Valentine's Day

Fudgy Low-Fat Brownies

February 13, 2015

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching which seems to be all about chocolate. Give these moist, chocolaty, and low-fat brownies to your sweetie. You’ll be showing your love by not overloading your Valentine with zillions of calories.

Valentine’s Day Mocktails

February 14, 2014

Valentine’s Day Mocktails

Valentine’s Day Mocktails

What’s missing from these cocktails is the hangover. Non-alcoholic cocktails (“Mocktails”) aren’t just for pregnant women and teetotalers. People who are health conscious and who need to work the next day are ordering up cocktails with a different kind of buzz. These drinks are so satisfying and sophisticated; I bet you’ll never miss the booze.

Peach Cooler

This peach cooler uses sparkling grape juice instead of wine. Serve it in a wine glass for a beautiful presentation.

INGREDIENTS

3 Cups Seltzer Water

1 Cup Peach Juice or Peach Nectar

1 Cup Sparkling White Grape Juice

4 Slices Fresh Peaches

Ice Cubes

In a pitcher combine seltzer, peach juice (or nectar), and sparkling white grape juice. Divide among four large ice-filled glasses. Garnish with peach slices. Serves 4

Lemon Smash

INGREDIENTS

10 Mint Leaves

3/4 Ounce Simple Syrup

3/4 Lemon (Cut Into 8 Wedges & Remove Seeds)

Club Soda

Crushed Ice

In a large glass, combine mint leaves and simple syrup. Add lemons to glass and press with a muddler to extract juice and oils. Fill glass 2/3 of the way with crushed ice. Fill with club soda and garnish with a sprig of mint. Serves 1

Raspberry Limeade

Pressing raspberries through a fine-mesh sieve will get every bit of juice into this refreshing limeade while leaving those annoying seeds behind. If you want to make it in advance, add the seltzer when ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS

2/3 Cup Fresh Lime Juice

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 1/2 Cups Fresh Raspberries or Frozen (Thawed)

3 Cup Seltzer Water

Ice Cubes

In a large pitcher combine lime juice and sugar. Stir well until sugar dissolves. Put raspberries in a fine-mesh sieve over a medium-size bowl. Using a rubber spatula press on the berries to extract the juice and some pulp. Stir the raspberry juice into the pitcher. Just before serving stir in seltzer. Serve over ice. Serves 4

Garden Virgin Mary

INGREDIENTS

3 Large Ripe Tomatoes (Cut Into Wedges)

1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Stemmed & Seeded Jalapeno Peppers

2 Teaspoons Prepared Horseradish

1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 Teaspoon Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Celery Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

4 Large Green Olives For Garnish

Ice Cubes

In a blender or food processor puree tomatoes, lemon juice, jalapenos, horseradish, Worcestershire, sugar, celery salt, and pepper. Scrape down sides if necessary. Pour into a large pitcher and place in fridge for 2 hours. When ready to serve divide among 4 ice-filled glasses. Spear olives onto toothpicks for garnish. Serves 4

Valentine Nights

INGREDIENTS

5 Ounces Unsweetened Fresh Pomegranate Juice

1 Ounce Club Soda

3 Tablespoons Orgeat Syrup

2 Teaspoons Rose Water

1 Teaspoon Orange Blossom Water

Ice Cubes

In a large wine glass filled halfway with ice cubes, combine pomegranate juice, club soda, orgeat syrup, rose water, and orange blossom water. Stir well. Serves 1  Note: Orgeat syrup is a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar and rose water or orange flower water. It was, however, originally made with a barley-almond blend.

© Victoria Hart Glavin

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2014

Snow Heart

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love is in the air and in the snow!

© Victoria Hart Glavin

Homemade Classic Truffles

February 14, 2014

Homemade Classic Truffles

Homemade Classic Truffles

Skip the candy shop and make your Valentine amazing Homemade Classic Truffles. To vary the truffles simply change the coating that you roll them in. Use cocoa powder, powdered sugar, or any kind of chopped nuts such as pistachios, cashews, macadamia nuts or pecans.

