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Nutmeg Angel Food Cake with Caramel Drizzle March 11, 2007

Posted by Sarah in Uncategorized.
3 comments

Way back in November or December, my school had a staff potluck. I don’t remember what it was for, but I made a Nutmeg Angel Food Cake. I made it the night before and took it to school. Once I got to school, I fell ill and had to go home. However, I left my cake there for everyone to enjoy. I didn’t get to taste it, but everyone liked it, especially the caramel sauce. A co-worker of mine wanted the recipe and I promised it to her. Unfortunately, I kept forgetting to post it! I apologize for taking so long to put this up, Connie!

I will be making this cake again soon (I think for my dad’s birthday) so I’ll get some pictures then and post them. In the meantime, enjoy!

Nutmeg Angel Food Cake with Caramel Drizzle

From Food and Wine Magazine

Tips: Freshly grated nutmeg is very fluffy. When measuring it out, be sure to pack it slightly.

To bring egg whites to cool room temperature, separate eggs and place whites in a large bowl. Place bowl in sink or pan filled with 2-3 inches of hot tap water. Let stand 1-3 minutes until whites are at cool room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Cake

1 cup flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups egg whites (10-12 large) at cool room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup superfine sugar

Caramel

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup whipping cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place flour, powdered sugar, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Sift 3 times to evenly distribute ingredients.

Place egg whites in a large bowl. Beat at medium-low speed until loose and foamy. Add cream of tartar and vanilla; beat at medium-high speed until soft peaks just begin to form. With the mixer running, slowly add superfine sugar in a steady stream, beating just until egg whites are glossy and hold peaks that slightly bend (Do not over-beat; peaks should not be dry and stiff).

Sift one third of the flour mixture over egg white mixture; gently fold to incorporate. Repeat with remaining flour mixture, making sure no lumps of flour remain but being careful egg whites do not deflate. Gently spoon mixture into ungreased 10-inch tube pan with removable bottom. Run long narrow spatula through cake to eliminate any large air bubbles; gently smooth top.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until cake is golden brown, springs back when gently touched and skewer inserted in center comes out clean. (Top may crack as it bakes.) Invert cake onto neck of a bottle or funnel, or let stand upside-down on feet attached to tube pan. Cool completely in pan 2 – 3 hours.

Meanwhile, to make sauce, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Add cream; bring to a boil. Boil 5-6 minutes until slightly thickened; cool to glaze consistency.

To remove cake from pan, slide thin narrow knife or spatula around edges of pan and tube. Lift tube out of pan; invert cake onto serving platter. Spoon caramel onto cake, allowing some to drizzle down the side; let stand until caramel is firm. Slice with serrated knife.

Serves 12: 265 calories, 10 g total fat, 5 g protein, 39.5 g carbohydrate 32.5 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium, .5 g fiber per serving.

Skillet Sausage and Pasta March 9, 2007

Posted by Sarah in Dinner.
3 comments

Skillet Sausage Pasta 1

Well, I must say I did not intend to be away from blogging this long. However, life happens and things get busy. We added a sweet European Golden Retriever to our family. His name is Staccato and he is 1 year old. I also just got through parent-teacher conferences and I had several IEP meetings as well. Needless to say, there were several late nights and a period of recovery. But, things are settling down here on the home-front. The dog is settling into his new home and we are quite the little family now.

Because things have been so busy, and money has been tight, I have been making a lot of easy “30-minute meals”. Many of these are “skillet” suppers from the New Best 30-Minute Recipe that I got for Christmas. Most of the recipes I have made have been pretty good and are ready in about 30 minutes, including prep time. Some that I have made and liked are Skillet Tamale Pie (ground beef, black beans, tomatoes, cheese and spices with a sweet cornbread topping), Skillet Shepherd’s Pie, Skillet Chili Mac and the recipe I am featuring here, Skillet Penne with Sausage and Spinach.

We ended up not having any penne in the house so I used a mix of rotini, broken linguine, and wagon wheel pasta (weird, I know… but it was what we had…) and it still tasted great. One of their “tips” is that the spinach seems like a lot when you add it, but that it cooks down quite a bit.

Skillet Sausage Pasta 2

Skillet Penne with Sausage and Spinach

(Serves 4)

1 T. olive oil

1 pound Italian-style turkey sausage, sweet or hot (I used a mix of both), casings removed

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 1/4 cups chicken broth

2 1/4 cups water

1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped fine

salt and black pepper

1 6 oz. bag baby spinach

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (toast in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring until golden)

1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add sausage, breaking it up and cook until lightly browned (3 min.) Stir in garlic and cook (30 sec.)

