June 2, 2014
Rocky Road Cake Truffles
June 2: National Rocky Road Day
Whenever we level off the rounded tops of our chocolate cakes or have leftovers, we never waste what we have. We just transform them into truffles! Cake truffles sound much more elegant than cake balls. Put them on a stick and they become cake pops—perfectly playful! Place them in chocolate brown paper candy cups and they become truffles—sweetly sophisticated!
For this particular post, we made them with a marshmallow center, topped them with toasted walnuts and drizzled white chocolate as a color contrast for a Rocky Road flavor. Enjoy an elegant treat and try these truffles (cake balls or cake pops) for National Rocky Road Day.
- Leftover chocolate cake
- Chocolate frosting
- Mini marshmallows
- 1 bag chocolate candy melts
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
- 1-2 squares (ounces) white chocolate, melted
In a large bowl, crumble the cake into fine crumbs. Add half a cup of frosting a little at a time until the crumbs stick together (use more or less frosting, depending on how much cake is left over). Roll and flatten the “dough” and place a mini marshmallow in the center. Make into balls no bigger than 1 ½ inches round. Freeze till firm.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Stick a skewer or lollipop stick on one end of the cake ball. Work quickly to coat it evenly in the melted chocolate. Place on a cold tray covered with waxed paper, smoothing chocolate over the hole made by the skewer or lollipop stick. Sprinkle the nuts on top before the chocolate sets. Continue dipping each cake ball into the chocolate and sprinkling nuts. Refrigerate until the chocolate shell has hardened. Drizzle white chocolate over the truffles. Refrigerate until the white chocolate drizzles have set. Place in individual paper candy cups/mini cupcake liners. Arrange on an elegant platter and serve.
- We prefer to use homemade chocolate frosting instead of the one from a can for better flavor. We use the latter if we are pressed for time in preparing Rocky Road cake truffles for a party.
- Search our blog for chocolate cake and chocolate frosting recipes to make these Rocky Road cake truffles.
June 2, 2014
Rocky Road Cake
June 2: National Rocky Road Day
On a hot, summer day, eating Rocky Road ice cream is a cool choice. But lactose intolerant Islander feels it is “safer on her system” to eat a slice of Rocky Road cake because the dairy content in it is less than in Rocky Road ice cream (although there is a little bit of cream used in the chocolate frosting). The cake is also less likely to melt when sharing it with others at summer socials.
Rocky Road cake is easy to make, and the textured topping give this decadent dessert a “wow factor”. Instead of the ice cream flavor, try Rocky Road cake to celebrate the summer season as well as observe National Rocky Road Day.
Bake the chocolate fudge sheet cake in a 9×13” pan. Cool completely. Make the chocolate frosting by melting 10 ounces of chocolate squares, stirring in a half cup of heavy whipping cream and incorporating 1 ½ cups of sliced butter pieces until smooth and well blended.
Allow the frosting to cool for a spreadable consistency (several hours at room temperature or 15-30 minutes in the refrigerator). Stir before spreading on the top and sides of the cake. Pipe decorative shell borders on the top and bottom edges of the cake (optional).
Sprinkle mini marshmallows randomly on top of the cake. Chop the walnuts roughly and toast them in a small skillet over medium high heat for about five minutes, being careful not to burn the nuts. Cool and scatter them on top of the cake, filling in the gaps between the marshmallows.
Melt chocolate candy wafers/chips. Put the melted chocolate in a piping bag with a small round tip (or fill a plastic zipper top bag and cut a small hole). Drizzle over the top of the cake. Let set. Slice the cake into 24 squares and serve.
May 25, 2014
Port Wine Chicken
May 25: National Wine Day
We previously posted recipes for Marsala Chicken and Champagne Chicken. Something similar is Port Wine Chicken. These recipes involve common cooking techniques, such as browning the chicken in butter or oil, sautéing onions and mushrooms, adding seasonings and/or herbs and pouring in some sweet wine to make a sauce or gravy.
