It’s that season where I just slide open the patio door and turn up the grill. Even though the weather is trying to find its season. I really love smoked flavor, and have experimented with various ways throughout the years to replicate it, without a proper smoker. The other day at Home Depot, I just gave in and made Certain Someone purchase a Weber Smoker Box and bag of pecan wood. It will have to do until I convince him to get me the Big Green Egg, which I’m coveting after using at a clients home. I’m patient. The smoker box really is effective and proves you can get great flavor with a gas grill. It’s just about technique.
In every city there is a trusted authority people seek for the latest in food, wine , and cocktail industry news. I’m fortunate I can count Chicago’s Audarshia Townsend as a friend. Her following is huge on Social Media and she’s the Chicago Travel Expert for About.com. She is also a features journalist covering food, cocktail, culture and travel. She knows everyone and chronicles her dining adventures on her Facebook Page 312 Dining Diva. Continue reading “Coco Questionnaire… Five Questions With Audarshia Townsend”
The other day I was sitting with a friend during her own food photo shoot for a international critically acclaimed newspaper, and she reminisced about the first food she tasted of mine over a decade ago. It was cheesecake which she loved. It got me to thinking I haven’t made one in a while. While I love to bake , I’m not a frantic baker as Certain Someone and I prefer the savory side . But every now and then I knock a dessert out of the park he loves, like my trifles or puddings. It’s no wonder he enjoyed this creation too. If you have some boxes of Girl Scout Samoas, obligatorily procured a few month ago from co-workers, some macadamias in the freezer, and cream cheese and eggs, this recipe is for you. Rather than use cream or sour cream in this cake I decided to add coconut to the theme by using Cream of Coconut, which is thicker and sweeter than coconut milk. Continue reading “Coconut Macadamia Girl Scout Samoas Cheesecake”
Anyone that knows me, knows that I favor the classics in food , fashion, and life. Pates and Terrines have always fascinated me as they are classic, complex, yet easy dishes that conjure up grandeur, elegance and rusticity at the same time. A terrine is a time honored way to utilize offal and ground meats, usually pork based and bake into a rich flavored loaf. You can get fancy and layered with them or just really basic. I love them for Holidays, entertaining, and picnics. I had the heart and liver of the lamb we purchased and in true nose to tail fashion, wanted to use them, as opposed to discarding them. I knew they would go into a lovely simplistic terrine. Continue reading “Lamb Terrine”
According the Oxford Dictionary a Trifle is British noun meaning.
a cold dessert of sponge cake and fruit covered with layers of custard, jelly, and cream.
I love trifles as they are a great way to use odd pieces of this and that and compose into a comforting dessert enjoyed by all. You can make a large one or series of smaller individual ones for your guest in glasses when entertaining. I have served trifles when catering and they are always well received. I’m not going to provide an exact recipe , but show you how I assembled this through pictures and words. Add your own embellishments. I used Luxardo products as my flavor basis and theme. I love the richness, sweetness, aroma and flavor of the luxurious maraschino cherry liqueur. A jar of the cherries is really a worthwhile splurge to amp up your cocktails, deserts, or mocktails. My new thing as the weather gets warmer is to add a cherry and some of the syrup to my lemonade. This trifle uses both the liquer and about half the jar of cherries. You can use more if you wish.
The Components of The Trifle are:
Crème Anglais ( a thin custard) ( Here is a good recipe you will need to double.) Save half of your crème to fold into the Whipped Cream.
I actually used 7 yolks, and 3/4 cup of sugar that I grinded old dried vanilla beans in ( I never throw anything away and this was left from homemade extract). You can infuse a split vanilla bean in the milk/cream as it heats. I wanted a yolkier custard. Be sure not to overcook as it will curdle and scramble quick. If it does, you may save it by running it through a blender. It should coat a spoon but it wont be very thick. Also another pro tip is to strain your custard through a fine mesh sieve when complete, before cooling.
Heavy Cream whipped ( I always use 40 percent heavy whipping cream)
( About 3-4 cups whipped until stiff. Add some of Luxardo Cherries syrup and a few teaspoons of sugar to sweeten. You will be adding sweetened cooled cream anglais to this as well, so be careful with the sugar.
Frozen Cake ( yellow cake, pound cake, chocolate cake , etc.) I always have some plain cake in the freezer left over from a project. You want a denser cake to absorb the liqueur.
Make a Bottom layer of Frozen Cake cut into cubes. Drizzle Luxardo Liquor over the cake to soak. Don’t over drench.
Pour Crème Anglais over the soaked cake
Add some Luxardo Cherries sporadically around the edge.
Cover first layer with Whipped Cream mixed with half of the Cream Anglais. Add some of the Luxardo cherry syrup to the mix and fold gently. Be sure your bowl is cold when whipping.
Repeat all the steps until bowl is filled. Sprinkle top with a dusting of Cocoa Powder.
Chill and allow to set for several hours before serving , so the flavors meld.