Homemade Spring Fettuccine with Pancetta, Peas & Asparagus

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Spring is finally here in full bloom, and I’m so excited to cook with fresh, seasonal ingredients! One of my favorite pasta dishes to make for spring is this tasty and fresh  Homemade Spring Fettuccine with Pancetta, Peas & Asparagus. An excellent dish for a small reunion in a granny flat home done by lounginglizards.com.au/ .

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PrepFreshIngredients

It features homemade fresh spinach and egg fettuccine made with flour, eggs and olive oil, topped with crispy pancetta, fresh scallions, garlic, baby green peas and asparagus in a tasty parmesan cream sauce.

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You simply make the dough in your KitchenAid 14-cup food processor,

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knead it and cut it into a few pieces,

RollPasta

then use the KitchenAid pasta attachment to roll it out the pasta sheets

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and cut into lovely fresh fettuccine

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AddBrothCream

served with a gorgeous Parmesan cream sauce with fresh veggies all tossed around with the pasta and cheese right in the pan. YUM.

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It’s so delicious and easy to make and tastes like Spring in a bowl!

Click here to view the full recipe post on the Kitchenthusiast blog and see step by step photos and instructions on how to make this delicious Spring pasta dish!

Sunday Supper: Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Rosemary & Caramelized Garlic | Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine

 

Rosemary Chicken AsparagusLast Sunday on a cold rainy night last week, I started craving some homey pan-roasted chicken. And since I had some fresh asparagus from the farmer’s market I wanted to make some roasted asparagus to go with.

I found a recipe on Food.com‘s website by Rachael Ray for Garlic Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon that looked pretty delicious and decided to make my own version by tweaking the recipe and the cooking method a little bit.

Pan-Roasted Rosemary Chicken

Rachael’s recipe uses boneless chicken breasts and lemon along with the rosemary and garlic, and is roasted in the oven for about 25 minutes. It’s a simple recipe but I wanted to change it up a bit by using boneless chicken thighs for a richer, meatier flavor, and I added some paprika and cayenne pepper for some extra zing and savory flavor. I started out by pan-searing the chicken and garlic cloves in a Rosemary-Garlic infused olive oil for 20 minutes until they got caramelized and browned, then added the rosemary and finished the dish in the oven for another 20 minutes or so until cooked through and a lovely, golden brown. Then I made a savory pan sauce made with chicken broth, wine, lemon juice and butter to top the chicken, giving it a silky luscious sauce to bathe in.

Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine

I also made some lovely roasted asparagus to go with it simply made with olive oil, salt and pepper, some fresh lemon juice, sliced toasted almonds and a dash of dill seasoning and lemon zest to give it some bright flavor at the end.

The result? Crispy, savory chicken with tons of roasted caramel-y flavor and a fresh, lemony side dish of spring green asparagus topped with crunchy almonds and a hint of dill. Perfect for a Spring Sunday Supper!

Sunday Supper: Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Rosemary & Caramelized Garlic | Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • Pan-Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Caramelized Garlic:
  • 2 tablespoons Rosemary Garlic infused olive oil
  • 4-5 boneless chicken thighs
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine:
  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus, thick woody stems trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • White pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried dill seasoning
  • 1/2 cup unsalted almonds, thin sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Rosemary & Caramelized Garlic:
  2. Preheat oven to 475 degrees and heat olive oil in a cast iron or large skillet.
  3. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, cayenne and paprika, and sear over high heat skin side down for about 2-3 minutes. Lower heat to medium-high, add the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs; cook for another 10 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Turn off the heat, turn chicken over in the skillet, baste with some of the pan juices, and broil in the oven for another 10-12 minutes until chicken is crispy and cooked through.
  5. Turn chicken over once more (skin side up) and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so.
  6. Remove chicken, garlic and rosemary sprigs from the skillet, reserving the drippings in the pan. Add chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until sauce has reduced by half. Swirl in the butter at the end to make a silky sauce. Serve sauce over the chicken and caramelized garlic.
  7. Roasted Asparagus Almondine:
  8. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  9. Wash and trim asparagus and place on a roasting sheet or in a baking dish.
  10. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add lemon juice and dill. Add sliced almonds over the asparagus
  11. Roast in the oven for 7-10 minutes until asparagus and almonds are a toasty, golden brown. Sprinkle some additional lemon zest for garnish, if desired, and serve immediately with the Pan-Roasted Rosemary Chicken and Caramelized Garlic.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/04/22/sunday-supper-pan-roasted-chicken-with-rosemary-and-caramelized-garlic-roasted-lemon-asparagus-almondine/

