Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ganache Truffles

Source: Good Things Catered

These are wonderfully rich, delicious treats. Until I saw this on Katie's blog, I had no idea I could make these at home! They take a fair amount of work and time, but they are absolutely incredible when done!

As Katie said, use a quality chocolate when making these. I used Ghiradelli, and I just don't know if I can go back to Hershey now!

The hardest part of making these was dipping them. You want enough chocolate to fully submerge the truffles, because they start to melt if you're turning them over with a knife or such. I would use more chocolate for melting, or remove the melted chocolate to a smaller glass bowl or the like before dipping.

Chocolate Ganache Truffles

1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (this ended up being 2 and 1/2 3-ounce Ghiradelli bars)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of chocolate of choice, for dipping

1. Bring cream to a boil over medium heat in a saucepan and remove from heat. Add chocolate and vanilla and stir until completely smooth. Let rest for 15 minutes.

2. Prepare a jelly roll pan with plastic wrap. Pour the melted chocolate on the pan and spread out slightly (mixture does not have to spread out over entire pan). Place in fridge and cool overnight or up to 2 days.

3. Remove ganache from fridge. Mixture will be hardened but still pliable. Using a spoon, remove small pieces and roll into balls. (This is VERY messy as the ganache will start to melt by the heat of your hands. I would recommend surgical gloves.) Place balls on a baking sheet and put back in the fridge to cool. (I left mine in for a few days before melting the chocolate.)

4. Using a double boiler, add water to the bottom pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low so water is simmering. Add top saucepan to broiler, ensuring simmering water is NOT touching the top saucepan. (I burned my first batch of chocolate by boiling the water directly on the top pan. Whoops.) Using a fork, submerge truffle in chocolate. Remove, tapping fork on edge of saucepan and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Decorate if desired, and place in fridge to set chocolate.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Grown Up Macaroni & Cheese

Source: Ina Garten

There's one dish I refuse to do low-fat and that's macaroni and cheese. Oh, how I love mac and cheese! It brings together two of my very favorite things: cheese and carbs. Yum yum yum!

This version was very good, but eating made me realize I am a mac and cheese purist. That's all I want. Macaroni and cheese. I like a nice crunchy topping, but didn't care too much for the basil or bacon. I was a little nervous about the blue cheese, since I don't typically partake (it has a metallic taste to me). However, I think it added a nice bite to the sauce. The next time I make it, I'll omit the bacon and basil, and replace one ounce of Gruyere with more extra-sharp Cheddar. Yum!

Grown Up Mac and Cheese


4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed (or 1/2 cup Panko)
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven - there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

3. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

4. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

5. Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Linguine with Shrimp and Vegetables

Source: The Food You Crave

I bought this book a few weeks back as part of my "healthy eating" initiative. I just started randomly flipping through it and this caught my eye. It's kind of a spring/summer dish, but really, I looked through the ingredients and picked it when I saw I only had one item to buy from the grocery store. I don't go by "the lazy housewife" for nothing.

Simply, this was amazing. I ate this until my stomach hurt. I licked the serving spoon before I put it in the dishwasher. This was SO GOOD, and asparagus and tomatoes aren't even in season! I think the key is all the fresh ingredients. Fresh parsley and real grated Parmesan are a MUST.

As always, I make way too many noodles. In this case, I mixed in what I thought was a reasonable amount, and put the rest in a Ziplock bag to serve with tomorrow's spaghetti. All the pasta dishes I make now are with whole-grain noodles. I really can't tell the difference, and since I tend to gorge myself on carbs, I feel a little better knowing they're good for me.

Now if I could only make myself like whole-grain bread. Blech.

Linguine with Shrimp and Vegetables


3/4 box (12 ounces) linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch (about 1 pound) asparagus, woody bottoms removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Cook the linguine according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink and the asparagus is tender but firm, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the shrimp mixture from the pan and set aside.

3. Combine the lemon juice, wine, and reserved pasta water in the skillet over medium-high heat. Let simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half. Return the shrimp and asparagus to the pan and stir in the parsley. Add the drained linguine, tossing to combine. Add the tomatoes and toss. Sprinkle with cheese, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Top 10 Favorites of 2009

Better late than never! What I love about this blog is it's really forced me expand my repertoire in the kitchen. Pre-blog, I had some good recipes, but having to post made me try new things and learn new techniques. I know so much more now and am looking forward to continuing to learn!

Beef Bourguignon

Although I normally don't think of stew as "decadent," this was so tender and flavorful. A definite treat!

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

This was our part of our Thanksgiving dinner, but it was so tender I'll make this throughout the year!

Pan-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

This was zesty, delicious, and perfect for two!

This was a total surprise to me. I knew it would be good, but I had no idea HOW good when making it! This is a must-try.

Baked Shrimp Scampi

I've made a few different versions of shrimp scampi. This is my favorite!

Chicken Scallopine

Be still my heart. This combination of heavy cream, white wine, mushrooms and capers is TO DIE FOR.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Please try this. You won't regret it.

Seven Layer Taco Dip

This is my go-to dish to bring to parties. People LOVE it! It's pretty easy to put together and always a crowd-pleaser.

Roasted Garlic Bread

This garlic bread version takes a little longer due to roasting the garlic cloves, but it's SO worth it.

Sauteed Mushrooms

On special occasions I like to cook filets, and these mushrooms are the perfect side dish.

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