Sunday, March 8, 2009

An edible work of art

Our friends Carrie and Steve graciously invited us for dinner last night. And like usual, Carrie worked her tail-end off creating a lovely dinner party for 8, and impressing us all with her mouth-watering food and warm, inviting hospitality. 

Here was the dinner menu:
Bruschetta & Bocconcini with chili flakes and mint

Mixed baby greens with goat cheese, carmelized walnuts, strawberries and raspberry dressing

Cannelloni with Balsamella Sauce

Sauteed Baby Green Beans with red and yellow peppers and onions

Baby Yukon Potatoes

Various breads with dipping sauce

Raspberry Ganache Tart

The entire meal from start to finish was just lovely and wonderful. But, man, oh, man. That Raspberry Ganache Tarte. Wow. Talk about a mouth-watering, can't-wait-to-put-the-next-bite-in your-mouth-treat.

Raspberry Ganache Tarte

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups fresh raspberries

1/4 cup red currant jelly
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 11-inch tart pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla and almond extract. Stir in flour and almonds. Press dough into prepared pan. Prick with fork and bake until golden brown, 10 minutes. In a saucepan heath chocolate and cream just to a boil. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Spread over crust and chill until firm.

Filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Sir in vanilla and amaretto. Spoon over chocolate layer and top with raspberries.

Glaze: Stir jelly over medium heat until melted. Boil for 30 seconds. Cool glaze slightly and brush over fruit. Sprinkle with almonds and chill.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An Artful Bacon Class

Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that I'm involved with the Artfully Done Cookbook that benefits the Wichita Art Museum. Serving on the Friends Board has been a great joy, meeting very talented, lovely people and giving back to one of my favorite philanthropic causes, the arts.

Over the past year, I've become quite close friends with RoxAnn Dicker, who is the editor of the cookbook, and the daughter of the lovely woman that it was written in memory of. RoxAnn and I have shared many, many bottles of wine in my kitchen brainstorming up crazy ideas of how to market the book, and talking about our love of bacon. RoxAnn is friends with a woman by the name of Bonnie Aeschliman, who has a lovely cooking school here in town (which I never knew!).

Well, my good friend RoxAnn came up with the fabulous idea of asking Bonnie if she was brave enough to let she and I teach a class all about bacon, and promoting the Artfully Done Cookbook. Bonnie "bit" on the idea, and we're scheduled to teach a class on March 17th.

For information on how to sign up, click on Cooking at Bonnie's Place. Bonnie's is located at 9747 East 21st Street North – Suite 139 in Wichita, Kansas 67206. Call 316-425-5224 to make your reservation.

Hope to see you on St. Patty's Day for a delightfully bacon-filled cooking class!

Bacon wrapped dates image courtesy of Sunset magazine.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Valentine Brownies

I go through spurts of baking a lot, then I don't bake for a while. A few nights before Valentine's Day, I had a bake-a-thon and made three fabulous desserts. 

My good friend Julie, that lives in the Bay area, shared this incredibly decadent brownie recipe. These are rich, dense and in my opinion the perfect brownie.

Here's her recipe, in her words - just copy and pasted. Enjoy, and be sure to share. 

Melt 6 oz. chocolate. Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup chocolate syrup and stir. Then mix in 1/2 cup softened butter. Mix in 2 softly beaten eggs and 1 t. vanilla. Then add a pinch salt, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup flour. Pour into 8x8" square pan that has been buttered and cocoa-ed ( as in "floured"). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool completely and cut into 64, 1" squares.

They are great with ghetto chocolate, but the better the chocolate, the better the brownie.

These brownies are good enough to woo men!