla pudding (the kind you cook), jam or preserves (I used lo-cal strawberry from Aldi), and heavy whipping cream. You’ll also need a nice glass, or crystal bowl, to layer the cake in.

Cut the pound cake in slices and arrange flat on a couple plates. Sprinkle/pour Irish whiskey on both sides of slices – depending on your taste you can moisten, or really douse the cake. Let it sit for a bit while you cook the pudding. The pudding called for 3 c. milk and I substituted 1/2 c. of that with eggnog. It could have used more. Take pudding off burner and let cool. Skim the top before you build the cake. To build the cake: Spread each cake slice with generous layer of preserves, then layer bowl with cake slices and pudding, ending with pudding. Whip a cup or more of heavy whipping cream with a little sugar to sweeten it and top the cake with a thick layer of whipped cream. Using real whipping cream makes a nice thick, not to sweet topping (as opposed to canned or frozen topping). Chill in refrigerator until you serve it. Use a spatula to cut and serve. It held together like a cake – which was surprising. It was also delicious.

Easy New Year’s Eve Appe-Tarts

  • 2 tubes refrigerated crescent roll dough (8-roll size)
  • Saga blue cheese
  • 5 oz. bag Emerald Glazed pecans
  • Fresh-made whole cranberry sauce

I made fresh cranberry sauce for these. Recipe’s on the bag of fresh cranberries, but I used 1/2 c. white and 1/2 c. brown sugar. I also added a tablespoon or so of apricot preserves and some pear liqueur to add some extra flavor. These tarts are fun and simple to make right at the party if you want. If you have kids around, give them some peanut butter, jelly and chocolate chips (or whatever they like) and let them join in and make their own tarts.

Separate the crescent dough triangles. Spread with blue cheese, cranberry sauce and top with pecans. Roll up, or fold, and pinch the dough to seal the tarts. Arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake as directed until golden brown. I think it was 10-12 minutes in a 350 or 400-degree oven. Watch out! The filling is hot, so let them cool a bit while you make the cocktails. Bombay Sapphire Martinis made a great cocktail pairing.

Fudge Filled Slice-N-Bakes

Fudge Filled Slice-N-Bakes

Quik, Eezzy, Yummy

I said in the last post that I was going to try upgrading the stand-by slice-n-bake cookies and if I was successful I’d report my findings.

My Aldi slice-n-bake Holiday Cookies with the built-in candy canes were delicious and a bargain at $1.99. But when I decided to bake a second batch for Xmas Day I wanted to add a bit of a personal touch. So when I spied the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe on the back of my (Aldi’s) Baker’s Choice baking cocoa, I thought, hmmm, sugar cookies sandwiched with fudge. Kind of like, as my mother pointed out yesterday, a Berger Cookie (a Baltimore favorite – it’s a cake-like vanilla cookie slathered with a pile of hardened dark chocolate icing, www.bergercookies.com).

They were a hit, as you can see from the photo of the almost empty tin. The decorated slice-n-bakes looked great, the soft, chocolaty icing was the perfect counter point to the snap of the sugar cookies, and the icing oozing out the sides gave them that homemade appeal.

So, if you don’t have time to mess with making a bunch of from-scratch holiday cookies but want that personal touch for family gatherings and holiday parties, this is a quick and easy alternative. (Try different kinds of cookies combined with different icings.)

Use any brand slice-n-bakes you want. Here’s the recipe from the cocoa tin:

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 6 T softened butter
  • 1/2 c. baking cocoa
  • 2 2/3 c. confectioner’s sugar (I used 2 cups)
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla extract (use real vanilla extract if you can)

In a small mixing bowl, cream butter. Add cocoa and confectioner’s sugar alternately with milk. Beat to spreading consistency (I made it thick to stand up to the cookies). Blend in vanilla.

(With one tube of slice-n-bakes and this icing recipe I made 18 sandwich cookies.)

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year and…

Chow for Now!

Who feels like cooking when you’re sick and tired?

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Nothing like comfort food in bed with your best pal, when you’re feeling sick and tired.

