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Voting has begun-Fire On Ice Challenge

Light and Dark Spicy Chocolate Panna Cotta


Just an update, voting has begun for the Fire and Ice chile pepper challenge from Marx Foods. There are 19 bloggers competing and I am proud to announce that I am one of them. I had so much fun with this challenge and want to thank Marx food for the delicious assortment of chillies and the opportunity to hone my skills and creativity.

If you are so inclined and would like to vote for my Spicy Panna Cotta you can do so by clicking on this link for Fire On Ice.  You can vote until midnight, Thursday August 2nd. Thank you so much if you like my recipe enough to vote for me and if not, I still thank you for checking it out. Thanks again everyone!


Bake Together-Chocolate Shortcake With Cognac Infused Apricots

Chocolate Shortcake With Apricots

Every month I look forward to Bake Together with Abby Dodge, I was especially excited about this months challenge. I adore strawberry shortcake and Abby decided to give this American classic a twist by making a chocolate shortcake, our challenge was to make it our own, keeping the basic premise of the challenge of course,but we are able to make changes, adding our own creative spin. I made the shortcake as directed by Abby but baked it as one sheet, slightly thinner than Abby’s. After it cooled I cut rounds with my biscuit cutter. It’s the same basic idea but slightly different execution. Instead of Strawberries I used some beautiful apricots which I macerated in sugar and cognac. The whipped cream is lightly sweetened and flavored with cognac also. Chocolate and apricots are delicious together and the cognac rounds it all out beautifully. Thanks Abby for another great month of baking with you!


1 lb apricots cleaned and sliced (don’t peel)

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbs good cognac

Place the sliced apricots in a bowl add the sugar and cognac and gently stir to combine. Cover and let sit for an hour or more.

Whipped Cream:

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tbs super fine sugar

1 tsp cognac

Whip in a cold bowl with cold beaters until it’s thick and the desired consistency,

Double Chocolate- Strawberry Shortcakes
Makes 8 servings

For the Shortcakes
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled
3/4 cup buttermilk, chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (7 7/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (4 5/8 ounces) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (1 ounce) unsweetened, natural cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chopped chocolate or chips
2 tablespoons sanding sugar (turbando, demerara), optional

To make the shortcakes:
1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a nonstick liner.

2. Cut the butter in half lengthwise, cut each half lengthwise again, and then cut each strip into 8 pieces. Pile the butter onto a plate and slide it into the freezer until ready to use. Measure the buttermilk in a 1-cup Pyrex measure and add the vanilla. Using a fork, whisk until blended and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

3. Put the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Add the cold butter pieces and, using short pulses, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal with small pieces of butter (about pea-sized) still visible, about 1 minute. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and add chopped chocolate.

4. Pour the buttermilk and vanilla over the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir and fold until it forms a shaggy, moist dough with some floury bits remaining. Scrape the dough and any remaining floury bits onto the counter and knead a few times until the dough is evenly moist and holds together well.

5. Gently press the dough into a thick 8 x 4 -inch rectangle. Using a large sharp knife, trim the edges to make a neat rectangle and cut into 8 equal squares.  Arrange the biscuits on the prepared cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle the tops with the sanding sugar, if using. Bake until puffed and spring back when the tops are gently pressed, 16 to 18 minutes. Move the sheet to a cooling rack and let the biscuits sit until they’re cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature

Place bottom half of shortcake on serving dish, spoon on apricots. Put top half on top of fruit. Spoon on the whipped cream, drizzle with some of the syrup from the apricots and enjoy.

