Thursday, January 29, 2009

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes with Swing Dance on the Brain

We have friends coming to visit for Superbowl Sunday, so, I'm trying to come up with a fun menu that allows for all that grazing time we love--without the heavy calorie overload. We're having chili and veggies, chips and salsa, guacamole and yummy cheeses/crackers, a plate of olives and pickles, peppers and more cheese. For dessert, I thought I'd make a delicious individual lava cake recipe. The batter can be made the night before and chilled, ready to pop into the oven just before everyone is ready for dessert. The middles are hot and melty, the edges cakey and moist. Top them with a little espresso cream and you're good to go!
Have a great weekend!
savor. Linger. Enjoy!
Thick and Hearty Simple Chili
Shipwreck Galley has a fantastic line of spirited salsas made in Maine. Their Cherry & Brandy Salsa is delicious on its own, and it adds a wonderful layer of flavor to this chili. Cook this hearty dish ahead if you’ve got time—it’s even better the next day. This recipe is easy to double if you are cooking for a crowd. You can also prepare this dish in a slow cooker and let it bubble all day.
Serves 4, with leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch
1 lb lean ground beef, chicken, or turkey
2 c chopped onion
3 T minced garlic
1 T beef bouillon paste or powder
1 T oregano
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t cayenne
1 t salt
1 T sugar
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 c cooked kidney beans, drained
1 c cooked black beans, drained
1 4-oz can tomato paste
1 c puréed tomatoes, canned or fresh
1 c Shipwreck Galley Cherry & Brandy Salsa or your favorite fruit salsa
2 c refried beans
1 c corn
1 c cooked chick peas
shredded cheese
1 c Shipwreck Galley Cherry & Brandy Salsa
sour cream
avocado slices
In a large, heavy bottomed pan, brown the ground meat over medium heat. Remove excess fat, if necessary. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent.
Add the bouillon, oregano, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt, sugar, and black pepper, and mix well. Add the kidney beans, black beans, tomato paste, tomatoes, salsa, and refried beans. Heat and stir well until the refried beans are completely incorporated into the chili. Add the corn and chick peas. Turn the heat to low and cover, stirring often, until the chili has a creamy, thick consistency. Let the chili simmer 30 minutes or up to 2 hours for the flavors to meld. Be sure to scrape the bottom as you stir so there will not be any burned bits in the chili.
Serve in bowls with shredded cheese, additional salsa, sour cream, and avocado slices on top.

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes with Espresso Cream
Enjoy these liquid centered cakes right out of the oven. The melted chocolate middles make them all the more decadent.
Makes 8 cakes
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
16 Tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chilled whipping cream
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons espresso powder
In a medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and baking powder. Place butter in large bowl. Add sugars and whisk until completely combined. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients all at once. Grease 8 one cup ovenproof mugs or ramekins. Divide batter among the eight mugs placing about 1/2 cup in each one. Place 2 Tablespoons of the chocolate chips on each one. Gently press chips into the center of the batter. Cover and refrigerate mugs at least 1 hour or overnight.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Remove mugs from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Bake uncovered until cakes are puffed and crusty and tester inserted into center comes out with thick batter attached, about 25 minutes. Cool while you whip the cream- about 5 minutes.
Make the cream: In a medium bowl, combine the cream, powdered sugar and espresso powder. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Chill up to 1 hour.
Top the hot cakes with espresso whipped cream and serve.

If you need to work off the cake try swing dancing. It's a blast!! Here is one great example: Kevin StLaurent and Sarah Spence Adams dancing at the North Deering Grange in Portland, Maine. A great workshop day filled with fun and dancing!

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