I’ve been sick since Thanksgiving. The usual winter head and chest cold that it seems everyone is suffering with right now. Lousy time for it, with the holidays bearing down. There are gifts to buy, cards to address, meals to plan. Who has the energy? I don’t. Not after working all week. Just trying to sit upright and get through the day is hard enough. I spent most of this week having enough energy left over to open a can of soup and box of crackers for dinner and adding an orange for dessert, in hopes of getting some real food in there somewhere.

So, when this weekend rolled around I felt like I needed to get some healthy, fresh vegetables in me, but all I craved was comfort food — and I still didn’t feel like spending any time cooking.

So, I split the difference and came up with some semi-healthy comfort food that was quick to make. Yesterday, following that comfort food craving, and not knowing what to eat for breakfast, I threw together a cheesy skillet quick-bread. I had that with dinner later — steamed fresh veggies and shrimp tossed with Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheese and Old Bay. This morning I did a fresh tomato and avocado melt on a baguette. In the spirit of the recipes on this blog, they were all cheap, quick and easy:


20161217_100428Cheesy Skillet Quick-Bread

  • 1 1/2 c. Bisquick Heart Smart mix
  • 1/2 milk (plus a splash to make it looser)
  • 1/2 c. or so grated sharp New York cheddar
  • Cast iron pan
  • Olive oil
  • Optional: Old Bay seasoning

Make the biscuit recipe on the box (above), and mix in grated cheese (it could probably handle more than I added, but this was my first try, so I didn’t go crazy with the cheese). The batter should be loose enough to spread into the skillet, so you may need to add a little milk to thin it. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the skillet and start warming it on low. After the oil warms spread it around evenly with a paper towel. Put the batter in the pan and spread it to the edges. Cover the top with some more grated cheese. Cover. Keep the heat on low-medium. You don’t want to brown the bottom too much before the biscuit sets inside. Take a peek after 10-12 mins or more. If the top is set and the bottom is golden, turn off the heat. I have a toaster oven that can accommodate a pizza, so I put the whole skillet in the toaster oven (the door was open a bit from the handle). Leave it in a few mins to brown the top. You can garnish the bread with a dusting of Old Bay if you want to add a little spice. Serve warm with butter.

20161217_205903_resizedQuick Veggie/Shrimp Bowl

  • Fresh broccoli and stems cut in 1-inch pieces
  • Grape tomatoes sliced in half
  • Frozen shelled/deveined precooked shrimp
  • Olive oil
  • Pecorino Romano and/or Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper (try McCormick’s Peppercorn Medley)
  • Dried basil
  • Old Bay seasoning

You can make this with any amounts of veggies and shrimp, depending on how many you are serving. Cut broccoli into nice chunky pieces, halve the tomatoes. Use a sauté/frying pan, not a deep pot to steam in. Put a 1/2-inch to 1-inch of water in the pan. Bring it to a boil. Drop in veggies. Let them get a little crispy/soft before you drop in the frozen shrimp. Cover and steam just a few minutes until all are heated through and the broccoli is softened, not overcooked, still bright green. Drain, retaining a little of the steaming water. Put veggies and shrimp and a little of the steaming water in a bowl. Toss with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Season to taste with salt, pepper, basil, Old Bay. Toss with a handful of the cheeses until everything is coated. Garnish with a sprinkling of more cheese. Serve with the warmed Cheesy Skillet Quick-Bread.

20161218_101258-1Tomato/Avocado Melt

  • Crusty baguette
  • Tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)
  • Half an avocado
  • Sharp New York cheddar
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper

This is a sort of healthier modification on one of my favorite comfort-food deli breakfast sandwiches (Toasted bagel, cream cheese, tomato, melted cheese).

Slice and partially toast the baguette with a little butter. Top with tomato, season with salt and pepper. Top with sliced cheddar. Put back in toaster-oven to fully toast the baguette and melt the cheese. Remove from oven and top with fresh, sliced avocado. Season to taste.

I hope you get through the holidays without getting the winter crud, but if you do get short of time or energy I hope you enjoy some of these easy, quick and comforting recipes.

