Showing posts with label all-purpose flour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label all-purpose flour. Show all posts

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini with Asparagus, Leeks and Pancetta

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini with Asparagus, Leeks and Pancetta

For me, this is all about redemption.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

Last month I published my first attempt at a tortellini dish that I made from scratch. Everything about the dish was satisfactory to me except for the shape of my pasta. I'll be honest and note here that the flaw haunted me, so I needed to exorcise my demon to retain my sanity. In addition, I also used the opportunity to document with more detailed pictures the process of making the tortellini.

Dish Details

I used my tried and true pasta dough recipe which can be found on pages 102 to 104 of Cook Like A Rock Star by Anne Burrell with Suzanne Lenzer. I pulled from a number of sources for the tortellini filling including Two Peas and Their Pod, and Cooking with Manuela. In addition, I relied upon a number of YouTube videos in order to shape each tortellino. I paired my tortellini with a seasonal vegetable side dish from page 174 of Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking By Michael Chiarello with Janet Fletcher. I would hope that this dish would be at home at any Italian trattoria.


For the filling:
8 ounces chopped spinach, rinsed
10 ounces ricotta cheese, drained overnight
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the pasta dough:
4 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water, plus more as needed
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the vegetable side:
1 1/2 pounds medium asparagus, tough ends broken off, then cut into 1-inch lengths
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 cup leek, thinly sliced, white and pale green sections only
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Prepare the filling. Place the wet spinach into a nonstick skillet and season with salt, then place over medium low heat and cover until wilted, approximately 5 minutes. After the wilted spinach has cooled, combine the it with the ricotta, parmesan and egg, then season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside while the pasta dough is prepared.

2. Prepare the pasta dough. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, olive oil and water in a small bowl, then set aside. On a clean flat surface (I recommend a rimmed baking sheet in the event the well breaks), place the flour and dig a well in the middle so the flour resembles the shape of a volcano. Add the salt to the well, then pour in the wet ingredients. Using a fork, stir the eggs in a circular motion while simultaneously adding flour to the eggs slowly until the eggs are thick enough not to spill over the side of the well. Add the remaining flour to the eggs, and once it has become a homogeneous mixture, knead the dough by rolling it over onto itself with the heels of the palms of your hands, then turning it 90 degrees and repeating the process until it is tacky but not sticky adding more flour or water, as needed. While kneading the dough, ensure its consistent throughout by periodically piercing it with your finger to test the inside. Once the dough is kneaded, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for one hour, however the dish can be prepared one day ahead up to this point.

4. Roll the dough. Open the setting of a pasta roller to its widest. Cut off a portion of the pasta dough and flatten it, ensuring to re-wrap the remaining pasta dough that isn't being rolled. Dust a clean working surface with flour and pass the portion of the dough through the pasta roller, then fold it into thirds and pass the dough through the roller a second time at its widest setting, dusting the dough with flour if it feels too sticky, as needed. Fold it into thirds again, passing the dough through the pasta roller a third time at the widest setting and again, dusting the dough flour if necessary. Adjust the pasta roller to the next thinnest setting (i.e. if the roller is widest at setting 1, switch it to setting 2), and pass through the pasta roller just once at that setting. Continue to pass the dough through the roller once at the next thinnest setting, dusting the dough with flour as required, until your pasta sheets have reached the desired thinness. (My Atlas machine has six settings, but I rolled my dough to setting 5.)

5. Shape the tortellini. Once the pasta sheets have been rolled to the desired thickness, use a ring mold to cut circles into the pasta sheets and retain the excess for another use.

Place 1/2 teaspoon of filling in the center of each, then using your finger, wet with water the edge of one-half of the circle, as demonstrated by the grey shaded area in the picture below.

Fold the circles in half and seal the filling inside, ensuring that no air has been trapped inside the tortellini.

Fold one corner towards the center and, using a finger, wet the tip as demonstrated by the grey shaded area in the picture below. Fold the second corner towards the center to seal the two corners so they stick together.

As you finish each tortellino, place them onto a flour dusted sheet pan and put the sheet pan in the freezer so the pasta doesn't dry out.

6. Prepare the vegetable side; boil the pasta and finish the dish. Bring two pots of salted water to a boil over high heat-one medium and one large. While waiting for the water to reach its temperature, render the pancetta in olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat until slightly crisp, approximately 5 minutes. Add the leek to sweat.

