Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Dreamsicle in a Bowl AKA Orange Dreamsicle Salad

If only you knew how long I waffled around trying to name this recipe.  There are as many variations on the name as there are varieties of Jell-O.  I've seen this called Creamsicle Salad, Dreamsicle Salad, Popsicle Salad, Orange Fluff, Creamsicle Fluff.  Is it a salad?  Not really.  Would I put mandarin oranges in a salad?  Yes.  They are fabulous in my Asian Chicken Chopped Salad.  Would I put sweetened whipped cream in a salad?  No.  Would I put whipped cream in a dessert?  Yes.  Same for the marshmallows.  Marshmallows in salad = bad.  Marshmallows in dessert = good.  Every fluffy combination of fruit, marshmallows and gelatin from my childhood was called "salad" but my gauge for judging salad is where it was placed on the potluck table at Church Supper growing up.  If it was next to Karen's Taco Salad then it was a salad.  If it was at the end of the table next to Margie's Peanut Butter Bars then it's a dessert.  So I'm calling this Dreamsicle in a Bowl because face it, it I called it Popsicle Salad you would break up with me.  Also is it a creamsicle or a dreamsicle?  My mom always called that delicious orange coated vanilla treat a Dreamsicle.  I did a little research and though the terms are used interchangeably, technically a creamsicle is made with ice cream while a dreamsicle is made with ice milk.  This contains neither ice cream nor milk so now you see why I struggled with the name.  The orange and vanilla flavors are definitely reminiscent of the treat we all enjoyed growing up, and to me any kind of "Jell-O Salad" is retro but always delicious.  I most certainly served this as a dessert, and while you can definitely call it a salad, kind of like my "Grape Salad" it's a fruity, creamy treat that belongs at the end of the buffet with the Peanut Butter Bars.  Like my Lemon-Strawberry Trifle I shared recently the original recipe called for whipped topping.  I'm not a fan of the texture.  To me it feels greasy in my mouth so I always take the time to substitute fresh whipped cream.  It only takes a couple of minutes with a mixer and I think the result is airier, fluffier and tastier.  Since Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and Summer gatherings are right around the corner, this is a great time to bring back a retro dessert to your next summer meal!

Call it a dessert, Call it a salad. 
Call it a Dreamsicle.  Call it a Creamsicle.
Who cares?  JUST MAKE IT!

Monday, May 10, 2021

Lemon Strawberry Trifle

Mother's Day snuck up on me this year.  I had nothing planned, nothing going on.  That is until my BFF Barb sent me a text asking, "Is there anything organized for the GMOs on Sunday?" (GMO is text abbreviation for Grandmother in my family lol) It hit me that Mother's Day was rapidly approaching.  So I quick called my Mom and my Aunt Sissie and said, "Please plan on coming over for dessert and coffee Sunday afternoon." Now gifts I had taken care of a long time ago.  I may or may not have told you that we have a new baby in the family!  My Devilish Nephew is now a Dad so we now have Baby Devilish Dish to keep up busy and shower our love on. Should I call him Baby Devilish Dish?  Little Devil is already taken even though she's now grown up.  Maybe he can be the Littlest Devil.  He's too sweet for that.  Anyhoo, I already had photo albums filled with baby pictures for the Littlest Devil's Great Grandmother and Great Aunt.  Really all I needed was a good house cleaning and a quick dessert recipe.  I asked Mr. Devilish Dish if he had any recipe ideas and his reply was, "Something Spring-y."  I always think Strawberry Shortcake for Spring. Or some variation of strawberries and pound cake but I wanted something a little different.  I thought about making a Bundt cake in one of my fancy pans but that last time I made a cake it failed to release from the pan.  Twice.  At first I thought to myself, "If the cake fails just cube it up and call it a trifle."  Then I thought to myself, "Just skip the cake attempt and make a trifle."  I just love trifles and layered desserts because they look so pretty and colorful with the distinct layers in the dish.  And believe it or not I don't even own a trifle dish.  I used to.  I think I even registered for it when I got married years and years ago.  I'm sure it was broken in one of a million moves.  I do however own a large collection of beautiful glass bowls.  Some wedding gifts, some family heirlooms.  Some vintage purchases.  I decided to skip the cake baking and use a store bought Angel Food Cake  After all the star of the show would be whatever Spring flavors I decided to use.  I wanted something just a little fancier than cake, strawberries and whipped cream layered together and not only are the flavors of lemon and strawberry delicious together, the colors look so pretty layered in the dish.  I opted to make this a semi-homemade dessert.  I doctored up some store bought ingredients and it turned out great.  After all I am a Mom too and I wanted to enjoy the day not cooking and cleaning for hours. This dessert simple to make, and it was a huge hit.  It made such a striking presentation layered in the dish and the tart lemon and sweet strawberry were the perfect compliment to the pound cake.  It definitely checked the box for "Spring-y Dessert." 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Miami Vice Cocktail

