Tag Archives: chocolate

labor of love

24 Feb

  
There are five parts to this behemoth of a torte: Cocoa nib meringue, chocolate cake, homemade blood orange marmalade, mascarpone cream filling and bittersweet chocolate glaze. Whoa. And it takes a lot of advance timing n stuff.

One must make marmalade, grind cocoa nibs, whip egg whites and cream…

I made it for me.

I know Bon Appetit printed this recipe in a February issue so that I might make it to feed my lover.

But I have none. 

I could have made and shared with friends, my class, my improv group…but I did not. I made it. Ate two slices. Sliced the rest and froze for future delights. Because I am occasionally selfish when I make really delicious stuff.

And I like having ready-made treats waiting for me. 

I also think the cream filling will be way good slightly frozen.

The recipe is long. I made it exactly as printed and I don’t feel like re-typing what you could easily get with a click so go here.

Treat yourself. You are worth the time and work. Believe.

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it is chocolate month!

3 Feb

  
Holy heck Valentines came early for me:

  
Such is the joy of food writing. And it really is my pleasure to report on these Godiva treats because they are beautiful and excellent.

I had a nice selection of the standard truffles plus a bonus Valentine’s flight of more exotic flavors. There was the white chocolate passion fruit that I started into immediately. I was surprised just how…passion fruit-y the filling was. Surprised in a a good way.

Then I moved on to the aztec spice and realized there was not a chocolate I was not into. Downtown LA should be floating in hipsters coated in chocolate covered cherries right now if I were any influence.

Let me move to the rest Limited Edition Valentine’s Day Truffles. The full selection includes Aztec Spice, Chocolate Lava Cake, Strawberry Crème Tarte, Dark Chocolate Soufflé, Milk Chocolate Mousse and White Chocolate Passion Fruit.
Strawberry Creme Tarte was delightful. A rich strawberry gel of sorts in a pink chocolate case. The filling was multi-layered: there ewas the strawberry part as well as a sweet cream. Having the extra cream part helped. I shouldn’t use the word but…num, or nom? One of those cloying terms for deliciousness.
The aztec spice I could eat all day. Just a dark chocolate quality shell and a spicy, creamy interior. Excellent.
Chcolate lava cake, dark chocolate soufflé and the and milk chocolate mouse I was a bit confused on. Like, confused about which was which. Each had layers of varying chocolate on top of each other. and while I do no know which was which I would gobble first, GOBBLE I SAY! Gobble them all.

Giving Godiva my official Valentine’s Day chocolate endorsement.
Not that I won’t eat other chocolate should it find it’s way into my mouth. But the truffle flight truly is a delight.

food separation from a heart sick person

20 Apr

  
For years this recipe stared me in the face. I’d open the Bon Appetit issue to it and put it in my little cookbook holder stand thinking if I saw it, some day I’d get inspired early enough to get all components made and chilled in due time.

The picture you see above is just one reconfiguration of this Deconstructed Black Forest Cake. Much as I adore various pairings of sandwich material, I also love the idea that each bite of this cake can be a different combo of the cake, chocolate pudding, whipped cream, red wine cherries, and…all kept properly hydrated by the shot of kirsch:

  
Making this became a fantasy. One of those “some day” things I didn’t think I’d ever actually get around to.
Then I was dating someone and I knew I was into him because I started fantasizing about what I’d cook him. This was a likely suspect for pleasing what I knew of his tastebuds.
And then that prospect didn’t work out. As in, I never even got the chance to ply him with my womanly cake wiles. 
In a spate of “fuck that I don’t need ANYONE to cook FOR” the fantasy of making this became reality one Friday night when I got home earlier than expected.
I am all I need.
Except for sex. I could use a male for that but he isn’t here (as in doesn’t exist) at the moment.
But fuck it. I have cake and wine and a career (my true lover) not to mention my family and friends and stuff so I shall survive. And I have cake.

I cut my cake with a star cookie cutter because I am a superstar. Hehehe. As in “don’t you remember you told me you love me baby”. Except I was not that fond of the fellow. It never came even remotely close to the L word. Cause that is REAL scary. Hell, I have a hard time giving someone a second date.
Problem is, it is rare I start to think anyone is worth a romantic thought so when I do start to be even remotely interested in someone I take things too hard when they don’t turn out as I’d wish.

UGH.
And UGH.
And UGH FUCK!
And someday my cake and wine loving prince will come.

I’m gonna get a cat.

Fuck this cake is worth it. 

Also no more writing recipes when high on no sleep/sugar/wine.

Enjoy.

