Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse
10 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 ounces butter
5 egg whites
5 egg yolks
8 ounces heavy cream, whipped
1 ounce water
2 ounces sugar

Prepare a double boiler. First, melt the chocolate and butter over the water. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, 1 ounce sugar, and 1 ounce of water. Whisk together over the hot water for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and continue whisking until cool. In another bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining sugar. Whisk over hot water for 5 minutes, until the egg whites are fluffy. Remove from head and continue whisking until cool. Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Then, fold in the butter chocolate mixture. Finally, fold in the whipped cream. Put into fridge to cool for at least 15 minutes.The mousse will fluff up a bit after cooling. At that point, pipe it into the prepared chocolate cups.

Elephant Ears

Elephant Ears

1 box of puff pastry (or you can be good and make your own)
1/2 c. cinnamon
3/4 c. granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out thawed pastry dough. Mix cinnamon and sugar together and spread over dough. Roll one side of the dough towards the middle, then roll the other side to meet the first. Cut into 1" slices, then dip one side of each pastry into the cinnamon sugar. Place pastries cinnamon sugar side up onto a cookie sheet lined with a silicone sheet or parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Allow pastries to cool on a rack.
Makes 20 regular sized pastries.
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Fudge Brownies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
8oz bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/4 c. Chocolate syrup/fudge sauce
1 candy bar, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter/pam an 8-inch square baking pan or heatproof glass dish.

Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water; stir frequently until chocolate and butter are melted, about 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat; let cool to room temperature about 10-15 minutes.

Stir sugar into cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Whisk in eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Gently fold in flour, chocolate sauce, and salt.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth top with an offset spatula. Sprinkle candy bar bits evenly over the brownies. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Mini Cheesecakes

Mini Cheesecakes

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbs. plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 325°F. Lightly butter the wells of a mini cheesecake pan or a mini-muffin tin.

In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter and the 2 Tbs. granulated sugar and stir until blended. Divide the mixture among the prepared wells. Using the bottom of a shot glass or other small glass, press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the wells. Bake the crusts for 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the cream cheese and the 1/3 cup granulated sugar and beat on low speed until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the cream and vanilla. Beat until blended. Pour the filling into the crusts, dividing it evenly among the wells.

Bake until the filling is set, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to the wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
William-Sonoma Kitchens

Kidney Bean Soup

1/2 lb bacon, diced
1 large shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. carrots, chopped
1 c. celery, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. green peppers, diced
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 c. orzo
1 1/2 quarts beef broth
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon in a large pot until crunchy. Add olive oil, garlic, shallot, carrots, celery and peppers. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Add beef broth and deglaze the pan. Add beans, orzo, and spices. Bring soup to a boil, then turn down the heat to simmer. Cook until the orzo is done, about 8-10 minutes.


Makes 6 servings

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fettucini Alfredo

Fettucini Alfredo from L'Originale Alfredo di Roma

1 lb. fettucini (I used Linguine,as I didn't have fettuccine at home)

1 c. Pulgra butter, unsalted
1/2 c. grated Parmigianno Regianno Cheese

Prepare pasta according to directions. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once butter is melted, stir in the grated cheese. Allow the mixture to cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes, or until pasta is done. Drain pasta and place into the sauce. Mix well and serve. Garnish with freshly cracked pepper.

Serves 4

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Beef Stew with Orzo

1 lb. beef (I've used top round, shoulder, chuck; whatever you have)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1c. diced carrots
1c. diced celery
1c. diced onion
4c. chicken broth
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Worshistire sauce
a few sprigs of fresh Rosemary
1 tsp. allspice

1 c. orzo or rice, cooked according to package instructions.

Cover meat with Worshistire sauce. Set aside.

In a dutch oven or other large pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Sautee garlic for 2 minutes, then add the onions, carrots, and celery. Allow vegetables to cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add beef to pot and brown on all sides. Once beef is browned, add the chicken broth, allspice, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste.

Allow the mixture to simmer until beef is fork tender. For 1 lb meat, this usually takes about 90 minutes. Serve with broth over orzo or rice.

Pound Cake Panini's

1 loaf of pound cake
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp. Butter
Powdered Sugar

Slice the pound cake across the length of the loaf, to make large slices. Make sandwiches using the chocolate for the filling. Melt butter in a frying pan. Add sandwiches one at a time, turning them once, until edges are golden. Top sandwiches with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Classic Cheesecake


1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar

16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust: In a small bowl, mix the cracker crumbs with the melted butter and the sugar together until evenly moistened. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool the pan on a rack.

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held mixer, cream the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. (Stop mixing and scrape down the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed.) Beat in the sour cream. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and cream. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until the top of the cheesecake is lightly browned, but the center still jiggles slightly, about 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before serving.

