Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Dark Chocolate Mousse with Sugared Kumquats

Dark Chocolate Mousse with Sugared Kumquats

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh kumquats
  • 1/3 cup chilled whipping cream

Recipe Preparation

  • Melt 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate with 1/4 cup water in heavy small saucepan over low heat, whisking until smooth. Cool to just barely lukewarm, about 10 minutes.

  • Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in medium bowl to form soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup sugar until stiff but not dry. Pour cooled melted chocolate over egg whites and gently fold together. Divide mousse among 4 parfait glasses or bowls. Cover; chill at least 6 hours or overnight.

  • Mix kumquats and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in small saucepan; let stand 10 minutes. Stir slowly over low heat until sugar dissolves. Cover; chill at least 2 hours or overnight.

  • Beat chilled whipping cream in small bowl to form soft peaks. Spoon whipped cream atop mousse. Top with sugared kumquats and syrup.

Recipe by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen,Reviews Section

Fun Size Review: The Cheat (1915)

Cecil B. DeMille-helmed tale of sordid revenge. Fannie Ward dips into the Red Cross funds to gamble on the stock market and loses all. Sussue Hayakawa is her platonic pal who will loan her the money if she becomes… less platonic. Things get nasty pretty fast.

Lean and slick with a star-making performance from Hayakawa. Ward, however, emotes egregiously. This picture is absolute trash and all the better for it.

How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.

Read my full-length review here. (I also cover the pre-Code remake with Tallulah Bankhead.)

If it were a desert it would be: Dark Chocolate Mousse with Sugared Kumquats. Dark and decadent doesn’t begin to describe it.

Availability: Released on DVD.

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32 Healthy Valentine’s Day Recipes from Breakfast to Dessert

    : What better way to impress that special someone than with crepes? This wholesome breakfast features colorful roasted peppers and soft-scrambled eggs wrapped inside whole wheat crepes. via Curry Trail : Strawberries and chocolate go hand-in-hand on this holiday, and look stunning in this surprisingly simple and healthy parfait. via Spend with Pennies : If you need something quick and kid-friendly for V-Day morning, these adorable heart-shaped fruit skewers with a citrusy yogurt dip fit the bill. via Parents.com : Anything heart-shaped is always welcome in my kitchen, Valentine’s Day or not. These wholesome little muffins are made with whole wheat flour and sweetened with cranberry applesauce. via Eating Richly

    : Your morning pancakes get a healthy make-over with these pretty-in-pink beet pancakes, made with Greek yogurt and spiced with cinnamon and cloves. via Imagelicious : Red velvet isn’t just for dessert, and it can actually be healthy. Case in point: this whole wheat and oat bran short stack, which gets its Red from pureed raspberries. via Chocolate Covered Katie : Citrusy cranberry compote tops these sweet potato pancakes, which frees you from over-the-stove flipping by being baked in the oven. via Recipes from a Pantry : Crazy about Nutella? Not sure who isn’t. Thankfully, it can be a little healthier when you make it yourself and stuff it inside these pretty almond flour pancakes. via Coffee and Brunch BCN

    : This lovely light pink smoothie is made with raspberries, almond milk, protein-packed Greek yogurt, and just a little bit of sweet white chocolate chips. via Lively Table : For the prettiest purple morning smoothie bowl, try this dairy- and refined sugar-free blueberry and beet version. via Easy Cooking with Molly : Strawberries are not to be left out on V-Day, and this vegan strawberry-balsamic version is made with just a few simple ingredients. via Parsnips and Pastries : A delicate cardamom and rose water infused strawberry lassi is a lovely way to start your Valentine’s Day. via Tara’s Multicultural Table

    : This apple butter and bacon-wrapped prawn appetizer is the perfect combination of sweet, savory, and a little spicy. via Nutmeg Nanny : This spinach salad turns simple ingredients extra-special with a tutorial on how to turn strawberries into hearts and bacon slices into pretty roses. via Oh, the Things We’ll Make : This crostini is proof that just a handful of simple ingredients can transform into an elegant, show-stopping appetizer. via Meg is Well : For an easy, bright, and no-cook appetizer, these mascarpone-crowned persimmon medallions are sure to impress. via Caroline’s Cooking

    : These impressive stacked beetroot and goat cheese towers make a lovely appetizer or main, especially with their mojo verde dressing. via Happy Kitchen Rocks : Colorful beet, sweet potato, and avocado layered tartare is sure to impress your date, vegan or not. via Cilantro and Citronella : You can never go wrong with pasta for date night, especially if it’s tossed in this simple, delicious roasted red pepper sauce. via Lauren Caris Cooks : This beet and turnip gratin is almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Use vegetable stock in place of chicken to make it vegetarian, or keep it as-is and serve alongside your favorite chicken or fish. via Kitchen Konfidence

    : Gorgeous roasted kumquats crown this brown butter-seared salmon like little jewels, making this a perfect date night dinner. via The Flavor Bender : Keep things light yet impressive with this artichoke and sundried tomato-stuffed chicken breast dinner. via The Fit Blog : Talk about artwork on a plate—this seared scallop dish is stunning and complemented with a cream-free corn puree, made with almond milk and chicken stock. via Taste and See : Butternut squash, quinoa spaghetti, and white wine combine to form this light, lovely mussels pasta. via Simply Fresh Dinners

    : You wouldn’t even believe these rich, creamy truffles are healthy. Made with avocado and coconut sugar, these are a guilt-free way to enjoy your V-Day chocolate. via The Clean Eating Couple : This fudge is only 5 ingredients (natural peanut butter, raw cocao, pink Himalayan sea salt, coconut oil, and honey) that combine to form creamy, decadent fudge. And, bonus: the freezer does all the work. via Parsnips and Pastries : Rich, delicious dark chocolate bark is made here with simple, clean ingredients and gets a pretty pop of red from fresh pomegranate. via Bourbon and Honey : There’s not much better than these chocolate cup’s pretty pink center, especially when they’re this healthy and made with only 4 ingredients. via Veggie Desserts

    : Pie that’s this pretty and paleo? Is it possible? It is, and you’d be surprised at how few ingredients it needs, too. via Oh the Things We’ll Make : This two-ingredient (yes, 2) chocolate mousse comes together in under 15 minutes and is just gorgeous topped with sugared cranberries. via Bam’s Kitchen : Heart-speckled skinny Red Velvet donuts are healthified with Greek yogurt and baked instead of fried. via Happy Healthy Motivation : This chocolate-y fruit crisp is not only vegan, gluten-free, AND paleo, but it’s adorable when baked into individual hearts. via The Organic Dietitian

Thank you for reading 32 Healthy Valentine’s Day Recipes (from Breakfast to Dessert!) and I sincerely hope that you’ve found some delicious, healthy Valentine’s Day recipes to enjoy. And thank you to all of the amazing, talented bloggers who contributed their tasty, healthy eats! Bon appétit!