 Our town is famous for a couple of things.  Sooner Football and Swirls.  A swirl is a cocktail that consists of frozen sangria and frozen margarita "swirled" together.  Not only is it reminiscent of the Sooners team colors, it's also tasty and refreshing on a hot Oklahoma day.  A little less locally famous, but equally delicious is the Miami Vice.  It's a tropical concoction of frozen daiquiri and frozen pina colada swirled together for a fun presentation.  When I've enjoyed them out at local restaurants they are always served with a dollop of whipped cream.  Last weekend we had beautiful weather and spent the afternoon fishing.  We decided to enjoy the gorgeous Saturday evening on our patio and I was inspired to make the Miami Vice at home.  Authentic right down to the generous dollop of homemade whipped cream.  The only thing not authentic about it was my presentation.  I think I made my daiquiri and pina colada mixtures a little too thin as they didn't stay very separated in the glass.  They did taste amazing though.  Fast forward to this afternoon, another beautiful, very warm day.  Mr. Devilish Dish is busy with golf, and I had the afternoon off and decided to busy myself with plenty of backyard chores.  Lots of shrubs to trim and weeds to pull and herbs and vegetables to look after.  A big task to tackle by myself and when I finished I sat down on the patio to enjoy the weather and bask in the glow of the sun and my hard work.  The only thing missing was a chilly cocktail and then I remembered I had leftover daiquiri and pina colada in my freezer.  The concoctions never froze solid in the freezer, but they were scoopable with my ice cream scoop and it made the perfect consistency for Miami Vice presentation!  It's a super easy drink, using ready made cocktail mixers.  The extra effort of homemade whipped cream is totally worth it.  And trust me, you'll need that little garnish of creaminess on the top to cut through the tartness of the drink.  You don't need a beach to enjoy this drink.  Enjoy on your patio since summer is right around the corner.

Beat the heat and say a big HELLO to
Summer with a cool, refreshing
Miami Vice Cocktail.

Garnish your frozen concoction with
freshly whipped cream.  You'll want the
creaminess to cut the tart flavors a little bit.
It makes your cocktail look extra fancy too.
I even added some fresh mint from my
garden and a vintage swizzle stick.

Enjoy.  Whether you're in the tropics
or you just want to pretend from your patio...


1 recipe frozen strawberry daiquiri (I used the can of frozen concentrate and followed directions)
1 recipe frozen pina colada (I used the can of frozen concentrate and followed directions)
Rum - optional (follow mix directions for cocktail OR virgin version)
whipped cream for garnish

Prepare frozen strawberry daiquiri according to mix directions.  I used a can of frozen concentrate that included the can of frozen mix, a half can of rum and ice.  (I also used a very nice bottle of 15 year old Dominican Rum that may have been a little too nice for the concentrate, as my daiquiris and coladas were really strong.  Adjust the amount of rum as necessary or use water for a virgin cocktail.)  Separately, prepare frozen pina colada according to mix directions.  You want both of these mixtures to be pretty thick so they can stand up side by side in the cocktail glass.  If your mixtures are too thin, place in freezer safe containers and freeze for several hours or overnight.  When ready to serve, begin by scooping frozen pina colada into your glass that has been turned sideways.  Add frozen strawberry daiquiri beside the pina colada so that when your glass sits upright the frozen cocktails are side by side.  Garnish generously with freshly whipped cream. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Easy 4-Ingredient Beef Enchiladas

