Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

Raspberry Chocolate Ganache Cake

In Desserts on July 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm

For cake
1/3 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
a pinch baking soda
3 large whole eggs
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

For syrup:
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup raspberry liqueur such as Chambord or Arrow

For ganache:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped coarse
1/2 cup raspberry jam
Garnish: fresh raspberries

Make cake:
First off, start with your handy dandy sous chef, thank you Ev. 😀

– Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 9-inch round cake pan (about 2 inches deep) and line bottom with a round of parchment paper or foil.
– Whisk together cocoa powder, flour, cornstarch, and baking soda.
– In a metal bowl whisk together whole eggs, yolk, sugar, and salt until combined.
– Set mixture over a saucepan of simmering water and continue to whisk until lukewarm. Remove bowl from heat and with an electric mixer beat mixture at high speed until it has cooled and doubled in volume.
– Sift in cocoa mixture, half at a time until combined.

– Pour batter into pan and smooth top. Bake cake in middle of oven for 30 minutes, or until it is firm to the touch and pulls away slightly from side of pan. Invert onto a rack and immediately invert onto another rack to cool right side up.

Make syrup:
In a small saucepan bring water and sugar to a boil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Cool syrup and stir in liqueur.

Make ganache:
In a saucepan bring cream, butter, and corn syrup to a boil over moderate heat and remove pan from heat. Add chocolate, swirling pan to submerge chocolate in hot mixture, and let stand 3 minutes. Whisk ganache until smooth and transfer to a bowl. Chill ganache, covered, at least 2 hours.

Assemble cake:
– Let ganache stand at room temperature until slightly softened and pliable but still cool. With a whisk or electric mixer beat ganache just until light and fluffy.
-Remove parchment paper from cake and with a long serrated knife cut cake horizontally into 2 or 3 pieces.
-Spread a layer of raspberry jam and ganache in the middle of the two layers of cake. Assemble the cake and cover cake with the remaining ganache. Garnish with raspberries and some powdered sugar. Cool in the fridge until ready to serve.


Farmers’ Marktet Leftovers: Caprese

In Appetizer, Salad on July 25, 2011 at 2:18 am

For those who have never had caprese – super simple salad but a surprising amount of people don’t make it! This delicious salad, commonly served in Italy even has the colors of the Italian flag!

A tomato
A fresh ball of mozzarella
Basil leaves

Array together beautifully and drizzle with vinegar. Done.

Farmers’ Market Day: Chicken Tomato Basil Pasta

In Main Course, Pasta on July 24, 2011 at 2:22 am

1 tablespoon of olive oil
A finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 chopped tomatoes
2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
Handfull chopped fresh basil
Dash of salt
Grated Parmesan cheese (I use Pecorino Romano too)

Cook fetuccine or whatever pasta your little heart desires until al dente. Meanwhile, sautee olive oil, garlic and onion until it all smells good. Cube and cook the chicken breast in a separate pan. Add cooked chicken, basil, tomatoes, salt and cover. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Stir frequently until tomatoes are soft. Serve immediately over pasta with some fresh parmesan on top!

Meyer Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Vanilla Buttercream Icing

In Desserts on July 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Cupcake Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for brushing pan
5 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Meyer lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice – it doesn’t have to be Meyer lemon but it makes it extra lemony and good:D
1 cup cake flour – use the swan stuff if you can – so much smoother cake
1/2 teaspoon salt

Icing ingredients:

4 tbs of butter
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1 lemon rind, grated – this makes it all pretty and really lemony
The juice from that lemon. Strain it if you don’t want the pulpey texture
Some vanilla
A dash of salt

– Preheat oven to 325°F
– Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl at high speed until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. You can use an electric mixer if you have one but can technically do it with a whisk. Depends how much of a ghetto kitchen you have (cough* college student *cough)

-At medium speed, beat in oil and lemon zest and juice until just combined.
– Sift in flour and mix at low speed until just combined.
– In a separate bowl, beat whites with salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add remaining 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until whites just hold soft peaks.

-Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
– Transfer to lined cupcake pan and bake until golden brown or until a toothpick comes out smoothly – about 17-20 minutes.
– Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then cool cupcakes to room temperature, about 1 hour.

For Icing:
combine ingredients in a bowl, use more or less sugar depending on how frosting-ey you want it! Thicker is better if you don’t want it drooping down the cupcake/ if you ice it with a cute icing kit it will hold the form better


My Night Off

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Summer Gazpacho

In Gluten Free, Main Course, Soup on July 14, 2011 at 3:46 am

1 pound ripe green heirloom tomatoes, cored, cut into large chunks
1 6-inch piece unpeeled cucumber, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup salted roasted Marcona almonds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or other white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon (or more) coarse kosher salt

Now this is a no-brainer. Perfect if you’re tired of campbells and have a lot of fresh veggies lying around. So besides putting it all in a blender, chilling, and serving, I have a few suggestions:

– you may want to blend this in portions. A pound of tomatoes is a lot for a itty bitty blender. Unless you have the jumbo ones that can demolish anything.
– almost puree the gazpacho, then put in another pound of chopped tomatoes and only blend for a second or two – this gives the gazpacho a nice, chunky texture which is yummy with real fresh tomatoes
– don’t put in a whole lot of celery, (don’t leave it out!) but it doesn’t necessarily add a ton of flavor
– wait to salt it until you’ve tried it, it may not need it or may need a lot of salt/pepper, depending on how fresh your veggies are/your individual preference

I served this with a grilled chicken for a lunch – super simple, yummy.
For a little extra flair, put some chopped chives, almonds and fresh green tomatoes on top as garnish.

Bananas Foster

In Desserts on July 12, 2011 at 3:27 am

10 minute recipe! Super easy and perfect for when you have extra dark rum left over…


2/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter
3 1/2 tablespoons rum (if you want fire, use over 80 proof – that’s 40% alcohol by volume)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A few bananas, sliced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Vanilla ice cream


Heat a pan and melt butter. Stir in sugar, rum, vanilla and cinnamon. When mixture begins to bubble, place bananas and walnuts in pan.

The rum may ignite spontaneously so don’t freak out. Also, if it does not, take a long match to it and light it yourself! That is if you’re a pyro or just want some good fun. Make sure to watch your eyebrows! Cook until bananas are hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve at once over vanilla ice cream.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Monograms

In Desserts on July 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm

~ 15 cupcakes

Monogram ideas from: Willow Word Baking Blog

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 fluid ounce red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
1 (16 ounce) box confectioners’ sugar

For monograms:
1 handful of Ghiradelli’s bittersweet chocolate

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin pans or line with 20 paper baking cups.
– Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy
– Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla (don’t freak out when it looks like cottage cheese, this is right. I have thrown out a batch before because I thought it looked “wrong”)

– Put the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl and let it react. Then add to the mixture.

– In a seperate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt and sift. This makes the cupcakes extra smooth and yummy. Not necessary to sift but worth it! Also, if you want to, substitute gluten free flour for those who are dietarially challenged!

– Stir into the batter just until blended.

– Put in cupcake pans with an ice cream scoop – this gives you the correct amount. The recipe I used said to fill the tray 2/3rds but I like extra full cupcakes so I put an extra dollop on top.

– Bake 20-25 minutes, make sure when you take them out that you can insert a toothpick and take it out without any sticking.
– Cool pan, don’t frost until they’re all the way cool or it will melt!

Suggestions: bake only 20 minutes so it’s not too crusted and make sure to put in airtight container immediately so they don’t get stale.

For Icing: Blend softened cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Beat in the confectioner’s sugar gradually. You will have a thick and yummy cream cheese icing!! You can put it in a zipblock bag and cut off the end to help apply the icing or just put it on with a knife.

For extra extra flair:
Monogrammed chocolates – print out a large image of script alphabet, and turn it upside down. Trace what you want to write on another piece of paper and put it underneath your wax paper.