^ click to pin 32 healthy valentine’s day recipes! ^


We've all seen flowers, fondant, and piping&mdashbut what other decorative additions does the wedding cake world offer? Fruit can be an amazing choice to top your confection, not to mention flavor it with ripe, vibrant tastes. Plus, it's a fun (and more delicious) take on the traditional English fruitcake. Both as accents and the main event, fruits can bring texture, color, and zest to your tiers, and they offer the chance to step away from more typical floral designs. On the other hand, fruits pair wonderfully with petals and blooms, and their wide range of colors and shapes lend themselves to a large spread of themes and cake structures. Keep things simple with sprinklings of berries, or get glitzy with painted, shimmering pears or apples. Between bananas and strawberries, figs and pineapples, the following cakes featuring fresh and faux produce will inspire a fruit-filled vision.

This California wedding served guests a simple, two-tiered white cake with an abundance of sugar-coated grapes, gold-dusted pears and figs, and berries.


Cooking Class Menu

My Private Cooking Class Parties are perfect for personal celebrations such as birthdays, holidays, baby and bridal showers, date night, bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, supper club, ladies lunch, and special reunions or for corporate entertaining, team building, and closing dinners. You and your guests learn specific tips and techniques as I guide you through recipes prepared that will excite the eager novice or expert cook alike in the comfort of your home kitchen or mine.

Listed below are cooking class themes . Please click on the title of any theme that peaks your interest for more details. Each of these classes can either be interactive or demonstration.

In an interactive class you and your guests will put on aprons and learn by doing in a hands-on approach in the preparation and cooking of the dishes on the menu. Then you will sit and enjoy the lovely meal you just created. This format is ideal for smaller groups who want to roll up their sleeves and really dig in.

Typical Interactive Event:
3 to 3 1/2 hours
1/2 hour for beverages and hors d’ oeuvres
1 1/2 hours for hands-on cooking class
1 to 1 1/2 hours for sit down meal
Price of class includes instruction, recipes, and all food prepared

In a demonstration class you and your guests will enjoy refreshing house-made beverages and delightful appetizers while you watch, take notes, and ask questions through each step of preparation of more complicated dishes. Then you will dine on each course after the demonstration. This format is perfect for larger groups looking for a more social atmosphere.

Typical Demonstration Event:
3 to 3 1/2 hours
1/2 hour for beverages and hors d’ oeuvres
2 hours for demonstration and dining of each course
1/2 to 1 hour for after meal treats and mingling
Price includes instruction, recipes, and all food prepared

If you are interested in a honing your skills and knowledge on a particular subject, please visit my Technique Series Page.

If you are seeking an in-depth one-on-one lesson, or series of lessons, please visit my Consultations Page.

Looking to host a quaint dinner party or a large celebration, I would love to help you create your ideal function. Please visit my Catering and Deliveries Pages for more information.

Please keep in mind these are just my ideas and examples of classes I have held in the past. I would be happy to create a class with you that meets your specific party idea and culinary goals.

A 4 to 6 course meal focused on Aphrodisiac ingredient recipes. Designed for couples to create “date night” at home. A fun and sexy date in an interactive setting for you and your sweetie or couples night. Also a great bachelorette party for your family and friends to learn to ignite passion at home.

SAMPLE MENU:

Beehive Cheese Co. and Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Plate
local lavender honey, spiced almonds, castelvetrano olives, sea salt crackers

Duo of Tomales Bay Oysters
cornmeal crusted with romesco sauce, green apple fennel slaw
on the half shell, champagne vinegar mignonette

Local Baby Arugula and Watercress Salad
green apples, shaved fennel, toasted almonds, blueberries and maple ginger vinaigrette

Grilled 8oz Black Angus Filet Mignon
seasoned steak salt, sautéed king trumpet mushrooms, glazed jumbo asparagus spears, béarnaise foam

Bittersweet Chocolate Hazelnut Molten Cake
praline anglaise, salted caramel, blood orange sorbet, chantilly cream

House-made Dark Chocolate Truffle with White Chocolate Passion Fruit Ganache and Bourbon Vanilla Butter Caramels

Always racking your brain for pot luck or family gather dish ideas. Learn simple yet sophisticated recipes that will make you the hit of any party.

SAMPLE MENU:

Grilled Eggplant Babaganoush
vegetable crudité, english cucumber, rosemary sea salt crackers

Prosciutto and Parmesan Asparagus Spears

Cornmeal Crusted Dungeness Crab Cakes
avocado cream, cara cara orange segment, cayenne pepper

Toasted Flatbread with Country Olive Tapenade, Arugula Walnut Pesto, Garlic White Bean Puree

Truffle Wild Mushroom and Mascarpone Cheese Quiche

Ahi Tuna Tartare
coriander wonton crisps, pickled ginger, cilantro leaves

Korean BBQ Shortrib Skewers
caramelized onion emulsion, scallions, toasted sesame seeds

Oven Roasted Heirloom Beet Salad
feta cheese, salted pepitas, toasted pumpkin seed oil

Caramelized Banana, Fuji Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
cinnamon crème fraiche, pumpernickel croutons

Passion Fruit “Souffle” Tart
white chocolate cream, blackberry coulis, champagne sorbet, coconut meringue

Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse
fudgy cake, salted caramel peanuts, red grape coulis

It’s 5:00, you have just walked in the door, you open the fridge and stare….what’s for dinner. Cooking tasty and healthy meals does not always require hours in the kitchen, a laundry list of ingredients, or breaking the bank. Learn simple time and penny-saving restaurant techniques that are easy enough for even the novice cook.

MENU MAY INCLUDE:

Baby Kale Caesar Salad
garlic country croutons, shaved parmesan

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
crushed avocado, cold poached shrimp, basil oil

Pan Seared Organic Mary’s Chicken Breast
israeli couscous “risotto”, confit baby heirloom tomatoes, caramelized marinated baby artichokes

Balsamic Marinated Hanger Steak
sautéed broccoli rabe, salt roasted pee wee potatoes, confit shallot, bourbon peppercorn sauce

Sweet and Spicy Sausage Pizza
fresh mozzarella, peppernade, arugula basil pesto

S’mores
home-made marshmallow, ginger spice cookie, triple chocolate sauce, mixed berries

Caramelized Banana Split
vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream, candied pecans, hot fudge

Variety is the spice of life. Whether you are trying to add a few meatless dishes into your repertoire, need to please a household of carnivores and vegetarians, or to learn make satisfying, well-balanced meat-free meals you will enjoy this class.

SAMPLE MENU:

Chilled Avocado “Gazpacho”
charred poblano pepper, spiced almonds, cilantro, white balsamic

Baby Heirloom Beet Salad
shaved fennel, tangerine, candied hazelnut, crisp goat cheese, sherry shallot vinaigrette

Toasted Barley Risotto
baby root vegetables, pickled red pearl onions, baby spinach, parmesan

Wild Mushroom and Roasted Tomato”Bolognese” Lasagna
pickled sunchoke puree, petite mache salad, sliced breakfast radish, toasted pistachios

Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Ravioli
melted leek puree, black summer truffles, toasted pine nuts, sherry vinegar, candied kumquats

Coconut Tapioca Soup
pineapple lime salad, blood orange sherbet, cilantro syrup

Black Forrest Molten Cake
candied bing cherries, white chocolate mousse, sugared almond slivers

Always want to eat dessert before dinner? Or, if you are like me, you eat dessert for dinner. Learn the recipes and techniques of some of my favorite dinner spoilers. A few guilty pleasures, a few rich and decadent, and a few light and tantalizing, you may never eat dinner again.