I know I don't even have to mention how much 2020 sucked and how much we missed.  I try hard to keep my posts here at The DD positive because I know folks love to visit cooking blogs for recipes and fun stories.  Not to be reminded of the negativity of everything that has been going on in the world.  So I tell you this because my story of something negative grew into something very positive and has a happy ending.  For the bad news first we didn't celebrate Thanksgiving with our families like we usually do.  The Devilish Nephew and his sweet wife were stuck in Houston.  Not only because of Covid but their sweet golden retriever had to have surgery.  We opted not to have the big traditional turkey day meal with our parents.  My brother has a birthday at the end of November so in lieu of the holiday meal we had a very small get together as a birthday celebration.  I'm not a big fan of the traditional Thanksgiving meal and neither is my brother so here's where the story starts the upturn.  I decided to make Mexican food, because that's always a hit with my family.  I knew there would be no complaints!  I made a big batch of Gluten-Free Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas because Mr. DD loves those.  But not everyone on my side of the family is a fan of chicken in Mexican food.  I decided we needed a beef option and I was almost embarrassed I made such a simple recipe for a birthday meal.  I also made a big pot of Cowboy Beans and a batch of Restaurant Style Mexican Relish.  I also made a batch of our newest favorite salsa.  We found Simple Salsa Mix at the boat show in Little Rock last year.  (Remember we went crazy and bought a boat!) It is THE BEST salsa.  It's a dry mix you simply mix a scoop with a can of diced or crushed tomatoes.  Perfect for camping and RVs.  Also perfect for people in quarantine who did nothing but go fishing and eat chips and salsa.  We love this mix in the cute little can so much we gave everyone a can for Christmas!  The salsa was a hit at the meal, it was hard to keep it a secret that everyone at the table had some under the Christmas tree.  And if you thought the salsa was a huge hit, the Easy Beef Enchiladas were the absolute star of the evening.  No one touched the chicken enchiladas. And they are excellent! The beef enchiladas casserole dish was wiped out.  I lost count of how many helpings my brother ate.  He thanked me a million times and even texted me later in the evening after he got home.  The next day he called and thanked me again and told me for the millionth time how much he loved the beef enchiladas and asked for the recipe.  He called Mom and told her a million times how much he loved the enchiladas.  At Christmas a month later he was still talking about the enchiladas.  They are so embarrassingly easy, but a definite crowd pleaser.  Amid all the chaos and negativity I'm happy to report our family has a new standby recipe that requires almost no effort. Here's hoping we can all enjoy meals like this with our families soon! 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Irish Coffee Custard

Little Devil and I have been on a quest to master Macarons.  If you've tried to make them, then you'll probably understand the need to perfect them.  It's addicting.  Not to mention even the rejects and failures still taste good.  I've probably tried again 10 or 12 times with varying levels of success and failure.  The other result of macaron trial and error is egg yolks.  Lots and lots of egg yolks.  So what do you do when you have an abundance of egg yolks and your husband asks "What did you make for dessert" every single night?!?  You master custard.  I've probably made custard 4 or 5 times now and unlike the macarons, the custards have been superb every time.  I've made vanilla custard, chocolate custard, chocolate peanut butter whiskey custard, and since St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner: Irish Coffee Custard.  I also had a semi-successful attempt at Irish Coffee Macarons (the Bailey's Buttercream filling was to die for!) but I'm more proud of the custard.  The secret ingredient is espresso powder.  If you're not familiar with it, it is definitely not the same as instant coffee.  It is made from dark roasted coffee beans that have been ground, brewed, dried and then pulverized into a very fine powder.  Think of it as an intensely dark and concentrated instant coffee.  But not for drinking, for desserts.   The strong, rich concentrated coffee flavor adds depth and flavor to everything from savory steak rubs to barbecue sauces to virtually any dessert, especially chocolate.  Want to impress your friends with brownies that taste better than anyone else's? Add a teaspoon or two of espresso powder to your batter.  Try it in chocolate chip cookies.  Coffee is a natural compliment to chocolate and will totally enhance the flavor.  What else tastes decadently delicious with coffee?  Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur of course!  It's an alcoholic beverage flavored with cream, cocoa and Irish whiskey.  Every single one of those ingredients pairs perfectly with coffee.  If you're looking for a satisfying after dinner dessert that's slightly different from the usual after dinner adult coffee, then this custard is for you!  It's smooth and velvety.  Thicker and richer than your average pudding and this version is definitely for grown ups.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Baked Feta Pasta: The Internet Sensation

