Food by the Howells for the Howells...

Food by the Howells for the Howells...and anybody remotely related to a Howell, or who may have met a Howell at one point in their life, or...yeah, pretty-much anybody.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Creamy Peach Delight

I know the calendar says it's fall, but it's been in the 80s here in Denver. And the peaches are at their peak! So it's time for one more summer dessert. We bought a peach tree in the spring and planted it in our backyard. I was happy that we actually got some peaches off of it, and that they ripened before the first frost here in Denver. Regrettably, the peaches were small and few, so I needed to find a new recipe to try since there weren't enough peaches for my favorite peach dessert. I found a recipe on the internet and it was a big hit with our dinner guests. I have altered it slightly so the crust is not so thick (I felt that it overshadowed the peaches, which should be the star). So stock up on some ripe peaches and treat yourself to a last taste of summer!

Creamy Peach Delight
For the crust:
12 whole graham crackers, crushed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar

For the filling:
4 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup milk
1 pint heavy cream
1/3 cup white sugar
6 large, fresh peaches; peeled, pitted, and sliced.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. Mix well and press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, reserving 1/4 cup for topping.

Heat the marshmallows and milk in a pan on the stove over low heat until marshmallows are completely  melted. Remove and cool.

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add 1/3 cup sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Mix with the cooled marshmallows. Spread 1/2 of mixture over graham cracker crust. Layer the sliced peaches on top, then cover with the rest of the marshmallow/cream mixture. Sprinkle reserved crust over the top and refrigerate until time to serve.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Heaven

The real name of this confection is "Buckeye Cake." That sounds unappetizing to me. So I changed it. A lady who spoke at church today said she thought when she went to Heaven she would just be relaxing, enjoying the scenery and eating chocolate. If that is case, I really hope they have this in Heaven. It is so stinkin' delicious. Cut very small pieces, because this cake is super rich. A little goes a long way. Which is good (or bad, depending on how many people you are sharing this with).

Cake ingredients:
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups all purpose flour
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (I just used regular salted butter)
3 oz. baking chocolate, melted (or use 9 Tbps. chocolate baking powder and 3 Tbsp. oil)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

Peanut Butter layer:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 oz. package)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch cake pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; grease. (I don't use parchment paper, but I do grease the pan really well, because you have to get the cake out of the pan).

For cake: Combine eggs and sugar in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients until smooth. Pour into pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Run knife around edge of cake; cool for an additional 10 minutes. Invert cake onto serving platter. Remove pan and parchment; cool completely.

For peanut butter layer: Beat peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract in medium mixer bowl until combined. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Spread mixture on cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For ganache: Heat cream in small saucepan to boiling; remove from heat. Add semi-sweet morsels; let stand 5 minutes. Stir; refrigerate for 30 minutes or until mixture is spreadable. Spread chocolate on top and sides of cake. (I just pour it on top and let it run down the sides).

Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pea Pod Chow Yuk

Don't let the name fool you. Nothing about this is yucky. This is a wonderful Chinese dish with crunchy pea pods, savory pork, and a salty-sweet sauce. It goes perfectly over rice and is great the next day for leftovers. This is guest-worthy food. I usually half the recipe because we don't have so many people to feed at our house.

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 pork chops
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 lb. snow peas
1/4 tsp. ginger
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Fry pork in oil. Add 1 1/4 cup water, soy sauce and sugar. Add pea pods and ginger. (Be sure to remove the tough fiber along the top edge of the snow peas first). Cook quickly over high heat until pea pods are half-cooked (about 5 minutes). Mix cornstarch and 1/4 cup water, then add. Cook for 2 more minutes until thickened.