Rosemary Chicken and Asparagus

Baby Asparagus, Garlic & Three-Cheese Tart

Baby Asparagus, Garlic & 3-CheeseTart

Whenever the holidays roll around, I love to bake and experiment with luscious pies and savory tarts. Puff pastry is such an easy way to make appetizers fit for a crowd, especially when you buy it pre-made from the grocery store. (I especially like Dufour brand which I get from Whole Foods and Fairway stores in NYC, it’s super flaky and buttery and light.) You simply roll them out on to a floured surface or a non-stick silicone baking mat (try Silpat), score the edges and prick a few holes in it and pre-bake it for about 15 minutes.  Then, you can top it with any sweet or savory topping you like and bake it into a buttery, crispy delightful tart (or cut the pastry into smaller rounds with a biscuit cutter) to feed a crowd for brunch or a holiday appetizer.

Asparagus-Garlic-3Cheese-Tart2

I decided to top this one with some sauteed baby asparagus and garlic with red chile flakes along with three creamy melty cheeses: ricotta, gruyere and parmesan and a hint of lemon zest. All you gotta do is create your masterpiece, pop it in the oven and cut it into squares and you’ve got a crowd-pleaser waiting to happen and a party in your mouth. If you’re not a big asparagus fan, try experimenting with some other veggies: broccoli, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, spinach – whatever you fancy, and play with other cheeses, as long as they are good for melting such as Monterey Jack, Brie, Gorgonzola or Mozzarella. The ricotta base I wouldn’t substitute though – it gives it a creamy layer of flavor and texture that’s just too good to give up and protects the pastry base from getting soggy from the vegetables and cheese. Throw some cooked bacon, ham or prosciutto on it too if you really want to add some savory flavor. And if you want to go the extra mile and make your own pastry dough, go for it – but it takes a lot longer and a little more elbow grease to get it perfect. Happy Holidays!

Baby Asparagus, Garlic & Three-Cheese Tart

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 puff pastry sheet (pre-made frozen or homemade)
  • 1 bunch of baby asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 container ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute asparagus spears with the shallots for about 5-7 minutes until they get soft. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add ricotta, whisked egg, half of the Parmesan cheese, thyme, lemon zest, sea salt and pepper.
  4. Roll out pastry sheet into a 16"x10" rectangle on to a Silpat (silicone baking mat) or parchment paper. Score around the edges 1 inch border and prick the base of the pastry with a fork in several places. Bake the pastry in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before adding toppings.
  5. Spread the ricotta and cheese mixture over the base of the puff pastry evenly. Top with sauteed asparagus, shallots and garlic, laying out asparagus spears in a flat row across the pastry.
  6. Sprinkle over the top the shredded Gruyere cheese and the rest of the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle additional fresh thyme if desired.
  7. Place the tart (on the Silpat or parchment paper base) on a rectangle baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until pastry is crisp and golden brown and the cheese on top is bubbly.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5-10 minutes. Cut tart into squares and serve.