MENU MAY INCLUDE:

Meyer Lemon Tart blackberry coulis, honey ricotta gelato, lavender meringue

Kaffir Lime Dusted Brown Sugar Cake vanilla roasted pineapples, salted caramel,

Mint Chocolate Brownie Sundae double chocolate brownie, mint chocolate chip ice cream, hot fudge

Caramelized Banana Split dulce de leche ice cream, vanilla rum caramel, toasted coconut

Tahitian Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta strawberry rhubarb compote, chocolate pearls, tarragon syrup

Bourbon Brioche Bread Pudding warm bourbon sauce, pralines, maple ice cream, bacon brittle

Trio of Ice Cream Sandwiches
peanut butter and jelly ice cream with salted shortbread
graham cracker cookie with rocky road ice cream
passion fruit pavlova with honey grapefruit sorbet

Sticky Toffee Pudding
brown butter asian pears, mascarpone, toasted pistachios

The term ‘Farm to Table’ has become a very common phrase, but it can seem like a lofty goal. What do you do with the bounty of fruits and vegetables each season? I will take you and your guests of a guided tour of one of the many farmers markets in the area of your choosing. We will then bring our treasures to your kitchen, or mine, and I will teach you ingredient driven recipes using that season’s finest at the peak of freshness . I will also teach you techniques, cooking ratios, and pantry items to have on hand to make the most of your future farmers market excursions.

Please keep in mind this class is only available when local area farmers markets are open, typically June through October.

SAMPLE SUMMER SEASON MENU:

Charred Sweet Corn Guacamole
lotus root chips, cotija cheese, cilantro

Paprika Spiced Stripe Prawn Salad
heirloom tomatoes, crushed avocado, cornmeal hushpuppies, habanero salt

Grilled Duroc Pork Chop
yellow peach gastrique, sautéed summer squash, king trumpet mushrooms

New York Style Cheesecake
honey balsamic strawberries, rosewater ice cream, vanilla hazelnut tuile

Celebrate the long-awaited coming of spring and all the amazing produce that comes with it.

SAMPLE MENU:

Chilled English Pea Soup
citrus dungeness crab salad, crispy shallots, lemon oil

Warm Jumbo White and Green Asparagus Salad
slow poached egg, prosciutto di parma, pea greans, lemon horseradish vinaigrette

Floral Herb Crusted Steamed Petrale Sole
fava beans, fingerling potatoes, spring garlic broth

Heritage Valley Duck Breast
black forbidden rice, sicilian pistachio puree, fiddle head ferns, vinegar braised rhubarb

Grilled Marinated Leg of Lamb
braised kale, goat cheese polenta, mint pine nut pesto, crispy baby heirloom carrots

Warm Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie
brown sugar streusel, vanilla cardamom anglaise, pistachio ice cream

A GREAT IDEA FOR MOTHER’S DAY GIFT OR CELEBRATION!! Rather than stand in line for hours at a crowded restaurant, invite your friends and family to your home and wow them with your new skills. In this class you will learn and enjoy a delightful selection of savory and sweet brunch dishes.

SAMPLE MENU:

Smoked Ham and Gruyere Quiche
flaky puff pastry crust, mesclun greens salad.

Creekstone Flatiron Steak and Sunny Side Up Eggs
potato and hatch chili hash, watercress chimichurri, syrah veal jus

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho
burrata cheese, red onion, avocado, crispy capers

Black Currant Buttermilk Scones

Bob’s Redmill Creamy Grits
soft poached egg, maple bacon, scallion oil

Wild Mushroom and Fontina Savory Bread Pudding
baby arugula, pickled sunchokes

Sweet Ash Raised Buttermilk Donuts

Stuffed Brioche French Toast
caramelized bananas, toasted walnuts, buttered rum

Grandma’s French Breakfast Muffins

The Perfect Flaky Buttermilk Buiquit
vanilla orange honey butter

Smoked Trout Eggs Benedict
canadian bacon, english muffin, yuzu hollandaise, trout roe

Caramelized Apple Dutch Oven Pancakes
cinnamon sour cream gelato, toasted almonds

Do you find yourself always promising but never able to schedule time to get all your friends to a restaurant? Why not invite your friends to your home to enjoy a leisurely and delicious meal while learning refreshing recipes.

MENU MAY INCLUDE:

Dungeness Crab Salad, Celery Dressing, Endive, Citrus

Truffle Wild Mushroom Quiche

Grilled Flatbread, Carmelized Onion, Blue Cheese

Blackened Salmon Cobb Salad
cucumber, heirloom cherry tomatoes, hearts of palm, smoked paprika dressing

Marinated Baby Artichoke Salad
garlic rosemary white bean puree, tomato confit, country olives, lemon vinaigrette

Sweet Corn Chowder
fingerling potato “coins”, apple-smoked bacon, fresh thyme

Grilled Summer Vegetable Sandwich
portabello mushroom, balsamic red onion, rosemary cibatta, tahini mayo

Home-made Pappardelle Pasta
fava beans, fresh mint and truffle pesto, prosciutto chip, toasted pine nuts

Coriander Crust Seared Ahi Tuna Sandwich
pickled vegetables, baby mizuna greens, wasabi mayo

Mango Lime Blueberry Fool

Roasted Pineapple Parfait
caramelized banana, brown butter wafer, tahitian vanilla ice cream

Sticky Toffee Blondie
bittersweet chocolate mousse, salted toffee sauce, hot fudge

There are few greater pleasures then a beautiful summer night with a delicious meal enjoyed outside on your deck. Turn on the grill, brush off the chairs, and delight in the best of summer.

SAMPLE MENU:

Warm Burrata Cheese
charred cherry tomatoes, baby arugula pesto, grilled sourdough

Summer Melon and Bora Prosciutto Salad
ricotta walnut butter, champagne vinaigrette

Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad
feta cheese, aged balsamic, baby arugula, toasted pistachios

Seared Calamari
extra virgin olive oil, shallots, capers, fresh lemon, parsley

Veal sweetbreads
pickled bing cherries, charred corn, thyme foam

Thyme Basted California Rock Fish
eggplant ratatouille, saffron aioli, basil oil

Pan-seared Pacific Wild Salmon
sweet corn puree, melted leeks, zucchini paysannes, sautéed chanterelles

Fennel Crusted Roasted Pork Tenderloin
roasted plums, baby fennel, orange essence, rosemary

Grilled Bone-in Ribeye
citrus glazed carrots, watercress puree, creamy toasted barley

Grilled Lamb Loin
english peas, baby carrots, medjool date puree, vadouvan double cream

Plum Polenta Cake Candied
ginger, spiced port sorbet, greek yogurt anglaise

Caramelized Fig and Citrus Sangria Parfait
red wine port reduction, green apple sorbet, orange mascarpone ice cream

White Peach Melba “Float”
raspberry coulis, crème fraiche gelato, amaretti cookie

Even if you have to eliminate gluten from your diet, you can still enjoy your favorite dishes. I will teach you techniques and substitutions so tasty you won’t even realize what is missing.

