This summer while in Paris I dined in a new restaurant, Le St Joseph, located outside the city in the suburb of La Garenne-Colombes. Chosen by my good friend, and impeccable Paris food critic, John Talbott, the bistro turned out, as they say in the Michelin guide, “to be worth the detour,” or in our case, a 30-minute cab ride.
From the beautiful cream of pea soup garnished with tiny diced feta, golden croutons, and grilled spices to a salad of roasted eggplant, fresh orange segments, and yellow tomatoes, topped with transparent goat cheese chips and toasted pepitas, everything was delicious. I remember best the dessert; a coffee panna cotta covered with a dark chocolate ganache, and a sprinkle of crushed peanuts and cookie crumbs.
Long after I returned stateside, visions of this delectable confection swirled in my mind. Panna cotta (Italian for cooked cream) is a gloriously smooth custard made without eggs, bound with gelatin, and served chilled. The recipe here calls for both whole milk and heavy Continue reading
Last night at my book club’s annual holiday potluck, guests brought two appetizers, two soups, and a half dozen desserts. Obviously, this group of avid readers had forgone diets to indulge in sweet temptations. There were three kinds of cookies, big (not petit) vanilla frosted cupcakes topped with pomegranate seeds, dense brownies, and a loaf cake studded with fruits. At the end of the evening the few remaining desserts were quickly divvied up and carted off to enjoy at home!
“Tis the season to eat without guilt,” so I am including a new recipe for a rich and creamy cappuccino cheesecake. Just like a cup of cappuccino, this cheesecake has an espresso-scented base (made with both cream cheese and mascarpone) and is garnished with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I also added a drizzle of chocolate sauce to complement the coffee flavor. Continue reading
I’ve been a fan of Nespresso electric espresso makers ever since I bought the Essenza model several years ago. However, the Pixie, one of their newest products, is even smaller and more compact than the one I own. This slim machine that stands less than 10 inches tall comes in an array of colors, including bright red, electric blue, apple green, and gray. It’s easy to use too. You simply fill a chamber with water, pop in a Nespresso coffee capsule, and pull a lever. In no time at all, you have a delicious cup of espresso ready for sipping. The Nespresso capsules come in a variety of strengths and flavors, including a decaffeinated version.
Nespresso Pixie available at cookware stores
As soon as the leaves start to turn and the glorious fall season gets underway here in New England, our friends, family, and, yes, even just acquaintances, start calling or emailing to ask if they can come for an overnight to savor the gorgeous foliage. These visits usually include breakfast so I am always searching for new creations for the first meal of the day. This year, I’m in luck since I’ve just completed Sunday Brunch, which is due out in Spring 2012. Although there is a cornucopia of recipes in this collection, an espresso-scented coffee cake is one of my favorites. Continue reading