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Dark chocolate orange mousseChocolate. One of the foods I could not live without. Along with cheese, wine and water (probably in that order).  And though everyday, week and month should involve chocolate, February, the month of love, is THE month to celebrate chocolate.  Typically, I love chocolate on it’s own, unpaired.  There are a few exceptions – including cream, peanut butter, and citrus.  I especially love the freshness and lightness that citrus flavors add to chocolate. And citrus makes me think of summer – and all of us in New England need all the sunny summer thoughts we can get at this point in the winter.

Dark chocolate mousse

This Dark Chocolate Mousse with Orange Zest marries chocolate, cream AND citrus – combining 2 of my 3 chocolate pairings. And it’s a very special recipe as my mother-in-law, Coral, discovered this treasure in a British newspaper while living in San Paulo, Brazil in the ’70s (see image below).  During that time in Brazil, there was extreme censorship under the authoritative military dictatorship.  Any newspaper article deemed controversial or unfavorable to the government was replaced with a recipe or poem.  This made getting the local news a bit challenging and interesting.  Coral has made additions and edits to this recipe throughout the years, which makes this family recipe a special and unique treat.

Newspaper Chocolate Mousse

To keep with the family tradition, I made a few minor changes as well, including using dark chocolate chips, decreasing the sugar and using both the orange zest and orange extract for a robust citrusy flavor. This is a decadent, creamy, chocolately and citrusy dessert that’s perfect for any special occasion.

When I read the theme for this month’s Recipe ReDux, I knew this dark chocolate mousse would fit the bill perfectly: Favorite Chocolate Matches. Does your chocolate need a friend? This month’s posting will be after Valentine’s Day, so you may have a bit of extra chocolate around. What’s your favorite chocolate match? Be it traditional peanut butter or something more exotic like cayenne + chocolate. Show us your favorite healthy chocolate combo recipe.

Well, here it is!

Coral's Dark Chocolate Mousse

Here’s how to make it:

Dark Chocolate Mousse with Orange Zest

Serves: 8

Time: 35-40 minutes plus 2-3 hours refrigeration time

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz (1 package) dark chocolate chips
  • 4 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream plus 4 Tbs for thinning chocolate
  • Grated zest from 1 orange
  • 1 tsp orange essence

Directions: Chill bowl for whipping cream. Gently melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot water (or melt in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each heating until melted and smooth). Thin with 3 Tbs of cream, add vanilla, orange extract and orange zest (reserving a bit for topping), and beat until relatively smooth and less stiff. If still really stiff, add a little more cream to thin a bit (I added 1 more tablespoon) . Remove from heat and cool slightly. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and add sugar gradually. Beat for a little longer until you have a firm meringue. Fold one heaping Tbs of meringue mix into chocolate to lighten it then add chocolate to meringue, folding it in carefully. Whip cream in a chilled bowl. Save a little for topping the mousse and to the rest add the chocolate-meringue mix and fold together gently. Spoon mousse into individual bowls or sherbet glasses and refrigerate for at least 2 – 3 hours. Before serving, top each glass with a dollop of whipped cream, bit of orange zest plus a shaving of dark chocolate (if desired).

**special thank you to Coral for sharing this special family recipe**

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Roasted Beet Dip

Just in time for Valentine’s Day – the perfect appetizer in the shade of love. Roasted beet dip made simply with beets, ricotta and Greek yogurt.  Serve this to your sweetie this Saturday night with sweet potato chips for dipping. Garlicky roasted beet dip via JennySheaRawn.comWe’ve always avoided date night on Valentine’s Day. Not a fan of crowds, over packed restaurants and lackluster service on a day when everyone heads to their favorite restaurants. And Saturday, surprise surprise, we will be getting yet another major snowstorm, for a grand total of 7 feet or so over the past few weeks alone. So, we’ll be going out Friday night and making a special dinner at home for Valentine’s Day.

The appetizer on the menu this year will be this beautiful dip, colored naturally by red beets, one of our favorite vegetables to roast. The rest of the menu is a secret, but there will be chocolate. There will always be chocolate.

This dip is really easy to make. Simply roast the beets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Blend with ricotta, Greek yogurt and a splash of vinegar. And serve. You’ll have extras (if it’s just the two of you), which will be great the next day overtop salads, spread on bread or used as a dip for veggies.

garlicky roasted beet dip via JennySheaRawn.comHere’s how to make it:

Roasted Beet Dip

Serves 6

Time: About 50 minutes (which includes 35-40 minutes roast time)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large beets, scrubbed and trimmed
  • Garlic salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ cup 4% plain Chobani Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup part skim ricotta
  • Sweet potato chips (we love Food Should Taste Good) for serving or a mix of vegetable crudite

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. Cut beets into bite-sized pieces. Toss with olive oil, garlic salt and freshly ground pepper.  Place beets on a baking sheet or in a cast-iron skillet and roast for 35-40 minutes until tender, flipping halfway through. Let beets cool slightly then add to blender or food processor, along with rice vinegar, yogurt and ricotta. Pulse until blended and smooth, 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately (will be slightly warm) with sweet potato chips or a mix of vegetables for dipping.  Or make ahead up to a day, chill and let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.

