Chocolate-Bottomed Strawberry Fool

Was I a fool to think I could make mousse? (Heh…heh…heh…) Read on, friends. Read on.

Mousse will always make me think of my father. Ever the chocolate lover, I know I have mentioned multiple times in this blog how I’ve seen him make brownies at midnight many times in my 33 years. I’ve also seen him make his fair share of mousse, the light chocolaty fluff making its usual appearances around the Christmas season, topped with copious amounts of whipped cream.

If my dad’s a pro at it, surely the ability to make it is hereditary!

For a pink sexy Valentine’s Day theme – bolstered for my urge to eat a ton of strawberries during this chilly bleak winter season – the idea to create a strawberry mousse popped into my head. A little crunchy chocolate bottom would make for a nice treat as you dug closer to the bottom, I thought!

Well, I got the cream. I got the berries. I got the gelatin.

I got SCREWED. Ha!

Chocolate-Bottomed Strawberry Fool

So, mind you, having not made mousse before, nor having worked with gelatin outside of helping my dad make Strawberry Jell-O as a kid, I took to Google to find a strawberry mousse recipe. I found what I thought was a good one! I followed it to a T. The photos for this recipe looked luscious!

Apparently, 4 teaspoons of gelatin mixed with 2 tablespoons of water is not the ratio you want. Well, unless you want to pull something out of your fridge a few hours later that springs back at you like a marshmallow!

COME ON. JEEEEEEZ.

Well, after that disappointment – that’s recipe development for ya – I decided to make a Strawberry Fool instead of trying mousse again. Folding strawberry puree into whipped cream is more my style anyways. Simple. Easy.

I’ll save mousse-making for another time, once I am over this trauma…

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers. 😘

Chocolate-Bottomed Strawberry Fool

JOIN IN ON THE VIRTUAL PARTY! Check out the links below for some Valentine’s Day-theme goodies from a troop of wonderful fellow bloggers. Follow along on Instagram with #galentinesday and thanks to The Sweet Nerd for organizing! 

1.) Earl Grey Frosted Brownies by Madeline Hall
2.) Red Velvet Whoopie Pies by What Should I Make For…
3.) Chocolate Wine Cake by The Sweet Nerd
4.) Pink Grapefruit & Thyme Shortbread Hearts by The Beach House Kitchen
5.) Blood Orange Margarita Sorbet by Beyone Mere Sustenance
6.) Vanilla Rose Shortbread Cookies by Seasons and Suppers
7.) Chocolate Panna Cotta with Raspberry Compote by Ciao Chow Bambina
8.) Horchata Latte Cheesecake Meg Is Well
9.) Chocolate Coffee Layer Cake by Katherine In Brooklyn
10.) Chocolate Topped Seed & Nut Bars by This Brown Kitchen

Chocolate-Bottomed Strawberry Fool
(Makes 4 [roughly] 4 oz. servings)

Ingredients:

Chocolate Bottom:
– 16 Oreo cookies (or any chocolate sandwich cookie brand)
– 1 tablespoon melted butter or refined coconut oil

Strawberry Fool:
– 2 cups strawberries, rinsed and hulled
– 2 cups heavy whipping cream
– 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

1.) Place cookies inside of a plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin until finely broken. Mix crumbs with butter or coconut oil until well combined. Spoon a heaping tablespoon on the mixture into the bottom of a small serving dish and lightly press down to set. Set aside.

2.) Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor until smooth.

4.) In large (preferably chilled metal) bowl, whip together cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the pureed strawberry mixture and slowly incorporate; do not overmix and allow the mixture to remain light and airy!

5.) Carefully spoon or pipe whipped cream into chocolate-bottomed serving dishes. Eat immediately or refrigerate for no more than 4 hours; mixture can deflate and become somewhat soupy if not eaten quickly.

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Spicy Cilantro Hasselback Potatoes

I’ve always admired the beautiful specimen that is a Hasselback potato. It is both fancy and homey, both elegant and comforting, both something you may find at a top-notch restaurant or in your mother’s kitchen.

I admire it…for I don’t have the patience to make my own. Ha!

The gorgeous sliced effect of the Hasselbeck potato takes a bit of effort and patience, and though I try to stay calm, my mind always runs at about a mile a minute. Sometimes, it takes wicked amounts discipline for me to complete more ornate cooking and baking tasks. Pie crusts? I smush them down with my fingers, because I don’t care if it’s pretty! I just want it to taste good! However, when it comes to food styling, I flip on a dime and get more zen and careful. Go figure.

Well, I took the time to slice some taters, and the result was worth the care and time put into it. Pretty lil’ babies, aren’t they?