Then, heat up a handful of Ghiradelli chocolate in a bowl sitting in a pot of simmering water (try to not let the bowl touch the water). Stir until melted. Put it in a zipblock bag and cut the teeniest tiniest corner off of it. Trace your backwards letters on your wax paper and put in fridge.

You might want to trace a few or make some thicker just in case they brake when you take them off the paper. Make sure to flip them around when they’ve cooled and put on top of the cupcakes for extreme cuteness! Yum.

Add some sprinkles or chocolates for extra flair.

Orrr if you’re having some gals over to knit….

Raspberry Chocolate Macaroons

In Desserts, Gluten Free on July 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm

~ 30 cookies

For macaroons:
6 oz sliced blanched almonds (not slivered; 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Red or pink food coloring

For chocolate raspberry ganache:

3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (60 to 64% cacao), chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/16 teaspoon raspberry extract (preferably McCormick brand)

parchment paper
big ziplock bag

So. This is a super cheap recipe, doesn’t take terribly long and TOTALLY worth it. Impress your friends with Parisian Chocolate Macaroons and they’ll love you forever. To start:

– coat your pans with parchment paper. Wax paper will also work for the starving college students like me.
– Combine almonds with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a processor until very finely ground. Sift in remaining cup of confectioners sugar and stir.

– beat egg whites with salt in another bowl with an electric mixer (medium speed ish) until they just hold soft peaks.
– add granulated sugar slowly while increasing to high speed until you get stiff, glossy peaks.

-stir in almond mixture until even and add food coloring (just a few drops will do ya!) until it is pink or red (or blue.. your choice!)

-don’t freak out, the merengue will deflate
– put the mixture into a ziplock bag and cut the corner off (just a little one, ~1/4 in)
– lay out the batter in rows, in dollops slightly bigger than quarters, depending on the size you want the macaroons to be. They will settle and spread out so don’t put them too close like I did

– let them stand until the tops are no longer sticky and a light crust forms (20 to 30 minutes)
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees farenheit. Have at least two racks open – this recipe makes a little more than two cookie sheets worth of macaroons
– bake for 20 minutes, switch the position of the sheets if your oven doesn’t heat evenly like mine
– the edges should be slightly darker and crispy but not burnt!
– cool for 30 minutes

For ganache:
Melt chocolate with cream in a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (or in top of a double boiler if you aren’t a starving college student and own one) Make sure the bowl doesn’t not touch water. Here’s what I improvised:
-Remove from heat, then add butter and raspberry extract until the butter melts
– Wait for it to thicken at room temperature before assembling the cookies

Putting it all together:
-put a dollop of the ganache in between two similar sized cookies. If you don’t have a steady hand like myself, then you will have fun pairing different sized cookies!
– also as an alternative, heat some fresh blackberries in a pan with about a cm of water and cook real slow for ~30 minutes. Add some blackberry liqueur and that makes a tasty alternative if you don’t like chocolate or just want variety!

Mussels over pasta in white wine sauce

In Gluten Free, Main Course, Seafood on July 9, 2011 at 12:47 am

Serves ~3

1 bag live mussels
2 cups dry white wine – go for cheapo stuff
4 large shallots
4 cloves garlic
dash of salt
chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley,chervil,or basil)
6 tablespoons butter, cut up
Prep: chop all herbs and onion/shallots

If your mussels haven’t been cleaned yet, do so. Just take a knife and scrape off all the beards. Make sure water is boiling for pasta and put it in. Use gluten free pasta if desired. In a separate, deep pan or pot, put shallots, garlic, wine and salt over medium heat for 5 minutes. Then put mussels in for 5 minutes, turn on high, and cover. Make sure it doesn’t boil over (it has a tendency to get hot really fast!). After 5 minutes, or a little more if all the mussels haven’t opened yet, take of the lid and put in butter and chopped herbs. Throw away any mussels that still have not opened.

I prefer a little more basil to top it off, but put whichever herbs satisfy your taste buds! Mix together until butter is melted and serve over pasta. Delish and super inexpensive!