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I received free samples of Cabot Cheese mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes. I was not additionally compensated for my time.

The ultimate grilled cheese. Packed with everything you’d ever want in a grilled cheese. Cheddar. Bacon (yes). Avocado. Caramelized onions. All packed into a mini size. I dare you to name a better combo. The Ultimate Grilled Cheese via JennySheaRawn.comI can’t either.

Cabot Creamery challenged us to come up healthier snacks for entertaining while watching the Big Game or the red carpet. So we made the ultimate grilled cheese – in mini form.

Serve these mini grilled cheese for this weekend’s game while you cheer on Tom Brady and co. Because everyone loves grilled cheese. And these are extra special because they layer bacon, avocado and caramelized onions in addition to the cheddar. Only problem is, after you have the ultimate grilled cheese, it’s hard to go back to the simpler two-ingredient grilled cheese. We will all manage somehow.

You’ll get two mini sandwiches out of each full sandwich you make, so depending on the crowd, make a full sandwich (2 minis) for each person. Serve them with a bowl of tomato soup for dipping. If you don’t have tomato soup, use your favorite marinara sauce.

Have you tried the Cabot Farmers’ Legacy Collection Cheddars? They are goooood. Try the Alpine (love it because of the hints of Parmesan) and the White Oak (buttery and oaky). We used the White Oak here.

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese via JennySheaRawn.comGrilled cheese and tomato soup has been our go-to dinner occasion recently because it’s been so cold. Comfort food always help with that chilled-to-the-bone feeling. And we’ve had quite a few nights where both of us have come home after 8p from work, starving and wanting something really quick and satisfying that is still nutrient rich. Grilled cheese with any variety of fillings (another fave is cheddar, kale and tomato) plus a warm soup always hits the spot and has been our go-to. The Ultimate Grilled Cheese via JennySheaRawn.comThe tomato soup “dipping” sauce adds a fun factor to the grilled cheese. Plus, if you’re watching the game, dips are obligatory. The Ultimate Grilled Cheese via JennySheaRawn.com

Mini Grilled Cheese with Bacon, Avocado and Caramelized Onion

Serves: 4

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices whole-grain bread
  • 6 oz bar Cabot Farmers’ Legacy Collection White Oak Cheddar, thinly sliced – or any Cabot flavor you have on hand
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 cup lower sodium, lower sugar prepared tomato soup or marinara sauce
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

In a skillet, cook bacon over medium heat then place on a paper towel to absorb excess fat. Drain excess fat. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel. Sauté onions over medium heat, until caramelized. Remove from heat and place onions in a small side dish. Add 2 slices of bread to the skillet over medium heat. Top with ¼ cheddar on each slice. Layer 1 slice halved bacon, ¼ of the onions and ¼ of the avocado on each slice. Top with another slice bread. Heat until browned on the bottom and cheese begins to melt. Flip and heat until bottom slice is browned and toasted. Remove the two sandwiches and repeat. Heat tomato soup or tomato sauce. Slice the crust off the grilled cheeses and then slice in half (we prefer crust off because you can see all the deliciousness inside the sandwiches). Top with freshly ground pepper. Serve the sandwiches on a platter with tomato soup/sauce in a small dish for dipping. As the party host, you have permission to eat the crusts, there will be some goodness in there.

For more great Cabot cheddar party snack ideas, visit these Recipe ReDux blogs:

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I received free samples of Cabot Cheese mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes. I was not additionally compensated for my time.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes.Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes via JennySheaRawn.com

This is a true WOW dish.

Some of my favorite folks up in Vermont at Cabot Creamery challenged us Recipe ReDux members to create a healthier snack – finger foods to hearty apps – using their cheddar. We use their cheddar daily, whether it’s in pasta, omelettes, burgers, overtop black beans, in grilled cheese, etc. So, I wanted to do something a special for this contest that was different from our everyday cheddar-topped eats.

So, along came Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes.

Make this for the big game next Sunday while you watch the Pats win. Or make as an appetizer any night when you want a showstopper dish.

