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Taco Night!

Okay, I have no pictures, and I have only approximate measurements (I rarely measure things when I's a terrible downfall when you want to share recipes), but I made two things on taco night that turned out Ah-mazing, without even meaning to.  So, without further ado:

Smashed Black Beans
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed, and roughly smashed
2 tbsp sour cream
Juice from 1/2 lime (maybe 1-2 tsp?)

Combine these ingredients and mix, mix mix, then add, to taste: cumin powder, onion powder, chili powder (I used Mexican chili powder, but any will do), salt and pepper.  Mix, mix, mix again.  Top with your favorite shredded cheese (mine is Colby-Jack) and microwave for about 3 minutes.  They are deeeelicious and creamy.

Best Guacamole
1 ripe avocado, smashed
1 tbsp prepared salsa
1 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp red onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients, adjusting to your own personal taste.  Even my guacamole-and-avocado-in-general-hating hubby said, "this is the best guacamole, ever!"

Also - I highly recommend the tortillas you can buy at Costco that you cook yourself.  Fresh tortillas are the best.  You can find them in the freezer section.  Mmmm...I think I'll go cook one up right now.

Things My Husband Says, #1

Me: What do you call people who live in Belize?
D.H.: Belizians.  Belesbians - yep, that's it.  Belesbians.
Me: Oh, sure.  That sounds right.
D.H.  Belizee.  'That girl is hot, she looks Belizee.'

Me: Crap...the celery won't fit in the crisper drawer.
D.H.: If you use some of it, it will be gone.  *pause* What??


I'm taking the plunge

So I've been fantasizing for ages about being a stay-at-home wifey and having my own cooking website for all the recipes and such I experiment with throughout the day.

Well, that's not going to happen.

So I'm going to try and mix some cooking in with my usual life stuff.  Plus it'll make me keep my blog updated more often!  Bonus for all you loyal readers!  (Or reader, singular.  Whatever the case may be.)

So my first cooking-related post is this:  Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake.  Ever since I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I've been dying to try it out, and this past weekend, I did.  And it is just as amazing as you imagine it might be.

First of all, this recipe calls for 1 1/2 POUNDS of chocolate.  That's right, 24 ounces.  Three entire boxes of Baker's chocolate.  So right off you know it's awesome.

It also has two kinds of booze, half a package of Oreos, and three blocks of cream cheese.  AND it has 4 layers, including the crust, and at each stage of assembly I would taste and then swoon, prompting D.H. to tell me to "calm down, spaz."  Believe me, you won't be able to calm down.  Spaz.

Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 package Oreo cookies
4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
7 tbsp hot melted butter

1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
20 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Kahlua

3 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tbsp dark rum
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp molasses
3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Make Crust:
Pulse Oreos and chocolate in food processor until finely chopped.  Add brown sugar and nutmeg, pulse to combine, then add butter and pulse until everything pulls together.  Dump out into a 9-inch springform pan and press up sides then into bottom.  **AWESOME tip: stick your hand in a plastic bag to prevent everything from sticking to your fingers.**  Set crust aside.

Make Ganache:
Bring cream barely to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once it's boiling, turn off the heat and add the chopped up chocolate, and stir until smooth.  Add Kahlua and mix well.  Pour 2 cups of the ganache over the crust and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.  Save the remainder for decorating the top of the cake.

Make Filling
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar, and beat until smooth.  Add flour and beat again until smooth.  Combine the rum, espresso powder, vanilla, and molasses in a small bowl, stirring until the espresso powder dissolves, then add to the mixing bowl and mix until combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
Retrieve your crust/ganache creation from the freezer and pour the filling over the top.  Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and slide carefully into oven.  The baking sheet is an especially good idea for people like me, who put the bottom of the springform pan in upside down, so it leaks everywhere.  Bake at 350 for an hour, or until the cake is browned on top and only the center jiggles a little when you shake the pan.  Mine took about 75 minutes.  (I would like to point out that my cake didn't crack.  At all.  And I don't even know how I did it.  I am the Cheesecake Queen.)  When done, remove cake from oven, but keep the temp at 350.  Let the cake cool (and deflate a bit) for about 15 minutes while you make the topping.

Make Topping
Whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Smooth over the top of the cake and bake until the topping is set, 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on a metal rack in the fridge for about 3 hours
Use a small, sharp knife to release the cake from the sides of the pan, then (carefully) transfer the cake to a platter.  Use the left-over ganache to decorate the top of the cake as desired.  Or just leave it plain and eat the ganache with strawberries, as I was sorely tempted to do.  Instead I acted the love-struck schoolgirl that I am and decorated it like this:

Cool fully before digging in - at least 6 hours, even better overnight.

Depending on your tolerance for incredibly rich fare, this serves 8-30 people.  I cut mine into about 20 pieces, and those were PLENTY big.  After eating a 1-inch slice each, all the hubby and I could do was sit on the couch, moaning in delicious ecstasy.  


Because I'm Lazy...

I guess I'm never going to have the energy to actually post pictures from the wedding, and tell the whole story, you can go here, enter the password (it's "2010") and look at our photographer's photos of our wedding weekend.  She did an incredible job.  You can also go here and see our family and friends' pics from the weekend.

The only thing I can say is this: I want to go back and do it all over again.  And again, and again, and again, because it was the most fun I've ever had.  The resort was kick-ass, the food was amazing, the drinks were plentiful (I drank more mojitos than I care to even count!), and having our family and close friends there was the icing on the cake.  Or the lime in the tequila.

Speaking of tequila, I don't think I'll be having any for a long time - blame the wedding-night-after-party-at-the-tequila-bar.  Where Tonya may or may not have had 7 shots of tequila.  In a 2-hour time frame.  Then possibly ate her 3am room service club sandwich while laying with her head against the mattress.  And to top it off, she might have fallen asleep in the tub, waking who-knows-how-long later to cold water and pruny fingers.  But this is all hearsay.  It probably didn't happen.

Anyway...the cocktail party the night before the wedding was fantastic, with great food, a real, live donkey, and a mariachi band.  The wedding day was perfect (and hot! if you can't tell from the pictures of my fading hair and makeup), the ceremony was short and sweet, and the reception was great fun with good food and dancing and drinking.  Everyone had SUCH a wonderful time.

All our guests left by Sunday afternoon, and D.H. and I had a fabulous week together doing absolutely nothing.  Laying on the beach or by the pool.  Reading.  Napping.  Eating (so much eating!).  It was heavenly.  Absolutely the best time, EVER.