Asparagus, Tiny Potatoes & Caviar

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This is the ultimate spring dish with some fanciness. If you have truffle oil, toss the roasted potatoes with a little before serving.

Ingredients:
1 lb tiny potatoes
1 lb asparagus, rough ends snapped off
3 TBSP creme fraiche
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp olive oil
2 TBSP snipped chives
Caviar
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425.

Toss potatoes with olive oil and salt. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 20 – 30 minutes until crispy on the outside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook asparagus for 1 – 3 minutes depending on thickness.

Combine creme, 1 tsp olive oil, zest, chives and a pinch of salt. Chill until ready to use.

Place asparagus on a plate with potatoes, drizzle with creme mixture and garnish with caviar.

Serves 2 – 4.

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Jalapeño Popper Dip

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On the weekends I love to have a cocktail and appetizers before our meal. Come on, it’s the weekend. The inspiration for this recipe came from pintrest, but I made quite a few modifications. I used lite cream cheese and left out mayo, why add the extra fat if your font have to? Plus you’ll never miss it. I chopped the jalapeños in a the cuisenart than plopped in the rest of the ingredients – yum!

Ingredients:
1 8-oz packages of cream cheese, soft
4-6 jalapeno’s, chopped
1/2 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c of mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup diced green onions
1/2 c panko
Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all of the ingredients into a medium bowl. Stir well.

Transfer to an oven proof dish. Bake 20 minutes until brown on top and bubbly.

Serves 4 – 6.

Chicken Thighs

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I almost always opt for thighs over breast – the just taste better! This is a simple recipe that the kids love. I usually double the batch so we have plenty of leftovers for lunch during the week.

Ingredients:
4 small skinless boneless chicken thighs (about 12 ounces)
1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
3/4 c orange juice
3/4 c canned low-salt chicken broth
1/4 c whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 TBSP honey
1 tsp hot pepper sauce

Sprinkle chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until brown, about 6 minutes per side. Add orange juice and broth to skillet. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Transfer chicken to plate. Add mustard, honey and pepper sauce to skillet. Increase heat and boil until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, whisking occasionally, about 7 minutes.

Return chicken to skillet. Simmer until heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer chicken to plates; top with sauce and serve.

Serves 4.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

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I love cake. this is quick cake that only dirties one bowl. I added some coconut and chocolate chips to make it special.

Ingredients:
3/4 c plus 2 TBSP whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c nonfat buttermilk
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c hot strong black coffee
1/2 c coconut
1/2 c chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.

Whisk flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, oil and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add hot coffee and beat to blend. (The batter will be quite thin.) stir in chocolate chips and coconut.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from the pan.

Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar before slicing.

Foie Gras Millefeuille with Toasted Almond, Caramelized Onion, Dried Blueberry Sauce and Pinapple Brûlée

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This is a crazy elaborate dish – I made it for my birthday dinner know full well my hubby would take care of the dishes. It is a ton of work, and worth all the effort! This is from Foie Gras a passion cookbook.

Caramelized Onions:
1 TBSP duck fat or butter
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt fat. Add onions and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently until dark brown. Set aside and rewarm when ready to assemble.

Dried Blueberry Sauce:
1/4 c dried blueberry
2 TBSP cognac
1 tsp duck fat or butter
1/2 yellow onion, minced
2 c duck or chicken stock
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp honey

Soak berries in cognac for 30 minutes. Heat duck fat in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft. Add blueberries and liquid, stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, until reduced by 1/2 about 20 minutes. Add vinegar and honey. Purée in blender. Return to pan and keep warm.

Almond Phyllo Pasty:
2 sheets phyllo dough
1/4 c butter, melted
1/2 c crushed almonds

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut phyllo into four 3 inch wide strips. Cover with a damp cloth. Lay one sheet out on a cutting board, brush with melted butter, top 1 TBSP almonds. Fold, brush with butter, repeat to form a 3 inch square. Place on a parchment lined pan. Repeat. Top with another sheet of parchment and place a pan on top. Bake 25 min, remove pan and bake 10 more minutes. Cool.

Pinapple Brûlée:
2 rings fresh pinapple
Sugar

Place piñeapple on a baking sheet. Sprinkle sugar over pineapple and use a blow torch to caramelize the sugar.

Seared Foie Gras:
4 – 2 oz slices of Foie Gras
Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper Foie. Heat a 10 inch pan over high heat until very hot. Add Foie, cook 30 seconds per side.

Assemble:
Place phyllo square in center of plate. Top with Foie, second piece of phyllo, pineapple, onions and drizzle with blueberry sauce.

Serves 4.

