Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate Syrup | Culinary Cousins I ate a brownie the other day, and I didn’t like it.

This is not a usual occurrence in my world. I was born with my family’s propensity for chocoholism, and I never turn down the opportunity to inhale it. But this was a luncheon brownie, at a catered workplace barbecue, wrapped in plastic and glistening with chocolate(or is it?)-y icing and, well, chemicals.

I don’t eat a lot of processed stuff — especially baked goods — so I think I’m attuned to the artificial when it appears. Ick. That’s a key reason that chocolate syrup in the brown, nostalgic bottle doesn’t permanently reside in my fridge, as it does in many others’. I like chocolate syrup, and everything it is used to create, but I can’t get over the fact that it’s really just gloppy corn syrup with some chocolate flavoring. Double ick. Continue reading

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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (in the Crock Pot!)

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls at www.culinarycousins.com

I love grandma food.

That’s what I call comfort food that either was or could have been made by a grandmother.

In the South, it’s chicken and dumplings or cheese grits or mac and cheese or any number of homemade cakes and pies. But it’s also slow-cooked Italian Sunday “gravy” over pasta, roasted beef and chicken, pierogies. Those foods that grandmothers of all cultures made with love and fed us in childhood. Ones that don’t have a place in our everyday diets, or we think take too much effort, but warm our souls when we do eat them. Continue reading

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows | Culinary Cousins

Something about this time of year makes me think of marshmallows. Really, it starts back in the fall with camping, fires, s’mores. Then winter brings hot cocoa and fudge.

Or maybe it’s because this year I’ve heard the “It’s a Marshmallow World” theme song on Cooking Channel about 46,123 times since Thanksgiving — at least 84 times per hour.

It’s no surprise that I’m a bit obsessive about making things from scratch. And I first tried my hand at homemade marshmallows a couple of years ago. Inspired by an upcoming camping trip, I had visions of roasting campfire marshmallows until good and charred then smushing them between graham crackers and oozy chocolate. Continue reading

Pie Crust Update — and Dutch Apple Pie!

Dutch Apple Pie | Culinary Cousins

It wasn’t my fault!

Last we talked, I promised you a pie crust experiment. Well, I conducted said experiment (using coconut oil) and was all geared up to tell you about it. Then my annual Thanksgiving cold (going on four years in a row now, like clockwork) took me out. Flat. For a week. Happy Thanksgiving.

In between gulping tea (with shots of Jameson honey) and Mucinex and huddling under a heated blanket, it took everything in me to actually bake the pies for my family’s Thanksgiving. As usual, I overdid it: seven adults, four pies. But it’s really the only time of year I make pie, and I get swept up in the excitement and challenge of it. Plus, I’m not allowed into the house without my great-grandmother’s renowned pumpkin pie. (The recipe makes two.) I also attempted my first latticed pie — cherry, which was edible but needs major work. This pie, though, number four — this pie is it. Dutch apple goodness, with soft, syrupy apples and a crunchy, buttery topping. Keep this one in your back pocket for the holidays — or, you know, Tuesday. Continue reading

Food Find: Coconut Oil

Food Finds: Coconut Oil at www.culinarycousins.com

I know, I know. I’m way late to the coconut oil party.

In light of that, I’m not going to wax on and on about its benefits. You can read those elsewhere. Actually, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe did a great roundup on coconut oil recently. I certainly can’t say it as well as I can just link to her post.

I snapped up a jar of coconut oil at Trader Joe’s, with great intentions of using it in stir-fry and with sauteed greens. Then I realized that Thanksgiving is upon us. And Thanksgiving means pie. Continue reading

Lemon Cheesecake – Part II

Here it is. The long-awaited reveal!

We’ve made lemon curd. We’ve made candied lemons. Now, let’s make some cheesecake. And put it all together.

We do have a birthday to celebrate, remember?

Lemon cheesecake at www.culinarycousins.com

Continue reading

Homemade Lemon Curd

I teased you yesterday talking about lemon cheesecake. But, in all fairness, I said I had to do a few things before I could really give you a recipe. And, here we go.

Lemon curd.

Homemade Lemon Curd | Culinary Cousins

It pools on top of the creamy cheesecake and drips down the sides when you cut into it. It’s swirled into the cheesecake batter for a tart and tangy flavor burst. In essence, it makes this cake. Well, really it does, since it wouldn’t be lemon cheesecake without it. Continue reading

Lemon Cheesecake – Part I

Lemon cheesecake at www.culinarycousins.com

I have a bit of a reputation in my family.

Jessica is the caterer for our events, and the one who keeps us on track with healthy eating. But I’m the baker, the dessert maker. Whenever a holiday or occasion comes around, sweets are my go-to contribution. And I tend to get a bit wild when I have the opportunity to bake for a crowd, when I can try my hand at all the fancy, complicated things that I would never make for myself. Like red velvet cheesecake and from-scratch cinnamon rolls at Christmas, or southern caramel cake at Easter.

I’m even starting to get special requests. Continue reading

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Banana Pudding Poke Cake | Culinary Cousins
At this point you may be under the impression that I eat really well. Let’s clear that up right now.

I do try to eat reasonably and responsibly, but deep down inside I am a baker. A dessert fiend. And sometimes I may hurt you if you are between me and a piece of chocolate.

Whew, confessions are good for the soul. Glad we got that out of the way.

Pinterest is quickly becoming the best way to gauge emerging food trends, at least in the home kitchen. Think “cake balls” or “kale chips.” And at Christmas, I went to the grocery store all geared up to make this cute little treat I’d seen online. As I searched the candy aisle, the one thing I needed was missing. Rolos. Then it occurred to me, all those recipes I’d seen. Rolos melted atop a pretzel (my choice) or Rolos rolled inside a sugar cookie. In a weird Rolo shortage, I blame Pinterest. It’s the likely culprit.

A few months ago I started to see a rash of recipes for something I’d never heard of: poke cake. Perhaps it’s truly a resurrection of an old, possibly southern, recipe. Or maybe it’s something someone made up last week. Either way, poke cakes are trendy. Continue reading

Mushroom Bolognese

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A few weeks ago I hit my breaking point. Everywhere I turned, I was reading something more and more frightening about the food we eat. I’ve always tried to cut out processed food, buy organic and walk the outer aisles of the grocery like they say is best, but bad stuff still seems to be everywhere.

The last straw was when I read about the dangers of eating cooked meat. I realized then that I ate meat in some form for every meal, at least twice a day. Chicken on my salad, turkey on my sandwich, a piece of pork/chicken/steak with vegetables and a starch for dinner. So, I decided then and there to stop. I don’t think I’d call myself so much a “vegetarian” now as a “pescetarian” or “flexitarian.” But I’m on a journey to cut the meat and up the vegetables … A girl’s still got to throw down a steak every once in awhile, though.

The challenge is finding hearty, filling — and meatless — meals. When I started, we were still in the throes of winter, and the last thing I wanted to eat was a chilly salad or one more bowl of soup. Those are the likeliest vessels for going all veggie, I’d found. Continue reading