While the leek sweats, add the asparagus to the medium pot and cook until tender, approximately 3 or 4 minutes then drain and add the asparagus to the skillet with the pancetta and leek. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat the seasonings.

Add the tortellini to the large pot and boil until they float to the top, approximately 2 minutes. Remove the cooked tortellini with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. To present, spoon a tablespoon or two of the vegetables onto a plate, then top with 4 to 5 tortellini, then serve immediately.

Final Thoughts

Unlike my previous tortellini attempt, I am pleased with the shape of the pasta I made. In addition, my suspicions were correct! By using a ring mold with a larger diameter, I was able to have better control over the final shape of the tortellini. Also, I might suggest to make the tortellini gradually, as each pasta sheet is rolled to the desired thickness before rolling more pasta dough so it doesn't dry out. Lastly, Mrs. Stuntman thought the vegetable side was seasoned perfectly and paired well with the spinach and ricotta filling. She even requested I prepare it again.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Green and Yellow Artichoke Tortellini with Mushrooms, Pancetta and Spring Peas with White Wine Reduction for an Italian Fest #SundaySupper

Green and Yellow Artichoke Tortellini with Mushrooms, Pancetta and Spring Peas with White Wine Reduction for an Italian Fest #SundaySupper

My long time readers know that one of my passions I've explored on this website is Italian cuisine, so I couldn't let this week's #SundaySupper theme of Italian Fest go without participating. It's hosted by Manu of Manu's Menu. Thank you, Manu!

As this passion has developed over the years, I've tried to learn as much as I can on the topic. What fascinates me is the differences between authentic Italian food and America's version of Italian food which is the reason why I'm so appreciative of an article my friend Caroline of La Cucina Della Prima Donna wrote a few years ago that explains how Italians can still eat healthy despite calorie-laden dishes such as pasta, pizza and gelato.

As I noted in a dish I published this past fall, Italian pasta dishes tend to be simple, so I've struggled to balance genuineness with my desire to continue to prepare foods that challenge me, either in flavor profile and/or preparation. However, I think I found a compromise with an article I discovered several years ago on that reviewed recipes for flavored pastas and have been using it as a source of inspiration ever since. Such is the case with this dish.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

The idea of this dish was born from episode 16 of season six's MasterChef, where the elimination challenge charged the contestants with preparing three fresh pasta dishes. One of the assigned dishes is a squid ink striped farfalle. At the time, I hadn't even considered the concept of striped pasta so I was intrigued and wanted to explore the notion. In addition, my long time readers will remember I prepared a Paglia e Fieno dish two years ago which is the second source of inspiration for this updated version.

Dish Details

When I conceptualized this dish, I imagined it to be served at a modern Italian fine dining restaurant. The dish the contestants on the show I referenced above made pasta with only stripes on one side, so I did a little digging and found a method to ensure the stripes appear on both sides. I also wanted to use seasonal ingredients so, after consulting The Flavor Bible, I decided to use artichokes for my filling in addition to mushrooms, spinach and peas. Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio with Catherine Young, Lori Silverbush and Sean Fri played a role in two components of the dish. The reduction was comprised from the basic sauce making technique described on page 75 and the artichoke filling on pages 129 through 130 and 134. Pasta dough was adapted from the article I linked above. I also added the pancetta because The Flavor Bible noted it worked well with artichokes and I've also found I enjoy the pairing of cured pork with mushrooms.


For the artichoke filling:
3 lemons
3 artichokes
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
1 leek, tops trimmed and green outer leaves discarded
1 celery stalk, sliced thin
7 to 8 baby carrots, sliced thin
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs lemon thyme
1 3/4 cups white wine

For pasta dough:
8 ounces raw spinach
6 cups all-purpose flour, divided plus more as needed
Kosher salt
8 eggs, divided

For the vegetables and reduction:
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 ounces pancetta, diced
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced thin
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon thyme sprigs, for garnish


1. Complete the artichoke mise en place. Combine the juice from 2 1/2 lemons and 2 quarts water in a large bowl. Trim the stem (leaving only 1-inch), then remove the outer leaves and cut off the inner leaves. Next, peel away the outer layers that encircle the heart with a pairing knife, similar to peeling an apple. Scrape out the fuzzy choke and immature leaves using a spoon, then trim the top of the choke, rubbing it with the remaining half lemon frequently to prevent it from oxidizing and turning brown. When finished place the artichoke into the lemon water and repeat the process with the other two artichokes. Cut the yellow onion in half lengthwise, then slice thinly. Repeat the process for the leek.

