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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

Des Moines Valentine’s Day Menus, 2012

Looking for a place to take that special person out to eat for Valentine’s Day? Touting these as Des Moines’ most romantic restaurants, the Des Moines Register’s Datebook has provided the following menus that will be served on Valentine’s Day. Catch the story in the Datebook.

Cafe di Scala

644 18th St.; 244-1353

THE DETAILS: A five-course prix fixe
dinner ($60) will be served Tuesday
evening.

MENU: Choose from the following for your
five-course dinner. Antipasto: tomato and
zucchini ragu over baked polenta cakes;
roasted Italian beef-stuffed peppers;
smoked trout mousse crostini with radish
and dill. Zuppa: puree of carrot soup with
tarragon creme fraiche; Italian wedding
soup with romano crostini. Insalata:
spinach, pine nuts, figs and ricotta salata;
roasted beets, garlic-chevre mousse, pine
nuts and orange blossom oil. Secondi:
braised pork shoulder over roasted
cannelinni and tomato ragu; seared
flounder over zucchini risotto; roasted
fennel and chevre ravioli with pinot bianco
cream sauce. Dolce: flourless chocolate
torte over caramel almond brittle; tiramisu
paired with chocolate-covered strawberry
and biscotti; chocolate panna cotta with
cherries.

Centro

1011 Locust St.; 244-7033

THE DETAILS: Centro’s features are
available Saturday through Feb. 18.MENU: Bourbon-maple glazed smoked
salmon with an apple salad and candied
walnuts, $10. Shrimp tortelloni with vodka-
tomato cream sauce and shaved Pecorino
Romano, $12. Spaghetti Rustica, braised
duck ragu with fresh sage, fresh pasta and
Pecorino Romano, $22.

Christopher’s

2816 Beaver Ave.; 274-3694

THE DETAILS: Three-course prix fixe
dinner available.

MENU: Starters include either a Caesar
salad or a roasted pear and walnut salad.
For your entree, choose between the
following: filet Oscar, an 8-ounce filet
topped with lump crab meat; a lobster tail
dinner; or filet mignon and a 6-ounce
lobster tail. Dessert is a chocolate cake
served with raspberry sauce and icecream.

Fire Creek

800 S. 50th St., West Des Moines

THE DETAILS: Specials available Saturday
through Tuesday.

MENU: Two entree specials. One, a 12-
ounce bone-in filet with a trio of sauces,
roasted baby red potatoes and baby top
carrots, $43.95, or red snapper with
lemon oil sauce, topped with crab-meat
stuffing, rice pilaf and baby top carrots,
$33.95. New York-style cheesecake with
strawberries or homemade creme brulee,
$7.50 each.

Fleming’s

150 S. Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des
Moines; 457-2916THE DETAILS: Specials available Sunday
through Tuesday. Each couple dining on
those days will get a $25 gift certificate to
use at Fleming’s at a later date.MENU: Entrees ($69.95 apiece) include
filet mignon served over portobello
mushrooms and bacon, paired with crab-
stuffed prawns; a New York strip steak
topped with butter-poached king crab,
asparagus and a champagne bearnaise
sauce; or a North Atlantic lobster tail with
drawn butter, served with lobster mac and
cheese. The dessert special is a red velvet
cake for two ($9.50), served with espresso
truffles.

Mezzodi’s

4519 Fleur Drive, 287-3333

DETAILS: Special available Sunday through
Tuesday for $59.99 per couple. Served
family style.

MENU: Pink peppercorn dinner for two.
Surf-and-turf platter for two featuring pink
peppercorn mahi mahi topped with tropical
salsa and seared flank steak topped with a
red wine-peppercorn sauce. Served with
garlic mashed potatoes, sauteed
vegetables, a bottle of house wine and
Mezzodi’s signature chocolate falling down
cake.

Mojo’s

6163 N.W. 86th St., No. 103, Johnston;
334-3699DETAILS: The Valentine’s prix fixe menu is
available Tuesday and is $40 per person
MENU: Starter choices include
Mediterranean veggie crostini; tuna tartar
in crispy wonton cups; smoked mushroom
and lentil salad or chicken and leek soup.
Entree choices include a pan-roasted
stuffed quail; lavender and pepper grilled
tuna with jasmine rice; beef bourguignon
with oven-roasted potatoes or potato and
chive pierogies. (Add a butter-poached
lobster tail to your entree for an additional
$15.) Dessert choices include a frozen
Grand Marnier souffle; chocolate hazelnut
torte or beignets with lingonberry sauce.

Sbrocco

208 Court Ave.; 282-3663

DETAILS: Valentine features are available
Friday through Tuesday.