Notes

Delicious for a holiday brunch or appetizer (you can always cut tart into bite size pieces to feed a crowd). Serve with a crisp white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Chenin Blanc.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/11/24/asparagus-three-cheese-tart/

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A bright, savory Spring chicken dish to celebrate the season

Prosciutto-Sage-Provolone Chicken

I love Spring. There’s nothing better than a dose of gorgeous sunshine, cherry blossoms in bloom, and the tempting promises of Summer on the way. It’s the perfect time of year to throw open the windows, do some Spring cleaning and celebrate new beginnings. I also love the bountiful selection of fresh seasonal herbs and vegetables that come along with it.

cherry blossoms

Asparagus is in its prime now, so I wanted to create a light and savory chicken dish to complement it for an easy, healthy weeknight dinner – a twist on classic Chicken Saltimbocca with the addition of some cheesy goodness and bright lemony flavor.

fresh asparagus

I picked up some fresh lemons, thin chicken breast cutlets at the market along with some Italian Prosciutto, fresh sage and Provolone cheese to stuff them with. To start, I laid out the chicken breasts in a large baking pan and layered the ingredients on top – first a slice of Prosciutto topped with a few sage leaves and thinly sliced cheese. I then folded them over and secured them with toothpicks and seared them in a pan in olive oil to get a nice golden brown crust. Once the chicken breasts were browned, I set them back in the pan, poured the juices on top and finished in the oven for about 15 minutes.

lemons

The best part of this dish is the buttery lemon wine sauce for serving. I sliced up some garlic and sautéed it in olive oil for a minute or two, then added some chicken broth, white wine and let it come to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmered it down to reduce the sauce, stirred in some lemon juice, a nob of butter and set the sauce aside for drizzling on the chicken later.

While the chicken was roasting in the oven, I blanched the asparagus for a minute or two and then tossed it with sliced garlic, olive oil and sea salt, roasting it for about 10 minutes or so until tender. So easy and soooo good!

Once the chicken and asparagus were done roasting, I served them on a plate and finished them off with the buttery lemon wine sauce. If you want to add a starch to the meal, simply cook up some orzo, pasta or  some crusty bread to go with it. You can also use Fontina cheese for a slightly different flavor, or to make it a vegetarian dish, omit the prosciutto and substitute some sautéed mushrooms or spinach and prepare the same way. Keep it light with a side salad and a lemony vinaigrette, and serve with a glass of Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris.

Here’s to Spring and the days leading up to Summer – Bon Appetit!

Prosciutto Sage Provolone Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Garlic Asparagus

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 4-6 chicken breast cutlets
  • 4-6 thin slices of Italian Prosciutto
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 4-6 slices of Provolone or Fontina cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced plus 1 clove minced (for sauce)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris)
  • juice from half a lemon, plus 1 tablespoon zest for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • lemon wedges and additional torn sage leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread out the chicken cutlets flat in a large baking dish, and season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Layer on top of each chicken breast a slice of prosciutto, two sage leaves, and a slice of provolone or fontina cheese, then fold over the chicken in half and secure with a toothpick to secure.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high and sauté chicken breasts approximately 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown.
  5. Remove the chicken and juices from pan and place back into the baking dish and roast in the oven for another 15 minutes until cooked through. You might want to baste the chicken in its juices once or twice to make sure the chicken doesn’t dry out in the oven.
  6. Meanwhile, slice 2 cloves of fresh garlic, mince 1 clove and set aside. Trim the ends off the asparagus and blanch in boiling salted water in a large pot for about 1 minute. Drain, place asparagus in a baking dish and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper and sliced garlic. Place in oven and roast for about 10-15 minutes until fork tender and slightly browned (be careful not to overcook or the asparagus will get dark and mushy – aim for tender yet crisp and green).
  7. In the same sauté pan for the chicken, heat another tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the additional clove of minced garlic for about 1 minute until lightly golden and soft. Add the chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. . Let sauce reduce to about half, then add 1 tablespoon of butter, swirling in to finish the sauce.
  8. When chicken and asparagus are done roasting, plate them and top off with the lemon butter wine sauce.
  9. Garnish with lemon wedges, torn sage leaves, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a side of cooked orzo or pasta, crusty bread or a green salad with a lemon vinaigrette and a dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/05/13/a-bright-savory-spring-chicken-dish-to-celebrate-the-season/

On the Menu: Cooking with Fresh Seasonal Ingredients

Pan-seared Scallops and Asparagus
Pan-seared Scallops and Asparagus

Spring has arrived! It’s my favorite time of year when everything comes alive…flowers are blooming, streets are buzzing, the sun is shining, and the freshest fruits and vegetables are available at the local markets. Asparagus, Strawberries, Avocados – three lovely, seasonal ingredients perfect for a light and refreshing Spring menu. The salad has marinated strawberries in a Strawberry Balsamic Viniagrette, which gives them a sweet, tangy flavor – a perfect complement to the crunchy toasted almonds, bacon and avocado in this delicious spring salad. The Scallops are pan-seared in a roasted garlic chardonnay marinade with a splash of lemon, served with a side of sautéed fresh asparagus. Enjoy!