2. Braise the artichokes. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a high sided pot over medium heat until the pot begins to smoke. Add the onions, leek, carrots and celery (i.e. mirepoix) to the pot to sweat, reducing the heat to medium low, seasoning with kosher salt and stirring occasionally, approximately 20 minutes.

Remove the artichokes from the lemon water and add to the pot. Drizzle the chokes with approximately 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon thyme sprigs. Add the wine to the pot and enough water to cover the artichokes. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat, partially cover the pot and let them simmer until the chokes can easily be pierced with a knife, approximately 30 minutes.

Once finished remove from the heat and allow the artichokes to cool in the braising fluid. Purée the artichokes with the mirepoix adding just enough braising fluid so the mixture has the consistency similar to toothpaste. Cover and set aside until the pasta dough has been prepared.

3. Prepare the spinach. Coarsely chop the spinach, then rinse it under cold water. Place the wet spinach leaves in a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and add a pinch of kosher salt until the spinach wilts, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the spinach from the pan and let it cool. Once the spinach has cooled enough to handle, place them in a double layer of paper towels and squeeze out as much water from them as possible. Purée the spinach in the blender.

4. Make and roll the pasta dough. Make two mounds of flour, each using 3 cups. Dig a hole in each mound to form a well big enough to hold the eggs, then add a pinch of salt to each mound. Whisk 4 eggs together, then pour them into one well. Whisk the remaining 4 eggs together with the puréed spinach and pour it into the second well. Make, knead and roll each dough separately by following the instructions of Steps 4 and 5 in this prior agnolotti dish, however stop rolling the dough one setting thicker than desired. (For example, my Atlas machine has 6 settings but wanted my pasta as thin as setting 5 so I stopped rolling the dough at setting 4.) Many pasta dough recipes direct the cook to use a clean flat surface but I recommend using a sheet pan because the sides will contain the eggs in the event that the well should break. Dust both sides of each pasta dough with flour and then roll each dough up as if you were rolling a cigarette, then cut it lengthwise in half similar to this picture, cutting along the blue rubber band. Unroll each half and wet the edge of the cut side of each green pasta sheet with water, then lay a yellow pasta sheet next to the green so the yellow sheet overlaps the green sheet by a 1/4-inch. Repeat the process with the remaining sheets. Pass the combined dough through the pasta roller at the final setting.

5. Form the tortellini. Using a ring mold, cut circles in the pasta sheets in a manner that half of the circle is green and the other half is yellow. Using the reserved artichoke filling and the pasta cirecles, fold the tortellini in the manner demonstrated in this YouTube video, ensuring that each tortellino is folded in a manner so the half circle has a different color on each side. If you're not preparing the dish immediately, place each tortellino on a sheet pan dusted with flour and place in the freezer.

6. Prepare the sauce and finish the dish. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the tortellini to the pot and boil until they float to the top, approximately 2 minutes. Remove the tortellini from the pot and set aside to reserve. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the pancetta to render the fat, approximately 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pancetta to sweat and reduce, stirring occasionally. Add the peas to the skillet and cook until heated through.

Remove the pancetta, mushrooms and peas from the pan and reserve. If the pan is dry, add the remaining tablespoon to the skillet, then the shallot to sweat for approximately 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine and scrape the bottom to release any fond and reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and continue to simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain out any solids in the sauce and return it to the skillet over low heat and add the butter, stirring until it melts. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. To plate, spoon some of the reduction into a bowl, top the reduction with the mushrooms, pancetta and peas, then place tortellini onto the vegetables. Garnish with lemon thyme sprigs.

Final Thoughts

I was discussing this dish with my friend, Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Kiss My Smoke before I published it today. I explained that this dish is as far as I can escalate the complexity of fresh pasta. As I stated above, I intended this dish to be an example of food that could be served at a modern Italian fine dining establishment. Overall, I was pleased with the taste of the dish, as it was well balanced with strong flavors, however I was not happy with it's presentation. If you perform a google image search for tortellini fine dining, you'll get a general idea of what I had in mind. I think the issue is the size of the pasta circles I cut. I used a 3-inch ring cutter so when I went to wrap them around my finger, I found that they didn't reach all the way around. so I ended up folding both corners over to seal with water. When I make tortellini again, I'd use my 5-inch ring mold. I hoped to document the process of forming the tortellini in a little more detail with pictures, however I so focused with making the tortellini I forgot about my camera.

