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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bubbly Gin and Grapefruit Cocktail

Last year was the first time I tasted gin and grapefruit juice together.  My eyes were opened! Gin and tonics never impressed my taste buds, so I had all but given up on the liquor. Enter tart and tangy grapefruit juice. The grapefruit bitterness cuts the herbal note of the gin, and you are instead left with a fruity, floral combination with a kick.
I like a strong cocktail and this is one of my favorites. It hits the right bit of sweet, tart, bitter, and sour which a perfect cocktail must achieve. Let me know if you agree!

Bubbly Gin and Grapefruit Cocktail

Ingredients:

1 Ounce Gin
1 Ounce Grapefruit Juice
1 Ounce Sparkling Wine
1/2 Ounce of Sweet Vermouth
Several Splashes of Bitters

Preparation:

In a cocktail mixer, with some ice, pour in all ingredients except the sparkling wine. Shake a few good times, then pour through your strainer into a cocktail glass. Top with the sparkling wine!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chocolate Truffles Three Ways


Each year I endeavor to come up with a new home-made Christmas item. This year, I was a little slow off the mark, but Design Sponge shared a brilliant idea. These truffles from Johnny Battles of Sweeteeth were so inventive that I had to give them a try, (with a twist, of course!) Here, I have down-sized the recipe a bit and used another three combinations of flavors: Lavender and Star Anise; Pink Peppercorn and Orange; and Vanilla Curry. These are very easy to make and you could add any of your own flavors, as it is so easy to modify! Thank you so much to Mr. Johnny Battles and Design Sponge! I feel like I might actually be ready for Christmas now!

Lavender and Star Anise Chocolate Truffles

Yield: Approximately 40 Truffles.

Ingredients:

7 Ounces of 60% Dark Chocolate (From a bar, not baking chocolate)
6 Ounces of Heavy Cream
2 Ounces of Light Corn Syrup
1 Tablespoon of Star Anise
3 3 Inch Sprigs of Lavender
1/2 Cup of Cocoa Powder for Dusting

Cooking:

Chop your chocolate into small bits. The smaller you chop, the quicker it will melt and you will have less issues making the ganache smooth. Place the bits into a large glass or stainless bowl. In a saucepan on the stove, heat the cream, corn syrup, star anise and lavender on high heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and cover for 15 minutes. Place back on eye and heat until it comes to a boil again. Pour through a fine mesh strainer over chocolate. With a whisk, beat the chocolate cream mixture until there are no lumps and it is smooth. You can re-heat it over a double boiler or for 10 second intervals in the microwave if it cools too much and there are still lumps. I didn't have this problem though, so hopefully you will not. Pour into a shallow glass or metal pan. Cover with plastic wrap, with the wrap pressed to the ganache mixture. Cool in the fridge for approximately 1-1/2 hours, or until it is set. It will be firm, but still gives a little when you press it. Take a pan and sift cocoa powder into it. Remove the cooled ganache from the fridge. With a small spoon, gather approximately 3/4 teaspoon of the mixture (this does not have to be accurate at all, they're fun when uneven) and roll in your hands to soften the edges, then drop into the cocoa. Coat them entirely in the cocoa and place in an air-tight container. These will keep in the fridge for up to 8 months!


Pink Peppercorn and Orange Chocolate Truffles

Yield: Approximately 40 Truffles.

Ingredients:

7 Ounces of 60% Dark Chocolate (From a bar, not baking chocolate)
6 Ounces of Heavy Cream
2 Ounces of Light Corn Syrup
1 Tablespoon of Pink Peppercorns, Crushed in a Mortar and Pestle
3 3 Inch Pieces of Orange Peel, without Pith
1/2 Cup of Cocoa Powder for Dusting

Cooking:

Repeat above, but substitute Pink Peppercorns and Orange Peel for Star Anise and Lavender.




Vanilla Curry Chocolate Truffles


Yield: Approximately 40 Truffles.

Ingredients:

7 Ounces of 60% Dark Chocolate (From a bar, not baking chocolate)
6 Ounces of Heavy Cream
2 Ounces of Light Corn Syrup
1 Vanilla Bean

2 Teaspoons of Curry Powder

1/2 Cup of Cocoa Powder for Dusting



Cooking:


Slice the vanilla bean down the length and scrape the seeds from the inside. Put both the bean and seeds into the cream, along with 1 teaspoon of the curry powder. Repeat as above without the Star Anise and Lavender. For the dusting, add the remaining teaspoon of curry powder into the cocoa pan for a little extra punch!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Earl Grey Shortbreads

One of the many things I love about food blogging is the welcoming community of other food bloggers. Last month, my friend, Kristina,  who is a fabulous blogger and crafter, told me about the GIANT food blogger cookie swap happening this year. Julie of The Little Kitchen and Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil collaborated on organizing one of the largest cookie swaps ever, with over 22,000 cookies being mailed out! I really wanted to be a part of something that big! It was such fun to develop a recipe, come up with some cute packaging and send out a dozen cookies to each of these fabulous bloggers: Bibberche, Snack Time Munchies, and Sorelle e Cibo. In return, I received some chocolate biscotti dipped in peppermint candy from Shannon The Cookie Monster, some sprinkled chocolate thumbprint cookies from Natalie of Oven Love, and I also received some great hazelnut cookies, but I'm not sure who they were sent by!
I am a huge fan of tea, which you may already know, so I am constantly coming up with things into which I might incorporate tea flavors.  This recipe idea came to me from a Food and Wine Magazine recipe for Green Tea Sables. My recipe is a little more complicated, though, because with Earl Grey, you have to steep the tea into the butter to infuse the flavor. I feel it's definitely worth the extra effort!  The Bergamot in the Earl Grey gives these buttery cookies just the slightest floral note, perfect for an afternoon snack.

