Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Truffle Cake aka The Second* Easiest Cake in the World

This is a combination of two different River Cafe "truffle cake" recipes- one had a more mousse-like filling that used egg yolks and butter with the chocolate on top of a hazelnut praline crust, and the other was simply chocolate and cream, or 100% ganache. I opted to make the praline crust with the simple ganache on top and the combination was perfect. I used Mission almonds instead of hazelnuts, which my mother doesn't like. Aside from an hour of chilling in the fridge, this cake came together in about a half hour and required almost no effort at all, and only five ingredients, all of which I had in my pantry. I served it with whipped cream and it was such a huge hit at our Passover meal that I will definitely be making it again.

2 C Mission almonds (or hazelnuts)
6 Tbs Demerara sugar (you could also use Turbinado or brown)
1/2 C butter (I used salted and I thought it was a nice compliment to the bittersweet chocolate)
450 g dark chocolate (70% is recommended)
10 oz heavy whipping cream

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Butter the bottom of a 9" springform pan, line with parchment, and butter the paper as well. Roast the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes, and then pulse in a food processor until coarsely ground.

Melt butter in a saucepan and add sugar, letting it boil until a light caramel forms (not very long). Add the nuts and stir for a couple of minutes so that everything sticks together. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and spread into an even layer while still hot. Let cool.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Heat the cream and then stir it into the chocolate until combined. Pour on top of the praline crust and refrigerate for at least an hour until you are ready to serve.

When you are ready to serve the cake, wrap a towel soaked in hot water around the sides of the pan for a few seconds to melt the ganache slightly so that the ring will come off smoothly. When serving, dip your knife in warm water between slices for super clean cutting.

* the easiest cake in the world is Icebox Cake.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lentil and Veggie Tacos

I love that you can put anything in a tortilla and call it a taco. In this case, I used leftover lentil salad (lentils, shallot, garlic, herbs, red wine vinegar) that I heated up, leftover veggies (peas, asparagus, spinach and spring onion), and a little goat cheese. Yum!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rigatoni with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

I freeze lots and lots of roasted tomatoes every summer so I can eat them year round. This is one of my favorite ways to use them. It's so easy- I just chop up the tomatoes and let them thaw, and toss them with the hot pasta when it's cooked. The tangy goat cheese crumbled on top is the perfect compliment to the sweet tomatoes.

Beets with Preserved Lemon, Chickpeas with Harissa, and Asparagus

Spring Veggies Over Polenta

Monday, April 4, 2011

Black Beans and Quinoa with Kale, Celery, and Onion

Also: coriander and oregano, and celery leaves, cilantro and green onions tossed in at the end.