Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chocolate Truffle Tart

Oh my yes, this is for real. Chocolate Truffle Tart.  Not only do I like to experiment with a new entree dish each week, but I also like to try out new desserts.  This was out-of-this-world good.  The only downside to this is the high calorie count.  I don't exactly know what it is, but based on the ingredients that went into it, it's not low-cal, reduced fat.  Oh no.

Still, I'm glad I found it.  Original recipe can be found here on Dash Recipes.



For Crust:
28 chocolate wafers finely ground in a food processor (about 1 cup)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled completely

For Filling:
1/2 lb fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao), coarsely chopped
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract



Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap a sheet of foil over bottom of springform pan (in case of leaks). Lightly butter side of pan.

Stir together ground wafers and melted butter in a bowl until combined, then pat mixture evenly onto bottom of pan and 1‚ inches up side. Bake until crust is slightly puffed, about 10 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack, about 15 minutes. Leave oven on.


Melt chocolate and cubes of butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth, then remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

Whisk together eggs, cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a bowl. Whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture until combined well.


Pour filling into cooled crust and rap pan once on counter to eliminate any air bubbles. Bake until filling 1 inch from edge is set and slightly puffed but center trembles slightly when pan is gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes. (Center will continue to set as it cools.)

Cool tart completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. Chill, uncovered, until center is firm, about 4 hours. Remove side of pan and sprinkle with cocoa to serve.


I didn't have bittersweet chocolate and surprisingly I couldn't find any.  I used a couple squares of semi-sweet chocolate I had in the cupboard as well as some dark Venezuelan chocolate I had leftover from making chocolate truffles recently (also ridiculously good). I was afraid it wouldn't come out right, but believe me when I say this was PERFECT! I was really making this for my husband, the raging chocoholic, but I ended up loving this as well.  It's kinda labor intensive but nothing outrageous.   It's something I would certainly consider making for company.

Oh, and I didn't used cocoa powder on top, as you can see by the pictures I used powdered sugar.  Just divine.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ricotta Gnocchi with Browned Butter Garlic Sauce

I've been pinning a serious amount of food items on Pinterest. At least once a week I've been trying out a new recipe (or seven).

Today while my hubby was in the city with family visiting the Museum of Natural History, I decided I had time to try out something new.  Hence, today's dish ricotta gnocchi with browned butter garlic sauce.

My take on it quite simply, is it's pretty good.  I feel like I might add something to it next time to spice it up a little, but overall I was pleased with the results.

You can find the original recipe on Collecting Memories.



9oz Ricotta
1 egg yol
1/4 to 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tbsp Parmigiano, freshly grated, extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, extra for dusting the dough/board


Add Ricotta cheese, egg yolk, salt and freshly grated Parmigiano into a large bowl. Mix well with a spoon. Add the flour and stir in briefly, just until combined – the dough will still be sticky.

Generously flour a board, take a big tablespoon of the dough and scoop it onto the board. Dust with flour, before rolling it into a finger-thick roll. Cut it into little pillows.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and reduce heat until the water bubbles lightly. Add the gnocchi and stir once, so they don’t stick to the bottom – then let cook until they start floating on top. Depending on their size this may take 2 to 4 minutes. Take out with a skimmer.

If you want to brown your gnocchi to make them crispy outside, place them in a non-stick pan (no oil needed) and let them brown nicely on both sides. Don't move them around too much. Once done, arrange them on a plate and drizzle the sauce over.


The gnocchi was super easy to put together. It boiled up fast too.  My only real complaint with the dish is that once the gnocchi were in the pan crisping up, it took a long time.  I mean, longer than the rest of the prep and cook time.  That's a little silly to me.

The only other thing I might want to add is more flavor.  It doesn't have a very distinct taste.  Ricotta is pretty neutral.  I would either bam up this dish with a spice weasel or add another ingredient.  Like maybe another kind of strong flavored cheese - even if to only sprinkle on top.