SAMPLE MENU:

Charred Edamame citrus sea salt, lemon juice

Ahi Tuna Tartare grilled eggplant puree, preserved lemon, peppadew pepper, crispy parsley

Crispy Brussel Sprout Salad baby asian greens, chinese sausage, sweet and sour vinaigrette

Oven Roasted Spaghetti Squash california olive oil, sautéed sunburst tomatoes, fresh marjoram, ciligene mozzarella

Grilled 8oz Filet horseradish gnocchi, sautéed watercress, maitake mushrooms

Spiced Lamb meatballs slow cooked tomato, grilled pita

Cumin Tuna Tataki seared peppered pineapple, scallion puree

Sweet Corn Crème Brulee blackberry cream, cornmeal sable

Flourless Chocolate Cake dark chocolate ganache, blood orange caramel, hazelnut brittle, espresso gelato

Dark Chocolate Espresso Pot au Crème lemon mascarpone beignets

Honey Grilled Yellow Peaches warm ginger almond cake, vanilla sabayon, citrus coulis

A fun birthday or Mother’s Day celebration. Great for parents and kids ages 10 & up. Perfect your baking skills, learn buttercream and ganache frostings, and experiment with new tips and techniques to decorate.

YOU AND YOUR GUESTS WILL ENJOY:

Key Lime “Pie” Cupcakes with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting, Graham Cracker Tuile, and Lime Glaze

Tres Leches Cupcakes, Dark Rum Glaze, Vanilla Chantilly, Cinnamon Swizzle

Chocolate Hazelnut (Ferrero Rocher) Cupcakes, Hazelnut Butter Filling, Nutella Ganache Icing, Salted Hazelnut Shortbread

Tiramisu Cupcakes, Sweet Madeira Syrup, Vanilla Mascarpone Frosting, Chocolate Curls, Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling and Red Sugar

Dark Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes, Salted Caramel Buttercream, Tuaca Caramel Sauce, Brown Sugar Pecans

Vanilla Bing Cherry Ice Cream

Raspberry Amaretto Gelato

Mornings are tough, everyone is rushing to get where they need to be. Preparing a well-balanced, delicious breakfast and lunch can seem impossible. You and your guests will learn fast, tasty, and nutritious recipes for you and your family that will keep them satisfied all day.

SAMPLE MENU:

Egg White Omelet
last night’s herb roasted potatoes, spinach and wild mushrooms

“BLT” Eggs Benedict
whole grain english muffin, canadian bacon, spinach, tomato, citrus yogurt hollandaise

Toasted Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal
flaxseed meal, candied pecans, caramelized apples

Whole Grain Waffles
chocolate apple butter, fresh bing cherries

Home-made Almond & Organic Shaved Coconut Granola
whipped greek yogurt, marinated mixed berries, lavender honey

Whole Bruleed Baby Grapefruit minted honey

Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bars
dark chocolate, flax seed, quinoa, agave nectar

Grilled Chopped Vegetable Salad
israeli couscous, radicchio, burrata, sherry shallot vinaigrette

Roasted Tomato and Bell Pepper Soup
fresh mozzarella and basil grilled cheese

Cilantro Lime Marinated Pork Tacos
pickled red onion, garlic black beans, brown rice, quinoa, queso fresco

Roast Turkey, Apple and Brie Sandwich
rosemary brioche, honey mustard, herb parmesan potato chips

Seared Salmon Burger
english peas, orzo, dill horseradish crème fraiche

World’s Finest Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Best Brownie I Have Ever Eaten

Being single can be exhausting sometimes. After you have finished at your job, gone to the grocery store, done a load of laundry, gone to the gym, the last thing you want to do is prepare, cook and clean-up a meal for yourself. I understand all too well. I will teach you simply prepared recipes in larger quantities to be re-heated for breakfasts, lunches and dinners throughout your week.

SAMPLE MENU:

Toasted Overnight Oats
chia seeds, greek yogurt, fresh blueberries, candied lemon

Whole Grain Waffles
chocolate apple butter, fresh bing cherries

Garlic Tahini Hummus
bell peppers, cucumbers, sea salt crackers

Blackened Chicken Salad
sliced avocado, 7-minute egg, shaved fennel, asiago cheese

Green Goddess Dip
spring vegetable crudite

Cilantro Lime Marinated Grilled Chicken Tenderloins
quinoa, garlic black beans, roasted tomatillos, cucumber, sunburst tomatoes

Creamy Tagliatelle Pasta
celery root puree, fava beans, pickled mushrooms, pine nut crumble

Balsamic Marinated Hanger Steak Salad
bibb lettuce, bacon lardons, gorgonzola, crispy shallots

Pan-seared Scottish Salmon
quinoa salad, heirloom cherry tomatoes, summer squash, pomegranate vinaigrette

Grilled Skirt Steak
pickled sunchoke puree, roasted wild mushroom salad, red wine jus

Crispy Vegetable Quesadilla
crushed black beans, charred corn and poblanos, fresh lime

Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs
wasabi snap peas, lemongrass brown rice, citrus edamame

Dark Chocolate Avocado Shake

Honey Roasted Peanut Parfait
salted caramel, milk chocolate mousse, greek yogurt gelato

Is there anything finer that a slice of pie? Learn to make amazing pies and tarts that are perfect for the delicious simplicity of the sweetest fruits of the summer. I will teach you recipes and techniques for flaky pie crust, sweet dough, crumb topping, lattice top and array of fillings utilizing in-season market fruits as well as creams, mousses and a bit of chocolate.

SAMPLE MENU:

Warm Apple Streusel Pie
aged white cheddar cheese ice cream

Bing Cherry Hand Pie
cream cheese dough

Caramelized Spice Pumpkin Pie
candied pecans, tangerine coulis

Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie

Summer Berry Tart
vanilla pastry cream

My Grandma’s Summer Peach Pie
raspberry coulis, vanilla mascarpone gelato

Warm Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for Two
brown butter streusel, pistachio ice cream

As a couple or with you friends, learn to make simple dishes into weeknight elegance so every night can be special.

MENU MAY INCLUDE:

Heirloom Tomato Salad
basil pine nut pesto, fresh mozzarella bocconcini, aged balsamic reduction, parmesan crisp

Pan Seared Wild Gulf Shrimp
roasted cauliflower puree, pickled spring ramps, curry butter, blood orange segments

Thyme Roasted Organic Mary’s Chicken Breast
Israeli couscous “risotto”, marinated baby artichokes, green olives, confit garlic chicken jus

Meyer Lemon Semifreddo
graham cracker crumbs, fresh raspberries

A great class for interactive format, perfect for parents and kids age 10-14. Raise the bar on your favorite burger place and relish in the outcome at home. Learn a twist on old favorites and explore new tastes.

