February 13, 2013



For the love of chocolate!  Who put Valentines Day after Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. If you pledged to give up sweets,  I say let's cheat. Not on your sweetheart, but on eating chocolate. And while you're at it, just cheat on the recipe for chocolate mousse, too.

As nice as it is to make a classic chocolate mouse with whipped egg whites, you can achieve close to the same thing by merely folding the melted chocolate into the whipped cream. Granted it won't be as light and airy, but doing this eliminates the worry over serving raw eggs. 

Serve this mousse straight up, or as a filling for sugar cookies or to top a thin slice of pound cake garnished with strawberries. Mound it into meringue shells, spoon it into coffee. It will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator. (Fat chance.) Just be sure to serve it with champagne.

Cheater's Chocolate Mousse 
Serves 2 (easily doubled or tripled)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
In a small saucepan set over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter until glossy. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a medium bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the melted chocolate into the cream. Do not stir it in completely, it should be streaky.
Refrigerate until very stiff.

Note:  Remove the pan from the heat BEFORE the chocolate is completely melted. It will continue to melt once the pan is removed. Allow it to cool just a little while you're whipping the cream.

February 6, 2013

ONE Rotisserie Chicken, TWO Dinners

Chicken Soup 
Curry Favor!

I love a good roast chicken, especially someone else's. Take those amazing rotisserie birds from Lucia's  Bakery, Uptown, Minneapolis -- tender, moist, tear off the bone and lick your fingers delicious. With just two of us at home, there are bound to be leftovers. Lucky me, they make the very best, most restorative chicken soup. The flavors are rich and toasty because of the low, slow roasting and basting that just doesn't happen when I cook a chicken at home. 

This winter's penetrating cold seeps under the door, blisters the windows, rattles my dreams. I need good soup; soup with warming spices -- turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cumin and coriander -- curry soup to beat back the darkest, bleakest blues. So quick and easy, this recipe almost assembles itself and it's especially good made ahead so the flavors mellow. Rotisserie chicken is a gift to any busy cook and it provides one more no-fuss, delicious meal. 

Serves 2 to 4

2 teaspoon olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder, to taste
2 cups chicken stock
1 Yukon Gold or 2 Red Bliss potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pices
1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 stick celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup diced cooked chicken
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
2 tablespoons shredded toasted coconut for garnish

Film a medium pot with the oil and set over medium heat. Saute the shallot until just tender, about 1 minute. Stir in the curry powder to coat. Stir in the stock, potatoes, carrot and celery. Increase the heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the cider, coconut milk and chicken. Season with the lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with the chopped cilantro and coconut.

To toast the coconut, spread it out on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degrees F. until it begins to smell nutty and turns golden, about 1 to minutes (watch, it turns quickly).