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and Chow for Now!

 

Cheap caviar, avocado and yogurt omelet


win_20161119_09_15_33_pro-2I love caviar. Grocery store caviar. More specifically, cheap grocery store caviar. I love the fishy saltiness hitting my tongue and the little spheres popping in my mouth. I have never eaten real, high-end caviar – that I remember – who knows if I’d like it.

I don’t eat it very often – even though I love it and at my local Giant grocery store it’s less than $10.00 a pot.

Last night I had dinner at a friend’s house and wanted to take something special to add to our appetizer/cocktail hour. We were going to have smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers on Wasa Crispbread with our martinis, and I thought caviar would be a perfect addition.

win_20161119_11_20_03_pro-2So, on the way into the city, I ran into Giant and picked up a 2 oz. jar of Romanoff Black Lumpfish Caviar for $7.49. Regularly priced at $8.49, I got a dollar discount with my discount card. Not bad for a fun, cheap treat.

We had a great dinner and my friend sent me home with what was left of the caviar. I thought I’d make scrambled eggs and caviar for breakfast. She also gave me what was left of a really tasty sourdough baguette by La Brea Bakery in L.A. (which are available at stores in Baltimore, fyi, including Giant, Eddie’s and Shoppers).

But this morning I started thinking of a better way to utilize the leftover caviar. An omelet. With fresh spinach? Broccoli? No, broccoli would be too strong a flavor and I didn’t think it would go with the caviar. Spinach didn’t excite me. I opened the fridge and spied half a fresh avocado and some yogurt. Perfect, I thought.

I had eaten half the avocado yesterday – and it was the weirdly, sweetest, creamiest avocado I had ever tasted. I thought that would go well with the sea-salty caviar. The yogurt, my favorite Dannon Plain Whole Milk Yogurt (if you’ve never tried whole-milk yogurt, do. It has a completely different flavor from nonfat or lowfat), would complement the sweet and the salty with a little tang. I suppose you could use sour cream, but try plain whole-milk yogurt in anything you would normally use sour cream in – I think you’ll like the cooler, lighter, tangier flavor. The rest was easy.

Caviar, avocado, yogurt omelet

  • 2 large fresh eggs
  • 1 T milk
  • Butter
  • ½ fresh avocado
  • Fresh plain whole-milk yogurt
  • Caviar
  • Baguette
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Serves one

I made the omelet by beating two large, fresh eggs with about a tablespoon of milk, melting about a tablespoon of butter in my small frying pan, and cooking the omelet over medium-low heat, lifting the sides all around to let the uncooked eggs run off the top and go under to cook. I don’t like browned omelets, as I think cooking too quickly and browning changes the delicate flavor and makes the eggs tougher.  In the meantime, I used a tablespoon to scoop out the avocado in one hunk, then sliced it thinly. Once the omelet was cooked through, but not browned, on half the omelet I layered a couple tablespoons of yogurt, a thin layer of caviar and the avocado slices, then folded the omelet over. (Be careful with the caviar – use it sparingly to achieve flavor without overwhelming the omelet with the fishiness.)

I served the omelet with slices of the sourdough baguette that I buttered and then toasted in the toaster oven until they were browned and the butter bubbly. As you know, I usually have breakfast with a pot of strong Irish tea (Barry’s or Bewley’s)

This was a delicious way to use the leftover caviar, and may inspire me to use caviar in more of my cooking, when I need that kind of big, intense flavor to complement a dish.

Chow for Now!

 

 

Let down, or left out? Try these post-election leftovers

Cheer up! Campaign promises already breaking

Feeling let down or left out after the election? While putting together some delicious Cauliflower Parmesan Spinach Crepes from this week’s leftovers, I found I am feeling better about things this morning.

Within 48 hours of the election, the president elect is already backing off on a number of his main campaign promises. Destroy Obamacare? Oh, let’s keep some of it. Appoint a special prosecutor to indict Hillary? Oh, I’m not thinking about that too much. Drain the D.C. swamp? Oh, I think I’ll fill my team with political insiders like Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and the head of the RNC. Kick out all undocumented immigrants? Oh, maybe just a few. How long will his supporters remain his supporters as he moves from far right to center? From rabid autocrat to a soft-centered negotiator? Maybe we’ll see them joining the anti-Trump protests as a few more promises evaporate.

