Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas....

Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
From Cooking Light

A squeeze of lime juice brightens the flavor of this hearty Mexican dish. The enchiladas are mild, so serve with hot sauce, if desired. If you can't find queso fresco, use 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Monterey Jack with jalapeño peppers. Total time: 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degree

1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (7-ounce) bottle salsa verde (such as Herdez brand)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Cooking spray
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled queso fresco
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
4 lime wedges
Cilantro sprigs (optional)
Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Combine chicken and cream cheese in a large bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup salsa mixture. Reserve remaining salsa mixture.
Bring broth to a simmer in a medium skillet. Working with one tortilla at a time, add tortilla to pan; cook 20 seconds or until moist, turning once. Remove tortilla; drain on paper towels. Spoon about 1/4 cup chicken mixture down center of tortilla; roll up. Place tortilla, seam-side down, in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, broth, and chicken mixture. Pour remaining salsa mixture over enchiladas; sprinkle evenly with queso fresco and chili powder. Bake at 425° for 18 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with lime wedges. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired. 

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 enchiladas and 1 lime wedge)

CALORIES 327 (26% from fat); FAT 9.5g (sat 4.4g,mono 2.9g,poly 1.3g); PROTEIN 28.5g; CHOLESTEROL 78mg; CALCIUM 149mg; SODIUM 493mg; FIBER 3.3g; IRON 1.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 31g 

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nordstrom Cafe fan?....

Best Soup in the WORLD!!!

If you have never been to Nordstrom Cafe - Do Go, you won't regret it! If you have never tried the Tomato Basil Soup, you are really missing out - it is AMAZING! The Basil adds the perfect spice to this authentically tremendous soup - the whole soup is pureed so even if you are not a fan of onions, or vegetables or whatever excuse you have to not try it - the soup is smooth! I am not a vegetable fan, but there are ways to eat your veggies and not really taste them or to combine them for the best flavors you've experienced AND here is one way that is perfection! Did I mention this soup is AMAZING! YOU must try! Enjoy :)

Nordstrom Cafe Tomato Basil Soup
A large batch recipe from the Nordstrom's Cafe.
1½ hours | 30 min prep | SERVES 128 (OR serve 21- (approx. 1/6th)
12 cups canned peeled plum tomatoes ( 2 c.)
3 lbs carrots, chopped ( 1/2 lb)
3 lbs onions, chopped ( 1/2 lb.)
4 tablespoons dry basil (or use fresh) (2 tsp.)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (1/6 c)
2 gallons water ( 42 1/2 oz)
1 lb chicken base (21 oz.)
3 quarts heavy cream ( 1/2 qt.)
4 tablespoons kosher salt (2 tsp)
2 tablespoons black pepper (1 tsp.)
In a large stock pot, sautee the olive oil, carrots, and onions at medium heat for 15 minutes.
Add the basil, salt, pepper, and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
In a large bowl, whisk the chicken base into the water until dissolved.
Add the water mixture to the stock pot, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 45 minutes.
Puree the soup using a hand blender while adding the heavy cream until it reaches a thin consistency.

Dessert time....

This cake is delicious - you can easily speed up prep time by doing two layers at once. Looks gorgeous when complete and looks like someone professionally made it! Great cake to have the kids help with too! Recommended age 6 and up, unless you've started the kids in the kitchen at an early age then could start with 4-5 year olds too! Enjoy! :)

Venetian Ice Cream Cake
Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Desserts, Miramax Books, 2003
Show: Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee
Episode: Italian

1 quart coffee ice cream, softened
3/4 cup butterscotch caramel topping
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 (5.5-ounce) packages chocolate caramel cookie bars (20 sticks total)
1 milk chocolate candy bar, shaved
Special Equipment: pastry bag (or resealable plastic bag) and a # 6 star tip

