Year: 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Creamy Chestnut Cake

Happy New 2012!
Wishing you all Healthy, Happy and Successful New Year!
Now let’s talk dessert, perfect for the Holidays.
When I was a kid growing up in Europe I remember people selling roasted chestnuts on the street wagons in winter time. They serve them hot and toasty in the paper trays. To keep this chestnut tradition on I usually like to make chestnut puree over winter months, which is a faster idea to enjoy lovely chestnuts but since it is a Holiday, New Years Eve and my birthday too, I decided to make a special cake.

Crust is a similar to cheesecake crust with added almonds to the Graham crackers. What I love about this cake is that there is no baking involved so it is very quick and delicious dessert to be made. You only need trusty food processor and you are all ready.

Creamy Chestnut Cake

For the crust:

1 cup low fat Graham crackers, ground
1/2 cup almonds, ground
1 spoon honey
1 orange, fresh juice
1 spoon brown sugar

For the chestnut filling:

2 cups chestnuts, peeled, cooked and grounded
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 spoons non fat milk
1 teaspoon organic vanilla sugar

Chocolate layer:

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon butter
For the top and finish, freshly whipped heavy whipping cream and extra drizzle of chocolate. It makes it even more special:)

To make a crust, using processor, grind first crackers then almonds. Set them aside in the mixing bowl.
In the small sauce pan over medium heat, bring to boil, sugar, honey and juice from one orange.
Add to ground ingredients and make a paste looking mix.
Prepare the serving plate and using spoon shape the mix to a circle.
Base is done.

Now again using processor, grind chestnuts, adding sugar and milk. Pulse few times and you will notice that they will start become like a paste. When done, add another layer to the cake.
For the chocolate lovers I love to add chocolate layer.
Using double broiler add chocolate, butter and melt till chocolate is smooth not too watery. Combine nicely and add another layer to the cake.
Using mixer finish whipping cream and add another layer.
Set the cake in the refrigerator few hours or over night before serving. This cake can be made in advance which makes it even more helpful.

Serve and enjoy.
Thank you so much for reading my blog and leaving wonderful comments. I hope you like all the recipes and ideas. It will be even more interesting in the next year!
Happy New Year!

Strawberry Cupcake Christmas Tree, Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
I was thinking what kind of dessert should I prepare for blog post today. I wanted to make something special and sparkly but still dessert that everyone would enjoy.
How about Christmas tree made of mini fluffy light strawberry cupcakes topped with cream and homemade strawberry jam? Dessert perfectly dressed up for Christmas and Holiday season.

Strawberry Cupcakes

1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup non fat half and half
1 tea spoon fresh strawberry jam
8 oz whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 mini muffin cups with foil liners.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. Beat in the vanilla extract and jam.
In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon zest, flour and baking soda.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and milk, ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 14 – 20 minutes or just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with fresh made whipped cream, decorate with extra scoop of jam here and there. Make it sweet and ultra yummy:)

This is wonderful, light cupcake recipe and winning combination. Strawberries and cream are old time favorite that can be served all year round.
Enjoy!
Merry Christmas!

Super Mario Marshmallow Fondant Birthday Cake

Yesterday my little boy turned 7 and he had special request for the birthday cake,
Super Mario Bros theme, with as many characters as possible….I did some research and decided to take the next step, create and make my own Super Mario cake.

Day one was making chocolate cake with semi sweet chocolate frosting from scratch. Day two, making and creating homemade marshmallow fondant.
This process involves coloring and hand work to create the shapes and cake theme as best as possible. What a fun and creative process it was. I was enjoying every step of it. In fact, I am so happy with the result that I’m thinking and planning to start making different kinds of decorations from fondant for future cakes and cupcakes. Best of all homemade marshmallow fondant has very nice texture and taste and doesn’t spoil the overall taste of the cake. Here is a few images how cake looked like and the party table with all the paper goods and toy decorations.

If you have any questions in regrets of the cake, please contact me, thank you!
I hope you like it, thanks for looking:)

Spaetzle with Baby Bella Mushrooms and Beef Stew

Well, Winter is coming for sure even here in California and LA, mornings and evenings are cold. This morning it was 35 F. I finally decided to buy a warm jacket, sorry friends but can’t act like it’s Summer time anymore, flip flops and tank tops have to wait until Spring time:)
It is amazing how people appetite change with weather patterns. When cold, we crave meals with more texture, spices and added sides with starch, pasta or potatoes.
This recipe my mom used to make when I was a kid and I wanted to give it a try. It takes a little more time and effort but it is wonderful meal to enjoy. Kids and adults love the Spaetzle.
This kind of pasta is very versatile. You can eat it plain with little sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, you can add roasted vegetables or meat dish on the side. They go well with roast or stew. I had some fresh baby bella mushrooms in the fridge so I quickly made good stew with: lean beef, red onion, chicken stock, mushrooms, little paprika and spices. I know that everybody has their favorite type of stew and best working formula that they make for years now.

