Live & Laugh

live & laugh: jose mole

Mole Enchiladas

A couple of nights ago we had our December cooking class!! If you don’t recall, this is the second phase of cooking class I’m teaching for my friends. Because this is “round 2” (and they now all know a thing or two), I assigned each of my friends a class to teach — I took the first class in November and did a Friendsgiving Dinner.

Jose was the first brave soul to teach class on his own and he did an amazing job! They are  not allowed to choose anything they are familiar with or cook often, so he found this great recipe for Mole Enchiladas and we were well on our way to a delicious Mexican-inspired dinner!

Mole Enchiladas

Turns out mole sauce takes quite a bit of time to make that, by the end, we forgot to puree the sauce and made a short-cut here and there, but regardless, it was….delicious!! It had an amazingly warm kick that was subdued well by the cool sour cream. I was really impressed with how the flavors came together (who knew a sauce that combined random things like burnt bread, a banana, dark chocolate, peanuts, and a hodge-podge of other ingredients could turn out to be something so delicious!?)

We served it with a side of yellow rice and black beans and, by the end, I would say everyone was stuffed and happy. Jose did a great job and I can’t wait for our next class in January!

If you want to test your mole-making-skills here’s the recipe* again. Have a great weekend!!

*NOTE: The recipe calls for chihualces chiles, turns out those little buggers are pretty hard to come by, so a great substitute is the guajillo chile.

Jose Mole

live & laugh: friendsgiving

Friendsgiving

So last year, a group of my friends from work asked me if I would teach a cooking class for them because they wanted to be better in the kitchen. I jumped on the opportunity and taught a 12-week course where we covered everything from the basics of different types of salts to the advanced — they had me make a soufflé, something I had never done before, if you remember..

Anyway, it was a ton of fun to get together after work a couple times a month to cook and chat and all that jazz. We ended class late Spring and went on our merry ways into Summer!

Well, I’m really excited that the same group of friends asked me if we could revive cooking school once again! The first time around I would go over some sort of lesson (filled with as many food puns relating to that lesson as possible) and cook as they watched and asked questions. BUT, this time around, I told them it’s their turn. So for each class, each of my friends will teach a class and cook something they have never made before. Our first class was about a week ago and I took the first class to ease everyone back into cooking school. Since Thanksgiving was/is right around the corner, I thought it’d be fun to have Friendsgiving!

Everyone helped out and in a matter of 2 hours we had a Thanksgiving inspired meal on the table! I should admit now, that we did cheat a little…

I chose to roast small chickens because a larger turkey would take way too long to make on a weeknight after work and I bought the dinner rolls and pumpkin pie from the store — AH. No time for baking in this crazy mess of cooking a Thanksgiving meal. But hey, aside from that, everything was done from scratch and we had a blast making it all!

Friendsgiving Prep

Everything was really delicious and we managed to get all of the food done at relatively the same time — air five!! I will say everyone was pretty hungry at the end, so when I asked them to sit for a few pictures before we touched the food, I did get a couple strained smiles (you know who you are)!

Oh yea, and the kitchen looked like a bomb went off — luckily in cooking school BOYS CLEAN : )

The recipes we used in class are listed below if you want to try any this Thanksgiving! Happy eating!!

Happy Friendsgiving

Recipes w/ edits used at Friendsgiving:

