Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holiday Truffle Filling

The best part about truffles is they can be filled with anything that sounds delicious to you. Here are some ideas to make your holiday truffles even more festive.

Fluer de Sel
Make a dark chocolate ganash and fill the truffle shell 2/3 full with the ganash. Add a chunk of high quality caramel candy. Spread a thin layer of the chocolate shell on top of a completed truffle and sprinkle with a few chunks of large sea salt.

Before heating a milk chocolate ganash, add two tablespoons of smooth peanut butter. Heat as usual and fill the truffle shells with this chocolate peanut butter glory.

Get Fruity
Make a dark chocolate or milk chocolate ganash and add orange zest to the mixture, or after heating, plunge chunks of dried fruit into the center of the truffle shells. Fruits to try: dried apricot, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dates, and dried pineapple.

Just a Little Tipsy

For some holiday fun, add a 3 TBS rum to your chocolate ganash. Fill truffle shells as usual. Top the truffles with brown sugar. Or mix the ganash with 4 TBS tequila and lime zest, top with salt.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hanukkah Latkes or Potato Pancakes

Happy Hanukkah to all! Enjoy this family tradition with a twist. Eat with apple sauce and sour cream, and for all of those who enjoy a less traditional rendition, pull out the ketchup and Louisiana Hot Sauce!

4 Golden Potatoes or Russet Potatoes
3 Matzah Crackers crumbled
1/2 of a medium Red onion- diced
3 TBS Olive Oil
2 TSP Paprika
1 Tsp Cayenne
1 Clove Garlic- Crushed
1-2 TBS Flour
1/2 Cup Water
1 Tbs Peanut or Safflower Oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Using a grater or food processor grate the potatoes into small strips. Like you are making hash browns. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl combine the diced onions, crumbled matzah crackers, spices, oil, and water. Mix until well combined.
3. Add the shredded potatoes to the large bowl and mix well.
4. Add the flour and stir until the mixture is thickened and has a thick batter consistency.
5. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
6. On an electric skillet or in a pan skillet fry the latkes for 5-10 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
7. Serve with apple sauce and sour cream.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Basic Holiday Truffles

Ingredients: Outer Shell & Ganache Mixture
1.) 2 14 oz Bags of Wiltons Dark Chocolate Candy Melts

2.) 1 lb semi-sweet chocolate chips(Ghirardelli works well)

3.) 2/3 Cup Whipping Cream

4.) Your Choice of Flavored Baking oil (peppermint works well, and raspberry is delocious!)


  • 1" deep candy molds.
  • Double-Boiler (or a deep pot with 1 cup water at the bottom and place a heat-safe bowl in the center of the pot to create your won doble-boiler)
Cooking Instructions:
1. In a double broiler, or in the microwave pour 1/2 cup of the Wilton Candy melts and melt slowly. Stir often, but do not stir briskly.
2. Once the melts are melted, use a dinner spoon to scoop out the chocolate and using the back of the spoon run it across the mold until the mold is covered completely, but the space in the middle is not filled with chocolate. Tap the side of the mold to remove any air bubbles.
3. Place the chocolate covered mold into the freezer for 3-5 minutes to harden.
4. Meanwhile pour the 1lb bag of chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl. Combine with the 2/3 cups whipping cream. Microwave for 2 minutes. Remove the Ganache and stir until Ganach is smooth. If Ganache is not smooth yet, microwave for 1 minute intervals, removing the bowl and stirring. Do this until the ganache mixture is smooth. Once it is smooth you may add your choice of fillings/flavor (See below for filling/flavor options).
Combining Ganache & Shell:
5. Remove the candy molds from the freezer. Using the dinner spoon, fill each candy mold with 1/2oz of the ganache mixture. Leave 1/2 an inch of space between the ganche filling and the edge of the candy mold.
6. Place the molds with the ganache filling back in the freezer for 15-20 minutes until the filling is set (slightly hardened).
7. Remove the mold from the freezer, using the remaining chocolate from the double burner, Make sure it's still melted, and using the dinner spoon use the chocolate that gathers on the back of the spoon to fill in the bottom of the truffle.
8. Place the molds back in the freezer to set the bottoms for 3-5 minutes.
9. Remove the molds from the freezer. Let stand for 1 minute. On asoft surface, gently turn the molds upside down and release the candies from the molds.
10. Using a decorators brush, or a cutip, dampen the top of the truffe with water and sprinkle brown sugar, candy toppings, or sprinkles.
11. Impress friends and family with your creation!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Vegetarian Potato Soup

Here's a soup for those cold and damp winter months that is hearty and sure to warm your soul. A great treat to enjoy with loved ones and friends.