Deconstructed Black Forest Cake adapted from this Bon Appetit recipe

For cake:
1/4 cup butter
6 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1/2 beaten egg
1 1/2 Tbsp. natural cocoa powder
scant 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/16 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. sifted cake flour
2 Tbsp. and 2 tsp. yogurt (origial recipe calls for sour cream
3 Tbsp. hot coffee
For chocolate fudge pots:
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli’s)
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2 (recipe calls for heavy whipping cream)
pinch salt
1 1/2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. sugar
For sauce:
1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. sugarplus a pinch more
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. dry red wine (I had a pinot noir on hand)
To finish:
whipped cream (I used Reddi-whip_
A shot of kirsch
For cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Create an approximately 35-square inch baking pan. I did this by taking foil and pressing it into half an 8X8 pan. Butter or use nonstick spray to grease. Beat the butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Toss in the sugar and egg and beat until light and fluffy. Hurl in the cocoa, baking soda, salt and vanilla and incorporate. Blend in the half the flour then half the yogurt and repeat. Gradually blend in coffee until smooth. Add to the pan and bake about 25 minutes, until you put a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean. Let cool on rack and then chill until cold. Bon Appetit says 4 hours but I sped this up with my freezer.
For fudge pots:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Put the chocolate in a bowl. Bring half and half and salt just to a oil then pour over chocolate and whisk it until all is nice and smooth. In another bowl whisk the yolks and sugar. Slowly whisk in the chocolate mixture. Put back into pot over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly until somewhat thickened, about 5 minutes. Don’t let it boil. Distribute into 5 ramekins (1/4 cup each) and put ramekins into a deep pan. Add water to into deep pan halfway up the sides of ramekins. Cover the whole shebang with foil and bake until set, between 35 and 40 minutes. Take ramekins out of pot. Cool 15 minutes then let chill in fridge, uncovered until cold (3 hours?).
For sauce:
Put cherries (unthawed) and sugar in a small pan and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add wine and stir and simmer until ever so slightly thickened. Strain over a bowl. Pour juices back into pot and put cherries in a bowl. Boil the juices until reduced to about 2 Tbsp. then pour over cherries and chill.
To serve, slice (or get fancy with cookie cutters) the cake. Each person gets some cake, a pudding, a spoonful of cherries n sauce, a bit of whipped cream and a shot of kirsch. Whee! Yah. Since I made this for me I ate a huge portion of cake and sauce, one pudding, a whole container of whipped cream and, well, a shot of kirsch was enough. But then I had also indulged on extra wine.

Candy, Jason and Reese’s

9 Mar


This week’s episode of my dear darling Girls on GIRLS web series was Bridgid-less but guest-full.

Are you ever weirded out by art imitating life? The day I happened to have Jason Stuart, a comedian who is quite at home talking about being gay was the day that a character on the show we were discussing comes out to his wife. Whaddaya know. Jason and I both were into the serendipity of that moment. For all Jason’s work including his own web series go here.

And then there was my need for a dessert drink.

And along came Candy Washington, who I have the biggest woman crush on. She’s spectacular. Check out her goodness here. And Candy’s taste in candy is top-notch. We share a favorite: Reese’s peanut butter cups. You really cannot do better in the candy game. It is the simplest and the best. Like her!

The Candy Washington. Now with more alcohol.

Shake it up.

The Candy Washington an original by Ellen Clifford

2 oz. dark creme de cacao 1 oz. vanilla vodka

1 oz. Bailey’s Irish cream

1/2 oz. 1/2 and 1/2

1 Tbsp. powdered peanut butter (I used Just Great Stuff)

1 tsp. Dutch process cocoa powder (I used Hershey Special Dark)

mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

Shake all but the peanut butter cups. Strain into chilled glass. Spear mini pb cups on toothpicks to garnish.

YUVE Got Smoothie

21 Dec

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I confess I half live off smoothies. Therefore it is only fair I share what I’ve been drinking, because I am thoroughly addicted. I should also share that my smoothies are so thick and rich they require bowls and spoons and really it’s more like I made myself soft-serve. Except this soft serve has redeeming health factors. My most frequent concoction is a beet-cherry-chocolate protein extravaganza and it is tremendous.

I was inspired to get off my lazy bum and get around to writing this because I got to try some tasty new protein powder made by a very cool and possibly even tastier woman.

I have been using MRM Veggie Protein, to which I thought I’d never find an equal in terms off decent vegan protein powders. AKA ones that are not chalky. But I did! YUVE is danged tasty. I’m also pimping it here because it has a cool origin story.

And chia seeds.

But origin first:
Once upon a time a woman left Russia for New York City. Her name was Lola. She wasn’t a showgirl but she danced. Except ballet. This stunning makes-me-rethink-being-hetero woman, Lola Sherunkova, wanted a quick enjoyable way to get nutrients and such in the Big Apple.

Lola talked to a nutritionist who recommended a rather large list of nutrients. I do not blame her for not wanting to take a gajillion supplements a day. If I were as gorgeous and brilliant as she ALL my time would be spent lounging nonchalantly while lithe goth men held my parasol for me. Fortunately for you Lola was much more enterprising. And YUVE was born.

My only wish is that it came in more than just the one chocolate-raspberry flavor. Mainly because then I could have even more excuses to use it. Because when you can’t decide between two flavors of shake you are forced to just have both. I am surprised I didn’t overdose on chewable vitamins when I was a kid.

Anywho, I am a big proponent of female owned and created business, and Lola is truly one of those came-from-nothing success stories. It helps that her product is great too. Go Lola! Big hugs. And such. And…more?!

