Homemade Chocolate Syrup

My kids like an occasional chocolate milk and we sometimes have chocolate syrup on vanilla ice cream.  We usually buy the “chocolate flavored” syrup from Trader Joe’s.  I remembered an Alton Brown show about cocoa and decided to make my own syrup.

The recipe is pretty simple: water and sugar to make a simple syrup, then add cocoa powder, vanilla, corn syrup, and a pinch of salt.  Full recipe is here.  The recipe calls for “Dutch Processed” cocoa, while I only had Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder on hand.  I took a tip numberswiki.com

from the comments and added a single tablespoon of butter to the mix with the cocoa powder.

In later research, it seems like it was unnecessary.  The Cooks Illustrated website had done extensive testing and found no difference in using Dutch Processed cocoa or regular cocoa.  I’ll try it next time without the butter.

When it was cooling, it looked like this…

Chocolate Syrup

We sampled a bit and it’s very good.  I’ll let you know how it is over ice cream.  Enjoy!

Blue Fin for lunch with Dr. Steve

I met Doctor Steve at Sushi Bar Blue Fin for lunch on Friday.  I’ve been meaning to try this place, it has good comments on Yelp and Chowhound.  Doctor Steve and the Cooper…

We started with the trio of hand roll specials: scallops, spicy salmon, and salmon skin.  Very tasty, the scallops were very fresh.  The spicy salmon wasn’t ground finely like it is sometimes.  We could see the chunks more info

of salmon…

We worked through some nigiri sushi: tuna, hamachi, unagi and salmon.  All very nice.  Sam also made us a Rainbow Roll and a King Crab hand roll for dessert.

Blue Fin is in Encinitas, about a mile from my house.  In addition to fabulous sushi, they also have the distinction of having one of the best sushi websites I’ve seen, check it out here.

Dinner 8/18, Gluten Free and Collard Greens

One of my son’s friends joined us for dinner.  She tries to eat a gluten-free diet, so I decided to keep it simple and serve oven-baked chicken breasts, rice and steamed veggies.

Seasoned the boneless, skinless chicken with my spice mix (Essence of Bargabus, recipe here) and baked it at 350° until it was at an internal temperature of 165°.  Rice in the rice cooker, steamed veggies for the kids.

For Lisa and I, I made some collard greens.  Sautéed a slice of bacon, a small onion (diced) and two cloves of garlic (pressed) in a large stock pot.  After the aromatics had softened, I added the greens and cooked them until they were wilted. The greens almost filled my large stock pot, but wilted down to about 2 1/2 cups of greens.   Then I added a cup of chicken stock, covered the pan and let the greens steam on low for 20 minutes.

Meals 8/17, Stir Fry

B: breakfast tostada (fried egg on toasted corn tortilla, cheese and salsa

L: leftovers

D: Pork Stir Fry (pork tenderloin, veggies, pasta)

We had a bunch of miscellaneous fresh veggies, so a stir fry sounded good to me.  Younger son complain about having had this meal a few days ago, but he ate it.

Cooked a pound of capellini (angel hair pasta), drained it and added “the mix” (5 Tbs soy sauce, 2 Tbs each of honey, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil).  Stir, cover and let the sauce soak in.

Meanwhile, I had sliced a 3/4 lb. pork tenderloin into small strips and marinated it in 4 Tbs of oyster sauce, 1 Tbs corn starch and 1/4 tsp of ground ginger.

Stir fried the pork, set it aside.  Stir fried the veggies (onion, sugar snap peas, broccoli, green pepper, mushrooms and carrots) in the same pan.  When nearly done, I seasoned them with 2 Tbs of soy.  Served in individual bowl, pasta on the bottom, veggies, then pork.  Yum.

The Next Food Network Star, Season 6

Well, the 12 contestants were finally whittled down to 3 finalists: Aarti Sequeira, Herb Mesa, and Tom Pizzica.  I was pretty glad to see some people get axed (Alexis, Brianna, and Dzintra), but was also very happy with the three finalists.  They each had their own charm and interesting culinary point of views (points of view?).

I would watch any of them and was particularly interested in learn some Indian cuisine from Aarti and Cuban cuisine from Herb.  Ultimately, the winner was Continue reading

Meals 8/15, Chicken Fried Rice

B: Toast, fruit

L: Tuna sandwiches

D: Chicken “Fried” Rice

Had an emergency computer service call come up and we didn’t have time to shop yesterday.  We had a bunch of miscellaneous veggies, so I thawed a couple of chicken breasts and made a cooker of rice.  Marinated the chicken in oyster sauce, sesame oil, pepper, cayenne and ginger.  Diced the veggies small (sugar snap peas, green pepper, mushrooms, onion, garlic, scallions, carrots).  Sautéed the chicken and set it aside.  Sautéed the vegetables in a teaspoon each of canola and sesame oil.  When they were still a bit crisp, I threw in a handful of frozen peas and added in the cooked rice, about 2 cups.  Mixed in the chicken, seasoned everything with some salt and pepper and it was done.  I took a tip from Ming Tsai who doesn’t use soy sauce to season his fried rice.  I like this version.  Pretty tasty