Tag Archives: velvety

my twist on a classic…

With a soaking rain wreaking havoc on the day, I decided that it was the perfect excuse to bake up an amazing cheesecake!
I had been experiencing a severe craving for the creamy and luxurious dessert, and thought it would help lift my spirits to whip one up.
This cheesecake was different from your typical variety, as I used both cream cheese, along with goat cheese for an added tang and fuller depth of flavor.
The basic elements still went into the baking process, however I added gorgeous vanilla bean seeds in for a beautiful speckle and flavor, as well as a special homemade vanilla sugar.
The silky mixture was poured gently into a homemade graham cracker crust that I molded into my springform pan… It was then into the oven for roughly an hour until perfect.
Once cooked, it was time to set up and then take a doze in the fridge to really come together… As soon as the cheesecake was ready to be sliced, there was no stopping the diminishing that became evident!
The crisp and buttery crust hugged the velvety smooth mixture and just added to the sinful act that was occurring… I’m fine with committing that sin, and there will be no confession from me!

at a low simmer…
-R

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meat and potatoes…

So what better way to warm up on a chilly night than with a hearty bowl of beef stew piled high atop creamy and oh so delicious yukon gold mashed potatoes!
I started by browning the meat [tossed with flour and seasoned with salt]… once browned the meat was set aside and some new olive oil went down into the pot! Then in went six carrots and celery, along with four leeks that I chopped up. Some more salt and a bunch of stirring helped soften the veggies and also scrape off the yummy goodness that formed on the bottom of the pot! After the veggies were smelling amazing, in went some chopped garlic [go crazy] and a can of tomato paste… some additional stirring ensued until the paste almost melted away and just offered a beautiful richness in the pot!
Next came one of my favorites… two bottles of Guinness [stirred and reduced]. Once reduced, the meat went back into the pot and was covered with a quart of chicken stock, four bay leaves and a bundle of thyme!
Brought to a boil and reduced to a simmer, this lovely concoction cooked away for a little over an hour…
The last thing to do?? Plate over some velvety yukon gold mashed potatoes and enjoy like ravaged beasts!

at a low simmer…
-R

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uh oh… my soup bowl has a ‘leek’

As the evening set in and the air became a bit brisk, the idea of soup for dinner ran through my head…
This past Sunday, I was given a beautiful leek and thought making a potato and leek soup was the perfect way to use this mildly flavored veggie!
To start cooking up this soup, I rendered some pancetta. Once browned, the pancetta was put aside, while the chopped leeks and some minced garlic got a quick sauté in the pancetta fat. After cooking till softened, in went a quart of chicken broth, some water, along with five peeled and cubed yukon gold potatoes. Everything was brought to a boil, then reduced down to a simmer. As soon as the potatoes were fork tender, I puréed them with an immersion blender and then added in a touch of cream, as well as some shredded extra sharp cheddar for a bit of richness…
Back into the soup went some of the pancetta for texture and flavor. Once heated through, it was time to eat!
Creamy, velvety, slightly crunchy and perfectly seasoned… this soup warmed us completely! Seconds were definitely in order…

at a low simmer…
-R

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you can do more with wine than just drink…

So tonight was pasta night… pappardelle to be exact, tossed in a luxurious garlic, butter and wine sauce with fresh minced parsley…
For the sauce, it was easy… chopped garlic, crushed red pepper, olive oil, butter and a good white wine…
Once the pasta was cooked, into the sauce to quickly combine and then a hefty hit of the fresh parsley and into our pasta bowls!
The parsley offered a fresh, clean balance to the velvety sauce. It’s just too bad that the pasta was only enough for one meal… no leftovers this time around!

at a low simmer…
-R

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dessert first…

Tonight was one fun-filled night! We spent time with family and enjoyed a night full of making [and of course consuming] some sweet and savory desserts, as well as some fantastic wines and cheeses, and a number of delectable eats…
I got to play the role of sous chef and received a wonderful lesson from Kristina, an amazing wiz in the pastry kitchen. On the dessert menu, I helped whip up a batch of velvety ice cream with a special savory element tossed in, in addition to a texture filled mascarpone mousse!
The ice cream was served shooter-style with an addition of candied bacon to finish everything off… the mousse was layered on top of a gorgeous squared cut piece of cake…
I don’t know how I was expecting to stick to this healthy eating plan I’m following, but we’re all allowed to cheat once in a while!

at a low simmer…
-R

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sticky, salty and sweet… YUP it’s dessert

After sitting back and watching some Food Network television this afternoon, I was tempted to make a dessert that I haven’t made in quite a long time [probably since I last saw this episode]. It was a chocolate caramel pie with a graham cracker crust [well technically they are bars, but I prefer to make it into a pie and not squares]!

It’s pretty simple to make… graham crackers, butter, heavy cream, sugar, chocolate chips [I use bittersweet], espresso powder, fleur de sel [this is what I used], water and brown sugar.

After baking the graham cracker crust, it’s set aside to cool. While cooling, I made the caramel. I combined the cream, butter, sugar and water, and stirred until velvety. Next, the soon-to-be caramel needs to come to a boil until it hits 240 degrees. This concoction is then poured into the crust, cooled and then chilled in the freezer until slightly hardened.

Last, but certainly not least, I combined the chocolate chips and cream in a heatproof bowl and rested it over a pot of slightly boiling water. Everything is stirred until smooth, then I whisked in the espresso powder. Once combined, the chocolate is poured on top of the caramel and spread out evenly. The top then gets a nice sprinkle of the fleur de sel.

After chilling out for a while, it was time to cut into this sexy pie. Chocolatey, slightly briny from the salt and sticky and sweet from the caramel… Now I remember why I made this the first time!!!

at a low simmer…

-R

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vodka… not just for shots!

As if I didn’t get my fill of vodka at this weekends wedding extravaganza, I decided to cook with it tonight! Just a simple vodka sauce made with some of the sauce that was freshly made yesterday. Some heavy cream, freshly grated pecorino, basil and of course… VODKA!
The vodka offers a nice bite, while the cream provides a smooth and velvety texture in addition to a wonderful, almost sweet flavor!
What a simple, yet elegant dish this can become in a short amount of time! Why isn’t everything this easy…

at a low simmer…
-R

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grilling dessert?? say what??

Tonight I tried my hand at grilling pineapple… I peeled the pineapple, cored it and cut it into wedges. I tossed the pineapple in a blend of cinnamon and sugar, along with a soaking of cognac.
Onto the grill until the pineapple was beginning to get caramelized and that was it… The flavors and smells were so intoxicating, that I couldn’t help but sneak a bite and I’m so glad I did!
The pineapple was delicious on its own, but to make this dessert extra special a little homemade whipped cream never hurt…
Velvety and sweet from the cream, while slightly spicy and smoky from the cinnamon! I will definitely be making this one again…

at a low simmer…
-R

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