Ps I too am creating my own shiz-nit. It is a web show. It involves making drinks and talking about the show “Girls”. That premieres January 11th so “Girls on Girls” should be out on January 12th. We made the pilot episode in the meantime which you can see here:

I beg of you to subscribe to the channel. Or SHARE it on Facebook or Twitter or whatever social media you like. Youtube makes it super easy to do that. It won’t force you to watch or anything. You’ll just see it in your list of subscriptions.

Now more YUVE. I tasted YUVE unadulterated first. Just to see. It was great. Then I started plugging it into favorite smoothie recipes. Like the one that follows. Also delish. Addictively so.

Here be what I make:
Beety Choco-Cherry (plus occasional raspberry) Smoothie
1 few small cooked beets or one big one
1/2 cup dark sweet cherries (I get them in the freezer aisle)
1 serving chocolate protein powder or YUVE chocolate raspberry protein powder
1 Tbsp. Cocoa powder
Dash salt
A squirt or so of liquid stevia (NuNaturals is the one type I’ve found not to be bitter)
Heavy dash of almond extract
1/4 cup cottage cheese (omit if you are vegan)
7-ish crushed ice cubes
1 cup water or chocolate almond milk
Blend it good. If not thick enough either stick in the freezer a little while or blend in some anthem gum

Pssst! I got YUVE for free. But would not be telling you about if I didn’t think it was worth it. I’m ordering more for myself!

Chocolate Pecan Tart

24 Jun

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Seeing as the next of my epic pie parties is scheduled for next month and I still haven’t given you the tart recipe from the last one (although I more than repaid you in giving the horchata cocktail, methinks) I thought it was high time to post this.

Acting is getting busy AGAIN! Just look at my star ranking, haha. Super.

Exciting Moment in Improv

Exciting Moment in Improv

Between acting and improv (which as you see from above frequently ends with me splayed out on the floor) and this lil’ column I’ve got my hands full. You should click all those links. Because the other thing keeping me so busy is self-promotion. Haha, again. Sort of. I jest. Or do I? Even I do not know.

So let us discuss the edibles. This pie is like a giant hunk of candy. It looks pretty, it tastes like dark sunshine (the kind with antioxidants) and is much easier than you would surmise. It is one of those things I made on a whim first when I was probably not even a teen yet. If I recall correctly we bought just enough cream to make it. My dad was helping me and the two of us burnt the cream. We had to wait until we could go back to the store the next day and get more cream to finish it.

But it was so blimey good I’ve held on to and repeated the recipe many a time since the Great Cream Incident of Nine-ty Something-or-Another.

Do make this. Don’t be me and get behind on your pie. It’s important.

Chocolate Pecan Tart adapted from Bon Appetit (from their RSVP section so they got it from a restaurant I know not any longer which one though because I wrote it down and tossed the magazine long ago)
2 cups pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter, room temp
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cinnamon stick
8 oz. Bittersweet chocolate
4 oz. Semisweet chocolate
Heat oven to 325. In a food processor blend nuts, sugar and cinnamon until finely ground. Add butter and blend until mixed. Press into a 9-inch tart pan with a re moveable bottom or follow my lead and line a 9-inch pan with foil so you can lift out and unmold your tart later. Bake until lightly browned, around 20 minutes. Allow to cool. Chop chocolate. Bring cream and cinnamon stick to a simmer. Stir in chocolate until melted. Pour into tart crust, removing cinnamon stick. Put in fridge to chill. Unmold before serving.

Chocolate and vanilla: it’s not so black and white

29 Aug

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It’s my birthday y’all! And I didn’t have time to make myself a cake.
Yet! I dare say I’ll fete myself with something sweet and homemade when I’m not fretting over 7 pages of sides for an audition that by the time you read this I hopefully will have dominated.
In the meantime you get to see a birthday cake I made earlier this month for the fantastically talented Suilma.

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I need to try this recipe again when I haven’t been karaoke-ing and champagne sipping for a couple of hours inhibiting my critical tasting abilities.
That was a good party, I’m looking forward to seeing how things play out when my various worlds collide at my most favorite-est wine bar in LA tonight.

So about this cake:
Vanilla is underrated. Why is it an insult to call something “vanilla”? Vanilla is so not vanilla. Chocolate gets all the glory while vanilla hangs out, chill and sophisticated, knowing it is awesome without needing to claim to be the devil, an angel, or life-threatening. Giving you the stink-eye, death by chocolate.

But chocolate is magical. So put them together and you get a fantastic shade of gray. Tan.

Chocolate Vanilla Cake(adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

1/3 vanilla bean, ends trimmed and finely minced
1/4 c. Boiling h2o
1/2 c. Flour
6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, separated
10 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. Applesauce
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Heat over to 350. Line a nine-inch cake pan with nonstick foil and spray. Put bean in big bowl and cover with boiling agua. Let it sit there.
In another bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
Beat egg white until stiff in another bowl.
Add yolks, sugar, applesauce and vanilla extract to vanilla water. Beat until good and creamy. Mix in dry stuff. Fold in the whites. Spoon into Pam and allow to settle. Bake until it passes the toothpick test, around 20 minutes.

The frosting was from Mr. Bittman too, I’ll give you that recipe when I try again with the cake.