Earl Grey Shortbreads

Yield: 36 Cookies

Ingredients:

3 Sticks of Butter, at Room Temperature
3-1/2 Tablespoons of Loose Leaf Earl Grey Tea
2-1/2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
1-1/4 Cups of Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon of Salt

Cooking:

In a saucepan, put in the 3 sticks of butter and melt on low, careful not to let it boil. When the butter has completely melted, add in the tea. Remove from the heat. Let the tea steep in the butter for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Line a dish with plastic wrap and pour in the melted butter through a fine mesh sieve. Press the the tea leaves to squeeze out any remaining butter. Place the strained butter in the fridge and let cool until solid. (This can be made ahead.) Remove the butter from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. In a mixer, whip the room temperature butter until light and fluffy on high speed. Add in, slowly, the sugar. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Next, with the mixer on slow, add in the flour mixture. Continue mixing until the butter mixture is incorporated into the dry. Remove from the mixing bowl and bring together two disks. Wrap in plastic and allow to cool for 20 minutes in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 325. Remove your dough and roll out the mixture on a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/4 inch. The dough will be slightly crumbly, but as you roll it out, it should begin to stick together. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 inch by 2 inch strips. Place on a greased cookie sheet or a silicone baking mat with about 3/4 inch space around each cookie. Bake for approximately 14-16 minutes. The cookies will be just very, very slightly golden at the corners. Let them cool completely before removing them from the cookie sheet.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Golden Holiday Table Setting

After much deliberation, I have decided that I would like to incorporate the design of entertaining into FoodVictorian. This is the first of a new series called, Tablescaping! I love having parties and a lot of the fun of a party, for me, is the decorating. So, without further ado...

If you haven't seen This is Glamorous yet, it's a gorgeous blog, filled with lovely, lovely images and thoughts.

via Belgian Pearls via This is Glamorous

I love this golden, extravagant holiday table setting! Wouldn't this make the most lovely dinner party? Minty greens, blacks, linen, silver and golds...what a pretty color palette!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Creamy Liver Salad



Since I talk so frequently of using whole chickens, and the goodies that come along with the chicken, I wanted to share a recipe for the liver. I am well aware that liver is an acquired taste, one that I was not a fan of until very recently. Even the name does nothing for it...liver is an awful word rolling off the tongue.
The Shed at Glenwood is responsible for opening my mind again to this little loved meat product. They make an incredible chicken liver and bacon bruschetta! My recipe is similar, but I decided to forgo the bacon and keep it simple. Having come to love it, I am hoping that I may convince you to taste it with fresh taste buds!

Creamy Liver Salad

Ingredients:

1 Chicken Liver
1 Green Onion, Thinly Sliced
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons of Mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper
1 Piece of Toast 

Cooking:

Pour your oil into a frying pan on medium heat. Let the oil get hot, you will see the oil begin to shimmer in the pan. Salt and pepper your liver, then using tongs, place into the frying pan. The liver will cook very quickly, just a couple of minutes on each side.  You will want a little color on it, but don't burn it. Remove the liver from the pan and chop into small bits. Place the green onions into the frying pan. Cook until just slightly softened. The color will go even brighter green. In a bowl, combine your liver, onions, and mayonnaise. Add a little more salt and pepper to taste, then spread on toast and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Coke Can Chicken

I love buying a whole chicken at the market, and I am a really big proponent of organic, cage-free chickens. Yes, they can be more expensive, but the flavor is so much better. Buying whole is a way to keep your meat costs down, as you pay extra for someone else to butcher the chicken. The great bonus about a whole chicken are the bones for stock, the liver and heart for frying up (perfect with eggs for breakfast!)
This is a really popular method of cooking chicken, but my husband and I just recently started making it. He has been making this dish lately, with a beer can, and I cannot get over how moist and delicious the chicken meat tastes. I wanted to do a version with soda to see if the flavor noticeably changed, but I came to the conclusion that it's not very important what is in the can, so long as it's steaming the chicken from the interior while the skin roasts.
Last week, I made a version roasting two of my favorite vegetables, fennel and cauliflower, in the pan, and coating the chicken with a peppery, anise flavored rub to compliment those two vegetables. It's one of my favorite yet.


Pepper Anise Rub

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Black Peppercorns
1 Teaspoon of Thyme
1 Teaspoon of Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon of Caraway Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon of Red Pepper
1 Star Anise

Preparation:

In a spice grinder, or a mortar and pestle, grind your spices together until mostly smooth.


Coke Can Chicken

Ingredients:

1 Whole Chicken

1 Can of Coke, Half Empty (Or beer, or any other 12 oz can of beverage you like!)

1 Head of Cauliflower, Chopped Roughly
2 Bulbs of Fennel, Sliced Thinly
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon of Salt 
Pepper Anise Rub

Cooking:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Pat the chicken dry and coat the entire bird in the rub. Place the coke can upright in a roasting pan and place the bird carefully over it. The can should almost entirely fit within the bird and it will keep the bird upright. Place the vegetables around the bird in the pan and sprinkle on the salt and olive oil. Put the pan into the oven and roast for one and a half hours. Carefully remove the bird and carve!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sweet Potato Meringue Tartlets


I'm not a particularly picky eater, but there are a few things that I won't eat, and sweet potatoes are one of them. However, my husband loves them, and since we are celebrating his 30th birthday next week, I felt I should make something just for him. Inspired by Tartelette's gorgeous pumpkin tarts, I made a sweet potato version. You can tell that I have a long way to go before I reach her level, but it was fun to try something a little more advanced. For the crust, I modified Grace Parisi's delicious recipe a bit, and for the filling, it's an adaptation of a sweet potato cheese cake recipe, topped with toasted meringue.

Sweet Potato Meringue Tartlets

Makes approximately 12 Tartlets or 2 Whole Pies

Crust Ingredients:

1-1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Stick of Butter, Chopped into Tablespoon Sized Bits
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
1/4 Cup of Ice Water


Preparation:

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients with the exception of the ice water. Pulse until the butter is in small crumb pieces. Slowly drizzle the ice water into the mix while pulsing. Once the mixture is moistened, remove from the food processor onto a sheet of plastic wrap and gather into a ball, wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This dough can be made ahead.

