Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chocolate Pots de Creme (Dairy Free)

These cups of chocolatey smooth goodness are too good to be true; they are no bake, easy to make, and best of all, dairy free for those of us sensitive to lactose or dairy proteins. But don't fret, these cups don't suffer from lack of flavor despite their lack of dairy. All you need is some good dark chocolate, coconut milk or cream, and a couple of spices that are most likely already sitting in your pantry. Lets get started!

7 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher), finely chopped (I used 71% cacao Valrhona Chocolate)
14 ounce can full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream (I used the coconut cream from Trader Joes)
2 large egg yolks
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon jam

Other things you'll need:
Small cups
Fine mesh sieve
Mixing Bowl


1. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, add the can of coconut milk, the egg yolks, the cinnamon stick, and salt.

3.Whisk together until thoroughly combined, and heat the mixture on medium low heat stirring constantly.

4. Heat the mixture until the mixture thickens and forms a smooth custard that coats the back of a spoon (about 10 to 15 minutes). But do not let it overcook! Don't let the mixture simmer or boil, otherwise you'll curdle the yolks.

5. Once you have your custard, take the pot off the heat and remove the cinnamon stick. Position a fine mesh sieve over the bowl of chocolate, and pour the custard through to catch any lumpy bits.

6. Grab a spatula and stir ever so gently to mix the melted chocolate into the custard base. If you stir like crazy, the temperature will drop too quickly, and you’ll end up with grainy chocolate.

7. Once you've achieved a smooth mixture, stir in the vanilla extract.

8. Divide your mixture into your small cups and allow it to come to room temperature before placing plastic  wrap over the cup and placing into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Before serving, I put about a tablespoon of jam over the top to complement the deep chocolate flavor. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! Don't hesitate to play around with the flavors, next time I plan on adding lavender to the steaming coconut milk to add a delicate lavender flavor to my chocolate. Should be yum!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lemon Garlic Angel Hair Pasta

I gravitate towards recipes that are versatile, easy to prepare while still being healthy and nutritious. This Lemon Garlic Pasta Recipe is a great choice using ingredients that aren't hard to find while also being very forgiving to any tweaks or changes that might suit your fancy. Tweaks like adding halved plum tomatoes, steamed broccoli, topping with some grilled shrimp, adding some sauteed chicken breast or even dumping a can of cream of chicken could be appropriate for this recipe. I've served this pasta as a bed for my crispy skin salmon before as well, and it turned out phenomenally. So tweak away and enjoy your creations!

16 ounces angel hair pasta (one store bought box of pasta)
1/4 cup fresh flat leafed parsley, or fresh Italian sweet basil, coarsely chopped (I prefer parsley but either is fine)
1/2 cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 tsp chicken flavor instant bouillon (not absolutely necessary, but a nice touch)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling, store bought grated Parmesan like the one shown at right will do just fine, but fresh is always better!
1. Set a pot of water to boil while you prepare the rest of your ingredients, this way your pasta will have hot water to hop into once you're almost done cooking.
2. In large skillet, cook garlic in olive oil until golden
3. Add lemon juice and chicken bouillon if using.
4. Cook and stir until bouillon dissolves.
5. In large bowl, toss pasta, garlic mixture, cheese and parsley; serve immediately. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to your own liking.
6. Enjoy!
Serves 6.