I just recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas so naturally I had lavish and over-the-top themes running through my head because of it. I had the opportunity to taste so many delicious meals and I wanted to bring back those feelings of relaxation and luxury back home to my own kitchen after the vacation was ended. Amanda also had a free weekend and was in the mood to treat herself, so we were both wanting to make something that truly felt like we were chilling in the lap of luxury. Still getting over the jet lag though, I didn’t want to spend my whole day making my “treat,” and ganache truffles were the perfect mix of fancy and elegant, but still not too labor intensive. With Valentine’s Day approaching as well, these make a great homemade gift for your sweetie if you’re up for whipping up a batch. Otherwise, they make a great afternoon treat any day you want to feel a little fancy.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- For coatings: 1/2 cup crushed oreos, crushed peanut butter cookies or cocoa powder (or all 3!).
- Over medium heat in a small saucepan, heat the cream until just simmering.
- Remove from the heat and add your chocolate chips, butter and bourbon and stir until the chips are melted and everything is combined. Transfer the chocolate to a stand mixer bowl and fit your mixer with a whisk attachment.
- Whisk the ganache mixture for 3 minutes on medium speed to ensure that everything is combined. Transfer the bowl to the fridge and let chill overnight or at least for 3 hours until set.
- Once set (if too firm, remove from fridge and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes), use a dough scooper to portion one inch balls and roll quickly between your hands to smooth. It does help to wear gloves at this step. You will also want to move quickly and not overwork the ganache to keep it from melting.
- Roll your ganache balls through the coating of your choice and place in a mini-cupcake liner for easy snacking later. Store your truffles in the fridge until ready to eat or give to your valentine. Enjoy!
Wine Pairing: I personally would probably want something peppery to complement the sweetness of the truffles like a zinfandel. However you could go with a dessert wine as well and savor everything. It’s hard to go wrong with wine and chocolate!
Felt like something ~fancy~ last weekend. This was filling enough to have for lunch! Also, an excellent excuse to open a bottle of wine. Because, you know, its a “tasting.”
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 1 habanero, sliced
- 3/4 cup white wine, plus 2tbs
- Pinch of salt
- Heat wine and apricots in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat – do not drain – and let sit until cool, about 45 minutes-1 hour.
- Drain apricots and pour into a food processor. Add salt, sliced habanero (with seeds removed to decrease the heat, if desired), and 2tbs of wine. Chop until the mixture is a fine paste.
To complete the plate, I usually choose two soft and two hard cheeses, two crackers or bread options, and a couple of different meats. In this case, we used parmesan (delicious with salami!), brie, champagne cheese (a semi-soft cheese we randomly chose that was a delicious surprise), and goat cheese. The apricot-habanero spread was especially good with the goat and brie cheese, as you can see below!
Other things you might want to include to round out your flavor options:
- Gherkins or sliced pickles
- Fig jam
- Coarse mustard
While Amanda and I both enjoy going all out for these posts, sometimes we just don’t have the time. We generally cook and skype to discuss our meals on the weekend so we have all day to putter around in the kitchen. Not this time. For this meal, we wanted to make something quick and seasonal that we might actually bother to make on a weeknight when we’re just trying to have a nutritous dinner after a long day. I’ve made this dish a few times on weeknights and it always satisfies. It’s also a great winter dish with apples and brussels sprouts being in season. Plus, if you cook the eggs directly in the pan instead of as topped with it as pictured, it ends up being a one pan meal. I don’t know about you, but on a weeknight I am all about less dishes (well, on all nights really).
- 2 cups shredded brussels sprouts
- 2 small red potatoes, shredded or cubed to make about 1 1/2 cups
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 small or 1 large granny smith apple, shredded or diced (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 6 eggs
- Dried Italian herbs if desired
- Place the cubed pork tenderloin in a medium-sized bowl and add a teaspoon of salt, teaspoon of pepper, the white wine, apple sauce, thyme, rosemary and and a sprinkle of any other italian herbs that strike your fancy. Toss to combine.
- Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes or cover and marinate in the fridge up to 24 hours.
- When ready to cook, heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil and add the pork. Cook until all sides are brown and meat is mostly cooked through.
- Transfer the pork from the skillet to a plate to await being added later.
- Add the shallot and garlic to the skillet and cook until the shallot becomes translucent–about 3-4 minutes and be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add the shredded potatoes and a pinch of salt, and cook for 3-4 minutes until they are starting to soften slightly. Then add your brussel sprouts and apple.
- Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, then reincorporate your pork. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. At this point, you can serve as is or add an egg.
- To add eggs, you have two options: you can fry them up separately in another pan to your liking (I do this when I suspect I’ll have leftovers so I can top with a fresh egg later) or you can cook in the same pan. To do the second option, make 4-6 divets in the hash mixture and crack an egg in each hole. Cover with a lid, and turn the heat to low. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the eggs have a white film over them and are no longer too jiggly.
- Scoop onto a plate and enjoy!
Wine Pairing: Well, you have some of that white wine leftover right? No? A Chardonnay’s butteriness might be a nice match with the tartness of the apple flavor.