Line a (9 1/4 by 5 by 2 3/4-inch) metal loaf pan with 2 layers of plastic wrap, allowing 3 inches of plastic to hang over pan sides. Using a rubber spatula, press 1/4 of the coffee ice cream into pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of caramel topping over ice cream. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of pecans over caramel. Spread 1/4 of the vanilla ice cream over nuts. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of caramel topping over ice cream. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of pecans over caramel. Freeze for 20 minutes or until firm. Repeat layering of coffee ice cream, caramel, pecans, and vanilla ice cream 3 more times, freezing for 20 minutes between each layering. Fold plastic overhang atop cake to cover. Freeze for 4 hours or until frozen solid.
To unmold, wrap hot damp towels around pan to loosen ice cream cake from pan. Fold back plastic from atop ice cream cake. Invert a large plate or serving platter atop the ice cream cake. Holding plate and pan together, invert cake onto plate. Remove pan from cake; peel off plastic wrap. Spoon whipped topping into pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe stripes or fluted lines atop cake. Freeze for 1 hour or until whipped topping is frozen solid. Let cake stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, slice caramel cookie bars in half and arrange, cut side down, around perimeter of cake. Sprinkle chocolate shavings over cake. Cut cake crosswise into slices; transfer cake slices to serving plates.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Indian Cuisine

Chicken Biriyani From Cooking Light

Biriyani is a baked Indian dish of spiced rice combined with chicken, seafood, or other meats. This version omits the baking step while maintaining the authentic flavors. Whole-milk yogurt keeps its creamy texture when cooked; don't substitute low-fat yogurt, which will curdle.

3 cups water
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 1/2 cups uncooked basmati rice
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped dry-roasted cashews
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Bring water, 1 teaspoon salt, and saffron to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add rice and cinnamon stick to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Discard cinnamon stick.
Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt to pan.

Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add curry and the next 5 ingredients (curry through serrano chiles); cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add yogurt, stirring with a whisk; cook 3 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Add chicken and raisins; cook 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add rice; stir well to combine. Sprinkle evenly with cashews and cilantro.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups) Can easily leave out the nuts - cuts down on the sodium too!

CALORIES 435 (26% from fat); FAT 12.7g (sat 3.2g,mono 5.1g,poly 3.2g); PROTEIN 22.8g; CHOLESTEROL 68mg; CALCIUM 84mg; SODIUM 942mg; FIBER 1.9g; IRON 2.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 59.2g

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Giada - Baked Penne

To celebrate Giada, Here is her recipe today! I just met her, saw her cute baby bump, and got an autographed cookbook at Crate & Barrel today - she is a doll and very pleasant! Enjoy the recipe :)

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Here's a great way to get all your veggies in, with tons of flavor. I used to make this often when I was a caterer as an alternative option for non-meat eaters because it's an elegant dish with lots of colors and textures. It's also quite convenient, because it can be prepared ahead of time, so if you have vegetarian guests at your next gathering, you can assemble this early and then just pop it in the oven while you're making the rest of the dinner. But don't think this is strictly for vegetarians; it's a real crowd-pleaser all around.

2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch strips
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cremini mushrooms, halved
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb blend or Herbes de Provence
1 pound Barilla penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the herbs. Bake until tender, about 15 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure it is not completely cooked. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, fontina, mozzarella, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, peas, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining pepper. Gently mix using a wooden spoon until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese and butter pieces. Bake until the top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings

Monday, February 18, 2008

Swedish Meatballs.... a family fav!

Swedish Meatballs & Egg Noodles

Keep in mind - the onions can easily be omitted from the recipe and the meat can be all the same or add ground chicken or turkey. Also does not need to be topped with pickles. Recipe Courtesy the Rachel Ray show.


4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped - optional
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef stock
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
1 egg
2 slices white bread, torn, soaked briefly in about 1/4 cup milk and squeezed of excess liquid
1 teaspoon allspice
5 gingersnap cookies, ground up in the food processor
3 tablespoons currant, lingonberry or grape jelly, divided
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 pound egg noodles
1/2 cup (about 2 handfuls) Italian parsley, chopped
2 dill pickles, chopped - optional
Yields: 4 servings


Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it up to a boil.

