Nutella Cheesecake Mousse

I was looking for an easy dessert recipe to cap off a raclette dinner party when I stumbled upon this no-bake Nutella cheesecake mousse recipe in My Baking Addiction. Not only was it easy to make, but it was absolutely delicious! You can check out the recipe on Jamie’s blog, though I did change up the recipe a little bit and made my own whipped cream instead of using frozen whipped topping like her recipe called for. To do that, I simply whipped 1 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream until soft peaks formed and added 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar and whipped further until stiff peaks formed. I also topped each individual cups with a quarter of a Rocher Suchard.

no bake nutella cheesecake mousse

Trust me, you’ll want to try this one at home.

The Sweeter Side of Red Apron Butcher

Red Apron Butcher is a meat-lovers’ heaven and I gave up meat for lent. So, understandably, I was a little hesitant to check out their newest location at 709 D Street, NW. But then the tweets and instagram posts starting coming in. About their tigelles breakfast sandwiches, their scones… and their macarons. Now I had to go 😉

Red Apron Butcher in DC's Chinatown

Red Apron Butcher’s latest location in DC’s Chinatown is its third and largest to date

Tiffany MacIsaac, executive pastry chef for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, not only bakes all the bread for Red Apron’s lunch sandwiches, she also bakes pastries for the shop, including scones, a raspberry jelly filled beignet and macarons. What makes the scones and macarons special is that they’re made with lard from pigs butchered at the Red Apron commissary.

It took me a few visits to finally get my hands on some of the macarons. They seem to be quite popular and run out pretty quickly… in the meantime, I tried some of Red Apron’s other offerings. I loved the scone, and loved the raspberry jelly filled beignet even more.

The tigelle has yet to win me over, perhaps because I was limited to trying the lone vegetarian offering, “The Aristocrat,” made with ricotta, honey, smoked pine nuts, and gala apple. A tigelle is basically a skinny Italian style English muffin made with lard and pressed in a special iron that imprints a pretty pattern on the bread. At Red Apron, chef Ned Anda actually substitutes the lard with olive oil, though he still puts in a little bit of pig fat inside each sandwich. It makes a delicate, but not filling, little breakfast sandwich. The tigelles with meat sounded a lot more enticing and I can’t wait to try those, in about 19 days and 13 hours… but who’s counting.

The Aristocrat Tigelle at Red Apron Butcher

The Aristocrat, the lone vegetarian tigelle on the menu, is served on a cookie tray .

Finally, I got my hands on three macarons: a bright purple peanut butter and jelly, a Nutella and the infamous Oreo macaron, made with whipped lard and honey.

Macarons from Red Apron Butcher in Chinatown

From top to bottom: peanut butter and jelly, Nutella and Oreo.

Oreo macaron from Red Apron Butcher in Chinatown

The Oreo macaron from Red Apron Butcher in Chinatown

The Nutella macaron was more chocolate-y than Nutella-y and all were a bit on the dry side. Though I’m glad I tried them, I probably won’t rush back to buy more. But I will definitely return to Red Apron Butcher and its now open adjoining restaurant The Partisan to eat my way through chefs Nate Anda and Ed Witt’s offerings and menu. And get more beignets. That beignet was good!

Nutella Pizza and More at Osteria Marzano

I ate a lot of good food over the past week. There was the banh mi at Bonmi and the tasty nibbles at Proof (including the amazing sticky toffee pudding cake) where I was volunteering during Jose Andres’ Dine-N-Dash fundraising event. I tried the Jersey Shore pizza with fried calamari at Graffiato for the first time and discovered Chef Sébastien Rondier’s new mediterranean inspired menu at Decanter. And of course all the July 4th weekend indulgences… Somewhere in there, I managed to make my way to newly opened Osteria Marzano at Metro Park VI building at 6361 Walker Lane in Alexandria. I must say, I’m glad I did! While I don’t seek out Italian food (or trips to Virginia), I definitely enjoy it when it’s good. And it was definitely good at OM! The 6,000 square feet, modern restaurant is owned by chef Carmine Marzano and his daughter Elena Pouchelon. I am a big fan of the wood oven pizzas at Famous Luigi on 19th street, which is also owned by the Marzano family, and Osteria Marzano’s features a number of great pizzas as well as antipasti, homemade pastas and traditional Italian main courses like ossobuco and veal scalloppine. In a “French-Girl-Gone-Wild” kinda moment, I ate my way through the tagliere di formaggi, a sample of different Italian cheeses. Le gasp right? They were actually really good, especially the fontina (I have a soft spot, literally, for soft cheese…) The juniper flavoured ham and wine cured dry salami were perfect pairings to the cheeses as we moved on to main courses.

Taglieri di formaggi with robiola due latti (soft cow and goat cheese), gorgonzola, fontina, pecorino toscano and parmesiano regianno served with homemade fig jam and Virginia honey.

Taglieri di formaggi with robiola due latti, gorgonzola, fontina, pecorino toscano and parmesiano regianno served with homemade fig jam and Virginia honey.