To remove the cake from the pan, run a knife or offset spatula around the edges to release the edges from the pan. Open the springform pan and remove the ring.

Cut the cheesecake into wedges and serve with berries or a raspberry sauce if desired.

Adapted from Food Network.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cheesecake Pops

24 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1 c. sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
pinch salt
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp heavy cream

4" lollipop sticks

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt on low speed until smooth. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time. Then beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 9" cake pan (not springform), then pour the batter into the pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top. The recipe says that the cheesecake should be done in 35 to 45 minutes, but mine took about 70 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, cut 2 oz. rounds of cheesecake release from the cutter onto parchment paper. Roll the cheesecake into circles then carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the toppings. I used melted milk chocolate to coat, white chocolate for drizzling, and lavender colored sugar (to match my paper liners) to finish. Dip the frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate. Shake off excess and roll in any additional toppings you desire. Refrigerate pops on a parchment lined cookie sheet for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor

Chicken Cheddar Pizza

I cooked 2 chicken breasts with barbecue sauce, then shredded them. On the flattened pizza dough, I added: 1/4 c. Barbecue sauce, the shredded chicken, 1/4c. shallots (sliced thinly), and about 2c. of shredded Irish Cheddar. I baked it on a greased cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 350, until crust was golden.

Monday, July 7, 2008


6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate,
finely chopped
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and butter.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream just to a boil. Remove from the heat and immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter. Using a handheld whisk, stir the mixture until the chocolate and butter melt and are smooth. Let cool until spreadable. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Baking.

Devil's Food Cake

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare cake pan(s)
In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Pour into a small heatproof bowl and whisk in the 3/4 cup cocoa powder. Let cool to lukewarm.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high, slowly add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat for 30 seconds.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the cocoa mixture and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition until mixed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Tap the pan gently on a work surface to break up any air pockets. Bake 60 to 65 minutes.

Adapted from William Sonoma:Cakes


Here is a series of pictures showing the making of Goofy. He was basically made using fondant, a pairing knife, and a chopstick (very professional, I know!).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shephard's Pie

1 lb Ground Beef
1 lb Ground Lamb
1 Onion, chopped
1/2 c. Frozen Peas
Olive Oil
Worshistire Sauce
4 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. Flour
1 c. Beef Broth
4 c. Potatoes, peeled and cubed
Splash of milk
3/4 c. Cheddar Cheese
salt and pepper

Boil potatoes. When cooked, mash with 2 Tbs. Butter and a splash of milk. Reserve.

Brown beef and lamb with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Remove excess liquid. Add chopped onion and cook until onion is tender.

In a seperate pot, mix 2 Tbs. butter with flour and whisk in beef broth. Add a few splashes of Worshistire Sauce to taste. Once gravy thickens, add it to the cooked meat. Then, add frozen peas.

Transfer meat mixture to a baking dish. Top with mashed potaoes, then cheeese. Place under a broiler until all of the cheese has melted.


1 1/2 c. Flour
4 Tbs. Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla
4 Eggs
1 1/3 c. Milk
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
Oil for frying

Mix wet ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Then, whisk in dry ingredients until batter is smooth. Allow batter to chill for 45 minutes.

Heat a little bit of oil in a small frying/omlette pan. Make sure that oil is very hot, then add 1/4 c. of batter to the pan. Turn the pan to make sure that the batter is coating the entire bottom of the pan. Cook until little bubbles appear, then flip. Cook for a minute more. Repeat until all batter is used.

Fill crepes and enjoy!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fried Ravioli

Fried Ravioli

2 c. Ricotta
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 c. oil for frying
marinara sauce for dipping (optional)

I have made ravioli using both fresh dough, and in a pinch, prepared wonton wrappers. I have to say, the wonton wrappers turned out really well. I would use them again if I needed to. Either way, prepare the dough into large squares. Mix together the cheeses with salt and pepper to taste.

Wet the dough square using water and a pastry brush.Place 1/2 tsp. of filling into each of the quadrants on the dough. Place a second square on top of the filling. Press down firmly along edges to seal the dough and form 4 squares. I then used my pastry tool to cut out the four ravioli.Repeat until you have enough ravioli.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the ravioli into the water, a few at a time, to cook the dough a bit. The ravioli will float when they are done. Repeat in batches until all ravioli is cooked.

Heat oil in a pan. Add ravioli, a few at a time, turning them after a minute. They will turn golden after only a minute or two, so make sure you pay attention! Remove from pan and place on paper towels to remove excess oil. Serve immediately with marinara sauce for dipping.