Stir in broth, water, penne, sun-dried tomatoes. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring often, until pasta is tender and liquid has thickened, 15-18 minutes.

Stir in spinach, handful at a time, and cook until wilted. Off heat, stir in Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Skillet Sausage Pasta 3

Sugar High Friday #27: Dark Chocolate Creme Brulee January 22, 2007

Posted by Sarah in Desserts.
5 comments

dark choc creme brulee 1

This weekend my husband and our guy friends left town to gather at another friend’s house for their quarterly “Guy’s Weekend.” That meant that the females of our group gathered at my house for a “Girl’s Weekend.” And it just isn’t a great “Girl’s Weekend” without a rich chocolate dessert. So, I decided to make a dark chocolate creme brulee.

On Thursday, I went to Hy-vee and shopped for my chocolate. Since it didn’t call for pounds of chocolate (like when I made truffles) I wanted to buy something a little more expensive. I love Green and Black’s (and I probably should have bought that…) but for some reason I saw the Lindt Excellence 70% cocoa Dark Chocolate Bars on sale and went for those instead. I had never had it before and decided to try something new. It actually was pretty good, I don’t really have complaints about the chocolate … just read on…

the dark chocolate

There is a restaurant in town that my girlfriends and I love (the guys hate it calling it pretentious and overpriced with minuscule portions) called The Cafe. They offer a lot of organic and locally grown food and have amazing desserts. Awhile back we had a dark chocolate creme brulee that was fantastic. I was trying to imitate it with this recipe, but … I’m sad to say … I failed horribly.

I looked on-line and found several recipes. I thought the one shown above sounded pretty good, so I decided to go with it. It had a full 12 oz. of chocolate to 10 yolks and 3 cups of cream (plus other ingredients). So, on Friday night I set to work. I heated the cream, added flavorings, tempered the eggs before adding them to the cream; and all seemed well when they were put in the fridge to chill.

This was my first attempt ever at a creme brulee and I didn’t realize how finicky they are. This is not to say that I am not a fault here; I really should have read a little more about creme brulee before trying to make it. Maybe I should have followed the recipe more exactly, too. But, I over-baked them and I think I should have used less chocolate (hard to imagine, I know). They turned out more like a thick ganache than a light, creamy dark chocolate custard with a crisp sugar top.

dark choc creme brulee 3

This isn’t to say that what I made wasn’t tasty. It just wasn’t creme brulee. And, it was extremely rich so you couldn’t have more than a few spoonfuls at a time. Thankfully, my creme brulee failure did not dampen our girlie weekend. We shopped, ate chips and candy, watched movies, talked and played the Friends Scene-It game.

Don’t worry, this is not the end of my dark chocolate creme brulee making. I will get it right and I’m sure it will be amazing when I do. Maybe that’s what we’ll have next Girl’s Weekend…

Product Review: Kashi All Natural Entrees January 22, 2007

Posted by Sarah in Product Review.
1 comment so far

In general, I am not a fan of frozen meals. The ones that I have tried are usually not enough food to make me feel full. Also, more often than not, the meat seems by-product-y (which is a huge deterrent for me) and it just doesn’t really taste like real food. The only ones I have had that taste okay are loaded with fat and sodium and still don’t really fill me up.

When I saw that Kashi was making frozen meals, I was a little skeptical (just because of my feelings about frozen entrees) but I decided to put my trust in Kashi. When have they failed me before?

The first one I bought was the Lemon Rosemary Chicken. What surprised me the most was how much it filled me up. I was able to eat the meal, which was under 400 calories with milk and salad and not feel hungry until a late supper. I could have done with a little more lemon but otherwise it was quite tasty. It tasted like real food; like something I could have cooked myself.

The next one I tried was the Lemongrass Coconut Chicken. This one was heavy on the lemongrass flavor and light on the coconut. Still, it was satisfying. I ate it and an orange and stayed full until supper once again.

