Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Egg Noodles with Roasted Fennel, Apples, and Carrots in a Brandy Butter Sauce

We all have schedules and routines, and we know practice makes perfect, but sometimes the best things happen when you throw everything out the door and just wing it.

Take for example, the magical dish that's created when you decide on a whim to roast sliced fennel, carrots and apples with smashed garlic cloves, a bit of salt/pepper and walnut oil until they are all browned and caramelized. And, then you decide to coat all of that roasted goodness with a sauce made from a little bit of brandy, melted butter, and a wee bit of cream. And then you toss it all with some medium-sized egg noodles and chopped fennel fronds. Some might call it taking a chance or leaving it up to fate.

I call it dinner.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Carrot Sesame Noodles

Cold sesame noodles are the best. But have you tried carrot sesame noodles?  I was craving sesame noodles but didn't have any noodles in the pantry, so I decided to improvise, using carrots instead.

All I can say is that I'm brilliant. (Wink.) And these noodles are delicious.
Gourmess' Carrot Sesame Noodles
1 pound carrots cleaned and peeled
1 1/2 tsp plus 2 TBS toasted sesame oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3-4 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
2 TBS extra fine sugar
1 TBS rice vinegar
1/2 cup tahini paste or peanut butter
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp cilantro, finely chopped
Ground peanuts, sesame seeds and/or thinly sliced green onions for topping

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 2

To Do:

  • Spiralize carrots using a spiralizer if you have one, or using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots into long, thin strips. Place in a large bowl and toss with 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil.
  • In a food processor or blender, combine the 2 TBS sesame oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and tahini, and process until smooth. Thin the sauce with warm water if it seems on the thick side.
  • Toss the sauce a bit at a time with the red pepper flakes, cilantro, and carrots until coated, then top with ground peanuts, sesame seeds, and/or green onions before serving. 
  • Delicious served warm or cold.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day DIY: Truffles, Truffles, Truffles!

In the mood...for chocolate?

Make a batch of these tasty truffles for your Valentine, and you'll never buy boxed chocolates again. They last in the fridge for several days, but they taste best at room temperature, so when you're ready to give them away, put them on a pretty tray, in a heart-shaped box, or in a "cello" bag tied with a red bow, and share the love.

Homemade Chocolate Truffles
6 oz. each of good quality extra dark (bittersweet) and dark (semisweet) chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons flavored liqueur*
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cocoa powder
Smoked sea salt*
*Optional but recommended

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 2

To Do:
  • Chop the dark and milk chocolate and place in a heat-proof mixing bowl.
  • Heat the cream in a small saucepan until starts to boil. Remove from the heat and allow the cream to sit for about a minute. Pour the cream through a fine-meshed sieve into a large heat-proof measuring cup with a spout (or a heatproof container that's easy to pour from).
  • Gently whisk the cream into the chocolate and mix together until smooth. Whisk in the flavored liqueur (I used Cointreau), the extracts and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, then let cool on your counter for about an hour. (Do not refrigerate.)
  • Using a small cookie scoop (about 2 tsp), spoon little balls of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. 
  • Roll each ball in your hands to smooth the edges.
  • Mix together a 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, 1 TBS of cinnamon, and a pinch or two of sea salt in a small, shallow bowl, then gently roll each ball in the mixture until lightly coated, (add more cocoa, cinnamon and salt if start to run low).
  • Store in the fridge in a container lined with parchment paper, for up to two weeks.
  • Serve at room temperature for best results.
  • Enjoy!