Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

February 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

This Valentine’s Day, I decided to attempt lava cakes for the first time.  Knowing the gooey goodness that resides inside the decadent chocolate cake, I have always been intimidated by this heavenly concoction.  I decided to take on the challenge and make these little darlings for my little darling.  To my astonishment and delight, this recipe was one of the easiest I have made and given that I think I put in too much chocolate than the recipe called for, it seems fool proof to boot.  Highly recommended!!!!

This recipe was adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s blog.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pieces (squares) Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate
  • ½ cups Butter
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 whole Egg Yolks
  • 6 Tablespoons Flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Butter and cover 4 custard cups with cocoa powder and place on cookie sheet.
  3. Microwave chocolate and butter in two separate bowls until each is melted and then whisk together. (Make sure mixture is not too hot, otherwise you will cook the eggs when you mix them in).
  4. Whisk in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour.
  5. Divide between 4 oven safe ramekins.
  6. Bake 13-14 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft. Let stand 1 minute.
  7. Dust with powdered sugar. (Note: to make heart shaped sugar design, simply cut out the shape you want on an index card, place on top, and dust on the powdered sugar.)

 

Scandinavian Cardamom Apple Pie

February 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

This recipe is inspired by Scandinavian baking.  Cardamom is a popular ingredient in the Scandinavian baking style and it also happens to be one of my most favorite spices.  Apples highlight cardamom perfectly and I just love the rustic look and elegant flavor balance of this pie.  Best of all, this pie has three ingredients in addition to the dough (which I usually have prepared ahead of time anyway) — it is so easy to make that you are sure to have a stress-free baking session.  I love this pie for entertaining!

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 10″ pre-prepared pie crusts (you can use your favorite recipe or buy frozen crust)
  • 6 cups apples (peeled, cored, and sliced) — I used 2 lbs of organic Granny Smith apples and it was the perfect amount
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tspn cardamom
  • 1 tspn cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp flour (for dusting pie pan)
  • Butter (for buttering pie pan)
  • Small amount of sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon for sprinkling on top

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine apples, cardamom, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and mix to make sure all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  3. Place bottom crust into a buttered and floured pie pan and pour spiced apple mixture into the pie crust.
  4. Place top crust on top and seal edges (make sure you seal them well otherwise, apple juices will bubble out).
  5. Cut 4-5 slits away from the center of the pie (this allows the apple juices to evaporate out) and sprinkle cinnamon, cardamom, and sugar on top of the crust.
  6. Cover pie with foil loosely and bake on middle rack for 20 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes until the pie is brown and crusty.  Sprinkle some more sugar on top.

Basil Yogurt Smoothie

February 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

We have been having a very hot winter here in Los Angeles, so I decided it was time to cool down with a smoothie.  But not the super sugary kind that gives you a sugar high and causes you to crash by 4pm.  This smoothie is as good for you as it is good!  With yogurt, basil, and honey it is a fabulous mid-day snack for relaxing on a weekend or even to serve with a sweet breakfast — AND you can’t beat the color!  It is simply beautiful!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I love to use Greek)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey, dissolved in 3 tablespoons of warm water)

Directions:

This smoothie could not be easier to make – so simple!  Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into tall glass, garnish with basil leaf, and serve!  Yum!

Organic Sweet Corn Pudding

February 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

When I am figuring out a menu, I always try to find flavors and colors that balance each other out.  For example, when I serve something heavy as a main course, I like to offset it with either an extremely light side or a very sweet accompaniment.  With this simple corn pudding, the bright color and intensely sweet taste is a great accent to a boldly flavored main course, such as a rack of lamb or a Mexican feast.  The shot of golden color is like a ray of sunshine on your plate.

There are also two ways I would serve this as a side: either bake it off in a large baking dish and then serve family style or make individual portions in little ramekins so that everyone gets his or her own little portion.  For a casual dinner, I would go with the former; but for a little bit more formal feel, I would serve individual portions.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups organic sweet corn kernels (either cut off a cob or you can sometimes find organic sweet corn kernels in the freezer section)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan or quattro formaggio cheese, separated into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup portions
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium buttered skillet, saute the onions until they become clear, then add the corn.  If you are using frozen corn, you can put the frozen kernels right in without defrosting. Saute the onions and corn for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. While the corn is cooling, combine eggs, milk, cream, salt, and pepper in a bowl and beat together with a fork.  Stir in the 1/2 cup of Parmesan.
  4. When the corn is cooled, put it into a medium baking dish or individual ramekins, filling either about 2/3 deep (so that you have enough room to pour in the custard mixture).  Pour in the custard mixture and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  5. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the pudding is golden brown on top.  Serve.

Serves 6.

I would love to know if you tried making this and what you served it with!

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