Cat and I cook well together because often my issue is lack of inspiration, and Cat’s issue is lack of desire to do the thing.
So when she finds something she’s interested in eating, it’s great because I’m usually interesting in making it!
To go with our Pizza Balls the other day Cat suggested we try this recipe for Chocolate Pots de Creme from Food Network and I was psyched about how easy the recipe looked.
They ended up being exactly as easy to make as they looked, and as delicious as I thought they would be. Incredibly rich and very chocolaty.
The main issue I had with these was that though I followed the recipe to a ‘T’ (not something I usually do), and gave them greater refrigeration time then said necessary, they turned out to be not as thick as advertised.
I would suggest that when you make this recipe that you either give them at least 4 hours in the refrigerator before eating, and or mix about a teaspoon or two of cream of tartar in with the sugar.
Secondly, not an issue with the recipe, but a heads up that this would lend itself perfectly for flavor ad-ins! Mint extract, orange extract, vanilla, almond! So many possibilities!
5 tablespoons granulated sugar (add an extra tablespoon if using bitter chocolate)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
Place the chocolate in a blender. Whisk the milk, 1 cup cream, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula and almost boiling, 5 to 6 minutes.
Immediately pour the milk mixture over the chocolate in the blender. Cover and hold the lid with a thick kitchen towel; blend until combined and smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins or small cups and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
Whip the remaining ½ cup cream and the confectioners' sugar with a mixer or in the blender until soft peaks form. Top the chilled pots de creme with whipped cream.
I will definitely be making these again with some of those flavor adjustments.
There are a lot of benefits to having guests assemble their own food. They get the flavor profile they want, with ingredients in the exact proportions they desire. You don’t have do the assembling, which is also nice. I like that part.
The drawbacks are usually that you have to use more dishes – extra spoons for serving, extra dishes for assembling. And there can be more food waste, despite the fact that, rather than leave out an entire jar of (food thing), I put out a portion that I think will last the group (that way just the small portion spoils from being left out all evening instead of the jar). It also takes more time, but that can be part of the fun of the evening.
We’re clearly big fans of assemble-your-own-whatevers here at Qwerty Cafe. I’ve pulled together some of the greatest hits for the next time you want to try it yourself. Heads up: this seems to work best for groups under 10 people. More and it starts getting really complicated juggling space on the counter for assembly as well as space in the (cooking appliance) for things that require heat.
Fall starts September 23rd, which means summer is nearly over. Good riddance, frankly – there’s something about heat that makes my brain shut down. The only thing I’m really going to miss is the lovely produce — tomatoes in particular.
(Admittedly not the prettiest tomato photo)
Thanks to the generosity of my friends (and occasionally a good find at a farmer’s market), I’ve had more than my fair share of really delicious heirloom tomatoes this growing season. The kind that you can just slice up, sprinkle with a little salt, and enjoy the hell out of.
They’re also great in the heat – some of my favorite no-cook meals rely heavily on good tomatoes. This tomato basil mozzarella appetizer, for instance. It’s a relief to avoid heating up the house by way of an oven.
A few years ago, the great Oprah turned me on to another no-cook, delightfully tomato-centric recipe that’s perfect on a hot day: a simple tomato sandwich.
So simple, in fact, it kind of sounds like it’s missing something (for BLT fans, it’s basically “missing” lettuce and bacon. But you really don’t need those with an especially lovely tomato.)
(Looks are deceiving – this thing was freaking delicious).
Get yourself to the farmer’s market, pick up some tomatoes, and give this a try before summer is over. 🙂
We created this space in 2013 as a home for recipes, reviews, and entertaining tips for those on the nerdier end of the spectrum. We're on vacation at the moment, but there are usually new posts every Thursday. Sometimes more, if you're lucky.
With our powers combined, we represent a culinary school grad, an aspiring astronaut, a culinary school dropout, social nerds, gamers, cinephiles, bibliophiles, laqueristas, food fanatics, social anxiety disorders, and more. It’s fun stuff. Oh! And Brandie is wife to Adam who is brother to Brie who is cousin to Cat! Clearly nerdiness runs in this family.
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