Friday, August 6, 2010

Summer Treats: Rocky Road Candy

Making Sloppy Joes earlier this week, along with a lazy summer vibe, put me in the mood for more items that appeal to the kid in all of us. After seeing what was on hand in the pantry, I decided that a pan of Rocky Road Candy would do.

It is essential when making this candy to use fresh, quality butter and good chocolate. Do not skimp on these two items! I'm a big, big fan of Guittard Real Semisweet Chocolate Chips; it has the best flavor and texture. With respect to the other items, I prepared this recipe with store brand marshmallows, store brand peanuts, and store brand sweetened condensed milk. The final result? Great tasting candy.

Rocky Road Candy is an easy, fun, retro dessert.


1 12-ounce package Guittard Real Semisweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tbs. butter
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 C. peanuts (I use Virginia peanuts (skinless))
1 10.5-ounce package miniature marshmallows


Begin by spraying a 13x9 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Next, line the pan with wax paper, pressing down and into the corners and making sure that sufficient paper hangs over each end of the pan to act as handles for lifting the candy out after it is cooled.

Combine chocolate chips, butter and sweetened condensed milk in a large (1 quart) glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for 1-1/2 minute; stir. Microwave for an additional 1-1/2 minute. Let cool for 5 minutes, stirring it for a portion of this time to get everything fully melted and blended together. The cooling and mixing is important as the marshmallows will melt if the chocolate mixture is too hot.

Combine peanuts and marshmallows in a large bowl. Pour in the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Spread the combined ingredients into the prepared pan. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sloppy Joes

To me, Sloppy Joes are a summertime dish: Tasty and easy to make. Relatively inexpensive. Satisfying to kids of all ages. Because of these great features, there are a million recipes for this dish. The following is a tangy, but not too spicy, version.

Sloppy Joes
Adapted from Epicurious

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/2 green pepper, small dice
2 cloves garlic
1 lb. ground chuck
1 medium tomato, peeled, cored and chopped (make sure to preserve the juice!)
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp. Tabasco
1 tsp. steak sauce
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large fry pan. Add onion, celery, jalapeno and green pepper. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more.

Increase the heat to medium high and add the ground chuck. Break-up the meat and cook until brown, about 10 minutes. Season with pepper and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the tomato, tomato paste, ketchup, Tabasco and steak sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.

Serve on hamburger buns.