This recipe can certainly be adjusted if you want to add butter; since I’m still on my dairy-free diet, I’m going a strict oil route here. I’m not complaining, because I’m a gal that loves her olive oil! (Vengo dall’eredità italiana!) I recently discovered a new brand, The Blue Olive, and I got a bottle of their Baklouti Green Chili Fused Extra Virgin Olive Oil.It’s…got a kick, to say the least! My bland palate got an education. Ha! But when you mix it with some cilantro and bake it into the potatoes, the heat is slow and low, leaving a lovely little tingle in the back of your mouth. It’s an amazingly comforting winter dish, perfect for these brick winter days…or even for these milder winter days that are a complete 180° turn from last weekend! (Hello, 50°F! Goodbye 10°F!) Even better, The Blue Olive has their main store up in Pawling – perfect for those north of NYC! It’s literally across the street from that town’s MetroNorth station. Shop local, y’all!

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NOTE: Thank you to Bryce from The Blue Olive for providing me with this olive oil for testing purposes!

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Spicy Cilantro Hasselback Potatoes
(Makes two large potatoes; serves 2 – 4)

Ingredients:

– 2 large Ruseet potatoes, skins scrubbed
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1/8 cup Baklouti Green Chili Fused Extra Virgin Olive Oil (See Before We Get Started…)
– 1/4 cup cilantro, cleaned and minced
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt

Before We Get Started…

– If you do not have this specific brand of olive oil – substitute a spicy olive oil of your choice or add 1/4 teaspoon chili powder to 1/2 cup regular olive oil and thoroughly blend.

– The method I use to slice the potatoes is listed in Step #2. For other ways to slice potatoes, please look here!

– If desired, substitute regular olive oil with 1/4 cup melted butter; I am currently eating dairy-free as of the time of this recipe’s development, so please indulge, as I can not. Ha!

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.) To slice potatoes, place potato on a firm surface and place two chopsticks on either side. Use a large sharp knife to slowly and carefully slice down into the potato until the knife’s blade reaches the chopstick. This insures that the potato is sliced but the bottom remains in tact, allowing for the “fan” effect of the hasselback potato. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet or roasting pan and set aside.

3.) Whisk together both types of olive oil, cilantro, garlic powder, and salt until thoroughly combined. Using a food brush, carefully dab between each potato slice with the oil mixture. If necessary, add more oil and / or cilantro if you start to run low. Drizzle any remaining oil mixture on top of potatoes.

4.) Bake for 60 minutes; at the 30 minute mark, check on potatoes and baste / brush with any extra oil in the bottom of the pan.

5.) Remove from oven, top with additional cilantro, if desired, and serve immediately! If there are leftovers, refrigerate; to reheat, drizzle with a glug of olive oil and place in a 350°F degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes until warmed through and slightly crispy on top.

Vegan Ranch Dressing

During the month of January, perhaps a hair beyond that, I am embarking on a dairy-free diet.

Granted, I’m not one of those people that’s, “DIET! DIET! DIET!” I’m sure you’ve seen that on both my Instagram and this blog. I believe in eating healthy. I believe in eating balanced. I believe in eating two Tres Leches cake doughnuts followed by a hot chocolate from Doughnut Plant every so often. The old adage “moderation is key” is SO true, y’all.

My dairy-free diet does have a basis in my own health and not in vanity – regular dairy intake might be contributing to an increase in my body’s production of testosterone. FUN! Not that I’m becoming manly, but it’d rather have my hormones in balance, thankyouveryMUCH. Dairy can affect IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor-1) into our bodies; too much can lead to an imbalance as, in some females, it causes higher testosterone production. I might be one of those females. 💁

[Mind you, I am not a doctor! I’ve worked at a hospital for almost 9 years, but my background is strictly liberal studies and communications. Ha! Speak with your own medical professional if you think this may be a concern for you.]

Removing dairy is not a huge issue; sure, I miss cheese like WHOA, I’ve had to consciously meal-prep breakfasts more as I can’t easily grab a Siggi’s and fruit on my way out the door, and I damn near keeled over when my department’s Director of Nursing bought our office pizza yesterday, BUT…I’ve got this. I’ve just got to be creative and mindful.

I wanted to see if I could use the creamy power of pulverized cashews to make something insanely tasty. I’ve mixed in lots of things with cashew cream in the past, but as I had to sadly turn down ranch dressing for my salad at dinner the other night – damn near torture for me – I wanted to see if I could take those wonderful ranch flavors and make them into something not mixed into a cow’s utter secretions.

(I know, I made milk sound so lovely, right?)

The result was pretty damn good! I immediately texted my friend Liana – one of my best vegan friends to bounce my food ideas off of – as soon as I tasted it; I figured she’d be the only person immediately as excited as I was. Ha! I miss that quintessential buttermilk tang, but I was very shocked and pleased by what I created. In this case, the dill really saved the day when bringing that good ranch flavor to this dressing.

