Hot Fudge Cake

Hot Fudge Cake

Most people will agree that an ooey, gooey chocolate dessert is exactly where the money is! Growing up my mom was somewhat famous amongst friends and family for her Hot Fudge Cake, which is an ooey, gooey, warm chocolate sensation. Several of my friends would specially request that she make her Hot Fudge Cake whenever they came over! My mom, being the wonderful person that she is, usually obliged.

My mom always used a chocolate cake mix, though sometimes the ice cream was homemade and sometimes it wasn’t. The hot fudge sauce was always made from scratch to bubbling perfection! But regardless of the make up it was delicious!

The olive oil, yogurt and chocolate make this chocolate cake moist, spongy and oh so chocolatey, while the hot fudge sauce gives it an even bigger chocolate punch. These two chocolate elements, paired with the vanilla ice cream, meld together to make the perfect chocolate delight and any chocolate lovers dream!

As I’ve gotten older I’ve moved away from box mixes, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop making something all together. This is my take on my Mom’s classic. It’s oh so good and oh so sinful! After all isn’t that exactly what you’re looking for in a dessert? 😉

What You’ll Need For The Ice Cream:
1/2 a quart of half and half
1 small carton of light cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of sugar
2-4 teaspoons of vanilla (Note: More if you like it really vanilla, less if you don’t)

Note: This recipe is designed to fill this ice cream maker, but you could easily double or triple it to fill a larger model.

Mix together and pour into ice cream freezer and freeze according to your model’s directions. For harder ice cream after making it put in an air tight container and store in the freezer until completely firm.

What You’ll Need For The Chocolate Cake:
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup of unsweetened cocoa (Note: I recommend Ghirardelli or Green and Black’s)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups of plain yogurt
2 eggs
1/2 cup of light olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sift together flour through baking powder in a large bowl. Add sugar, yogurt eggs and olive oil and stir until mixed and pour into a 13 X 9 inch baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 30-35 minutes until cake sticks done.

What You’ll Need For The Hot Fudge Sauce:
2 tablespoons of butter
2 squares of baker’s chocolate (Note: Again I recommend Ghirardelli or Green and Black’s)
2/3 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of half and half or heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Over medium heat melt butter and chocolate with sugar and half and half. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes stirring to keep from sticking. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

To Assemble Hot Fudge Cake:

Cut cake into squares. For each person take a piece of cake and top with a scoop of ice cream. Top ice cream with a ladle of hot chocolate sauce and serve.

ote: If you’re a chocolate lover than you could easily make this Hot Fudge Cake with chocolate ice cream for a triple chocolate punch! You could even use chocolate yogurt in place of the plain in the cake if you were just really feeling chocolatey! ;o) This cake doesn’t really need it, but you could add whipped cream and some strawberries or cherries if you wanted. You could even go crazy and add a little chocolate whipped cream! 😉

Creamy Tomato Soup

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Earlier today when Alexis and I were at the grocery store there was a heavenly smelling tomato basil soup near the salad bar. It was one of those smells that just screamed out “Eat me! Eat me!” So when I got my salad for dinner (which I didn’t end up eating and will eat for lunch tomorrow instead) I got some of the tomato soup for lunch since we were running behind schedule. We bustled home and I couldn’t wait to try the heavenly smelling soup! Unfortunately it smelled much better than it tasted as is often the problem with store bought items.

The first bite of the soup was sickeningly sweet. I was shocked by the sugar content in this soup! Then after you got over the sugar shock you were hit by a secondary spicy heat sensation that was disturbing in that it didn’t hit your tongue in the area that normally senses heat! It was just weird! I tried to eat a little bit of it to see if I could figure out what they had done to the soup, but I just couldn’t get over the weird sweet/hot flavor combination that sort of made you feel as if you had vertigo!

So as always my brain kicked into gear and I started thinking about how easy it would be to make a simple Creamy Tomato Basil Soup and I decided to test my idea and what do you know…It worked! And it was perfect with the No Knead Bread I made yesterday! It’s simple, fast and delicious! You can have Creamy Tomato Basil Soup on the table in under an hour!