As conservative NYT columnist David Brooks opined this week:

“Trump’s main problem in governing is not going to be some fascistic ideology; his main problem is going to be his own attention span, ignorance and incompetence. If he’s left to bloviate while others are left to run the country and push through infrastructure plans, maybe things won’t be disastrous…Trump’s bigotry, dishonesty and promise-breaking will have to be denounced. We can’t go morally numb. But he needs to be replaced with a program that addresses the problems that fueled his ascent.

After all, the guy will probably resign or be impeached within a year. The future is closer than you think.”

Oh, YIPPIE! So, in the spirit of turning around those feelings of being let down or left out – try these delicious crepes made from leftovers.

win_20161107_18_14_55_proI used leftover Cauliflower Parmesan that I made this week from a NYT recipe.  But you can use any kind of leftovers to fill your crepes.

This morning I made the crepes from a simple Better Homes and Gadens New Cook Book recipe in my recent blog post, First-time Crepes and Halloween Treats.

As the first crepe was about finished browning in the pan, I sprinkled a little shredded Mozzarella cheese over it and let that melt. At the same time, I was reheating my Cauliflower Parmesan and a handful or two of fresh spinach on a plate in the microwave. After sliding the crepe onto a warmed plate, I scooped a couple tablespoons of the hot Cauliflower Parmesan and the wilted spinach into the center of the crepe and rolled it up. Quickly I made another crepe and repeated with the hot fillings. For dessert, make another set of crepes and fill with your favorite flavors such as Nutella, berries, or as I did in my Halloween blog – melted Reese’s chocolate-peanut butter cups. And the crepes are also great plain, just sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.

win_20161112_09_11_42_proMmmm. Comfort food for uncomfortable times.

Chow for Now!

Thinking, Cooking, Writing and Fear

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Learning from my creative cooking process to benefit my creative writing process

If you’ve ever wondered why my blog and Twitter handle is Newzcook, it’s because I started this blog when I was an underpaid/overworked community newspaper reporter who loved journalism and cooking on the cheap. The original full blog title was Newzcook: sharp talk/cheap meals.

I think a lot when I cook, and often find metaphors and life lessons in the cooking process. I wrote a paper when I was a grad student about making chocolate Easter eggs and working out the meanings of pieces I was studying. My writing teacher called the paper original because I worked things out while talking about my process.

This morning, while trying to figure out what to make for breakfast with no eggs, bread, tortillas, cheese, or milk in the house, I realized how long I considered what I had on hand (including fresh tomatoes, leftover prosciutto, canned vegetables, scone mix, dried cranberries, and oats) and what to make from it. I look forward to Saturday and Sunday mornings, when I can have a leisurely breakfast of a loaded omelet and a freshly baked something, instead of the usual cereal or scrambled eggs on the run. So, the no-eggs put a monkey wrench in the works.

While I was leaning against the kitchen sink, deliberating over what to make with what was on hand, it occurred to me that the amount of time, energy, dedication and careful, creative thinking I was doing around my spare cupboard was leaps and bounds above and beyond the kind of time and attention I have been giving lately to my writing – to which I often proclaim I am dedicated.

Not only was I struck by the seriousness of my creative cooking process – I also realized that I had no doubt that after engaging in this serious creative process that the results would be interesting, fulfilling, satisfying and successful. In other words – I had no fear of that creative process, no doubt about my creative ability, and absolute faith that my finished product would be good, if not great. I did not second-guess my process, second-guess my ability. I had complete confidence. I was interested and excited about what I was going to come up with, as there is always the element of surprise in this sort of on-the-fly cooking.

Of course, you could argue that cooking and writing are two different processes that produce different results for different reasons and audiences. And elicit different responses.

