Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mint-Infused Green Pea Vichyssoise

Brown Butter Part

- 3 Tbsp butter
- mint leaves

  1. Heat butter over low/medium, until it reaches the light brown stage.
  2. Remove pan from heat, add mint leaves.

Green Pea Vichyssoise

- 4 Russet potatoes
- Garlic
- 1 Leek
- 16 oz frozen green peas
- Evaporated milk
- 1.5 quarts chicken stock
- Evaporated milk

  1. Remove the mint leaves from the brown butter, reheat butter, being careful not to over-brown.
  2. Add in chopped garlic (adds a nice kick), leeks.
  3. Then add in potatoes, chicken stock.
  4. Simmer until potatoes are softened.
  5. Add in peas last, cook for 5 minutes, then turn off heat.
  6. Puree in food processor, follow up with immersion blender.
  7. Adjust consistency with extra stock, evaporated milk (healthier than cream).
  8. Serve with a touch of heavy cream garnish.

The soup can be eaten warm or chilled. I think a chilled soup is perfect for a spring day.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Bittersweet Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Triple Berry Beet Coulis

Chocolate Crust

- Chocolate graham cracker cookies
- Butter

  1. Grind up cookies, add melted butter.
  2. Form into pan bottom, bake at 350 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes.


- About 3 bars, ~ 9-10 oz. of Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate
- 3 x 8 oz. packages cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/8 cup instant espresso
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 4 large eggs

  1. Melt chocolate bars over simmering water.
  2. Mix room temperature cream cheese, sugar.
  3. Add in cocoa powder, espresso, sour cream.
  4. Add in melted chocolate.
  5. Add eggs one at a time.
  6. Bake bain marie, about 1 hr, at 350 degrees F.
  7. Cool overnight, or at least 2 days (for best results) in refrigerator.

For my smaller 8" springform pan, the following quantities work better;

1.5 bricks cream cheese.
8 oz sour cream
1 whole egg and 3 yolks

Triple Berry Beet Coulis

- Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries.
- Beets (not too many, just a few pieces for texture)
- Orange juice
- Sugar

  1. Simmer berries and beets in OJ with sugar until soft.
  2. Puree, strain.

Chocolate Curls/Shavings

- 1 Bar chocolate

  1. To make the shavings, microwave the bar of chocolate for about 40 seconds, or until the bar is soft and pliable. Use a peeler on the side of the bar to form shavings.
  2. To make curls, spread melted chocolate on the back of a baking pan. Refrigerate for about 1-2 minutes to harden.
  3. Using a paring knife, with the blade turned to a flat angle, bring the knife towards your stomach (try not to stab yourself), and the curls will naturally form.

All the components together, tada. Too bad the tip of my cheesecake seems to be missing some crust.

Mini Vanilla Meringue Baskets

Experimenting with meringues. I think my oven was a bit too hot, because the interiors were a bit too sticky, and the exteriors were not dry enough.

Vanilla Meringues

- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/3 tsp cream of tartar
- vanilla extract

  1. I believe the general rule of thumb for a French Meringue is 2 egg whites per 1/2 cup sugar. However, I prefer mine a little less sweet, so I halved the sugar amount.
  2. Separate whites from yolks with fingers, being careful not to get any yolks into the white mixture. Let whites sit at room temperature about half a day.
  3. Add cream of tartar.
  4. Whip to soft peak stage.
  5. Add in sugar, 1 tsp. at a time.
  6. Whip to hard peaks.
  7. Fold in vanilla extract.
  8. Pipe little baskets onto Silpat.
  9. Bake at 250 degrees F for about 30 minutes, or until dry and hardened.
  10. Leave in oven to dry and cool off.
  11. Store in air-tight container, do NOT refrigerate.
  12. Will last 1-2 days before the meringue starts to weep.
  13. Plate no more than half an hour before serving.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mini Pear & Almond Tartlettes

Miniature-sized Forelle pears work very well for these tartlettes.

Makes ~ 8 tartlettes


- 4 Forelle pears
- red wine
- 1 lemon
- sugar

  1. Peel & seed pears.
  2. Poach pears in red wine, lemon juice, sugar mixture.
  3. Refrigerate.


- Choose whatever pate sucree dough you desire, or use pre-made if you don't have time.

Almond Filling

- 2/3 cup almond flour
- 1 Tbsp AP flour
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- 3/4 stick butter, room temperature or slightly melted
- almond extract
- 1 egg

  1. Mix ingredients together.
  2. Spoon into tart shells, fill about 3/4 of the way.
  3. Slice poached pears, layer on top.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F until tester comes out clean.
  5. Enjoy with dusted sugar.

Ready to be eaten!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

White Wine Poached Salmon with Faux Caviar, White Chocolate Wasabi Sauce

I admit I stole this off of Richard from Top Chef Season 4. I thought it was a brilliant combination of white chocolate and salmon on his part; I poached my salmon in lieu of smoking, to ease preparation.

Poached Salmon

- Salmon filets cut into square pieces
- 2 cups white wine
- 2 cups water
- diced leeks
- salt, pepper

  1. Poach salmon in white wine mixture for about 20 minutes.
  2. Poaching can be done either in the oven or on the stove-top. Cover poaching container with aluminum foil tightly, to form a "tent".
  3. Spoon poaching liquid onto salmon to keep it hydrated, while making the other components.

White Chocolate Wasabi Sauce

- White chocolate
- heavy cream
- wasabi powder
- celery root

  1. Cook celery root in heavy cream until soft. Puree.
  2. Make a white chocolate ganache, add to celery root puree.
  3. Mix equal parts wasabi powder and water to form paste, add into white chocolate celery root mixture.
  4. Add cream as necessary to achieve desired consistency.

Faux Caviar

- pearl tapioca
- soy sauce
- balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- red wine

  1. Cook tapioca about halfway, so that the middle is still white.
  2. Add into a mixture of red wine, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar, to dye the pearls a deep black.
  3. Re-float in olive oil before serving.

The lighting was a bit off, but I was reasonably satisfied with the product.

Ratatouille Tart

I borrowed this from reading smitten the other day, and it's perfect if you want a beautiful, easy to prepare, and tasty rustic-looking tart.

It's not so much a true ratatouille, as it is a roasted vegetable pizza, but I digress.

Ratatouille Tart

- 1 box Pepperidge Farm or Dufour Puff Pastry
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 green zucchini
- 1 Japanese eggplant
- 1 red pepper
- 1/3 purple onion
- Tomato sauce

  1. Lay out the puff pastry, and prick with a fork. Leave a border unpricked, so that the border will rise and leave a "crust".
  2. Cut vegetables into fine slices.
  3. Spoon a little tomato sauce onto puff pastry.
  4. Layer with diced vegetable slices.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Brush with olive oil.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F ~ 30 minutes, or until veggies are nicely browned and pastry is well risen.

This is just before placing the tart into the oven.

Fresh from the oven.