Cooking:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness and place into a ramekin or pie tin (you can also make these in regular sized pie tins.) Trim the excess dough. Fill the crust with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove crust. Drop the oven temperature down to 375 degrees, and remove the pie weights or beans, and bake until golden brown.

Sweet Potato Filling

Ingredients:

2 Cups of Sweet Potatoes, Cooked
1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
2 Eggs
4 Ounces of Cream Cheese
2 Tablespoons of Sugar 
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla

1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon of Salt
1/8 Teaspoon of Ground Allspice
1/8 Teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg
1/8 Teaspoon of Cayenne

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In an electric mixer, combine all the ingredients and whip on high speed until they are fully combined and light and fluffy. Pour into the crust. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the filling is fully set.


Meringue Topping

Ingredients:

4 Egg Whites
1/4 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
3 Tablespoon of Agave Nectar (If you don't have Agave Nectar, you can substitute 5 Tablespoons of confectioner's sugar)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to broil. In a mixer on high, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar together until it is a soft foam. Begin adding your agave nectar (or sugar) and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. In a piping bag, or a plastic sandwich bag with the tip cut off, pipe small dots of meringue across the pie surface. Place the pies back into the oven for approximately 1 minute or until the tips of the meringue are just toasted.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Cheddar Spread


With the holidays rapidly approaching, and numerous events to attend, I wanted to share one of my easy, go-to party recipes. It's dead simple and it's delicious on crackers, sandwiches, burgers, you name it! This is really my version of pimento cheese, but I like using roasted red peppers for a slightly different kick.

Roasted Red Pepper and Cheddar Spread

Ingredients:

1 Pound of Cheddar, Grated (You can do this very easily with the food processor)
3/4 Pound of Cream Cheese
7 Ounces of Roasted Red Peppers, Drained
2 Tablespoons of Hot Sauce
2/3 Teaspoon Paprika
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Preparation:

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth. You can add more hot sauce if you like a little more heat. Scoop out of the processor and serve!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Green Tea and Dark Chocolate Scones

I have a weakness for all things British, especially proper tea time. I think there is something lovely about breaking the day just before evening falls with a light snack and some caffeine. The caffeine part is probably not the best habit for a good night's rest, but I do love strong black tea! 
Scones are a traditional offering for tea, the soft crumbly texture goes down very well with a strong cuppa. These scones use the same ingredient in a Starbucks Green Tea Latte, Green Matcha. Matcha is a finely ground high grade green tea, and you can find it at tea stores, or online. I got mine here and you can use it to make green tea lattes at home, as well as scones! A little goes a long way and the flavor is more intense than with the whole leaves. 
In this recipe, the bitterness of the chocolate perfectly offsets the sweet, fragrant green tea and helps keep the scone a little more moist. I also think that chocolate makes everything better! 

Green Tea and Dark Chocolate Scones
Ingredients:

2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup of Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
6 Tablespoons of Cold Butter, Chopped into Small 1/2 inch Cubes
1 Ounce of 70% Dark Chocolate, Chopped into Small Bits
1 Large Egg
1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream, plus 2 Tablespoons
2 Teaspoons of Green Matcha

Cooking:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and whisk together. Put in the cold butter cubes and with a pastry blender or a fork, mash the butter into the dried mixture until the mixture is crumbly with pieces no larger than a pea. Put the chocolate into the dry mix. Meanwhile in a saucepan, pour 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and the matcha powder. Whisk the two together on medium heat. Remove the cream from the heat as soon as it starts to bubble. Whisk occasionally until the cream comes to room temperature. Whisk the egg into the cream. The cream must be room temperature or it will cook the egg. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir with a spatula until the dry ingredients are moistened. Take your hands and gather the dough into a ball against the bowl. When it is coming together in one piece, roll or flatten the mound out on a lightly floured surface. You can use your hands to flatten the dough. It needs to be about an inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into wedges. Place on a greased cookie sheet or a silicone sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining heavy cream. Bake for 10-12 minutes. They cook very quickly. You want the edges to be just lightly browned, but no more than that as they will get very dry. Remove and allow the scones to cool before serving.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple and Smoked Bacon Salmon Patties

Growing up part of a large southern family, you learn to cook for many, rather than few and the recipes shared are always budget-friendly. I can remember going to my grandparents house, helping to make drop biscuits and salmon patties for twenty people, while busily catching up on the weekly gossip. Sometimes when I'm feeling especially nostalgic, picking the bones from a can of salmon, squishing the mixture between my fingers and hearing the sounds of grease spattering soothes the longing for days past. 
Apple and Smoked Bacon Salmon Patties

Ingredients:

1 Can of Salmon
4 Slices of Smoked Bacon
1 Small Apple, Diced
1/2 Red Onion, Diced
2 Tablespoons of Water
1/2 Cup of Whole Oats
1/4 Cup of Flour
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon of Salt and Black Pepper, Each
Cooking:

Carefully pick the bones from the salmon, and then wash the salmon in a fine mesh strainer to remove most of the fishiness. Fry the bacon in a large pan and reserve the grease for frying the patties. Remove the bacon and chop. Toss in your onions and apples into the bacon pan. Add the water to degrease the pan, be sure to scrape up the brown bits from the bacon. Once the onions are translucent, pour them into a large mixing bowl with your salmon, bacon, oats, flour, eggs, salt and pepper. Stir until combined. In the same frying pan, pour a tablespoon of grease back into it, and bring it up to medium heat. Take a ball of mixture about 2 inches in diameter and flatten into a 3/4 inch disk. Place into your frying pan. You can add multiple patties, but there should be about an inch around each patty for even frying and maneuvering. You will probably need to do this in several batches, adding more grease as needed. Fry each patty until golden brown on each side. Remove and place on a baking sheet. Once all patties are fried, finish them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 

The classic preparation for a salmon patty is in a drop biscuit with yellow mustard, but you can eat them in any way. In the picture above, I used a dijon mustard with capers and honey.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes


With the last rays of summer drifting away, I am slowly, slowly adapting to fall. Actually, I think I'm getting into fall, and then, with a new week, another cold front moves in and I want summer back all over again! So, clinging to the last warmth of the year, but acknowledging that summer is gone and we need something hearty,  I'm sharing my Quinoa Stuffed Tomato recipe. 
Quinoa, if you haven't already heard of it, is an amazing Peruvian grain. I use it like couscous, and it's so much better for you. It's a fantastic source of protein, and it takes flavor wonderfully!

Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients:
4 Large Beefsteak Tomatoes
1/2 Onion, Diced
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Cup of Quinoa (Black or White or Mixed, as Shown Above)
2 Cups of Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 Tablespoon of Butter
1 Teaspoon of Cumin
1 Teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes
4 Tablespoons of Crumbled Feta Cheese
Salt to Taste

Cooking:

Slice the tops off the tomatoes, just at the apex of the curve so that you have a nice bowl shape. Take the tops and dice the edible bits to reserve. Scoop out the innards of the tomatoes carefully with a spoon and place those with the diced tops. You may need a knife to cut away the spines from the outer walls of the tomato. 
In a small dutch oven, pour in your olive oil and saute your onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add in the the reserved tomato guts, cumin and red pepper flakes. Stir for another minute. Add in the quinoa, butter and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the stock is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add salt to your taste. Removed the quinoa from the stove. 
On a baking sheet, place your 4 tomato bowls. Fill them with the quinoa mixture and top with a tablespoon of feta. Place into an oven at 375 degrees. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the feta is browned just slightly at the top.





Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lavender Chai Tea


With the advent of fall, I start thinking of amazing warm drinks. A fantastic blog, called Three Many Cooks, wrote a post in January this year called Spiced Chai Concentrate. It's one of the best tea recipes I've ever tasted, and you can make it at home! It's better than any chain-coffee-store chai that I've tried. It's also very adaptable! I don't particularly like the orange flavor in my tea, so the recipe I used below leaves that out. While I was in Chicago this summer, my friend, James, introduced me to another awesome version of chai, Lavender Chai. Inspired, I decided to take the Spiced Chai Concentrate recipe and add my own lavender twist. While chatting with one of my foodie friends, Paul, he suggested infusing the milk with lavender. Brilliant! 

Spiced Chai Concentrate  

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons of Strong Black Tea (I prefer Darjeeling or Ceylon, but if you don't have loose leaf tea, use 5 Twinings English Breakfast teabags)
4 Cups of Water
2 Cinnamon Sticks
10 Cloves
5 Allspice Berries
2 Star Anise
1 Teaspoon of Fresh Ginger
A Pinch of Fresh Nutmeg 
1 Tablespoon of Honey
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar

Cooking: 

In a stock pot, pour in all of your ingredients except the honey, vanilla and sugar. Bring this to a boil, then immediately remove from the heat and cover for 15-20minutes. In a pitcher, pour in your honey, sugar and vanilla. With a mesh strainer, pour in your steeped tea into the pitcher. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. I like to store my tea in a resealable bottle. This will keep for at least a week, but I bet it won't last that long!


Lavender Cream

Ingredients:

4 Pieces of 3" Long Fresh Lavender
3/4 Cup of Half and Half

Cooking: 

In a saucepan, pour in your half and half. Bring it to just barely simmering. Remove from heat and stir in the lavender pieces. Let sit until cool, then strain and store.


Lavender Chai Tea

Preparation:
Pour in the Spiced Chai Tea Concentrate to the Lavender Cream in a 2 to 1 ratio. Warm in the microwave or the stovetop. Enjoy! 

*I want to add a note to this recipe. I'm aware that lots of the spices above can be expensive, but I recommend going to the Dekalb Farmer's Market for your spice source if you're in the Atlanta area. The spices are very affordable there! Also, all of these spices are great to have on hand if you like Indian food! If you don't have the whole spices in your cabinet, don't panic. I have made this using the ground versions with great success, you just need to strain it through a bit of cloth* 



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chicago Edition/Best Brunch in My Life!


Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago with my husband. He was working for most of the trip, so I took advantage of my time alone and checked out some new (to me) eats. My first stop on the mini-culinary tour was a small, off-the-tourist-path place, called Jam. Jam is located in Chicago's West Town, on N. Damen Avenue, which is a hub of design-oriented shops. (Check out Design Sponge's Chicago guide for shop recommendations here.)

My rule for new places, is that I must try the weirdest thing on the menu that still sounds yummy. At Jam, I had a hard time deciding, as they offer Malted Custard French Toast! However, I decided that was not the most unusual thing on the menu and I went for the Lemon Cured Whitefish Quiche. I am not kidding when I say this was the best brunch item I have ever tasted! The quiche was built in terrine like layers, with the creamy egg on the bottom, whitefish ceviche in the center, and another layer of egg on top. The brightness of the lemon combined with the creamy egg and buttery crust was amazing! Alongside the quiche was a fantastic panzanella salad of bagel chips, more whitefish, pickled pearl onions and fried capers. I wanted to ask for another order to go for my hotel room, and another to take back with me on the plane. It was that good! And it didn't hurt that the little garden I dined in was super charming!


Next stop, Black Dog Gelato, also located on N. Damen, just a couple blocks down from Jam. It was a hot day and I needed something to cool off. I couldn't resist a sample of the bleu cheese-walnut-balsamic flavor, so creative and surprisingly tasty. In the end, I went for the cucumber-rose water alongside some cantaloupe gelato. The cucumber-rose water was light and refreshing, with that lovely, floral undertone. And the cantaloupe tasted as if they had frozen a whole cantaloupe and pureed it! Super fresh and fruity!