Place a large pan over medium-high heat and melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onion to the pan and cook until the onion is tender, 5-6 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the pan, stirring to incorporate, and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk the chicken and beef stock into the pan and bring the liquid up to a bubble to thicken it slightly -- it won’t get too thick, you want a thinner gravy for this dish.

Once the liquids come up to a bubble, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, turn the heat down to low and simmer while you prepare the meatballs.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the ground meats, egg, milk-soaked bread and allspice. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and mix everything up with your hands to evenly combine.

Using a spoon, small ice cream scoop or your hands, portion the meat mixture into walnut-sized balls. As you shape them, drop the meatballs into the pan of simmering gravy. Once all of them are in the pan, increase the heat to medium and simmer the meatballs in the gravy, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

When the meatballs are cooked through, drop the egg noodles into the boiling water and cook to al dente according to package directions.

Stir the ground-up ginger snaps into the gravy with the meatballs, and cook to thicken up, about 1 minute. Stir 2 tablespoons of the jelly and the sour cream into the gravy and keep warm over low heat until the noodles are done.

Once the noodles are finished cooking, drain them and return them to the pot they were cooked in. Add the remaining two tablespoons butter and parsley to the pot and stir to melt the butter and evenly coat the noodles.

To serve, spoon some noodles into a serving dish and top them off with a scoop of meatballs and gravy. Sprinkle a handful of chopped pickles over the top and serve with your favorite salad alongside.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Giada's Cookbook Signing....

February 20th | 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Giada De Laurentiis Book Signing

Giada De Laurentiis, celebrity chef and author, will be in our store autographing copies of her popular cookbooks, Everyday Pasta, Everyday Italian, and Giada’s Family Dinners. South Coast Plaza neighbors are invited to meet Giada and shop at Crate and Barrel. Guests will sample tastings made with Giada’s new Everyday Italian Gourmet specialty foods created in collaboration with Academia Barilla. Space is limited; please contact the store for more information.

Plan on going and wish her a big congrats on her first new little baby, a girl due in April!

ALSO - live in the Bay area?

February 19th 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Union Square will be hopping! Wonder if nearby William Sonoma has a plan?
San Francisco Crate and Barrel book signing and sampling!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

BELLINIs...Beautiful Red to toast Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day!


1 (12-ounce) package frozen mixed berries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar
1 (750 ml) bottle sparkling wine

In the container of an electric blender, combine berries and sugar; process until smooth. Strain mixture, if desired. Pour fruit mixture into a serving pitcher; slowly add wine, stirring gently to combine.

Yield: 6-8 glasses
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Ease of Preparation: easy

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My version of the Ultimate Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie...

My Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

( I honestly would compare the taste of these to Mrs. Fields – I am shocked that I am saying this, but it’s the first thing that came to my mind when I bit into them) ~CMM ☺

These cookies have a unique taste, they slightly stand raised, and are rich but not overly sweet. The two brown sugars add a crunch and carmelization flavor blend to the cookies too. I hope you enjoy ☺!

2 ¼ c. all-purpose flour 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp baking soda ½ c. dark brown sugar, packed
½ tsp salt 1 ½ c. brown sugar, packed
1tsp sugar 2 large eggs
½ tsp baking powder 2 c. Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ tsp yeast

