Thursday, March 22, 2012

Slap Those Artichokes on the Grill


Yes, it’s time for another tasty blog post from the Foodgasm kitchens. I just love appetizers or small bites of food. This recipe for Grilled Artichokes with Spicy Sweet Remoulade Sauce is one of my favorite appetizers to make and most definitely to eat. Artichokes I feel are a very underused and appreciated vegetable. The recipe is great to make indoors on a grill pan or on an outdoor grill. And you can prep the artichokes and steam ahead of time and then grill right before you serve. So, it’s a great make-ahead treat to have ready for any gathering of food lovers.

These grilled artichokes taste even better with the spicy sweet remoulade sauce for that perfect Foodgasmic moment.  This is a very sexy food to eat as you bite on a leaf, softly drag your teeth along the soft part and savor.
 
Grilled Artichokes with Spicy Sweet Remoulade Sauce
Serves 4 for appetizers

Remoulade Sauce
¾ cup homemade or store bought mayonnaise
1 ½ tablespoons sun dried tomato spread/paste
2 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons hot sauce (I like to use Cholula hot sauce)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¾ teaspoon chopped garlic, about 2 cloves

Directions
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and serve as a dip with the grilled artichokes.
Leftover sauce will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 or 4 days.

Grilled Artichokes
4 fresh artichokes
1 lemon
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
(Optional) 1 bay leaf, few whole peppercorns, 1-2 slices of lemon or lemon rind for the steaming water.

You'll need a steamer pot or even a regular pot that you can put a steamer basket into. Put water in the pot to just under the steamer basket or just under halfway in a steamer pot. . To steam the artichokes, put in water bay leaf, few peppercorns or lemon rind or lemon slice. Cut off the pointy tops of the whole artichokes and put in the steamer. Steam for 20-25 minutes, or until knife goes in easily near the base.

Take off lid and rest for 5 minutes (cooler to work with). Clean off any extra or bad leaves on the outside. Cut into quarters (4 pieces for each artichoke). Scoop out choke( the bulky thread-like center). Brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil, little salt and pepper on open cut side. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the artichokes.

Fire up grill to a high heat/flame. Put the artichoke quarters on super hot grill, cut side down. Grill for 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on how dark the grill marks you want. Take off of the grill. Arrange them on a plate and serve with the spicy sweet remoulade sauce to dip into. Savor and enjoy.

And, let me know what you think of them!


Monday, March 12, 2012

More Chocolate Surprises


Chocolate is once again in the air or is that love. Hmmmmmm, I definitely think it’s chocolate--that luscious seductive Mayan treat that makes so many weak in the knees. In search of another tasty chocolate treat, I go into the Foodgasm test kitchens and out comes this new sexy dessert. It’s Chocolate-Mascarpone Crepes with Strawberry Sauce.

It’s a fun and slightly naughty dessert. The flames from the strawberry sauce combine so well with the cool chocolate crepes and sweet creamy mascarpone filling. This dessert can be made ahead and the sauce flamed at the last minute, a perfect one for showing off on date night or to wow a crowd. So here it is, a dessert to make them say “Oh Yeah” and “Yes, Yes, Yes”! I hope you enjoy your sexy (and oh so naughty) chocolate Foodgasm!

Chocolate-Mascarpone Crepes with Strawberry Sauce   

Ingredients

  • Chocolate Crepes, see recipe below
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced hulled strawberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar or agave syrup
  • 6 tablespoons Kirsh (cherry liquor)
  • 6 tablespoons brandy
  • 1-2 teaspoons corn starch mixed in cold water
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  • OPTIONAL, 2-3 oz. white chocolate for drizzling (melted)
  •  
Directions
Prepare the recipe for the chocolate crepes and set aside.

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, sour cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract. Put 3 tablespoons of the cheese mixture onto the lower half of the crepe and roll up into a long cigar shaped piece. Place the filled crepes on a large platter or baking sheet, cover lightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove crepes from refrigerator when ready to make the sauce. To make the sauce, heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter, swirling the pan until the butter is melted. Add the strawberries and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the sugar and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is foamy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove the sauté pan from the heat, add the strawberry liqueur and the brandy and ignite with a long kitchen match. Shake the pan back and forth, basting the strawberries, until the flame dies out. Stir in the cornstarch mixture to thicken up the sauce.

To serve:
Arrange 2 filled crepes on each plate and spoon strawberry sauce over the top. Dust lightly with cocoa powder, drizzle the melted white chocolate and serve immediately.

Chocolate Crepes:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 ¼ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  •  
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, eggs, milk, sugar, salt and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium bowl to form a smooth thick batter. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Heat a crepe pan or small heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat (I recommend a small lightweight pan. It will make it easier to flip the crepes.) When hot, brush with a light coating of the remaining butter. Ladle about 3 tablespoons crepe batter into the pan, tilting the skillet to evenly coat the pan with batter.

Cook until done on the bottom and the top begins to dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully turn the crepe and cook on the second side just until the bottom colors slightly, about 30 seconds (You may also flip the crepe like an egg if you are so inclined and want to have a little fun with your food. But if doing so, be careful of the hot butter splashing on you when flipping.)Transfer to a large plate or cookie sheet to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

Yield: about 12 crepes

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