I would recommend these meals. There are a lot of different flavors and they are quite filling. The price is about the same as any other “healthy” frozen meal, and it is actually pretty healthy. I wouldn’t expect Kashi to do anything different! Check out the website. It has photos and nutritional information so you can decide for yourself!

http://www.kashi.com/ourfood/7WholeGrainFoods/KashiEntrees/Default.aspx

Lemon-Raspberry Muffins January 14, 2007

Posted by Sarah in Baking.
2 comments

Very nearly everything I cook or bake is based on some sort of craving that I have had at one point or another. I also have been making and freezing muffins to eat every morning for a quick breakfast. After a rather unappetizing batch of muffins (strawberry-almond-oat … they were pretty dry) I craved something bursting with tangy lemony flavor. Something moist, bright, and pretty. I decided I wanted to make Lemon-Raspberry Muffins. I haven’t seen too many recipes for these, nor have I had them before, but I have seen the lemon-raspberry combination in desserts and it sounded good. I used a recipe that I clipped out of Food and Wine a while back and modified that. It turned out to be everything that I hoped it would be. Tart, moist, and tangy. Sweet, bright, and still delicious the day after baking!

lem4

Lemon-Raspberry Muffins

(Makes 12)

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Glaze

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

Lemon Sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

lem2

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan. Whisk together the dry muffin ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and lemon zest. Then whisk in the lemon juice. Toss the raspberries with the flour (I used frozen berries) then add the wet ingredients to the dry. Stir gently with a rubber spatula until just blended. Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean (a few crumbs are okay). While the muffins are baking, mix the 1/2 cup of sugar with the lemon peel in a small bowl. Set aside. Then, in a small saucepan stir together the 1/4 cup of sugar and the 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a simmer and simmer until it is slightly thickened. The syrup should measure about 1/4 of a cup.

When the muffins are out of the oven and have cooled 5 minutes, brush them with the lemon glaze, then gently dip/roll the tops in the lemon sugar. Let cool on a wire rack.  To freeze, let cool completely.  Then, wrap individually in plastic wrap and place muffins in a large freezer bag and freeze.  To defrost, microwave on the defrost cycle until soft and warmed.

lem1

Pork Stew: A Work In Progress January 12, 2007

Posted by Sarah in Dinner.
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pork stew 1

I have a recipe for a pork pot pie that for some reason provoked a desire for pork stew. I have never had pork stew or made pork stew or even had the pork pot pie that inspired this feeling… but I knew exactly how I wanted it to taste.

I wanted it to have a nice, rich, heavy pork flavor with big chunks of potatoes and sweet potatoes. I also wanted it to have a bit of sweet spiciness (not hot spicy, but cinnamon spicy… but not in such a way that you think, “Hey! This has cinnamon in it!”).

So, I started out by following the method used for my beef stew (browning meat, cooking for an hour, then adding the vegetables…) but my main problem was that I bought the wrong kind of meat.

I decided to buy the ingredients for pork stew on my way home from work and I forgot the cut of meat some other pork stew recipes had suggested. I remembered the words shoulder and tenderloin being used… but I knew I wanted something other than tenderloin. Although tenderloin is delicious, I was looking for a cheaper cut of meat. I ended up buying something that had way too much fat and was a major pain to cube. I should have just bought pork steaks, or just gone all out for tenderloin. But I really didn’t want to screw up an expensive piece of meat on an experimental recipe.

However, it turned out pretty well. I would definitely go for a different piece of meat and try to get a little more of that “extreme” pork flavor that I wanted (maybe use pork broth?) Even though this recipe was very satisfying, it is still a “recipe in progress” so some of it may change as I work to perfect it to my tastes.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. If you tweak it, let me know what you did and how it turned out!

Sarah’s Pork Stew

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

2 lbs. pork (tenderloin or maybe steaks?)

1/4 cup red wine

1 teaspoon each of dried thyme, sage, rosemary

1/2 teaspoon tarragon

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 bay leaves

2 medium onions

8-10 cloves garlic, minced

2 med.-large potatoes

2 medium sweet potatoes

4 cups chicken broth

pork stew 2

Directions

Cube the pork into 1 inch chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. Brown half of the meat until brown on all sides. Remove meat to a plate, add the rest of the butter and brown the rest of the meat. Remove the meat to the plate and add the onions, spices, garlic. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Add flour and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add wine and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the broth and stir. Add the meat and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check the seasonings and adjust to taste. Add the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes. Check seasonings and adjust again. Then serve with a salad and your favorite bread.

Apricot Sage and Orange Chocolate Cookies January 11, 2007

Posted by Sarah in Baking.
1 comment so far

I had been dreaming of making these yummy cookies for quite some time. They were going to go in my Christmas Cookie line up, but I ran out of time and energy. However, by New Year’s I was ready for more. I decided to make these to take to my friend’s New Year’s Party. These cookies were originally from a 2004 Better Homes and Gardens Cookie Magazine.

