• 10 Sep
    Chocolate Coffee Ganache

    Chocolate Ganache

    As a chef, I am often reminded that what I think is easy and uncomplicated, is not necessarily. Chocolate ganache is often thought of as fussy and complicated, and I want to tell you it as simple as 1...2...3. Chocolate ganache originated in France. Ganache is a French term referring to a smooth and velvety mixture of chocolate and cream. Its origin is a little unclear, but it is believed to have been invented around 1850. Some say it originated in Switzerland where it was used as a base for truffles. Others say it was invented in Paris at the Patisserie Siravdin.

    Ganache is a simple mixture of hot cream and good quality chocolate. As much as we all love Hershey's, this is not the place for it. I recommend Callebaut, Valhrona or any other high quality dark chocolate. Look for chocolate that contains cocoa butter as the primary ingredient. The higher the quality of chocolate used, the better the flavor and texture your ganache will have in the end.

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    This post was posted in Desserts, Recipes and was tagged with Chocolate

  • 06 Sep
    Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

    creme brulee

    They say that food is the way to a man’s heart. Even though I agree with this, I say crème brulee is the way to a man’s heart!

    This is a simple custard enhanced with Beanilla Madagascar vanilla beans, then cooked and chilled, then topped with vanilla sugar and, finally, torched until melted and crisp. A properly cooked crème brulee should be smooth and silky, and the bruleed topping should have a crisp cracking sound when your spoon hits it.

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    This post was posted in Desserts, Recipes, Vanilla Bean Recipes and was tagged with Vanilla Sugar, Vanilla Bean Recipes

  • 04 Sep
    Vanilla Pancakes

    VANILLA PANCAKE

    In my opinion, breakfast is the best meal of the day. You get to eat a combination of sweet and savory together at one meal and it is completely accepted by the general public! Bacon, sausage, eggs and pancakes compete for your attention -- each equally delicious in different ways. I always save my pancakes for last. Melted butter and sweet syrup -- my mouth salivates just thinking about it!

    In our family, pancakes tend to be a Saturday morning treat, but this recipe is easily made the night before or made quickly on even the busiest of mornings. The addition of Beanilla Madagascar vanilla extract adds a sweet, vanilla note to a fluffy and light pancake that you will crave on any day of the week.

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    This post was posted in Breakfast and Brunch and was tagged with Breakfast

  • 02 Sep
    Almond-Raspberry Italian and French Soda

    italian soda

    Italian soda is light, crisp and fruity. A refreshing change from sugary sodas, they can be made with all natural products in any flavor you desire. The most popular flavors are fruit-based, but these drinks can be made with botanicals and even savory herbs. I prefer the fruity version, so when I pulled out my Beanilla Raspberry extract I knew that it belonged in a crisp Italian soda.

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    This post was posted in Drinks & Cocktails, Recipes and was tagged with Raspberries

  • 29 Aug
    Homemade Graham Crackers (S'mores Part 2)

    homemade s'mores

    Homemade Graham Crackers (S'mores Part 2)

    As promised, here is part two of the homemade marshmallows recipe that was posted on Tuesday. Homemade marshmallows are delicious and definitely a treat to have around the house. But, what would a s'more be without the graham cracker?

    When I was much, much younger, I had a best friend whose mom would give us graham crackers sandwiched with leftover homemade frosting. I still love it to this day!

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    This post was posted in Desserts, Recipes, Snacks & Salads and was tagged with smores

  • 27 Aug
    Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows (S'mores Part 1)

    marshmallows

    Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows (S'mores Part 1)

    Part one? This week I would like to do a recipe for homemade s'mores in two parts, so be sure to check back on Thursday for the graham cracker recipe.

    Living in beautiful West Michigan has its perks. Great lakes surround us, beautiful scenery abounds, wonderful communities of friendly neighbors and four seasons. Spring, summer, fall and winter -- that time of year when no one can go to the lake, the cabin, or the beach. Summer is a time for Michiganders to soak up the sun in preparation for winter hibernation. Labor Day weekend is usually the last weekend when we are able to go to the lake, the cabin or the beach house. In celebration of these last days of summer I am presenting you with a quintessential summer camping recipe, s'mores!

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    This post was posted in Desserts, Recipes, Snacks & Salads and was tagged with smores, Fall, Camping, Vanilla Paste

  • 26 Aug
    Almond-Vanilla Apple Tart

    Apple Tart

    Fall is just around the corner! I've missed fall, the changing leaves, crisp air, cider and donuts and, of course, fresh picked apples. I remember as a child picking apples right off the trees at a local orchard. They were crisp with just the right combination of tart and sweet.

    I contemplated waiting to post this recipe until after labor day, when fall officially starts, but those beautiful apples in the fridge kept calling to me; begging to be made into a crisp, strudel or pie. I begrudgingly, but happily, gave in and pulled them from the fridge. What can I make that is easy, tastes delicious, and strays slightly from the traditional? Almond-Vanilla Apple Tarts! Simple, elegant and oh-so-delicious!!

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    This post was posted in Desserts, Recipes and was tagged with Apples, Dessert, Almond Extract, Vanilla Paste

  • 22 Aug
    Vanilla Whipped Coffee Martini

    (educational indulgence)

    Vanilla Whipped Coffee Martini

    I recently received two very different vanilla beans from Beanilla. Did you know that there are different varieties of vanilla beans that grow in various regions around the world? In each vanilla producing region, vanilla beans are uniquely cured by vanilla farmers through a very labor-intensive process. Curing techniques, which have been passed down from generations of farmers, contribute to the aroma, texture, length, girth and flavor characteristics that make each bean so different, according to region.

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    This post was posted in Drinks & Cocktails, Recipes, Vanilla Bean Recipes and was tagged with Drink, Cocktail

  • 19 Aug
    Chocolate Zucchini Bread

    Chocolate Zucchini Bread

    We recently moved back to the Midwest from sunny Southern California. Although I miss the ocean and mountains, I am thrilled to be closer to family! One of the benefits of being so close to family is the ability to "stop" by and raid my father's garden.

    Looking for inspiration for a breakfast pastry, I gathered up my camera and the kids, and drove up to his house. I was very pleasantly surprised by the abundance of tomatoes, but tomato muffins did not sound appealing to any of us, so we continued our hunt. Beneath large green leaves I spied a very large zucchini, and then a second one. Perfect! Zucchini bread it is! The moisture from the zucchini keeps the bread moist for days, and even after it has gone past its prime I have been known to make french toast out of the leftovers. But that's another post...

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    This post was posted in Recipes and was tagged with Chocolate, Bread, Vanilla Paste

  • 18 Aug
    Low-fat Raspberry Lemon Muffins

    lemon raspberry muffins

    Raspberries are my absolute favorite fruit. The sweet tartness is amazing all on its own, but when paired with lemon you create the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Combine these two flavors into a muffin that is sweet, has a light crumb and is low in fat, and you will have an amazing way to start off your day.

    Jumbo bakery muffins are loaded with sugar, fat and calories. Did you know that one jumbo muffin from your local coffee house can total in excess of 800 calories? Add in a latte, and you're almost halfway to a normal daily intake of calories. I don't know about you, but I feel incredibly guilty eating that many calories early in the morning (I'll save those calories for a dessert after dinner). Low-fat muffins often leave a lot to be desired because they are either too dry, too sweet or simply taste downright disgusting. Not this recipe! Delicious, moist, not too sweet and very addictive is the best way to describe this recipe, and at 350 calories per jumbo muffin you can save your guilt and your waistline.

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    This post was posted in Recipes and was tagged with Muffins, Lemon Extract, Breakfast

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