Bon Appetweet™—Join Chef Lea as she leads you through a culinary journey and teaches both cooking basics and how to prepare great dishes from scratch. Her recipes are original and developed for newbies who are ready for more than a take-out menu! Lea will also introduce you to some of her foodie peeps who share their own recipes and tips for fun parties. Kitchen Newbies™ are Lea’s recommendations for products and tools you must have in your pantry!

Beverages

Two Hot Cocoas with a Twist!

Comments Off 01 December 2010

No one loves a creamy cup of cocoa more than Chef Lea McIntosh! But you know her…she’s always whipping up ways to break from traditional recipes. Here are two of her latest hot chocolate blends. Bon Appetweet!

Cocoa De Leche
Serves One

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
5 tablespoons dulce de leche caramel
pinch of salt to taste

Combine milk, cocoa powder, ducle de leche, and pinch of salt in a small saucepan; while continuously whisking bring to a simmer. Serve hot.

Note: La Lechera Brand Dulce De Leche can be found at most Mexican grocery stores and is an affordable alternative to the gourmet Dulce De Leche products.
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Nutty Cocoa
Serves One

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

Combine milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and peanut butter in a small saucepan; while continuously whisking bring to a simmer. Serve hot.

Note: Ghiradelli Unsweetened Cocoa is available at most markets.

Check out our recommendation for a gift with a twist for hot cocoa crazy fans!

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Hors d'oeuvres

Honey Goat Cheese-Stuffed Medjool Dates

Comments Off 04 November 2010

“Triple Cream Stuffed Medjool Dates were a ALWAYS popular with my catering clients. Often, I would serve them as an accompaniment to the buffet salad. In keeping with this tradition, I created a goat cheese version to accompany my Creamy Lemon Champagne Vinaigrette featured in the Midsummer Mediterranean Grill in Issue No. 4. The creamy, tangy, zesty, lemony, sweet combination…is heavenly. Bon Appetweet!”

Honey Goat Cheese-Stuffed Medjool Dates
Yields: Approximately 10 pieces

Ingredients:
4 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre)
1 tablespoon honey
10 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced halfway through lengthwise
¼ cups walnuts, finely chopped

(1) Make a lengthwise cut in each date, remove pit, and gently pinch open to form a pocket.

(2) In a medium-size bowl, blend together goat cheese and honey. Using approximately a teaspoon of honey goat cheese at a time, shape into 10 balls.

(3) Fill each date with a honey goat cheese ball and with index finger, lightly press the ball into each date and smooth the top.

(4) Press the cheese side of each stuffed date into the chopped walnuts. Lightly tap to remove excess nuts, arrange on a platter and serve. Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.

Note: Experiment with other soft cheeses and toppings. Chef Lea often makes stuffed Medjool dates with Brie cheese and freshly chopped chives.

Creamy Lemon Champagne Vinaigrette Recipe

Photography by Lea McIntosh

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