Thursday, March 24, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Fennel Soup

Restaurant puréed soups are creamy, smooth, velvety, and decadent. It's no secret that they aren't so healthy for you either. I wasn't completely sure "how" bad these dreamy restaurant soups were until I saw this recipe- where 1/3 of the liquid is heavy cream. Seriously? I'm going to guess that you end up with about a quart of cooked veggies and you add 2 quarts of stock and 1 quart of cream... Now, I'm sure this is delicious, but it is a bit concerning that the veggie:cream ratio is 1:1. 

Anyway, I made this soup with half the liquid to make each serving a bit heartier and only 1 cup (not quart) of heavy cream. I still found the soup to be smooth, creamy, and delicious but you'll have to try it and let me know what you think. Oh, and for those of you who are Sriracha fans- it's a great garnish for this soup. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011


 A happy espresso shot waiting to be turned into tiramisù. . .

Have you ever baked a complicated dish for a party that you've never attempted before? I don't recommend it if you like stress-free baking. I'd always been intimidated by tiramisù- over or under soaking the ladyfingers can ruin the dish but the instructions on how to prevent both of these problems are less than straightforward...
"Do not submerge ladyfingers in coffee mixture; entire process should take no longer than 2 to 3 seconds for each cookie." What?
"Dip, but don't dunk each ladyfinger in the coffee." Huh?
Anyway, you get my point. So- I managed to pull this recipe off, using my soon to be trademarked technique- you've got to sing while you prep those lady fingers...

Don't laugh- "row row row your boat-" is the easiest way I can think of to describe the timing I used to dip the ladyfingers in the espresso/rum mixture. Don't dawdle here, you don't want mushy cookies. Pour a bit of the coffee mixture in a soup plate or shallow dish, about 1/2 an inch deep.

Take one cookie, place it in the mix (it should be about 1/2 covered) and instantly start rolling it to the tune of row, row, row your boat and then instantly remove the cookie from the coffee mixture and arrange it in the 9 by 13 dish (remove during or shortly after "your boat"). Repeat with all the ladyfingers, replenishing the coffee mix in the dish as necessary.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sautéed Mushrooms with Garlic and Sherry

Thanks Andres for this lovely guest post-

This recipe for sautéed mushrooms, which I found here, is a knockoff from the San Francisco restaurant Cha Cha Cha. It came tantalizingly close to the restaurant’s version, and it was easy to make. The only changes I made were to use brown mushrooms instead of white – I find brown mushrooms add a richer flavor – and I added more garlic. Serve with hard crusted bread and you’ll find everyone dunking their bread in the pan to soak up the tasty garlic, sherry, and butter at the bottom.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Kahlua

Butter, eggs, chocolate, and booze. Did your heart tighten a little? Mine sure did. Nonetheless, make this dessert for a crowd and everyone can indulge in a tiny sliver or two. I made this cake for a large gathering and it was popular enough that I didn't manage to capture a picture of the finished product. Next time I make it, I'll post a picture but for now just imagine a giant, smooth, velvety truffle. I used a mix of Ghiradelli's bittersweet and semisweet chocolate, but use your favorite baking chocolate brand.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Turkey Ragu alla Bolognese

Do you have several hours to keep an eye on a simmering pot of bolognese? I certainly don't... Even my lazy Sundays are packed to the brim these days, and so they aren't you know, very lazy unfortunately. But, if you're like me and love having hearty yet healthy pasta sauces patiently waiting for you in the freezer, you'll tend to the simmering pot. Or, you cheat.

Enter the slow cooker. Sweat the veggies, brown the meat, dump it in the slower cooker, and press go. Well, turn it to 'low' but you get the picture. You know, I've always wondered if there was a benefit to an oval slow cooker... Bonus #1 that I've noticed- you can pour ingredients more easily from a large skillet to the cooker with a wide opening.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I was at Firefly a few weeks back and really enjoyed their roasted Brussels sprout appetizer. Now, if you've done your homework you'd see that I used to avoid the dreaded sprouts but a certain recipe changed my mind. Now I'm constantly on the lookout for other recipes that yield tasty and healthy sprouts. Slice the ends off the sprouts, cut them in half, toss in olive oil and salt/pepper, roast the bejeezus out of them and you have a tasty, easy, healthy side dish. Don't worry if a few sprout leaves fall off during the slicing or cooking process, they roast up beautifully into little sprout-chips.

P.S. A giant thanks to all of you who voted for my blog here. Your support is greatly cherished.