Thursday, February 4, 2016

Espresso and Ice Cream Affogato

Hello, friends! I have something new to share.

People who know me know that I'm a tea drinker.  I don't like regular coffee. I tried it ages ago, but it didn't hit the spot.  Once in a while, I might drink a fu-fu coffeehouse drink made with espresso and lots of milk and flavorings.

So rewind back to last April, when I was pregnant with Natalie. I have no explanation for this, but I suddenly loved coffee. I would wake up at night dreaming of lattes. I'd fix myself an afternoon treat with the Keurig machine and doctor it with cocoa mix and lots of cream.

My husband likes espresso and we'd talked for years about getting an espresso machine. It just happened to be a really low priority since I've been a tea person and not an espresso person.  Suddenly it made sense to me to get the espresso machine for his birthday so I could also have it to satisfy my cravings. Isn't that how marriage works?

I got one of the Nespresso Lattissima+ machines. It's been really easy to use and makes a good drink for pod-lovers like me. I've been experimenting with the shots of espresso, the foamy milk, the flavored syrups, and combining them in different ways to make really good drinks. I got some of the limited edition holiday flavors and they were fantastic. Vanilla Amaretto was the best!

Then, I got the bright idea to try this Italian dessert that is simply ice cream with espresso.  I went a bit crazy. I had two shots of Caramelito espresso with hazelnut syrup over a big scoop of Cookies and Cream ice cream before bed.  You know I didn't sleep that night, but it was really, really good!

You can make affogato without an espresso machine. You will need some way to make espresso, maybe instant espresso, or brew some really strong regular coffee. Hot milk whipped a bit can stand in for the steamed milk if you don't have a fancy steamer.

By the way, the espresso is traditionally poured over the ice cream. I'm good at doing things backwards, especially when it comes to me spilling hot espresso all over the counter and making a huge mess.

Give this treat a try, although I seriously recommend having this as an afternoon treat. It's way more of a pick-up than Tiramisu.

Ingredients for one Affogato
1 or 2 shots of espresso, flavored or not, slightly cooled
1/4 cup steamed, foamy milk
1 tablespoon vanilla, hazelnut, Almond Roca, or other flavored syrup
1 generous scoop of ice cream, like vanilla, chocolate, or cookies and cream

Backwards Method
1. Place syrup in the bottom of a short glass.  Add brewed espresso.

2.  Pour the foamy milk on top of the espresso.

3. Add the scoop of ice cream.

4. Eat it with spoon to scoop up the foamy milk and ice cream, then drink the rest!

Traditional Method
1. Place syrup in the bottom of a short mug.  Add brewed espresso.

2.  Pour the foamy milk on top of the espresso.

3. Place the scoop of ice cream in a serving cup. Pour espresso over the ice cream.

4. Eat it with spoon to scoop up the foamy milk and ice cream, then drink the rest!

Thanks for stopping by!

PS. In Italian, the dessert Tiramisu literally translates to "pick-me-up." Affogato translates as "drowned" or "sunk" and is closely related to "suffocated."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tamale Pie

Hi Friends!

Today I'm sharing a recipe for a casserole that I learned about when I got my first real job out of college.  It was informally called tamale pie.

Essentially, the original recipe consisted of a can of this and can of that layered in a pan. There was corn bread mix from a box, layers of seasoned meat, cheese, salsa or Rotel, beans, and so on. (I'm skipping details on purpose. They're boring.) Then you baked it until it was hot.

Yeah, I customized my procedure and ingredients to match what we liked. I started making the mush with a little cinnamon and used regular milk instead of canned milk. I used taco seasoning on the meat and skipped the salsa/Rotel step. I added frozen corn and sliced olives. I couldn't skip the cheese since we love cheese. But it has evolved from the original can of this and a can of that.

Now hold on for one second.  Have you seen other tamale pie recipes? You know, the ones that put the corn mush on TOP?  What is that about? For me, the cornbread layer is crust, the foundation that holds all the toppings.  Dear hubby compares it to a Mexican Sope. A sope (sounds like so-pay or soapy) is like a tostada, or a flat taco, made with a baked corn mush boat instead of a tortilla.

I hope you like this. This makes enough for a good sized family with a few leftovers for lunch. It also freezes well if you want to put some away for later.

1 1/2 cups corn meal
2 1/2 cups milk ( we usually have 1% milk) or water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 packet taco seasoning ***See note at end for bulk buyers
1/4 cup water
1 can refried beans
1 cup frozen white corn kernels (or more or less if you like)
1 small can sliced olives
2 cups shredded colby-jack cheese or Mexican 4-Cheese blend
Sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, lettuce, cilantro, diced onion, chiles. jalapenos, or guacamole for toppings

 1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a 9"x13" pan with a light spray of nonstick cooking spray on the bottom.

2. Combine the corn meal, milk, and cinnamon in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 5-7 minutes.  Spread the corn mush in the bottom of the 9x13 pan.

3. Bake the mush until firm, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the hot pan from oven and let rest until step 5.

4. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef.  Drain the fat and add the taco seasoning and water. Stir and cook until the water evaporates.

5.  Spread the refried beans on top of the baked corn meal layer from step 3. You can use as much or as little as you like.

6. Spread the cooked meat on top of the refried bean layer.

7. Sprinkle the sliced olives on top of the meat.

8. Sprinkle the corn on top of the olives.

9. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over everything.

10.  Bake again, at 350F, until heated through and the cheese looks slightly toasty, about 30-40 minutes.

11. Remove from oven and let cool about 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with desired toppings.  Mexican rice is a good companion, too.

***As a note, if you buy taco seasoning in bulk like we do, in the huge shaker from Costco, use 1/4 cup taco seasoning.  That's the same as what comes in a packet.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Your Bijoux Box January 2016

Hello, my friends!  I still can't believe it's already 2016. I hope the new year is treating you all well.

I finally got my box from YBB.  Sometimes they are really slow, but I like to blame my post office. They deliver to my neighborhood late in the day and packages frequently are damaged in transit.

Well, my box arrived, undamaged. Thank goodness! First, the card for the names.

The sneak peek this month was of the pink Pavlova Statement Necklace.  This was one of the Instagram #MySparkle pieces that made it into a box.  I voted for this one, so I was pleased to see it in real life in my box!

Second, is the Anna Crystal Bracelet.  It's a deco styled bracelet with a combination of clear crystals and yellowish-topazish crystals. It's a bit chunky, but pretty.

Third are Pavé Button Earrings, simple silver rounds with clear crystals. Cute, very cute. I see a trend lately with pavé pieces. I immediately fell in love with these.

Finally, I picked the Sage Fleur Collar Necklace from the add-on sale.

That's all for today. I do have some recipes in the works so expect some food posts again in the coming week.

P.S. For the sake of transparency, I paid for this subscription myself. It was in no way "free" or provided to me for some exchange of services. I just really liked the products and wanted to share my opinion.