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Measure out flour and leave in the measuring cup. In a little custard dish or very small prep bowl mix the next 5 ingredients and set aside both. Cream the butter and sugars together on low and then increase spread for about 1-2 minutes. Add both eggs and mix well. Pour ½ the flour and ½ the mini prep bowl mixture into creamed mixture and blend on low and then increase speed. When well blended add the balance of the flour and dry mix and again blend slow and then speed up, blending about 3 minutes until well incorporated.
Hand mix in the chocolate chips. If your family loves nuts then hand mix in 1c. chopped walnuts, peanuts, or pecans at this point. Drop by kiddie ice cream scoop sized balls – you can eye it – onto cookie sheet, about 6 per large cookie sheet. No spray or butter needed in baking pan. I prefer to use parchment paper on my cookie sheets – it seems to create an even cookie temperature and makes for easy clean up too. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Makes about 18 large, thick, rich, and delicious cookies. Ovens and taste preferences vary so cooking times may vary as well. They should appear light golden brown. The perfect snack for the office on Friday, Valentine’s Day, or just as a special treat. Nothing says “I love you,” like a nice fresh baked chocolate chip cookie to the kids, spouse, or parents! Enjoy ☺! Make someone special in your life a batch today! (easily convert these into delicious ice cream sandwiches too!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

MEAT RUB... Great on Pork

I know this isn't the cookie recipe you may have been hoping for - but trust me - it's coming tomorrow!!! AND it's going to be good - I am feverishly making cookies right now and boy do they smell good - I think I found a winner to post tomorrow, but I want to taste the baked final product to let you know for sure. AND this is my own personal recipe I just created! I got some ideas from the show I mentioned to you all and just gave it my best shot - I think you will love it! I want to see your cookie recipes too - so please post away! Thanks, Chef Mama Mimi :)

Great Rub for Carolina Pulled Pork
2 tablespoons sea salt (note sea salt has less sodium then regular salt)
2 tablespoons sugar, white granulated or a dark brown, for a different flavor
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup paprika (or use smoked paprika, or ½ and 1/2) - to achieve a smoky flavor depth

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well; use as a dry rub on beef, chicken, lamb or pork.
Also another great gift giving rub idea! ☺ Enjoy! Remember these rubs have a shelf life of about 6 months.

Monday, February 11, 2008


I have a challenge out there for everyone reading! List under comments for this post your best chocolate chip cookie recipe! HINT: I want to see if we can match New YORK's finest Levain Bakery's 6oz. chocolate chip cookies - so do your homework, go to the store, and try your best to come up with the ultimate Chocolate chip cookie! I will make a post for what I think may come close in the coming days ... Stay tuned and let's start baking! Enjoy the challenge and fun experimenting :) P.S. - another hint: the above mentioned bakery was recently featured on Throw-down with Bobby Flay, the owners are triathletes and competitive swimmers! (reminder - on the show: thick won out over thin, and taste is key - use real and fresh ingredients!)

New Colors... New Recipes...

NOTE: We've updated our color scheme! Well at least until I can figure out how to incorporate the iPhone template here! How many of you have an iPhone - I love my iPhone!!!

I love the color blue too! It seems to have this calming spa quality to it for me at least. Plus, how can you beat the beautiful color of the sky and the ocean.

Reminder... If a new recipe is posted and just common knowledge info, PLEASE always take the time to READ the recipe through BEFORE you actually make the recipe!

I can't tell you how many times I have heard the stories... I didn't know I had to put this or that in the fridge overnight BEFORE I could start the recipe, I don't have this much time to make this now, I don't have these ingredients, I didn't know it would take this long to make! How can Rachel do this in 30 minutes, etc. etc.

Remember Rachel RAY Is providing you with healthy, life style changing recipes, she knows how to make her own recipes, she has a crew that helps her, and she knows her way around her kitchen! Who cares if it takes us 10-15 minutes longer - we will be eating a healthy, delicious dish! Also Rachel use time management - she, unlike some of us, can and does gauge her cooking and cook multiple things at once - so timing, technique, and learning will help us to improve our 30 minute timing skills the next time! DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED!!!! Cooking is a passion, and remember to teach someone as you go! Yourself, your kids, nieces, nephews, and husband or wife! Have fun - read, measure, experiment together - create family bonds and learn every subject together! Enjoy :)

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Not a fan of baking OR like to give a gift without the extra work of baking OR just short on time!
Make these as an excellent gift-giving idea for any occasion! Enjoy :)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white sugar