But as I mentioned above, I'd make this dish again for sure.  It was good.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze

Happy Valentine's Day!

Instead of going out today, I chose to cook up a nice dinner for my hubby.  Luckily I was free most of the day so I had the time to do this.

Until I have more time to post the entire dinner, I'm going to post a side dish: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze.

Not too long ago I had lunch with a friend of mine at Red Rooster in Harlem. Needless to say it was outstanding. Chef Marcus Samuelsson truly outdid himself. I was surprised when my lunch arrived and with it was a handful of roasted brussels sprouts.  Despite my 20-year vegetarian/pescatarianism, I was always turned off by brussels sprouts. It reminded me too much of the way my mom cooked them all those years ago.  Sorry Mom, boiled vegetables just don't cut it. I'm so glad I rediscovered most of the veggies I eat today.  Brussels sprouts is now among them.  What a total revelation.

I like roasted vegetables so I thought I'd give it a whirl with these guys.  And by the way, I didn't realize how expensive brussels sprouts were.  A small container cost me $3.99.  Ouch!  Happily, they came out great and both me and my husband enjoyed.



Brussels sprouts
2 TBSP Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

For the glaze:

16oz Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice each sprout in half. Place them in a medium bowl and drizzle on the olive oil, salt and pepper. Give them a good toss so all sprouts are covered.

Using a greased cookie sheet (I used foil sprayed with Pam), spoon the sprouts onto the cookie sheet and

Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until edges begin browning.

For the glaze... Using a medium saucepan, dissolve the sugar completely into the vinegar. Bring to a  boil - stirring constantly - then reduce heat to a simmer for about 25 minutes. Liquid should reduce to about half.  You'll know it's done when a spoon comes out coated.

By the way, the glaze can be used for many different dishes.  Chances are you'll have plenty leftover (I know I did) so you can use it again for meat, fish or other side dishes.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hot Cocoa Souffle

Superbowl Sunday is here.  An interesting game, if you're interested.  Since the Giants aren't in this year I'm not too invested either way.  Actually, I spent more time watching Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet than I did on the big game.

Although my hubby and I had no plans to host a game-party, I still felt compelled to make something fun and new.  And yes, I used the Superbowl as an excuse (albeit a flimsy one :)

Today's delectable dish: Hot Cocoa Souffle.  I found the original recipe here on

Continue on for the recipe and further on for the end results...




3  tablespoons sugar

2  tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/4  cup  utter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup Milk

egg yolks, lightly beaten

egg whites

2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides of a 1-1/2-quart souffle dish or oven going mixing bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the 3 tablespoons sugar and the 2 tablespoons cocoa powder. Sprinkle the inside of the buttered dish with enough of the sugar/cocoa mixture to coat bottom and sides; set dish and remaining sugar/cocoa mixture aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Stir in the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, and flour. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Place egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually stir chocolate mixture into beaten egg yolks. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight) and the sugar is completely dissolved. Fold 1 cup of the beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold chocolate mixture into remaining beaten egg whites. Transfer mixture to prepared dish.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Immediately sprinkle top of baked souffle with remaining sugar/cocoa mixture. Serve with scoops of coffee ice cream or if desired, place scoops of ice cream in center of souffle and serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


This came out pretty well. My hubby and I enjoyed them, but didn't LOVE them. We both kinda felt like they were missing something. They needed to be a little bit richer or something.  Although I have to say they did taste very convincingly "hot cocoa"-ish.

I've made souffles before and had a fair amount of success. As long as you follow the directions you should be fine.

Important Note:  When combining the chocolate mixture with the egg yolks be sure the mixture has cooled enough. You add hot chocolate mixture with egg yolks you'll be left with scrambled eggs. Don't make this mistake!!!

The recipe didn't specify what kind of milk to use. Since I don't keep anything other than skim milk in the house that's what I used.  Therefore, each serving came to about 260 calories. NICE!!!