Valentine’s Day Sweet:: Chocolate Crepes

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Crepes are an excellent choice for Valentine’s Day treats because they can be made ahead of time. Fill them with chocolate mousse, and they’re even better. This recipe is from the archives, and I know you’ll love seeing it with fresh eyes. Make a batch on Friday and enjoy them all weekend long! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Basic Crepes
Yield: 12 to 15 crepes, 4-6 servings
You will need:

– 1 ½ cups whole milk
– 2 large eggs
– 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
– 1 cup all purpose flour
– ½ teaspoon kosher salt

additional unsalted butter, for coating the pan

To Make ahead
Refrigerate the batter for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Remove the crepe batter from the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to cook the crepes.

To prepare
Heat a small non-stick pan over medium heat. Add about a teaspoon of butter to the pan and swirl the melting butter around the pan into a thin, even coat. Pour two tablespoons of crepe batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds or until the edges begin to dry and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to a warm oven if serving immediately or to a plate to cool completely for storing. Continue cooking the batter as above – coating the pan with butter every after every 2 or 3 crepes.

*Note: Cooled crepes can be stacked, and stored in zip-top bag in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 2 weeks. Thaw frozen crepes at room temperature at least an hour before reheating. Reheat stored crepes in warm oven or a microwave just before serving.

**Note: Lore holds that the first crepe is always a flop. Think of it as a test of your pans heat and adjust the heat accordingly.

Easy Chocolate Mousse
Yield: 8 servings
You will need:

– 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
– 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
– 2 cups chilled heavy cream

To prepare:

Fill a small saucepan half full with water and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Meanwhile find a small heat-proof bowl that will fit inside the saucepan without touching the water. Melt the chocolate in the small bowl over the simmering water, stirring frequently with a spatula. Once melted add the espresso powder and stir until dissolved. Remove the chocolate from the heat to cool while the cream is whipped.

In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream with a hand mixer on medium speed until slightly thickened, approximately 1 minute. Add the warm chocolate to the lightly whipped cream and continue whipping on medium speed until the cream achieves soft peak – approximately 1 minute longer.

Cover the mousse with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Art direction + Photography by Lesley Graham
Recipes + food styling by Meghan Splawn
Florals by Victory Blooms

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Quick Make Ahead Meal:: Parchment Fish

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You know how much I love make-ahead dishes. My golden rule in Picture Perfect Parties, is to always do “one or two make-ahead dishes—one in the oven and one on the cooktop. This makes for a relaxed host!”

When perusing my archives recently, I stumbled upon this post from almost six years ago for parchment fish. My daughter Alex calls it fish in a bag which is essentially what it is. You use parchment to create little pouches of flavor.

The best part about this is that it’s a great “make-ahead” meal. When you’re having guests for a dinner party, just put these together in the morning, pop them into the fridge and pull them out right before guests arrive. Bring them to room temp and pop them into the oven for 20 minutes and voila… dinner is in the bag!

Parchment Fish with Black Bean, Coconut, and Lime Sauce
Serves 4
You will need:

– 4 1/2 lb. pieces of wild salmon (or other fish of your choice; I also like Sea Bass)
– 2 cups snow peas
– 1 red pepper – cut into thin strips about 1/8 ” wide X 4″ long
– 3/4 cup Chinese black bean sauce, available in most markets.
– 1 lime 1/2 for juice and 1/2 for slices
– 1 garlic clove minced
– 1 teaspoon soy sauce
– 1/4 cup coconut milk
– 4 parchment squares 16″x16″
– 1/2 cup cilantro leaves as garnish

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F

Wash and clean the salmon. Pat dry and remove the skin (you can have the fish monger do this for you if you like).

In a small bowl combine black bean sauce, lime juice from 1/2 lime, and minced garlic, soy sauce, coconut milk. Whisk until combined.

Lay a bed for the fish of 5-6  snow peas, and 5-6 strips of pepper in the middle of the parchment. Lay the salmon on top of the veggies, and spoon 4 tablespoons over the salmon, garnish with a lime slice.

To make a package, fold 2 flaps on either side of the fish over the fish while holding the flaps shut in the middle of the fish, pull the opposite 2 flaps over and hold on top and roll together so the fold rolls over the fish forming a package. Squeeze the roll tightly and wrap ends of the roll under itself into the ends of the roll, securing it shut.

Place the packages into a ceramic baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

I like to serve this over brown rice.

When you pull these out of the oven, place rice on the plate and open the package and carefully pour the fish with veggies and sauce over the rice, garnish with cilantro leaves and serve warm.

 

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Brian Patrick Flynn’s insanity + genius…#tbt

MG_0166_receipt_web I have noticed many people tagging and sharing “throw back Thursday” posts (#tbt if you will). I decided to join this thursday in conjunction with the 1 month birthday of the release (birth) of my cookbook Picture Perfect Parties. This was one of the wackiest and one of the most fun days I have had styling and cooking for a photoshoot. So here’s the story….

Long long ago, I befriended a very tall man by the name of Brian Patrick Flynn. (yes, he has a wikipedia page and he’s super duper tall). One day he asked if he could come over (4 years ago to be exact) and photograph me cooking in my kitchen for my family and friends, (he had heard I was pretty good at it) he said he was starting a blog (Decor Demon ) and wanted to feature some of the creatives in Atlanta. So I said sure. MG_0274_receipt_web The day started like all photo shoots… heavy with props, food and equipment. Brian arrived at the house full of energy (it was either the red bulls or his actual personality I could not tell since I did not know him well) with a beautiful and tiny cherub photographer Sarah Dorio in tow. He had some wild ideas of the shots to accomplish that day. A leap of faith made me believe he could do it … well, we could do it!!! MG_0376_receipt_web I had never worked with Brian and the truth is I didn’t really not know all that much about him. There was one thing I knew… he stalked me for about a year, yammering on about how he wanted to be a photo stylist. This was not the first time I had someone lurking around me to see what my world was all about (it’s pretty much how I find all my assistants:)). The funny thing about Brian is that he’s so damn tall, no matter how much he tried to lurk, he was always pretty easy to spot at events we both attended around town. Needless to say once we had a real conversation I was pretty damn smitten with this charming gent.

We had a great day and ever since he, Sarah and I are very good friends and respect each others talents tremendously. Brian has gone on to found and work in his own production company Flynnside Out, producing great content for HGTV Design Star, HGTV.com and Hayneedle to name a few. I am proud of Brian he’s the most hard working man in television and online.

Here are some more shots in my favorite place on earth (well almost, Italy probably wins) we all had the best day that day. I think you can glean that from the beautiful shots Sarah took that day. flatbread_film_web I might even say that shooting this feature gave me a little kick in the butt towards my goal of producing and writing my own cookbook, it’s funny how it’s really a collection of experiences and people that sometimes drive you to your goals. It’s pretty magical… thank you Brian xx

* side note, one of these photos wound up in my cookbook in the introduction…can you spot which one?

 

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