Fire On Ice-Light And Dark Spicy Chocolate Panna Cotta

Fire On Ice Light and Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta

This recipe is for a Marx Food Contest “Fire On Ice”.  The challenge is to prepare a cold dish using chillies, Marx Foods sent a beautiful assortment of dried chillies, an exciting array of different types with varying degree’s of heat. I thought Ice cream, beverages, gazpacho but wanted to do something with chocolate that was cold but not frozen. Panna Cotta is one of my favorite desserts, cold and creamy a perfect summer dessert. I have some nice dark and milk chocolate so I thought I would make a duo of panna cotta using both types of chocolate and use different chillies for each. The milk chocolate is more delicate so I used cascabel chillies which are very mild and for the more assertive dark chocolate I used guajillo for a more intense flavor and heat. I garnished with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream sprinkled with a pinch of the chile powder that is used in each dessert. It’s cold, creamy and spicy and absolutely delicious. You can see the pieces of the chillies because I did a course grind,  you get a little zing in each creamy bite and the flavor of the chile is front and center.  Serve nicely chilled.
2 cascabel chillies
2 guajillo chillies

1 3/4 cup heavy cream divided

1 1/4 tsp powdered or granulated gelatin
2 tbs sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 oz good quality milk chocolate
1/1/2 oz good quality semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate
2 tsp ground guajillo chile powder (for dark chocolate)
2 1/2 tsp ground cascabel chile powder (for milk chocolate)
Heavy cream sweetened and whipped for garnish
Heat skillet until hot, add the whole chillies and pan roast to dry approx 7-8 minutes turning frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.
When cooled remove stems and seeds and grind each chile separately into a powder. (NOTE: I did a more course grind I wanted small pieces of the chile so every spoonful is a surprise)  Set aside.
Two 5 oz ramekins or four 3 oz ramekins, oiled or sprayed with neutral oil or cooking spray.
Chop chocolate and set aside.
 in small ramekin or bowl pour in 1/4 cup heavy cream and add the gelatin. In larger bowl pour some very hot water (only a few inches). Place ramekin with cream and gelatin in the hot water and let sit. Meanwhile in medium saucepan pour in 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, the sugar and salt and heat to boiling and immediately turn off the heat. Stir gelatin until dissolved in the cream. Divide the heated cream from the saucepan evenly into two bowls. Add the milk chocolate to one bowl and the dark to the other. Let sit for 5 minutes then whisk to combine, the chocolate should be completely melted, divide the gelatin evenly between both bowls,and whisk to combine.  Pour one of the bowls through a sieve into measuring cup with a spout so that it’s easier to pour into ramekins. (I used one measuring cup and did each separately), now stir in the chile powder the guajillo for the dark chocolate and the cascabel for the milk chocolate, pour into ramekin (s). Repeat with the second bowl.
 Let come to room temperature then cover and refrigerate 4-6 hours or overnight. When ready to serve set each ramekin in hot water for approximately 4-5 seconds. Run butter knife or small flexible offset spatula around the custard to loosen and invert onto serving plate. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream sprinkled with a little left over chile powder.

Cold, Creamy and Spicy

Food52 Cookbook Volume 2

Food52 Cookbook Volume 2

I feel just terrible that I haven’t posted anything for a while. First work became so busy I was just too tired and barely cooked at all. Then the heat, well, it was just way too hot to cook. I stayed away from my kitchen only making food for my dogs and something that required little to no heat for me. Summers in NYC can be brutal, I don’t have central AC and live in a 100+ year old home with very high ceilings, my window air conditioners barely cool it off. So the kitchen for me was almost off limits. During the last heat wave, notice I say last, we have already had 4 and summer just started a month ago, my Nando got sick and I ended up in the Veterinary Emergency Hospital. Last Friday when I was taking Nando for a follow up appointment I started to lift him and felt a searing and horrific pain in my back and literally could not move, I got him to the hospital with help from my neighbor but have spent the last few days almost immobile. I am feeling better now, after days of pain meds, muscle relaxants and bed rest, so this is my feeble attempt to catch up.

I am so excited that in November the second Food52 cookbook will be available. My recipe for Flank Steak on Texas Toast with Chimichurri will be in the book and I can’t wait to get my copy. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon. I love the first cookbook and use it all the time. Food52 is such a great resource, I have made so many friends, home cooks and professionals alike post recipes, enter contests and offer advice.

I hope to be able to post some recipes but it looks like we are in for another heat wave and as far as I can see we will be having hot, humid weather for the coming week,  so my time in the kitchen again will be limited, I think I’ll make ice cream!