INGREDIENTS

12 Ounces Semisweet Chocolate Pieces

1/3 Cup Whipping Cream

4 Teaspoons Cherry Brandy, Hazelnut or Orange Liqueur

3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Candied Cherries or Candied Orange Peel

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder; finely Chopped Toasted Nuts; And/Or Powdered Sugar

In a medium-size heavy saucepan combine chocolate pieces and whipping cream. Cook and stir constantly over low heat until chocolate melts. Remove saucepan from heat. Cool slightly. Stir in cherry brandy (or whichever liqueur you’ve chosen). Beat truffle mixture with an electric mixer on a low speed until smooth. Stir in candied cherries. Place in fridge for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until mixture is firm. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape chilled chocolate mixture into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in cocoa powder (or finely chopped toasted nuts, and/or powdered sugar) and place on the prepared tray. Let rest for 5 minutes. Store in a single layer in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When ready to serve remove from fridge and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Makes about 25 truffles.

© Victoria Hart Glavin

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Sweetest Taboo Flan

February 13, 2014

Sweetest Taboo Flan

Sweetest Taboo Flan

Not everyone is chocolate lover, but still deserves a delicious and sinful dessert. You will need six 4-ounce ramekins to make this dessert. Cooking the custard at relatively low heat gives you a creamy bottom half and a jellied top.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 Cup Sugar

1/3 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Water

2 Large Eggs

1 Cup Heavy Cream

1 Cup Half & Half

1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a medium-size heavy saucepan combine 1/4 cups sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Turn the heat to a medium-low. Cook until sugar dissolves. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Occasionally swirling the saucepan and brushing down the sides with a wet pastry brush. Cook for 6 minutes until caramel is medium-dark amber. You will need to work quickly. Divide caramel among the ramekins, coating the bottoms evenly. Let cool until hard. Gently whisk remaining 1/3 cup sugar and eggs in a medium-size bowl. Add cream, half & half, and vanilla extract. Gently whisk to combine, but do not aerate. Let sit for 5 minutes until sugar dissolves. Strain through a fine mesh sieve set over a medium-size pitcher to eliminate air pockets. Place ramekins in a roasting pan lined with a kitchen towel. Place pan on a large-sized rimmed baking sheet. Divide custard among ramekins. Pour hot water into roasting pan to reach a little more than halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover pan with foil, crimping to seal. Carefully transfer to the oven. Cook for 25 minutes. Rotate pan. Cook for another 20 to 25 minutes until custard is set, but the center still jiggles when the dish is nudged. Uncover roasting pan. Let flan cool in pan for 35 minutes. Remove ramekins and let cool completely. Cover with plastic and chill in the fridge overnight. Remove from fridge when ready to serve. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Unmold flans onto plate. Serves 6

© Victoria Hart Glavin

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Rosemary French Onion Soup

February 12, 2014

French onion soup

Rosemary French Onion Soup

This Valentine’s Day cozy up with a bowl of rich French onion soup and cheesy dunkers.

INGREDIENTS

2 Large Halved & Thinly Sliced Yellow Onions

1 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

1 Tablespoon Plus 1 Teaspoon Snipped Fresh Rosemary

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

4 Cups Low-Sodium Beef Broth

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

8 Slices Wheat or White Sandwich Bread

1 Cup Shredded Swiss Cheese

Open a resealable plastic bag and add onions, flour, 1 tablespoon rosemary, kosher salt and pepper. Seal bag and shake to coat. In a large-size saucepan melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over a medium-low heat. Stir in onion mixture. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Uncover, increase heat to a medium-high. Cook for 3 more minutes until onions are golden brown. Stir in beef broth and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Meanwhile make the grilled cheese sticks. Spread bread slices with remaining butter. Sprinkle cheese on the unbuttered sides of 4 slices. Top with remaining bread slices, buttered sides up. Heat a grill pan over a medium heat. Add sandwiches. Sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon of the remaining rosemary. Grill 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden brown. Cut sandwiches into thirds. Serve with soup. Serves 4

© Victoria Hart Glavin

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Valentine’s Gifts For The Foodie

February 11, 2014

Staub Heart Dutch Oven

Valentine’s Gifts For The Foodie

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and if you’re still trying to figure out what to get the foodie in your life here are some great ideas. All of these items can be found on Amazon and you be express shipped just in time for the big day.

