Sunday, November 29, 2015

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crème Fraîche and Fried Sage Leaves for a #SundaySupper Where We Use Veggies As A Main

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For those of you in the United States, I hope you had a wonderful holiday this past Thursday. As I stated in my preview, I find this week's #SundaySupper theme of Veggies As A Main refreshing because it could have easily contributed to the noise of Thanksgiving leftover ideas.

I last made a point of addressing the topic of vegetarian dishes earlier this year when I had the opportunity to work with Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg to promote their most recent book, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. In it, Ms. Page makes a strong case for those that have chosen to eat a plant-based diet be it environmental, medical or ethical reasons and I highly recommend it even for meat eaters because it is helpful in dish composition.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

As I looked over my previous posts, I have found many vegetarian dishes here. Many are salads but I would estimate more are Italian primi dishes, which is the case here. I actually find it difficult to incorporate meat into pasta dishes unless we're discussing fillings. Costs aside, flavor is considered first when choosing the ingredients to use in a dish, then whether or not the dish is in season before science (i.e. yeast to make bread, deglazing with fluid, etc.). Since butternut squash is in season, I decided to use it in a risotto dish. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible listed butternut squash as pairing well with risottos, sage and nutmeg which is how I composed this dish.

Dish Details

I adapted Ree's recipe to the fried sage leaves found on epicurious.


Vegetable oil for frying
1 bunch fresh sage leaves
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
5 to 7 cups chicken stock, brought to a low simmer in a saucepan
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons nutmeg


1. Fry the sage. In a small saucepan or small skillet, add enough vegetable oil to achieve a depth of 1/2-inch and place over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the sage in batches, 3 to 4 leaves at a time for 5 seconds each, removing them with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate, then season with kosher salt. Set aside to cool. This can be done a day ahead. Once cool, store the leaves in an airtight container.

2. Prepare the squash. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add in the squash cubes, then season with salt and pepper. Sweat the squash until lightly browned and tender but not falling apart. Remove the squash from the skillet to a bowl, set aside and reserve.

3. Apply the risotto method in the same skillet where the butternut squash was prepared by following the method in step two of a risotto I published previously.

4. Finish the dish. Once the rice is al dente, stir in the reserved butternut squash, crème fraîche, parmesan and nutmeg using more or less crème fraîche until the desired consistency has been achieved. Adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Serve in warmed bowls garnished with the sage leaves.

Final Thoughts

With the holiday this week, I didn't get the opportunity to perfect the dish because the night I prepared it, I added too much crème fraîche. Mrs. Stuntman also thought the dish was too sweet so I'll need to play around with spices to balance out the flavors.

Meanwhile, please view these other dishes offered for this week's #SundaySupper:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A #SundaySupper Preview Where We Use Veggies as a Main Dish

With the most well known foodie holiday occurring later this week, it would have been easy for the team at #SundaySupper Movement to contribute to the thousands of posts dedicated to the topic. It decided to go in a different direction, with all dishes published this upcoming weekend centering around produce. The theme this week is Veggies as a Main Dish.

For those of you in the United States, I wish you a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, football and food. Until then, I offer this preview of dishes that will be published this Sunday.

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chocolate Indulgence Cake with White Chocolate Sauce and Candied Pecans #ChocolateforJoan

Chocolate Indulgence Cake with White Chocolate Sauce and Candied Pecans #ChocolateforJoan

I make an effort to try to avoid clichés, but every now and then you realize that life is short and people need to make the most out of each day.

When I started this website more than three years ago, I didn't anticipate that I would form real life friendships with other food bloggers I met through social media, however over time that is exactly what occurred. So couple of weeks ago when I learned that my friend Joan of Chocolate Chocolate and More passed away in her sleep, I felt a strong sense of loss.

