There are infinite ways to glam up a chocolate cake. Let your creativity flow - fruit, peppermint, chocolate chip mint, candy bar, hazelnut, almond, cherry, orange...I can keep going. It's always good to have a "go to sauce" for your desserts. Here is my Raspberry Coulis recipe. Coulis is fancy french term for a pureed and strained fruit sauce. Fill your squeeze bottle with this sauce and make a pretty plate.
Tina's Raspberry Coulis
* 16 oz. bag frozen raspberries (about 2 cups)
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 TBS Chambord Raspberry liquor
Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil. Mash up the berries as the mixture boils. Once all of the berries are broken up, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Once cool, blend the sauce up until it's smooth. Strain through a fine mess sieve. Raspberries have tiny seeds that will not get blended up so they must be strained or else they'll block your squeeze bottle.
Yield: 1 cup
A great way to jazz up your cheesecake is by topping it with a curd, which is a pastry cream made from fruit juice. It brings a super concentrated flavor to that creamy cheesecake. If you'd like to make homemade curd, Sally's Baking Addiction has a great recipe.
Alternatively, store bought curd from reputable brands such as Bonne Maman or Mrs. Darlington's will do the trick and no one will be the wiser:)
After a big and rich holiday dinner, it's nice to have something that is light and sweet. The answer is this delicious homemade chocolate pudding. Do it all ahead and then glitz it up for your guests.
Smitten Kitchen's Best Chocolate Pudding
Serves 6 to 7
1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups (710 ml) whole milk
6 ounces (170 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1 cup good chocolate chips)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan, Slowly whisk in the milk, in a thin steam at first so that lumps don’t form, then more quickly once the cornstarch mixture is smoothly incorporated. Place over medium-low heat and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 10 minutes or so (slower over lower heat is better, to give the cornstarch time to cook), before it starts to simmer, the mixture should begin to thicken, enough that it will coat the back of a spoon. Add the chocolate, and continue stirring for another 2 to 4 minutes, until chocolate is fully incorporated and mixture is quite thick. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
If you’re concerned about lumps: Run mixture through a fine-mesh strainer.
Distribute among individual pudding cups or one large serving bowl, and chill until it is cool and set, about 2 to 3 hours.
If you dislike pudding skin: Put plastic on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating.
Do ahead: Pudding is good for 3 days in the fridge but nobody I know would allow it to last that long.
While pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving staple and totally delicious, its not the most beautiful dessert - tan, burnt orange. To give your pie some style, prepare some pie crust cookies to adorn the pie. Here's how:
Pie Crust Cookies
* 1-2 pie crusts, store bought
* White sparkling sugar
* 1 egg
* Gel food coloring
* Leaf & pumpkin cookie cutters
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the pie crusts from the package and let them come to room temperature. While the crusts rest, prepare a simple egg wash of 1 egg and a splash of water. Whisk very well to ensure the egg wash is a homogeneous mixture. Divide the egg wash into small bowls. Using a toothpick, add gel food coloring to each bowl - red, yellow, orange, green. Cut the pie crusts out with your cookie cutters. Using a pastry brush, add the egg wash to the cutouts. Top each cookie with white sparkling sugar to get them a bit more sparkle. Bake for 10-12 min. Cookies should have some golden color. Let cool and arrange on the pie.
As we get ready for the July 4th holiday, I hope you all are planning to celebrate in a safe way. Swimming, water balloons with a couple of sparklers and lots of delicious potluck foods are the way to go. I recently found a delicious and healthy salad that is not your “run of the mill” summer salad. It’s low carb, vegetable centric, great for the hot weather and will taste better the longer it stays in the fridge.
Sicilian Cauliflower Salad
Here are my notes:
Today is Memorial Day. I’d like to give a heartfelt remembrance to all of the brave souls who have lost their life serving our country.
Sadly, we also must recognize the 97K + loved ones lost to Covid-19. It’s hard to wrap your head around that number. I pray for those souls and their families who are no doubt suffering from such an immense loss.
Finally, I’d also like to honor the strength and courage of those on the frontline during this crisis. They have kept our country going, saved lives and continue to put themselves in harm’s way. Thank you!
I whipped this dessert up to honor the day. I call this “Bits & Pieces No Bake Cheesecake”. The reference to “Bits & Pieces” means I’ve used up the small quantities of ingredients I had in my fridge, freezer and pantry. This is more of a process than a recipe and you can easily replicate this and take it in a whole different flavor direction.
Happy Memorial Day!
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers
With the Covid-19 pandemic underway, we all want to limit our trips to the grocery store and make good use of our pantry. These burgers are delicious, easy to make and super cheap! Not to mention, they are meatless so you can do something good for yourself, the planet, the animals and your wallet :) Serve them on sandwich thins, burger buns or lettuce leaves with some Sriracha mayo or even some BBQ sauce. Enjoy!
1 can Black beans, drained & rinsed (~1.25 cup yield)
2 large Sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled & mashed (~2 cups yield)
1/2 cup Onion, fine dice
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Bean liquid
1/3 cup Oats, quick cooking
2 TSP Smoked Paprika
1 TSP Cumin, ground
Salt & Pepper
2 TBS Oil for pan frying
Cook & mash sweet potatoes. Roast in the oven @ 350 degrees for about 1 hour
OR poke some holes in sweet potato and microwave for 5-7 min. Cook until tender and a knife pokes through very easily. Let cool and peel. SAVE THE SKINS. Mash up potatoes.
Drain & rinse the black beans. SAVE THE LIQUID. Season with salt & pepper.
Sauté aromatics. Heat skillet over medium heat with olive oil. Sauté onions, garlic and spices. Once onions are soft, deglaze the pan with 2 TBS of the bean liquid.
Combine ingredients. Add sweet potatoes, black beans, onions/garlic/spice mixture, and oats into a bowl and mix to combine. Add 2 TBS bean liquid. NOTE: If the mixture feels too wet, add up to another 1/3 cup of quick oats. The oats act like breadcrumbs and will absorb excess moisture and will disappear into the burgers.
Measure burgers using 1/3 measuring cup. Form with hands. Place on parchment lined sheet pan. Refrigerate for 30 min.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Pan fry burgers. Heat up nonstick skillet on medium high, add vegetable or olive oil and
pan sear burgers so they get a golden-brown crust. Place burger on sheet pan and bake for 10 min.
Bonus: Use the sweet potato jackets to make potato skins. Cut up into chip size pieces, lightly coat with olive oil and spices. Bake skins @400 degrees for about 10 min until they are crispy. Don't go far because they can burn fast!
Chef Tina is a passionate Chef and Foodie who is living her lifelong dream!