Nerd alert guys. When I was younger and it was Valentine’s Day in a manga, I wished and wished it was the norm in the States to hand make chocolate. In the books stores would be filled with decorative papers and chocolate ingredients that made me swoon. Store bought was for lazy people. Or so I thought until I actually tried to start from just raw, unsweetened chocolate and loads of sugar. Ack. That was disgusting. And held me at bay from trying any chocolate making again for awhile. That is until my mom made truffles!
The melt in your mouth, completely decadent, smooth chocolate are to die for. And it’s so, so easy to make! The only *slight* setback back is there’s no clean way to do this. Chocolate hands everywhere. But that’s not such a bad thing right? 😉
8 ounces semi-sweet bar chocolate
8 oz bittersweet bar chocolate
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp finely ground Himalayan salt
coarse ground Himalayan salt & cocoa powder to garnish
Important note- you have to use bar chocolate for the recipe to work. Chocolate chips don’t have the same fat content that will set your chocolate.
1| Chop all the chocolate as finely as possible. We’ll be relying on just the heated cream to melt the chocolate, so it’s important to have even, tiny pieces to start. Transfer to a heat-safe bowl.
2| Bring the heavy cream and finely ground salt to a simmer over medium heat. Quickly give it a mix and pour over the chocolate.
3| Let stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Cover and transfer the bowl to the fridge to set for ~2 hours depending on how good your fridge is. If you’re short on time, you can transfer the chocolate to a glass baking dish. Spreading the chocolate out in a thin sheet can cut your set time to 30 minutes. Once set, the chocolate should be soft enough to be scooped out and hold its shape.
4| Scoop ~1″ balls and loosely roll between your hands. Don’t worry about getting a perfect sphere. The rough shape is a nod to the truffles’ namesake, the truffle root, and is a mark of true handmade goodness (Thank you Martha Stewart ;D).
5| Drop the balls in cacao powder and top with a sprinkle of salt. Start lightly with 2-3 salt pieces on top- the pink sea salt packs a big punch. I love the sharp contrast between salty and sweet so I went very heavy handed. Prepare to wow all with chocolatey goodness.
Did you know there are two different types of cocoa? Yup, and which one you choose can affect your truffles! Serious Eats breaks down the difference between natural & Dutch processed cocoa. The short of it is, use Dutch if you want a darker color and more bittersweet, earthy, balanced flavor and use natural processed if you want classic chocolate flavor.
Brussels sprouts are back in season! They’re easily one of my favorite vegetables because they’re super quick to make and once roasted they can be dressed up to anybody’s taste. And to make it easy on you, here are three ways all in one place: sweet honey, spicy sriracha, & the savory balsamic vinegar jewel of it all.
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly coat sprouts in olive oil, salt & pepper. Toss into oven for 30-40 minutes shaking the pan halfway through until browned on the outside. Et voila! Time to get saucy.
Each sauce works well drizzled on top right from the oven. Or turn it into a colorful, interactive station for Thanksgiving and let guests pick their toppings!
Sweet, Sweet Serendipity honey
The easiest sauce of the three, this one comes from an old roommate’s repertoire. We had been on a broccolini kick for so long and wanted to change up our veggies, so he roasted some brussels sprouts, drizzled on honey, and topped with goat cheese. The sweet, creamy combination is pure dinner acceptable candy.
equal parts sriracha, apple cider vinegar, honey
I had been testing a spicy glaze for salmon and figured why not for the brussels sprouts? The honey and apple cider vinegar balance the spice while also making a perfect glaze. Drizzle over hot sprouts and serve.
1-2 T butter (to taste)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
The one that started it all- my mom’s OG Thanksgiving dish. This glaze is so good people will fight for the last drops. (This technique is the same we used in last year’s Valentine’s DayRed Wine Sauce! Check it out for a great dessert idea.)
In a large saucepan, bring the vinegar to a simmer over medium-high heat then bring down to a low simmer. Stir occasionally. It should take about 10-15 minutes depending on how thick you like your sauce. Remember, it’ll thicken up once cooled! When you’re ready to remove from heat, stir in the butter and try your hardest not to drink it straight.
Pro tip: Do not breathe over this- vinegar vapors will be in the air and will knock you back.
I love serving all three on a platter! The colors give any table the perfect seasonal touch. Try them out and let me know which one is your favorite.
Sometimes the best recipes come from desperation. Each Sunday we do Big Breakfast. We usually make eggs, pancakes, bacon, the whole nine yards. One weekend though, we didn’t realize we were out of milk. Noooooo! That meant no pancakes! That is until our brilliant roommate mentioned stout pancakes.
Stout pancakes? Why not. If mimosas are a brunch staple, let’s invite the darker side to the table. And because of a well intentioned Costco run, our stout to milk supply was heavily favoring the Guinness.