I had seen Joan online for years and I was fortunate enough to meet her a handful of times in the last year. The only picture I have of the two of us was taken the first time we met when she was in town for IFBC in 2014, however. I had just moved into the area less than a month before and was unable to attend the conference considering I hadn't completely unpacked everything but I was able to sneak over to the host hotel to meet some friends for a few hours for lunch on the Friday before official conference activities began. We instantly connected. I remember at one point that afternoon, nature was calling so I asked her to watch my phone while I was in the men's room. She teased that there might be additional pictures in my phone's gallery when I returned that Mrs. Stuntman might find questionable. I returned a couple of days later on Sunday afternoon. I was only able to see her in passing but she was thoughtful enough to leave me a gift bag of some of the items she collected during the weekend.

(From left to right: Bobbi of Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen, me, Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Kiss My Smoke, Joan)

The second time I met Joan in person was at the Food and Wine Conference this past summer. She was invited to speak because more than two million people have 'Liked' the Chocolate Chocolate and More Facebook page. To put that in perspective, Joan has more Facebook 'Likes' than Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay and Alton Brown combined. My memories of Joan on that trip are surrounded by my lunch at Shubee's Coastal Grill and Bar because she was one of the ladies who I was lucky enough to join on that occasion. Something as mundane as transportation to the restaurant stood out because Joan was kind enough to give me a ride in her son's new car, where I returned the favor of teasing her by suggesting she baptize the vehicle by giving the car in front of us a love tap.

The last time I met Joan in person was a couple of months ago at IFBC. Unfortunately, we only met in passing because we mostly attended different sessions and I couldn't attend many of the after hour social gatherings because I opted for my own bed over a hotel room which meant I was driving and couldn't enjoy any cocktails.

Each time I met her, I found her to be incredibly kind, thoughtful and sincere.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

For this dessert, I used Joan's website name for inspiration. The dish had to contain at least three components, two of which had to contain chocolate. The Flavor Bible didn't yield any surprises with items such as nuts, cream, mint and sugar pairing well with both chocolate and white chocolate. Berries were also common between the two but I decided to omit them from the dish because they are not in season.

Dish Details

I'd imagine you could find this dish on any restaurant dessert menu. For it, I paired adaptations of a chocolate cake found on with a sauce found on epicurious and the pecans on


Cooking spray
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 2 1/4-ounce package pecan halves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (approximately 6 ounces) white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Mint leaves for garnish


1. Complete the mise en place. Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Coat four ramekins with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Candy the pecans. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the pecans and toss to coat. Add the brown sugar and salt and stir until caramelized. Transfer the pecans to wax paper in a single layer to cool and set aside.

3. Prepare the sauce. Place the white chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl, then slowly bring the whipping cream to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once a boil has been reached, pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk to combine and melt the chocolate.

4. Bake the cake and finish the dish. Set up a double boiler by filling a medium saucepan with enough water so that the water level is just shy of a heatproof bowl placed over the saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Place the heatproof bowl over the simmering water and add the semi-sweet chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add the butter and sugar and stir until melted then whisk in the two eggs until well combined. Add in the flour and stir until just combined but do not overmix. Remove the chocolate from the heat, then spoon an equal portion of the batter into each of the prepared ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet, then place into the oven for ten to twelve minutes. To present, invert a ramekin onto a warmed plate, spoon some sauce around the cake, then garnish with the pecans and mint leaves.

Final Thoughts

Mrs. Stuntman enjoyed the dish, however she thought the cake was a little rich. She did ask for more pecans.

Since Joan's passing, there have been a number of tributes that have been published but I wanted to highlight a Go Fund Me page to support the three teenage children that have survived her. Please contribute to it if you can.

Other loving tributes include:

Joan does have contributors, so her blog in addition to her social media pages remain active so please be sure to catch her on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Rest in peace, my friend. You're genuinely missed.

November 11, 2015 update:

Robin of Simply Southern Baking saw this and shared a few of her pictures that were taken at Shubee's. Thanks, Robin!

(From left to right: Lisa of Jersey Girl Cooks, Robin, Melissa of Serendipity and Spice, Marlene of Nosh My Way, Joan, Wendy of The Weekend Gourmet, KC of Chat 'n Dish, me, Faith of An Edible Mosaic and Healthy Sweet Eats)