Monthly Archive for March, 2011

Start (April) Foolin’ Around – A teaseable feast

There are just so many days per year that you can play with your food, and April 1st (AKA April Fools) is certainly one of them. Over the years I’ve had my fill of fun with this holiday and I wanted to share a few of these playful foodie creations with you in hopes that it will inspire you to join in fun food foolery.

What is most loved about this meal? It is really dessert first — don’t judge the meal by its looks.

The menu:

– fish sticks

– carrots and peas

– raspberry coolers

– hearty cup cakes with healthy buttermilk frosting

Crispy Fish Sticks

Fish Sticks Ingredients

1 box rectangular shaped shortbread cookies

1 cup corn flake crumbs

1 container white frosting

Fish Stick Directions

Prepare a cookie sheet with foil and set aside. Unwrap shortbread cookies and place on plate. In a small bowl, add corn flakes. Using a knife coat each cookie with frosting on all sides. Roll the cookie in cornflake crumbs and place on the prepared cookies sheet. Repeat until desired quantity is prepared.

Sweet Veggies

Sweet Veggie Ingredients

1 3 lb package of Starburst original fruit candy chews, 1 per every 2 guests

2 boxes of Yogos Bits, in solid light and dark green colors

Sweet Veggie Directions

Take each orange Starburst candy, unwrap an cut into four pieces. Unwrap Yogos Bits and sort green colors into one bowl. The packages only contain a few greens per packet so veggie haters will be pleased with a small amount they ‘think’ they will have to consume.

Raspberry Coolers

Raspberry Cooler Ingredients

1 box of raspberry JELL-O per 8 oz glass

1 straw per person

Raspberry Cooler Directions

Prepare recipe for finger JELL-0 according to box directions. Pour into clear glass with straw inserted. Chill until dinner time.

Hearty Cup Cakes

Cup Cake Ingredients

1 pound ground turkey

1 Italian sausage, casing removed

1 cup zucchini, coarsely grated

3/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

1/4 cup oatmeal

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 large egg

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

12 tsp garlic powder

cup cake foils (DO NOT use paper liners)

Cup Cake Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Coat cup cake pan with non-stick spray and form generous mounds of meat in each one. Bake meat cakes for 35-45 minutes. Length of time will depend on how much meat is used in each portion. To be certain meat is cooked, use a meat thermometer to ensure that the center registers at 165 degrees. Continue to check every 5- 7 minutes until cooked.

While meat cooks, prepare mashed potato ‘frosting’. Once meat is cooked allow to set for 5 minutes once removing from oven. There will be a generous amount of liquid at the bottom of each cup cake. Remove meat from pan and set aside on a plate. Then place each cup cake into a cup cake foil for presentation.

Healthy Buttermilk Frosting

Frosting Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes

1/4 cup milk

4 TBS unsalted butter

1/2 cup buttermilk


food coloring

Frosting Directions

In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Add them to the boiling water. Water will stop boiling, once it returns to a full boil lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 -15 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when fork is inserted.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter on low, making sure it doesn’t boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done.

As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Place potatoes in a heatproof bowl and using a hand mixer, mash until nearly smooth. Stir in the hot milk mixture until potatoes are smooth. Add enough buttermilk to make the potatoes creamy. Then add 1 teaspoon of salt and food coloring. Mix well, then cover and set aside to keep warm until cup cakes are ready.

For an added decorative touch to the cup cakes, place potatoes in a large zip lock bag and snip off 1/4 of an inch from one corner. Start from the most outer edge of the cup cake and working in a circular motion, decorate until the top of the cup cake is covered.

Set the table and leave the cup cakes plated and off to the side. Watch the looks of surprise as your guests eat their meal.

I hope you will join me in discovering! Check out the menus I’ve created and let me know your favorites. Fine print: It’s true, I am a compensated Foodily Brand Ambassador.

Chocolate Tart – An Ooh La La Dessert

This recipe is really exciting for me to post. Last October, while out to dinner with a friend at a locally acclaimed restaurant called The Lark Creek Tavern, (formerly the Lark Creek Inn), I had the honor of meeting the pastry chef. She had created a recipe that was so unique, utilizing so many wonderful seasonal ingredients, I eagerly awaited the next time I could connect with her. Kayci Edwards is the woman behind the divine sweets featured at the Lark Creek Tavern. She graciously invited me to The Lark, not only to talk about the recipe I had devoured that night (which unfortunately was no longer in season and on the menu), but to try out two of her latest creations. Today’s post is bursting with chocolate and amazing flavor pairings that could be an ideal dessert as we head into Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day – you name it. Guests will be ooh la la-ing it with each bite!

