Monthly Archives: February 2015

Eat My Blog Recipe: Salted Caramel Turtle Cookies

Today is Eat My Blog, L.A.’s biannual charity bake sale benefiting the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. I’ve been baking up a storm for the past few days, making some insanely delicious peppermint bark (topped with chocolate and peppermint covered pretzels, crushed peppermint cookies and minty marshmallows), as well as chocolate and edible sparkle-covered coconut macaroons. But the treat I can’t stop eating is a cookie twist on a traditional pecan and caramel turtle. Basically, it’s a homemade chocolate dough rolled into one-inch balls, covered in pecans, baked and filled with salted caramel. They’re heavenly (I mean, what isn’t heavenly when filled with salted caramel?) and they disappear fast. They’re perfect for holiday cookie swaps, sturdy enough to be packaged in individual gift bags and are basically bites of sweet ‘n salty goodness. I had to share the recipe, as well as some great step-by-step photos, so you can try your hands at these beauties. If you’re a chocolate fan, a nut fan, and a caramel fan, this cookie is for you!

Salted Caramel Turtle Cookies

Salted Caramel Turtle Cookies
Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
Makes about 30 cookies
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup high-quality cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated, plus one egg white
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped fine (alternative: buy pecan pieces)
  • 14 soft caramel candies
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Make the dough: Combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in bowl. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour. If you need to work faster, put the dough in the freezer for about 25 minutes.
Mix dry and wet ingredient separately, then combine in standing mixer.

Assemble the cookies and bake: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick (e.g. Silpat) liners. Whisk egg whites in a small bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in another small bowl. Roll dough in one-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. You may have to press the ball into the pecans to get them to firmly adhere to the dough. Reshape the balls in your hand, if necessary. Place pecans balls two inches apartment on prepared baking sheets. Using 1/2-teaspoon measure, gently make an indentation in center of each ball. Bake until set, about 12-15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.
Roll dough into one-inch round pieces

Dip each round in egg white

Roll rounds in pecans, gently pressing until they adhere to dough

Place pecan rounds two inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet

Using 1/2 teaspoon cup, gently make indentation in each round

Repeat until all pecan rounds have indentations

Bake at 350 until firm, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking

Make the caramel filling: Microwave caramel candies and cream in a bowl (I used a glass measuring cup to prevent the caramel from boiling over the sides), stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Once cookies are removed from oven, gently repress existing indentations with 1/2 teaspoon measure. Fill each indentation with 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture. Cool 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Melt caramel candies and heavy cream in bowl

Fill each indentation with 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture

Sprinkle a LIGHT pinch of sea salt — 4 to 5 granules — on caramel.

You can make these a few days in advance, just make sure to keep them in an airtight container. They’re especially great dipped in egg nog or hot chocolate while listening to Christmas carols. Just a thought…

Recipe: Healthy Coq Au Vin. No, Really!

I’m seven days into my second annual “Sober January.” As if foregoing any and all alcoholic drinks for 31 days isn’t hard enough, I’m upping the ante. Sober January, meet No Carb January. Yes, you read right. No alcohol and no carbs for 31 days. Why am I following such a “crazy” diet (as one friend lovingly described it) right after the holidays? It’s simple. A colleague putting himself through the same culinary torture put it best: “I’m doing Sober January, well, because December was BIG.” 

Eating a restricted diet can get really boring, really fast. To avoid meal monotony and keep the tasty meals flowing, I’ve scoured magazines and cookbooks for health-conscious recipes. First up: Clean Eating Magazine’s Coq Au Vin, a classic French dish typically laden with butter. Clean Eating’s version removes the calories but keeps the classic taste; each serving is only 289 calories and 3 grams of fat. Part of the modification means removing the bacon, but I promise you won’t miss it. I made this recipe for dinner last night, enjoyed leftovers for lunch today (minus the potatoes), and am watching Bryan dig into his as we speak. It’s delish!
Coq Au Vin
Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
Serves: 6
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2lb boneless, skinless chicken pieces (6 thighs and 3 breasts, halved)
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds
  • 4 cups quartered Cremini or white mushrooms
  • 12 oz. new potatoes, cut into bite size pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth 
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tbsp low sodium tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Herbes de Provence or dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add chicken, turning to coat in mixture. Mist a large heavy skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium. Add chicken and cook 4-6 minutes, turning once, until lightly browned. Transfer chicken to a plate; mist skillet with cooking spray and return to stovetop on medium heat. Add onion, carrot and mushrooms and saute, stirring frequently for four minutes. 
Add potatoes, broth, wine, tomato paste and herbes; stir to combine. Return chicken and any juices to pan in a single layer, nestling chicken into broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced and potatoes are tender. 
Using tongs and a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and vegetables to shallow dinner bowls or plates. Bring sauce to a boil; boil until sauce is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, 3-4 minutes. stir in parsley and pour sauce over chicken and vegetables. 

Bad Credit Loans, Taking Faster Loan Approval

Personal financial management may experience failure during the crisis. Proposing Bad credit loans from online lenders may relieve your burden. You can check the availability of loan offers from different providers. In this step, information guides you to pick the proper lender. Otherwise, you are risking your financial life in the future. As online lender becomes your option, you generate positive financial record.

In principal, loans for people with bad credit are intended to better the credit score. The previous insolvency may obstruct the credit proposal from any conventional banks. Possibly, this is the potential answer as you are ashamed of borrowing money from friends or relatives.

