Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Homemade Mocha Fudge Pie Pops

Today I found out that the popsicle was invented by an eleven-year-old boy.

It was 1905. And, as the story goes, young Frank Epperson accidentally left a container of powdered soda mix out on the porch with its stir stick. It just so happened that -- on that fateful night in San Francisco -- temperatures reached record lows. So, when he awoke the next morning, he discovered that the mixture had frozen to the stir stick, creating an icy fruit-flavored treat. 

He called it the Epsicle.

Epsicle. Popsicle. It's brilliant -- whatever you want to call it.

Personally, I've always had an affection for the fudgsicle. They are my singular favorite summer frozen treat memory. And, even as an adult, I get an annual craving for their smooth fudgy frozen deliciousness.

Unfortunately, a few years back I made the mistake of looking at the ingredients on the back of the box of commercial fudgesicles? Ugh. Not cool. 

So, ever since then, I've been playing around with recipes that mimic the deliciousness of my favorite frozen treat. And this time, I think I've outdone myself a bit.

This particular rendition contains layers of frozen chocolate mocha cream along with a buttery chocolate cookie crumb “crust.” 

It's a little fancier -- and a bit more delicious -- than your traditional fudge pop, which means it's the perfect dessert for summer gatherings. But, we won’t tell if you sneak one in as a late afternoon snack.

Get the recipe: Mocha Fudge Pie Pops

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer Lifesaver: Grilled Tamale Pie

I guess we've been kind of spoiled this year. The weather in Wisconsin has been pretty temperate this summer. So, we've had very few hot muggy days.

That makes me pretty happy, as I'm simply not a fan of hot, humid weather -- which tends to render me limp, listless and headachey.

Yes -- I'm afraid I'm a wimp when it comes to the dog days of summer.

However, I'll confess that I don't believe summer has TRULY happened unless we have a few of those scorching hot days when the idea of cooking makes my stomach turn.

This week -- and into the weekend -- looks like it's going to bring some of that weather.

Fortunately, I've got a plan.

When the kitchen is too hot for cooking, adapting recipes for the grill is a life-saver. Such is the case with this delicious tamale pie, which can be prepared completely on your backyard grill.

It all starts with fresh summer vegetables like zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and fresh sweet corn which are cooked with fresh chorizo and black beans in a cast iron skillet and topped with a cornmeal crust.

But, look twice. Because this isn't the tamale pie you might be used to.

While some recipes for tamale pie call for cornbread as a topping, we opted to keep things more traditional by using a mixture of masa harina (the flour used for tortillas and tamales), butter and chicken broth.

It's easy to throw together and it creates a delicious tamale-like topping that cooks quickly and lends an authentic flavor to this great hot weather dish.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Tamale Pie


Friday, August 15, 2014

Feeding a Crowd: Cherries and Cream Slab Pie

Got a crowd to feed?
Or maybe you just LOVE pie?

Either way, slab pie is where it's at.

I read somewhere that Martha Stewart invented the concept of slab pie. I'm not sure that's true -- but she definitely made the concept popular. And for that, I'm grateful.

Baked on a half-sheet/jelly-roll pan, slab pies can serve 20 or more people and require a little more effort than making one single pie. In fact, for the effort, I'd say slab pie is the way to go every single time... though having that much pie around would definitely be bad for my waistline.

Better yet, if you're a fan of pie crust -- really good flaky pie crust -- slab pies will make you extremely happy, since the filling to crust ratio is perfectly balanced.

This particular version incorporates a traditional sour cherry filling with thin layer of creamy cheesecake. 

The buttery crust is flaky and well behaved. The filling isn't too terribly sweet -- and it's creamy enough that it doesn’t even need the addition of whipped cream or ice cream (a bonus if you're transporting it to an outdoor picnic) – though either would be a welcome addition.  

Got plans for Labor Day weekend?  Get a head start by making this pie!

Get the recipe: Cherries and Cream Slab Pie


Monday, August 4, 2014

Grilled Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon

If you read my last post, you've already heard me waxing poetic about the virtues of preserved lemons. I'm a huge fan, and I love the way their salty sour flavor perks up all kinds of dishes.

But, one of my favorite ways to use preserved lemons during the summer months is in a simple dressing made with olive oil and capers. It's salty and tangy and bright. And it's perfect for any time of the year.

It's he perfect addition to a number of dishes -- but it's really perfect stirred into a big bowl of buttery grilled cauliflower.

If you've never grilled cauliflower, you're in for a treat. Like roasting, grilling brings out all the delicious sweetness of the vegetables. But, if you grill over charcoal or hardwood, the process also also adds a smoky element that really makes an impressive flavor statement.

Add the zing from preserved lemons and capers, and you've got something really special.

This dish makes the perfect accompaniment for hearty grilled meats like lamb, pork or steak. The dressing is also delicious served atop a filet of grilled fish or chicken, or stirred into a batch of potato salad.

Grilled Cauliflower with Capers and Preserved Lemon

There are more great recipes where this one came from! We created this dish as part of our work with the Go Bold with Butter blog, where you'll find an amazing collection of delicious recipes using real butter.