SAMPLE MENU:

Sweet Potato Fries with Curry Ketchup

Kobe-style Beef Sliders with Truffle Mayo and House-made Pickles

Crispy Potato Fries with Chipotle Aioli

Black Angus Beef Burgers with Aged Cheddar, Apple-wood Smoked Bacon, Brioche Bun

Grilled Summer Vegetable Sandwich with Balsamic Marinated Grilled Onions, Avocado, Tahini Mayo, Ciabatta Bread

Pulled Pork Cuban Sliders, Provolone, Spicy Whole Grain Mustard, Canadian Bacon, Apple Fennel Slaw

Asian Chicken “Bahn Mi” Burgers, Pickled Carrots and Daikon, Cucumber, Jalapeno, Cilantro

Beer-battered Onion Rings with Piquillo Pepper Chive Aioli

Poutine French Fries “Animal-Style” with Short Rib Gravy, Cheddar and Red Pepper Coulis

Milk Chocolate Malt, Tahitian Vanilla Bean, and Strawberry Cheesecake Milk Shakes

Fish can be a surprisingly easy and delicious way to add variety to your daily meals. Learn about the varieties of fish, shellfish, and mollusks as well as the fabrication, preparation and cooking techniques of each. Then enjoy tasty, simple recipes that will satisfy everyone at your table.

SAMPLE MENU:

Fluke Sashimi
mango, frisee greens, aji amarillo chile, soy ginger vinaigrette

Wild Striped Bass Ceviche
citrus juices, red onion, avocado, piment d’espelette

Duo of Ahi Tuna
tuna tataki, tuna tartare, green tea soba noodles, soy shitakes, toasted sesame vinaigrette

Beer-Steamed Mussels
red curry, lime, grilled sourdough

Crisp Calamari Salad
asian greens, toasted coconut, green apple, thai sesame dressing

Grilled Paprika Spiced Caledonian Prawns
romesco sauce, seaweed salt

Octopus a al Plancha
cannellini beans, cherry tomato confit, pickled red pearl onions

Crispy Rock Shrimp
spicy yuzu mayo, wasabi tobiko, scallions

Pan-seared Halibut
smoked ham potato hash, green olive, sauce bacalao, croutons

Crispy Skate Wing
mushroom broth, fregula pasta, broccoli rabe, green olives

Miso Soy Marinated Scottish Salmon
baby bok choy, crisp rice cake, shitake mushrooms, citrus butter sauce

Pan Roasted Sea Scallops
wheat berry risotto, english peas, pickled red pearl onions, herb yogurt sauce

Red Snapper en Papillote (in paper)
baby fennel, green peppercorns, blood orange

Wild Striped Bass
smoked yellow tomato, green asparagus, watermelon, basil oil

Learn to cook both fresh and dried pasta as well as an array of sauces and garnishes to accompany. You will learn to make 2 types of pasta dough by hand and in the mixer, as well as techniques to roll, cut and fill. This is an ideal interactive class for a smaller group.

SAMPLE MENU:

Braised Rabbit Agnolotti
toasted garlic ricotta cream, madeira emulsion, toasted sunflower seeds

“Chittara” Spaghetti
crisp pancetta, scallions, fontina cream, chili oil

Spiced Pumpkin Ravioli
huckleberries, arugula walnut pesto, brown butter, guanciale

Pasta Pappardelle
braised short rib, english peas, cippolini onions, parmigianino reggiano

Horseradish Gnocchi
petite watercress, sautéed maitake mushrooms, pecorino

Pasta Orecchiette
sugar snap peas, pearl onions, ricotta cheese, prosciutto di parma

Udon Noodle Bowl
braised pork belly, poached egg, shitake mushrooms, sesame seeds

Chestnut Tortellini
brown butter sauce, sage, pecorino, pomegranate seeds

Fresh Chocolate Pasta
raspberry coulis, tahitian vanilla ice cream

There are many buzz-words floating around, paleo diet, mediterranean diet, but the exact definitions and guidelines can be confusing or seem difficult to follow. I will guide you and your guests through the principles and latest efficacy research of the diet of your choosing. Then I will teach you techniques and recipes specific to that diet as well other heart healthy, high-energy meals to match your active lifestyle.

SAMPLE MENU:

Seared Ahi Tuna
vegetable escabeche, olive tapenade, crushed avocado, crispy potatoes

Roasted Baby Beet Salad
goat cheese foam, toasted hazelnut, baby arugula

Greek Orzo Salad
hot house cucumbers, feta cheese, parsley

Black Bean Quinoa Salad
mango bell pepper salsa, red onion, cilantro

Pan-seared Mary’s Organic Chicken Breast
cauliflower “couscous”, spinach puree, cherry tomato confit


Fancy Feasting

Sherrill Gonterman, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, started LaCHEF & Co. catering in 1981 she and her crew have catered and styled countless upscale private events, as well as parties for the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Here, she talks about the recipes she graciously shared with AT HOME, as well as her approach to creating holiday food and décor.

Q: Let’s start with the recipes you chose. what inspired this menu?

SG: These recipes really are very flavorful and somewhat special we served them quite a lot last year and will continue to this year. The cranberry relish, we put it in just about everything—it sets the mood for the holidays. Cranberries don’t come into season until November. We serve it with almost every carved meat, from our roasted cranberry turkey breast to pork loin. It goes well on sandwiches and even over ice cream. There’s a lot you can do with it, and it’s much better than what you can buy at the store, or even the carryout places, because it’s all fresh cranberries, oranges and apricots. It’s more fruity than anything.

The wild mushrooms are really popular this time of year because of their earthy taste and smell the brie soup is great when it’s chilly out. It’s very rich, and we serve it as an hors d’oeuvres. When people walk in the door, they take off their coats and we hand it to them in a demitasse to warm them up. It’s great for a cold, chilly night.

The dessert is just nice and rich and chocolate.

Q: That dessert list really caught our eye—there was a lot on there .

Beginning early in November, we start making a lot of desserts. We sell probably more desserts than anything else. But they might be little finger desserts that look pretty on buffet, or something a little different than the homemade cookies that all of us are making that time of year. They’re things you wouldn’t necessarily make for yourself because they’re time-consuming. Obviously, cookies are big, but these are a little bit different. For the holidays, I turn my entire office into a mini Crate & Barrel. It’s consumed with custom linens and twinkle lights and stars and pine cones. We package all sorts of pretty little gifts with bow ties that we use as props. So all of these are props for our buffets that set the mood, and we even do handmade ornament cookies that we use to decorate buffets and dessert trays. All those things add to the presentation.

Q: When does the season begin to kick in for you guys? Probably soon?

We’ve started booking parties already [late September]. In fact, when the first of October hits, we start calling all of our clients who did holiday parties last year, because we give them first choice for dates. We do close out Fridays and Saturday in December—there’s only so many parties we can take, and those are obviously the busiest nights. Most of our clients know to book early. We do a lot of turkeys for Thanksgiving. We do deliveries and carryout turkeys and stuffing and cranberry relish and pies and all of that. That’s the start of the season, and from then on out, we’re just crunching and cooking.

Q: So you’re talking about residential parties, rather than company parties?

Well, we do a lot of in-home parties. That’s more our forte than anything, doing buffets on dining-room tables and coming in and helping people decorate their homes. But a lot of corporations are back to doing holiday parties, and more in a big way than five years ago. A lot of companies, too, have their parties at someone’s home, or at a venue, rather than at the office.

Q: Do you have any advice for folks who are doing smaller-scale parties that might not call for a fully catered meal, who are cooking at home for themselves?