On my last day of the whirlwind trip, I wanted to stop by one of the local chef celebrity places. Grahamwich, is Graham Elliot's, whom you might recognize from Fox's Master Chef, sandwich shop. Again, I wanted to try something a little different. I'm a fan of a grilled cheese, but Chef Elliot's version sounded crazy! With Wisconsin Cheddar, Italian Proscuitto, Tomato Marmalade, Cheese Curds on a Pullman Loaf, it was a heart attack in a sandwich, but you will definitely die happy eating this grilled cheese. The tart tomato marmalade really came through and accented the salty proscuitto and creamy cheddar. The curds just added a bit more texture to the delicious, creamy ooziness.

I hope to share a Lavender Chai recipe from the yummy bakery that my friend took me to, and also, maybe he'll share the fantasticly creamy chocolate cupcake recipe he makes for them. It was incredible, and he told me that the secret is to strain the batter through a mesh sieve! Unbelievable! 

I had a wonderful time in Chi-town and I can't wait to get back up there and try the hundreds of places I missed. It's an incredible city for food, and there's never enough time to try them all!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bacon Corn Chowder

 



With fresh summer corn almost disappearing for the season, I felt I should make some corn chowder. After tasting a version of this recipe in a Williams-Sonoma store, I wanted to give it a go. The sweet, creamy corn lends itself perfectly to pairing with salty, crunchy bacon!


Bacon Corn Chowder

Ingredients:
1/2 Red Onion, Diced
6 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
4 Strips of Bacon
3 Large Ears of Un-Shucked Corn
6 New Potatoes
64 Ounces of Chicken Stock
1 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
3 Sprigs of Thyme
2 Cups of Milk
Salt and Pepper

Cooking:

Fry your bacon until crispy on medium-heat. Reserve the bacon strips and pour 2 tablespoons of bacon grease into a large stock pot or dutch oven. Turn the pot to medium heat and add your onions and garlic. Saute until the onions are translucent. Meanwhile, turn your oven to broil and place your ears of corn on the racks. Turn until the husks blacken a bit on all sides. This will steam the corn on the inside of the husk and add a smoky flavor. Remove the corn from the oven and discard the husks. Take a knife and cut the kernels from the cob. Add the potatoes, thyme, cayenne, stock, milk, cobs and kernels to your pot once the onions are translucent. Cook on low heat for 30 minutes. Remove the cobs and sprigs of thyme from the pot. In a blender or food processor, puree all of the potatoes with half of the soup mix. Stir the blended mix back into the soup pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chop your reserved bacon into bits, pour the soup into bowls and sprinkle the bacon on top!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fried Egg and Mushroom Toasts

I think I may have said before, but Brunch is my most favorite meal! I just cannot think of a single thing wrong with a leisurely weekend morning that ends in a meal half-breakfast, half-lunch, especially when combined with a spicy Bloody Mary. Occasionally, I will make a tartine for a quick brunch. Tartines are open faced sandwiches, meaning they can be extra messy (in the best way) because you're not eating them with your hands. This is a recipe that I have basically adapted from Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home Series (my favorite cooking show.) You can watch their great mushroom hunt here. I love the idea of foraging in the woods for a good breakfast!

Fried Egg and Mushroom Tartine

Ingredients:

2 Pints of Cremini Mushrooms, Sliced
6 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
6 Stems of Fresh Thyme
2 Tablespoons of Butter
2 Tablespoons of Half and Half
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup of Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon of Hot Mustard
1 Teaspoon of White Wine Vinegar (or a Citrus Vinegar)
2 Slices of Buttered Toast 
Salt and Pepper


Cooking:

Grab a frying pan, pour in your oil, and turn the stove heat to medium-high. You want to wait until the pan is nice and hot. Once hot, toss in your creminis, thyme and garlic. Stirring often, wait until the mushrooms have cooked down until nice and brown. They will be about half their original size. Add in your half and half and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Stir until the butter is melted, then pour into a bowl and set aside. Place your remaining butter in the mushroom pan and fry your eggs. Meanwhile, mix your yogurt, mustard, vinegar and a salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. To assemble, take your toasts and spread your yogurt sauce on, then top with your mushrooms, and finally your fried egg!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Puttanesca and Mice

Lately, I've been feeling the need for salty capers and olives with summer tomatoes. I've had Puttanesca twice this week, and I don't think it will stop there. It's by far one of my favorite quick pasta dishes to throw together. Since my best friend and I cooked some in Baltimore, it brings back wonderful memories, memories of red wine, setting up her fresh new apartment, and a delightful little mouse visitor! We were dining and feeling so proud of our accomplishments, when I looked over at the stove. A tiny mouse had crawled up from the gas eye and was checking out our leftovers. After I began sing-songing, "there's a mouse on the stove, there's a mouse on the stove...," my friend hopped up and shooed him away. Puttanesca will now, forever, remind me of her and that little guy!

Pasta Puttanesca

Ingredients:

1/2 Vidalia Onion, Chopped
3 Anchovy Filets
4 Cloves of Garlic, 2 Very Thinly Sliced, 2 Minced
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Capers
8 Black Kalamata Olives, Pits Removed and Chopped
1-1/2 Cups of Tomato Sauce 
3 Tablespoons of Red Wine
1 Teaspoon of Sriracha Sauce, or Red Rooster Sauce
2 Cups of Fusili or Penne
2 Teaspoons of Salt
2 Tablespoons of Grated Parmesan


Cooking:

Put a pot of water on to boil for your pasta. When the water comes to a boil, toss in your salt and cook the pasta according to the time on the package. I often use Trader Joe's organic pasta, which usually takes around 10-11 minutes. Meanwhile, heat your olive oil in a sauce pan on medium-high heat. Toss in your onions, and when they start sizzling, add your anchovy filets. Most people shy away from anchovies, and I'm one of them, except when you use them in a sauce like this. The anchovies will literally melt away and create a nice, dark flavor base for your sauce. Next add in your garlic, then your capers and olives. Once the onions are translucent, pour in your sauce. I like to use an organic spaghetti sauce here, usually a tomato basil version. Reduce the heat to low. Add your red wine and Sriracha sauce. Drain your pasta, but reserve a couple of tablespoons of the water. Add the pasta and reserved water to the sauce pan. Stir together and let the flavors meld for about 5-10 minutes. Serve into your bowls and top with some Parmesan. Enjoy mouse free!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cheddar-Rosemary Buttermilk Biscuits

For the past year or so, I have been perfecting my biscuit making. I was trained in proper Southern drop biscuit tradition, where you make a well in the flour, and dump in your fat and milk, swishing it all together with your fingers. While fun, the problem with this technique is that the ratio can lack precision and sometimes end in dry, crumbly biscuits; perfectly fine if you are making dressing, but not so delicious with Sunday supper. So, having found a buttermilk biscuit recipe that was delicious every time (that I didn't burn it,) I felt I needed to make it just a little more delicious with some cheddar and rosemary. I served these at a Low-Country Boil we had a couple of weeks ago, and the extra deliciousness seemed appreciated! 