When it comes to technology I'm always a day late.  I would probably still have a flip phone if it were up to me.  I still prefer turning an actual book page to an e-reader (although I do enjoy my Kindle on vacation, no longer having to haul tons of books in a suitcase...) And aside from sharing recipes, I'm not one to spend tons of time on social media platforms.  (I'd rather be fishing.) I'm not even on TikTok where a video of this recipe went viral.  From what I've read it's been viral for a while.  So I apologize if you heard about this a while ago, because it was all new to me.  The funny thing is the same week I made this recipe I had two friends tell me about it and saw countless variations of the recipe allover the internet, so it is still going strong and rightfully so, because it is tasty and super simple to prepare. From what I read this recipe went so crazy it may have been responsible for a temporary feta cheese shortage!  Olive oil, fresh tomatoes, tangy feta cheese.  One bowl preparation.  What's not to love?  No wonder it is literally the recipe that broke the internet (and the feta factory.)  Even the most novice cook can feel like a gourmet with this recipe.  Make sure and use a quality delicious tasting olive oil (we love this one) and we also love a French feta cheese.  There are several varieties out there but if you can get your hands on the French, it's the creamiest in texture.  I think it works better in this recipe than a drier, crumblier feta.  Definitely look for feta in block form instead of crumbles.  It makes for a better presentation too.  I even read that if your tomatoes are very ripe and starting to wrinkle that means they are at their sweetest, making the perfect compliment to the tangy feta cheese.  I used gluten-free penne pasta too, but feel free to use bow ties, orecchiette (little ears) or even radiatore (little radiators).  Whatever you choose will be delicious and if you want to get even fancier add some mushrooms, fresh herbs, or prosciutto.  Next time I will add some grilled chicken for a heartier meal.  

Hot, bubbly, cheesy goodness.
No wonder it took over the internet!

Place the olive oil and tomatoes
 in a baking dish.  Toss with olive oil.

Add feta cheese. (Maybe not this much)
Drizzle the cheese a little more with 
olive oil and season with cracked pepper.

Bake until hot and bubbly and the cheese starts 
to brown.  The tomatoes will start to burst and 
create the most delicious sauce.

Add fresh garlic and red pepper flakes.
Toss with pasta and fresh basil

Serve with garlic bread.  Next time
I'm going to add some sliced grilled chicken. 


2 Containers cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for finishing
8 ounce block of feta (I used two blocks and I think it was a little too much)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 pound pasta cooked according to package directions
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
handful fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Add 1/2 cup of olive oil into an oven proof baking dish.  Add whole cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Use the smallest dish possible to accommodate the tomatoes and cheese so the are close together.  Add the block of feta to the middle of the dish and drizzle with more olive oil and season with fresh pepper.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes.  Prepare the pasta according to package directions and drain.  After 30 minutes, increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and bake for another 5-10 minutes to make sure the feta is starting to brown and the tomatoes are starting to burst.  Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir in the minced garlic and red pepper flakes.  Toss this mixture with the cooked pasta and add the fresh basil.  Taste and season with more olive oil, salt and pepper if necessary.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Simple Pleasures: Creme Brulee