Pan Seared Scallops with Garlic and Lemon and Sauteed Asparagus

Ingredients

16 Large Sea Scallops
¼ c. Roasted Garlic Chardonnay Marinade (Tavern on the Green)
2 tbsp EVOO
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
Lemon Pepper (Trader Joe’s)
1-2 Green Onions, sliced
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Kosher Salt to taste

Preparation

In a plastic freezer bag, place scallops and ¼ c. marinade and lemon pepper, coat scallops well. Marinade in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Prepped ingredients
Prepped ingredients

Chop the green onions and parsley and reserve for topping the scallops.

Asparagus
Asparagus

Cut off the ends of the asparagus (tough parts of the stem), rinse and pat dry. In a pre-heated sauté pan over medium-high, sauté the Asparagus in a tablespoon of olive oil with a splash of lemon juice and lemon pepper for about 5-6 minutes until cooked through.

After scallops are done marinating, take them out of the bag and dry off with paper towels. Place them in the same sauté pan, adding remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt and lemon pepper.

Pan-seared Scallops
Pan-seared Scallops

Sear the scallops for approx. 2-3 minutes per side until browned and cooked through. Sprinkle scallops with some fresh lemon juice and remove from pan.

Place asparagus and scallops on a plate and garnish with chopped green onions, parsley and a lemon wedge.

Serves 4.

Strawberry Avocado Salad
Strawberry Avocado Salad

Strawberry, Bacon and Avocado Salad with Toasted Marcona Almonds

Ingredients

1 lb of mixed lettuce
1 pint of fresh strawberries, sliced
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 ripe avocado, sliced
½ cup of Rosemary Marcona almonds, toasted (Trader Joe’s)
3 green onions, sliced thin
3 tbsp of EVOO
3 tbsp of Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar (Tavern on the Green)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Preparation

Slice the strawberries into thin slices and place in a sealable plastic bag with the 2 tbsp Strawberry Balsamic vinegar in the refrigerator, let marinade for about an hour.

Prepare salad dressing, mix olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and mustard together, slowly whisking in oil until it is mixed well and set aside.

Fry bacon in a pan until cooked well and drain on paper towels. Let bacon cool and crumble for salad topping. Set aside.

Rosemary Marcona Almonds and Green Onions
Rosemary Marcona Almonds and Green Onions

Place almonds in a separate pre-heated medium-sized pan with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt over the nuts. Cook and stir for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown and toasty.

Slice the avocados and green onions.

In a large salad bowl, toss the lettuce and vinaigrette together, mixing well, and top salad greens with the marinated strawberries and sliced avocados.

Garnish the salad with crumbled bacon, green onions, toasted almonds, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

In the Mood For Love

scallops

Recipes To Spice Up Your Valentine’s Day


“Aphrodisiac: any of various forms of stimulation thought to arouse sexual excitement. Aphrodisiacs may be classified in two principal groups: (1) psycho-physiological (visual, tactile, olfactory, aural) and (2) internal (stemming from food, alcoholic drinks, drugs, love potions, medical preparations)”.

We’ve all heard that there are certain foods that have aphrodisiac powers, but which ones and what effect do they have on romance? There are several foods that increase passion and the mood for love – almonds, arugula, asparagus, avocado, bananas, basil, chilies, chocolate, coffee, figs, garlic, ginger, honey, nutmeg, oysters, pinenuts, raspberries, strawberries, black truffles, vanilla and wine, just to name a few.

