Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Molten Chocolate Cake

This intimidating dessert is actually one of the simplest there is!  Next time you're having a dinner party, prep this the morning of and put the batter into a large Ziploc bag.  After dinner, snip the corner of the bag, pipe the batter into each of your ramekins and in 12 minutes you've got an amazing dessert that will have your guests thinking you're a confectionery goddess!  Top it with a small scoop of the whipped white chocolate ganache, or simply pair it with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.  (Or be BAD like me and do both!)  Keep it simple and classic with vanilla.  Or jazz it up a bit with cherry or mint chip.  Just don't go too crazy, cause you want this rich chocolaty little treat to shine.  Enjoy!

Molten Chocolate Cake
recipe by Gale Gand
4 ounces plus 3 tablespoons butter
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 yolks
3 eggs
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup flour
(Can easily be doubled)

Melt the chocolate and butter together.  (You can do this in the microwave at 50% power for 30 seconds, stir, and continue with 15 second intervals if needed.) Cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the yolks and eggs then mix in the powdered sugar. Whisk this into the chocolate mixture then whisk in the flour. You can refrigerate the batter until ready to bake or bake immediately.  Fill 6 greased 4-ounce ramekins with the batter bake in a preheated 450 degree F oven for 8 - 10 minutes from cold, or 6 - 8 minutes from room temperature.  Let set for 2 minutes.   Turn out onto the plate.

Optional Garnish:

White Chocolate Ganache
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped

Heat the cream in a saucepan until boiling. Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Whisking well, pour the hot cream over the chocolate to melt it. Cover and chill overnight. The next day, whip it up like whipped cream until soft peaks. Place a dollop of it on the cake before serving.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chicken and Cheese Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

I was trying to think of something different to inspire me for a tasty Valentine's dinner for my sweetie and I.  Also, seeing as I had to work late and make a trip to the grocery store, I knew it couldn't be something that would take forever.  The way my hectic day was going it was beginning to look like he was going to get takeout.  That's when, as I was looking through one of my dreaded desk piles for an invoice, a buried Raley's Something Extra Magazine practically fell into my lap open to this page.  What is that?  It looks pretty & sounds tasty.  A short list of ingredients and I was basically sold at the mention of "shredded rotisserie chicken"  (yeah perhaps you've noticed, I'm a fan).  A quick trip to Raley's that included a stop by their bakery department for a no fuss dessert.

Dinner was everything I hoped it would be.  It had that "something special" feel to it, but it took no time at all to through together.  The stuffed portabella concept was something new for Chad, but I think it was pretty unanimous that this one was two thumbs up.  Give it a try, I think you'll like it.  Enjoy!

Chicken and Cheese Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

adapted from Raley's Something Extra
2 large portabella mushrooms, stems & gills removed
1 1/2 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
2/3 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. California Sun-Dry Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
1 tsp. Morton and Bassett Italian Seasoning
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp. each: shredded Parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450°F and place mushrooms stem side up on a foil lined, greased baking sheet.

Stir together chicken, cheese, onions, garlic, sun-dried tomato spread and seasoning and spoon into mushroom caps. Stir together Parmesan and bread crumbs and sprinkle over mushrooms.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until filling is hot and cheese is melted. Recipe may be doubled.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chicken in Phyllo Dough

No, that is not a burrito.  It's one of my favorite impress your guests, they'll never know how easy it is (unless they read your blog), sinfully delicious dinners EVER!  Seriously, you've got to try this one.  If you're planning on having guests over for dinner, or just want to impress that special someone this Valentine's day, MAKE THIS!  You'll love me, I promise! 

Phyllo dough and hollandaise sauce are the stars of dish.  If you aren't familiar with phyllo dough, it's that paper thin pastry dough that is used for the Greek dessert baklava.  Here a few sheets are simply brushed with melted butter, layered and wrapped around a chicken breast to create a savory dish.

As for the hollandaise you can either make your own as I like to do, or you can buy the packets and "kinda" make your own.  (It's ok, I've done that in a pinch too.)  If you want to give the homemade stuff a try I've included a SUPER easy blender recipe that is DELISH!

Oh and the Lemon Dijon Asparagus is the perfect side dish.  Try it once and you'll be hooked. Enjoy!

Chicken in Phyllo Dough
4 Chicken breasts, pounded flat & seasoned
1 pkg Phyllo dough (you will only need 3 sheets per breast, but some will rip beyond repair)
1 cube melted butter
8 - 12 asparagus spears, trimmed & blanched or a handful of fresh baby spinach
Hollandaise Sauce (Recipe Below)
Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (optional)

Prepare single batch of sauce.

Carefully lay one sheet of phyllo dough on a flat surface, brush with melted butter.  Carefully lay another sheet on top of that one, brush with melted butter and repeat.  You should have 3 sheets total.  Place 1 chicken breast towards the bottom corner of the dough square.  Top with a spoonful of hollandaise and either 2-3 asparagus spears, or a small amount of fresh spinach.  Fold, roll and wrap your little pouch of goodies and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Repeat process with each chicken breast.

Brush tops with remaining butter; sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees F.

Right before the chicken comes out of the oven, make another batch of sauce.  When you serve the chicken spoon some of the sauce over the top.

Hollandaise Sauce has an amazing lemony, buttery, velvety taste that can easily be achieved by using a blender. This recipe has all the same ingredients as the classic, but no double boiler and no chance of the sauce separating.  Give it a whirl!

Blender Hollandaise Sauce
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 dash hot sauce
1/2 cup salted butter

1. In the container of a blender, combine the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Cover, and blend for about 5 seconds.

2. Place the butter in a glass measuring cup. Heat butter in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until completely melted and VERY hot.  Set the blender on high speed, and pour the butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream. It should thicken almost immediately. Keep the sauce warm until serving by placing the blender container in a pan of hot tap water.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lemon Dijon Asparagus

Yes, I know the picture looks familiar!  Anyways, this post is all about the ASPARAGUS!  Most delightful way to enjoy one of my personal favorite veggies.  (no hollandaise required, that's just spillage from that lovely chicken)  You can throw this together with anything from a summer time BBQ to a simple chicken dish.  The best part about it, is if you were like me once upon a time you only knew how to enjoy asparagus doused in mayo, hollandaise or deep fried.  If you don't care for it plain and don't want to go for the loaded in fat choices this one is for you!  Enjoy 

Lemon Dijon Asparagus
1 1/2 lbs pounds whole, trimmed asparagus spears
1 Tbls lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbls EVOO
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 thinly sliced shallot
1 garlic clove, chopped

Pre heat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, Dijon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside. Bring large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Partially cook asparagus spears about 2 minutes; drain.  Add to the bowl, along with shallot & garlic. Toss to coat.

Place in baking dish and roast in oven for 5 - 10 min.  Enjoy!