I've reviewed the process of making fresh pasta several times in the past and I've hoped to dedicate a post focused solely on this one aspect, however my hands get rather messy with flour and eggs when I knead the dough so it's difficult to take pictures. Probably the best demonstration I've found is this one by Chef Tomm Johnson I found on YouTube. He initially combines the wet and dry ingredients in a mixing bowl instead of using the well method I describe above, however.

Be sure to check out the other great Italian dishes before you go!

And Artichoke Torta plus More Recipes for Italian Fest from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Light Stunt: Buttermilk Battered Chicken Wings for a Big Game Day Party Recipes #SundaySupper

Light Stunt: Buttermilk Battered Chicken Wings for a Big Game Day Party Recipes #SundaySupper

My long time readers might remember a chicken wings dish I published two years ago for a similar #SundaySupper theme. After looking at it again, I'll admit that the dish I published previously is a little labor-intensive, especially if you're hosting a game day party. Call this an update that is a little easier so the host can spend more time with their guests.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

Last autumn, I accepted a consultant role for a student business organization that is working to establish itself at the University of Washington's Bothell campus. I joined the organization when I was at school in California so I am familiar with it's operations. When I met this group of students, I told them I write a food blog so I thought I should put up or shut up when they hosted a barbecue on a Friday night a few weeks ago. I chose chicken wings because they can be served as a finger-food hors-d'oeuvres and it is an easy way to serve a large crowd, which translates well to a big game watch party.

Dish Details

Chicken wings are a sports bar staple, however I found this recipe on a little more intriguing. More on that below. The night I prepared this dish for the barbecue, I had to double the ingredient quantities since I was feeding approximately fifty people but I replicated it again a couple of nights later using the original amounts.


1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 pounds chicken wings, split at the joints with the tips removed
1 1/2 all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
Vegetable oil, for frying
Flat leaf parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)


1. Place the chicken wings in a resealable bag then pour the buttermilk over them and add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Ensure all of the chicken is submerged in the buttermilk, then refrigerate for 30 minutes. While the wings are soaking, combine the flour, paprika and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl, then fill a stockpot with vegetable oil to at least a 1-inch depth and heat to a temperature of 350° Fahrenheit.

2. Once 30 minutes have expired, drain the wings, then dredge them in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.

Deep fry them in batches until the wings are golden, approximately ten minutes. Using a slotted spoon, drain the wings on a paper towel lined plate before serving, garnished with parsley leaves.

Final Thoughts

The link I referenced above has fifty chicken wings recipes but I specifically chose the eighth for a couple of reasons. First, the members of the student organization requested that they not be too spicy and second, I wanted to test the pairing of buttermilk and chicken for myself after hearing of Chef Thomas Keller's legendary buttermilk fried chicken.

The feedback I received from the student organization was positive, but I really only had a bite or two that evening just to evaluate doneness. When I went back and replicated the dish a few nights later, I was surprised to find the wings so well seasoned considering only 1 teaspoon of salt was used.

Hopefully, these other dishes prepared for this week's #SundaySupper theme will be helpful if you're still planning for a watch party. They're listed below.

Appetizers and Sides
Main Dishes
Desserts and Drinks
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Deconstructed Steak Poutine: Top Sirloin Steak with Crumbled Bleu Cheese, Buttered Mashed Potatoes and Red Wine Gravy for a 'Let's Poutine' #SundaySupper with Idaho® Potatoes #FWCon

Deconstructed Steak Poutine: Top Sirloin Steak with Crumbled Bleu Cheese, Buttered Mashed Potatoes and Red Wine Gravy for a 'Let's Poutine' #SundaySupper with Idaho® Potatoes #FWCon

Before I begin, let me be one of the last to wish you a Happy 2016!

To start this new year, I must congratulate Isabel of Family Foodie for a number of reasons. First, it's the fourth anniversary of her founding Sunday Supper Movement, but more than that, she was able to get January recognized as National Sunday Supper Month and, more specifically, the second Sunday of January National Sunday Supper Day, both occurring annually from this year going forward. You might have seen the National Sunday Supper Month Kickoff with last week's #SundaySupper event.

