Haute Hot Food

Only for the adventurous in eating that want to tantalize their taste-buds and make food dance on their palate.

For I am not afraid of letting the food
overtake my desires, nor am I afraid of letting my desires be my food. Food is my expression, not just my livelihood. Cooking is my art, not out of responsibility, but purely out of passion.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Show Stoppers

Holidays are the one time a year to get the tricks out of the sleeve and onto the tables! Here are a few if you are still one of those wondering: "What's something "different" and that will be part of the conversations of one of the many nightly topics?". These recipes will make a nice addition to any Holiday occasion!

Here are a few pantry basics from my own kitchen that make quick, elegant,and last minute entertaining a breeze!!!

2 choices artisan cheese
Wildflower honey
Sophia (or medium priced sparkling wine)
Truffles or Dark Chocolate
Hot Coppa or Sopressata
Olive Oil Flat bread Crackers

Marinated Camembert with smoked Grey Sea Salt

8oz Camembert cheese, room temperature for at least an hour
2 garlic cloves that have been pressed
1/4 c. Olive Oil (great quality)
2 Sprigs Rosemary, minced
Crushed Red Pepper
Grey Smoked Sea Salt
3TBS Pine nuts, toasted

Combine garlic, oil, Rosemary,pepper, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and marinate at room temperature at least 2 hours or overnight. Scrape off top rind of the cheese, making a slight indention. Pour oil mixture over cheese and sprinkle with additional smoked salt. Garnish with pine nuts.

In a Snap Dark Chocolate Fudge

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 pinches salt
2 cups %60 chocolate Chips
1 cup chopped and toasted walnuts or pecans

Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil, pressing it into the corners and up the sides; leave an overhang on 2 sides. Brush the foil with butter.
Combine condensed milk, the chocolate chips and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Place over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chips are melted and smooth.
Spoon the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan, Brush an 8-inch square of parchment paper with butter and lay it directly on top of the fudge; press to flatten evenly and fill any gaps. Press nuts on the top of the chocolate. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes. Lift the foil to remove the fudge from the pan and cut into 1-inch squares. Store up to 1 week in an airtight container.

**Thanks to my mixologist friends of William Grant & Sons for this yummy Holiday cocktail treat!!

Solerno Celebration Punch
1 bottle Solerno
1 bottle Lillet Rouge
1 bottle dry, sparkling white wine
16 oz freshly brewed, strong, chai spiced black tea (no cream or sugar
8 oz Fever Tree Ginger Beer
8 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
16 dashes Angostura bitters
Over a large block of ice in a punch bowl, pour all of the ingredients and
stir to combine. Garnish with thinly sliced orange wheels. Serve in punch
cups with a cinnamon stick and small wedge of orange.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Two are better than one. The perfect pairs

There are a few flavor combinations that are can truly be classified as "Culinary Wonders of the Palette": silky honey & crumbly Blue Cheese, threads of angel hair pasta & delicate marinara, spicy tacos $ Mexican beer, buttery fillet & Bearnaise, buttermilk biscuits & sausage gravy, and last but definitely not least....rich and delicate chocolate & clouds of whipped, creamy peanut butter. All of these immediately make my mouth tingle with anticipation, but it's the chocolate and peanut butter combo that I tend to gravitate to, especially during the indulgent days of the Holiday season.
The classic Reese's cup is definitely the all-time favorite not only of mine, but of thousands (if not millions) around the globe. Although they are the candy of choice when stealing from my children's Halloween bucks, over the last decade,I've noticed that they are not as satisfying and richly delicate as they were when I was younger. In seeking out the perfect PB & Cocoa combo, I learned that two things were essential 1)I want real chocolate 2) having a straight peanut butter creaminess without an ounce of being dry or breaking apart in my mouth. Now, without further adieu, my secret indulgence as well as my all time favorite Holiday gift-on-a-plate.....

The Melt-In-Your-Mouth-Real-Dark-Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Cream-Truffles

2 cups creamy peanut butter (yes, you can use crunchy if you insist)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
9 oz. dark chocolate chips or chunks(at least 60% cocoa)
2 tablespoons shortening
¼ c. peanuts, finely ground

Mix together peanut butter, butter, salt, and vanilla extract.