  • Thomas Keller’s Favorite Simple Roast Chicken (no edits, but we did not use any dijon)
  • Tyler Florence’s Caramelized Cornbread Stuffing
    • Add 4 stalks of celery, chopped, to the mixture
    • Use ¾ cup of chicken broth — instead of the ¼ chicken stock in the recipe
    • Cook at 400ºF for 20 minutes in a baking dish, uncovered
  • Oven Roasted Asparagus — my recipe for 1 asparagus bunch:
    • Wash and trim asparagus
    • Coat in ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • Add 2 minced garlic cloves, salt & pepper
    • Roast in 375ºF oven for 20 minutes, shaking pan halfway through
    • Squeeze fresh lemon juice over roasted asparagus before serving
  • Mashed Potatoes — my recipe:
    • Peel and chop potatoes (½ lb per serving)
    • Add to large pot of salted water and bring to a boil
    • Boil for 10 minutes until for can pierce potatoes without effort
    • Drain potatoes and cover with dish towel to let steam for 5-10 minutes
    • Add butter (½ tbsp per serving), salt, pepper and ½ cup chicken broth
    • Mash until smooth, or whatever texture you prefer
  • Gravy — my recipe:
    • In a saute pan over medium-high heat, melt 3 tbsp butter
    • Add 3 tbsp flour and whisk with butter, cook for a minute until light brown in color
    • Slowly pour in 2 cups of chicken broth, whisking constantly to avoid lumpy gravy
    • Season with salt & pepper to taste
    • NOTE: If gravy gets too thin, you can whisk in another tbsp of flour; if gravy gets too thick, you can add more chicken broth
  • Corn — my recipe:
    • Empty drained canned corn into a pot on the stove over medium heat
    • Add 1 tbsp butter for every can you are using (i.e. 2 cans = 2 tbsp butter)
    • Add salt & pepper to taste and cook until heated through
  • Cranberry Sauce
    • Add the juice of half an orange and half a lemon in Step 1
  • Spiced Whipped Cream — my recipe (we used this to fancy up the store-bought pumpkin pie):
    • In a large bowl, add ½ cup cold, heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla, ¼ cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and ½ tsp nutmeg
    • Using an electric mixer, immersion blender with whisk, or sheer whisking power from within, whisk until thick and whipped cream can stand on its own

 

immersion blender giveaway!

Blender Giveaway

Last week you saw me make a delicious butternut squash soup, which I couldn’t have made as easily without my immersion blender. So, with the holidays around the corner, I thought it’d be fun to give away one of these bad boys!

Revisit some of the dishes I’ve made using this amazing kitchen tool — if you think you’d like to have one in your kitchen too, enter below!


 


 

Enter to win this sleek KitchenAid® hand mixer in contour silver (as seen in picture below)!

Simply leave a comment describing what dish you would enjoy making with a new hand mixer. You’ll also have to enter your e-mail address, which is strictly used to contact the lucky winner!

For additional entries you can follow Live. Laugh. Cook. on any or all of the following:

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

One winner will be chosen at random using promosimple when the giveaway ends,Sunday, December 1st at 11:59am EST. I’ll announce the winner Monday, December 2nd on the Live. Laugh. Cook. Facebook page! (For more info, you can check the official rules below)

Good luck : )

Click here to view this promotion.
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live & laugh: halloween treats

Live & Laugh: Halloween Treats

Despite October being my favorite month of the year, one of my not-so-favorite things about it is the amount of candy that becomes so easily accessible. All of a sudden it’s October 1 and there’s magically bucket-fulls of candy everywhere — at school, in the office, at the bank, you name it and I bet there’s candy for the taking!

Ok – so no, it’s not the worst thing in the world. BUT hello I have no will power to resist these temptations! So, I find myself eating loads of candy and sugary goodness that I honestly wasn’t planning on and could have gone without had it not been right there…in front of my face.

Well, I’ve come to realize this is an inevitable part of life as I know it, so I figured I may as well embrace it.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! So, for my sugary-contribution this year, I looked around for some tasty, Halloween-inspired treats and came across a couple I could not pass up trying.

Ginger Biscuits

I got this recipe from a magazine I bought in London (there’s no digital version of the recipe online, so I typed up the recipe here).

Now, I’m not sure how biscuit-like these were; to me, they were more like a cookie — could have been user error — but whatever the reason, these biscuit-cookie-esk treats were amazing! They consist of butter, brown sugar, honey, flour, ground almonds, orange juice/zest, ginger and fondant frosting. One really special thing about these was the ground almonds. They provided a really nice textural element that made the biscuits different from any other typical biscuit (or cookie for that matter).

