Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cheese puffs for a crowd!

Gougeres are the french term for cheese puff. They are little bits of cheese heaven. It is made with a pate a choux dough. This is the same dough that is used to make eclairs and cream puffs. Pate a choux maybe a little tricky if you have never tried it before. Don't worry, I will guide you through it.

In this recipe it is very important to weigh out the flour and the cheese. Also, make sure to use extra large eggs. They provide the structure of this dough and it may not come out properly if you use large in place of them. If you follow this recipe exactly as written, it will come out perfectly every time. I guarantee it.  These are great served with champagne or other sparkling bubbly.


    Serves: 40-50 puffs      Cook Time:  30 min   Prep Time: 20 min

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 oz bread flour
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 5 oz gruyere,shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped


Heat milk, water,nutmeg, salt and butter in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Then add the flour. Stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Place back over heat and mix until dough comes away from the side of the pan. Transfer dough to a mixer. Continue mixing on low speed until cool. Let cool 4-5 minutes or until you can touch the dough with your fingers for 5-10 seconds without burning. If you put the eggs in to early they will cook and you will need to start again. Once cool add eggs one at a time. Wait until the egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Once the eggs are all incorporated add rosemary and gruyere cheese. Place a tablespoon of the dough on a parchment lined tray. Space about 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Cook at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

An elegant appetizer!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A delicious dessert!

Chilled soups are delicious on spring or summer night. This cherry soup is a little unusual, but once you taste it you will definitely be craving more. I made this soup for an event and it was the hit of the night. Its the perfect balance of tart and sweet.  It makes a gorgeous presentation in shot glasses or a shallow bowl.  As an added bonus, this soup could not be easier to make. This will become a regular dessert in your rotation!

Chilled Cherry Soup

    Serves: 6-8      Cook Time:  10 min   Prep Time: 0 min

  • 1 pound frozen tart cherrys
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 oz cherry lambic or cherry juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 4 oz sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • Garnish with cherry and cream


Place cherries in crockpot with water and their juices. Make sachet with cinnamon stick and add to stockpot.  Add lambic, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer until  cherries are tender 10-15 minutes. Chill and let sit overnight. Remove half the cherries to save for garnish. Remove sachet of cinnamon and add almond extract and heavy cream. Puree all ingredients until smooth. Garnish with reserved cherries and heavy cream. If you want to make this dish gluten free use the cherry juice instead of the lambic.

A clever presentation for cherry soup!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

An appetizer for entertaining!

This chicken salad appetizer came about because I needed to a filling appetizer for an event. It needed to be something easy and be made ahead of time.  This appetizer is perfect for that. The wonton cups can be made a few days in advance. The chicken salad can be made one or two days in advance. To make this dish completely gluten free, serve on cucumber slices or in lettuce cups. If you make this dish, I promise you guests will be craving more!

A brunoise cut measures 1/8x1/8x1/8 of an inch. It is a cube that is smaller than a small dice. For this recipe is it necessary to cut this small in order to fit in the wonton cups. If you are serving this dish another way fell free to cut everything bigger.

Asian Chicken Salad In Wonton Cups

    Serves: 60 cups      Cook Time:  0 min   Prep Time: 10 min

  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari 
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 pounds rotisserie chicken, small diced
  • 1 red pepper, brunoise
  • 5 snow peas, brunoise
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 scallions, sliced on bias
  • 1 carrots, brunoise
  • 1/4 head cabbage, chiffonaded and chopped

To make wonton cups, cut 1 1/2" circles with cookie cutter. Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray. Place circles in cups. Cook at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. 

To make chicken salad, combine first 8 ingredients together. Set aside for dressing. Combine remaining ingredients except cabbage. Add enough dressing to chicken salad to taste. Combine cabbage lightly with enough dressing to coat. To assemble, place enough cabbage to coat the bottom of the wonton cup. Add about 1 teaspoon chicken salad on top. Garnish with sliced scallions or cilantro leaf. Enjoy at your next holiday party. Alternatively bake wonton chips for dipping into salad or serve as a sandwich.

Finished Appetizers!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A magnificent cheesecake!

Cheesecake is a classic dessert. This version uses a unique citrus fruit called a Meyer lemons.  It's a combination of lemon and Mandarin orange. It gives the lemon a sweet flavor. It can be used to replace lemons in any recipe. Frankly, I love Meyer lemons. I use them frequently at home. They can be used is sauces, desserts, salads, pies, chutneys and the list goes on. Of course if you cannot find them at your local grocery store, substitute lemons.

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake With Blueberry Ginger Sauce

Serves: 8-10      Cook Time:  40-50 min   Prep Time: 20 min

A great presentation!
  • 3 cups gingersnaps, crumbs
  • 9 tablespoons, melted
  • 4 8oz  packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup Sour Cream
  • 4 meyer lemons, zested
  • 1/2 cup meyer lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Blueberry sauce
  • 1 1/2 pts blueberries, seperated
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1" knob fresh ginger
  • 1/2 meyer lemon juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water


Preheat oven to 350. To make crust combine gingersnap crumbs and melted butter. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Press gingersnap crumbs in an even layer on sheet pan. Bake in oven 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool. While crust is cooling, make cheesecake filling. Place cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of the mixer. On low speed mix until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally until throughly combined. Once combined, add remaining ingredients until completely mixed.  Spread mixture evenly over crust.  Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until set in the middle.

To make the sauce, combine 1 pint blueberries with water, sugar and ginger in  small sauce pot. Cook over medium heat until blueberries burst.  Place in a container and let sit overnight with ginger. The next day, remove ginger and add lemon juice and vanilla. Puree blueberry mixture until smooth. Place back over low heat. Meanwhile combine cornstarch and second measure of water.  Stir into blueberry sauce and heat until thickened. Mixture will boil. Remove from heat. Add remaining  blueberries to sauce. Serve on top of cheesecake.

Delicious cheesecake!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A magnificent butternut squash soup!

Nothing is better than a warm bowl of soup on a freezing cold day. Right now we are experiencing very frigid weather with temperatures of 7 degrees or below. A soup like this would be perfect serve with this weather because it will warm you and your household.

This butternut squash soup is full of flavor and looks beautiful as well. It has settle complexities of flavor with the curry, sweet pears and delicate squash. If you didn't like butternut squash soup before you will now. It is sure to change your mind. As a added bonus this recipe is perfect for entertaining because it can be made a day ahead and then reheated and garnished when served. It is sure to impress your guests. To make this recipe vegan, omit the cream and use vegetable broth.

sauteed onions
roasted butternut squash

roasted pears
prepped pears

Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

Serves: 4-6      Cook Time:  30 min   Prep Time: 40 min

Simmering squash to enhance flavors


  • 1 butternut squash, roasted
  • 6 d'anjou pears, diced and roasted
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon ceyenne
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pepitas toasted for garnish
To roast pears, toss with 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 2 teaspoons evoo. Roast at 400F for 15 minutes. To make soup, heat stock pan over medium heat.  Saute onions in olive oil until tender and translucent. Add squash and 4 pears. Saute for a couple minutes more. Add broth, curry powder, and ceyenne. Bring to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes. Add cream, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with reserved pears and pepitas.

An amazing butternut squash soup!

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