When I saw the recipe for Apricot Sage Sandwich cookies, I thought, “Interesting, but I don’t know too many people that would eat them.” Then, this year, I told a friend about them and she got really excited. She just happened to have a large stock of fresh sage that she had nothing to do with (in the dead of winter in a window box, no less…) and she urged me to make them. I had originally planned to alter them and make an orange cookie with a dark chocolate ganache filling. So, I did both! For the most part, they turned out really well. I liked both very much. It is important to roll the cookies pretty thin because you bake them until they are only very lightly browned and no one wants doughy shortbread…

Orange Dark Chocolate Cookies

Orange Dark-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 sugar

1/4 yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup butter

finely grated orange peel from 2 fresh oranges

3 tablespoons milk

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

Filling:

8 oz. heavy cream

8 oz. chopped dark chocolate

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl stir together flour, sugar, and cornmeal. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Stir in orange peel. Add milk and stir with a fork to combine. Form mixture into a ball and knead until smooth. Divide dough in half.

On a very lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time to a 1/8 inch thickness. Use a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter (or biscuit cutter) to cut out dough. You can set the scraps aside and re-roll them, just don’t flour your surface too much, the dough really doesn’t need that much at all (at least mine didn’t). Try to make sure you make an even number of cookies…

In a small bowl, whisk the egg white and the water. Brush the cookies with the egg white mixture and sprinkle with sugar. Place cookies 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated oven about 7 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.

Heat the cream to a boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 30 seconds then whisk until smooth. Spread filling on half of the cooled cookies and place another on top.

Orange Dark Chocolate Cookie 2

Apricot Rosemary-Sage Cookie2

Apricot Sage Cookies

As above except substitute 2 tablespoons snipped fresh sage (or lemon thyme, rosemary, or any combination of herbs. If using dried, use 2 teaspoons) I used a combination of fresh sage and dried rosemary.

For the filling use a good quality apricot preserves instead of the chocolate (although you could use chocolate filling with the herb cookies. I did that too and it was pretty good). You will need 2-3 tablespoons of apricot preserves.

If you have a lot of fresh sage, you can also decorate the cookies with some of the leaves. During the egg wash step, brush a cookies with the egg, put a sage leaf or two on the cookie, then brush with more egg. Then sprinkle with sugar.Apricot Sage-Rosemary Cookie 1

The recipe makes anywhere from 16-24 cookies, depending on how thin you roll them. They can be stored separated by waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Freeze unfilled cookies for up to three months. Thaw cookies, then assemble (obviously…)

 

 

 

Cinnamon Raisin Bread: A Strange Experience December 31, 2006

Posted by Sarah in Baking.
4 comments

On Wednesday this week, I got the urge to bake bread. Last Christmas, my dad gave me Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. When I got it, I wasn’t really that interested in it. However, in the past year I have rediscovered it and finally made my first recipe out of it. The picture of Martha’s Cinnamon Raisin Bread was almost too much to take. I had to make it.

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However, it was one of the weirder bread recipes I have made. Mostly just because of the method of making the dough. Every other recipe I have made has you gradually add the flour in, but this recipe did not. Basically, it had you combine the warm milk and yeast and then put all the other ingredients in the mixer and mix it up. The dough turned out really heavy. It was big, heavy dough. I had a hard time getting it to rise, but eventually it did.

Martha’s finished product had a few air gaps in her cinnamon swirl and so did mine. However, some of the gaps were pretty big. In one loaf, it was cavernous! However, the bread was delicious. The filling caramelized and was gooey. Make sure you actually put the baking sheet under the loaves or you will end up with caramelized filling burning on the bottom of the oven. This recipe makes two soft and tasty loaves.

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

Dough Ingredients

1 envelope active dry yeast

2 cups warm milk (110 degrees)

2 lbs. 2 0z. all-purpose flour (about 6 1/2 cups) plus more for dusting

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces.