What You’ll Need:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 red onion, chopped fine
2 large button mushrooms, chopped fine
2 baby portabella mushrooms, chopped fine
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of dried basil
1 pinch of sea salt
1 pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 – 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce
1 – 6 ounce can of tomato paste
1 cup of cream

In a medium sized pot saute onion, mushrooms and garlic with basil, sea salt and black pepper until tender in a little olive oil.

Add tomato paste, tomato sauce and cream and stir until mixed.

Bring to a quick boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30-minutes to an hour and serve.

Notes and Thoughts: Tomato sauce in and of itself is sort of sweet so I’m not sure why they thought they needed to put so much sugar into the soup. I’m all for letting nature do it’s thing and there was absolutely no need to ruin the entire soup by sugaring it up.

If you wanted you could add some red pepper flakes for a kick if you like that sort of thing.

Vegetable Sushi Rolls

Cut Sushi

When we moved to Maryland I tried sushi for the first time and immediately fell in love! Since Alexis was born I haven’t had much of a chance to actually eat sushi given most sushi restaurants are not kid friendly and Jamison is an extremely picky eater, and sushi is nowhere near to any form of food he would even try, let alone eat. Several times over the years I’ve thought to myself that sushi (though everyone tries to tell you otherwise) would not be that hard to make.

Right after Alexis was born my sister even made me a little “sushi kit” complete with bamboo sushi mat, sushi vinegar and wasabi powder so I could give it a whirl. Today, 3 1/2 years later, I decided to do just that! The was only one problem…I have already packed my bamboo sushi mat (we’re planning to move to a new house sometime this year and I’m packing up things that aren’t essential to get a jump start on the whole situation!) and it never fails the minute you pack something you need it, but luckily I found an article online that suggested using a dish towel instead of a bamboo mat and it worked, though I would wager it would be a bit easier with the bamboo mat, but we’ll revisit that little hunch when the new house materializes.

So my experience with sushi today stuck with veggies as I’m doing a little experiment with no meat for the month of January. I’ll most likely add back in seafood and fish once the month is over, but for now the veggie thing is working out quite well. I really like cucumber rolls or avocado rolls or the like. Today’s incarnation has avocado, carrots and cucumber and I was extremely pleased at how well it turned out!

Over the years the reason I haven’t tried to make sushi up to this point is it’s one of those things that has an aura around it and some people who are good at making sushi like to make it seem harder than it really is. I’m here to tell you that it was EXTREMELY easy! I was shocked at how easy it was and how easily it went together!

Sushi Ingredients

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of sushi rice, cooked according to package directions and cooled to handling temperature (Makes roughly 2+ cups of cooked rice)
2 tablespoons of sushi vinegar (If you can’t find sushi vinegar you can make some yourself. (See step 2). I haven’t tried this method, but I plan to as soon as I run out of the bottle I have.)
1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks 1/4 of an English cucumber, seeded and cut into long strips
1/2 of a small avocado, cut into strips
Nori
A bowl of lukewarm tap water with a pinch of sea salt
Soy sauce
Wasabi
Sushi Ingredients

Once the rice is cooked according to package directions remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of sushi vinegar per cup of cooked rice (2 in this case) and stir until incorporated. Let cool.

Once rice is cool to the touch lay a single piece of Nori on a bamboo sushi mat or a clean dish towel. Wet your fingertips in the bowl of lukewarm water and spread sushi rice to the edge of the Nori leaving a 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch edge on the bottom:

Nori and Sushi Rice

Next line your ingredients across the bottom edge of the rice on the end with the edge:

Ready To Roll

Using your sushi mat or dish towel slowly roll the sushi placing the seam side down:

Sushi Rolls and Ingredients

Slice and serve with soy sauce and wasabi. Cut Sushi I personally like my sushi a bit chilled so I put it in the fridge, covered for about 30 minutes prior to eating. You can eat it immediately if you like. This recipe made 2 rolls with just a little rice left over.

Cut Sushi