Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Steamed mussels with chorizo and white wine

Simply delicious!... Curtis Stone did it again! For a while I wanted to try this recipe, and finally tonight I got a chance to do it. The original recipe was designed to serve 4 big serving bowls. Enjoy it!


1 pound Spanish chorizo, cut into bite-size pieces
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 cup dry white wine
3 Tbspn. finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1 baguette, torn into large pieces


Place a large wide pot over medium heat. Add the chorizo and sauté for about 8 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Add the shallots and garlic, and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the mussels and toss quickly to coat. Add the wine. Cover the pot and cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, or until the mussels begin to open. Discard any mussels that do not open. Add the 3 tablespoons cilantro, and toss to combine.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels and sausages to a warmed large serving bowl. Cover to keep warm. Boil the juices remaining in the pan for one minute. Then whisk in the butter. Pour the sauce over the mussels, sprinkle with the additional cilantro, and serve immediately with the baguette pieces.

Source: Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing, Caramel and Walnuts

I found this recipe, and I have to say it... IT IS FANTASTIC!!! I know you often read on blogs how wonderful recipes are being published but this one, you HAVE to believe me. This is amazing!! The most light and moist carrot cake ever!


- For the cake:

Unsalted butter, for the pan
12 ounces, approximately 2 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour, plus extra for pan
12 ounces grated carrots, medium grate, approximately 6 medium
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/3 cups
2 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup firmly packed
3 large eggs
6 ounces plain yogurt
6 ounces vegetable oil

- For the Icing:

8 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 ounces powdered sugar, sifted, approximately 2 cups

- To decorate:

1/2 cup butterscotch or caramel sauce (store bought or homemade)
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 9-inch round and 3-inch deep cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

Put the carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add this
mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.

In the bowl of the food processor combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt. With the processor still running drizzle in the vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the cake reaches 205 to 210 degrees F in the center.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the cake out onto a rack and allow cake to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely.

For the Cream Cheese Icing: In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition. Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.

To Decorate: Let the cake to cool completely. Add the icing generously all over the cake. Drizzle the caramel and cover the cake with the chopped walnuts. Enjoy!

Source: Alton Brown - Food Network - 2005

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Buche de Noel

As you can tell by now, I am a fun of Food Network Television! The other night I was watching a Throwdown with Bobby Flay about Buche de Noel, I wanted to make the one with chocolate mousse in it, but I only had a few hours for a dessert recipe, so I sort of tried Bobby's but skipping his decorations and simply pipe some of the icing and throw some nuts on top... the result was very-super-much pleasant! delicate and seasonal flavors, perfect after a Christmas dinner!

Here we go, then!


- For the Walnut Biscuit:

5 eggs, separated, room temperature
100 grams granulated sugar
25 grams granulated maple sugar
125 grams cake flour, sifted
3 ounces toasted walnuts, finely chopped

- For the Pastry Cream (Filling):

4 large egg yolks
55 grams cornstarch
40 grams sugar, plus 75 grams sugar
75 grams maple syrup
2 tablespoons whiskey (recommended: Jack Daniels)
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
2 cups milk
28 grams butter
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon maple extract
1 cup heavy cream

-For the Buttercream:

113 grams sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 to 2 tablespoons whisky (recommended: Jack Daniels)
1/4 teaspoon maple extract
12 ounces butter, room temperature


For the Walnut Biscuit: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a half sheet pan, line with parchment paper, butter the paper and dust with flour.

Whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Beat in both sugars and whip to a stiff, glossy meringue.

Alternately fold the cake flour and egg yolks into the meringue in 3 batches, starting and ending with the flour. Fold in the nuts.

Spread the batter evenly in the pan, and bake until the cake is pale gold, the center springs back when you press it lightly with your finger, and the edges start to pull from the sides of the pan, 10 to 12 minutes.

For the pastry cream: Whisk the yolks, cornstarch, and the 40 grams sugar in a medium bowl; the mixture will be very thick, but try to whisk enough to remove most of the lumps.

Put the 75 grams sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until dark brown; don't worry if it crystallizes a bit. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the maple syrup, then whisk in the whisky, turn up the heat, and let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes to boil off the alcohol.

Whisk the milk and vanilla bean scrapings into the caramel mixture and bring to simmer. Slowly whisk about half of the hot mixture into the yolks, then whisk that mixture back into the pot, bring to a boil, whisking, and cook, still whisking, until thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, salt and maple extract. Pour into a shallow dish, press plastic wrap onto the surface, and chill until set and very cold, about 4 hours.

Beat the cold pastry cream in a standing mixer until smooth. When ready to use, whip the cream until it is very stiff, then beat into the pastry cream. Chill until ready to use.

For the buttercream: Put the sugar in a medium pot and add enough water just to moisten; use your fingers to wet the sugar evenly. Bring to a boil. While the sugar is heating, start beating the yolks and egg in a standing mixer with the whisk attachment.

When the syrup reaches about 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer (softball stage), pour it into the yolks with the mixer still running, taking care not to pour it onto the whisk. Beat until cooled to room temperature. Beat in the whisky and the maple extract.

Cream the butter in another mixing bowl using the paddle attachment. Beat in the cooled egg mixture until smooth. You can use it right away, or chill it overnight; if you chill it, rebeat when you are ready to assemble the cake.


Turn the cooled cake onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper with a long side near you. Spread the chilled pastry cream evenly over the surface, leaving a 2-inch border across from you. Using the parchment paper to lift, roll the cake as tightly as possible. Set seam side down on a platter or large pan, and chill for an hour or so.

Frost the cake with the buttercream, smoothing the surface so it looks like bark. Pipe some decorations on top and add some halved walnuts.

Source: Food Network Website (Bobby Flay)

Glazed Smoked Ham

Get yourself ready for Christmas and try this recipe. You won't regret it!!!! It adds such a delicious flavor to the ham and it simple looks fantastic!!


1 large onion, quartered, root end intact
1 (5 to 7-pound) smoked ham (shank end)
3/4 cup apricot jelly
1/4 cup water
8 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch ground cloves
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Score the ham with a cross hatch pattern through the thick layer of skin and fat. Arrange the onions in the center of a foil lined sheet pan large roasting pan and set the ham on top of them. Bake for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, stir together the apricot jelly, water, thyme leaves, mustard, 3 tablespoons of the vinegar, the molasses, worcestershire, allspice, and cloves in a saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until the jelly has dissolved and sauce is smooth, about 4 minutes. After the ham has been baked for 1 hour, brush with the apricot mixture every 15 minutes for another 45 minutes or until nicely glazed. Transfer the ham to a serving platter, tent with foil and set aside while making the sauce.

Discard the onions, remove foil and pour the sauce into a skillet. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, mix the butter and flour together until you form a paste. Whisk into the pan juices and let sauce simmer until thickened like gravy. Finish with the remaining tablespoon of vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thinly slice the ham and serve with the sauce.

Source: Food Network Website

Baked Mashed Potatoes with Mozzarella, Parmesan and Bread Crumbs

I saw this recipe on Food Network (Giada de Laurentiis) and couldn't resist to make it for a dinner party we hosted. She was absolutely right. This is SO GOOD!!!!!!


1 tablespoon butter
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter and set aside.

Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; return the potatoes to the same pot and mash well. Mix in the milk and melted butter. Mix in the mozzarella and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Stir the bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the mashed potatoes. Recipe can be prepared up to this point 6 hours ahead of time; cover and chill.

Bake, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Source: Food Network Website