Decadent Chocolate Tart

Photo of Decadent Chocolate Tart on a countertopChocolate Decadence
It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth. I like desserts of all kinds—but I do have a bit of a preference for fruity desserts. Except when I don’t.

When handed a dessert menu at a restaurant I will scan the entire list of offerings. I look for the fruity one first, then the carb-y one. (I’m looking at you, bread pudding.) There is almost always something chocolatey. And, although I love chocolate, it’s usually my last choice. There are occasions however when nothing but chocolate will do.

When I am in the mood for a chocolate dessert, I need some serious chocolate. I don’t mean something with a little chocolate in it or a few chocolate chips. I mean I need some seriously deep, death-by-chocolate flavors. I want decadence. I want something that requires coffee or some other beverage to cut the richness. And, don’t even think about stealing a bite. There will be no sharing. You need to order your own.

This Decadent Chocolate Tart is the exact type of chocolate dessert I mean. It’s gorgeous in its simplicity. It’s dark and rich and the shiny ganache on top dares you to swipe your finger through it. You could also make it in smaller individual tarts if, like me, you don’t want to share.

Decadent Chocolate Tart Recipe
Adapted from Epicurious
Yields 8-10 Servings Read more…

Over-the-Top Gougères

Photo of Over-the-Top Gougères with creme fraiche, smoked salmon, and caviar.New Year’s Nibbles
Just when you thought all of the cooking and cleaning of dishes was done, here comes New Year’s Eve. I haven’t hosted a New Year’s Eve party in quite a while. In all honesty, the older I get the more I prefer to stay home on the couch in my jammies. Yes, there may be cocktails and, of course, there will be something to eat.

I feel like the more low-key your celebration is, the more over-the-top your food should be. I mean, if you can’t eat caviar while lounging in your sweats when can you eat it? Ten points to Hufflepuff if you decide to wear your best jewelry too. But what to eat?

I have always been a big fan of gougères. I can eat them one after the other. And, they are a personal tradition to serve for New Year’s Eve. Here is my favorite gougères recipe which I posted for New Year’s in 2020.

To ring in 2023, I’m trying this recipe from Food & Wine. The addition of smoked salmon and caviar will send these over the top—which is exactly what I am looking for!

Happy New year to you all! Raise a glass to a fantastic 2023!

Over The Top Gougères
Adapted from Food & Wine
Yields four servings Read more…

Cheese Straws

Photo of home made Cheese Straws on a burlap backgroundSipping Wine With A Straw
A couple weekends ago, I went wine tasting with a group of friends and had a great time. I know what you’re thinking. A day in the Napa Valley sipping fine wine and snacking on cheese can only be a good time. You are not wrong.

It is easy to take for granted that we, as residents of the Bay Area, have such easy access to a world-renown wine-growing region. I mean, I can get in the car and be in a whole different world amongst the vines in 45 minutes. It’s crazy and I know I don’t take advantage of that access nearly enough. A sentiment that was echoed by each of us while we were up there.

It’s no news that cheese pairs perfectly with wine. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that the same region that produces amazing wines also produces some amazing cheese. Imagine my surprise when snacking on a few tidbits during one of our tastings, it was the cheese straw, not the actual local cheese, that made me swoon.

Cheese straws are not a new phenomenon. Ask any true Southerner and they will tell you a thing or two about cheese straws. But, much like the Napa Valley, I had forgotten just how good they are.

Depending on the recipe you make or the brand you buy, cheese straws come in all sorts of varieties, sizes, and spice levels. I, myself, am partial to the classic cheddar and cayenne pepper combination in our recipe below. These babies are great to have on hand for the friend who drops by for an impromptu chat and can hold their own on any cocktail party hors d’oeuvre table…

Cheese Straws Recipe
Adapted from The Food Network
Yields about 4 dozen Cheese Straws

This recipe makes a lot of Cheese Straws. And, that is perfect if you are hosting a party or considering handing them out as gifts. Read more…

Little Latke Cups

Preparing potatoes for Little Latke CupsHole Lotta Latkes 
You don’t have to be Jewish to be a fan of potato latkes. How can anyone not like fried shredded potatoes? I could eat them by the dozen. And, therein lies the problem. Latkes go down easy. And, if you are the cook, you can get stuck at the stove trying to keep up with demand. Sure, you can make a bunch of mini latkes but then it can be messy for your guests when they go for their favorite toppings. I have, however, found a solution.

Latkes, in my opinion, can be fantastic just on their own. But, when you top them with applesauce or sour cream it raises them to a different level. Smoked salmon or brisket is even better. So, what better way to get the best of everything than making your latkes in the shape of little cups so that you get all the goodness all at once? Brilliant, right?

I like to make these bite-sized. But, you will need mini muffin pans if you don’t already have them. You could, of course, make them in standard-sized muffin pans but just be aware that they will be a little too big to pass around at a party. The mini muffin pan makes the perfect pop-it-all-in-your-mouth-at-once bite.

How you fill these cups is up to you. Applesauce and Sour cream are traditional. I like to add some chives to my sour cream, but I am also a fan of a little smoked salmon or, for the more ambitious, you could top them with some brisket from your favorite recipe. And, if you’re feelin’ fancy, there’s always caviar…

Little Latke Cups Recipe
Yields 8 servings Read more…