To add to jar ingredients later:
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a 1 quart large mouth jar, layer the sugar on the bottom and the flour mixture on top. Attach a tag with the following instructions:
Empty the contents of the jar into a large bowl. Cut in 1 cup of softened butter until the mixture is crumbly. In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract until light and fluffy. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Cover bowl and chill for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 deg. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 min in preheated oven, until edges begin to brown. You can decorate w/sugar before baking/frost after baking.
Calling all cookie fans - time to get out the cookie cutters for Valentine's Day! What kid, or kid at heart, doesn't love to make, decorate, and eat sugar cookies - YUM! Have fun! Enjoy :)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Home-made GRANOLA

Daily Granola compliments of Nigella Lawson
Dry ingredients:
5 cups rolled oats
2 to 3 cups raw almonds or pecan halves, or a mixture (or feel free to use one you like, or ground up)
1 cup hulled raw sunflower seeds
¾ cup sesame seeds
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt

Wet ingredients:
¾ cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, such as canola or safflower

Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Stir to mix well. In a small bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. Stir to mix well. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones, and stir well.

Spread the mixture evenly on two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until evenly golden brown. Set a timer to go off every ten minutes while the granola bakes, so you can rotate the pans and give the granola a good stir; this helps it to cook evenly. When it’s ready, remove the pans from the oven, stir well – this will keep it from cooling into a hard, solid sheet – and set aside to cool. The finished granola may still feel slightly soft when it comes out of the oven, but it will crisp as it cools.

Scoop cooled granola into to a large zipper-lock plastic bag or other airtight container. Store in the refrigerator indefinitely.

Yield: about 10 cups

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Chocolate Cracked Earth (Flourless Cake)

Time for a sweet treat recipe: In about 20 minutes, and then 25 minutes of cooking time - You could be enjoying the following, scrumptious dessert. The top is dusted with powdered sugar SO BE CREATIVE FOR YOUR VALENTINE and dust in the shape of a heart or leave the middle in a heart shape and dust the rest - you decide!
Thanks Tyler Florence for this delectable dish!

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 stick unsalted butter
9 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cups heavy cream, cold
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1 inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs - this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate - then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.
Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan.

While the cake is cooking, whip the cream until it becomes light and fluffy.

Serve at room temperature dusted with confectioners' sugar and have whip creme handy on the side for serrving..

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Word of the Day...Foodie!

Foodies: A new term getting a lot more usage and attention these days. Let’s examine this word a bit more since it has hit the mainstream as well as the game show circuit. One may ask what is a foodie? Or what constitutes one becoming a foodie?

According to Wikipedia FOODIES are a distinct hobbyist group in the United States. Typical foodie interests and activities include the food industry, wineries and wine tasting, food science, following restaurant openings and closings, food distribution, food fads, health and nutrition, and restaurant management. A foodie might develop a particular interest in a specific item, such as the best egg cream or burrito. Many publications have food columns that cater to foodies. Interest by foodies in the 1980s and 1990s gave rise to the Food Network and other specialized food programming, popular films and television shows about food such as Top Chef and Iron Chef, a renaissance in specialized cookbooks, specialized periodicals such as Gourmet Magazine and Cook's Illustrated, growing popularity of farmers' markets, food-oriented websites like Zagat's and Yelp, publishing and reading food blogs (a number of people photograph and post on the Internet every meal they ever make or consume), specialized kitchenware stores like Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table, and the institution of the celebrity chef.

Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, foodies differ from gourmets in that gourmets are epicures of refined taste who may or may not be professionals in the food industry, whereas foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news.[1] Gourmets simply want to eat the best food, whereas foodies want to learn everything about food, both the best and the ordinary, and about the science, industry, and personalities surrounding food.[2] For this reason, foodies are sometimes viewed as obsessively interested in all things culinary.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super BOWL is Over!