Super yummy:)

Spaetzle

You will need:

1, 1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 medium fresh eggs
sea salt, for taste
cold water, sprinkle
1/2 tea spoon all spice
fresh sage leaves
1/2 stick butter, slowly melted and caramelized

Using mixer start combining flour and salt. Gradually beat in the eggs one by one and water until you got the batter that is nice consistency.

Let mix rest in fridge for couple of hours.
Melt the butter in the small pot just till butter starts to turn golden in color.

Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Prepare another bowl with ice water and ice cubes.
Ladle dough using upside down colander.

Scrape through the wholes. When just cooked Spaetzle will rise to the surface.

Transfer pasta to the ice bowl. Repeat the process till you have mix available. Drain Spaetzle and set aside.
Using large non stick pan heat prepared butter and add half of the Spaetzle. Fry till lightly brown.

Season with salt, all spice and fresh sage. Serve hot with your favorite toppings or stew.
Guten Appetit!

Postcard from San Francisco

This is a special foodie post, for everybody who loves to travel, enjoy great food, see places and have fun family time. Last week we visited San Francisco and stroll through the streets of this beautiful and breathtaking city.
Architecture, restaurants, cafes, historic treasures, so many things to see and explore. Best thing is that after long walks trough the city, there is always great place to sit down, relax and enjoy fantastic food, ether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This is a great foodie city.
Wayfare Tavern is an amazing restaurant. Food is delicious and the whole experience is absolutely fantastic. For the lunch we chose: Deviled Petaluma Eggs, Tomales Bay Mussels, Chef’s Sandwich. Kids had Cauliflower Soup and Baked Macaroni & Cheese. This is one of my favorite restaurants so far, wonderful experience for the whole family.

“Chef Tyler Florence’s new flagship restaurant is a timeless San Francisco tavern featuring authentic American dishes inspired by local cuisine at the turn of the 20th century.”

Chef’s Turkey Sandwich with Cranberry Chutney and Quail egg sauce.

Tomales Bay Mussels, Herbsaint cream, pork belly, sweet potato, celery salt, grilled toast.

Dessert, Pumpkin Pudding with harvest grape jam, pecan clusters, cinnamon/port ice cream. Kids absolutely love this dessert:)

La Boulange bakery was our ultimate breakfast spot.

They have literally breathtaking selection of fresh baked pastry and croissants.

Cafe Latte is their speciality too, it is perfect.

My favorite, Chocolate hazelnut croissant.

Now, let’s talk about bread, Boudin Sourdough is the ultimate bakery and sourdough bread fan experience. This bakery is famous for their soup bread bowl entree.

There is an actual tour of the bakery.

Beautiful aroma of fresh baked bread from early morning to late at night.

Wow, bread in all shapes and sizes.

This is a fun experience for everybody, kids and adults, for all taste buds.

There it is. I hope you liked the post. San Francisco is the must see destination, what a great city….every time.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Log Roll Cake Recipe

Thanksgiving is here….
Thank you is the powerful word. It means a lot and being thankful is even stronger. Thanksgiving is wonderful Holiday.
This year for dessert I decided to make log cake. While browsing through Wilton selection, I found and bought these beautiful decorating leaves which make great addition to this cake. This is a Fall or Winter dessert. Filling is rich, creamy with amazing nutty flavor and cake is moist, light and spongy.
Variations of filling and frosting are unlimited. Let your imagination and taste buds go wild:)


Cake:

4 eggs (room temperature)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tea spoon vanilla sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour

Filling/Topping:

2 cups milk
2 eggs, well beaten
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 pinch salt
1 cup pecans, ground
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a jelly-roll pan and line it with parchment paper.Set the pan aside.
Beat the eggs for 5 minutes, until they turn thick and foamy. Add the sugar, vanilla and salt to the eggs and continue beating for 2 minutes. Fold the flour, a few tablespoons at a time, into the whipped egg mixture. Once the flour is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing. Do not overmix or the cake will bake up into a tough texture.
Gently spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 10 minutes, until the cake is just set. Invert the baked cake onto a clean, dry kitchen towel and peel off the parchment paper. Wait for few minutes and then gently roll the cake, still in the towel. Allow it to cool completely.