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/4 cups golden raisins

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Filling Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk. Whisk to combine. Add the flour, butter, sugar, 2 eggs, and salt. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix on low until all ingredients are combined, about 3 minutes. Raise the speed to medium-low, and continue to mix until dough is uniformly smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes more. Add the raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until combined. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Return the dough to the floured surface, and pat into a round. Fold the bottom third of the dough up, the top third down and the right and left sides in, tapping the dough after each fold to release excess flour and pressing down to seal. Return the dough to the bowl, seam side down and let rise again until doubled, about 40 minutes. (I am not sure why you are supposed to do all that folding but I did it anyway. If anyone knows why, I’d love to know…)

Grease to 9×5 (I used 8×4 and was okay) loaf pans. Make the filling by combining sugar and cinnamon with 2 tablespoons of water. Return the dough to the floured surface and divide in half. Roll the dough into a 12 by 10 inch rectangle. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle half the filling on top. Spread the filling evenly.

With the short end of the rectangle facing you, fold in both long sides of the dough about 1 inch. Then, roll the dough toward you, gently pressing as you go to form a tight log. Gently roll the log back and forth (or pinch it) to seal the seam. Place in the prepared pan seam side down. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Cover the pans loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until dough rises just above the rim of the pan, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Brush the tops of the loaves with the beaten egg and put the sheets on a parchment or foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, about 45 minutes. (If the tops brown too quickly, cover them with aluminum foil.) Turn the bread onto a wire rack and let cool before slicing. The bread can be kept, wrapped in plastic, at room temperature up to 4 days.

Truffles: Take Two December 26, 2006

Posted by Sarah in Candy/Snacks.
3 comments

After my first truffle making episode, I couldn’t fight back the urge to create more. After my first attempt at a basic truffle, I wanted to take a few more steps out there and do something more. When I was looking at the Sugar High Friday round up there were a lot of great entries to provoke my sweet tooth. However, one caught my eye and inspired me… and that was Nemisbéka’s Triple Chocolate Truffles. I really wanted to make those … but I also wanted to make other kinds. It was so perfect! So, I made the Triple Chocolate Truffles, but made extra ganache of each chocolate to make Milk Chocolate-Cashew Truffles, White Chocolate-Nutmeg Truffles, and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffles, too!

I have to say that they turned out quite well. I think my biggest problem was that the white chocolate ones were not as firm as I would have liked, making them very difficult to coat in chocolate.

Here they are in all their glory!

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This is the Triple Chocolate one that I rolled in crushed chocolate wafers.

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That was a yummy first bite!

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Here is the Milk Chocolate Cashew…

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And that fussy White Chocolate-Nutmeg…

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It is always important to make sure there are no holes in your dipping or that ganache will try to find a way to escape… and it isn’t very pretty!

dipcarefully.JPG

And, last but not least, the Raspberry-Dark Chocolate Truffle! For some reason, my camera didn’t want to capture the true beauty of this truffle, but it was very fine looking. This was the one that most people said they liked the best. In second place was the Triple Chocolate ones. Third, was the White Chocolate-Nutmeg and fourth was the Milk Chocolate Cashew. I loved them all!

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It took me part of Saturday the 16th and most of Sunday the 17th to make these beauties, but they turned out great! People loved them and I truly have plenty to give out as gifts. I made well over 100!

darkrasp2.JPG

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffles

2 lbs quality dark chocolate, finely chopped

1 2/3 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam, melted until pourable

1 tablespoon raspberry liquor

1 lb. dark chocolate chopped, (reserve 1/4 of a pound un-chopped for tempering)

Directions: Place finely chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Heat cream until it boils. When it starts to boil, pour it over the chocolate. Stir until all the cream is incorporated. Add melted jam and liquor. Stir. Chill overnight or until firm. Scoop the truffles and roll to make a nice ball. Temper the chocolate and dip your truffles (see tips on how to do this from the last time I made truffles or by reading about it in The Joy of Cooking or another trusted source). This time, I dipped the truffles twice and it made a huge difference. I didn’t think it would, (or maybe I was too lazy…) but it really made them a lot nicer. There was an excellent snap to the chocolate and just created a better finished product.

White Chocolate Nutmeg Truffles

2 lbs. quality white chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

freshly grated nutmeg (I didn’t measure but you could start with 1 teaspoon and go from there)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-2 lbs. white chocolate, reserving 1/4 lb. for tempering

Directions: Place finely chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Heat cream until it boils. When it starts to boil, pour it over the chocolate. Stir until all the cream is incorporated. Add the vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir. Chill overnight or until firm. Scoop the truffles and roll to make a nice ball. Refrigerate while you get the chocolate ready, if the ganache is too soft. Temper the chocolate and dip your truffles (see tips on how to do this from the last time I made truffles or by reading about it in The Joy of Cooking or another trusted source).

