Savory Truffle Mini Taco Shooter

I do enjoy a nice occasional taco. But I have to say it is not something I grew up with so I often do not think of making or ordering tacos. In Montreal there are not tons of Mexican restaurants and the ones we do have tend to be fancier than faster(er) food fare. So why would I order a taco if I can try something elaborate. This was the thought process that went on in my head after reading July’s Creative Cooking Crew challenge: Tacos, make it your own … take it someplace it’s never been!

I wanted to make something that was not a taco in a traditional meal setting and I was fine if it did not contain all the usual standard ingredients. But I did want to play with a taco concept and highlight a few typical Mexican ingredients. After a lot of brainstorming I settled on this Savory Truffle Mini Taco Shooter creation.

Savory Truffle Mini Taco Shooter CEE

tomato mezcal cocoa shot glass

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

The Secret Recipe Club: Bloody Mary of the Sea Verrine

This is so exciting, it is my first time participating in the Secret Recipe Club. I came across this monthly club while visiting one of my favorite bloggers. I just had to look into it and joined right away. Basically you are assigned by the organizer a fellow club participant which has a food blog too, from which you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it.

But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the pre-established posting date….which is today! I can’t wait to see who picked me.

I was assigned Suz’ blog called Thru The Bugs On My Windshield. When I read the title of her blog I was on the floor laughing and rolling my butt off. Awesome name! It took quite some time to look up all her recipes and to finally settle on one to make. I noticed she is also a fellow Daring Kitchen member and her very first participation in the Daring Cooks just so happen to be the one I co-hosted on patés and bread. But did I really want to revisit a recipe I made? Nah!

Finally the recipe found me I think. And it certainly was not a complicated project but I was just inspired. Suz had posted a Bloody Mary cocktail recipe on her post entitled It’s Mary Time. A cocktail that actually makes you consume a vegetable for your health…yum!

But this was not going to be a simple cocktail recreation, oh no! I was hit hard on the head with an inspirational bottle of vodka and ran with my idea. I thought instead of drinking it, what if it is was solidified and served during the meal. I saw several versions of this concept online but this recipe is truly mine and unique.

***Historical note: the actual recipe was only invented in the 1930s in the USA but there are assumptions as to the name of the cocktail, possibly inspired by two gruesome women in history. The first was Mary of Tudor, Queen Mary I of England. She was a Catholic Queen in a Protestant country and she wished to renew bonds with Rome. She had about 300 Protestants reformers burned at the stake under the Heresy Act, quite inspired by the Spanish Inquisition. She was a hated and feared Queen by her people who nicknamed her Bloody Mary after her death. The second Mary which could have inspired the name was the Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory Nadasdy who was reputed to have bathed in the blood of young virgin girls in order to retain her youth.***

My version would make an ideal first course. The liquids are heated with the gelatin to melt it completely and then you add flavors and some chopped veggies. I also added small baby shrimps. It makes a lovely light appetizer with a good doze of vodka. Cheers to your health!

Ξ Bloody Mary of the Sea Verrine Ξ

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
9 oz tomato juice
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp coarse salt and ground pepper, each
1/4 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp horseradish (I used Wasabi)
Tabasco sauce to taste
5 oz vodka
1/2 c chopped, seeded, peeled cucumber
1/2 c chopped shrimp
1/4 c chopped marinated vegetables
1/4 c chopped onion

– In large saucepan, soften gelatin in tomato juice for 5-10 min.

– Turn on the burner to med-low heat and stir constantly until gelatin dissolves as it just boils lightly. Remove from heat right away.

– Stir in lime juice, all the seasonings and vodka. Refrigerate until partially set (keep an eye on constantly it even if it takes about 1 hour).

– Fold in cucumber, shrimp, marinated vegetables and onion.

– Spoon into 4 wine glasses, verrine, or sherbet dishes.

– Refrigerate until firm, 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with marinated vegetables and a shrimp.

If at any time you want to jell a liquid with some alcohol content, with gelatin or agar agar, keep in mind that no more then 30% of your total volume of liquid should be alcohol based or the jelling process may not happen. This recipe is a the 30% mark. I was totally solid but one verrine I took time eating and after a couple of yours at room temp, during a heat wave, the consistency semi melted.



Colorful Panna Cotta Verrine

I love verrines. They are just the cutest thing to have with a meal. I love how you can pack a visually stunning show in a small glass container. It is cooking and it is art all in one. This post was actually my second possible entry had I move on to the 4th round of the PFB contest on Foodbuzz. I already blogged about my first possible contender: the sugar sponge.

