Ruby (Chocolate) Slippers

Now that I am back at school, I had the opportunity to sample some of the famous Ruby Chocolate a few days ago! And boy was this a flavor surprise!

The chocolate gets its signature ruby color not from dyes or freeze dried fruits, but rather a redder cocoa bean than others chocolates come from. As much as I’d love to tell you more, it’s a closely held trade secret from Barry Callebaut. When first seeing this product, I expected something similar to a raspberry flavored, sugary white chocolate, but thankfully, that was not the case. At first, the palate picks up some fruity notes, but the most surprising thing was the sourness of the chocolate. It was not an unpleasant or strong flavor, it is something that needs to be gotten used to.

Calling all Truffle Buffs!

Here we have some gougères (cheese puffs) filled with a white truffle goat cheese, topped with toasted pine nuts, thyme honey, shaved black truffles, and finished with micro arugula.

If you’re looking for something less intense, try adding .5x the amount of cheese into the pâte a choux for a stronger flavor and moister interior combined with less time in the oven. If you want something less pungent than truffles, fill the gougères with a whipped lemon herb goat cheese and top with micro arugula and a balsamic reduction drizzle.

Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen- Healdsburg, CA

First and foremost the food was phenomenal. I enjoyed a hearty portion of the charred lamb T-bones. Yes, there were two. The meat was cooked to a beautiful medium rare and were tender and juicy. The bed of Napa cabbage underneath was nothing special other than a spiced pile with random chucks of the lemon goat cheese thrown about the plate. The sweet chili peppers were charred to perfection without losing their bite. I ordered the warm peach and beet salad as my appetizer and for the most part it was very good. The carrot top pesto was inspiring and pair very well with the beets. However, the peaches lacked flavor and some were bruised.

The reason for 3 stars is due to the lacking service at such a prestigious restaurant. We made our reservation through Hotel Healdsburg and requested a table outside. Upon arrival we were not informed that an outdoor table was not available, but rather we were sat at a table in the far corner of the restaurant near the entrance to the kitchen and the servers station. The manager had sent over a sparkling wine, orange, and pomegranate aperitif prior to our meal that was on the sweeter side, but not over the top sweet. After finishing our entrees, however, we realized we had not seen our waitress for quite awhile and were sitting with dirty plates in front of us for over 15 minutes. In a fine dining establishment, that is beyond rude. Not only that, she spent most of her time at a couple’s table who had arrived 20 minutes behind our table and had paid their bill by the time our dishes cleared. The peaches were bruised.

Farmer’s Markets? Farmer’s Markets.

One of my all time favorite weekend activities is going to the local farmer’s market to see what surprises they hold that week. Ever since I can remember I have spent my Sundays at the Dupont Circle farmer’s market with my father looking for something that would inspire amazing dinners that following week.

This week I stumbled upon some fresh strawberries, lettuce, and ended up buying a jalapeño plant!  (Heres to hoping I don’t kill it!)

 

These photos are from the Arlington, VA farmer’s market near the Courthouse metro station. (Saturdays 9am-12pm).

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Almond Revamp

Tired of plain old almonds at snack time?

Try spicing up some raw almonds with some extra virgin olive oil and Old Bay and roasting them at 325º for about 20 minutes!

If you’re concerned about the sodium content Old Bay has a reduced-sodium seasoning as well!

The beginning… Kind of…

Let me introduce my first and current culinary academic environment: The University of Alabama.

I am currently a Restaurant and Hospitality Management major with a concentration in restaurants. One of the classes I am currently enrolled in is a food preparation class that includes a “lab” once a week. Well…. Welcome to my “lab.” There are several rows of prep stations equipped with an oven and stove top. The first time I walked into our fully equipped kitchen I imagined myself on Chopped: this time your GPA depends on it. We are using the On Cooking textbook and matching lab manual that have the recipes we use.

Who Says Almonds Have to be Healthy?

This almond torte uses almond extract, almond paste, amaretto, and a whole bunch of quality Irish butter! I have made this recipe many times and once I tried out some Irish butter as opposed to regular unsalted butter, I have NEVER gone back! This torte is light, fluffy, buttery, rich, and timeless. Whether it be my go-to dinner party dessert or a guilty please with my morning coffee, this is one recipe that I will never forget!

When making this torte it can be served as above, or with a raspberry reduction and a quenelle of vanilla bean ice-cream or gelato.