MENU: Social plates specials: white prawn
bisque; bone-in pork belly with smoked
polenta. Entree specials: oven-roasted
Canadian lobster tail with lobster risotto;
roasted Colorado rack of lamb and a
lamb-quince demiglaze. Dessert specials:
artisan chocolates; red velvet cake with
Grand Marnier icing; creme brulee with
fresh berries; chocolate walnut torte;
assorted fresh berries with lemon sabayon
and mint syrup.

Trostel’s Greenbriar

5810 Merle Hay Road, Johnston; 253-
0124DETAILS: Chef-created specials available
Monday and Tuesday.
MENU: Appetizer special: tempura-fried
Alaskan snow crab legs, $8. Entree special:
grilled wagyu strip loin filet with a lobster
wonton, $22. Dessert special: tart cherry
dark chocolate creme caramel with
seasonal berries, $8.
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Simple Cupcakes

This is a recipe that my daughter Miya found, and together we modified it a bit. They’re kind of a yellow cake / muffin type cupcake. I dug out one of my frosting recipes, and we topped it all off with some Wilton sparkly sugar! Have a try… they’re simple, they’re good and they sparkle! With Valentine’s Day coming up, these would be a nice quick treat.

Simple Cupcakes

Ingredients
• 1/2 cup shortening • 1 1/3 cups sugar 

• 1 teaspoon vanilla 
• 2 large eggs
 • 1 cup milk

• 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour 

• 3 teaspoons baking powder
 • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together shortening and sugar. Mix in vanilla, eggs and milk. Add dry ingredients, mix together. It’s best to use a mixer for this step, otherwise your cupcakes will have a coarse texture. Two or 2 1/2 minutes at medium speed should do it.

Spoon batter into cupcake pan lined with cupcake paper liners. Bake for approx. 20 minutes. You can check to see if they’re done by inserting a toothpick into one of the cupcakes. If it comes out clean, they’re done!

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack. If you don’t have a wire rack, a breadboard or even the counter works fine!  Once they’re completely cool, frost!

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 or 6 Tablespoons milk

Mix butter, cream cheese, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar. Add milk, using your best judgement about frosting consistency. If the frosting is too thick after 5 tablespoons, add one more. That will usually be enough!

Velvety Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Julia Child, Miami Book Fair International, 1989

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been in the mood for something rich, intense and chocolate. I’ve had this Julia Child recipe for Reine de Saba (chocolate and almond cake) that I’ve been wanting to make, and I wanted to adapt it to be gluten-free. Why? Because I know some people with gluten intolerance. Because it’s Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, and… being a food adventurer… I just wanted to!

With me and Mimi (daughter #3) relaxed and on the threshold of a 5 day Thanksgiving vacation, I decided to tackle it. I got out Mastering the Art of French Cooking and plunged in.

Ingredients –

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate melted with 2 T rum or strong coffee

1/4 lb., or one stick, softened butter

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

3 egg whites

pinch of salt

1 T. granulated sugar

1/3 cup pulverized almonds

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1/2 cup rice flour

Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the chocolate and rum or coffee and either slowly in a double boiler,or at 10-second intervals in the microwave. Watch closely in the microwave – chocolate can burn very easily.

Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.

Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.

Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed;

sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.

With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir in one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.

Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken,and a needle comes out oily.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on a plate or rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two, it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.

I have to admit… Mimi and I didn’t wait for the cake to cool. She didn’t want to. I didn’t want to. We were wanting instant gratification. We sliced the cake and ate it warm. This cake *sounds* moist when you cut into it. It’s one of the homliest looking cakes I’ve ever seen.  Without any icing or nice presentation, it should be called Ugly Cake. But one bite tells an entirely different story… the beauty lies within. The cake is intensely chocolate, velvety, rich, smooth… almost unctious. If you choose to do icing, I’m including Julia’s chocolate-butter icing recipe. She also recommends pressing a design of almonds over the icing. Maybe I’ll put icing on it next time.

Glacage au Chocolat (Chocolate Icing)

Ingredients –

2 ounces (2 squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate

2 T rum or strong coffee

5 to 6 T unsalted butter

Melt the chocolate and rum or coffee and either slowly in a double boiler,or at 10-second intervals in the microwave. Watch closely in the microwave – chocolate can burn very easily. Beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over a bowl with a trace of ice cubes and water to cover them until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading  consistency. At once spread it over your cake with a spatula or knife.

 

The Lunchbox Project

“Snacking on food art.” That’s’ the tagline for Lisa Orgler’s innovative contribution to the art of food. I was lucky enough to have my blog chosen by Lisa to make a drawing/painting, and she drew the cutest picture of my somewhat famous chocolate chip cookies!

Somewhat Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies, as drawn by Lisa Orgler

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