There's nothing I love more than dinner at a nice restaurant.  I always look forward to the dessert menu, because I love to make desserts and I'm always hoping to be inspired by something new and creative.  A lot of times though, regardless of how innovative the menu is, the dessert menu winds up being lackluster.  Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, Bread Pudding, Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream.  Not that there is anything at all wrong with those, but I've had and made most of them.  If I'm going to splurge on dessert, then I want something I can't make myself.  The exception to this of course is Creme Brulee.  I will always order Creme Brulee if I see it on a dessert menu! It's about the greatest dessert on earth.  And surprisingly simple.  6 ingredients total for the entire dessert.  And you thought you had to wait until your next trip to a fine restaurant?  No way.  It's a little like my Chocolate Souffle recipe.  It only sounds fancy when in fact this is not a difficult recipe to make.  Creme Brulee is French for "burnt creme."  It's a custard base with a caramelized layer of sugar on top.  The best part about this dessert besides eating it, is it can be prepared well in advance.  In fact in requires chilling for several hours.  That means you can make these the day before you want to serve them and all you have to do is caramelize the sugar before taking them to the table.  I posted this recipe many years ago, but made this recently and wanted to share it again.  We had a big Arctic freeze here in Oklahoma, including a snow storm on Valentine's Day so we opted to stay home for dinner.  We went old school with Steaks, Grilled Shrimp, Twice Baked Potatoes and my favorite, elegant but easy never fail dessert.  What are you waiting for?  Let's get started.  If you hurry you can have one for breakfast.

Whether at a fine restaurant or a meal
at home this remains one of our
family's favorite desserts.

Combine cream and salt in a saucepan.
In a mixing bowl combine egg yolks and sugar.
Bring cream to a simmer but do not boil. 
When the little bubbles start to form around
the edges of the pan, it is just about to the simmering point.
Remove cream from heat and gradually
add egg yolk mixture.
Stir gently until sugar is dissolved.
Stir in vanilla.

Place ramekins on a jelly roll pan and place in oven. 
Pour hot water around the ramekins.
(The water bath, or bain marie method is used
to keep a crust from forming on the outside
of the custard before the interior is fully cooked.)
Cover loosely with foil and bake 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Look how perfect they came out.
See?  I told you it was easy!  Chill for several hours.

Sprinkle the surface of the chilled custard
with sugar.  You can use brown sugar,
raw sugar, but you'll get the best caramelization
with granulated or superfine sugar.
Of course I didn't follow my own advice and used
Sugar in the Raw

Caramelize the sugar with a culinary torch
(You can also use your oven's broiler, as described below)

Last year for Father's Day, Mr. Devilish Dish got
a fancy new torch for searing things on the grill.
I wasn't sure if he was caramelizing sugar or welding.


As you can see our sugar layer
wasn't perfect.  Use the right sugar
for the job for best results.
The layer of sugar might not have been
perfect but the custard sure was. 
Look how decadent and smooth that is.

This is truly one of the most simple, yet
elegant desserts you can make.  I've been making
this for years, and we still enjoy it, even for
special occasions like Valentine's Day at home.

                   CREME BRULEE

3 cups heavy cream
dash of salt (I use Kosher)
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bean paste
6 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar

In a medium saucepan combine cream and salt.  Cook over medium heat until cream begins to simmer but does not boil.  In a mixing bowl combine egg yolks with the 2/3 cup of sugar, stirring well until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is a pale yellow.  Remove the cream from the heat and gradually add the egg mixture whisking entire time to prevent the eggs from scrambling.  Make sure sugar is fully dissolved and stir in the vanilla. Fill 6 heatproof custard cups or ramekins (6-8 ounces each) with the mixture and place in a large roasting pan or sheet pan.  Pour hot water into the roasting pan until the water rises about halfway up the outsides of the ramekins.  Cover pan loosely with foil Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove ramekins from oven.  Allow to cool and then chill in the refrigerator several hours or overnight.  When ready to serve sprinkle 1 tablespoon of granulated or superfine sugar over the top of each custard.  You can brown the sugar under a very hot broiler for a couple of minutes, or for a more even caramelization use a culinary torch.  Serve immediately.  These are delicious as they are or can be garnished with fresh berries. 

Yields: 6 custards

*This recipe was originally published on March 6, 2011 I just felt like adding a few updates and sharing it again.

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