Monday, January 30, 2012

the perfect soufflé + valentine's day

Valentine's Day is right around the corner so why not wow your special mate with an iconic and sophisticated dessert that oozes decadence and sex appeal: the s

For a recent dinner party, I tested this recipe (adapted from here), and demonstrated to the guests how to make this sometimes tricky dessert from start to finish.

Grand Marnier Soufflés

yields 12, 4 ounce portions

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

plus additional for buttering ramekins

1 cup sugar plus additional for coating ramekins

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

7 large egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1/4 teaspoon orange oil

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

8 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter 12, 4 ounce ramekins and coat with sugar, knocking out excess sugar.

If you have not already, seperate your egg yolks from your whites. Using three bowls, break the egg in one, seperate the yolk, then add the yolk to a larger bowl. Transfer white to a larger bowl. Contine one egg at a time-- this 3 bowl method will prevent tainting an entire bowl of egg whites if a yolk happens to break or an egg is bad.

Tip: eggs are easier to seperate when COLD but whip up better at ROOM TEMPERATURE.

In a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan melt 3/4 stick butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until mixture is very thick and pulls away from sides of pan. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool 5 minutes.

In a large bowl whisk together yolks, vanilla, oil, and a pinch salt, and whisk in milk mixture and Grand Marnier, whisking until smooth.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat whites until they hold soft peaks. Beat in 1 cup sugar, a little at a time, and beat meringue until it just holds stiff peaks.

Tip: to ensure your bowl is clean without residue, wipe your bowl with a paper towel dipped in vinegar before adding egg whites. Egg whites will whip up better.

Whisk about one fourth meringue into yolk mixture to lighten and with a rubber spatula fold in remaining meringue gently but thoroughly.

Spoon batter into ramekins, filling them just to rim, and arrange ramekins at least 1 1/2 inches apart in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to reach halfway up sides of ramekins and bake soufflés in middle of oven approximately 16 minutes, or until puffed and tops are golden.

Remove pan from oven and transfer ramekins to dessert plates. Serve immediately.

Not too sweet, airy and light. What decadence!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

citrus parfaits & whimsical bouquets


Blood Orange + Caper Relish
to spoon atop roasted fish

Rosemary & Crushed Red Pepper-Infused Olive Oil

Avocado, Grapefruit & Spinach Salad with Jalapeno Ranch

Pomegranate & Black Peppercorn Cider

Delicious Brisket Hash from The Tavern

Demonstration Prep

Individual Lemon Lime Curd & Gingersnap Parfaits

Whimsical Valentine's Bouquet from Vera Green Productions


Monday, January 2, 2012

a perfect punch to share

When asked to write some "Sweet Sips to Share" recipes for the winter issue of Fort Worth Foodie, I wanted to put interesting, yet simple twists on seemingly traditional seasonal drinks:
cider, eggnog, cocktails and holiday punch.

My mother made a simple punch last Christmas with blood orange Italian soda, lime juice and white rum. It was bubbly, tart, not-too-sweet and festive.

For my rendition of the recipe, I added the intense juice from kaffir limes along with several dashes of bitters to add complexity to the punch flavor.

Blood Orange + White Rum Punch
with Kaffir Lime

Yields 4-6 servings

4 cups blood orange Italian soda

Juice of 2 kaffir limes, plus additional slices to garnish

1.5 cups white rum

4 -6 dashes of bitters

frozen blood orange slices, to garnish if desired

Combine all ingredients.

Serve in a vintage punch bowl with frozen blood orange slices to keep the punch chilled.

Hello, gorgeous.

photo courtesy of Kari Crowe

Or, serve individually from a chilled pitcher with kaffir lime rounds.

Happy sipping!