Monthly Archive for February, 2011

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad

I’ve been CRAVING sprouts, and despite a few of my favorite stand-by sprout dishes, I wanted to experiment and create a warm Brussels sprouts salad. The end result, a wonderful mélange of sour and buttery flavors, that was well enjoyed. Even one dinner guest, a vehement anti-Brussels sprouts contingent, >ahem, Chris E.< was practically converted to the Brussels sprouts side.

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad


20-24 Brussels sprouts, washed and dried, ends removed
5 oz Gruyere cheese
6 oz walnut pieces
2 TBS apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsps Dijon mustard
4 TBS unsalted butter
2 TBS white wine
kosher salt and cracked black pepper


Slice the Brussels sprouts using the thin shredding disc of the food processor. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

Finely grate fresh Gruyere cheese. Set aside.

In a large-size frying pan, on medium high heat add olive oil. Add walnuts and cook until lightly browned. Lower heat and add in Brussels sprouts. Cook stirring continuously for 3-5 minutes. Then add vinegar, Dijon, butter, wine, salt and pepper; mix well. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes, until slightly wilted but not limp. Set aside and allow to cool until room temperature.

Mix with Gruyere cheese. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8.

Passion Chiffon Cake

Chiffon, genoise or buttersponge cakes were hugely popular only a few decades ago, and while this may not be a leading edge recipe on the cake baking trend curve today, this retro recipe is a keeper. “What is a chiffon cake?” you ask. Chiffon cakes are foam cakes, that are leavened primarily with beaten egg whites, similar to angel food cakes. While chiffon cakes may look delicate, once the basic cake is in place, you can infuse it with all kinds of different flavors. Unlike angel food cakes, chiffon cakes, contain both egg yolks and vegetable oil. These two ingredients keep the cake moist, soft and tender and result in a cake that tastes great, is highly versatile, sturdy and keeps well. They are typically baked in tube pans, just like angel food cakes, but can also be baked into sheet cakes and cupcakes.

Legend has it that the chiffon cake was invented in Los Angeles in the late 1920s by a baker/caterer named Harry Baker. The light and airy, yet moist, cake was coveted. Despite its popularity, Baker kept the recipe a secret for 20 years before finally selling the recipe to General Mills, which introduced it to the American public (via Betty Crocker) in 1948.

While this recipe isn’t one that you can quickly toss together, it is well worth the extra steps. Note that there are three recipes below to compile this master piece, and corresponding directions to follow. I recommend that the filling, frosting and cake are compiled in that order to allow for proper set-up time of each recipe.

Passion Fruit Chiffon Cake

Passion Fruit Filling

Filling Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup passion fruit nectar or puree
4 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean—split, seeds scraped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon

Filling Directions

In a medium size saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Next mix in the passion fruit nectar, egg yolks and vanilla seeds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, after approximately 6 minutes the mixture should reache a thick consistency. Remove from the heat; whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Scrape the filling into a glass bowl, press a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface and refrigerate until chilled, about 2-3 hours.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Frosting ingredients

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz cream cheese (I like whipped), room temperature
2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsps passion fruit nectar or puree
food coloring (optional)

Frosting Directions

Cream the butter and cream cheese together, for approx 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Add the powdered sugar, continually tasting to get to desired sweetness. If using food coloring, add a few drops until reaching the desired color.

Passion Fruit Chiffon Cake

Cake Ingredients

1 TBS cake flour
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
7 TBS canola oil
1/3 cup passion fruit nectar or puree
2 TBS water
1 TBS orange juice
1 tsp orange rind, finely grated
1 tsp coconut extract
3 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar

Cake Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Coat bottoms of 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray (do not coat sides of pans); line bottoms with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray and dust with 1 TBS of flour.

In a large size bowl, lightly spoon 2 cups cake flour into dry measuring cups. Combine 2 cups cake flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring with a whisk until well mixed.