We have a lot of clients who just come by to pick up specialty items, to fill in the blanks. Even if it’s just the relish or the penne pasta—you can pick up food from us, even if it’s not a full-fledged, staffed event. Everyone’s got a lot of food out there, but our trays are all garnished with sugared cranberries and kumquats and we’ll even put a little rosemary and cinnamon stick. We do an edible garnish on all of our carryout trays so they can just kinda put it out and it already looks holiday-ish.

  • House-Smoked Strip Loin of Beef drizzled with cognac peppercorn sauce
  • Carved Cranberry Barbecue Turkey Breast, served on walnut bread with cranberry relish and baby spinach
  • Iced Jumbo Prawn Martinis, served with vodka horseradish sauce and garnished with three olive skewers
  • Mini Yorkshire Puddings
  • French Gougeres & Holiday Sweet Bacon, served in gold foil candy boxes
  • Warm Brie Bisque with Madeira, in demitasse sippers
  • Wild Mushroom Penne Pasta, garnished with pomegranate seeds
  • Winter Crudités Nouveau, both grilled and fresh
  • Desserts surrounded by frosted grapes, sugared cranberries,spiced pecans & handmade cookie ornaments
  • Tuxedo Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
  • Spiked Pecan Diamonds
  • Cappuccino Bars
  • Peppermint Ice Cream Shots with chocolate sauce and a candy cane
  • Pumpkin Mousse and Ginger Snap Crunch

Dice apricots and place in large bowl. Rinse cranberries and chop of them in the food processor. Core and dice apple into small pieces. Peel and seed oranges and take out middle pith. Dice oranges and set aside. Squeeze juice from pith into sauce pan and heat to a boil. Add sugar, cranberries and cup water. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook just until berries begin to pop (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Pour over apricots and let stand 10 minutes. Stir in the oranges and apple. Refrigerate at least two hours. Relish will thicken as it cools.

16 thick slices of bacon, cut in half

1/3 cup sliced almonds, finely ground

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cooling rack on jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper. Lay bacon on cooling racks. Combine almonds and brown sugar. Thinly cover one side of bacon with tablespoon of the sugar/almond mixture. Cook bacon 20-25 minutes until crisp.

Can freeze at this point and warm in oven just before serving.

For the holidays, serve on a tray covered with fresh cranberries.

WARM BRIE SOUP WITH MADEIRA

3 tablespoons salted butter

1 cup green onion, chopped

1 cup brie, rind removed, cubed

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

4 tablespoons cornstarch, diluted in water

In saucepan, sauté mushrooms, onions, carrots, garlic and thyme in butter for 4 minutes. Add broth, Madeira and wine. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium. Toss brie in flour. Add brie to pan, whisking constantly until melted. Add diluted cornstarch and whisk. Add cream and stir until heated. Garnish with parsley.

WILD MUSHROOM PENNE PASTA

tablespoon minced shallots

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Toss mushrooms with vinegar, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10–15 minutes on greased sheet pan until tender and dried on edges. For sauce: sauté shallots and garlic in butter add cream, and heat until hot. Cook penne in boiling salted water until al dente. Just before serving, toss mushrooms, pasta, sauce and cheeses. Salt and pepper to taste.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Spread evenly into small sheet pan. For ganache: melt margarine in saucepan. Take off heat, add cream, vanilla and chocolate. Add cappuccino after chocolate has melted. Pour ganache over crust. Knock gently on table to release air bubbles. Chill and cut into x ” squares. Decorate according to season!


Rose Cupcakes

1 1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp. Cake flour

1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3 (Lg,) egg whites (room temp)

2 tsp. rose water (make sure to use rose water and NOT extract)

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare mini muffin tins with paper liners or use “party cups” as I have done here. If you use party cups you simply place them on a sheet pan no other prep is needed. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy about 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium low speed, add the egg whites one at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix until combined. Mix in the vanilla and rose water. Starting with the flour mixture add 1/3 of the mixture alternating with the milk in two additions, ending with the flour mixture. Note: if you desire you can add a little pink gel food coloring paste if you want a pink colored cake.

2. Fill the cups or tins 2/3 full with batter. The batter really rises, so resist the urge to fill them further. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° F for about 10-12 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean or if you press on them lightly the cake springs back. The cakes will not brown. Frost cooled cupcakes with either Pistachio Buttercream (recipe below) or Vanilla Buttercream, decorate with optional sugared rose petals.

1 Cup shelled unsalted & roasted pistachio nuts

2 Tbsp. pistachio oil (or vegetable oil)

1. Prepare a sheet pan with either a Silpat or by lightly greasing with vegetable oil.

2. Pour the water in a saucepan and then add the sugar. With a clean finger mix the sugar and water until it looks like wet sand. Have a cup of water with a clean pastry brush placed in the cup. Bring the sugar to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar dissolves-stop stirring. If sugar crystals form along the sides of the pan use the wet pastry brush to let water drip down to dissolve the crystals. Continue to cook until the mixture comes to a light caramel color. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the nuts. Return to the heat and cook until comes to a medium amber color. Working quickly- pour the nut mixture onto prepared pan and with a heat proof spatula do your best to flatten out nuts. Allow the nuts to cool until they become hard.

3. Once mixture is hard and completely cooled- use your hands to break apart any large clumps. Place the mixture in a food processor and pulse several times to initially break up the mixture. Proceed to process the mixture until it starts to form a thick paste. When the blade no longer seems to move add the oil and continue to process until as smooth as possible.

Swiss Meringue Vanilla Buttercream

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temp

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the eggs whites and sugar and place over a pot with simmering water. Whisk the egg whites and sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is about 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer* (*alternatively- you can feel the mixture with your first two fingers and if you don’t feel any sugar granules then it is ok). Turn off the heat. Attach the mixer bowl onto the mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk the mixture on medium until the bottom of the bowl is almost cool to the touch and the mixture has turned into a nice stiff meringue. This will take several minutes. With the mixer on medium high, add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time and continue to mix until all the butter is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. It will go through a curdled looking stage as it mixes but don’t worry keep adding the butter and it will come together. Add in the vanilla and mix to combine.

For Pistachio Buttercream : Mix in 4-5 Tbsp. Pistachio paste (recipe above) and 1-2 drops of “Mint Green” colored gel paste

For PInk/White Vanilla Two toned Buttercream : Divide buttercream into two equal portions. Tint one half with 3-5 drops “Deep Pink Rose” colored gel paste- mix well to combine. Prepare a large piping bag by standing it upright in a tall glass fitted with chosen piping tip (such as star tip). Place one color down inside of the pastry bag and the other color down the other side make sure to get the buttercream down all the way to the tip. I find it helpful to place each color inside a disposable pastry bag and squeezing each color down inside the bag.

For sugared rose petals : Place a small amount of liquid pasteurized egg whites (such as 100 % liquid egg whites) in a bowl. Have your organic (non pesticide) rose petals already cleaned and dried. Using a soft clean brush- brush each rose petal (front and back) and then sprinkle with fine granulated sugar. Place petals inside a mini muffin tin to dry. This is best done the day before you assemble your cupcakes- as it takes them several hours to dry completely.

Note: any leftover buttercream may be frozen in an airtight container. To use from frozen allow buttercream to thaw at room temperature, then rewhip using the whisk attachment.


