Jalapeno and cheddar sourdough bread

This is a variation of my usual sourdough recipe. Filled with Pickled Jalapeño and cubed Cheddar Cheese, it is delicious on its own and makes awesome grilled cheese or turkey, or ham sandwiches!

Start by feeding your starter in the morning. Then prepare your dough after dinner, stretching and folding an hour later, 30 minutes apart, for about a couple of times.

Then you leave it on the counter till the next morning when you’ll work in the cheese and jalapeños, shape, let proof and then bake.

Just want to mention that you want these to cool completely before slicing, otherwise your bread might get gummy inside. It is hard not to devour a hot, fresh baked bread but it’s worth it, believe me!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup starter

3 cups water

4 2/3 cups bread flour

3 1/3 cups all purpose, kamut, or spelt flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon sea salt

2/3 cup sliced pickled jalapeños

2 cups cubed (1/4 inch or so) cheddar cheese

Procedure:

1. Start by mixing your starter into the water until it breaks up. Add your flour and salt and mix just until you have a ball of dough coming together.

2. Cover and set aside for about an hour.

3. After the first rest, stretch and fold for at least 2 times, 30 minutes apart. If you can do 4 stretch and folds, it’s better, otherwise 2 sets will do.

4. Cover and set aside overnight at room temperature.

5. The next day, prepare the cheese and jalapeños.

6. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Working with 1 part at a time, stretch your dough on the counter and place half of the cheese and jalapeños on top. Fold 1/3 into the center, from both sides, then turn over and fold top part down, bottom part up. Pinch edges to seal and place in a floured banneton.

7. Repeat with the remaining dough, cheese, and jalapeños.

8. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2-4 hours.

9. Preheat oven to 500F. You can place 2 oven safe dutch ovens in to heat up with the oven. Or you could start from cold, like in this article https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/01/22/baking-bread-without-preheating-the-oven/

10. Lower the heat to 450 after you place the breads in. Bake your breads 25 minutes covered, 20 minutes uncovered.

11. Remove from oven when done. Cool breads on a wire rack completely.

12. Enjoy!

Bunny/Heart Cake Pops

I recently got back into making cake pops, as I discovered a whole bunch of molds made of silicone and plastic.

I ordered a lot of them to start experimenting again after not making it for about 5 years. I also ordered some fondant molds and luster powders for decorating.

It was an easier process back then. Just mix up a box of cake mix and bake as directed. Cool and crumble into little pieces, mix in about half a tub of ready made frosting and make little round balls. Dip into melted candy melts and cool.

Nowadays there are an infinite number of shapes and designs, one much more detailed than another.

For this post, I am using my bunny mold and heart mold, making cake pops without sticks. I will post a photo of my other cake pop with sticks at the bottom.

If using the ELB to make a cake, follow these recipes https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/11/01/electric-lunchbox-71-yellow-cake-and-chocolate-cake-boxed-mixes/ Add about a tablespoon of frosting to the cooled, finely crumbled cake to start, adding a bit more as needed to achieve a play dough like consistency.

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You will need the following:

A silicone mold with the shape of your choice

A box of cake mix, any flavor you like (I used chocolate)

The ingredients needed to prepare the cake (usually eggs, oil, and water)

A tub of ready made frosting (I used Butter Cream and Cream Cheese flavored frosting)

Chocolate or candy melts

Sprinkles, edible glitter, metallic spray, any other decoration as desired

1. First, you prepare the cake mix according to the directions provided on the box.

2. Pour into a greased 13×9 pan and bake as directed on the package.

3. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.

4. For these type of molds, you’ll first coat them with a layer of melted chocolate or candy melts, fill it with cake pop mix after it sets, then add another layer of chocolate or candy melts to seal.

5. To do that, melt some chocolate or candy melts in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring until melted and smooth. Pour about 1 tablespoon into the mold and work it up the sides with the back of a spoon. Try to coat the inside of the mold evenly. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or so to set. You can add another, thin layer to reinforce the shell if needed after it has set. Return to the fridge to set again.

6. While the shell is in the fridge, place the completely cooled cake, cut into pieces, in a food processor and pulse until finely crumbled.

