crème brûlée

ingredients (serves 6-10 depending on ramekin size):
1 vanilla bean (about 1 tsp vanilla extract is substitute for 1 vanilla bean)
3 cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)

preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. split vanilla bean in half lengthwise*; scrape seeds* into medium heatproof bowl. heat pod and cream in medium pot, without boiling.

add egg yolks and sugar to seeds in bowl; gradually whisk in hot cream mixture. place bowl over medium pot of simmering water; stir over medium heat about 10 minutes or until custard mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. discard pod.

divide custard among six 1/2-cup heatproof dishes (ramekins). place dishes in large baking dish; pour enough boiling water into baking dish to come halfway up sides of dishes. bake, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until custards are just set. remove custards from water; cool to room temperature. cover; refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

bring custards to room temperature (suggested).

if you have a kitchen torch: add about 1/2 tsp to the top of each custard, spread evenly and torch until crispy or golden brown
if you do not have a kitchen torch: preheat broiler. place custards in shallow broiler-safe dish filled with ice cubes; sprinkle custards evenly with sifted powdered sugar. using finger, distribute the sugar over the surface of each custard, pressing in gently; place under hot broiler until tops of crème brûlées are caramelized.

*i split up the substituted vanilla extract between the two bowls

recipe from best ever recipes cookbook.


mushroom and spinach risotto

we made this to complement our roasted lamb for valentine's day dinner. so perfect. ingredients (serves 4-6):
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 - 1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of arborio rice
3/4 cup white wine
10 shitake mushrooms, sliced (or 2 cups sliced of any mushroom)
3 t0 4 cups (5 oz.) fresh, finely chopped spinach
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (or any parmesan-ish cheese)
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot, bring vegetable broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer. In a large pan, sauté the garlic and onions in olive oil or butter until soft. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes, until lightly toasted. Add white wine and stir until absorbed. Once absorbed, add one and a half ladles of warm stock to the rice mixture, stirring until absorbed. Repeat this process until you have two ladles left to add.

During the ladle process, sauté the mushrooms in olive oil or butter until cooked. At the second to last ladle, add the spinach with the broth and stir. Once absorbed, add the last ladle with the mushrooms. Stir in the parmigiano and add salt and pepper to taste.

recipe adapted from this blog.


nutella cupcakes with nutella cream cheese frosting

ok, so these are gluten free... which i didn't even now until now, as i'm posting the recipe. so anyway they are delish. as i'm sure you gathered from the title.
ingredients for cupcakes (makes 12):
8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup honey or light brown sugar
2 Tbs milk
1/4 cup Nutella
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs superfine sweet rice flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup cornstarch (or use tapioca flour)
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

or Use 200gr (about 1 3/4 cups) all purpose flour to replace the sweet rice and millet flours and the corn starch if desired.

directions for cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Place 12 muffin liners inside a muffin pan and lightly brush with melted butter (or cooking spray).
In an electric mixer, whip the butter and honey until fluffy at medium speed, 2-3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add milk and Nutella. Still on low, add the eggs, one at time and scraping the bowl after each addition. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, cornstarch, baking soda and salt and slowly fold this in with the butter - Nutella mixture until the mixture is smooth. Divide evenly among the muffin liners and bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting or enjoy warm without.

ingredients for cream cheese frosting:
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 oz Nutella

directions for frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Sift the powdered sugar over the bowl and whisk for a few seconds. Add the Nutella and mix until completely incorporated. That is plenty for 12 cupcakes by the way. Halve the recipe if you plan to do some Nutella and some plain.

or for plain cream cheese frosting: remove the Nutella and add 2 tablespoons butter to make it 1/4 cup total and 1/4 cup powdered sugar to make it 1/2 cup total. Same process.