But here’s what I came to:

I cook to satisfy and please myself. It is an enjoyable creative process that fulfills me, sensually and intellectually and makes me happy. When I finish cooking and eating a successful meal – I am not only satiated, I am proud of myself. I love the surprise of a well-conceived and well-executed meal. I take pictures of the food. I blog about the food. I am a great admirer and marketer of my cooking.

Now – read the above paragraph with the cooking words replaced with writing words:

I write to satisfy and please myself. It is an enjoyable creative process that fulfills me, sensually and intellectually and makes me happy. When I finish writing and editing a successful story – I am not only satiated, I am proud of myself. I love the surprise of a well-conceived and well-executed story. I share the story. I submit the story. I am a great admirer and marketer of my writing.

That is where I want to be. I want to approach my creative writing process with the same zeal, abandon and confidence with which I approach my food preparation process – with no fear. The next time I sit down to write, I’ll really be cooking.

For those who are curious (Kris – I know you are!), what did I come up with this morning for breakfast?

I made scones from the scone mix, but in order to feel better about eating, basically, a ball of white dough, I added a handful of oats and some of those dried cranberries. But what I did to fill the role of the lack of an omelet was so weird – I was shocked at how good it tasted:

Chop one large, farm-fresh tomato (you can’t beat Maryland farm-stand tomatoes in summer). Gently cut up an equal amount of canned yams (rinse and drain them). Tear up one slice of prosciutto. Melt about a tablespoon or two of butter in a small sauté pan. Add the tomatoes, yams and prosciutto. Let them sit a few minutes without stirring or tossing. Let the tomatoes and yams brown and caramelize a few minutes as the prosciutto releases a little fat and frizzles a little. Season with a little salt and cracked black pepper (I use low-sodium salt and McCormick Peppercorn Medley Grinder, which contains black, pink, white and green peppercorns, coriander and allspice – it is wonderfully fragrant). Toss gently – the goal is to not break up or mash the yams. Serve with the hot scones and butter and strong Irish tea (this morning it was Barry’s Gold Blend).

Now go write. It’ll be delicious.

Chow for now!

 

 

 

Chocolate Saves the (Valentine’s) Day

A surprising chocolate treat saves the day

A surprising chocolate treat saves Valentine’s Day…

So, it’s Valentine’s Day and I’m home going a little nuts, having listened to all the news stories all day about chocolate and wishing I had some brownie mix in the cupboard, or a block of dark chocolate in the fridge.

But, my cupboards are basically bare, as I’m being frugal in my recent under-employed-ness and hadn’t planned to grocery shop until tomorrow. Still, about 8:30 p.m. I head to the kitchen thinking maybe I can find a recipe for brownies that uses baking cocoa, since I have no baking chocolate. No luck, and, besides, I didn’t feel like baking at 9 o’clock at night.

So, what to do. I look in the fridge and find the answer: Pancake batter! Yes, left over from this morning! An idea begins brewing. I scoop out a couple tablespoons of batter into a small bowl, add a couple heaping tablespoons of baking chocolate, a couple heaping teaspoons of sugar and mix it up. Then, yes, I heat up a pan, throw in a little oil and make three small CHOCOLATE PANCAKES. But that’s not the end of the story…

As the pancakes are cooking, I think they won’t be intensely chocolatey enough and I get the jar of Nutella out of the cabinet. And a few more goodies out of the fridge. Now we’re talkin’. All that’s left is the assembly.

Here’s what I came up with. First, put the warm chocolate pancake on a pretty plate. Pink, or red, or something fun. Spread it with a thick layer of Nutella. Top that with a large scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream (or your favorite flavor). Then I drizzled Hershey’s syrup and topped it with a Smokey Mountain Moonshine Cherry (thanks, Rebecca!), and drizzled some of the potent moonshine cherry juice on top to finish.

Wow. The pancake was soft and wonderful and the Nutella made it moister and more intensely chocolatey. The moonshine cherry added a fun kick. Yum. And I’m happy.

So, sometimes just when you lose all hope to fulfill your food craving, take a look in the fridge and be creative. You might just save the day!

Chow for Now! And Happy Valentine’s Day!