Cheddar-Rosemary Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients: 

2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
2 Pinches of Sugar
2 Pinches of Salt
1/2 Cup of Grated Cheddar
1 Teaspoon of Rosemary, Finely Chopped
1 Stick of Butter, Chopped into Small Cubes
1 3/8 Cups of Buttermilk

Cooking:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Sift your dry ingredients together, then stir in your cheddar and rosemary until the flour evenly coats the ingredients. With a pastry cutter, fork or your fingers (I sometimes use all of the above,) mash your butter into your dry ingredients until the butter is crumbled into the flour in very small bits. It should look like fine gravel. Then add in your buttermilk. Fold with a rubber spatula until it just comes together, then turn it out on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to about 1 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter or a knife into desired shapes. Place the biscuits on a Silpat or a greased cookie sheet and bake until the tops are golden brown or about 20 minutes. You can broil them at the end for a minute or 2 for extra color on the top, but this is where I always get into trouble and forget them. I have burned a batch almost every time I've made them! The broiler is my nemesis! So, don't make my mistakes and be sure to put a timer on!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cupcakes with Lime Curd Filling

So, this is the culmination of my Strawberry-Rhubarb-Lime kick. As you might have read in my Lime Curd post, I made some of Martha Stewart's delicious Meyer Lemon Cupcakes for my cousin's wedding shower. I loved that surprise of the lemon curd on the inside, so for a summery and slightly different take, the rhubarb goes into the cake batter and icing, with the tart lime curd hidden in the center. It's perfect for a summer party!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Cupcakes with Lime Curd Filling

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
3 Large Eggs, Separated
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Cake Flour (not self-rising)
1 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
1/2 Cup of Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote
1 Cup of Lime Curd 
Strawberry-Rhubarb Buttercream Icing (See Recipe Below)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in muffin tin, this recipe will make approximately 12 cupcakes. Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy. Pour in your vanilla, then add egg yolks, one at a time until they are incorporated. Sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt into a separate bowl and slowly add these dry ingredients into your mixer while it's on low. Once the flour has just been incorporated, add in your Greek yogurt. Finally, add in the Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote. Transfer this mixture to another large bowl and clean your mixing bowl, then dump in the egg whites. Mix your egg whites on high until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the egg whites into your batter bowl, one-third of the egg whites at a time. Fill the muffin cups halfway and place in the oven to bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. (Approximately 20 minutes.)  When the cupcakes have completely cooled, scoop out some of the center and spoon in a dollop of lime curd. Pipe your Strawberry-Rhubarb Buttercream on top. You can decorate with a strawberry or a bit of lime to hint at the hidden fruit.







Strawberry-Rhubarb Buttercream Icing

Ingredients:
1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature, Cut into Small Pieces
1-3/4 Cups Confectioners' Sugar, Sifted
Pinch of salt
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/8 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup of Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Directions:

In your mixer, beat your butter until creamy and then slowly add the confectioners' sugar and pinch of salt. Add the vanilla, then slowly add the milk, then the Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote, and mix until smooth. Place into a piping back or resealable sandwich bag with the corner cut off and decorate away!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Delicious Delicious Lime Curd

Last year, for my cousin's wedding shower, I decided I needed to be ambitious and make Martha Stewart's Meyer Lemon Cupcakes from scratch. Making cupcakes for 50 people is exhausting, and I was so glad I cheated and bought lemon curd. Thinking on it more though, I felt I really should give the lemon curd a try, but maybe with limes, since I love limes even more! This is my Lime Curd recipe, based on Martha's Meyer Lemon Curd recipe. It's delicious in cupcakes, or on scones, or poundcake, or pancakes, or just straight from a spoon! I think I'm going to try some at the bottom of some panna cotta. I'm sure the creaminess would perfectly offset the tart limeyness. 

Lime Curd

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup of Sugar
Zest of 2 Limes
2 Eggs
2 Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup of Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
2.5 Ounces of Chilled Butter, Chopped into Small Cubes

Tools:
Instant Thermometer
Fine Mesh Strainer

Cooking:
In a mortar and pestle, grind your zest into your sugar. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can make do with a bowl and the back of a spoon. Prepare a bowl with ice water and set aside. Fill a saucepan or double boiler with water and bring to a simmer. Place a heat proof bowl on top and add your sugar, eggs and egg yolks. Whisk constantly. When the sugar has dissolved, add your juice and whisk until the mixture reaches 160 degrees. Remove from heat and add your butter one piece at a time. Once your butter is incorporated, put the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Store the curd in a sealed container until ready for serving.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote


I LOVE rhubarb! Just a few years ago, rhubarb was introduced to me via an amazing pie with strawberries and huckleberries in Montana. A convert was born! Rhubarb is not a vegetable I grew up with and I am still amazed that something so celery-like can produce such a delicious, tart flavor.
I made this dish a few weeks ago to include in a cupcake recipe, but I've since been enjoying this sweet, summer compote on all kinds of goodies. It's wonderful over ice cream, biscuits, toast and even great on pound cake!  

Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

Ingredients:
6 Stalks of Rhubarb, Chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 Pint of Strawberries, Roughly Chopped
1/2 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Cup of Water

Cooking:
In a saucepan, combine all your ingredients and bring to medium heat. Stirring occasionally, cook the fruit down until the fibers are soft and it's a preserve-like consistency. Enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Cream Cheese Chicken Roulades

I was inspired by an appetizer that my mom has been making recently, marinated cream cheese. The marinade consists of roasted red peppers, onion and parsley, and it's wonderful on crackers. I started thinking it might be amazing stuffed into a chicken breast. I was right! This dish sounds fancy, but it's not that complicated and the cream cheese filling makes the chicken moist and delicious!

Roasted Red Pepper and Cream Cheese Chicken Roulades

Ingredients:

2 Chicken Breasts
8 Ounces of Cream Cheese
1/2 Onion, Diced (Vidalia might be best for the sweetness)
7 Ounces of Roasted Red Pepper, Chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Tablespoon of Parsley, Chopped
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt and Pepper each
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

Cooking:

Place your chicken breasts in a plastic bag and pound with a heavy pan or meat pounder (flat side only) until the chicken is approximately 1/3" thick. You want to even out the meat for cooking. Next, in a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese with the onions, roasted red peppers, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Once the cream cheese mixture comes together, spread an approximately 1/2" thick layer on each breast. Next, carefully roll one side of the chicken into the other, trying to keep majority of the cream cheese mixture inside. Secure the roll with either cooking twine, tooth pick or skewer. Season the outside of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof skillet, pour in your olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Place your chicken breasts in the skillet, turning occasionally to brown it on all sides. You want to sear the exterior meat to add color and seal in the juices. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once your chicken is seared on all sides, cover the pan with aluminum foil and place a thermometer into the meat. Cook until 165 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven and serve!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Home-made Pesto Butter

I saw a post recently, on designsponge.com, about homemade butter, and it set me thinking. I haven't made butter since I was a child at camp, in those small jars which they told you to shake until your arm wants to fall off. After reading the post, it made me long for the amazingly fresh tasting butter, so I thought I would give it an adult try, but with a twist. I would normally make the pesto to go into the butter, but my basil is not quite big enough to harvest yet, so jarred pesto did the trick this time. This butter is great on baked potatoes, steak, toast, and all kinds of other things you want to make extra delicious!

Home-made Pesto Butter

Ingredients:

1-1/2 Cups of Organic Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Tablespoon of Pesto
1/2 Teaspoon of Chili Flakes

Preparation:

Let the heavy cream come to room temperature. The butter will not clump properly unless the cream comes to a temperature around 72 degrees. Pour the cream into an electric mixer and mix on medium until the butter separates from the liquid. This will take somewhere around 7 minutes. Pour the mixture into a fine mesh strainer and allow the liquid to drain away from the solids. You can use the milk as you would buttermilk! Place the solids onto a cooking board and massage out the excess liquid by folding the butter in on itself several times with a rubber spatula. Move the butter to a mixing bowl and add your pesto and chili flakes. Mix until combined. Next you can place the butter into a dish, or you can put onto a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a log. Refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to serve. It will keep for a week or two in the fridge, but for a long while in the freezer!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Honey Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

The other night our lovely neighbors had us over to their house for dinner. My husband and I scrambled around a bit coming up with something we could cook on the fly as a starter. I think our powers combined to make a fantastic dish! I've made it several times since and cannot get enough of the sweetness of the honey and the tartness of the tomato and goat cheese. It's definitely one for the rotation!

Honey Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

Ingredients:

1Tablespoon of Honey
1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Oregano
3 Pinches of Salt
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
2 Cups of Cherry Tomatoes
2 Cloves of Garlic
4 Tablespoons of Chevre (Creamy Goat Cheese)
2 Slices of Toast

Cooking:

Place your tomatoes on a cookie sheet with one of the cloves of garlic. Drizzle first the honey, then the olive oil over the tomatoes. Add the seasonings. Toss to coat the tomatoes evenly. Place the pan into the oven on broil. Watch the tomatoes carefully. You want a bit of char, but obviously, don't want them burned. Once they start to char a bit on the top and seem to be releasing the juices (this probably only will take a couple of minutes, depending on how hot your oven.) Give the tomatoes a stir, trying to get the non-charred side to the top and place back in the oven to finish cooking both sides. Take the tomatoes out and set aside. I don't own a toaster, so I toast my bread in the oven. After the bread is toasted, rub the top of the toast with the remaining garlic clove. This just gives the essence of garlic, without overwhelming the dish. Next spread each toast with 2 tablespoons of Chevre, then top with your tomatoes and drizzle some juice on top. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Zesty Marinated Olives

Olives are one of my favorite foods and this has become one of my go to dishes for a quick and easy get-together. I love how fast it is to make, but also love that it looks a little fancy (at fancy, read: tongue in cheek.)

Zesty Marinated Olives

Ingredients:

2 Cups of Mixed Olives
4 Pieces of Lemon Zest
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon of Chili Flakes
1 Clove of Garlic, Very Thinly Sliced (Think Goodfellas)

Preparation:
Mix all the ingredients together and let sit at room temperature for 30 min to 1 hour before serving. So easy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Summery Grilled White Fish Packets



I love breaking this recipe out at the start of summer when the fresh heirloom tomatoes start coming off the vine. The citrusy lemon with the tangy tomatoes and flaky fish are so aromatic! It's always a crowd pleaser and it's so simple to put together! Though still a little early yet for summer heat, with sunny spring weather rolling in, it's delightful!

