Chocolate Recipes for Valentine’s Day

I have to admit that I think Valentine’s Day is kind of hokey. Teddy bears and silly cards are cute enough, I suppose, but overpriced flowers and prix fixe restaurant menus don’t do much for me. But this Hallmark holiday does have one major redeeming quality: chocolate.

Who can be cranky about a holiday that prompts coworkers to share bowls of hershey kisses and husbands to bring home cherry cordials? Even better, of course, are the home made treats. Nobody can resist chocolates from your very own kitchen. And on this one day, all chocolate is calorie-free. True fact. So go to town!

Below are a few of my favorite chocolate truffle-like recipes.

I hope you enjoy!

cake balls white chocolate
Cake Ball Truffles

chocolate goat cheese truffles
Nutty Goat Cheese Chocolate Truffles

peanut butter chocolate truffles
Peanut Butter Balls

Published in: on February 11, 2013 at 9:19 am  Comments (9)  
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In the Moment: Poblano Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Corn Relish

quesadilla

It’s probably been 10 years since I spoke to my college roommate. We didn’t live well together and we weren’t really even friends.  But sometimes life  (or student residential services) puts people in your path for a reason.  Jess had an uncanny ability to ignore the future.  Were a meteor expected to hit the earth tomorrow, a really fantastic cup of coffee would make her happy right now. Falling leaves fascinated her, despite midterms looming in the morning. I, on the other hand, am a planner – a neurotic dreamer who struggles to live in the moment.

But there is something about eating with the seasons, enjoying the freshest flavors, that helps, just a little bit, to keep me in the here and now.  It’s hard to think about my dream house when I’m shucking corn in my current kitchen.  And we’ve had some fantastic corn this season.  So I’ve been trying out new recipes, keeping myself grounded in this day, this moment, this meal.

grilled corn and grilled quesadillas

I love simple steamed corn smeared with butter, but this year I’ve been all about the grill.  Charred bits of summer sweetness make this corn relish outstanding.  And if you have never made quesadillas on the grill, do it now!  More flavor and less grease, what’s not to love about that?

Poblano Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Corn Relish

Serves 4

2 poblano peppers

2 ears corn

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 small avocado, diced

salt and pepper to taste

8 whole wheat tortillas

5 ounces goat cheese

1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese

1/4 cup diced tomato

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill.  Roast the peppers over a direct flame until blistered on all sides. Remove from the heat, place in a bowl, and cover.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, remove the silky fibers from the corn and replace the husks.  Grill the corn in the husks until slightly charred.  Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut the kernels from the cobs and place in a bowl.  Toss the corn with the vinegar, oil, basil, onion and avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Peel, seed and dice the poblanos.  To make the quesadillas, place four tortillas on the grill.  Quickly sprinkle evenly with the two cheeses, the tomato, and the diced poblanos.  Top with the remaining four tortillas and close the grill.  Cook just one minute until the cheese melts, and then carefully flip the quesadillas.  Cook until browned on the bottom, remove and slice into quarters.  Serve with the relish.

Published in: on July 25, 2010 at 6:30 pm  Comments (27)  
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Girl Food: Strawberry, Balsamic, Goat Cheese Bruschetta

strawberry balsamic jam bruschetta

I think Jeff secretly loves when I go out of town.  Oh, sure, he calls to tell me he misses me, and he says the house is too quiet.  But he gets to hog the tv remote, crank up the air conditioning, and order Domino’s pizza. What’s not to love about that?  When I’m not around, Jeff dives into the foods I eschew – greasy take-out, Doritos, candy bars.  And I bet he’s not alone among husbands in his wife-free habits. 

balsamic bruschettastrawberry balsamic goat cheese

Of course, I indulge myself when Jeff is away, too.  My indulgences are just a little different…  no football or Snickers for me.  No, I go all-out girl.  Facial masks and whiney chick music and pretty, luxurious food.  Tea sandwiches and macerated fruit salads, and gorgeous strawberry, balsamic, and goat cheese bruschetta.

fruit bruschettaI had made the strawberry balsamic jam a few weeks ago, when our CSA share was bursting with red berries.  I’ve been spreading it on everything from English muffins to ham sandwiches, but this is by far my favorite way to enjoy the jam. Tangy, creamy goat cheese and rich, sweet strawberry jam with fresh, aromatic basil.  Perfection. These little gems would be a great brunch hors d’oeuvre, or a perfect light lunch with a salad.  They’d make awesome picnic fare, or a book-club treat, or even a midnight snack.  Basically, they are just yummy.  Anytime.  Particularly when your goat-cheese hating husband is out of town.