I should also disclose that there is actually no pumpkin flavor what-so-ever involved here, the pumpkin in the name is simply for the cute little pumpkins stamped on the frosting (using an apple, how nifty!).

Peppermint Patties

Peppermint patties are an oldie but goodie. I have always loved the mint/chocolate flavor combination, so when I came across this recipe for homemade peppermint patties, I knew immediately I would be making them!

They were really fun to make actually — the filling was kind of like working with edible play-doh!

After stamping out the first dozen or so patties, you kind of run out of being able to stamp out any more tri-layered colors. I was not about to let that go to waste though, so I rerolled the filling to make more and created a fun Halloween-tie-dye filling.

They turned out fantastic! The peppermint-to-chocolate ratio was perfect. I will say they melt in your hands fairly quickly if you don’t keep them chilled, but hey, that’s how chocolate works…


I was extremely happy with how my Halloween Treats turned out and that I was able to share them with coworkers and friends — I think I could get used to the sugary side of October!

Here are some other enticing treats I found that spark the Halloween spirit:

These poison apples sound amazing with their caramel, chocolate and pistachio topping; and they look even more striking on the twig-skewers!



If leftover candy is something you deal with year over year — this Halloween Jungle Juice sounds amazing (along with 4 other great ideas for your leftover Halloween candy).

 

What are some of your favorite Halloween Treats?

live & laugh: europe/chicken schnitzel

Chicken Schnitzel

This past weekend, I came back from a 2-week trip to the United Kingdom (London) and Germany (Dusseldorf).

It was my very first time ever going to Europe and the experience was everything I had hoped it would be and more! The sites were beautiful and we got extremely lucky with gorgeous weather for almost the entire trip.

Being the foodie that I am, trying all the different types of food/drink were just as exciting to me as taking tours of the local sites and landmarks. I loved trying some of the traditional dishes:

  • London — Full English Breakfast, Scones with Clotted Cream & Jam and Meat Pies
  • Dusseldorf — Chicken Schnitzel, Sausages (many different varieties), Lots of Beer

Europe

One of my favorite stops in London was to the Borough Market, which is an amazing outdoor farmers market filled with food stands, produce stands and specialty shops.

While there, I had some amazing things like a duck confit sandwich, toasted cheese sandwich (yes, I had 2 sandwiches within 30 minutes of each other), mulled hot cider, white sangria infused with strawberry & mint, and chili hot chocolate.

It was all to die for!

Europe Cont'd

Germany was equally delicious, but I didn’t get to try as much food as in London.  We spent 5 of the 14 days in Germany, so there just wasn’t as much time. That being said, we had a delicious chicken schnitezel dish (see below for recipe!), lots of tasty sausages, beer and doner.

I should also note that the amount of french fries with mayo that I had on this trip was insane. French fries are my weakness, but by the end of the trip even I was french fried out…that’s saying a lot!

Overall, the experience was amazing and inspiring!

Have you been to Europe before? What foods did you enjoy while abroad?


As I just mentioned, Mirza and I had an amazing chicken schnitzel dish our first night in Germany. It came with an amazing lemon-mushroom sauce that was the perfect compliment to the chicken.

A couple days after being home I decided to try and recreate it myself while it was fairly fresh in my mind:

Chicken Schnitzel Prep

One of the interesting things when we got the dish in Germany was the sauce was served under the chicken, as opposed to poured over the chicken. It threw me at first, but then made complete sense once I plated my first go of this dish and found the chicken to be soggy within a couple of minutes!

Luckily I was making dinner for 2, so I got to plate the other chicken the right way: sauce on the bottom! Leaving the chicken crispy and perfect : )

Not gonna lie — I was impressed with how well this turned out!

It was absolutely delicious and brought us right back to our first night in Germany. The chicken was really crispy, but super moist…just perfectly cooked; the sauce was rich from the butter and tangy from the lemon…it was the perfect sauce for this chicken schnitzel.

If you want a taste of Germany, you have to try this dish!

Chicken Schnitzel

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