Truffles are said to stimulate and sensitize the skin for touch. Vanilla’s scent and flavor is known to increase lust. Chilies increase blood flow and sex drive. The chemicals in chocolate trigger neurochemicals in the brain that increases passion. Red wine relaxes and stimulates the senses.

For Valentine’s Day, I rounded up a few recipes featuring some of these love-ly passion-inspiring foods, guaranteed to spice up your night and make it one to remember!

Broiled Oysters with Fresh Herbs, Garlic and Cheese

Herbed Oysters

Ingredients:

24 fresh oysters
¾ cup of breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of olive oil
½ teaspoon of fresh thyme, chopped
½ teaspoon of fresh basil, chopped
¼ teaspoon of fresh marjoram, chopped
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Shuck the oysters and set aside on the half shell. Discard the remaining shells.

In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, garlic, mustard, olive oil, thyme, basil, marjoram, lemon zest and Parmesan.

 Top each oyster with about 1 teaspoon of the breadcrumb mixture and place the oysters on a baking sheet. Cook under high broiler (grill) for about 6 minutes or until the oysters are crispy and golden brown.

 Serve hot, with a wedge of lemon and your favorite hot pepper sauce on the side. Pop open a bottle of your best bubbly and indulge with your honey.

Recipe adapted from www.oysterrecipes.org

Milk Soup with Truffles au Gratin

Truffle Gratin

Ingredients:

2 c. of chicken juice (gravy)
2 + 2/3 c. of milk cream
1 oz. of fresh truffle
2 lbs. of fresh bread
2/3 c. of truffle juice
1/3 c. of milk
2/3 c. of egg whites
Salt, white pepper

Preparation:

Reduce the chicken juice to half.

Add the milk, milk cream and reduce again.

Add the truffle juice and reduce until you get a nice texture.

Check on seasoning and put aside for the moment.

Preparation of the bread toasts:

Whisk 2/3 c. of cream, season with salt and pepper.

Cut the bread into 1 inch thick slices and cut them into circles (2 inch diameters)

Toast both sides of the bread pieces, dig one side on the piece and pour the wiped cream into it, bake it “au gratin”
under the broiler for a few minutes until lightly browned around the edges.

Recipe originated from French-Truffles.com

Chocolate Chicken

Chocolate Chicken

2 lbs. chicken, cut up — (2 to 2 1/2)
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil — (1 to 2)
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. anise seed
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh pepper
2 tsp. hot crushed red peppers
1/8 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)
Sesame seeds

Brown chicken in a medium skillet in hot oil. Remove to a large (13x9x2) cake pan or baking dish. Pour oil from skillet and add the stock. Simmer 5 minutes. Mix cocoa with vegetable oil to form a paste. Add cloves, cinnamon, anise seed, and blend. Stir spice mixture into simmering stock and simmer 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. 
Pour mixture over the chicken parts. Cover and bake in preheated 350-degree oven until chicken is tender (around 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds over a bed of rice.

Spicy Scallops with Capellini

Scallop

Ingredients:

1 pound sea scallops, quartered if large
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small dried chipotle chile with seeds, stemmed and chopped
Fine sea salt
1/2 pound capellini

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large shallow glass or ceramic baking dish, toss the scallops with the oil, wine, parsley, garlic and chipotle. Season with salt and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the oil is sizzling and the scallops are firm.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the capellini until just al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain; transfer to a serving bowl. Add the scallops and their juices, toss well and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Recipe originated from Food and Wine magazine.

Coffee and Chocolate Braised Short Ribs

Chocolate-Coffee Braised Short Ribs

Ingredients:

Olive oil or lard
5 lbs beef short ribs
Salt and Pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 cups strong coffee
1.5 cups chopped tomatoes, with juice (or one 28 oz can)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup unsweetened chocolate (70% or higher cacao)
Cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

Preparation:

Rinse short ribs under cold water and pat dry, season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron pan or Dutch oven over medium high heat.

Place a few of the short ribs in the pan, being careful not to crowd them. Brown the short ribs well on all sides until they have a nice seared brown color. Transfer the meat to a plate and continue to cook the rest of the ribs. When done, remove all of the meat to the plate.