Work in the powdered sugar until it's completely incorporated.

Roll the peanut butter mixture into 1" balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 15-20 minutes.

Melt the chocolate and shortening in a double boiler.

Using a toothpick, dip the balls one at a time in the chocolate. Or you can use two forks to roll the peanut butter balls in chocolate, completely coating them. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
Let set and store in fridge!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Should Tacos be "FUZZY" or "VELVET"???? Velvet, please!!

Late night Tacos aren't a new concept, but the popularity of them is far reaching beyond the "munchie" crowd. People are drawn to fresh, different, and full flavors that are all done with a bit of an attitude. I had the joy of accompanying Steve Doyle on a Taco Tour of Dallas and was amazed at the quality and flavors that are lurking all around this eatery of a city. They were off the beaten path, small, full of the local culture, and truly a treat to be had on a chilly Saturday. Ever since my tour, I have tried other taco joints to see if I can find the tried and true authentic flavors of that day. I have been successful and have also tasted some failures. My conclusion: when wanting to enjoy the complete authentic experience, one must venture off the beaten path and be prepared to speak 2 languages. One the other hand, I am also intrigued by the new concept of "Gourmet" tacos. I love new flavors and infused cuisines, so when I see those two concepts under one roof, I'm all in.

I visited the Velvet Taco twice. The first time was defiantly an after-midnight stop with lots of laughs, burning mouths, and cake. Fun night, but not so much focused on a review. The next time was lunch. So many mouth-watering choices that it was a difficult decision (not to mention possibly frustrating to the people behind us). Defiantly a winner! For a meatless option you can't go wrong with either the fried paneer cheese or wild mushroom.The wild mushroom taco was smokey, full of flavor, and was perfectly paired with goat cheese. I chose the Ahi Poke in lettuce wrap for a lighter option. Filled to the brim with tuna and perfect slices of watermelon radish. Since the traditional salsa wasn't exactly "Asian", I was missing the back heat that one usually finds in tacos. Maybe some type of wasabi sauce or cream could be offered with the tacos that don't directly go with the Mexican flare. The lettuce wrap was a great option to not overpower the tuna as well as appealing for the carb-conscience devourer. The special for the week was a must order after I read the white board..... Kung Pow Chicken taco. Again, very pleased with the amount of filling, however, the lack of the "slaw" that was on top made my mouth sincerely miss the "crunch" that I was expecting when reading the description. The beef with portobella mushrooms and rotisserie chicken with queso fresco were a hit, and after sampling the flour tortillas, I am sticking with the fresh-made corn from now on. I always give extra points for homemade tortillas as it seems to be a lost art. Don't pass up on the delicious sides that are offered. The corn and potatoes are both visual appealing as well as make your mouth water from the smell alone. For you local beer drinkers, you would be appreciative of the fact that Franconia out of McKinney is on draft. Beer and tacos...almost a perfect combination. I had favorites and I also tried one's that were not for my personal taste, but overall, it's a fun atmosphere, open 24hrs for you late nigh-ers or pregnant women that get that hankering' at 3am, have enough choices which makes it great for a group to appeal to the array of tastes, and my personal favorite...family style seating! Have fun trying out this Henderson Taco joint, and as always, go with a laid back approach, and an open palette.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Countdown Day 3: Start out right

Foodie Thankfulness: I am thankful for the abundance of ethnic grocery stores in my are. Ingredients are much more fabulous when you can't read a word on the label.

Let's face it, Thanksgiving is overlooked and under appreciated. We are so busy rushing around getting ready for the Christmas season, that we fail at truly taking time to enjoy the family traditions, and time honored celebrations of being thankful....no, being so very blessed. Take time to relish in this Thanksgiving. Remember stories and share them with the future generations. Enjoy the elegance in the day. Set the table with your "Sunday best" and make new memories for those that are to partake at your table. Treat this Thanksgiving in the respect it deserves, as we all have so much to be grateful for. Love the laughter and savor the table.