I actually chose 3 different glasses and created a different pattern per glass. I also chose 4 different recipes to make up my various flavors: a chocolate ganache, 2 panna cottas and the avocado. For the fruit purée I just processed whole fruits in a blender. You can make any kind of layer you want, be creative. Let’s take a look at the ones I chose.

But before…

– Plan your layers: decide which layer you want to go on the bottom and work your way up. If you make your top layer before your bottom layer is made a set…you top player will now be solid and unusable. So only prepare your recipes when you are ready to layer it.

– Plan on setting each layer for about 20 min in the fridge before adding the next layer.

– Get your tilt on. Set out what you will need to keep your glass tilted at an angle and be able to move it in and out of the fridge without disturbing your liquid. I propped up my glasses on a box of coucous inside a square cake pan.

Chocolate Ganache layer

50g dark chocolate
25g heavy cream

Heat heavy cream to a boil.
Immediately remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted.

Avocado layer

1 avocado
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream

Mash avocado as finely as possible and mix with other ingredients.

Raspberry layer

70g raspberry purée
45g heavy cream
10g sugar
3/4 tsp agar-agar

Mix purée, cream and sugar.
Bring to a boil on the stove or the microwave.
Stir in agar-agar.

 

my purées, no agar agar yet

Cape Gooseberry layer

70g Cape Gooseberry purée
45g heavy cream
10g sugar
1/2 tsp agar-agar

Mix purée, cream and sugar.
Bring to a boil on the stove or the microwave.
Stir in agar-agar.

It will be messy a bit. I used a wet Q-tip to clean up little smudges inside the glass. Used a small spoon to pour small quantities of your liquid at a time. Art takes a bit of care and time. The Ohs and Ahs and Wows of your guest will be totally worth it though in sight and taste.

YUMM!

Sweet Dec 24th Decadence: Dulche de Leche Mousse and Praline Hazelnut Verrine

Last week I shared with you the recipe I was asked to prepare for Christmas Eve at my parents. I mentioned the pics included on that post were only the planned results. Now I have the actual pictures of my completed recipes.

Dreaming of Zen Cocktail

Dreaming of Zen CocktailParis Brest

Paris Brest

Paris Brest Closeup

Dad licking whip cream for Paris Brest

Dulche de Leche Mousse and Praline Hazelnut Verrine with Bubbly for Midnight

Now since we neither had a partridge or a pear tree we substituted with a Inseparable and Christmas tree. My parents are baby sitting a tree and it flew into the Christmas tree ha ha.

And I did not have an online version of one of my recipes. I wrote it out for you here now. Recipe taken from the December 2009 Coup de Pouce magazine.

Dulche de Leche Mousse and Praline Hazelnut Verrine

Makes 10 to 12 portions.

  • 1 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 gelatin envelope (15ml)
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup 35% cream
  • 1 cup dulche de leche, homemade or store bought.

Deeee-vine Verrine

Preparation:

Jelly

  1. In a small cup add 1/4 cup of cold water and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let stand 5 min.
  2. In a pan bring to a boil the remaining water and the maple syrup. Remove from heat.
  3. Add softened gelatin to hot mixture and mix well until the gelatin in all dissolved.
  4. Pour mixture in  8x8in glass dish and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

Praline Hazelnuts

  1. Meanwhile in a large bowl add the hazelnuts. Put  corn syrup in a microwaveable dish . Heat at max intensity for 40 to 45 seconds, until syrups starts to boil. Pour hot syrup over the hazelnuts and mix well.
  2. Spread evenly hazelnuts on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in an oven heated at 325F for 15 min.
  3. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  4. Chop hazelnuts in chunks.

Dulche de Leche Mousse

  1. Beat cream with a mixer in a bowl until stiff peaks. In a larger bowl add the dulche de leche. With a spatula delicately fold in half the whipped cream. Do the same with the second half and fold gently until homogeneous.
  2. Keep in fridge until ready to use.

Assembly

  1. With a fork break up the jelly by racking it.
  2. Divide evenly the jelly at the bottom of 10 small glasses (3/4 cup capacity).
  3. Place on top of jelly about 2 tbsp of praline hazelnuts
  4. Cover with about 1/3 cup each glass with the mousse.
  5. Garnish before serving with a few hazelnuts on top.

Wanna make your own Dulche de Leche? Easy, just click here for the recipe.