Reduce the heat to medium. If you used a cast iron pan for the browning, heat more oil in a large oven safe covered casserole dish. If you’re using a Dutch oven, just keep on cooking.

Add the onions and peppers and cook until the onions are translucent, approximately 5-10 minutes. Next mix in the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the brown sugar and spices and cook for 5 minutes longer. Add the coffee, chopped tomatoes, and tomato paste and bring the whole mixture to a boil.

Return the short ribs to the pot and cover. Braise in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours. Mix in the chocolate until melted. Season ribs with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, pasta or polenta. Indulge in a nice hearty red such as a Cabernet or Zinfandel or Shiraz which goes great with the chocolate and spicy flavors in this dish.

Recipe adapted from the Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook

Arugula and Avocado Salad With Shaved Parmesan and Toasted Pine Nuts

Arugula Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

2 bunches arugula, washed and dried ( about 6 cups)
1 avocados, peeled and sliced
Shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese, to taste

Lemon Dressing

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
4 -5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions

To make the dressing, in a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and garlic. Slowly whisk in olive oil until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

Place arugula in a serving bowl and add dressing to taste. Mix well. Top with avocado slices, drizzle a bit more dressing over them and season with a pinch of salt. Using a vegetable peeler, shave slivers of Parmesan over the top.

Top off the salad with some toasted pine nuts for an extra crunch (and spice to your Valentine’s Day!)

Serves 4.

Recipe originated from Food.com

Bananas Foster

Bananas Foster

Ingredients

¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup banana liqueur
4 bananas, cut in half 
lengthwise, then halved
¼ cup dark rum
4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Instructions

Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately. Prepare to swoon almost immediately.

Recipe originated from Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans.

Chocolate Honey Mousse

chocolate mousse

Ingredients

12 oz of dark crispy chocolate
5-6 dessert spoons of pure honey
3 cups of fresh cream

Instructions

Mix together dark chocolate (should be crushed into pieces), 5 dessert spoons honey and ¾ cup of fresh cream. The ingredients
should be mixed over luke warm water. This mixture will need to be stirred constantly, till the dark chocolate stats to melt and combines itself with the honey and cream.

Once all three ingredients have blended into one another, keep it aside for it to cool.

While the chocolate mixture is kept aside to cool, start whipping the remaining cream (2 ¼ cups) but not very firm.

Once the cream is whipped and the chocolate mixture is cool, gradually and slowly fold the cream into it. Blend this mixture well.

Take a special serving dish and carefully pour the whole mixture into it and keep it to set in the refrigerator.

The chocolate honey mousse can also be poured into separate individual bowls as it does make a lavish amount.

If the mousse is poured into one whole serving dish, the chocolate honey mouse might take about 3 to 4 hours for it to set well.

Chocolate honey mousse can be served with creamy vanilla ice cream. Garnish with crushed nuts as a topping.

White Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Raspberry Tart

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup of walnuts, finely chopped
¾ cup of unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 ½ cup of flour
1 teaspoon of freshly-grated orange zest
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 cups of fresh raspberries
12 oz of white chocolate, chopped
½ cup of heavy cream, warmed
½ cup of whipped cream, to garnish

Directions:

In a bowl with an electric mixer, blend walnuts, ¾ of the butter, sugar, flour, orange zest and egg until thoroughly combined, and press into an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom.

Freeze the shell for 15 minutes.

While the shell is freezing, preheat your oven to 375°F.

 Bake the shell in middle of your oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

 Allow the shell to cool on a rack.

Remove the side of pan and transfer the shell to a plate.

 Fill shell with 2 ½ cups of raspberries.

In a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the white chocolate. 

Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the cream and the remaining butter, whisking until smooth.

 Spread the white chocolate mixture over the raspberries, smoothing top and chill, covered, for 3 hours or overnight.

Garnish the tart with whipped cream and remaining ½ cup of raspberries.

Serve at room temperature.

Recipe originated from www.raspberryrecipes.net

Read more about Aphrodisiac Foods and History

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