From Gary Rhodes at the Table Gary Rhodes at the Table by Gary Rhodes

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  • Categories: Dressings & marinades Salads Appetizers / starters
  • Ingredients: court bouillon whole crabs mayonnaise lemons salad leaves spring onions groundnut oil Dijon mustard capers pickled gherkins parsley chives tarragon

Boston Cream Pie

It’s almost Valentines Day and in the days leading up to this day that celebrates love I am going to post a few recipes for desserts. The first is Boston Cream Pie which is one of my all time favorite desserts, I love it, can’t resist it and I think that if I could pick only one dessert that I couldn’t live without this would be it. As a child this was the cake I always picked for my birthday, there was a bakery in my home town that made one of the best and my Mom after we moved from there developed a cake recipe just so she could make me this cake. I didn’t use the recipe for Tender Yellow Cake for this dessert however, I recently purchased a new cookbook “Bravetart” by Stella Parks and decided to try her recipe for the cake. Before putting the recipe on the blog I checked and it was published on the internet by Food and Wine. I have to say I love this cookbook, Stella has taken so many iconic American treats (it’s like a trip down memory lane) and developed them so that you can make them at home, the goodness of a Hostess Twinkie or cupcake or Little Debbie snack cake without all the additives, love it!

Boston Cream Pie is a cake not a pie and I am not sure why they call it pie not cake but whats in a name anyway, it’s wonderful. The original recipe uses sponge cake, a vanilla pudding or pastry cream filling and it is covered with a wonderful chocolate ganache although there seems to be debate as to whether or not the original actually had the chocolate glaze. Simple and unadorned, nothing intricate about it but the sum of all it’s parts makes an absolutely delicious dessert.

Instead of the pudding in the book I used my favorite pastry cream recipe which always holds up beautifully. I sometimes have problems with corn starch based fillings, they often are not stiff enough and I didn’t want to take a chance having never used that recipe before. I have a lot of egg whites left over so an angel food cake will be in the works soon.

The cake is moist and a cross between a sponge and yellow cake. Next time I will mix some milk chocolate with the dark for the ganache because I like it just a little sweeter but it is still very good even with only dark. I kept the cake in the refrigerator overnight so it was cold when I poured the ganache on and the chocolate kind of stopped in its tracks and I had to spread it, I recommend bringing the cake to room temperature before pouring the ganache so you get that smooth mirror like finish.

Boston Cream Pie

The Cake – Recipe by Stella Parks in “Bravetart”

Makes one 2 layer 8 inch cake

2 cups (8 oz) bleached cake flour

1/4 tsp kosher salt (I used a heaping 1/4 tsp)

3/4 cup egg yolks (from approximately 12 large eggs) It was 11 eggs for me depends on size

4 tbs unsalted butter, melted (I used salted butter)

1 cup milk at room temperature

Oven rack should be in the middle of the oven. Heat to 350 degree’s. Line 2 8″x3″ round cake pans with parchment and grease with cooking spray (like Pam). Sift flour into a medium bowl and whisk in baking powder.

Combine sugar, vanilla and egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on low to moisten and then increase the speed to medium high and whip until thick, light and doubled in volume, approximately 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium low and drizzle in butter followed by the milk. Once added shut off the mixer, detach the bowl and gently incorporate the flour with a balloon whisk Fold the thin batter with a flexible spatula once or twice from the bottom up. Divide between prepared cake pans.

Bake until cakes are lightly browned and firm approximately 20 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then gently loosen and invert onto cooling racks. Place the pans over the cakes to trap steam and cool to room temperature. NOTE: my cakes took almost 30 minutes to get a light (golden brown)

Once cakes have cooled slice a little off the tops of each layer (so the pudding will soak into the cake. Place one layer on cake stand and spread a generous amount of the pudding and place the other layer on top. Cover and let sit at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) dark chocolate roughly chopped

Bring cream to a simmer, remove from heat and add the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes and then whisk until thick and creamy. Refrigerate for about 25 minutes don’t let it cool completely the ganache must still be a bit warm. Pour over the cake, let set and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Dark Chocolate Mousse with Sugared Kumquats - Recipes

A Daring Bakers December Challenge

Our fabulous challenge for December is a French Yule Log from Flore at Plaisir Gourmand. [http://plaisirgourmand.perso.cegetel.net/index.html]. Our fabulous hostesses are Hilda of Saffron & Blueberry (http://saffronandblueberry.blogspot.com/) and Marion of (Il en faut peu pour etre heureux (http://ilenfautpeupour.canalblog.com/).

This is a show stopping recipe that is perfect for the holidays. My extended family thoroughly enjoyed the Yule Log, including the sugared slices of star fruit. The side decorations of praline turned out to be slightly addictive, causing more than one person to revisit the log and sneak a piece off the side. Thanks Hilda & Marion for a wonderful holiday dessert!

This recipe comes almost entirely, except for one small labeled portion and some of the variations courtesy of our dear Daring Baker Fairy Tartelette, from the website: Florilège Gourmand (address above) which belongs to Flore and is unreal. Her website is in French and different portions of the recipe have been pulled from the recipes in the entremets section.

1) Dacquoise Biscuit
2) Mousse
3) Ganache Insert
4) Praline (Crisp) Insert
5) Creme Brulee Insert
6) Icing

The assembly will essentially be a Dacquoise Biscuit at the bottom, and the inserts inter-layered with mousse, with an icing finish.

Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)

Preparation time: 10 mn + 15 mn for baking

Equipment: 2 mixing bowls, hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment, spatula, baking pan such as a 10”x15” jelly-roll pan, parchment paper

Note: You can use the Dacquoise for the bottom of your Yule Log only, or as bottom and top layers, or if using a Yule log mold (half-pipe) to line your entire mold with the biscuit. Take care to spread the Dacquoise accordingly. Try to bake the Dacquoise the same day you assemble the log to keep it as moist as possible.

Ingredients:
2.8 oz (3/4cup + 1Tbsp / 80g) almond meal
1.75 oz (1/2 cup / 50g) confectioner’s (caster) sugar
2Tbsp (15g) brown rice flour & sweet rice flour blend (1 Tb each)
3.5oz (100g /

100ml) about 3 medium egg whites
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar

Finely mix the almond meal and the caster sugar. (If you have a mixer, you can use it by pulsing the ingredients together for no longer than 30 seconds). Sift the flour into the mix. Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff. Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula. Grease a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it. Spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape (circle, long strip etc. ) and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm). Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden. Let cool and cut to the desired shape.

Element #2 Dark Chocolate Mousse

Equipment: stand or hand mixer with whisk attachment, thermometer, double boiler or equivalent, spatula

Note: You will see that a Pate a Bombe is mentioned in this recipe. A Pate a Bombe is a term used for egg yolks beaten with a sugar syrup, then aerated. It is the base used for many mousse and buttercream recipes. It makes mousses and buttercreams more stable, particularly if they are to be frozen, so that they do not melt as quickly or collapse under the weight of heavier items such as the crème brulee insert.

Gelatin is the gelifying agent in all of the following recipes, but if you would like to use agar-agar, here are the equivalencies: 8g powdered gelatin = 1 (0.25 oz) envelope powdered gelatin = 1 Tbsp powdered gelatin = 1 Tbsp Agar-Agar. 1 Tbsp. of agar-agar flakes is equal to 1 tsp. of agar-agar powder.

