Monday, August 22, 2011

My Brother's 25th Birthday Celebration

Over the weekend, my family got together to celebrate my brother's 25th birthday. The birthday meal included chicken, beef tenderloin, fruit, caprese salad, purple rice salad and bread. It was a lovely meal. I made two desserts for the occasion: Flourless Chocolate Cake and Lemon Cake, both Martha Stewart recipes.

I loved the way both of these desserts turned out and it was fun to have a little variety in the dessert course. The chocolate cake was very rich and indulgent and the lemon cake was light and fun. I made Martha's recipes as instructed, but added my twist by making Raspberry Whipped Cream to top the chocolate cake and to frost in between the layers of the lemon cake.

To make the Raspberry Whipped Cream:
-In a large bowl, use an electric hand mixer to  beat 1 pint of heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Continue beating while gradually adding 1/2 c powdered sugar. Once you have whipped the cream to stiff peaks, beat in 1 package (6 oz) fresh raspberries until just incorporated. The cream should be a beautifully light pink color.

 I liberally frosted the top of the flourless chocolate cake and the garnished it with fresh raspberries and mint leaves. The cake recipe was great on its own, and a fabulous gluten-free dessert option, but the raspberry whipped cream really pushed it over the sinfully-delicious edge.

The raspberry whipped cream pulled double duty as the filling in the Lemon Cake. I  loved this recipe...lemon cakes glazed with lemon simple syrup, covered with lemon meringue frosting, and topped with candied lemon slices. The raspberry whipped cream added another flavor dimension and a touch of richness, and I loved the way it all worked together.

It was a wonderful evening overall, and a great way to celebrate the best big brother around!

-The Delicious Dabbler

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Margarita de Diabolita

It doesn't get much better than enjoying great food with even better friends. During the week, I got together with two of my best girl friends for an evening out at Masa in downtown Minneapolis, MN. Masa is a new restaurant specializing in modern mexican cuisine, and has been getting a lot of buzz lately.  The atmosphere was fun and trendy, and my chicken with mole entree was delicious. However, the highlight of my evening (besides the company) was the Margarita de Diabolita (pictured above).

This 'rita is made with habanero-infused Sauza Silver Tequila, Licor 43, ginger, fresh lime, blood orange juice, and pomegranate juice. The habanero tequila gives this drink a strong, spicy back-bone, countered by the sweetness of the pomegranate juice. It was interesting and absolutely delicious. A perfect complement to the mexican cuisine. I also loved the presentation of the drink. Did you notice the lime devil horns and the straw tail?

I also loved the presentation of the chips and salsa starter given to every table. The chips are served plain, and you are given lime wedges and sea salt to season the chips yourself. What a fun way to dress up a simple starter, and a cute idea for dinner parties.

Cheers to great food enjoyed in the company of great friends!

-The Delicious Dabbler

Friday, August 12, 2011

Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Tarts

Hi dabblers, sorry for the delay in getting this recipe to you. As I mentioned previously, my good friend is getting married and her bridesmaids hosted a shower for her. In addition to red velvet cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, I made these decadent little tarts. I decorated them with the same toppers I used for the cupcakes to tie both desserts together.

One of my favorite things about baking is that once you have a few recipes down, you can just keep combining them in new ways to create new delicious delectables. In this recipe I used my Grandma's Perfect 9" Pie Crust recipe to make the tart shells, and filled them with Dark Chocolate Mousse and some raspberry jam. If you have been bake-blogging along with me, you already have all the skills you need to make these bite-sized treats. Enjoy!

Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Tarts

-Grandma's Perfect 9" Pie Crust, prepared and baked into tart shells
-Raspberry jam
-1 batch of Dark Chocolate Mousse

1. Prepare and bake tart shells, allow to cool completely.
2. Place a small amount of raspberry jam in the base of each shell.
3. Fill each shell with dark chocolate mousse.
4. Decorate and devour!

Pictures and Tips:

Step 1. Prepare the tart shells. I used a small biscuit cutter to get uniform can use anything round in your kitchen. Test your circle size against the size of your mini pan so that you don't have to do too much trimming.

Use your fingers to gently press the rounds into the pan. I love how the scalloped edges from the biscuit cutter look on the rims of the tart shells.

Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom of the tart shells so they don't puff too much when baking them.

As noted in the original pie crust recipe, bake the shells at 375°F until they have puffed up and are slightly brown. This will be a very quick process because the shells are so, keep an eye on them and remember they will continue to bake after you remove them from the oven. It is better to underbake these in the oven then let them get super crispy.

Step 2. Place a small dollop of raspberry jam into the base of each shell. I used Gunflint Trail Jam, made up in northern Minnesota, near my cabin. I love it. *Side note: I used a baby spoon to fill these and it was the perfect size.

Step 3. Fill each shell with chocolate mousse. I used a piping bag to do this to make sure everything is neat. The mousse will not have set up fully at this point, so it will be a little runny. 

Fill up all the little tarts, and try not to eat them all in the process :) Place the tarts in the refrigerator, as in the original mousse recipe, to allow the mousse to set up.

Step 4. Decorate the tarts in any way you like. I loved the way the chocolate toppers looked against the lighter color of the chocolate mousse. It would also be great to top each tart with a single raspberry.

Enjoy this recipe dabblers. I hope you find inspiration to take your favorite recipes and mix them up to create new favorites.

Thanks for visiting, 

-The Delicious Dabbler