Chocolate Espresso Mousse Torte

chocEspressoTorte

Recipe by husband-and-wife chefs Franck Tessier and Rachel Portnoy

Enjoy this ultimate Chocolate Espresso Mousse Torte as the perfect make-ahead holiday dessert. It’s even better with a spoonful of Salty Caramel Sauce: All of the flavors explode in your mouth! The cake itself has lightness to it; it literally disappears on your tongue. It’s remarkable that something so richly flavored can have such a lovely, light texture.

For an extra touch, and a little crunch, you can make the garnish to go with it. When I originally looked around for something in my baking repertoire that was crunchy and gluten-free I came up empty-handed. The crunch in the photo, and what we serve at the restaurant, is a simple and delicious mix of our wonderful 65% bittersweet chocolate, melted, and Perky’s gluten-free crunchy flax cereal that we buy at the supermarket. Spread thin on a piece of parchment paper, let set in the fridge and voila! Crunch!

Serves 6–8

Preheat oven to 325°F.

10 ounces dark chocolate, chopped finely
Pinch salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large espresso or 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/3 cup heavy cream
5 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
4 ounces soft unsalted butter

Line a 9-inch cake pan with a parchment circle.… Read the rest

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Crab Gratin

 crabGratin

Recipe by husband-and-wife chefs Franck Tessier and Rachel Portnoy

Serves 4

1 pound Atlantic lump crab, Jonah crab or blue crab meat, picked through for bits of shell.
   (Raw blue crab available Guido’s, Price Chopper, seafood department.)
½ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons lemon juice or juice of one lemon
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup very finely chopped parsley
3 scallions, finely sliced
½ red pepper, finely diced
1½ teaspoons lumpfish caviar
  (Caviars available Guido’s fish department early December through first week of January.)
  It will taste just as good without if not available.
Salt, pepper to taste
2 leeks, dark green removed (save for making stock), finely sliced
Or baby spinach
Vegetable oil
Baguette, sliced diagonally, toasted

Fold first eight ingredients together and taste for seasoning.

Sweat leeks in vegetable oil over low heat until melted; deglaze with splash of white wine, salt and pepper.

Alternatively, sweat some baby spinach and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Heat broiler. Line gratin dish base with the leeks, top with the crab mixture and broil until browned and bubbling.

Toast baguette and serve with dish.

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Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350°F.

1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Toss until potatoes are coated.

Place in roasting pan large enough to hold in one layer. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

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Parsnip Purée

1 pound parsnips, peeled and medium sliced
   (Chef sources from Mighty Food Farm, Pownal, VT.)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled
3 cups whole milk

Place vegetables in a saucepan. Cover with milk. Bring to a boil. Continue cooking until parsnips are fork tender.

Cool mixture for 10–15 minutes. Place vegetables into a blender with 1 cup of milk; purée on high until very smooth. Add additional milk if needed.

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Lamb Meatloaf

lambMeatloaf

By Executive Chef Rob Beuth of Hops and Vines

Yields 6 servings

Preheat oven to 325°F.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds ground lamb (Chef sources lamb from Sky Dance Farms, Lanesborough, MA.)
2 eggs
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fresh oregano chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
5 strips smoked bacon

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl combine remaining ingredients except bacon. Mix until well combined.

Cover with plastic wrap. Allow mixture to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature.

Using your hands, form lamb mixture into a loaf. Wrap the loaf in the smoked bacon, starting each new strip where the previous one ended. The bacon helps keep the loaf moist while baking.

Place on foil-lined sided baking sheet to catch runoff.

Bake uncovered for 25–30 minutes; internal temperature should be 155°–160°F. for medium. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Optional: Lamb jus could be made from pan drippings.… Read the rest

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Southern Shrimp & Grits

southernShrimpGrits

By Executive Chef Matt Schilling of The Hub

Serves 4

STONEGROUND GRITS

4 cups water
2 cups of grits, yellow cornmeal or polenta
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons salt, to taste

Bring water to a boil. Reduce to medium low, whisk in grits and cook, whisking frequently, for 5–8 minutes until grits are tender and creamy. Whisk in additional water if too thick; leave a bit loose so when cheese is added grits will not become too thick. Whisk in cheese, butter and salt to taste; cover and set aside.

SHRIMP

4 slices bacon
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh garlic minced
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup finely diced shallots
1½ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Cajun seasoning (available in the dry spice rack at all stores)
½ cup white wine (Chef suggests dry, like Chardonnay.)
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Scallions, sliced

Cook bacon until crisp; chop, set aside.

