Sunday, November 30, 2008

Amy Atlas High End Dessert Bar

Photos via Amy Atlas

Pretty Dessert Bar idea for special occasions.

No Bake "Bling Bling" Chocolate Cake

I came across this recipe when browsing blogs for food. I have to try this one day. I like any dessert that has "no bake" in it's name, because I'm too lazy to bake. Thanks to A Foodie Froggy blog.

For a large rectangular birthday cake (serves 12)
(2 biscuits width, 5 biscuits lenghth, 5 biscuits height)
To be made one day ahead of time78 square tea biscuits
2 cups expresso coffee (tepid)
120g (4.2 oz) granulated sugar
120g (4.2 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature, until “soft”
4 eggs, at room temperature
200g (7 oz) dark chocolate (mine is baking chocolate from Lindt)
25cl (1 cup) liquid whipping cream1 tbsp grand marnier (optional)

In a mixing bowl, mix egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow.
Then add "soft” butter. Mix well, using a whisk (or an electric mixer if you find it easier).
Whip the egg whites until stiff. Combine them carefully with the “buttery” mixture until smooth.
Line a loaf cake mold with film paper.
Pour the coffee in a soup plate (1 cup first, and when empty, the second cup).
Add grand marnier in the coffee plate if desired.
Soak 10 teabiscuits in the coffee,one by one, and place them side by side, in a single layer, making a rectangular shape (2 biscuits * 5 biscuits).
Beware, if the coffee is hot, the biscuits will collapse.
Cover with a fourth of the cream mixture.
Repeat with the other biscuits 4 times (4 more layers of 10 bicuits each, each covered with a 1/4 of the mixture, but the 5th layer (the top layer) must not be covered with cream.
Refrigerate overnight.
The day after (at least 3 hours in advance), remove from the fridge and unmold the cake by inverting the mold on a pastry sheet lined with parchment paper.
Heat liquid cream in a sauce pan. When simmering, add chopped chocolate.
Mix (out of the heat), until smooth.
Cover the cake (top and sides) with the melted chocolate cream.
Do not worry if the chocolate spreads everywhere in the plate : after a few hours in the fridge, the chocolate will be more "solid" and you will be able to cut the sides properly.
Let stand one hour at room temperature then in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Decorate with golden edible powder, using a pastry brush.
Add golden edible glitters if you like.
To serve, cut into slices just like a loaf cake. VOILA!

Wild Mushroom Potato Gratin

I made this recipe for Thanksgiving dinner with my friends the Helms, and it was a hit. It was kinda of scary at first because I never made a potato gratin recipe before. I got this recipe from Debie Rose, a multi-line sales representative I work with. She is such a sweetheart and also a foodie addict. Debie collected more than 3000 recipe, and this is from one of her collections she found at

For this recipe I used 3/4 lbs baby bella and 1/2 lbs shitake mushroom instead. Added mushroom buillon while the cream/milk was boiling and sprinkle some dried thyme over the guyere cheese. Also, use more cheese than it is called in the recipe.

yield: Makes 8 servings
active time: 45 min
total time: 2 hr
For a more elegant presentation, we cut out rounds from the gratin with a 4-inch cookie cutter.
Active time: 45 min Start to finish: 2 hr

1/2 lb fresh wild or exotic mushrooms such as chanterelles or shiitakes (discard shiitake stems), trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 lb fresh cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 lb russet (baking) potatoes
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 oz finely grated Gruyère (1 cup)
Special equipment: a 15- by 10- by 2-inch oval gratin dish or other 3-qt shallow baking dish

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 400°F.
Cook chanterelles or shiitakes with salt and pepper to taste in 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Cook cremini in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in skillet, stirring, until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes, then transfer to bowl with wild mushrooms. Toss mushrooms with 1 teaspoon garlic.
Peel potatoes and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices (preferably with an adjustable-blade slicer). Bring potatoes, cream, milk, salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic to a boil in a 4- to 6-quart heavy pot, stirring once or twice, then remove from heat.
Transfer half of potatoes to buttered gratin dish with a slotted spoon, spreading evenly. Spread mushrooms evenly over potatoes, then top with remaining potatoes. Pour cooking liquid over potatoes and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake gratin until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Cooks' note: •Instead of using 1/2 lb of 1 type of wild or exotic mushroom, you could use 1/4 lb each of 2 types.