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Deep Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake
From CHOCOLATE Desserts To Die For! by Bev Shaffer
(Gretna, LA: PELICAN, 2013). Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Deep Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake
Fun to make and fun to eat, my chocolate treats must meet two requirements: they have to be more than good (“to die for”) and they have to be chocolatey. They also need to lift your spirits (okay, so maybe that’s three requirements!).

This dessert fits the bill: Deep Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake from my latest cookbook, CHOCOLATE Desserts To Die For! No frosting required. Just a listing of incredible ingredients and when you slice and serve with fresh pineapple and softly whipped cream… oh baby!

1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
6 large eggs, separated, then room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 Tbsp. chocolate liqueur
1 tsp. vanilla

Chunks of fresh pineapple
Unsweetened whipped cream

Heat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 10” springform pan.

Melt the chocolate and butter; remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and yellow colored. Stop and scrape bowl and beater.

Mix in the cooled chocolate mixture, cream, chocolate liqueur and vanilla.

In another clean large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (but mixture is not dry). Gently fold ONE FOURTH of egg whites into chocolate mixture.

Fold in remaining egg whites until thoroughly incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 26 to 35 minutes or until cake is just set.

Cool on wire rack. When completely cool, loosen the edges of the springform pan and remove ring. Serve with chunks of fresh pineapple and a wisp of unsweetened whipped cream. Serves 8 or more.

Parmesan Herb Encrusted Fish
As heard on 1590 WAKR

1/3 cup sliced almonds, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs, plain or seasoned
3 Tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 lb. tilapia fillets
olive oil

Heat oven to 450F. Mix together almonds, crumbs, cheese and paprika in a shallow dish.

Brush fillets lightly with oil. Coat evenly with almond mixture, then place fish on a greased and foil lined shallow baking pan.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork.
Makes 4 servings.

       Bev's Bites
Substitute red snapper, striped bass, flounder or sole
for the tilapia in this recipe.

Bev's Zesty Tomato Soup
As seen on "That's Life with Robin Swoboda", FOX 8

3 cups tomato juice, chilled
2 cups peeled, seeded coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes
1 cup coarsely chopped zucchini
1/4 cup finely chopped green or red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 ripe avocado, peeled and skinned
1 to 2 scallions finely chopped
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
dash or two of hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Assorted corn tortilla chips (preferably blue and yellow)

For the Soup: In a large serving bowl, combine the juice, tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, red wine, basil, garlic and salt; mixing well to blend. Gently stir in the olive oil.

For the Guac: In a small bowl, mash the avocado lightly with a fork. Stir in the scallions, cilantro, lime juice and hot pepper sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into individual serving bowls. Dollop the guac in the center of each bowl and serve immediately with a side of tortilla chips. Makes 4 servings.

Summer Tomato and Corn Salad
As seen on "Golden Opportunities", WKYC Channel 3

The reward for taking a little bit of time to prepare this summer salad?
A wonderful (and highly portable) salad that sings of the flavors of summer – perfect to make ahead for picnics and cookouts!

5 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 10 medium/large ears)

¼ cup safflower or canola oil 

3 Tablespoons raspberry vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped

8 scallions, coarsely chopped

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

For the corn, bring salted water to a boil in a vegetable steamer. Place the corn kernels in the steamer basket, cover, and steam just until crisp tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Immediately remove steamer basket from atop water and allow kernels to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk the oil, vinegar and lime juice together in a small bowl.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large serving bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes, scallions and cilantro.
Gently toss with the dressing. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Serves 6+.


Chef's Notes from Bev

If fresh corn is not available, frozen corn kernels may be substituted.
Salad will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

Sausage Vegetable Soup

1 pound mild Italian sausage
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, pressed
3 cups water
2 cups diagonally sliced carrots
2 Tablespoons chopped flat leaf, Italian parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crushed
2 3/4 cups beef broth
28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, undrained, cut up
2 cups uncooked rotini or fusilli pasta
1 1/2 cups sliced zucchini
salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired

In a large, low stockpot (equivalent to a 6 quart Dutch/French oven), cook the sausage, celery, onion and garlic until sausage is browned and vegetables are tender; drain to remove excess fat.

Add the water, carrots, parsley, basil, broth, tomatoes and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the pasta and zucchini; simmer for an additional 20 minutes or until pasta is tender.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired. Makes 4+ servings.

Bev's Cranberry Quick Bread

Chef's Note from Bev

If using frozen cranberries, coarsely chop in food processor with metal blade using on-off pulses.

1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon finely grated orange zest
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons canola oil, or light olive oil
1 large egg
2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups halved cranberries, fresh or frozen (unthawed)

Heat oven to 350F. Grease bottom only of a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

In large bowl, combine sugar, orange zest, water, orange juice, oil and egg; blend well. Add flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Gently stir in cranberries. Pour into greased pan.

Bake at 350F for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. After 15 minutes, remove from loaf pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Leftovers? Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator. Makes 1 (12 slice) loaf.