Don't pass on the hors d'oeuvre this season. This is the perfect pallet prepping snack that is for sure to put you in the spirit! Add a glass of bubbly and you have the perfect way to start the Thanksgiving meal!

Warm Cranberry Walnut "Pate"

4oz Goat Cheese, room temp
8oz cream cheese, room temp
5oz Brie, room temp
1-1/2c. Dried sweetened cranberries
1-1/4c Walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1/2tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 TBLS chopped fresh parsley (plus extra for garnish

Preheat oven to 350.
Remove casing on Brie and cut into small pieces
In large bowl mix cream cheese until smooth
Fold in goat cheese.
Add brie, cranberries, walnuts, salt, pepper, and parsley
Fold until combined
Place in a 8" round baking dish
Bake for 20 minutes.
Garnish with a few extra berries, walnuts, and parsley
Serve on thinly sliced fresh baguette!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Day 2: Pumpkins are for more than pie....

Foodie Thankfulness: I am thankful for perfectly fluffy whipped cream and wine charms. It's the extra touches that make me smile.

Let's face it, Thanksgiving is overlooked and under appreciated. We are so busy rushing around getting ready for the Christmas season, that we fail at truly taking time to enjoy the family traditions, and time honored celebrations of being thankful....no, being so very blessed. Take time to relish in this Thanksgiving. Remember stories and share them with the future generations. Enjoy the elegance in the day. Set the table with your "Sunday best" and make new memories for those that are to partake at your table. Treat this Thanksgiving in the respect it deserves, as we all have so much to be grateful for. Love the laughter and savor the table.

Move Past the pie.....
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Chipotle Cream
Recipe courtesy Joanne Weir

1 medium pumpkin, about 4 pounds
1 tablespoon butter
2 slices bacon, diced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus 1 cup, for garnish
1/4 cup orange juice
Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whole leaves flat-leaf parsley, as a garnish
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Halve the pumpkin from top to bottom and place it, cut side down, on an oiled baking sheet. Bake until the pumpkin can be easily skewered, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool for about 20 minutes.

With a spoon, remove the seeds and discard. Scrape the pulp and reserve. Discard the skin. Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and the bacon is just turning golden, about 7 minutes. Add the pumpkin and stock and simmer until the pumpkin falls apart, about 30 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes.

In batches, puree the soup in a blender on high speed, 3 minutes per batch, until very smooth. Strain through a fine mesh into a clean soup pot and add the cream, orange juice and nutmeg.

Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, correct the consistency with additional water or stock. Chop 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper. Whip 1 cup cream to soft peak. Stir peppers into cream. Ladle the hot soup into bowls. Spoon dollop of chipotle cream into soup.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Remember the Day: Day 1

Let's face it, Thanksgiving is overlooked and underappreciated. We are so busy rushing around getting ready for the Christmas season, that we fail at truly taking time to enjoy the family traditions, and time honored celebrations of being thanksful....no, being so very blessed. Take time to enjoy relish in this Thanksgiving. Remember stories and share them with the future generations. Enjoy the elegance in the day. Set the table with your "Sunday best" and make new memories for those that to partake at your table. Treat this Thanksgiving in the respect it deserves, as we all have so much to be greatful for. Love the laughter and savor the table.

The countdown to the great feast has begun!!
Revamping a not-so-great childhood vegetable has changed my perspectives!
Day 1:

Pancetta Roasted Brussels Sprouts

5 oz pancetta
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 Shallots, sliced
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the oil, pancetta, salt and pepper. Pour them on a shallow pan and roast for 15 minutes, add to pan shallots with garlic and roast for an additional 15-20 minutes or until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt. Finish with an extra drizzle of oil.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Walk Away Happy.......