There are many ways to participate in National Sunday Supper Month. I highly encourage you to take the Sunday Supper Pledge to support the mission of bringing back #SundaySupper around the family table. Also, you can complete the sentence I cook because... in addition to a daily Instagram Photo Challenge. Click on the links above for more information.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

Another way to celebrate is to participate in the Idaho Potato Commission Recipe Contest for National Sunday Supper Month. To enter the contest, contestants must create a recipe inspired by a poutine using Idaho® potatoes, among other requirements. See the link above for complete details. The task of creating a poutine-inspired recipe using Idaho® potatoes was also assigned to the twenty participating bloggers in today's Let's Poutine #SundaySupper event. By now you might have guessed that this post is sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are those of the individual bloggers. Please visit Idaho® potatoes website, 'Like' their Facebook page, and follow them on twitter, instagram and pinterest.

Let's discuss the dish for a moment. The poutine originates from Quebec and is comprised of French fries topped with a brown gravy and cheese curds. If I can be candid for a moment, poutine is considered fast food there in Canada and a Canadian friend of mine even went so far to call the dish drunk food. Many of my colleagues within #SundaySupper were introduced to the poutine at the Food Wine Conference last summer where Saturday's lunch was sponsored, in part, by Idaho® potatoes so it's a little ironic that the dish was so well received. I think that the dish's execution in addition to the various flavor pairings offered that day contributed to its warm reception. My story with the dish is a little different because my chef friend put a short rib poutine on his menu at his restaurant when it opened in 2011, so I was familiar with it when I attended last summer.

Dish Details

I've always been a little suspicious of the dish because a gravy is defined as a sauce made from the juices secreted from a cooked protein so the absence of one has always confounded me. It's the reason why I included a protein in my re-imagined dish here. One of the requirements of this dish is that I use Idaho® potatoes, so thankfully, the supermarket I usually patronize had them in stock:

I borrowed the red wine gravy recipe from, but the other components of the dish are original.


1 pound russet Idaho® potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise 1/4-inch thick
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
4 8-to-10 ounce top sirloin steaks
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk plus more if necessary
2 cups baby arugula
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Bleu cheese crumbles, for garnish


1. Boil the Idaho® potatoes. Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan and fill with enough water so that the potatoes are submerged by at least one inch, then season the water with kosher salt. Place the saucepan over high heat and boil until they are fork tender, approximately ten to fifteen minutes. Drain the potatoes with a colander and place them back in the saucepan.

2. Prepare the steaks. While the potatoes are boiling, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and season the steaks with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sear the steaks in the pan, four minutes per side for medium rare, then remove from the pan and set aside to allow for carryover cooking while the other components of the dish are prepared.

3. Prepare the gravy. Create a roux by reducing the heat under the skillet to medium and add an additional two tablespoons olive oil. Whisk in the all-purpose flour and continue to whisk frequently until brown.

Deglaze the pan with the red wine, loosening the fond from the bottom of the pan, then add in the beef stock and simmer until thickened. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as necessary.

4. Finish potatoes. While the gravy simmers, mash the drained potatoes or pass them through a food mill. Add butter and scoop some potatoes over so the butter melts. Once melted, stir in the milk until the potatoes absorb the fluid. More milk may be added until the desired consistency is reached.

5. Prepare the salad and finish the dish. Whisk together the remaining one tablespoon olive oil and lemon juice, then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the arugula with just one or two teaspoons of the vinaigrette-just enough to wet, but not wilt, the leaves. Cut each steak diagonally in half, across the grain then place some gravy into a squeeze bottle. To plate, spoon some potatoes onto the plate towards the front but still in the center. Place a couple of dollops of gravy beside the potatoes, then put one half of the steak on the potatoes, then place the other half off center so the interior is exposed. Top the steak with the arugula salad and garnish with the bleu cheese crumbles.

Final Thoughts

Those that know me know that I rarely publish a dish without consulting my copy of The Flavor Bible first. I certainly did here but the flavor profiles noted were nothing unusual. Each of the main ingredients used were noted to pair well with each other: steak, potatoes, cheese (specifically, bleu cheese), arugula, butter and red wine.

I'm not the only #SundaySupper member that prepared a poutine-inspired dish. Check out the others below:

Main Dish:
Plus: Poutine Variations for National Sunday Supper Day from Sunday Supper Movement

Have you signed the #SundaySupper pledge to eat together as a family? Do it right here!

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chocolate Indulgence Cake with White Chocolate Sauce and Candied Pecans #ChocolateforJoan

Chocolate Indulgence Cake with White Chocolate Sauce and Candied Pecans #ChocolateforJoan

I make an effort to try to avoid clichés, but every now and then you realize that life is short and people need to make the most out of each day.