Ingredients:
2.5 sheets gelatin or 5g / 2+1/4 tsp powdered gelatin
1.5 oz (3 Tbsp / 40g) granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp (10g) glucose or thick corn syrup
0.5 oz (15g) water
50g egg yolks (about 3 medium)
6.2 oz (175g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1.5 cups (350g) heavy cream (35% fat content) or MimicCream

Soften the gelatin in cold water. (If using powdered gelatin, follow the directions on the package.)
2. Make a Pate a Bombe: Beat the egg yolks until very light in colour (approximately 5 minutes until almost white).
2a. Cook the sugar, glucose syrup and water on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, the mixture should reach 244°F (118°C). If you do not have a candy thermometer, test the sugar temperature by dipping the tip of a knife into the syrup then into a bowl of ice water, if it forms a soft ball in the water then you have reached the correct temperature.
2b. Add the sugar syrup to the beaten yolks carefully by pouring it into the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to beat the yolks. You can do this by hand but it’s easier to do this with an electric mixer.
2c. Continue beating until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The batter should become thick and foamy.
3. In a double boiler (or one small saucepan in a larger one), heat 2 tablespoons (30g) of cream to boiling. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
4. Pour the melted chocolate over the softened gelatin, mixing well. Let the gelatin and chocolate cool slightly and then stir in ½ cup (100g) of cream to temper. Add the Pate a Bombe.
5. Add in the rest of the cream (220g) mixing gently with a spatula.

Element #3 Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert

Preparation time: 10mn

Equipment: pan, whisk.
If you have plunging mixer (a vertical hand mixer used to make soups and other liquids), it comes in handy.

Note: Because the ganache hardens as it cools, you should make it right before you intend to use it to facilitate piping it onto the log during assembly. Please be careful when caramelizing the sugar and then adding the cream. It may splatter and boil.

Ingredients:
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp/ 135g) heavy cream (35% fat content) or MimicCream
5 oz (135g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened

Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge). While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil. Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth. Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

Element #4 Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert

Preparation time: 10 mn (+ optional 15mn if you make lace crepes)

Equipment: Small saucepan, baking sheet (if you make lace crepes).
Double boiler (or one small saucepan in another), wax paper, rolling pin (or use an empty bottle of olive oil).

Note: Feuillete means layered (as in with leaves) so a Praline Feuillete is a Praline version of a delicate crisp. There are non-praline variations below. The crunch in this crisp comes from an ingredient which is called gavottes in French. Gavottes are lace-thin crepes. To our knowledge they are not available outside of France, so you have the option of making your own using the recipe below or you can simply substitute rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K for them.

To make 2.1oz / 60g of gavottes (lace crepes - recipe by Ferich Mounia):
1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk
2/3 Tbsp (8g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup – 2tsp (35g) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp / 0.5 oz (15g) beaten egg
1 tsp (3.5g) granulated sugar
½ tsp vegetable oil
Heat the milk and butter together until butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat.
Sift flour into milk-butter mixture while beating, add egg and granulated sugar. Make sure there are no lumps.
Grease a baking sheet and spread batter thinly over it.
Bake at 430°F (220°C) for a few minutes until the crepe is golden and crispy. Let cool.

Ingredients for the Praline Feuillete:

3.5 oz (100g) milk chocolate
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) butter
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline
2.1oz (60g) lace crepes(gavottes) or corn flakes or pulverized Gorilla Munch

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Add the praline and the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate. Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Element #5 Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert

Preparation time: 15mn + 1h infusing + 1h baking

Equipment: Small saucepan, mixing bowl, baking mold, wax paper

Note: The vanilla crème brulée can be flavored differently by simply replacing the vanilla with something else e.g. cardamom, lavender, etc.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (115g) heavy cream (35% fat content) or MimicCream
½ cup (115g) star fruit puree
4 medium-sized (72g) egg yolks
0.75 oz (2 Tbsp / 25g) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the milk, cream, and scraped vanilla bean to just boiling. Remove from the stove and let the vanilla infuse for about 1 hour. Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white). Pour the vanilla-infused milk over the sugar/yolk mixture. Mix well. Wipe with a very wet cloth and then cover your baking mold (whatever shape is going to fit on the inside of your Yule log/cake) with parchment paper. Pour the cream into the mold and bake at 210°F (100°C) for about 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.

Tartelette says:You can bake it without a water bath since it is going to go inside the log (the aesthetics of it won't matter as much since it will be covered with other things). BUT I would recommend a water bath for the following reasons:
- you will get a much nicer mouth feel when it is done
- you will be able to control its baking point and desired consistency much better
- it bakes for such a long time that I fear it will get overdone without a water bath
Now. since it is baked in a pan and it is sometimes difficult to find another large pan to set it in for a water bath, even a small amount of water in your water bath will help the heat be distributed evenly in the baking process. Even as little as 1 inch will help.
Let cool and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.

Element #6 Dark Chocolate Icing

Preparation time: 25 minutes (10mn if you don’t count softening the gelatin)

Equipment: Small bowl, small saucepan

Note: Because the icing gelifies quickly, you should make it at the last minute.
For other gelatin equivalencies or gelatin to agar-agar equivalencies, look at the notes for the mousse component.

Ingredients:
4g / ½ Tbsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content) or MimicCream
2.1 oz (5 Tbsp / 60g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50g) water
1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling.
Add to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.

How To Assemble your French Yule Log

Depending on whether your mold is going to hold the assembly upside down until you unmold it or right side up, this order will be different.

THIS IS FOR UNMOLDING FROM UPSIDE DOWN TO RIGHT SIDE UP.

You will want to tap your mold gently on the countertop after each time you pipe mousse in to get rid of any air bubbles.

1) Line your mold or pan, whatever its shape, with rhodoid (clear hard plastic, I usually use transparencies cut to the desired shape, it’s easier to find than cellulose acetate which is what rhodoid translates to in English) OR plastic film. Rhodoid will give you a smoother shape but you may have a hard time using it depending on the kind of mold you’re using.

You have two choices for Step 2, you can either have Dacquoise on the top and bottom of your log as in version A or you can have Dacquoise simply on the bottom of your log. Reverse this order to make the Yule log from the bottom to the top.

2) Cut the Dacquoise into a shape fitting your mold and set it in there. If you are using an actual Yule mold which is in the shape of a half-pipe, you want the Dacquoise to cover the entire half-pipe portion of the mold.
3) Pipe one third of the Mousse component on the Dacquoise.
4) Take the Creme Brulee Insert out of the freezer at the last minute and set on top of the mousse. Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.
5) Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
6) Cut the Praline/Crisp Insert to a size slightly smaller than your mold so that it can be surrounded by mousse. Lay it on top of the mousse you just piped into the mold.
7) Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
8) Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
9) Pipe the Ganache Insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight eidge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.
10) Close with the last strip of Dacquoise.
Freeze until the next day.

THE NEXT DAY.


Unmold the cake/log/whatever and set on a wire rack over a shallow pan. Cover the cake with the icing. Let set. Return to the freezer. Transfer to the refrigerator no longer than ½ hour before serving as it may start to melt quickly depending on the elements you chose.