Elegance and dining are quite possibly two of my favorite things. Steakhouses seem to ooze with these traits, yet usually I am left feeling very unsatisfied. On a typical elegant steakhouse menu, there is usually a choice of 3 to 4 steaks, a chicken, maybe a few fish dishes, and always several ways to "smother" the steak. All of which lack the luster and excitement of that vogue flare I so adore.
I must truly say that I have now found a place that is pleasing to the eye, appealing to the pallet, and will soon be energized by excitement in a beautiful building. The Place at Perry's is revampimg the menu and style of the steakhouse with perfect additions to appeal to the ever growing Dallas crowd. As more and more people are wakened to the harmful antibodies and dangerous pesticides that most food is drenched in, The Place at Perry's has taken a stand to produce wonderful food from local and sustainable vendors.
The new menu will catch the eye with traditional favorites dressed in new flavors and new combinations of cuisines that are sure to intrigue the pallet. The new take on Mexican Shrimp Cocktail is inventive, and the BBQ Shrimp and Grits could quite possibly be that one thing that I crave in the middle of the night. From the mussels and mushrooms, to the Scottish salmon and Crab Cakes the array of flavors are endless.
For all the beef lovers (and since this is a steakhouse), let's talk beef. The Place at Perry's only serves the exclusive Niman ranch beef which sets this restaurant apart from other steakhouses in the DFW area. I must say I found the closest to perfection in the beef tartar that I have ever experianced. Many times it is ground too small and very visually unappealing, but here, the cubes af beef were crimson red the texture seemed to melt on your tongue, and I was equally as pleased with the Carpaccio! Their signature fillet, was crusted in dark coffee and topped with a blueberry compote, and as full as I was, I enjoyed each bite as it was my first.
The desserts came, and came, and came, and came.....do you really have to ask if I tried them all????? The chocolate cake was moist, dark, and topped with the fun, crispy textures of what only I can describe as chocolate-air beads. The carrot came out slightly warm and with the most perfect amount of cream cheese icing. Their version of apple pie a-la-mode made for a fun table-shared dessert.
The new building will only add excellence to the revamped menu. A beautiful patio for cocktails, sophisticated waitstaff, Devin Cox the amazingly friendly owner, down to earth Chef, local food, relaxed atmosphere, and exquisite food...what more can one ask for? I had my favorites, likes/dislikes, ones I will crave, and even dishes I may attempt myself, but after 16 courses and an array of desserts the ending point was plain and simple. Yes, I walked away utterly happy.


Friday, September 16, 2011

The Great Debate

Whether you are from North or South, or on the East coast or West, the throw-down, hard headed lovers of Chicken and dumplings will fight to the death over the type of dumpling they prefer. Flat, fluffy, wheat/white, cut, rolled, biscuits, and even egg based dumplings are at the fore-front of debate. I will say, to each is own, and I have never met a dumpling I didn't like! They are quick, affordable and definitely worth the extra 10 minutes they take! The key that I have found is not to boil the dumplings to death, but rather bake them in the simmering liquid. The steam from the soup keeps the moisture locked in while the oven creates a perfectly heated pot from every direction that extra fluffy, tender, and delightful mountain of perfection we all love on any fall day.
Well, let me just throw another log on the hot debate....Sweet Potatoes! Yep, another way to pack in some extra vitamin And have an amazingly rich Chicken-and-dumpling experience. Add these to your favorite Chicken-N-Dumpling base! They are a wonderful way to use those extra sweet potatoes left over from Thanksgiving, too! Not to mention the ultra-packed vitamin A helps the function of your beautiful peepers and boosts that immunity during the fall ans winter months!

Sweet Potato Dumplings

1 ½ cups flour
1 cup mashed sweet potato
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp pepper
2TBL salted butter, at room temperature
4 TBL grated Romano
1 ½ cups Buttermilk @ room temperature

Preheat oven to 375.
In a large mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients. Mash sweet potato with butter and cheese until well combined. Add to flour mixture and mix well. Slowly add buttermilk and stir just until combined. With floured hands or an ice cream scoop, shape into uniformed balls and place on a floured surface. Let rest 15 minutes. When soup is to a boil, turn heat off and add dumplings to liquid. Cover and place in the oven 20 minutes. Remove and uncover and let sit 5 minutes.


Only for those......