And in the name of simplicity (I, Sailor Moon!! Nope, wrong post.) and using less measuring cups, we stick to using Aunt Jemima’s Original pancake mix. Either from scratch or boxed, use whatever go-to pancake mix you like!
Spiced Stout Pancakes 1 cup go-to base pancake mix
1 T oil
1 cup stout beer
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 tsp cinnamon
If you’re using boxed mix, start by combining all the ingredients the box calls for minus the milk. Instead, wherever it calls for milk, add the cup of stout.
With the base mix ready, whisk in the cheddar cheese and cinnamon. If you find the batter to be runny you can always add a bit more dry mix or cheese. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes for the perfectly fluffy pancakes, then cook as usual.
Serve hot and with lots of syrup! The blend of stout, cinnamon, & cheddar makes a surprisingly light pancake with none of the flavors overpowering each other. Pair with a citrus breakfast bowl to really bring it together.
Add this one to your home brunch rotation list and tell me what you guys think!
Does cold weather drive you to sugar? It always makes me crave tea, & of course, a dessert to go with it. Everyone in the apartment has been slacking a bit with brownies & cupcakes constantly coming out of the oven, so we decided to do the Under Armour ‘Rule Your Nutrition Challenge‘ this month! Shifting focus to be extra aware of what we eat.
This healthy stirfry bowl is the perfect lunch for the challenge- it has protein to rebuild muscles after a workout, veggies for all the vitamins, and low in carbs. (Though always check with your doctor before making any dietary changes!) This bowl delivers flavor & goodness all in one.
And if you’re looking for a breakfast option, try the citrus bowl.
Healthy Stir-fry Bowl
2 T olive oil
1 chicken breast, diced
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup asparagus
1/4 can of corn
1/4 cup broccoli
pepper, turmeric, & lemon juice to taste
handful of spinach (or any green, leafy base)
spoonful of Greek yogurt
Warm the olive oil in a large sautè pan over medium heat. As the oil is warming, dice the vegetables and chicken breast. (This is a great recipe for meal prep too! You can dice everything at the beginning or the week and throw into a pan later.) Transfer all the ingredients into the pan. Add your pepper, turmeric, & lemon juice on top and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from burning.
By the time your mouth starts watering, the stirfry should be good to go! Pile over your washed greens and finish with a spoonful of Greek yogurt. Your ridiculously easy lunch packs all the nutrients for a midday pick-me up.
Let me know what you guys think! Do you want to see more quick and healthy recipes? Tag your recipes with #curatedcooking for me to test or see how you liked any of the ones here!
Confession: Being a Florida girl, I thought tangerines and navel oranges were the only citrus worth having. A sort of provincial citrus snob. But, diving more into healthy eating and plating art, blood oranges kept cropping up. The color & flavor profile definitely intrigued me.
Easter & citrus season actually coincide well, and we volunteered to bring a fruit salad. Seeing as I hate banana & melon based salads (they always overpower the other fruits), it was the perfect time to try a citrus salad. It was a hit! But… I wanted a more substantial recipe for breakfast or snack. Enter the citrus power bowl! A little tart, a little sweet & very refreshing start to spring.
Citrus Breakfast Bowl Navel Orange
2 blood oranges
Cara Cara orange
fresh mint leaves
sprinkle of sat
plain Greek yogurt
This also makes a great citrus salad! Just swap the yogurt out for some bitter greens (e.g. arugula) + Feta cheese.
This is another recipe that just reacquires a lot of individual prepping and then throw everything together.
To start, grab a bowl of Greek yogurt. The sourness of the Greek yogurt will balance the sweet & tart flavors of the oranges. Next you’ll need to segment your oranges. “What’s segmenting & how do I do that?” Well, today is a two-fer post, so hop on over here to learn the how & why’s. After the oranges, julienne(cut thinly) fresh mint & almonds to sprinkle on top.
To assemble, just layer the oranges, almonds (you can toast them for a different take), & mint over the yogurt. Drizzle with honey and finish with a sprinkle of salt. Trust me on the salt- it brings out the sweetness. Whenever a dish feels like it’s lacking something, it’s probably salt.
Quick note on segmenting: What I’ve found is that the navel & Cara Cara oranges are the easiest to segment. Blood oranges don’t have perfect segments and lose their rigidity pretty quickly, and have seeds around the outer flesh that need to be removed to save your teeth. The pith on the Cara Cara oranges aren’t bitter at all, so you can leave the pieces as is one those if you want. As always when using a chef’s knife, make sure it’s sharp & be careful!
Also, let me know if a basic cooking series would be helpful! The segmenting tutorial was a blast to shoot.