Dark Chocolate Mousse

中文菜谱:黑巧克力慕斯

Who doesn’t love chocolate and everything that is made with chocolate?  This dark chocolate mousse is our new favorite dessert.

Ingredients:

130 g dark chocolate
1 tablespoon brandy / Kahlua rum & coffee Liqueur
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar (use more if you have a sweet tooth)
2 tablespoons espresso instant coffee
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
200 heavy cream
2 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
water to dissolve gelatin


Directions:

In a medium bowl, add chocolate, cocoa powder and instant coffee

Add 80 g heavy cream; whisk and microwave on high for about one minute or one and a half minute until chocolate melts.  The time needed might differ depending on different microwave ovens.

Whisk everything together.  Allow it to cool for a while until it is not hot to touch.

In a small bowl, add water; sprinkle gelatin on top; and then microwave for a few seconds.  Gelatin heats and melts really fast.  Be sure not to overheat it.

In another large bowl, add remaining 120 g heavy cream along with sugar.  With an electronic whisk, beat it into whipped cream.

Combine chocolate sauce, melted gelatin, brandy / Kahlua rum & coffee Liqueur together.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth.

Divide it into small glasses or bowls

I top them with chocolate whipped cream.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or longer

A bit caramel sauce and chopped nuts make them even prettier! O(∩_∩)O~

The mousse is very rich and dark chocolate flavor with silky and smooth texture.  We really love it. 

Hot Cocoa

中文菜谱: 热可可

During the freezing cold winter, we could all use a cup of hot cocoa from time to time O(∩_∩)O~

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee  (optional)
2 cups of whole milk
1 to 2 teaspoon sugar
chocolate sauce
caramel sauce
mini marshmarrows
chopped nuts

 

Directions:

Brush the mugs’ edge with syrup or honey, and then coat them with chopped nuts.

Add cocoa powder, instant coffee and sugar in a large cup.

Add the milk to a small pot .  Heat over medium heat until it boils.  Or you can also microwave the milk on for minutes high until it boils.

Gradually pour 1/2 cup hot milk to the cup while whisking.

Add remaining milk.  Whisk  until everything comes together.

Divide the hot cocoa between mugs.

Top with mini marshmarrows.

Broil in a toaster oven  for 3 to 4 minutes or until the marshmarrows are golden brown

Sprinkle with chocolate sauce and caramel sauce.

 

I would highly recommend to enjoy them fireside with a good book O(∩_∩)O~

Spicy Venison Chili

中文菜谱:鹿肉CHILI

I usually make chili using beef.  It doesn’t occur to me until recently that venison chili is also very awesome too!

 The venison came from one of friend who loves hunting.  She hunts every year and is really good at it.  She sent me one bag of ground venison which I make venison chili with, and another bag of chunky meat which I am planning to grill. 

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground venison
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 large or 2 small size onions, peeled and diced
2 to 3 jalapeño peppers, chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 to 2 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 can diced tomatoes  / tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can cooked kidney beans
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

 

Directions:

Heat a cast iron pot over heat.  Add minced garlic, chopped onion and jalapeno peppers.  I use 4 1/4 quarts Le Creuset soup pot which is perfect for stewing.

Sautee until the onion becomes semi-transparent.  Add ground venison.  Continue to sautee for a couple minutes.

 

I grind chili peppers, cayenne peppers, coriander seeds and cumin seeds together with a coffee/ spice grinder

Add ground spices and black pepper

Mix well with a wooden spoon

Add diced tomato/ tomato sauce and tomato paste. 

I make my own dice tomato which is thicker and more flavorful. 

Add chicken stock and salt.  Cook over high heat until the mixture boils.  Reduce to simmer for about 2 hours.

Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally to prevent burning on the bottom.

Drain cooked kidney beans

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Add the beans and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Serve hot immediately. 

That is why I love to cook and serve with Le Creuset cast iron cookware.  Not only it looks good on table but also keep the food hot for a really long time.

These thin naan bread goes really well with hot chili.

Come pull up a seat and have a bowl of hot spicy venison chili! O(∩_∩)O~

Cappuccino Coffee

中文:卡布奇诺

Like many coffee enthusiasts, we love roasting and grinding our own coffee beans for espresso drinks.  The fresher they are, the better creama and taste we can get. 

I posted how to roast coffee beans at home with cast iron pan before.

We usually roast several kinds in small batches so that we can compare different flavors from different roast and varieties.

 These are medium roast Guatemala coffee beans

These are dark roast Columbia coffee beans

24 to 48 hours after the beans are roasted which is a reasonable time for them to degas, we can start to brew.

My beloved Breville 870XL  is exacting double shot espresso

Frother the milk; pour and enjoy! O(∩_∩)O~

Grilled Chicken Salad

We enjoy making our own salads at home.  The most frequent one I make at home is grilled chicken salad.  Sometimes I use drumsticks; and some other times I use chicken breasts.  

For chicken breasts:

2 pieces of chicken breasts
freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon McCormick grill seasoning of your choice
salt to taste

 

For the salad:

Romaine lettuce
1/2 to 1 avocado
walnuts
almonds
sunflower seeds
dried cranberry
grated parmesan cheese

 

For salad balsamic vinaigrette dressing:

1 part of honey
2 to 3 parts of aged balsamic vinegar
2 parts of extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

 

Directions:

In a large bowl, add chicken breasts, along with black pepper, soy sauce, rice cooking wine, sesame oil, grill seasoning and salt.  Rub the chicken with spices until it is evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple days.

I don’t remove the skin because chicken skin can help chicken meat to stay tender and juicy.  You can remove it after the cooking if you like.

Take the chicken out of refrigerator an hour prior grilling.

Preheat the oven to 450F/232C. I use a toaster oven here because it heats up faster and more efficient.

Heat a cast iron grill pan  over high heat until it gets really hot.  Add chicken breast to the grill pan, skin side down.  Grill for 2 minutes.

That is the good thing about chicken skin for grilling.  I don’t even need to grease the pan or chicken and they don’t stick to the pan.

Flip them over.  See how beautiful the grill marks are? O(∩_∩)O~

Grill for another 2 minutes.

Send the chicken along with grill pan to oven to bake for 6 to 12 minutes depending on the sizes and thickness of the chicken.

When the chicken is in the oven, I resemble my romaine salads.

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Add honey, balsamic vinegar, salt, black pepper and extra virgin olive oil to a small bowl or jar.  Whisk until everything is well combined.

Dice the grilled chicken breast and add to salads.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.

Add salad dressing and these amazingly delicious grilled chicken salads are all done!

 Bon appétit O(∩_∩)O~