WOW what a game! Was a bit boring for quite a bit and then BAM the grand finale struck! What a major upset - NY sure stomped on the winning streak of the patriots and then some! Sorry Patriots :( Well know that Super Bowl is over, the focus goes to parties and Valentines Day. More coming soon on some awesome ideas for you to make the most out of Valentine's Day this year!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Bite-Sized Chicken Par, Mmmm...

Super Bowl Parties watch out - this will make your party sizzle. These are cute and HOT!
These are great served with homemade or store bought pizza sauce or marinara sauce, ENJOY! :)
CHICKEN PARM BUDDIES, Courtesy of the Rachel Ray Show site and Andrew Goldman
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 pound ground chicken
1 small onion, chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 15-ounce can chopped canned tomatoes
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, divided
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, divided
1/2 cup basil, chopped and divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
1 pizza dough, from a pizzeria or the grocery store
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 egg
A splash milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the ground chicken to the skillet and cook until golden in color.
Once the chicken has browned, add the onions and garlic to the pan, and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, half of the parsley, half of the oregano, half of the basil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes to allow the flavors to combine and thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and mix in the mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano until melted. Cool and reserve.
Once the filling has cooled, place the pizza dough on a clean, flat work surface that has been dusted with all-purpose flour. Roll out the dough into a large rectangular shape, about 12x10". Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut each strip in half again, leaving you with four long strips. Cut all the strips in half widthwise then cut each piece in half again, leaving you a total of 16 squares.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk up the egg with a splash of milk and set aside. On each piece of dough, place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of each square, leaving a small border around the filling. Using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, brush the border with the egg and milk mixture. Fold all the sides inward, one at a time towards the filling, as if you were closing a box. Once the filling is enclosed, slightly pinch the seam closed. Transfer to a non-stick baking sheet, seam side down and repeat this process with the remaining squares of dough.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano, oregano, basil and parsley. Mix to thoroughly combine. Brush the tops of each chicken parm bite with the remaining egg mixture and sprinkle the cheese-herb mixture over each of them. Bake the bites until evenly golden brown, 12-15 minutes.

Start the Party - Super Bowl that is...

No proper party gets under way without appetizers, right? Well prepare the following and you will not only start the party, you will keep them talking all night! Especially after you start the party right with these delicious healthy fries! Enjoy! :)

Dinner-Size Texas Chili Cheese Fries – Courtesy the gorgeous and talented Rachel Ray
4 very large Idaho potatoes, cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
2 tablespoons grill seasoning
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus additional, divided
2 to 2 1/2 pounds lean ground sirloin, turkey or chicken
1 large onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons (about 2 palmfuls) chili powder
2 teaspoons (half a palmful) ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Hot sauce, to taste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 bottle dark beer, such as Negro Modelo, or 1 1/2 cups beef or chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 seedless cucumber, chopped
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place the potatoes onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle them with the grill seasoning and a good drizzle of EVOO. Toss to coat, then transfer to the oven and roast, until crispy golden brown, about 40 minutes. Turn them once halfway through cooking time.
While the potatoes are roasting, place a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons EVOO, about 2 turns of the pan. Add the ground meat to the pan and cook until brown, about 6-7 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks using a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon.
Push the meat to one side of the pan and add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, chili powder and cumin to the pot. Cook until the veggies soften, 5-6 minutes, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook for about 1 minute, until it smells sweet and has caramelized slightly. Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire and beer or stock to the pot. Bring everything up to a bubble, then reduce the heat and simmer the chili until thickened, about 10 minutes.
While the chili is simmering, place a medium-size pot over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and cook it for about a minute. Stir the mustard into the butter-flour mixture, then whisk in the milk and stock. Continue whisking the sauce until it has thickened up, then remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted. Season the cheese sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper and reserve.
In a large salad bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup EVOO along with the red wine vinegar, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the lettuce and cucumber to the bowl and toss to combine. To serve, divide the fries between four plates and top each one with some chili-cheese sauce and some salad alongside.