Tomato, Lemon and White Fish Packets for the Grill (or Oven)

Ingredients:

2 Fillets of Tilapia (or other white fish of choice! I have made this with Mahi-Mahi with equally delicious results)
1/2 Lemon, Sliced into Wedges
1 Cup of Cherry Tomatoes, Split
8 Leaves of Basil
2 Cloves of Garlic, Peeled
2 Green Onions, Chopped
Salt and Pepper

Tools:
Aluminum Foil (or Parchment Paper in the Oven)

Cooking:
Lay out a 12" square piece of aluminum foil. Place your Tilapia right below the centerline of the foil. Salt and Pepper your fillet. Lay the basil leaves on top, and add one or two wedges of lemon. Add in half of the tomatoes and green onions, and one of the cloves of garlic. Fold the foil over the fish and vegetables, and begin at the left or right side, fold over the edges continuously until you make your way to the other side and the packet is completely sealed. Ideally, you want a bit of air in your packet, to allow the steam to cook the fish. Repeat with other fillet. Place the packet on a hot grill, or an oven at 350 degrees, for approximately 10 minutes. Open the packet and serve!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Crane Creek Vineyards

I first visited Crane Creek Vineyards last fall, and was completely charmed by the unpretentious, scenic vineyard. Since last fall, I have been back three times! I cannot get enough of the relaxing atmosphere and the light, refreshing vinos.
Crane Creek Vineyards is located in Young Harris, Georgia, which is a short 2 hour drive from Altanta, or if you're staying in the mountains for the weekend, just 45 min from Blue Ridge. Seated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the vineyard's lovely grounds make the trip worth the car ride.
Being a wine novice, I get excited to soak up some wine knowledge, and at Crane Creek, the staff are great teachers. The full tasting, which can include up to 15 varietals, is only $3 a person! A super good value for an informative lesson on native Georgia grapes and the wines they can produce. Crane Creek grows 8 different grapes, including two native American varieties, Catawba and Norton.
On to the wines! My new favorite is the Seyval Blanc, with its light, crisp, green flavor reminding me of my trip to Barcelona. The Hellbender red varietal, which is made with the Norton grape, has won multiple awards. Sweet Sally, named after a beloved vineyard dog, is a wonderful white dessert wine made from the native Catawba grape. Last September, when it was about 90 degrees out, we bought a bottle of Sweet Sally and sat around the vineyard enjoying the view and the last of the summer heat.
The vineyard is laid back, and family friendly. You can order a glass of wine and the soup of the day, or a block of cheese, and sit out on Adirondack chairs facing the vines whiling the day away. It's a wonderful place to take friends, especially if they are from out of town, and at Crane Creek you have the opportunity to buy truly local wines that are also delicious!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Braised Chicken with Roasted Red Peppers and Onions


I usually buy a whole chicken when we want chicken. I buy organic meat as much as possible and it's often much cheaper to buy whole and butcher it yourself, which I must admit, I highly enjoy for some strange reason. Also, you get the added benefits of having the carcass for stock, the chicken livers for a nice appetizer and the bits off the boiled carcass (after making stock) for chicken salad! It's the gift that keeps on giving. This recipe is my favorite go-to recipe for the chicken breasts and legs. It's an adapted version of a recipe which I saw Mario Batali make on his road-trip through Spain. So easy and really tasty! I especially love it over buttery couscous.

Braised Chicken with Roasted Red Peppers and Onions

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
6 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Onion, Halved then thinly sliced
2 large Roasted Red Peppers, Sliced
2 Dried Chiles
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Paprika
Salt and Pepper, for Seasoning Chicken
2 Chicken Legs and Thighs
2 Chicken Wings
1 Cup of White Wine (Do not use a wine that you wouldn't drink, because it will not be tasty in your food either)
1 Cup of Chicken Broth

Cooking:

In a large Dutch Oven, pour in your olive oil, and toss in your onions, chilis and garlic. Saute until these are translucent and starting to brown slightly. Meanwhile, season your chicken pieces on both sides with the cumin, paprika and salt and pepper. Once the onions have a slight bit of color on them, add in your chicken pieces, making sure that the chicken is touching the bottom of the pan. Your trying to brown them a bit, so you can sort of slide the onions aside. When the chicken is golden brown on both sides, add in your roasted red peppers. Next pour in your liquids. Turn the heat down to med-low and cover. Cook for 40 minutes and you will have unbelievably moist tasty chicken with a sauce that is fantastic over any starch you care to use as a side!

Dark Chocolate Torte with Chambord Cream



I have recently noticed more and more people with gluten allergies. This is a really delicious dessert which is gluten free, but will also appeal to gluten lovers. It's very dark and rich, which makes the light and fluffy Chambord cream a perfect compliment. It's also very easy to make!

Dark Chocolate Torte

Ingredients:

16 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate, Chopped or Chips

1 Cup of Unsalted Butter

2 Tablespoons of Chambord

9 Eggs, Separated

1 Cup of Sugar


Tools:


9" Spring Form Pan

1 Round of Parchment Paper, Cut to fit the inner bottom of the pan


Cooking:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a double boiler, or if you don't have one, I use a pyrex bowl on top of a saucepan of boiling water, pour in your chocolate bits, butter and Chambord. Melt slowly while stirring. Turn off heat once completely melted and allow to cool. Rub butter across the interior of a spring form pan very uniformly.Place your parchment paper inside the pan and smooth across the bottom. In a mixer, whip your egg whites into soft peaks. Remove from mixing bowl and set aside. Add to the mixing bowl your egg yolks and sugar, mix until a creamy, soft lemon color. Add 1/3 of your yolk mixture into your chocolate and combine. Repeat with remaining thirds until the mixture is incorporated. Remove 1/3 of this mixture and reserve for icing. To the remaining yolk/chocolate mixture, fold in 1/3 of your egg whites very gently. Once it is just incorporated, add another 1/3, and repeat until all the egg whites have been incorporated. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into your pan and bake for approximately 45 min, until the sides start to pull away just slightly. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Unlatch spring form sides, and gently lift away. Place a cake plate upside down on the cake top and pick up the whole assembly and flip gently. Remove spring form bottom and parchment paper. Ice the top of the cake with the reserved batter from earlier.


Chambord Cream


Ingredients:

1 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Tablespoon of Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Chambord


Cooking:

In a mixer, whip all of the ingredients on high speed until cream forms peaks. Cut your cake and serve with a huge dollop of Chambord Cream on top!