orange mocha mousse

Orange Mocha Mousse

Brint: You know what would help you sort through these important issues? 

Derek: What?

Ridiculously Good-Looking Male Models, in unison: ORANGE MOCHA FRAPPUCINO!!!

- quote from Zoolander, one of my favorite movies

Ok, so this isn’t a frappucino, because who needs the brain freeze in this weather? But, maybe Derek, Brint, and the rest of the ridicously good-looking male models were on to something. If you’re pondering a big decision or are conflicted about something, don’t you think having an orange mocha treat would help you think more clearly?  Well, I think this Orange Mocha Mousse definitely would.  Not only because of the yummy combination of flavors, but did I tell you there’s also booze in here?  Well, just a couple of tablespoons of orange liqueur, but  you’re making it, so nobody will know if your hand slips while pouring the booze in and you “accidentally” put more in than the recipe calls for.

Anyway….on to the ridiculously delicious-tasting mousse!

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parmesan bread pudding with baby broccoli, mushrooms, and pancetta

Parmesan Bread Pudding with Baby Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Pancetta

It seems that I can’t get too far away from thinking about food and blogging, even if I wanted to. Last Monday, I had a day off from work and I had planned on a rmuch-needed day of rest and relaxation. I was going to read magazines on my iPad, get a mani/pedi, and order some takeout from my favorite Chinese restaurant down the street. I wanted a day away from the blog, which meant no cooking, writing, and taking photos. I even banned myself from Pinterest to try to disconnect from anything that might remotely lead me back to the blog.

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breakfast sandwich

Breakfast Sandwich with bacon, eggs, and aioli sauce

This is one of my favorite things to eat when I get a craving for bacon. I was introduced to this breakfast sandwich a few years ago at Square One Dining in Hollywood, and I’ve been making it at home ever since. This sandwich is delicious in its simplicity, thereby letting each element shine. The key is to use good-quality ingredients. I start out with thick slices of brioche bread, with the ends cut off. Then, just as they do at Square One, I also like to use the applewood-smoked, thick-cut variety from Nueske’s, an online purveyor of smoked meats from Wisconsin. Then, I generously spread the garlicky aioli, which is the secret ingredient to this terrific sandwich.

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eggs in clouds, italian-style

Italian-style Eggs in Clouds

I love serving Sunday brunch at home; it is so relaxing, especially with an easy-to-make dish like this.  Since I already had parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pancetta in my refrigerator and a basil plant growing in my kitchen, it was an easy decision to make this an Italian-style breakfast.   Continue reading

hatch chiles and chorizo bake

Hatch chile season is here!  These green chiles were named after the Hatch Valley, in New Mexico, where they are exclusively grown.  The region, located along the Rio Grande River, provides the perfect growing conditions for cultivating these flavorful chiles: hot summer days and cool nights, ample water for irrigation, and mineral-rich soil. They are only harvested once a year, in late July to early August, and the season last for just six weeks. Continue reading

eggs poached in chunky tomato sauce

eggs poached in chunky tomato sauce

There are many variations of this wonderfully filling and comforting dish. In its simplest form, eggs are poached in a flavorful tomato sauce. In Southern Italy, it is called Uova al Purgatorio, or Eggs in Purgatory (due to the appearance of the eggs cooking in a hot, bubbling sauce resembling flames in hell purgatory), and it is often made with parmesan cheese and basil served over bread, pasta, or polenta. In the Middle East, it is known as Shakshuka, and it is made with a spicier tomato sauce, crumbled feta cheese, peppers, and cumin and served with warm pita bread. The Turkish dish, Menemen, is similar, as the eggs are cooked with tomatoes, onions, and peppers in a single pan, but the eggs are almost always scrambled, instead of poached.

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egg raviolo

Egg Raviolo with Pesto and Brown Butter-Sage Sauce

This egg raviolo was inspired by the Uovo in Raviolo ‘San Domenico’, a dish I had at Davanti Enoteca in San Diego’s Little Italy last weekend.  The raviolo, which I learned from the friendly waitress is the singular form of ravioli, was filled with an egg yolk lying on a bed of ricotta and spinach.  As I broke into the raviolo for a bite, the runny egg yolk oozed all over the pasta and melded with the brown butter to form a luxurious sauce.  It was a simple dish, but the creamy and silky texture of the egg mixed with the ricotta, butter, and sage was exquisite. I knew I had to replicate this stunning dish at home. Continue reading

breakfast ham and egg tarts

breakfast ham and egg tarts

Looking for something simple, yet elegant to serve at your next Sunday brunch? Why not try these breakfast tarts? They’re so easy to make and very versatile, too. The tart shells may be blind baked the night before and covered loosely with a tea towel or parchment paper and kept at room temperature. Then, in the morning, just fill the shells and bake. I have served these tarts with various fillings (prosciutto, sautéed mushrooms, bacon), herbs (chives, thyme, oregano), and cheeses (parmesan, Gruyère, fontina), and get rave reviews from friends and family every time. With less time spent cooking, I get to spend more time with my guests. Continue reading

bacon and egg cups with cremini mushrooms

I knew immediately when I saw this post on Joanne’s amazing blog, Fifteen Spatulas, that I would be making mini bacon and egg cups. After all, it’s got three of my favorite things – bacon, eggs, and cheese. The beauty of a recipe like this one is that it can be easily customized to our own particular tastes.  The eggs can be cooked over easy, medium, or even scrambled. There are many varieties of cheeses that would work well.  Proscuitto may be substituted for the bacon.  You see, the possibilities are endless.  For my version, I added some crimini mushrooms that I sautéed in butter with a little garlic and chives.  For the bread on the bottom, I cut rounds from a couple of slices of buttermilk bread. Continue reading

egg salad sandwich

What makes a good egg salad sandwich?  Everyone has their own answer to this question.  For me, it  all starts with fresh, perfectly cooked soft-boiled eggs.  I add a little crunch for texture, a little acidity to balance out the creaminess of the eggs, and a dollop or two of mayonnaise to bind it all together.  I add a sprinkling of fresh herbs and spices to brighten the flavor.  All the ingredients are mixed together and put between two pieces of lightly toasted and buttered white bread.  The butter prevents the bread from being soggy.  I often cut the crusts off the bread as well.

Some people add olives, capers, pickles, dill, chives, and/or whole grain mustard, etc.  Personally, I add some tarragon, curry powder, and dry mustard to make my perfect egg salad.   I love the taste of tarragon and it goes perfectly with eggs.  It’s really very simple and easy to make.

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