½ cup flour
¼ cup sugar
½ stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
½ tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 365 degrees. Sift together flour and baking powder in a bowl, and set aside. In another bowl add egg and sugar. Mix (using a mixer) until the mixture has at least doubled in size and has become thick, about 5 minutes. Fold in the flour mixture, then the butter.
Butter the molds and add about ½ tsp. of batter to each one. Bake until the edges turn light brown, about 6-10 minutes, depending on your oven. Immediately remove the cookies from the pan and let them cool. Enjoy! (Makes 12 full sized or 24 mini-madeleines)
Sometimes, I add 1/2 tsp. of orange water to the egg mixture if I will be serving the madeleines with tea. Or, I dip them halfway in melted chocolate and allow them to cool for dessert.

Chocolate Silk Pie

Chocolate Silk Pie

1 1/4 c. Chocolate Teddy Grahms
5 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbs. sugar

Put Teddy Grahms into food processor and chop until they are crumbs. (I love using my mini food-prep!). I saved some crumbs for decorating the pie later.In a bowl, add the crumbs to the melted butter and sugar.Mix well and put into a 9" pie dish. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes, the allow to cool.


2 1/2 c. milk
4 egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
5 oz. semisweet chocolate

Heat milk and chocolate over low heat in a nonaluminum pac. Whisk until chocolate is melted, 7 minutes. In a bowl add egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until pale yellow.
Add salt and cornstarch, then vanilla, and whisk until well mixed. Add chocolate to yolk mixture and whisk constantly until blended. Return mixture to heat and cook over medium-heat for 8 minutes, until the mixture bubbles. Remove from heat and stir for one minute, until smooth.Pour filling into cooled cookie crust and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate for 3 hours.

Whipped Cream Topping
2 c. heavy cream
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat all of the ingredients until stiff peaks form. I then piped the whipped cream onto the top of the chocolate filling. For decoration, I added the reserved crumbs, as well as shaved semisweet chocolate.

Rustic Italian Penne

2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
3 c. spinach
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 c. artichoke hearts
1 1/2 c. fresh mozzerella, cubed
2 c. penne
1-2c. marinara sauce
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Butter

Cook penne according to package instructions. Set aside.
Sautee garlic in Butter and Olive Oil for 2 minutes. Add chicken and brown until cooked, about 5 minutes. Take chicken out of pan and set aside. Add spinach and artichoke hearts and sautee until cooked, about 10 minutes. Add penne and marinara sauce to mixture.

Allow mixture to cook for another minute to combine. If sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta cooking water.
Remove from heat and stir in mozzerella. Top with fresh basil.

Lemon Curd Pie

1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
2 Tbs. cold water
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. unsalted butter, cubed

Stir together egg yolk, water and vanilla. Set bowl aside.

Stir toether flour, sugar, and salt in bowl. Add butter and beat on medium-low speed, until butter pieces are no larger than peas. Add the egg mixture and beat, 2 minutes.

My dough was too sticky to roll at this point, so I covered it and refrigerated it for 30 minutes.

I then floured a work surface and rolled out the dough to 1/8 inch thick. I put the dough in an 11" tart pan, trimming off the extra dough. I then put the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line pastry shell with parchment paper. I don't have pie weights, so I put raw rice on top of the paper.

Bake for 25 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Lemon Curd

3 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks
3/4 c. fresh lemon juice
3/4 c. sugar
2 Tbs. grated lemon zest
12 Tbs. unsalted butter, cubed
In an nonaluminum saucepan over medium heat, combine eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest, and butter. *I used about 7 lemons to get the 3/4 cups of juice.*

Cook stirring constantly, until mixture is thick, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through sieve.

Put the curd into the cooled tart shell and refrigerate. I let mine set for about 3 hours. I then piped fresh whipped cream (recipe below) onto the top.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sponge Cake

Unsalted butter and flour for preparing the pans
1 cup cake flour
Pinch of salt
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare your baking pans. I always butter mine, add parchment paper, butter the paper, then flour the paper.

Pass the flour and salt through a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until thickened and pale yellow. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

To a clean bowl add the egg whites. Whip on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating, until the whites have formed soft peaks. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar at a rate of about 2 Tbs. every 15 seconds. After all of the sugar has been incorporated, beat the whites for 1 minute more, until they form stiff peaks.

Add about one-third of the egg whites on top of the yolk mixture. Then, fold the mixtures together. Pile the remaining egg whites on top of the mixture and fold them in.

Fold in the flour mixture in 4 additions until the batter is light and foamy.Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly. Bake the cakes for 18 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove from pans. Discard the parchment. Let cool completely on the racks, about 45 minutes.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Mastering Series: Cakes