Since this recipe has so many ingredients it is best to compile a full shopping list. This is not a recipe that you should try to do the day of your party, while it can be done, it is best to make it at least 2 days prior so you do not feel rushed when preparing the rest of your meal.

Chef Kayci Edwards

Executive Pastry Chef The Lark Creek Tavern

Bay Area local, Pastry Chef Kayci Edwards, found her passion for pastry at an early age baking and cooking dinner with her mom and has studied with Susan Principe for about a year and Maggie Leung, Executive Pastry Chef for San Francisco’s acclaimed Masa’s Restaurant, for about two years, allowing her to hone her skills and develop a one-of-a-kind style as represented by her fantastic creations at the Lark Creek Tavern.

A graduate of The California Culinary Academy’s Baking and Pastry Arts program, Edwards excels in creativity and a passion for the freshest ingredients. She is known for her Pecan Sticky buns which she learned from baking with her mom when she was growing up.

After graduation, Edwards worked for The Lark Creek Inn Restaurant group at the former Lark Creek Inn and also when it reopened as the Tavern at Lark Creek in Larkspur, CA. As the Executive Pastry Chef at the Tavern at Lark Creek, she is responsible for creative development of the desserts as well as the morning pastries for brunch, which change weekly, and the continued quest for new product.

Chocolate Tart

Chocolate Sucre Ingredients

1/2 lb powdered sugar

1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 TBSP vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 lbs (6 oz) flour

2 oz cocoa powder

1 tsp salt

Chocolate Sucre Directions

Cream together butter, sugar and salt. Add eggs one at a time then add the vanilla extract. Combine flour, cocoa and salt and add to butter mixture and mix until combined. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm. Roll out and poke holes in the bottom of the tart shell to keep it from creating bubbles. Bake 350 degrees in a convection oven for 5-6 minutes, let cool then pour the ganache.

Chocolate Tart Filling

1 lb dark chocolate, chopped

6 oz butter

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 2/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

Chocolate Tart Directions

In a large-size saucepan, combine chocolate and butter and melt over medium heat.

In a bowl, combine sugar, 2/3 cup of the heavy cream and eggs, whisking to combine. Slowly add chocolate mixture to egg mixture whisking continuously. Note: the remaining 1 cup of whip cream will be used upon serving the tart.

Pour filling into pre-baked shell and bake at 350 or 20-25 minutes. Bake until the filling, one inch from the edge, is set but the center is still wobbly when gently shaken.

Caramel Sauce Ingredients

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup water

2 cups cream

Caramel Sauce Directions

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water and bring to a boil. Cook until sugar reaches a medium amber color. Add the cream slowly to stop the caramel. Use a long whisk because the caramel will splatter and put off harmful steam.

Candied Walnuts Ingredients

8 oz walnuts, rough chopped

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Brown sugar to coat

About 1/2 of an egg white (keep the whole white as you may need a little more then half.)

Candied Walnuts Directions

Weigh out the walnuts and give them a rough chop. Whip the egg whites until foamy, they do not need to hold a stiff peak.

Add your spices to the white, then add the walnuts, stir to coat. Add brown sugar until the nuts look like they’re dry. Initially the brown sugar will begin to moisten because of the egg white and turn dark, but as you add the sugar it will become lighter as it no longer soaks up the moisture. Bake at 350 degrees until walnuts start to turn a light amber color and they no longer look moist, they do not need to be stirred.

To Assemble

Take remaining 1 cup of whip cream and add 1 tsp vanilla. Whip until firm. Add caramel sauce to the plate, to make it more decorative you can place in a zip lock bag, snip off one small end and have fun decorating the plate with it. Place a piece of chocolate tart on top, garnish with a generous dollop of whip cream and sprinkle with candied walnuts. Then sit back and watch your guests eyes light up like fireworks on the fourth of July. It is magic.

Refrigerated cake will keep well wrapped in plastic and refrigerated.

As a Foodily Ambassador; I’ve assembled a wonderful Easter menu that I hope you will enjoy. Here’s a menu teaser….

-Green Beans With Anchovy & Soft Egg

-Lemony Prawn & Pea Pasta

-Snapshots From Italy: Roman Easter Soup

-Easter Lamb Recipe

-Potatoes Antico Modo

-Indian-spiced Mixed Nuts

-Easter Meringue Cups

I hope you will join me in discovering! Fine print: It’s true, I am a compensated Foodily Brand Ambassador.