In a medium size bowl, add oil, orange juice, passion fruit juice, water, coconut extract, orange rind, coconut extract, and egg yolks, stirring with a whisk. Add oil mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

Note: this step is the most critical to a successful chiffon cake; if the eggs are not correctly whipped the layers will not properly rise. In a large bowl, add egg whites and beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 TBS at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into flour mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture.

Divide cake batter equally among prepared pans. Remove any air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake for 20 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove cake from pans. Remove wax paper from cake layers. Cool cake layers completely on wire rack.

To assemble cake, place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread half of filling over cake layer. Top with second layer, remaining half of filling, and then top with the third layer of cake. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Garnish as desired. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Get Your Hearts On

It seems that we are only just past the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day is looming. No matter your feelings on this trademarked holiday, we all L-O-V-E to eat – and drink. And if you are at all like I am, this is one of the nights that is best enjoyed with some home made dishes. The Valentine’s ‘holiday’ (and I use the term loosely, because I feel that we shouldn’t only celebrate love one day a year, but every day of the year), is my ‘hall pass’ to splurge on the food front and enjoy an eclectic mix of dishes that I love. This is the night that the gloves come off, and the palate goes crazy.

Whether you’re in love, looking for love, avoiding love, or trying to get some love, Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to make magic happen! And there’s no better way to do it than with suggestive food and beverages that make you throw your inhibitions to the wind.

Seriously! Studies show that alcohol levels can raise the testosterone levels in women, which coincidentally entices those who lack sexual interest and desire. Interest piqued? Then go ahead… light the candles, pop in a little Marvin Gaye and ensure where your night is headed with these de-lush-ious aphrodisiac food and wine pairings from my friend and founder of WinoBee, Stacy De Fino, peppered with some of my favorite V-day indulgent dishes: Lamb Chops, Shrimp & Garden Veggie Cannelloni, and Cocoa Fudge Cup Cakes topped with Classic Carmel Frosting.

And if you thought you could just kick back and read, I’ve mixed it up a bit, and turned this into a classic version of “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours”. Read on for food/wine recommendations to summon Aphrodite and then….well, I challenge you to share your favorite Valentine’s Day Menu at

Wine is the perfect mood setter, and for the “romanticals” out there looking to get the night started with some sustenance, whip up a nice steak and pair alongside a higher tannic wine like Zaca Mesa Syrah ($20, This red offers unique character and blends dark plum notes with deep espresso undertones. Its sure to land you more than one silky finish for the night!


Esporao Private Riserva White ($29.99, offers honeysuckle attributes that pair well with any kind of shellfish, especially the richer ones like oysters, and we all know oysters are the most notorious aphrodisiac food. The zinc found in oysters controls progesterone levels which are said to have a positive effect on the libido. Bow-chicka-bow-wow!

BOWLLICKER FAVORITE FOOD DISH: Shrimp and Garden Vegetable Cannelloni, Marinated cracked crab or Oysters Bingo

Wine and chocolate are a match all their own, but they may help you make your own love match. A compound in chocolate, called methylxanine, triggers the release of dopamine in the body often leaving you with a lovestruck feeling. Try a chocolate cake and serve alongside a sparkling rosé, like Martini & Rossi ($13, Shopper’s Wines) which combines an aromatic bouquet and palate of light florals and apricot.

BOWLLICKER FAVORITE FOOD DISH: Cocoa Fudge Cup Cakes topped with Classic Carmel Frosting

Port Wine is said to be an aphrodisiac all its own, so in the case you have no time (or motivation) to whip up something romantic, simply grab a bottle of white port and some fresh strawberries, as studies say pairing the two may promote lovemaking.

BOWLLICKER FAVORITE FOOD DISH: You are on your own….maybe a biscotti to dip in some port!