Whereas Marsala wine is from Italy and Champagne is from France, Port is from Portugal. The fortified, sweet red wine enhances the flavor of the food in which it is cooked yet does not make the meat taste too alcoholic or acidic at all.
Instead of Marsala or Champagne, try putting Port in a braised chicken with mushrooms dish in observance of National Wine Day. Saúde!
(Adapted from Chef Ponzio)
- 4 large chicken thighs (with bone, with or without skin)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- 1 container (8 ounces) button mushrooms, quartered
- 1 ½ cups port wine
- 1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper the chicken thighs. In a large pan, brown them in the olive oil. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Drain off any oil.
Chop the onions and parsley and quarter the mushrooms. In the same pan, sauté the onions with the parsley.
Add the mushrooms and cook until brown. Put the chicken back in the skillet. Pour in the port wine. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Watch that the wine is not reduced too much and that there is still a little liquid left for some sauce. Remove the chicken to a platter and keep warm. Melt the butter into the sauce and stir until smooth. Ladle the sauce and mushrooms over the chicken. Garnish with parsley leaves. Serve with rice or pasta.
- If you like a lot of mushrooms in this dish like we do, double the amount and add half a cup more of Port.
- Check out more chicken recipes by searching our blog.
May 4, 2014
May 4: National “Star Wars” Day
Celebrate “Star Wars” Day with some geeky goodies, such as Pretzel Lightsabers. They are quick and easy to make and are popular playthings at parties with a “Star Wars” theme. Simply dip pretzel sticks/rods into colored candy melts, let set and wrap in our lightsaber labels (PDF provided in this post!). May the Force be with you on May the 4th!!!
- Candy melts (red, blue and green)
- Pretzel sticks/rods
In a tall container, such as Wilton’s dipping box, microwave candy melts according to the package directions. Or microwave candy melts and pour into tall glasses for easier dipping. Dip the pretzel sticks/rods ¾ deep into the candy melts, coating well.
Set onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate to set. Remove from the baking sheet. Print out our lightsaber labels HERE (set color printer options and resize as necessary). Cut and wrap around the non-coated end of the pretzel sticks/rods. Use transparent tape to secure the edges. Set the pretzel lightsabers on a decorative tray and serve.
- Add a little vegetable shortening to the candy melts to give it a thinner dipping consistency.
- Sprinkle matching colored sugar on the coated pretzels after dipping to give them a little “Star Wars” sparkle (optional).
- Search our blog for other “Star Wars” themed foods, such as Yoda Soda, Princess Leia’s Danish ‘Do’s, Wookieee Cookies, etc.
April 19, 2014
Garlic Chicken (Local Hawaiian Style)
April 19: National Garlic Day
Garlic chicken (local Hawaiian style) is one of the dishes that Islander and her brother look forward to eating when they visit their parents back on Oahu. They usually order the entrée from En Fuego Restaurant in Kapolei and Side Street Inn on Kapahulu Avenue, although other eateries have their own version of crispy chicken pieces tossed in a distinctive, tasty-garlicky-sweet-soy-sauce. Onolicious!
Islander learned how to make garlic chicken for her family and local friends on the mainland who were craving this flavorful dish from their Hawaii home. Garlic chicken is great to serve at get-togethers with ‘ohana as well as on National Garlic Day.
(Adapted from Foodland)
For the garlic marinade and sauce
- ½ cup garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup green onion, sliced
- 1 cup soy sauce (we used Aloha Shoyu)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Chop the garlic. Slice the green onions, reserving a few pieces for garnishing the finished dish. In a saucepan, combine the soy sauce and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and add the garlic and green onion. Add the sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until thickened. Remove from the stovetop and cool for 30 minutes.
For the crispy chicken
- Garlic marinade (ingredients above)
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ¾ cup flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- salt and pepper to taste
- oil for frying
Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Strain the cooled marinade over the chicken. Let stand for 15 minutes. Reserve about ½ cup of marinade for the finishing sauce. Discard the marinade in which the chicken was soaked. In a shallow dish, combine the flour and cornstarch. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Mix well. Dredge the chicken pieces in the mixture, making sure they are well coated.