7. Transfer to a bowl.

8. Add about half of the frosting and mix well. You want it to have a consistency similar to play dough.

9. Take the chocolate shells from the fridge and fill with cake pop mixture.

10. Press gently but firmly to fill throughout the mold.

11. Make sure to leave some space on top for another layer of chocolate or candy melts.

12. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate or candy melts over the filling.

13. Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon then a straight edged spatula to remove excess.

14. Place in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes or so.

15. Carefully unmold the cake pops. Tada! Aren’t they beautiful?

16. Pictures at the bottom are the traditional cake pops that have sticks.

These make the perfect birthday cake for our current Covid-19 situation. They’re individually portioned and easy to wrap up and give out.

I hope you’ll like these!

Electric Lunchbox #92: Bananas Foster Cheesecake

Bananas Foster Cheesecake! Minus the flame as I had never done it, so it’s still scary for me to light up my food and watch the flames dance on it. 😊

This cheesecake has bananas in it too so you get to taste a hint of it, but together with the caramelized sugar and bananas ever so slightly toasted in butter…pure heaven in every bite!

Making it in the ELB makes sure you only get a small portion, not too much, so that there is no need to summon much will power. 😊

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients for the crust:

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar, optional

Ingredients for the filling:

1 bar (8oz) cream cheese

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 small banana

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

Ingredients for the topping:

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 banana, sliced

1 tablespoon Bacardi rum

Procedure:

1. For the crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs,

2. Butter, and brown sugar (if using) together.

3. Place in the big ELB bowl. You can line the bottom with a parchment paper, cut to fit, to make it easier to remove the cheesecake later. You can also add parchment paper slings to make it even easier.

4. Press the mixture down with a spoon. Set aside.

5. Make the filling: In a bowl, place the cream cheese,

6. and brown sugar.

7. Beat well with a hand mixer until mixed.

8. In a small bowl, mash the banana for the filling.

9. I use a fork and just press down on the bananas until they look like this.

10. Add the mashed bananas to the cream cheese mixture.

11. Add the vanilla,

12. Salt,

13. And egg.

14. Beat everything together until well mixed.

15. Pour over the prepared crust and smooth the top using the back of a spoon.

16. Cover with foil and place in the ELB base. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

17. Carefully open the ELB and set the cheesecake aside to cool while you make the topping.

18. Melt butter in a small saucepan.

19. Sprinkle the brown sugar over.

20. Add the cinnamon next.

21. Cook over medium low heat until it melts completely.

22. Place the banana slices on the mixture.

23. Lower heat and cook for a couple of minutes, flipping the bananas over once.

24. Pour the Bacardi rum over and let it heat for a few seconds.

25. Remove cheesecake from the bowl and place on a serving plate.

26. Pour the caramelized bananas over the cheesecake.

27. Serve and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Blossoms

A peanut butter cookie rolled in granulated sugar, and topped with a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kiss!

This was one of my favorite cookies growing up. I think I first saw it in a magazine, a Betty Crocker Cookbook, or in a Hershey Chocolate Cookbook. I love milk chocolate so I made it, and again, and again.

I haven’t made it in a long time (maybe over a decade!) so since I was off for 5 days partly because of my second Covid-19 vaccine, I planned on baking a batch, excited to see if it still tastes the same as it did before. I wasn’t well after my Thursday vaccination (like the first dose, only not as bad) but was well enough on Valentine’s Day, so I made it then.

It didn’t disappoint at all. My son peeled the kisses but needed to do some math problems so I made the cookies myself. It was quick and easy, although I would recommend using an electric mixer because the dough is quite stiff.

For the peanut butter, feel free to use crunchy or smooth, whichever you like or have on hand. I like crunchy but keep some smooth PB in the pantry to use for sate sauce and Asian noodles. I used crunchy PB, as I like the crunch it lends to the cookies.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Sugar, to roll dough in

36 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. In a bowl, place butter,

3. Sugar,

4. Brown sugar,

5. Peanut butter,

6. And egg.

7. Beat well using an electric mixer , until combined and smooth.

8. Add flour,

9. Baking soda,

10. And baking powder.

11. Beat well until mixed.

12. Scoop up about a tablespoon dough and roll into a ball.

13. Drop into a bowl with granulated sugar. Roll to coat.

14. Place in an ungreased cookie sheet.

15. Repeat with remaining dough, making 36 balls.

16. Line them up 2 inches apart on 2 cookie sheets. They will spread a little as they bake.

17. Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes, until light golden brown.