Fava Bean, Strawberry & Pecorino

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This salad is from Chris Cosentino’s Beginnings – it’s amazing!! I made one change, I added a drop of vanilla to the dressing because I did not have vanilla salt.

Ingredients:
1 c fava beans, shelled
1 c strawberries, quartered
1 bunch of arugula
1 TBSP aged balsamic
1 TBSP olive oil
1 drop vanilla
Salt and pepper
Shaved pecorino

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add Favas and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove and plunge in an ice bath. Remove skin.

Combine balsamic, oil, vanilla and aalt and pepper in a small jar, shake.

Combine berries, arugula and Favas, toss with dressing. Top with shaved pecorino.

Serves 4.

5 Minute Chocolate Cake

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There are times when a gal needs a piece of chocolate cake and she needs it now!! This is the most dangerous cake ever! Why? Well, it’s chocolate, it’s hot and it only takes 5 minutes to make!!

Ingredients:
1 egg
3 TBSP milk
3 TBSP canola oil
3 TBSP flour
3 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP cocoa powder
3 TBSP chocolate chips
Splash of vanilla
Pinch of salt
2 small coffee mugs

Mix wet in a small bowl. Add dry, combine. Divide between 2 small mugs, microwave on high for 2 minutes. Eat out of cup or flip onto a plate if your feeling fancy.

Serves 2.

Sole in Butter and Lemon Sauce

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This dish is simple yet elegant. It’s perfect with fresh spring veggies and brown rice.

Ingredient:
1/2 c all-purpose flour
Salt and Pepper
4 fresh sole fillets, 3 to 4 ounces each
6 TBSP butter
1 tsp grated lemon zest
6 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP minced fresh parsley
2 tsp capers, drained

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Have 2 heat-proof dinner plates ready

Combine the flour, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper in a large shallow plate. Pat the sole fillets dry with paper towels and sprinkle one side with salt.

Heat 3 TBSP of butter in a 12 inch saute pan over medium heat until it starts to brown. Dredge 2 sole fillets in the seasoned flour on both sides and place them in the hot butter. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Turn carefully with a metal spatula and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. While the second side cooks, add 1/2 tsp of lemon zest, 1 tsp of capers and 3 TBSP of lemon juice to the pan. Carefully put the fish filets on the ovenproof plates and pour the sauce over them.

Keep the cooked fillets warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the remaining 2 fillets. When they’re done, add the cooked fillets to the plates in the oven.

Serves 4.

Sprinkle with the parsley, salt, and pepper and serve immediately.

Baked Chocolate Donuts

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Sunday is family day and we always start the day with a nice breakfast together. This morning my 4 year old requested chocolate donuts, so that’s what I baked.

Ingredients:
1 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 c coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1 egg
4 tsp coconut palm oil or butter, melted
2 TBSP coffee
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 325.

Coat donut pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In small bowl, whisk milk, sugar, egg, butter, coffee, and vanilla until smooth. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; whisk until blended and smooth.

Fill each doughnut cup approximately 3/4 full. Bake for 13 minutes or until doughnuts spring back when touched. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar or spread a little Nutella on top and add sprinkles.

Makes 6.

Coconut and Chocolate Chip Cake

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This one is from Epicurious.com and it is wonderful!! I swapped out the butter for coconut palm oil and the sugar for coconut sugar – to make it a little healthier and a lot more coconutty!!

Ingredients:
1 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c coconut palm oil
2 tsp finely grated orange peel
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c canned lite coconut milk
6 oz chocolate chips
1/2 c sweetened flaked coconut

Coconut Drizzle:
3/4 c powdered sugar
2 TBSP lite coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides; dust pan with flour, shaking out excess.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Stir in shredded coconut and set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar, coconut oil, and orange peel in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with coconut milk in 2 additions, beating just until blended after each addition. Fold in half of the chocolate chips. Spread batter evenly in prepared cake pan. Sprinkle remaining chocolate pieces over batter, then sprinkle with sweetened flaked coconut.

Bake cake until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, tenting with sheet of foil if coconut atop cake is browning too quickly, 60 to 70 minutes. Transfer cake to rack and cool in pan 45 minutes.

Coconut Drizzle
Whisk powdered sugar, 2 TBSP coconut milk, and vanilla in small bowl to blend well, adding more coconut milk by 1/2 teaspoonfuls until mixture is thin enough to drizzle over cake.

Carefully run small knife around sides of cake to loosen. Invert cake onto platter, then carefully invert again onto another platter, coconut side up. Using small spoon, drizzle powdered sugar mixture decoratively over cake. Cool cake completely on platter.