>this is the part where you show me your creativity<


1. Go to and login with Facebook Connect (or create a login).
2. Play around with recipes and find your favorites to create a perfectly delish Valentine’s Day meal!
3. Once you’ve selected a recipe save it to a menu:

* From the recipe, select the “save” button, save it as an appetizer, main, etc., and then it’ll ask you to name your menu. Create your special Valentine’s menu title.
* Continue adding recipes and saving to that menu

4. View your menu (either from tab at top or from your profile) and grab the URL (you can also share your menu on Facebook and grab the URL there). Note: the URL will look similar to this:
5.Tweet the following and be sure to include the #foodilyvdaymenu hashtag at the end:

Check out my @foodily Valentine’s Day menu! Create one of your own! http//(your menu URL here) #foodilyvdaymenu

6. Foodily will be watching and selecting menu winners daily to be featured on the Foodily site!

Note: You can also enter by sharing your menu on Foodily’s Facebook wall.

As a compensated Foodily Brand Ambassador, I also look forward to picking my favorite Foodily Valentine’s Day menu at See you there!

Deliciously Organic Post-Super Bowl Recipe

While attending BlogHer Food ’10, I was invited to a party named La Petite Soirée. Much to my surprise, at the end of the night, there was a gift certificate to receive a copy of ‘Deliciously Organic’ by Carrie Vitt. The cover alone was a draw, well selected words ….simple dishes, vibrant flavors everyone will love. Upon receiving the book I couldn’t wait to take out a pad of Post-It notes to mark the recipes that I “must try”. The list was long, and I am still working through it, but a few nights ago, when I was trying to think of a great new recipe to bring to a Super Bowl party, this recipe caught my eye.

My finished photo of the crisps is tucked away at the very end of this post as it looks nothing like the photograph in Carrie’s book, but I don’t care one bit, because this recipe is full of delicious flavors. Enjoy it!

Brie and Walnut Crisps


4 oz double or triple cream Brie, room temperature, rind removed
1/2 cup (1 cube) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
4 dashes cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground rosemary
2 dashes paprika


In a food processor, pulse together Brie and butter until smooth. Add flour, walnuts, salt, cayenne, and rosemary and process until dough is smooth and just starts to form a ball. Dough will be very soft.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on the counter. Place dough onto the parchment paper and form into a log. Wrap the remaining parchment paper around the dough and then roll dough on the counter until it stretches into a log about 2-inches thick. Refrigerate a minimum of 3 hours.

Adjust the rack in the oven to the middle position and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Unwrap dough and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place each round on a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper, making sure to leave about 1/2 an inch in between each because they will expand slightly when baking. Bake your crackers at 350 degrees for 22 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Allow your crackers to cool on the cookie sheet and serve at room temperature.

Note: These crackers are delicious on their own or would be paired nicely with some fresh fruit such as a thin slice of pear with a touch of honey drizzled on top. Once cooked, the crisps are very delicate, take care when moving off of the cookie sheet.

Makes 25 crisps.

As a compensated Foodily Brand Ambassador, you can also find this recipe at

The Search Has Ended …

You may have noticed my new found fascination with the food website, and so it seems the perfect time to introduce you to the LARGEST recipe search site. They bring together recipes from across the web, enabling you to search and compare any recipe, in one consolidated location.

If you’ve ever used kayak for travel, you’ll quickly see the ease of use at And it is as easy as entering a group of ingredients, or a recipe’s name, and Foodily searches every website’s recipes—from top food sites to obscure bloggers. It sifts through all those recipes based on criteria you choose, and instantly delivers you the perfect recipe match.

And for the picky, allergic or otherwise food challenged, this site is going to make your cooking life so much easier. If there is an ingredient you don’t care for or are allergic to, delete it! The site then adapts and finds new recipes that meet your search criteria. I have a feeling that dinner party planning is going to take on an entirely new twist. Now instead of scouring 5-12 food sites, and spending hours pouring over menus on the Internet, you can quickly and easily review options in one location. Voila, this is the shift into the industrial revolution of recipe search.

I am excited to have been invited in to preview the site as a Foodily ambassador; to explore, share recipes and discover new recipes. Here are a few recipes that I’ve got my eye >ahem< rather palate on: Easy Goat Cheese Appetizer
Almond-crusted Fish With Saffron Sauce
Butter Chicken
Monkey Meat
Almond Violet Dessert
Aussie Fruit Stew
Five Spice Ice Cream

I hope you will join me in discovering