The filling:

Using double boiler, scald milk, being careful not to burn. Mix together sugar, flour and salt. Add eggs to flour mixture and beat well. Add slowly to milk, stirring constantly with whisk until thick. Remove from heat. Divide mix in two bowls. for the filling add vanilla, pecans and butter.
For the glade add chocolate, vanilla and butter. Stir and cool.
Layer the cake with nut cream, roll and spread chocolate cream on top. If you like you can make marks with fork to add wood like texture, decorate and serve fresh with whipped cream on the side.

Happy Thanksgiving!

My NEW Video – Sweet Potato Pecan Tart, Grill Style Recipe

Yes, We made another Holiday video….Everything started last year after
Associated Content from Yahoo debuted my “Vanilice, Christmas Cookies video.” After more then 19.000 views, I was inspired to make another video, this time for Thanksgiving season. I decided to make a tart using the outdoor grill.

Sweet Potato Pecan Tart is absolutely lovely. Sweet potato filling is creamy and delicious with pecans and vanilla.
Crust is thin, light, crisp and not to sweet.

For the crust you will need:

2 fresh eggs
2 cups flour
1 stick sweet cream butter
lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

For the filling you will need:

4 medium sweet potatoes
2 cups pecans, ground
1 cup light brown sugar
vanilla sugar

For the method please check out my video here.
Thank you my blogger friends and have a wonderful Thanksgiving season:)

Broccoli Salad

So, here is the thing about broccoli. I like them but I like them even better if they are dressed up nicely. There are many broccoli salad recipes all mixed up with mayo or dressing some sweet, some spicy….To be honest with you I was kind of hungry today, it was raining too and I wanted to eat broccoli, so I made this salad and it was very, very good:)
Here is the proof:

You will need around 20 minutes to make this salad and several good quality ingredients.
To start I blanch the broccoli for few minutes just to make them a little bit softer.
For the bacon I like to use oven roasting method….around 17 minutes in the preheated oven on 400F, delicious crunchy slices of bacon are done…..and stove top stays clean.
For the dressing, I used 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt (which I love), vigorously mixed till becomes smooth and liquidy. I grated in a clove of garlic, some salt and pepper, lemon juice and fresh chopped chives from the garden. They added additional garlicky taste to the dressing which will give broccoli perfect taste.
Also had a hard boiled egg from this morning in the fridge so I added egg too.
Hmmm….something was still missing, o yes, generously shaved Parmesan cheese.
And there it is, lunch all ready and served.
On the plate there are wonderful vegetables high in vitamin C and folate, good source of dietary fiber and potassium, protein powerhouse and some calcium too. I feel like I did something good today for myself, treat my body well with delicious freshly prepared broccoli salad.
Enjoy.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, Chocolate Tangerine BOO Cupcakes

Halloween is today….cookies, costumes and candies rule, marching trough the streets in pales with goblins, witches, cartoon characters, princesses, pumpkins, skeletons and many more…..what a fun:)
To add even more fun I made tasty BOO cupcakes

Instead of heavy frosting I made homemade jam with fresh tangerines with the touch of honey and vanilla sugar and for fun decoration, dotted whipped cream.
My little sweet “Mario” and “Rock & Roll” girl made their own Jack-O-Lantern….

Cupcakes are real chocolate heaven with added semi sweet chocolate chunks.

You will need:

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 tea spoon cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 cup non fat milk
1/2 stick sweet cream butter, melted
1/2 cup chocolate chunks
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill muffin pans with liners. Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add eggs, milk, butter, yogurt and vanilla. Beat with a mixer, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Bake for 20 minutes, until the center of the cupcakes springs back when lightly touched. Cool, frost and decorate.

Pictures are in, so you can see how they looked like before they disappeared by little candy monsters….and many more:)
Happy Halloween:)

Frittata with Corn & Feta Cheese

I love making frittata on the weekend mornings but even during the week for the healthy and hearty breakfast it is a great idea. Adults and kids love the recipe and this tasty combination. It will warm your heart and tummy and give you head start for the busy morning schedule.
While sun is slowly rising, fresh coffee is brewing, orange juice is in the glasses, whole wheat toast is done and frittata all ready, everything in only 20 minutes.
Fabulous:)

You will need:

8 medium brown eggs, beaten
1 cup light feta cheese, crumbed
8.5 oz golden whole kernel corn, canned-drained
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste
1 tea spoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to broil setting.

In the medium size bowl, using whisk, blend together eggs, salt and pepper. Heat 12-inch non-stick, oven safe saute pan over medium high heat. Add oil to pan. Then add corn to a pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour egg mixture into pan and stir with rubber spatula. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set up on top. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
Place pan into oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned and fluffy.

If you like you can top slices of frittata with a touch of creme fraiche.
Serve immediately.
Have a great breakfast!