18. Immediately press a chocolate kiss in the middle of each cookie.

20. Remove cookies from cookie sheets and onto wire racks.

21. Cool completely.

22. Serve! You can also drizzle cooled cookies with melted chocolate. Makes 36 pieces.

Las Vegas – Bellagio Christmas Decor 2019 🎄

Missing our travels, but stayed in last year due to COVID-19. Sharing some photos of Bellagio Las Vegas’ Christmas decor 2019.

We went right after Christmas but left on the 31st….yes, got stuck when they closed the 15 due to snow storms! Our usual 4 hour drive to Las Vegas took us almost 11 hours that day! We passed through Palm Springs, Indio, and lots of places we never had been to before.

There was an actual snow storm as we were driving through the desert. Yes I thought it was dangerous but it was also quite magical.

Good thing we chose to go around than through the mountains as we do not have chains.

A memorable time, even though our butts hurt when we finally got to the hotel. 😊

We finally made it!

I hope you enjoy the photos!

Electric Lunchbox #88: Chocolate Lava Cake

Good morning everyone!

It’s already the 5th day of February! Oh my goodness! Is it too early to post a Valentine’s recipe?

Well, I am posting a Chocolate Lava Cake recipe today so you can make a few trial runs of it before the actual Valentine’s Day – you know, for quality control or testing purposes! 😉 Think of it this way…I can’t be the only one eating all these yummy experimental food and sacrificing my figure for a good recipe, right?

This recipe will make the perfect dessert to finish a special meal for two, as the size of this little cake is just right.

It is rich and chocolatey that you’ll only need a dusting of powdered sugar to decorate it. Feel free to use a stencil to make it prettier. You can also top it with chocolate dipped strawberries! Double yum!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract

2 eggs

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Procedure:

1. Grease the big or medium ELB bowl.

2. Place the butter in a microwave safe bowl.

3. Add the chocolate chips to the bowl.

4. Melt butter and chocolate chips in a microwave for 30 seconds.

5. Stir and microwave again using 30 second increments until smooth.

6. Make sure to stir as residual heat can sometimes be enough to melt the last few bits of chocolate. Careful to not burn the chocolate. This will take only about a minute or two total.

7. Mix in vanilla,

8. Eggs,

9. Flour,

10. And powdered sugar.

11. Mix well until blended.

12. Pour batter into prepared bowl. Cover with foil and place in the ELB base.

13. Add 2 1/2 ELB cups water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 45 minutes.

14. Carefully open the ELB and check the cake. It should be set but the center should jiggle like the video below. It should NOT be set all the way.

15. Cool the cake on a wire rack. Run a knife along the edges and invert onto a serving dish.

16. Dust the top with powdered sugar to make it look pretty.

16. Serve and enjoy!

Meyer Lemon Bars

My coworkers know how much I love to be in the kitchen, dreaming up yummy things, so when one of them had a Meyer lemon tree full of fruits, guess what I got? A bag full of fragrant, beautiful, shiny Meyer lemons! Just look at the photo below..swoon!!

Since I tend to barter with baked goods with my coworkers, I asked her if she wanted a lemon cake or lemon bars and she said “lemon bars!” without hesitation.

I bartered a loaf of sourdough bread for these eggs!

Lemon bars it is! Meyer lemon bars! *lemon cake in the ELB recipe link here – https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/11/26/electric-lunchbox-72-lemon-cake/

I do have a dwarf Eureka lemon tree in the backyard that produces some lemons as it is still small but Meyer lemons are totally delicious! They have a floral scent, like orange blossoms, mixed with lemon that is just so refreshing and mild.

So, back to my lemon bars. This recipe makes a big 13” x 9” pan so you’ll have enough to share but I’d totally understand too if you eat half a pan while cooking dinner after the bars cooled off a bit… because I just can’t stop eating it! I do not like cloyingly sweet desserts so this has just enough sweetness to play up the tart, floral taste coming from the lemon juice and lemon zest.