You need only 4 ingredients. A medium head of cauliflower, diced tomatoes (seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano),  a tube of pesto paste and your favorite Cabot cheddar. Spread the pesto overtop the cauliflower. Top with the can of tomatoes and pop into a 425 oven.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes via JennySheaRawn.com

After about 45-55 minutes (depending on the size of the cauliflower and your oven temp) and when the cauliflower is fork tender and looks like the below, remove from the oven and top with the shredded cheddar.Whole roasted cauliflower Bake for another 3 minutes until the cheese is melted then broil for 1-2 minutes until the cheese begins to brown. Remove from oven carefully.Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes via JennySheaRawn.comVoila.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes via JennySheaRawn.com

Slice and serve.Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes via JennySheaRawn.com

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes

Serves: 6 as an appetizer or side dish

Time: ~60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cleaned with stem and bottom leaves sliced off
  • 2.5 oz prepared pesto paste (we used Amore)
  • 5 oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano (we used Hunt’s)
  • 3 oz Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. Place cauliflower in a medium-sized baking dish. Spread pesto paste on cauliflower with a basting brush. Pour can of tomatoes overtop the cauliflower. Roast for 45-55 minutes, depending on the size of the cauliflower (a large cauliflower may take even longer), until fork tender. Remove from oven carefully and top with shredded cheddar. Bake 3 more minutes until cheese is melted then broil 1-2 more minutes to begin browning the cheese. Remove from oven and top with freshly ground black pepper, if desired. Slice into steaks. Serve with a spoon of tomatoes (from the sides of the baking dish) on top.

A bit more about Cabot Creamery:

Cabot Creamery is a family-farmer owned cooperative of more than 1200 farms located throughout New England and New York. One-hundred percent of Cabot’s profits go back to their farmers. Cheddar cheese is a protein-rich snack and naturally lactose free.

Check out these other fabulous Cabot recipes from fellow Recipe ReDuxers:

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White Bean, Tomato and Ricotta Bake via JennySheaRawn.comComforting. Hearty. Warming. And just four ingredients makes up this White Bean, Tomato and Ricotta Bake. It’s perfect when you want something a bit lighter and more protein-rich than your traditional lasagna or pasta dish.

This dish was inspired by a simple white bean, garlic and tomato starter that we had a few years back at the Gaslight Restaurant in Portsmouth. The appetizer was so basic, but amazingly good. It was so good that we wanted to forgo our main course for a few more orders of those “special” white beans. Since then, we’ve made quite a few variations of this quick dish by adding baby kale, fennel, baking it, sauteing it, adding cheese, etc. We love tonight’s version because of the creaminess from the ricotta (love ricotta) that’s added towards the end of baking time. Serve with a crisp green salad and a crusty baguette.

White Bean, Tomato and Ricotta Bake

Serves: 4

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 1 15.5 oz can cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 oz part-skim ricotta (about 3 dollops)
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Combine tomatoes and beans in a small baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and add dollops of ricotta. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan. Bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and top with freshly ground pepper, if desired. Serve.

White Bean, Tomato and Ricotta Bake via JennySheaRawn.com

 

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Veggie Inspiration

Roasted Beet Dip

Just in time for Valentine’s Day – the perfect appetizer in the shade of love. Roasted beet dip made simply with beets, ricotta and Greek yogurt.  Serve this to your sweetie this Saturday night with sweet potato chips for dipping. We’ve always avoided date night on Valentine’s Day. Not a fan of crowds, over packed restaurants […]

Continue reading →

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes

I received free samples of Cabot Cheese mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes. I was not additionally compensated for my time. Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar, Pesto and Tomatoes. This is a true WOW dish. Some of my favorite […]

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Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce. This is one dish I could eat every single day. It’s so fresh and light. In the doldrums of winter, we all need a little fresh, don’t we? We made these rolls for this month’s Recipe ReDux theme: Start Smoking in the New Year The New Year is […]

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Roasted Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Raisins and Pumpkin Seeds

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.Roasted shaved Brussels sprouts with raisins and pumpkin seeds – a side dish fit for your festive holiday table. By shaving the […]

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Roasted Fennel and Cauliflower with White Beans and Shaved Parmesan

Roasted fennel and cauliflower with white beans and shaved parmesan. Who says monochromatic food has to be boring. These are my kind of winter whites. This dish is packed with flavor and good-for-you compounds. You’re getting a hefty dose of protein and fiber from the white beans, cancer-fighting sulfur containing compounds plus a good source of folate […]

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Simply Roasted Parsnips with Rosemary

Simply Roasted Parsnips with Rosemary.Parsnips. A forgotten and overlooked root vegetable, even by me, lover of all veggies. But parsnips remind me of family. For as long as I can remember, whenever we visit my parents house in CT in the fall or winter, mom makes a few large pans of roasted vegetables with rosemary, garlic and thyme. […]

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