Bad Credit Loans, the Key Benefits

As you are proposing the bad credit payday cash advance loans, this option gives you the following benefits, including:

  • You are freed to submit collateral to secure the loan. Online lender only requires you to provide regular payday check.
  • There are options of payment to adjust your affordability. Weekly, biweekly or monthly are optional.
  • It takes only twenty four hours to receive the money. As you are lucky, you get the loan on the same day.

Faster approval on bad credit loan from online lender is not without costs. Still, online lender takes higher interest rate compared to offline banks. Hence, ensure your personal loan option.


Gift Ideas For The Home Bartender

Here are some great gifts to make sure your home bartender has everything they need to make perfect cocktails, from shakers to bar tools to recipes to ice molds.

1. Hammered Stainless Steel Cocktail Shaker: $24.95
This 20-ounce, hammered stainless steel cocktail shaker will up the sophistication ante of any home bar. Part of Crate & Barrel’s Savoy suite of hammered stainless cocktail essentials; dishwasher safe, food-safe and imported.
2. Hammered Stainless Steel Bar Set: $29.95
Matching hammered stainless steel 3-Piece Bar Tool Set: 3.5″x8.5″ strainer, 3.25″x7″ jigger and 2″x6.5″ bottle opener. Hammered handles dishwasher and food safe.
3. Mr. Boston: Official Bartender and Party Guide: From $4.00
Widely considered the bartender’s bible, Mr. Boston’s annual drink guide share more than 1,500 recipes, tools and techniques to take your cocktailing to another level.
4. Disc Bamboo Drink Coasters: $17.99
Interwoven discs create an imaginative design and affirm the old adage—small things do add up! Take a small step towards saving the environment and your furniture with these “disc” shaped beverage coasters. Made of bamboo, an all-natural, renewable resource, these artistic drink coasters reinvent what it means to live in a modern, sustainable household. Set of four wooden beverage coasters, each measures 4” x 4”. Comes gift boxed.

5. Perfect Sphere Ice Cube Mold: $201
This Japanese machine was specifically designed to make perfect ice spheres, snowflakes, molecules and soccer balls. Of course, if you don’t want to dish out $200 just to make perfect spheres of ice, here’s a DIY trick: fill a water balloon with water until it’s the approximate size of the sphere you want. Tie the balloon closed, leaving a little room at the top (the water will expand as it freezes). Place in the freezer until completely frozen, then cut off the water balloon and quickly rinse off the ball of ice. Put into your cocktail glass and you’re good to go!
6. Enameled Heavy Case Aluminum Lemon Squeezer: From $11.95
Whether you’re making a mojito for one or a pitcher of margaritas for a group, these squeezers are a great way to make quick work of a potentially laborious task: juicing. Best of all, the juicers are color-coded according to size of the fruit: Green is for limes; yellow is for lemons, and orange is for — you guessed it — oranges.

7. Twist Zester: $7.99
Use this special zester to add an orange twist to Cosmos, lime twists to Margaritas and lemon twists to Lemon Drops.

Son of a Gun: Got Me “Shook,” Line & Sinker

Here’s the deal. I’m not the type to make a mad dash for the newest hot spot in town, for a few reasons. First, things are shaky for at least the first few months. The kitchen needs time to refine their menu, servers need time to get their bearings, bartenders need time to refine their cocktails, and the entire restaurant operation really needs a few months to get into a groove. It’s like dating someone new; you can just jump in and expect them to be 100% flawless. You need time to let the quirks come out, get to know each other, and ultimately become a lot more comfortable 3-4 months in.
Son of a Gun Restaurant

That philosophy really separates me from the “must-get-the-first-available-reservation!!!!” blogging mentality, but I’m good with it. Not to mention it really — and I mean REALLY — paid off when my friends Joey, Mary and I went to Son of a Gun recently.

This is a restaurant that has gotten into a crazy good groove. Granted, chefs and co-owners Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook (Photo credit: Food & Wine) had some practice with Animal, their first restaurant venture dedicated to all things meat. Son of a Gun, however, trades land for the sea by giving the menu an expert fisherman’s touch. They’ve got it all covered: scallops, trout, shrimp, salmon, lobster, clams, octopus, tuna, catfish, and even the occasional river monster, alligator. Ironically, they’ve also got what’s perhaps the hands-down best fried chicken sandwich this side of the Mississippi River. Juicy, succulent and with a wonderfully spiced, crunchy crust. And with Chef Ludo and Chick-Fil-A in town, that’s saying a lot.
While I had heard mixed reviews from blogger friends who had walked Son of a Gun’s plank too early on, I truly can’t think of one critique. Maybe the menu was too expensive? Nah, we just ordered too much. Was the decor kitschy? Negative to that, too; designer Ruth De Jong’s minimalist mariner theme — complete with a whiskey barrel bar and walls lined with floatation devices — sets the perfect stage for the meal to come.
Speaking of, let’s relive the meal, shall we? My personal favorites were the linguine and claim pasta, fried chicken sandwich, Idaho trout, and ironically, the spring green salad. So light but with so much flavor…
The Menu
Lobster Roll | Celery, Lemon Aioli

Shrimp Toast Sandwich | Herbs, Sriracha Mayo

Spring Lettuces | Green Goddess, Avocado

Fried Chicken Sandwich | Spicy B&B Pickle Slaw, Rooster Aioli

Linguine & Clams | Uni Aglio-Olio, Breadcrumbs

Bay Scallops | Balsamic Soubise, Radicchio

Idaho Trout | Carrot, Potato, Caper Dill Butter

Peel & Eat Shrimp Boil | Lime Mustard Sauce

Peace & Berry Pie | Buttermilk Ice Cream

Son of a Gun
8370 West Third Street
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Reservations recommended