I can definitely survive any ranch cravings as long as I’ve got this in my back pocket…figuratively, of course. I’m sure it’d last a lot longer in my fridge. 😏

Vegan Ranch Dressing

Vegan Ranch Dressing
(Makes roughly 1 & 1/2 cups)

Ingredients:
– 1 cup raw cashews, left whole
– 3 cups of hot water, for soaking cashews
– 3/4 cup water, for inclusion in dressing
– 1/2 tablespoon avocado oil
– 1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely minced or 1 teaspoon dried chives
– 3 teaspoons fresh dill, finely minced or 1 teaspoon dried dill
– 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, finely minced or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– Juice of 1/2 lemon
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

Before We Get Started…

– Oil of choice can be substituted for avocado oil here. Olive oil works just fine.

Directions:

1.) Add cashews to a large bowl and cover with 3 cups hot water. Allow to stand for at least one hour or up to 8 hours. (NOTE: I always do an hour of soaking with fine results.) Drain cashews and place into food processor or high-speed blender.

2.) Pulse cashews until a fine meal forms. Slowly add in 1/4 cup water and blend until mixture begins to thin out slightly; do this twice more in 1/4 cup water increments. With the final 1/4 cup of water, add in avocado oil. Blend until smooth.

3.) Remove cashew cream and add to large bowl. Gently fold in chives, dill, parsley, garlic powder, and lemon juice until combined. Add salt; add more to taste, if desired.

4.) Refrigerate dressing; will keep in fridge for up to a week.

husk cherry scones

Seek Satiation – 2017 in Review!

What👏a👏year👏2017👏has👏BEEN.

Political turmoil aside in our good ol’ U.S. of A – haaaa – I’d like to think that this has been a positive year for Seek Satiation in terms of both the blog AND my Instagram feed. This past year, I have increased both my views and visitors again!

  • In 2015, I had 5,673 views and 3,925 visitors.
  • In 2016, I had 12,578 views and 8,250 visitors.
  • In 2017, I had 22,932 views and 17,410 visitors!

Not too shabby for a little po’dunk food blog amongst millions of others!

I must say, my little single-serve Shakshuka recipe is what keeps bringing all of the boys to the yard. Since I posted it on March 5th, 2016, it has amassed 12,052 views – 10,250 in 2017 alone – with an average of 28 visits to that recipe per day. This recipe has been featured on Greatist and PureWow, both of which filled me with a lot of pride! Who woulda thought…

I have had companies reach out to me to do collaborations, which has been very exciting. I have learned about and used products from Tossware, Runamok Maple, Fix Hot Sauce, Kiss Me Organics, and other awesome companies that I have loved and continue to use and promote!

I took an amazing photography class on flatlay design this past autumn, hosted by some NYC-based experts in the field. Rosanna – NYC Food Muse and Karina Munoz taught us students valuable food styling and design skills that definitely left me feeling more confident and creatively inspired.

My biggest struggle – at least in my mind – when it comes to Seek Satiation’s Instagram feed is the cooking aspect vs. the dining out aspect. I am a girl that LOVES to eat out when she can! Honestly, being a member of the Yelp Elite Squad for years is what made me some of my friends here in NYC. When developing the aesthetic of my Instagram, I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to be strictly recipe-related or if I wanted it to be all-encompassing of my foodie journey. After being noticed by some local PR agencies from the city and joining the ranks of food influencers via Palate Connect, I did change the tag line in my IG’s bio to this truth: Thoughtfully curating culinary love. Truly, no matter the platform, that’s my MO.

As always, I am thankful to Candace for taking me under her wing and allowing me to stretch and grow when it comes to recipe development, food photography, and food writing for Yoga By Candace! I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring regarding that! In turn, I might need to practice my best poses; I can barely do Downward-Facing Dog. Ha!

Goals for 2018:

  • A long overdue site redesign! Looking for a splash page and gallery instead of just landing on my homemade and scrolling down to see five entries. Truth be told, when I first threw this site together in 2015, I said, “I’ll change this in a few weeks!” A few weeks ended up being about 150 weeks, give or take. Haaa.
  • UTILIZE PINTEREST! OH, sweet baby Jesus, I NEED to utilize Pinterest! My reasoning for not doing it more often is simple: sheer laziness. Ha! I need to get off of my lazy ass and just do it. A lot of my recipes (such as the shakshuka!) that I did put on Pinterest do draw traffic…sooooo…do it, girl! Do it!
  • More features on both my blog and IG of NYC-based food bloggers and influencers, showcasing collaborative cooking and photography.
  • Post 2 – 3 recipes per month on here. I am now hip to the fact that, as a person that has a full-time job that is not food blogging – dammit – I don’t need to feel pressured to produce multiple posts per week. As long as I stay consistent and the quality is good, that’s all that matters.
  • Learn how to use my new Sony a6000 camera and not feel bad for cheating on Canon. Ha!

