Lavender Chamomile Tea Cookies

lavender1Perfect with brunch or afternoon tea, these little cookies offer lovely and surprising flavors. Because they are crisp (perfect for dunking), they will keep well in a sealed storage container on your counter or in the freezer. Let’s get started! Continue reading

Vintage Post: King Crab Rolls

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Happy Holidays, Everyone!

King Crab Rolls just might be my very favorite special occasion food.  While King Crab is expensive, it is spectacularly delicious.  Alaskan King Crab is a wild caught (never farmed) product, and is sustainably harvested.  I feel much better about splurging on a pricey ingredient if I know my purchase is not harming the environment.

Everything about this recipe, from the decadent seafood to the homemade rolls toasted with real butter, shouts “Special Day!”  Whatever you happen to be celebrating, King Crab Rolls will make your mealtime grand!

picture337AIngredients (makes 4 large rolls)

1 1/2 pounds shell-on King Crab legs

1/2 pound bay scallops (optional)

1 teaspoon seafood seasoning blend

1/4 cup real mayonnaise

picture3481/4 cup finely chopped celery, including leaves

1 loaf of fresh Simple Bread

1/4 cup butter

Directions

picture337Step 1) Drop crab legs into a large pot of boiling water seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon of seafood seasoning blend.  Leave crab legs in boiling water for 3 minutes if they were fresh, or 10 minutes if they were frozen (typical).

Step 2) Drain crab legs and crack with a hand held nutcracker or clean picture338Apliers.  Extract meat using a small fork (a fondue fork works well, if you have one).  King Crab legs are spiny – hold them with a potholder to avoid hurting yourself!  Be patient with this step.  It may take 30 minutes or so to extract all of the meat.  Your effort will be worthwhile!

picture351Step 3) If using bay scallops, sauté them in a saucepan for 3 – 5 minutes until they are a milky white color.  Drain.

Step 4) Gently combine crab meat, scallops, mayonnaise, celery, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning blend.  Try not to break up the crab meat.  Refrigerate.

Step 5) Cut four generous, 2 inch thick slices from your loaf of Simple Bread.  Then, cut through the middle of each slice from the top, stopping 1 inch from the bottom crust.  Your slices should open in narrow “V” shapes, as shown above.

Step 6) Place 1/4 cup of butter on a baking pan with low sides, and melt by placing in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes.  Watch carefully, and remove pan when butter is just melted!

Step 7) Place each of your four “V” shaped bread rolls down on the melted butter, then flip over so that each of the two outsides are buttered.  Return pan to oven to toast your bread rolls for five minutes.

Step 8) Remove your toasted bread rolls, and carefully fill with equal quantities of your seafood mixture.  Serve right away, while the rolls are warm and the seafood is cold.

Enjoy your special occasion!

Continue reading

Sneaky Leprechaun Milkshake

This vintage post was popular the first time around, and Crowded Earth Kitchen has several hundred new readers (Welcome!) since last St. Patrick’s Day, so I’m sharing this again.  Enjoy!

picture833“Mom?  Can we just stop at the drive-thru and get a (green) shake?”

“No.”

“Please?”

“Still No.”

“Pleeaassee?  I’ll do laundry.”

I’ll admit, this is where the devil on my shoulder told me that I would be a fool not to cave in just this once, and so what if the child glows in the dark for the next two weeks.  The fact is, the children in my house generate approximately 817 loads of laundry every week, and the offer of complaint-free laundry labor was enticing (that they will end up helping anyway, albeit under duress, is beside the point).  Then I had an idea…

“Still no.  But if you help with laundry cheerfully, I’ll make you a (green) shake.”

“Deal.”

Here’s what I came up with.  The kids LOVED it!  Peppermint extract is strong… a little bit can make, well, just about anything taste like peppermint.  😉  Each serving (approximately 10 ounces) contains 113 calories, 4 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, and 5 grams of protein.  Each serving also packs an impressive 60% of the Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin A, and 20% of the RDA for calcium.  Compare that to the drive-thru green shake… I dare you.

picture822Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

1 cup frozen chopped spinach (Ha!  Ha ha ha!)

1 1/2 cups skim milk

1 cup “real” vanilla ice cream, without any weird ingredients (I found a supermarket brand that was made from milk, cream, sugar, egg yolk, natural vanilla extract, and nothing else)

1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (Very strong!  You may even want to try a bit less than 1 teaspoon.)

Dark chocolate shavings (Optional)  

picture823Directions

Step 1) Add spinach and about half of the skim milk to a blender.  Pulse for a few seconds to thoroughly chop spinach into tiny “peppermint” size pieces.

Step 2) Add remaining milk to blender and blend for a minute or a longer until the mixture is very creamy (almost butter-like) and increases in volume.  The photo, left, shows only spinach and milk – it really does get creamy!

Step 3) Add peppermint extract and ice cream to blender.  For best results, add ice cream in several tiny scoops rather than one large scoop.  Blend until all ingredients are combined.

Step 4) Mixture will be tasty now, but thin.  For best results, pour shake mixture into a shallow container and place in the back of your freezer for one hour.  After an hour, scoop shake mixture into serving glasses (I used half pint jelly jars).  Sprinkle with chocolate shavings, if desired.

Step 5) Try not to laugh as your loved ones unwittingly eat their spinach.  🙂

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Irish Cream Icebox Cake

cake-3I don’t recall exactly how the topic came up, but recently my mother and I got to talking about something called “Icebox Cake.” I was completely unfamiliar, but she knew exactly what this was. To me, it sounded like an interesting concept… layers of chocolate chip cookies and creamy filling, refrigerated overnight until the whole thing took on a cake-like texture. I filed the idea away for a future rainy day.

Mom did better than that, and actually created an icebox cake for us to try. It was fantastic! This cool, creamy indulgence has definitely earned a spot in the dessert rotation here at Crowded Earth Kitchen. I hope you enjoy Irish Cream Icebox Cake as much as we did!

cake-2Ingredients (Serves 12 – 16)

24 ounces of “Chips Ahoy” cookies (packages vary in size; check the weight)

3/4 cup (about 12 ounces) Marscarpone cheese

1 3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup Irish cream liqueur

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon almond extract

Garnishes such as powdered sugar, whipped cream, and/or miniature chocolates

cake-1Directions

Step 1) Combine Marscarpone cheese, heavy cream, Irish cream liqueur, sugar, cocoa powder, and almond extract. Blend with an electric mixer for one minute, then beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Step 2) Cover the bottom of a large Springform pan (or other round pan, approximately 12″ in diameter) with Chips Ahoy cookies. Do not overlap the cookies. Instead, break a few cookies to fill in the spaces.

Step 3) Top the cookies with a thin layer of cream (about 1/4 of your total filling mixture).

Step 4) Repeat layers of cookies and cream filling until the cream filling is used up. The top layer should be cream.

Step 5) Cover your Irish Cream Icebox Cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Don’t rush this – the cake really does need to rest in the fridge for about 12 hours!

Step 6) If using a Springform pan, run a butter knife around the edge before removing the side of the pan. Immediately before slicing and serving, garnish as desired.

YUM!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

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Here’s a new spin on an old favorite, a truffle that tastes like a peanut butter cup! While some truffle recipes are a bit fussy, these Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles are super easy. You can use either creamy or chunky peanut butter, depending upon the texture you prefer. You could even substitute the peanut butter for something a little fancier, like almond butter or crème de marron. Be creative and have fun!

WIN_20160214_123938Ingredients (Makes about 36 truffles)

4 ounces semi sweet baking chocolate

1/2 cup peanut butter Continue reading