4 Cloves of Garlic crushed
16 oz White Mushrooms, sliced
1 cup White Wine
2 tbs of safflower oil
2 lbs Yukon Potatoes
2 Purple Potatoes
3 Red Potatoes
8 Cups of Water
2 tbs Condensed Vegetable Broth (Vegetable Bullion works well)
1 tbs Soy Sauce
1/2 tbs Rice Vinegar
1/2 tsp Pure Maple Syrup
1 tbs Dried Thyne (if using fresh, only use 1/4 tbs)
1/2 tbs Dried Basil (if using fresh, use 1 tbs)
1/2 tbs Dried Cayenne Pepper (Optional, or to taste)
1/2 Tbs Onion Powder
2 Stalks Celery
To Garnish"
Sour Cream
Grated Havarti or Jack Cheese
Chopped Green Onions or Chives

1. In a large, deep pot add the safflower oil, all the garlic, sliced mushrooms, and wine and simmer for 15 minutes until the mushrooms have reduced in size and released their water.
2. Meanwhile, slice the potatoes into 1/2 inch thick slices and combine the condensed vegetable bullion and the water to create a broth and set aside.
3. Add the sliced potatoes to the pot with the broth increase the heat and allow the soup to boil gently for 5 minutes.
4. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium. Add the Thyme, Basil, Cayenne, Onion Powder, Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, and Maple Syrup. Stir well and then cover the pot. Let cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
5. After the potatoes have become soft and tender add the sliced celery to the pot and let cook for another 5 minutes.
6. Using a food processor blend the soup to the consistancy you desire. I tend to like my soups with a little more "chunk" to them, however you may blend the soup until smooth.
7. Serve with the grated cheese, sour cream, and chopped green onions as garnish.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Vegetarian Pho I Love You So!

Vegetarian Pho... this recipe has taken months to perfect. I started dreaming about it long before I ever attempted to put it all together in a cooking pot. Who knew a Vietnamese Meat soup could moonlight as a vegetarian?

The list of ingredients: Ok, so I have tried to alter the ingredients so you don't have to march off to your nearest China Town (as much fun as that is) to make this soup. Pho is all about simplicity and the explosion of aromatic flavors. My hope is with a little rummaging through your own baking spices and with the help of your local grocer you too will be able to concoct this amazing-soul-warming soup.

1 Cinnamon Stick
4 Whole Star Annis
6 Whole Cloves
1 TSP Paprika
1 TSP Cayenne Pepper
8 Cloves Garlic
1 Shallot
1 TBS Fresh Chopped Ginger
1 Cup White Wine (I like to use Pinot Noir)
1/4 Cup Peanut or Safflower Oil
1/2 Yellow or White Onion
1 Cup Chopped Fresh Shitaki Mushrooms
3 TBS Soy Sauce
3 TBS Rice Vinegar
5 Cups Water
1 Carrot Peeled and chopped
1 Small Bok Choy Chopped
2 Cups Soba, Udon, or Rice Noodles
To Garnish:
1 Cup Fresh Cilantro
1 Cup Fresh Basil
2 Jalapenos Sliced
1 Lime Cut into Wedges

Optional: Add Morning Star Fake Beef or Chik'n strips for an extra protein flavor boost! Or add tofu when you add the water, soy sauce, and rice vinegar to the broth.

1.Cut a 6X6" square of cheese clothe. Place the Cinnamon Stick, Star Annis, and Whole Cloves into the center of the square. Gather the ends of the square and tie off the top with cooking twine. Set aside.
2. In a large pot pour the oil into the bottom. Add the chopped garlic, shallots, and onion. Cook until onion is translucent and garlic is slightly browned
3. Add the spice sachet from step 1 and add the paprika, cayenne, ginger, and white wine. Let simmer for one minute.
4. Cut the mushrooms and add to the pot. Cook until they have released their water and have reduced in size.
5. Add the 5 cups of water, soy sauce, rice vinegar. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
6. In a separate pot bring 4-5 cups of water to boil. Once the water is boiling add the noodles and reduce heat. Let the noodles stand in the hot water until soft. Drain the noodles and rinse in cool water. Set aside.
7. Add the chopped carrot and bok choy to the broth. Let cook for 5 minutes.
8. Combine the noodles with the broth.
9. Serve in a large bowl with the garnish on top or on the side.