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Posts Tagged ‘good food’

This gooey rich slice of heaven has to be one of my all time favorite treats. Chocolate goodness oozing out the moment your fork hits it….

Just across the water from downtown Portland, there is a pint-sized cozy restaurant serving fresh, local and organic dishes known as The Farm Cafe. Countless nights I’ve made my way over there squeezing in at the teeny weeny bar (they don’t take reservations) just to order this yummy chocolaty treat. Their version is a cross between molten cake and a traditional soufflé – more like a fallen chocolate lava soufflé (and I mean that in the best possible way). They make each pot of deliciousness to order so be prepared to kick it for twenty minutes over a glass of wine. It’s SO worth it. Check this review.

This last weekend I prepared dinner for just under thirty guests at the golf and country club and wanted to serve a deliciously memorable meal. I started with baked halibut in saffron broth over mashed potatoes with a tomato and black olive ragoût followed by this to-die-for chocolate molten cake – recipe by Dave Lieberman.

My apologies; in my haste to keep the hot – hot and the cold – cold (remember – I was plating for over a couple dozen peeps!) I totally spaced taking a snapshot of the final product and only took a few pics of the prep. The good news is I will probably be making some more of this loveliness tomorrow and may be able to grab a decent photo.

Molten Chocolate Cake

Courtesy of Dave Lieberman

You’ll need:

7 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
11 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 6 (6-ounce) ramekins. (I dusted them with sugar instead of flour).

Place 5 1/2 ounces of the chocolate and the butter in the top of a double boiler, and melt them over simmering water.

Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thick, about 8 minutes. Reduce speed and add flour. Add the chocolate mixture and continue beating until glossy, about another 5 minutes.

Divide half the mixture into the ramekins. Divide the remaining chopped chocolate among the ramekins, making a little pile in the middle of each one. Top with the rest of the batter.

Bake until just set around the edges, but the center still jiggles. About 10-12 minutes. DO NOT overcook. (I found they didn’t need the full time – so keep your eye on them carefully).

Cool just a few minutes and un-mold each cake onto a plate.

Raspberry Coulis

You’ll need:

1 (10-ounces) package frozen raspberries (if available with syrup)
2 tablespoons sugar – to taste (sometimes I use vanilla sugar)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice – to taste

Preparation:

Puree raspberries with syrup, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids.

Alternatively, you can throw the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice into a sauce pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for approximately 8 -10 minutes, puree with a hand held mixer, and pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids.

Either option should be chilled before serving.

You can also use fresh raspberries if available and in season – just increase the amount of sugar.

This dessert really does plate up so pretty and of course, you can take your own creative liberties, but this is how I prepared it: I placed the cakes upside down on the plate (the sugar coating/dusting works better than flour if this is how you intend to serve them) then lightly dusted them with icing sugar, added a bit of the home-made raspberry coulis – so the upside down dome appears to be wading in the sauce, and finished with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

It turned out freakishly good…One of the ladies commented, “That was the best thing I have ever eaten. Would it be possible to have another?”

I promise – your guests will love you.

Bon Appétit!

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Yeah, ok. So it seems (hearing the rumblings coming from the mouths of my close friends at least) the majority of my posts are centering around food in some form or fashion. But I can’t seem to help it. Every recipe I’ve tried lately has been a hit and I feel obliged to share.

This baked fish & saffron concoction I whipped up last week is no exception. It was absolutely D-I-V-I-N-E. Yes, I do agree, this dish has a helluva long title and it does take a little prep work, but I promise it’s totally worth it.

I’m making it Saturday night for 26 peeps….Wish me luck!

Halibut

Baked Halibut in a Saffron Broth over Mashed Potatoes with a Tomato and Black Olive Ragoût

Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse and The Food Network.

Tomato and black olive ragoût:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound very ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup basil chiffonade
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

In a saucepan heat olive oil and saute onions until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and olives and cook until sauce is thick and most liquid has evaporated. Season with herbs and salt and pepper to taste, adding sugar if necessary to correct acidity. Serve warm on top of baked halibut in a saffron broth with mashed potatoes.

