Easy Chocolate Mousse with Chambord

February 8th, 2016

Easy Choc. Mousse 1

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I was looking for an easy dessert featuring chocolate.  It occurred to me that a simple mixture of whipped cream, melted good quality chocolate and raspberry liqueur would be just about as simple and elegant as it could get.  It was easy.  I had it whipped up and in the refrigerator in 30 minutes.

Easy Choc. Mouse 3V

Flecks of chocolate permeate the smooth gently whipped cream.  I used just a teaspoon of Chambord liqueur but next time I will splash a little more into the mix because the flavor was not noticeable.

Easy Choc. Mousse 2

We had this Valentine’s Day treat a little early because we are traveling for the holiday as we do every year.  Our Grandson’s birthday is February 14th.  We will travel to NC with a side trip to Washington DC.  It will be a busy week.  I hope everyone does something special for Valentine’s Day.  We will be stopping in Charleston on our way home for a special dinner at Husk.

husk-exterior-body

EASY CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH CHAMBORD

2 cups whipping cream
8 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate such as Callebaut, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon or more of raspberry liqueur such as Chambord
Raspberries for garnish

Melt chocolate in a bowl over simmering water in a saucepan.  Remove and set aside to cool slightly.  Whip the cream in a stand mixer until starting to thicken.  It helps to have chilled the bowl in the freezer before you begin.  Add the sugar and liqueur to the cream.  Beat briefly.  Add the chocolate and whip the cream until it thickens.  Pour mixture into 4 ramekins and chill for at least 2 hours.  Garnish with raspberries.

Printable Recipe

Crispy Salt and Vinegar Potatoes

January 30th, 2016

Salt and Vinegar Potatoes 1

Potatoes have been rather scarce in our house lately.  We are trying to cut back on carbs.  But when I do eat potatoes, it has to be worth it.  No plain old baked potato for me.  So when I saw this recipe on the Bon Appetit website, I knew that these potatoes would be special.  Salt and vinegar go so well with potatoes.  The traditional British fish and chips always includes malt vinegar on the chips.  One of my favorite potato chips is with salt and vinegar.  What you see here is what was leftover from last night’s dinner.  We would have eaten more, but I told David that I needed enough left over to photograph in the light of day.  We food bloggers are a breed apart and we are getting quite a reputation.

Cartoon

I had to laugh when I saw the above cartoon on Facebook the other day.  I do try to be surreptitious when photographing food in restaurants, but the dining industry is on to us.  And now we have lots of people doing it.

Salt and Vinegar potatoes close

But photographing these potato beauties this morning in my sunny kitchen, er, living room by the only light that is just right, I was happy that I had leftovers.  We had them for lunch.

The potatoes are first cooked in a saucepan in a vinegar and water mixture.  After draining they are sauteed in butter and given a final splash of vinegar and maldon or coarse sea salt. The vinegar permeates the potatoes so nicely.   The coarse salt just adds that final finish to these crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside yukon golds.

CRISPY SALT AND VINEGAR POTATOES ( Bon Appetit )

Cooking the potatoes in vinegar seasons them from within, and a final drizzle boosts the flavor.

Ingredients

SERVINGS: 4

  • 2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved, quartered if large
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, or green onion tops
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Preparation

  • Combine potatoes, 1 cup vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. kosher salt in a medium saucepan; add water to cover by 1”. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, 20–25 minutes; drain and pat dry.
  • Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes; season with kosher salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. vinegar. Serve topped with chives or green onions and sea salt.

Printable Recipe

Onion and Bacon Tart

January 26th, 2016

Onion and Bacon Tart 5

I dare anyone to tell me that they wouldn’t love to eat a combination of buttery flaky pastry with caramelized onions and crispy bacon.  The current contest on the FOOD52 website is to present your favorite appetizer to share with friends.  This is not my recipe.  It belongs to Cathy of the blog Bread-and-Milk.   I didn’t enter the contest, but I did decide to be a recipe tester.  I guess you can figure out why I chose the Onion and Bacon Tart to test. My middle name should be “Tart”, but not in the pejorative sense.  Whether sweet or savory, some of my favorite eats have been tarts.

Onion and Bacon Tart 1When I first read the recipe for this tart, I thought there was way too much filling for the size of the tart pan.  But after the onions were caramelized to a deep golden brown, they had melted to just the right amount.  There is a small amount of egg and cream to bind everything together so that the filling is lusciously rich.  I do need to mention the pastry also.  It has more butter in it than what I would normally use.  But the finished pastry is very sturdy.  That is just the results that work for this appetizer.  You can pick up a small slice and eat it out of hand.

Onion and Bacon Tart 3The slice shown on the plate could easily be divided into two pieces and served on a platter to be passed around.  It would be a neat two bite appetizer.  But I was not hosting a cocktail party, so David and I enjoyed this savory tart with a green salad for dinner.  I love testing other people’s recipes.  It forces me to follow a recipe as written and suspend judgement.  In this case, Cathy knew exactly what she was preparing and I was happy to follow her lead.  Go on over to Food52 to see all of the wonderful appetizer recipes.