Strawberry, Balsamic, Goat Cheese Bruschetta

makes about 2 dozen

2 cups hulled strawberries

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 small baguette

5 ounces soft goat cheese

pinch of salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mash the berries slightly.  Add the sugar and vinegar and simmer on low heat about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick.  Cool to room temperature.

Cut the bread on a diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices and toast the bread lightly in the toaster oven.  Spread the toasts with the goat cheese and sprinkle with salt.  Spoon the strawberry balsamic jam over the goat cheese and top with the basil.  Serve immediately.

berries

Published in: on July 18, 2010 at 7:03 am  Comments (38)  
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Nutty Goat Cheese Chocolate Truffles

chocolate truffles

My mom calls me the Queen of the Slapdash.  It was a nickname that I earned way back in middle school and it stuck. I’m not a details kind of gal, and if you look up antonyms for meticulous, you’ll probably find ‘Katie’.

goat cheese choolate trufflesSadly, my culinary style is much the same as my middle school homework style.  I don’t take actual short cuts (canned frosting and t.v. dinners are not my thing), but I do love to pass off a seriously easy recipe as a feat of magnificent proportions. I had long been terrified of candy, chocolate, and confections in general because attention to detail is key when a matter of one or two degrees can mean the difference between buttery caramel and a beeping smoke alarm. But over the past year I’ve tackled my fears, and found that not all confections have to be so difficult to make.

Not that you shouldn’t tell everyone that these lovely truffles took days of incredible patience to prepare.  People will believe you.  They are that good.  And they are adorable enough to qualify for a fake-out.  These beautiful chocolate wonders are a great hostess gift for that friend who invites you for dinner but refuses to let you bring anything. 

nutty goat cheese chocolate trufflesThey key to ease here is making sure that your goat cheese is softened before you start – you don’t want lumpy ganache.  And, of course, use great chocolate.  I went for Callebaut, but take my advice and splurge on the best you can find. The marriage of chocolate and goat cheese is surprisingly mild and just a bit mysterious.  I neglected to mention to Jeff that the ganache was made with goat cheese (he hates goat cheese – sometimes I just don’t understand how we ended up together).  He munched away, enjoying the creamy texture and “that something, what is that something?” which I refused to divulge. I love the almond flavor with the tang of the goat cheese, but you could certainly go for hazelnut instead, which would be wonderful and earthy. 

I submitted the recipe for these lovely truffles to the Ile de France Cheese Recipe Contest.  Go vote for my truffles here! (scroll down to find the nutty goat cheese chocolate truffles recipe)

 truffles

Nutty Goat Cheese Truffles

Makes about 2 dozen truffles

4 ounces goat cheese

8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped and divided

2 tablespoons almond liqueur

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and finely chopped

Bring the goat cheese to room temperature. Melt half of the chocolate on low power in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds (or over a double boiler). Adding a the chocolate to the cheese just a spoonful at a time, stir together the goat cheese and the melted chocolate until very smooth. Use the back of a spoon to work the goat cheese into the chocolate. Mix the almond liqueur into the chocolate mixture. Chill one hour. Remove from the refrigerator and scoop into balls. Roll the scooped truffles in your hands to make them perfectly round. Put the chopped almonds on a flat plate. Melt the remaining chocolate. Coat each truffle with a small amount of chocolate (the best way to do this is by dipping a large spoon in the chocolate and then rolling the truffle in the spoon). Quickly transfer each coated truffle to the nuts and roll to coat. Chill at least 30 minutes. Remove the truffles from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. They will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

Published in: on May 12, 2010 at 6:36 pm  Comments (35)  
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