Deep fry the chicken in batches until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Place the chicken in a bowl and toss with the remaining sauce. Dish out and garnish with green onions.
- For a stronger flavor, mince a clove of fresh garlic and mix it into the sauce before tossing it with fried chicken pieces.
- Get more garlic recipes by searching our blog.
April 15, 2014
Lilikoi Butter (Passion Fruit Curd)
April 15: St. Damien Day (Hawaii)
Hawaii has a lot of aloha/love for St. Damien of Molokai. He is honored in the 50th state twice—on April 15, his death day, and on May 10, his universal feast day. The Belgian priest was comPASSIONate towards Hawaii’s “outcasts” (those afflicted with Hansen’s disease/leprosy) in the late 19th century. His sacrifice earned him canonization on October 11, 2009.
In celebration of St. Damien’s passion and devotion to his ministry, we made passion fruit curd, also known as lilikoi butter in Hawaii. The recipe below is adapted from a cook book that Islander bought at the Damien and Marianne Heritage Center in Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii. Proceeds from the sales of this cook book and other items at the heritage center go toward the museum and preservation of the history of St. Damien and Blessed Marianne Cope.
Prepare passion fruit curd/lilikoi butter in observance of St. Damien Day. Aloha!
(Adapted from Molokai Catholic Community Cook Book)
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 ½ cup passion fruit pulp, purée or juice
- 4 eggs
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter slowly (do not brown or burn). Add the sugar and the passion fruit liquid.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add a drop of the passion fruit liquid mix to the eggs, stirring constantly, to temper them. Slowly pour the beaten eggs into the saucepan and keep stirring. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes to thicken, stirring slowly and patiently. Strain any egg residue into clean jars. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate. Serve with toast or crackers.
- Other recipes include the passion seeds from the fresh fruit to give the curd a nice crunch.
- Learn more about the religious symbolism of the passion fruit flower at the Passion Flower Shop website.
- Make Molokai-Mainland Sweet Potato Palau as another recipe on St. Damien Day today or on his feast day on May 10.
April 11, 2014
HI Cookery is 4!
We can honestly admit that it is getting harder each year for us to continue maintaining a blog. But here we are, on our 4th blog-o-versary, still with our initial intent of completing the goal of cooking our way through the calendar year, albeit at a much slower pace.
Highlander got a promotion at his job this past year but works long hours and sometimes on Saturdays, too. He still goes on many out-of-town business trips so he cannot help Islander as much with HI Cookery.
Islander faced major health issues late last summer and fall, having to drop out of school for basic web certification, and prioritize her health. It saddened her to stop some basic activities, including cooking and blogging, for a month and a half last year, to spend time at doctors’ offices for tests and treatments. She is feeling better now, although not 100%, and wants to continue posting recipes for HI Cookery whenever she is able.
Thank God she was blessed with an “apprentice” at her brother’s student ministry for which we frequently donate desserts (most of these recipes have been or will be posted on our blog). Islander is showing him how to decorate cakes, cookies and pies so he can help her make these goodies for prayer meetings and church socials. He can also use his newfound skills when he enters a Catholic novitiate (similar to seminary) in a few months and share what he has learned from us with others.
This exemplifies the spirit of HI Cookery. Through our stories and photo tutorials, we hope to enlighten others about food holidays and feast days as well as our cooking processes (please learn from our mistakes!) so they, too, can “pay it forward.”
We appreciate all those who have supported HI Cookery during these past four years. Whether eating our experiments, reading our blog, becoming a subscriber, “pinning” and “liking” our posts, being a guest chef, giving us creative cooking ideas or trying the recipes in their own kitchens, we thank everyone for sustaining us for another year.
Tapadh leat! Mahalo! Thanks!
Highlander and Islander