When I started this website more than three years ago, I didn't anticipate that I would form real life friendships with other food bloggers I met through social media, however over time that is exactly what occurred. So couple of weeks ago when I learned that my friend Joan of Chocolate Chocolate and More passed away in her sleep, I felt a strong sense of loss.

I had seen Joan online for years and I was fortunate enough to meet her a handful of times in the last year. The only picture I have of the two of us was taken the first time we met when she was in town for IFBC in 2014, however. I had just moved into the area less than a month before and was unable to attend the conference considering I hadn't completely unpacked everything but I was able to sneak over to the host hotel to meet some friends for a few hours for lunch on the Friday before official conference activities began. We instantly connected. I remember at one point that afternoon, nature was calling so I asked her to watch my phone while I was in the men's room. She teased that there might be additional pictures in my phone's gallery when I returned that Mrs. Stuntman might find questionable. I returned a couple of days later on Sunday afternoon. I was only able to see her in passing but she was thoughtful enough to leave me a gift bag of some of the items she collected during the weekend.

(From left to right: Bobbi of Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen, me, Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Kiss My Smoke, Joan)

The second time I met Joan in person was at the Food and Wine Conference this past summer. She was invited to speak because more than two million people have 'Liked' the Chocolate Chocolate and More Facebook page. To put that in perspective, Joan has more Facebook 'Likes' than Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay and Alton Brown combined. My memories of Joan on that trip are surrounded by my lunch at Shubee's Coastal Grill and Bar because she was one of the ladies who I was lucky enough to join on that occasion. Something as mundane as transportation to the restaurant stood out because Joan was kind enough to give me a ride in her son's new car, where I returned the favor of teasing her by suggesting she baptize the vehicle by giving the car in front of us a love tap.

The last time I met Joan in person was a couple of months ago at IFBC. Unfortunately, we only met in passing because we mostly attended different sessions and I couldn't attend many of the after hour social gatherings because I opted for my own bed over a hotel room which meant I was driving and couldn't enjoy any cocktails.

Each time I met her, I found her to be incredibly kind, thoughtful and sincere.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

For this dessert, I used Joan's website name for inspiration. The dish had to contain at least three components, two of which had to contain chocolate. The Flavor Bible didn't yield any surprises with items such as nuts, cream, mint and sugar pairing well with both chocolate and white chocolate. Berries were also common between the two but I decided to omit them from the dish because they are not in season.

Dish Details

I'd imagine you could find this dish on any restaurant dessert menu. For it, I paired adaptations of a chocolate cake found on with a sauce found on epicurious and the pecans on


Cooking spray
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 2 1/4-ounce package pecan halves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (approximately 6 ounces) white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Mint leaves for garnish


1. Complete the mise en place. Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Coat four ramekins with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Candy the pecans. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the pecans and toss to coat. Add the brown sugar and salt and stir until caramelized. Transfer the pecans to wax paper in a single layer to cool and set aside.

3. Prepare the sauce. Place the white chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl, then slowly bring the whipping cream to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once a boil has been reached, pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk to combine and melt the chocolate.

4. Bake the cake and finish the dish. Set up a double boiler by filling a medium saucepan with enough water so that the water level is just shy of a heatproof bowl placed over the saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Place the heatproof bowl over the simmering water and add the semi-sweet chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add the butter and sugar and stir until melted then whisk in the two eggs until well combined. Add in the flour and stir until just combined but do not overmix. Remove the chocolate from the heat, then spoon an equal portion of the batter into each of the prepared ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet, then place into the oven for ten to twelve minutes. To present, invert a ramekin onto a warmed plate, spoon some sauce around the cake, then garnish with the pecans and mint leaves.

Final Thoughts

Mrs. Stuntman enjoyed the dish, however she thought the cake was a little rich. She did ask for more pecans.

Since Joan's passing, there have been a number of tributes that have been published but I wanted to highlight a Go Fund Me page to support the three teenage children that have survived her. Please contribute to it if you can.

Other loving tributes include:

Joan does have contributors, so her blog in addition to her social media pages remain active so please be sure to catch her on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Rest in peace, my friend. You're genuinely missed.

November 11, 2015 update:

Robin of Simply Southern Baking saw this and shared a few of her pictures that were taken at Shubee's. Thanks, Robin!

(From left to right: Lisa of Jersey Girl Cooks, Robin, Melissa of Serendipity and Spice, Marlene of Nosh My Way, Joan, Wendy of The Weekend Gourmet, KC of Chat 'n Dish, me, Faith of An Edible Mosaic and Healthy Sweet Eats)