DCI Heart Shaped Silicone Spatula $9.01

Victorinox Oyster Knife $13.33 

R&M 7 Piece Cookie Cutter Set $12.37

Nostalgia Electrics Fondue Pot $24.99 

Staub Heart Shaped Dutch Oven $149.95

Jessie Steele Sweethearts Apron $34.99

The New Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook by Martha Hopkins $24.15

Zak Designs 4 Piece Heart Shaped Serving Bowl Set $23.99 

DCI Heart Measuring Spoons $6.31 

DCI Bamboo Heart Shaped Spoon $11.77

Norpro Nonstick Heart Pancake Egg Rings (Set of 2) $4.98

© Victoria Hart Glavin

Heart Spatula

 

Oyster KnifeHeart Cookie CuttersFondue SetStaub Heart Dutch OvenJessie Steele Sweethearts ApronThe New Intercourses CookbookHeart Serving BowlsHeart Measuring SpoonsHeart Bamboo SpoonNorpro Nonstick Heart Pancake Rings

Parsley, Orange & Pecan Crusted Rack of Lamb

February 11, 2014

Parsley, Orange & Pecan Crusted Rack of Lamb

Parsley, Orange & Pecan Crusted Rack of Lamb

Lamb dishes have long been associated with the excitement and joy of special occasions, family celebrations and holiday traditions. Skip the crowded Valentine’s evening restaurants and make your sweetheart a delicious Valentine dinner. Give this rack of lamb recipe a try. It’s easy to make which will give you plenty of time to write that love poem that you’ve been meaning to write. 

INGREDIENTS

2 Racks of Lamb (8 Chops to Each Rack)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 Tablespoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley Leaves

2 Crushed Garlic Cloves

Zest of 1 Orange

3/4 Cup Toasted & Finely Chopped Pecans

2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Rub lamb with olive oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Position racks of lamb in a roasting pan, meaty side up and place in the oven for 10 minutes. While the lamb is cooking, combine the parsley, garlic, orange zest, and pecans in a medium-size bowl. Remove lamb from the oven and spread the Dijon mustard on the meaty side of each rack. Divide the herb and nut mix equally between the racks and coat, gently pressing into the mustard. Return to the oven and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes or to desired doneness. Remove from oven and transfer racks of lamb to a warm serving plate. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serve with roasted potatoes. Serves 8

© Victoria Hart Glavin

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Short Ribs Braised In Coffee Ancho Chile Sauce

February 10, 2014

Short Ribs Braised In Coffee Ancho Chile Sauce

Short Ribs Braised In Coffee Ancho Chile Sauce

These delicious ribs are flavored with rich coffee, two kinds of chiles, maple syrup, and fresh lime juice. Valentine’s Day is around the corner and these ribs make a wonderful Valentine’s dinner. Serve over polenta.

INGREDIENTS

4 Dried Ancho Chiles (Wipe Clean With Damp Cloth)

2 Cup Boiling Water

1 Quartered Medium Onion

3 Chopped Garlic Cloves

2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Canned Chipotle Chiles In Adobo Sauce

2 Teaspoons Adobo Sauce

2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup (Pure Maple Syrup Only)