Mashed potatoes and saffron broth:

2 quarts chicken stock
1 large pinch saffron (about 1/4-ounce)
Salt
5 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups warm milk
Freshly ground white pepper
3 large shallots, minced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

In a large saucepan combine chicken stock and saffron and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste, add potatoes and cook, covered, until fork-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Strain liquid into another large saucepan and reserve. Add butter to potatoes and stir and mash until completely melted. Add milk, stir well, and add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while making the halibut. In a saucepan saute shallots and garlic in olive oil until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add reserved saffron stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add green onions and simmer 5 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Halibut:

8 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
Creole seasoning, recipe follows
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup saffron broth from above

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Season halibut fillets with Creole seasoning on both sides. Rub fillets with olive oil and place on a lightly oiled shallow casserole or baking sheet with sides and pour saffron broth around fillets. Cover filets loosely with parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake for 5 minutes, uncover and bake another 5 minutes, or until flesh flakes easily. Serve fillets in a large bowl on top of mashed potatoes, with saffron broth ladled over all and fish topped with a generous dollop of tomoato and black olive ragout.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Yield: 2/3 cup

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goat cheese ravioli with walnuts

He loved to tinker and immerse himself into just about anything he hadn’t tried before. So it was no surprise when my dad trotted in one day with a pasta rolling machine under his arm. We were little munch-kins barely able to see above the kitchen counter and for that moment we thought this shiny silver thing with a crank on it was the coolest thing ever.

As kids we loved learning how to gently roll out those sheets of fabulous yellow tinted dough; linguine laying out on every single piece of flat surface we could find including draping it over the back of the kitchen chairs. He was always bringing fun and adventure into our lives including in the heart of the home – the kitchen. For me, these are treasured memories of my dad that I’ll always keep close.

As a treat during the post holiday sales, Fattie and I bought ourselves a pasta machine so we could roll out fresh Italian dishes whenever the urge presented itself. So, what to do on a Saturday night? Yup – you guessed it – pasta!

We decided on ravioli because we both adore it and it’s such a joy to sink your teeth into this handmade goodness…..I wanted to make a lobster and crab recipe but we settled for this over indulgent goat cheese & walnut number. It really is fantastically rich and yummy.

pasta machine

 

Ravioli Dough

Courtesy of Tyler Florence & The Food Network

You’ll need:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yolk, for egg wash

In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour and salt. Add eggs 1 at a time and continue to mix. Drizzle in oil and continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Sprinkle some flour on work surface, knead the dough until elastic and smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

Cut the ball of dough in half, cover and reserve the dough you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with flour. Form the dough into a rectangle and roll it through the pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at its widest setting. Guide the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. *Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2 or 3 times. Continue until the machine is at its narrowest setting. The dough should be paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick.

Dust the counter and dough with flour, lay out the long sheet of pasta. Brush the top surface of dough with egg wash. Drop 1 tablespoon of cooled filling about 2-inches apart on half the sheet of pasta. Fold the unfilled half over the filling. With an espresso cup or fingers, gently press out air pockets around each mound of filling and form a seal. Use a crimper to cut each pillow into squares. Check to make sure the crimped edges are well sealed before cooking. If making ravioli in advance, dust with cornmeal to prevent them from sticking.

ravioli 2

 

Goat Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Walnut Sauce

Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse & The Food Network

You’ll need:

Filling:

1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced lemon peel
3 large pasta sheets

Sauce:

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan

In a bowl combine the goat cheese, walnuts, basil, oil, garlic and lemon peel, and mix well. Set aside.

Put pasta sheet on work surface with long side facing you and put packed teaspoon of filling 2 inches apart lengthwise along half of the pasta sheet (you should have 10 to 12 mounds). Around each mound of filling brush dough very lightly with water. Fold dough lengthwise in half over mounds of filling, gently pressing around mounds to force out any air, and seal edges well. With a fluted pastry wheel trim edges and cut between mounds of filling to separate ravioli.

Line a large tray with a dry kitchen towel and arrange ravioli in 1 layer. Make more ravioli with remaining 2 pieces of dough and remaining filling in same manner, transferring to kitchen-towel-lined tray and arranging in 1 layer. Ravioli may be made 8 hours ahead and chilled on towel-lined tray, covered loosely with plastic wrap.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring, until brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove nuts from the pan. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, shallots and garlic, and saute for 1 minute. Add the wine and cream, and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high until the liquid has thickened and reduced by nearly 50 percent in volume, about 4 minutes. Stir in the basil, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the ravioli until they are tender and rise to the surface, carefully stirring to keep them from sticking together, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain in a colander. Transfer the cooked ravioli to the pan with the sauce, and gently toss to coat and heat through.

Divide the ravioli among 6 serving plates or shallow bowls, and sprinkle each serving with walnuts and grated cheese. Serve immediately.

 

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I adore the LocalHarvest website and the concept behind it….

LocalHarvest was founded in 1988 and they say they are America’s #1 organic and local food website. By maintaining a definitive and reliable “living” public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources they have become the main informational resource for the buy local movement and the top place on the internet where people find information on direct marketing family farms.

LocalHarvest is located in Santa Cruz, California, and was founded by Guillermo Payet, a software engineer and activist dedicated to generating positive social change through the internet.

Check out their revealing US map where you can quickly locate farmers’ markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.

map

How cool would it be to subscribe for a weekly delivery of locally grown fresh organic produce! I mean who wouldn’t love that? Well, that’s precisely what you can do.

(more…)

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