Getting to Know the Ebullient Epicurean

  1) My favorite item to cook? It’s a tie between seafood lasagna and gumbo. While both items are time consuming they are well worth it. I usually prepare seafood lasagna in the autumn, while gumbo I prepare every Christmas, … Continue reading

Creamy Custard Ice Cream Base

Homemade ice cream without the pain of manually churning!   You may use this base for almost all of your favorite ice creams. I use it for chocolate, banana, butter pecan, peach, rocky road, strawberry… I use it for almost … Continue reading

Lauryn’s Original Ultimate Chocolate Cake

A true creation of love, that thoroughly tested my chemistry skills. A delicious piece of cake with my absolute favorite dessert item, champagne!

A true creation of love, that thoroughly tested my chemistry skills. A delicious piece of cake with my absolute favorite dessert item, champagne!

When it comes to cooking I am always creating my own recipes based upon my favorite flavor profiles, familial cooking styles, and seasonal ingredients. Baking on the other hand, has proven to be a difficult task, with too much chemistry involved for this home cook. When baking I typically utilize familial recipes and add my own twist. One Friday, this spring, I was feeling adventurous and decided to develop my own recipe for chocolate cake. To my surprise it only took me two tries to develop a finished product that was moist, chocolaty, and not dense. Here’s the recipe! I hope you enjoy!¬†

Ingredients for Cake

1 3/4 cups cake flour

2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cups cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup 2% or 1% milk

3 eggs (room temperature)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sour cream (full fat)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons espresso extract

2 cups chocolate chips or coarse chopped chocolate chunks tossed in flour

1 large box instant jello chocolate pudding mix

Ingredients for Chocolate Frosting

2 sticks softened salted butter

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons espresso extract

2-4 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half, add more by the tablespoon full as needed for desired consistency

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare 2 (two) 8×2 round cake pans or 1 (one) 9×13 pan by lining pan(s) with parchment paper then buttering or spraying with cooking spray and coating lightly with flour.

Sift cake flour, sugar cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, pudding mix, and salt into large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla, and espresso extract. With mixer on low add all wet ingredients to bowl containing dry ingredients. Then slowly add milk, scraping bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Slowly fold in chocolate chips or chunks, do not mix. Pour batter into cake pan(s) and bake 40 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool for at least 2 hours.

To prepare chocolate frosting beat butter until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, vanilla extract, and espresso extract. Gradually add cocoa powder and heavy cream. Mix on low. Add confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time. Mix on low and increase to medium speed once thoroughly incorporated. Add more heavy cream as needed to thin out frosting if it seems tooth pick. Store frosting in cold place until ready to use. Frost cake as you desire.

Chocolate cake shown with fresh whipped cream and vanilla custard. My recipe for homemade vanilla custard coming soon ;-)

Chocolate cake shown with fresh whipped cream and vanilla custard. My recipe for homemade vanilla custard coming soon ūüėČ

Potato Latkes (Pancakes)

Potato latkes with fresh sour cream and homemade apple sauce brings back wonderful childhood memories!   Ingredients¬† 2 lbs butter/yellow potatoes, peeled 3/4 cup chopped scallions 3 large eggs, beaten 2 tablespoons all purpose flour OR matzo meal 1.5 teaspoons … Continue reading

Low Country Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits. One of the quintessential low country dishes great for breakfast, brunch, or in my home, the perfect after work snack. Low country cooking is unpretentious, yet flavorful. It is representative of true American flavors! Low country refers … Continue reading

Mussels For Two

 

Steamed Mussels in a flavorful white wine broth. A great dish to add to your Valentine's Day menu.

Steamed Mussels in a flavorful white wine broth. A great dish to add to your Valentine’s Day menu.

This is a quick and easy recipe using all fresh ingredients! This is a perfect appetizer to accompany your Valentine’s Day meal. You can serve these mussels in the shell or removed from the shells and over a bed of fresh pasta. Make sure you have fresh crusty bread on hand to sop-up the flavorful broth. Please note, when choosing a white wine, do not buy a “cooking wine” from off of the shelf. Do not cook with a wine that you won’t drink. I suggest buying an inexpensive dry wine that you enjoy and cooking with it. This rule applies to white and red wines.¬†

Mussels shown removed from shells, served over pasta.

Mussels shown removed from shells, served over pasta.

Ingredients

4 lbs of mussels, butter, red onion, fennel, roma tomatoes, garlic, white wine

4 lbs of mussels, butter, red onion, fennel, roma tomatoes, garlic, white wine

4 lbs mussels debearded and cleaned

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) salted butter

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion quartered and sliced thinly 

5 cloves garlic peeled and sliced

5 sprigs fresh thyme

3 roma tomatoes chopped

2 fennel bulbs sliced thinly 

2 cups good quality dry white wine (i.e. chardonnay)

1 tablespoon salt 

Directions

If possible, buy mussels fresh, the day in which you plan to use them. If you are unable to do so, remove mussels from plastic bag and place in the back of your refrigerator with a damp paper towel covering them, for one to two days. This will allow the mussels, which are alive, to breathe. 

When ready to prepare, place mussels in a bowl and fill with cool water. Allow mussels to sit for 20 minutes to allow them to expel the sand and dirt inside. Begin to debeard and clean mussels. For tips on debearding mussels please visit this site. Any mussels that are opened, do not close when tapped, or chipped, discard (they are not viable/they’re dead). Once mussels are clean place them in another bowl. Do not simply pour cleaned mussels and water into another bowl, for the sand and dirt that was expelled will transfer to clean bowl. You may use a slotted spoon to transfer mussels.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy pot heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add slice garlic, red onion and fennel. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring often. Add tomatoes, thyme, and salt. Cook an additional 5 minutes.  Pour in two cups of wine and increase heat to medium high. Add mussels on top of vegetables. Place cover on pot.

Allow mussels to cook covered on medium high for 10 minutes. Remove cover and stir so that vegetables are no longer at the bottom of the pot.

Mussels steamed w white wine, fresh thyme, fennel, red onion, garlic, and roma tomatoes.

Mussels steamed w white wine, fresh thyme, fennel, red onion, garlic, and roma tomatoes.

Cook mussels an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove/discard any mussels that are unopened. 

Serve mussels w some of the liquid in bowl with crusty bread. Provide guests with a plate/bowl for discarded shells.

If serving mussels over pasta, remove mussels from shells and continue to cook in liquid for an additional 5 minutes. Remove all of thyme stems. Pour mussels w sauce/liquid over cooked pasta. 

Christmas Sorrel

Sorrel is a drink typically enjoyed at Christmas time throughout the Caribbean. As a child, I enjoyed it at my Jamaican God parents home, without the rum. I knew that sorrel was something “special” because my father, who does not … Continue reading

Green Seasoning (Homemade green sofrito)

Green seasoning also known as sofrito is a fresh seasoning used in the English, Spanish, and French speaking Caribbean/Americas (North, Central, and South America). It is the perfect base for rice, beans, stews, and great for a starter marinade for … Continue reading

Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon

This is an easy potato soup recipe. Perfect for large gatherings and for cold evenings. This recipe is vegetarian friendly by simply leaving out the bacon and using vegetable stock… but why would you want to do that? ūüėČ This … Continue reading