Dark chocolate makes the very best…..broooowwwn-ies!

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The Baked Brownie

 

I somehow stumbled upon this fabulous Brooklyn bakery while cruising along online. I have several of their cookbooks. They are droolish-ish. I have made several things, all chocolate, and am very pleased with their recipes. So, chocolate you say? Well, my favorite chocolate is milk chocolate…..ummmm…semi-sweet chocolate.. errrrrrrr……white chocolate. Well, let’s say I love most chocolate but dark chocolate. Until now! The original brownie recipe calls for all dark chocolate, but I used a blend of dark and semi-sweet chocolate. I was scared of too much dark chocolate. Of all things to be afraid of…..this fear stopped me cold. What if I didn’t like these brownies after using 5 EGGS? I hate when things don’t come out right. I mentally calculate the wasted ingredients and mope. This is the first recipe that I can say, beats out any brownie mixes I’ve used. I’ve tried a lot of brownies recipes with very little success. The extra steps in this recipe are worth the time they take.

 

Let’s bake us some brownies!!!

 

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. dark unsweetened cocoa powder

6 ounces Hershey’s special dark chocolate chips

6 ounces Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tsp. instant espresso powder

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

5 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla extract

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 X 13 glass or light-colored baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder together.
  3. Put the chocolate chips, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, and then remove the hot bowl from the pan. I usually put a dishtowel underneath the hot bowl. Let the mixture come to room temperature before the next step.
  4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining 2 eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
  5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, the lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve.
  7. Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days.

 

Feel free to top these babies with some vanilla ice cream!

 

Original recipe

 

 

 

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For the love of braising and balsamic, try this!

 

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Crockpot Brown Sugar Balsamic Glaze Pork Tenderloin

Say that 5 times fast. Really. Let me start with, I do not own a crockpot. I have a silly phobia about leaving things running in my house when I am not there. I prefer to use a Dutch oven to braise my foods. It takes less time, about 3-4 hours, and I use the stovetop and not the oven. This is great for summer meals, as the house doesn’t heat up. Okay, so you have to actually stay at home, but that’s not really a problem for me. If you prefer to use a crockpot, I will post the link for the actual crockpot recipe that I have loving adapted, at the end.

For the love spice, do not skip the sage. If you don’t have ground sage on your spice shelf, run to the grocery store. RUN! This is what heaven smells like. Oh, too dramatic? Okay, it smells fantastic! Whenever I lifted the lid, heads popped up and asked what I was cooking. The original recipe called for 2 pounds of pork tenderloin. I used a 4 pound Swift premium boneless petite pork roast that is marketed for crockpots. Dear marketers, you got me! This was perfect for my hungry family of four, with a few bites left over.

So let’s start cooking!

2 tsp. ground sage

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

2 garlic cloves, crushed (or for tender tummies, garlic powder)

1 cup of water

4 pounds of boneless petite pork roast

 

Glaze/sauce:

1 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. cornstarch

½ cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup water

4 tbsp. soy sauce

 

  1. Mix together the sage, salt, pepper and garlic, and rub over the pork.
  2. Place 1 cup of water in Dutch oven, followed by the pork roast, and cook on your stove top, on a medium low heat for one hour. You want the liquids to simmer, not boil.
  3. While the pork is braising, prepare the glaze/sauce. Mix together the brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water, and soy sauce in a saucepan.
  4. Heat over medium and stir until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes.
  5. Pour half the glaze over the pork and continue to cook for a half hour. You want to keep the lid on when you braise. The liquids will evaporate and the meat will be tough if you don’t keep the lid on when braising. Pour the rest of the glaze over the pork and cook for another 1.5 hours. I turned the pork over several times to coat it with the glaze. The total cooking time should be about 3-4 hours. When you braise, you want the liquids to slowly simmer. Small bubbles, not big. Once the meat is pull-apart soft, let it rest on a plate, or a cookie sheet. I raised the heat under the Dutch oven and reduced the sauce by about one half.

Once the sauce is reduced to your likening, either cut or pull the pork apart onto a platter. Pour the glaze/sauce over the meat. It’s a wonderful site!

I served this with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans with lemon juice. I hope you enjoy this as much as my family did!

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Here is the original crockpot recipe.

Spinning the dial and finding my life

I know I usually write about food. So I will say this, if I don’t hear some good music, I am going to eat a Twinkie. Now about the music……

I am losing memories. Memories, not my memory. I have “Music Memory Attachment Syndrome”. So many memories are tied to music from my youth. In a blink of an eye, we go from “Will Johnny play with me at recess?” to “Where are my keys and where am I going again?” I don’t always remember if I am wearing socks, but as soon as those songs from the 60’s and 70’s play on the radio, I sing along, by rote, feeling the beat and living the lyrics. I flashback to my red, turned pink from the sun, Hitachi portable radio. That radio allowed me to experience different kinds of music, and fall in love. I was positive songs were written for me. How did he/she know what I was feeling at that moment, as I escaped into my happy place? I was especially good at my own version of “Name that Tune”. One or two chords into a song, I knew the title, artist and the length of said song. I was that good. I also knew the record companies. I had a lot of free time.

 

Stations played my music. Soul music to folk music. I spun that dial constantly. Are there dials anymore? Some radio stations came up at sunrise and signed off at sunset. Those were simpler times all around. Stores closed before 9pm and never opened on Sunday. I spent lazy summers at the town pool and the school fields, making gimp chains and tile ashtrays. Chalked hopscotch squares on hot pavement. I wandered to the town library in search of mystery novels and tranquility. Life was slow and easy. Kool-Aid needed sugar added. It was okay to unknowingly sing the wrong words to songs. I didn’t understand most of them anyway….”one toe over the line” was really “one toke over the line.” WHAT?

 

I learned a few things from music. I didn’t want to be left with a band of gold. I wanted the same R-E-S-P-E-C-T given Aretha. I was never going to wear an itsy bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polkadot bikini. Another Saturday night and having no money, was a bad thing. And war, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again. But not near the backstabbers. They will smile in your face. There was no mountain high enough. The spirit in the sky was the place I was going to when I died. Julie did not know if she loved Bobby. I needed someone to give just a little more time. I saw fire and rain. I learned that united you stand, divided you fall and NEVER let your back against a wall. My life was a tapestry of rich and royal hues. It was a hot time in the summertime. And sadly, I eventually figured out I would never be on Soul Train. American Bandstand was never going to happen for me, either.

 

I still search the radio for my memories. I have found stations that soothe my soul only to change formats overnight. It is pure bliss when one of these “oldie” stations plays my life story. I think back to “cruising” summer songs and laughing with friends. Gas was 50 cents a gallon. We rolled down the car windows and shared our happiness. (Yes rolling down a car window. With a handle. Get over it.) You know you got to go through hell before you get to heaven. So, I’m heading out in my red Ford Galaxie convertible because I got to keep on keepin’ on. I don’t want to be late for the sky so I am moving farther on before the deluge……

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