Milk Chocolate-Cashew Truffles

2 lbs. finely chopped milk chocolate

1 2/3 cups heavy cream

1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups finely chopped cashews

1-2 teaspoons salt

Place finely chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Heat cream until it boils. When it starts to boil, pour it over the chocolate. Stir until all the cream is incorporated. Stir in vanilla. Stir. Chill overnight or until firm. Scoop the truffles and roll to make a nice ball. Mix together the salt and cashews. Roll the truffles in the cashews to coat.

Triple Chocolate Truffles

(see Nemisbéka’s site for the recipe)

Restaurant Review: The Spice December 15, 2006

Posted by Sarah in Ames Restaurants.
1 comment so far

Well, unfortunately it has been awhile since I have blogged. This is mostly due to the fact that first I got injured and then I got sick. I am active in Taekwondo and I was testing for my black belt two Saturdays ago. I had an excellent testing until the end. I was sparring (fighting) and basically got kicked in the leg pretty hard. This injury rendered me unable to walk for two days and left me hobbling for a week. This made cooking hard and I really didn’t feel like blogging since I couldn’t cook. Then, just as my leg was starting to get better I got sick with whatever is going around and that really didn’t put me in the food blogging mood.

Even through all this, some exciting things have been happening. The women in my family all got together and baked cookies. It was great fun, but I was still recovering so I didn’t really take pictures or get recipes.

But, there will be more baking to come. I have a lot of plans to make cookies to give as gifts and for a cookie exchange. I am planning on making truffles again (maybe raspberry chocolate truffles…) to give out in the exchange. I know they aren’t cookies, but a lot of people give caramels and fudge so I think truffles will work well too.

I have kept this restaurant review in a file for awhile. I intended to do this a couple weekends ago, but never got around to it with the whole testing preparation, injury and illness thing. So … here it is… better late than never…

The Spice

One of Ames’ other newest restaurants is a place called The Spice. It is located at 402 Main Street. They serve Thai cuisine in a somewhat upscale environment. This is definitely a place you could take a date. Their presentation is excellent and their food is very flavorful.

What they offer

The Spice offers Thai cuisine for dine in. Their menu includes all Thai entrees as well as a decent selection of appetizers, drinks and desserts. They are open Mon-Thu 11am-2:30pm, 5pm-9pm; Fri-Sat 11am-2:30pm, 5pm-10pm. They also accept reservations!

Ambiance

The Spice is tastefully decorated with good lighting. There are booths and tables you can sit at and the booths are very nice and intimate. The music in the background is not distracting and fits the ambiance well.

Service

The service I have received there has always been excellent. Our waiters are always very attentive and keep us up to date on the status of our food. There can be quite a wait on busy days at the Spice, but they do take reservations, which is excellent.

Food

The first thing I always order when I go to the Spice is a mango smoothie. They have the best mango smoothies ever. They cut up real mangoes and blend it up and serve it nicely garnished in a pretty glass.

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The other thing I like to order is the Chicken Pad Thai. I have not had Pad Thai very much in my life, but I really like this dish. They sprinkle ground peanuts over it and it has a delicious mildly sweet flavor. The chicken is cooked correctly goes well with the rest of the dish.

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This past visit to The Spice, we actually ordered dessert. This was a fantastically plated hazelnut mousse tart. Three of my girlfriends and I shared it together and it was divine. It was rich, with a deep dark chocolate flavor. They also served it with some raspberry sauce and a small fork that was perfectly sized for eating such a rich dessert. It was well worth the price paid.

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Paying, Price, and Portion Size

Unfortunately, it has been a couple weeks since I have been to The Spice and my copy of the receipt has disappeared. So, next time I go, I will update this section with pricing. In general, I would say for the amount of effort they put into presentation, and their use of quality ingredients, that the price is fair. In terms of price, this is not on the same level as most Asian restaurants in the area. It is slightly higher but well worth it. In terms of portion size, I think they are excellent. They give you just enough food to make you comfortably full. Light eaters will probably be able to take some home and heavy eaters will still be able to eat an appetizer and a dessert with their meal.

I really think The Spice is worth trying, even if you are wary of Asian cuisine. They have a variety of dishes (curries, noodles, etc.) and present them well. The environment is relaxing and well-lit and the prices are fair. The food is tasty and offers some new flavors to the Ames dining scene.