From the outside, the Hugs Café in downtown McKinney, Texas looks like any other restaurant, but those who step inside know they’ve stumbled into a very special place.
Sweet And Sour Sauce
This comes together in about the time it takes to order takeout, and is miles more nuanced than your average Chinese restaurant's sweet and sour sauce. Ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, and rice or cider vinegar are boiled together with water (though pineapple juice makes for a tasty tropical twist), and thickened to the perfect dipping consistency with a little cornstarch slurry. Serve this with egg rolls, wontons, rangoons, and whatever other fried foods you want to perk up. Feel free to add some heat to the sauce with minced ginger, garlic, or chiles (or all three).
For these Rice Krispy Treats, we mixed in kettle-cooked potato chips for added crunch and a salty kick, upped the decadence with chocolate-covered peanuts, and added another level of sweetness with toasty graham crackers.
Basic Vegetable Soup
This soup is an equally wonderful way to use up all the leftover veggie odds and ends in your fridge, or to celebrate the freshest produce in season by buying it specifically for the dish (and if you get a CSA box, it can serve both purposes). Whatever vegetables you use, this is an easy, nutritious, and delicious meal, and endlessly customizable. Fresh pesto makes a great, vibrant garnish, but you could also simply sprinkle on a bit of grated Parmesan and cracked black pepper.
Oven-ready in just 20 minutes, these whole-grain donuts are much lighter in calories and sugar than the typical sour cream cake donut. Topped with a touch of glaze and nutty pecans, these delightful bites are a truly satisfying breakfast treat.
Basic Chocolate Mousse
Simultaneously rich and light, chocolate mousse just requires a little bit of finesse, and the freshest, best-quality ingredients (eggs, chocolate, and cream) you can procure. Be sure to chill your cream very well and get every speck of water out of the bowl and whisk you'll use for the egg whites, then use a light hand when folding in the whipped cream, and you'll have a perfectly fluffy and decadent dessert.