Green Eggs ‘n Ham — St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast

In honor of read across America month, and our unified love for all things Seuss, I thought that the best way to indulge childhood memories AND celebrate St. Patrick’s Day was to create a Green Eggs and Ham (ahem, Corned Beef-ish Ham) dish. While this may seem like a surprising combination- I assure you that Brussels Sprouts and Eggs are a perfect combination – and an ideal way to use a bit of left-over St. Patty’s Day Dinner fixins.

(sotto voce)
I would not like them here or there.
I would not like them anywhere.
I do not like green eggs and ham.
I do not like them Sam I Am.

Green Eggs ‘n Ham


2-4 TBS apple cider vinegar

4 slices of corned beef, cooked (or can substitute 8 slices of bacon, cut 1/4 inch thick or prosciutto, slivered)

4 sheets of Phyllo dough

2 TBS unsalted butter, softened

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 leak, washed well and cut up to dark green area

1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

4 cups Brussels Sprouts, knobby ends removed

1/3 cup chicken broth (or water)

2/3 cup heavy cream

8 eggs

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano

Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved as garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice cooked corned beef into strips and set aside to reheat later. If using bacon, cut crosswise. In a large skillet, on medium-heat, cook the bacon, until crispy brown (approximately 3-4 minutes on each side). Transfer the bacon onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain. If using prosciutto, slice into small strips and quickly cook in a pan (approximately 2-3 minutes) and set aside.

Using the slicing blade on a food processor, shred the Brussels Sprouts. Add 1 the butter, garlic, leak and onion and cook over medium heat until softened. Add Brussels Sprouts, broth, cream, 2 TBS of vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook stirring occasionally, until the Brussels Sprouts are tender between 5-7 minutes. Do not overcook as you will want to reheat this mixture just before serving.

Lightly butter or spray a 4 ramekins. Cut each piece of dough in four squares 4-inches wide. (Dough squares will form a fluted-edge.) Place one layer of the dough into the ramekin, bush with butter, pressing carefully so that the dough fits snugly in the ramekin. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Repeat with remaining three layers. Bake the shells empty for about 10 minutes. Remove the shells from the oven and set aside.

If you do not have an egg poaching pan, you will will need a large pot. Add 1 1/2-inches of water into a large pot and add 2 TBS of vinegar. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce temperature. While waiting for the water to boil, crack open eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl. When water reaches a gentle simmer, pour each egg into a ladle. Gently transfer eggs into simmering water. The egg whites will coagulate instantly as the vinegar will change the pH level of the poaching water. Poach the eggs for 3-6 minutes spooning the simmering water over the eggs. While waiting for the eggs to cook, make sure the Brussels Sprouts and corned beef are reheated. When the egg whites become opaque and feel firm to the to the touch they are ready. Serve immediately. Éirinn go Brách!

Serves 4

(alto voce)
I like green eggs and ham!
I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!

As a Foodily Ambassador; I’ve got a few new Sham-rockin’ recipes I’ve discovered that I wanted to share with you. Check out the menu I created at St. Patrick’s Day Menu
-Guinness and Stilton Pate
-Irish Stew
-Shallot And Guinness-dressed Spinach Salad With Beef And Blue-butter Croutons
-Soda Bread With Dark Chocolate And Candied Orange Peel
-Chocolate Guinness Cake
-Irish Coffee

I hope you will join me in discovering! Fine print: It’s true, I am a compensated Foodily Brand Ambassador.

Crab Salad

In my recent attempt to keep things healthy and simple, (which really only lasted for about three days), I wanted to mix up my salad and protein regimen by adding some fresh Dungeness Crab to the repertoire. The best thing about this recipe is that it is quick and simple if you are able to buy the fresh shelled crab meat.

San Francisco Dungeness Crab Salad


2 cups cooked cooled crab meat, flaked

1 cup celery, diced

1/4 cup chopped green onions, diced slightly above the green line

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 TBS fresh lemon juice

3 TBS mayonnaise

Romaine or red leaf lettuce leaves, cleaned

6 avocado wedges, optional


Mix crab meat with celery, green onions, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and mayonnaise. Serve over mixed greens with a slice of avocado, if desired.

To prepare this as an appetizer, wash and dry Romaine lettuce leaf, place 2 TBS of crab salad in the upper section of the lettuce stalk and garnish with a few wisps of carrot.