Melt butter in sauté pan, over medium-high heat, adding the garlic, peppers and shallots. Dust shrimp with Cajun seasoning and add to hot pan. Sauté, turning shrimp once, until bright pink, about 2 minutes. Add reserved bacon, white wine and parsley. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until all combined.… Read the rest

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Southwestern Bean Burger

swBeanBurger

Makes 10–12

Preheat oven to 325°F.

¾ cup dry mushrooms
6 cups cooked black beans
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2¾ cups oats
6 teaspoons chili powder
3 teaspoons cumin
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 bunch cilantro

Soak the mushrooms in hot water, drain, save liquid.

Purée all ingredients in food processor; add mushroom liquid as needed.

Form into burgers.

Bake for 10 minutes.

TOMATO SALSA

2 cups peeled, fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ red onion, minced finely
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and Tabasco sauce to taste

Mix all the ingredients together.

TOMATILLO SALSA VERDE

1 pound tomatillos
1 Spanish onion, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 bunch cilantro
Splash rice wine vinegar
Salt and Tabasco to taste

Peel off outer papery skin from the tomatillos. In a small saucepan, combine the tomatillos and onion, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until soft.

Purée with the garlic and cilantro in a food processor or blender. Add vinegar, salt and Tabasco to taste.

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Pear and Goat Cheese Pumpkin Crepes

pearPumpkinCrepe

CREPES

Yields 12

1 cup flour
1¾ cup milk
2 egg, beaten
¼ cup pumpkin purée, canned is acceptable
6 tablespoons melted butter

1/8 teaspoon or pinch each cinnamon, grated fresh ginger and nutmeg
½ cup sugar
Butter for coating the pan

Combine all ingredients in bowl of a food processor equipped with dough blade; pulse until blended. Remove to covered bowl.

Allow to rest in refrigerator 30 minutes before using; can be kept for a day under refrigeration.

Heat a medium nonstick pan. Brush lightly with butter. Pour 1 to 1½ ounces of batter, depending on the pan size, in the center of the pan. Swirl to a thin coat, spreading evenly. Cook for 30 seconds, flip and cook for 10 seconds. Remove to rack or cutting board to cool. Continue until all batter is gone.

After cooling, stack in sealable bag. Will keep for several days in refrigerator.

FILLINGS

3 medium pears
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Stem, core and peel pears. Hold them in a bowl with the water and lemon juice to prevent browning.

Cut pears into 1- to 1½-inch strips. Add to saucepan with sugar and vanilla extract. Cover pan, cook over low heat for 20 minutes, until pears are soft and caramelized.… Read the rest

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Roasted Acorn Squash

roastAcornSquash

Serves 6

3 whole acorn squash
1 medium pear
3 teaspoons maple syrup
1½ teaspoons butter

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Wash outside skin of whole squash.

Remove stem if still connected. Cut each squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds.

Place 2 cups water in the bottom of a roasting pan with 6 squash halves skin side down.

Stem, core and peel pear. Chop pear into ½-inch pieces, place equal amounts of pear in cavity of each squash along with ½ teaspoon maple syrup and ¼ teaspoon butter.

Cover roasting pan with foil and bake approximately 1 hour, until squash is fork tender.

Before serving, broil briefly, to reheat and lightly brown.

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Asian Cauliflower with Brussels Sprouts and Caramelized Pecans

asianCauli

CARAMELIZED PECANS

2 cups whole shelled pecans or any nuts to your liking
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a small sauté pan, low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until sugar melts and nuts are coated.

Remove from stove and pour mixture on to a dry baking sheet. Smooth out to 1 layer; allow to cool.

When dry and cool, break into pieces; reserve for later. Any not used can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for weeks.

ASIAN CAULIFLOWER

Yields 6 (8-ounce) servings

1 head cauliflower, removed from center stem, separated into bite-sized flowerets
8 Brussels sprouts, halved if small, quartered if large
1 Paula red apple or any firm-flesh apple, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine all ingredients in a roasting pan large enough to hold in 1 layer. Foil cover pan, bake in preheated oven 25 minutes. Remove cover, turn veggies with a wooden spoon and continue roasting, uncovered, 25 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and veggies are golden brown.

Remove to serving dish and garnish with caramelized nuts.… Read the rest

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