Tuesday, April 16, 2013

chocolate mousse

Does that title really need any further verbage? Someone asked me why I didn't have a chocolate mousse recipe up on this site and I was actually a little shocked! I make this all the time. I hadn't posted it already?
Well, Chocolate Mousse! Here it is. I might bathe in this one day.....just lay in the tub with a spoon.....I'm sure that's a pretty horrid visual you all have now so I'll stop.
But it's that good. And it's become quite easy to assemble and is always a giant hit whenever served.
This recipe is from America's test Kitchen (of course it is) and is rich and creamy and decadent and completely chocolate.


8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
5 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 large eggs - separated
1 tablespoon sugar
dash of salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream


on the stove - a saucepan with an inch or so of simmering water.
set a large glass bowl on this and melt the chocolate, water, cocoa powder, brandy and espresso powder.
make sure the bowl does not touch the hot water.
stir frequently until all the chocolate is melted and glossy.
remove from heat

in a second bowl whisk the egg yolks with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the sugar and the salt.
whisk until mixture thickens and lightens in color.

add a couple scoops of the chocolate mixture to the egg yolk mixture and mix well.
slowly drizzle in the rest of the chocolate mixture - whisking constantly.

in your stand mixer - whisk the egg whites with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar.
whisk just until soft peaks form.
remove from the machine.
using the whisk attachment continue mixing by hand to make sure you get all the whites off the bottom.

add a couple dollops of the egg white mixture to the yolks and chocolate mixture.
stir with a rubber spatula.
add the rest of the egg whites mixture and gently fold in until very few white streaks remain.

in the now empty mixing bowl, add the heavy cream and whisk until soft peaks form.
do not overmix this - you will lose the light, airy texture of your mousse.

fold the cream into the rest of the mix.
continue until no white streaks remain.

spoon the mousse into individual serving cups.
cover and chill for a couple of hours or overnight.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

spring salad with Cacio e Pepe dressing

Cacio e Pepe dressing? This is basically cheese and pepper - and in this case a few other ingredients - and it is delicious! This was Food and Wine magazine's salad of the month with fava beans and fresh peas. I didn't have fava beans and only had a bag of frozen peas (gasp!...frozen?...) but I imagine you could use most any spring vegetable you like and it will be great.
This was the salad I served for the March dinner @Tate's. After collecting all the plates from the table husband came back and told me to not bother washing them because they were spotless!

I hope you can try this soon.

I am posting the recipe here as I made it the other night.
The original recipe is in the April issue of Food and Wine.
My daughter said "that's a mess of a salad mom?!"
I guess it does look like that - but it was fantastic!

I used asparagus and the aforementioned bag of frozen peas 
Doesn't everyone always keep bags of frozen peas available? I do! Who has time to shell enough peas for a serving? No thank you!
For this salad I used mixed herb greens and added a lot of arugula.
Also added white kidney beans (rinsed first) and soft boiled eggs. Grated more Parmesan cheese on top and more fresh pepper then served.


1 bunch of asparagus - ends trimmed - cut into large chunks
1/2 a bag of frozen peas
soft boiled eggs - if desired
white kidney beans
buttermilk dressing - recipe follows
parmesan cheese


1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 garlic clove - finely grated
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese - finely grated
(plus more for garnish)
fresh black pepper


in a food processor, pulse the egg with the buttermilk and garlic until creamy.
with the machine running - slowly drizzle in the olive oil until mixture is fully incorporated.
add the cheese and several turns of fresh pepper.
puree until smooth.
taste for seasoning.
add salt as needed.

That's it. Your dressing is done. This will keep in the refrigerator for several days. But leave it on your counter top for 10 minutes or so before adding to your salad. Makes it easier to pour out.

for the vegetables:

bring a large pot of water to boil.
add salt then gently add the cut asparagus.
cook 2 or 3 minutes.
remove and run under cold water or immerse in an ice bath.
back to the pot of boiling water - gently add the peas.
cook 1 minute.
remove and give cold water treatment.

rinse the beans.

slice the eggs in half.

slice the avocado into thin planks.

lay 4 or 5 slices of avocado on a plate
(do this step first because you really want the avocado to soak up the dressing that inevitably goes straight to the bottom)
add the greens.
add a couple spoonfuls of the vegetables.
sprinkle some of the beans all around.
drizzle dressing all over the top of this mound of greenery.
garnish with the egg, fresh pepper and more parmesan cheese.
serve immediately.

Monday, April 1, 2013

oven roasted cauliflower

This is now my new favorite way to have cauliflower. 

Usually the family wants it dripping in Hollandaise Sauce so I think they were all a little skeptical when I said I was roasting it and there would be NO sauce in sight. As you can imagine this was met with some sour faces but all is now well. Pretty quick. Definitely delicious. Try this.

originally from Bon Appetit - February edition

note: I have made this a few times and used both Parmesan cheese and Pecorino cheese. I actually think I prefer the Pecorino.


1 head cauliflower
1 red onion
fresh thyme sprigs
6 peeled garlic cloves - sliced fairly thick
olive oil
parmesan cheese


Oven to 425
Chop the cauliflower into thick slices or chunks.
Roughly chop the onion.
Slice the garlic.
Toss all that onto a baking sheet.
(btw - after roasting, those big chunks of garlic are like butter. So good.)
Add the olive oil.
Add a little salt and pepper - easy here because the parmesan cheese is pretty salty already.
Just use your hands and make sure everything is covered.
Maybe add another tablespoon of olive oil if you feel it's necessary.
Add 4 or 5 of the thyme sprigs.
Into the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven - carefully give it a stir.
Grate some fresh parmesan all over the vegetables.
Back into the oven for 20 minutes - or until vegetables are tender.
Add more Parmesan (always more cheese please)
Add some fresh thyme.
Add some fresh grated pepper.
Taste for salt and add as needed.
Serve immediately.