1 Tablespoon Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

3 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

6 Pounds Beef Short Ribs

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Brewed Coffee

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Throw away stem from ancho chiles. Split anchos open and throw away seeds and ribs. Soak in boiling water for 25 minutes until softened. Drain in a colander set over a bowl. Reserve ancho water for braising. Transfer anchos to a blender or food processor and puree with onions, garlic, chipotles (with the sauce), maple syrup, lime juice, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Pat short ribs dry and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch heavy sauté pan over a medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown ribs in batches – about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a large-size Dutch oven (or a large-size roasting pan) and arrange in 1 layer. Slowly add the to the fat remaining in the sauté pan. It will spatter and steam so please be careful. Cook over a medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add reserved chile soaking water (or 1 1/2 cups water if you accidently threw the chile water out), and the brewed coffee. Bring to a boil and then pour over short ribs. The liquid should reach about halfway up the sides of the ribs. Cover Dutch oven tightly with foil. Place in oven and braise for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until very tender. Skin fat from pan juices and serve ribs with pan juices. Serves 6

Easy Polenta

INGREDIENTS

6 Cups Water

1 Bay Leaf

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 1/2 Cups Cornmeal

Bring water to a boil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan with bay leaf and kosher salt. Gradually whisk in cornmeal in a thin stream. Cook mixture over a medium heat for 2 minutes while continuing to whisk. Cover saucepan and simmer over a low heat for 45 minutes. Stir for 1 minute every 10 minutes. Make sure to replace lid after each stir. Remove from heat and throw away bay leaf. Serves 6

© Victoria Hart Glavin

Chocolate Layer Cake

February 8, 2014

Chocolate Layer Cake

Chocolate Layer Cake

It’s the ultimate old-fashioned, everything-you-could-wish-for Valentine’s Day cake!

INGREDIENTS

Cake:

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

2/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Not Dutch-Process)

1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt        

1 Cup Softened Unsalted Butter         

1 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar

3/4 Cup Sugar

4 Large Eggs (Room Temperature)

1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk

Frosting:

2/3 Cup Whole Milk

3 Large Egg Yolks

1 Tablespoon Plus 1 Teaspoon Unbleached Flour

1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar (Divided)

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 Cups Unsalted Butter (Cut Into Tablespoon Pieces & Softened)

8 Ounces Melted & Cooled Milk Chocolate

2 Ounces Melted & Cooled Unsweetened Chocolate

To Make The Cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9×2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust pans with flour. Knock out any excess. In a small-size bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and kosher salt. In a large-size bowl beat together butter, brown sugar and white sugar, using an electric mixer at medium-high speed for 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add chocolate and vanilla extract. Beat until just combined. Turn speed to low and add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in 3 batches. Begin and end with flour and mix just until combined. Divide batter between cake pans and spread evenly. Place in oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Remember that each oven heats differently so make sure to check at 25 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the center of each cake layer. If it comes out clean then pull the cake out of the oven. Remove from oven and cool cake layers in pans on racks for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of each layer. Invert onto racks. Peel off paper and cool layers completely.

To Make The Frosting: In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan heat milk over a medium heat until hot. In a medium-size bowl whisk together yolks, flour, 1/3 cup powdered sugar, and kosher salt. Remove milk from heat and add to egg yolk mixture while whisking. Transfer mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil over a medium heat. Whisk. Reduce heat to a simmer and whisk for 2 minutes. Mixture should be very thick. Transfer to a large-size bowl. Cover mixture with a buttered round of parchment paper and let cool for 50 minutes. Now add vanilla extract and remaining powdered sugar to the mixture. Beat with cleaned beaters at medium speed until combined well. Increase speed to medium-high and beat in butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until smooth. Add chocolates and beat until well combined.

To Assemble: Halve each cake layer horizontally using a long serrated knife. Layer cake, using a heaping 1/2 cup frosting between each layer, then frost top and sides with remaining frosting.

Makes 1 Chocolate Layer Cake. Serves 8

Victoria’s Note: Cake layers can be made (but not halved) 1 day ahead and kept, well-wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature. Frosting can be made 1 day ahead, covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature (do NOT use a microwave) and beat with a mixer before using.

 

 

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