ONION AND BACON TART

Dough

  • cups All purpose flour
  • teaspoon Salt
  • cup Unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup Ice water

Onion Filling

  • Onions, thinly sliced
  • tablespoons Butter infused olive oil
  • 1/2 pound Thick cut Bacon, diced
  • 1/2cup Heavy cream
  • Egg
  • tablespoon Thyme
  • teaspoon Rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
    1. Prepare dough, combine flour salt and butter in a food processor. Pulse until small balls form then add water until dough comes together. Roll into a disk and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    2. Prepare Filling, heat olive oil in a nonstick and gently sauté onions until translucent and caramelized. Next sauté bacon, until crisp. Combine onions, bacon, cream, egg and thyme rosemary and garlic powder.
    3. Pre-heat oven to 375°. Roll out dough, 1/8 inch thick and press into a 4 X 13 rectangular tart tin. Dock the dough with a fork. Spoon in the onion mixture and top with salt and pepper bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.

Printable Recipe

Bobotie

January 19th, 2016

Bobotie 1

Bobotie (pronounced bo-bo-tie or bo-boo-tee) is my first foray into South African cuisine.  South African food is influenced by the native population and the Dutch, French, Indian and Malaysian immigrants.  The resulting dishes are complex and exciting to the palate.  Bobotie is the national dish, thought to be introduced by the Malaysian and Indian servants during Colonial times.  Curry and turmeric have always been important spices in Indian cuisine.  In Bobotie, minced meat is simmered with the spices, almonds and dried fruit, then topped with milk and eggs and baked until set.  It is similar to a Greek Moussaka.

Bobotie 2V

 

I have always been fond of curries.  We had several acquaintances from India through David’s job as an engineering professor.  Dinner parties in their homes always included flavorful and interesting dishes.  One Indian friend came to my home to teach me several Indian dishes including dal and saag, which is a dish using mustard greens.  So when I saw this recipe for Bobotie, I knew that I would love it.  There are so many complex flavors in it.  The curry is there, but you can also taste the sweet dried fruit, the crunchy almonds, the hot chutney and the mild custard.  It is a perfect make ahead dish for company; something a little different.

Bobotie 3

Our Midwest and East coast is supposed to get a major snow storm this weekend.  This would be a great warming oven dish to serve with Cinnamon Basmati Rice with Golden Raisins.  Winter is the best time for arm-chair or kitchen-stove travel.  South African cuisine is very colorful, spicy and sometimes amusing.  One of the roadside dishes that you can get in South Africa is grilled chicken feet and heads.  It is called Walkie-Talkie.  Think I will stick with Bobotie.

BOBOTIE (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (1 1/2-inch piece)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 cup slivered almonds (1 ounce), toasted
4 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 3/4 cups whole milk, divided
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
2 tablespoon hot chutney

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups remaining milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
4 fresh or dried bay leaves

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, then onions, apple, and ginger; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown and tender, about 15 minutes. (Reduce heat if vegetables brown too quickly.) Add turmeric and curry powder to onion mixture; stir to combine. Add beef and cook, breaking up large pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in almonds, and cook for 2 minutes more.

2. Tear bread into large pieces, and place in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and let stand until milk is absorbed. Add bread mixture to beef, and cook, stirring frequently, until bottom of pan begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in dried apricots, apricot preserves and chutney, scraping up browned bits from bottom. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Spoon beef mixture into a 6-cup shallow baking dish. Whisk eggs, nutmeg, lemon zest, and remaining 1 1/2 cups milk in a medium bowl. Pour over beef. Place bay leaves in dish, pressing into filling. Bake until set around edges and center is no longer runny, 35 to 45 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with Cinnamon Basmati Rice.

Printable Recipe

Double Mustard/Cream Chicken Breasts

January 13th, 2016

Mustard Chicken 2

When something light but still decadent is desired, you can’t do better than a boneless chicken breast smothered with a double mustard cream sauce over baby arugula.  You might call this a juxtaposition of good and bad.  The goodness of lean chicken and vitamin packed baby arugula with the richness of alcohol spiked cream and mustard.

Mustard Chicken 1V

 

While visiting the family over the holidays, my DIL Kristen made a similar dish, sans the alcohol, for dinner one night.  It was amazing watching the children digging into the chicken.  The arugula was also slathered with the sauce and they ate every bit of it.  It is a great way to get your kids to eat vegetables.  We loved it too, so I did a Google search for something similar.  The Pioneer Woman came to the rescue.  Granted her version had a whole cup of brandy in it, as opposed to what Kristen made, but it was really, really good.  I ended up having to substitute Madeira and white wine instead of the brandy.  Inexplicably, the liqueur cabinet here in Florida held no brandy.

Mustard Chicken 3

Be sure to visit Ree’s site for a complete pictorial on how to make this great dish.  It couldn’t be easier.  On its own, this would make a great luncheon dish or a light supper.  Add sides for a more complete dinner.  Hope you give it a try.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.