Category Archives: Dessert

French Cooking in South Dakota?!

Melon & Blueberry Parfait with ginger yogurt

Melons and blueberries are a marriage made in heaven.  With wedding season upon us, as well as the extremely hot weather we’re experiencing in Southern California, this parfait provides a refreshing seasonal treat!  Today’s recipe is inspired by a French cooking class I recently participated in South Dakota.

French cuisine in South Dakota?  

Good grief, it sounds like an oxymoron right?  Actually, France was the first European nation to hold any real claim over what would become South Dakota. During the 17th and 18th centuries, French colonial possessions in North America were known as New France. It would go through many hands before becoming part of U.S. as result of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. So there you go. Continue reading

methods & madness…
class 18: desserts… a bittersweet ending

 gâteau au chocolat

Recipes & Ramblings from Chef School

The best was saved for last, with desserts being our final lesson of Pro Chef School. We overindulged with chocolate cake, lemon tart, chocolate pudding, tiramisu, crème brulee and caramel ice cream… I think everyone gained ten pounds! The subject of desserts is so vast, and our allotted time so short, that we were only able to cover basic sauces and a few foundations for other desserts.  Continue reading

White Chocolate & Apricot Scones

white chocolate and apricot scones

I think everyone has their favorite “go-to” recipe. You know the one that won’t let you down when you get in a pinch. This is mine. I can almost make these scones in my sleep… in matter of fact I think I did. Somewhere between spending 6 hours in my car driving all over LA in Friday rush hour traffic, and several hours in ER with a friend, I squeezed baking these treats in.

What was the baking urgency? The LA Food Bloggers Cookie & Cookbook Exchange hosted by In Erika’s Kitchen. It was great to meet other fellow bloggers and chow down on some of the best cookies I have tasted in a long time. Check out Dorothy’s blog Shockingly Delicious to see gorgeous photos of the event.

White Chocolate & Apricot Scones

Adapted from Simply Scones Cookbook
Makes about 2 dozen or so.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • nutmeg – optional


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture. With a pastry blender or two knives used scissors fashion, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the cream, egg, and vanilla. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and knead until combined. Knead in the white chocolate and apricots.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough to a thickness of about 5/8-inch. Using a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut the dough into hearts. Gather the scraps of the dough together and repeat until all the dough has been used to make the hearts. Sprinkle with nutmeg (optional).
  5. Transfer the hearts to an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
  6. Remove from baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm, or cool completely and store in an airtight container.

To Freeze:
Wrap the unbaked scones tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze.  Bake the still-frozen scone hearts about 20-25 minutes.

a date with ginger…
guaranteed to please!

Ginger Spiked Dates


To date or not to date… that is the question. After trying today’s recipe, you will no longer have to ask. Dates are an intoxicating indulgence of the senses by way of a sugar rush. This is brilliant, considering they’re a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates; AND they’re virtually free of fat, cholesterol and sodium! Warning – after I’ve had my way with them… that all changes.

The Virtuous Date:

Dates come from the date palm. They’ve been instrumental to humans since the beginning of time and believed to have originated near the Persian Gulf.

Primeval Mesopotamians capitalized on the tree’s versatility and value. They felt the palm offered 360 uses including needles, thread, lumber, mattresses, rope, baskets and other household items; as well as food and beverage.

Ancient literature praise the merits of the date’s diverse powers – from an aphrodisiac to a contraceptive. Wow… I don’t even want to know how they figured that one out. Probably while on a date of some kind.

Egypt is currently the top producer of dates followed by Iran.

If you can’t find dates at your local store they are readily available online. Medjool are my favorites as they are plump, deep in color, soft in texture and rich in flavor. Dates can also be kept frozen for up to a year with no loss of taste or quality.


Today’s Featured Recipe:

These engorged delights are perfect for picnics,
afternoon tea and The Hollywood Bowl.

Just ask Sophia!


Ginger Spiked Stuffed Dates
  • ¼ cup mascarpone cheese*
  • 1 teaspoon crystallized ginger, minced
  • 10 Medjool dates pitted|
  • 10 walnuts or pecans
  • fresh mint sprigs
  1. In a small bowl mix the mascarpone cheese and ginger until combined.
  2. Using a small spoon, spoon about ½ tsp of the mixture into the date
  3. Top with walnut and decorate with a mint sprig
*Substitute goat cheese, blue cheese, neufchatel cheese (cream cheese) or almond butter. Serves: 2-3



Special thanks to Yodi & Rikki for the beautiful Wedgewood tea set!

I have already put it
to good use.


Quote of the day:

If the heavens throw you dates, you got to keep your mouth open.
– Navjot Singh Sidhu

….and then, she paused for thought.



Figs in a Blanket


One year my father decided to raise pigs. Another year my mother thought we needed a pig in the house… as if three kids weren’t enough! (Okay, it was a guinea pig) In some cultures they’re considered one and the same – something we learned after taking our pig fascination on a family trip to Peru. We weren’t prepared to eat the family pet, but when in Rome…

Photo on left: My mother playing with her food before eating it. I do believe I was admonished for this as a child. Hmm.

Guinea Pig for dinner in PeruWhich one is the real guinea pig….
the one on the plate, or the one with the fork and knife?

Peruvians have hundreds of guinea pigs living with them in their one-room houses. They consume an estimated 65 million per year. Wedding gift starter-kits include a male and female guinea pig, which soon multiply exponentially. We found all this fascinating until one showed up on our plate during dinner, compliments of our tour director. It didn’t taste like chicken, more like rabbit. Actually, it wasn’t that bad, though it left a nasty aftertaste. I think I got the one whose diet consisted of rank gym socks and sewer water. Continue reading