As always, thanks for coming along on this journey with me. I am always surprised, humbled, and inspired by what food blogging has done for my life over the past few years, and I hope it continues, if I can be mushy AF for a minute…and I will be. Haaa.

Oh, and here is a junky Instagram photo of me eating Ns4 at Xi’an Famous Foods for lunch today, because New Year’s Day. Ha!

…yo.

Peace. ✌️

-Allison 💞

Cinnamon Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread

I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again – which seems to be a common theme on this blog, I feel – but I love shortbread. I love the buttery crumb. I love the slight saltiness. I love the low-level sweetness. I love the fact that since there is no egg in the batter, I can eat it raw. (Ha!) A good shortbread recipe is one any good cook should have up their sleeve. You never know when you may need to whip it out!

Case in point: When a new co-worker suggested doing a cookie swap at work for the holidays, I both loved and loathed the idea. I don’t have any pressing issues with cookies: they are sugary, delicious, and soul-soothing. I was down for a cookie swap! My issue? When the HELL would I made a batch of cookies? The weekend prior was filled with shooting photos for other blogs and PR outlets, but I knew I had to squeeze in something simple and quick…

Low and behold, shortbread saves the day, once again!

I decided to go a little fancier with it, adding some cinnamon-infused semi-sweet chocolate to the mix. Cinnamon and chocolate is a combination that is sorely underutilized, and it works wonders when added to milk, semi, or dark chocolates. And, in honor of NYC’s first snow of the season on December 9th, why not sprinkle a little bit of finely grated white chocolate on top?

Want to save some more time? Make the dough the night before you want to bake – it took me 10 minutes to throw it together – and wrap it in plastic wrap before saying “Good night!” and placing it in your fridge. The next morning, take the dough out, have your coffee and breakfast, take a walk around the block, return an hour later, and roll it out!

I’m pleased with this batch. I can only hope my co-workers also enjoy it. I suppose I’ll find out tomorrow… 🤞

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JOIN THE VIRTUAL COOKIE SWAP! Please visit the following blogs; these talented folks have some additional awesome cookie recipes for y’all to try this holiday season! Come back on December 18th after 6 a.m. EST, when all links will be active: 

Madeline Hall – Snowflake Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Katherine in Brooklyn – Cranberry Jam Linzer Cookies 
lyndsey eden – Orange Zest and Almond Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
Conscious Eating with Rui – Snickerdoodle Mexican Wedding Cookies
Nommable – Nutmeg Nutella Rice Krispies
The Foodwright – Peanut Butter Cup Thumbprints
Wood and Spoon – Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
Pumpkin & Peanut Butter – Gluten Free Gingerdoodle Blondies
This Brown Kitchen – Chocolate Holiday Nankhatai Cookies
Bappy Girl – Strawberry and Blueberry Meringue
The Table of Contents – Sesame Almond Ginger Lace Cookies
Gracepcheng – Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jenna Hazel – Soft Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

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Cinnamon Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread
(Adapted from the Pretty. Simple. Sweet recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies)
(Makes roughly 40 cookies)

Ingredients:

For Shortbread:

– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 1 cup powdered sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Chocolate:

– 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup white chocolate, finely grated

Directions:

1.) In a medium bowl, sift together flour and salt. Set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, add butter and sugar. With a hand blender, mix on low for 3 minutes or until butter and sugar have creamed together. Beat in vanilla extract. Add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until combined.

3.) Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and put in fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight; if leaving out overnight, be sure to remove it from fridge and allow it sit at room temperature for 1 hour before using.

4.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll dough out on parchment paper or a lightly floured surface until it is a round disc roughly 1/4″ thick. Score then cut dough into roughly 1″ x 1″ squares. Reroll scraps and continue to cut into additional squares.

5.) Place shortbread on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet – bake in batches, if necessary – and bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven, place cookies on wire rack, and allow to cool to room temperature.

6.) In a double-boiler – or by placing a bowl or sauce pan over a larger saucepan with simmering water – slowly melt chocolate over low heat. Mix in cinnamon and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Place a towel or baking sheet beneath the wire rack the cookies are on; this will catch any chocolate drips. Dip one side of each cookie into the chocolate. Place back on wire rack and allow chocolate to cool / harden. If desired, sprinkle with shaved white chocolate while chocolate has cooled slightly but is still warm.