Of course you can cut all the ingredients in half and bake this in an 8×8 pan. AND, if you do not have Meyer lemons, regular store bought lemons make the perfect substitute!

Ingredients for the Crust:

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for Meyer Lemon Filling:

6 large eggs

2 3/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons Meyer Lemon zest (from 4 – 5 lemons)

1 cup Meyer lemon juice (from 4 – 6 lemons)

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13” x 9” pan with non stick spray. You’ll have a cookie crust so there is no need to line the pan but feel free to do so if you want to.

2. Place butter and sugar in a medium bowl.

3. Cream together with a hand mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. You can also use a stand mixer.

4. Add flour and salt to the bowl.

5. Beat until combined and texture resembles sand. See the texture in the photo above.

6. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan.

7. Press firmly onto the bottom of the pan. I use a measuring cup to press the crust firmly on the bottom of the pan, then my fingers for the corners and edges.

8. Bake at 350F for 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly browned.

9. Transfer to a cooling rack while you prepare the filling.

10. Gather your ingredients for the filling.

11. Zest your lemons first.

12. Then cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. Inhale deeply as this is sweet, summery, all natural, refreshing aromatherapy for free! 😊 It’s the little things that count!

11. Wipe out the bowl you used for the crust (one less bowl to wash!) and in it, add sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, flour, baking powder, and salt.

12. Add the eggs and beat until blended.

13. Pour the mixture over the crust.

14. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes more, until middle is set and the top looks dry.

15. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into pieces. Hint: If you chill it overnight, it cuts cleaner and easier. The photo above are of the lemon bars I cut when they were still warm…so they didn’t look too pretty. Still delicious though!

16. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #85: Bodega Beans

I read an article about Bodega Beans a few weeks ago. Have you heard of it? It sounded quite delicious to me that I was planning to make it even before I was done reading the article.

Apparently it is a recipe for when you want a cheap but healthy meal with readily accessible ingredients. And nowadays, who doesn’t want that? It can be a wonderful side dish, if anything!

According to the article, the most basic “recipe” is to sauté garlic and onions in a little olive oil, add a can of drained beans and any seasoning you like, drizzle with more olive oil and you’re done! A sprinkle of cheese is optional, then serve with rice or bread.

I did make it and it was absolutely delicious! I added a few spices to it but feel free to use any that you like or have!

After making it a few times on the stove, I made it in the ELB for you guys! You can prepare rice in the small nesting bowl and you’re all set for a yummy meal!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

Follow me for more recipes for the ELB!

See Itaki’s offerings here! https://www.itakico.com/theresa

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I like to add crispy bacon to my bodega beans as my son doesn’t like beans but loves bacon…so beans with bacon is acceptable to him. 😊

Just place the bacon strips in a clean skillet, let the oil render out and brown till crisp. Crumble when cool.

Ingredients:

Bacon, browned and drained, optional but highly recommended

1 tablespoon minced onions

2 tablespoons chopped carrots

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cumin, paprika, sazon todo, as desired

1 tablespoon chopped celery

1 can beans, rinsed and drained (garbanzo, pinto, red bean, black bean, any will do)

2 tablespoons olive oil or 1 tablespoon each bacon grease and olive oil, more as needed

Parmesan cheese, optional

Avocado slices, optional

Chopped cilantro, optional

Chili pepper flakes, optional

Procedure:

1. Place onions in the big ELB bowl.

2. Add some carrots,

3. Salt, pepper, garlic powder and any other seasoning you like. I love adding a couple of shakes of cumin.

4. Chopped celery,

5. The can of drained beans,

6. Crumbled cooked bacon,

7. Mix everything together. Add the olive oil or bacon grease and olive oil mix. Cover the bowl with foil and place in the ELB base.

* you can place 2 ELB cups of rice, rinsed and drained with 2 ELB cups water to the little nesting bowl to round out your meal!*

8. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

9. Carefully open the ELB and mix the contents. Serve hot with rice, bread, cheese, chopped cilantro, and/or avocado if desired. Sprinkle with chili pepper flakes if you want a little spice.

10. Enjoy!