The charcuterie plate

The charcuterie plate

As far as pastas are concerned, the mezzalune di zucca, with a surprising sweet crunch added by the amaretto cookies was definitely my favourite though there are plenty I’d love to go back and try! Of course the dish I was the most eager to try was the Nutella pizza. That dish alone warrants a trip to VA! The crust is the same that is used for the savoury pizza but topped with a thin layer of hot chocolate-hazelnut sauce, whole pistachios and melted mini-marshmallows.

nutella pizza, nutella, dessert pizza

Save room for dessert, the Nutella pizza is only one of the many desserts options! I really enjoyed the OM Sorbet, made of lemon sorbet in a hollowed Sicilian lemon and the bonet.

Apparently Nutella pizza is pretty common on pizzerias’ menu, though I had never seen one. I don’t know why all Italian restaurants don’t offer it. It’s a simple dish and who doesn’t love Nutella? Oh well, more reason to go check out Osteria Marzano I guess 😉

ps: Osteria Marzano is open Monday-Saturday. Monday through Friday they have a pretty amazing $10 lunch combo for those of you who may work in the area…


Nutella’s Breakfast Tour ~ D.C. Edition

Even though I prefer not to eat the American version (it’s European Nutella or nothing for moi!), there’s a Nutella Truck roaming the streets of D.C. this week so obviously, I had to check it out.

The truck was parked across the street from the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library this morning. There wasn’t much activity, so I hope they have a little more success at their other stops which are:

· Wednesday, October 17 at 502 4th St NW near Judiciary Square Metro (7AM — 12PM)
· Thursday, October 18 at 110 4th St SW near Waterfront Metro stop (7AM — 12PM)
· Friday, October 19 at 3690 O St NW in Georgetown (7AM — 12PM)

And while I do look down on American Nutella I would still like to see Washington win another visit from the Nutella truck because let’s face it, that’s still really cool. If you think that’s cool too, tweet your favourite way to wake up with Nutella (mine is on banana bread eggo waffles) with the hashtag #NutellaDC. And while you do that, I’m actually heading home for a much needed vacation and I fully intend on bringing back a few jars of the wonderful (European) hazelnut spreadable stuff!

p.s: looking for a few ways to use your free Nutella sample? may I suggest Nutella passover s’mores or Nutella Martini? Because if Nutella is part of healthy breakfast, it can also be part of a not so healthy drink 😉

Passover Nutella S’Mores

It’s spring cleaning time! As I was going through some old Martha Stewart magazines, hoping I could toss out a few, I came across a recipe for Matzo S’Mores. Since Passover is just around the corner, Matzo is available pretty much everywhere these days so I thought I’d try them at home. I replaced the chocolate with Nutella because Nutella makes everything taste better (also because it’s pretty much the only chocolate I can eat) and the result was a simple and delicious treat. Since the matzo is not as sweet as graham cracker, you have to compensate with a little bit more Nutella. There are worse things 😉  Otherwise, it’s just like regular s’more. Break the matzo into squares. Melt the marshmallows in the oven (it’s pretty quick under the broiler). Spread Nutella on a square of Matzo, top with a melted marshmallow and sandwich with another square of Matzo. Enjoy!

L’Heure de l’Apéritif – Nutella Martini

Let’s toast to one of the world’s greatest holidays: World Nutella Day. Now in its sixth year, it’s an opportunity for the Italian chocolate-hazelnut spread devotees everywhere to crack open a jar of Nutella, get out a spoon and dig in to celebrate! Like this guys for example (paging Man versus Food!).

I’ve been eating Nutella since I was a kid, when I spread it on baguette and dipped it in warm milk for my gouter after school. Italians may have invented Nutella, but the French recognize its deliciousness and are actually the biggest consumers of Nutella in the world. Cocorico! And I’m still faithful to my childhood snack, whether I just spoon it out for a little something sweet after dinner, on crepes or waffles….an apparently now, in my cocktails!

After a couple of tries with different liquors from Grand Marnier to Frangelico, I finally came up with Nutella Martini recipe I was happy with. Enjoy (in moderation, it’s pretty rich)!

On February 5th, raise your glass to Nutella with one of these rich chocolate-y martini!
Recipe for one martini: 
Rim a martini glass with crushed hazelnuts, chocolate sprinkle or (pictured above) gold cupcake sugar. 
Melt one part Nutella for 2 parts skim milk (I used 1/2 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of Nutella in a saucepan until it resembles hot chocolate. 
In a mixer filled with ice, pour 1 oz vanilla vodka (I used home-infused vanilla vodka but I’m sure a store bought brand would work too) and 3 oz of the Nutella/milk mixture. 
Shake and serve chilled.
A la vôtre (et surtout au Nutella!!)

Ambiance de la brousse at the French Embassy

Americans might have vague memories of Yannick Noah as the last Frenchmen to win Roland Garros in 1983 (yes, it’s been that long!). They might be more familiar with his son, though – 6’11′ Joakim Noah who was a member of the Gators’ teams that won the 2006 and 2007 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournaments and was drafted 9th overall pick by the Chicago Bulls.

For French people, Noah is of course a tennis legend, being the only Frenchmen to win at Roland Garros in 50 years as well as the highly successful coach of the French Davis Cup team. He is also a popular singer and activist. His music career began in 1991 with the popular track Saga Africa, which he made the stadium sing after the French’s Davis Cup final win that year.

Will we see a repeat of this conga line at La Maison de la France this Friday? I sure hope so! Yannick will take the stage to entertain a crowd of expats and Francophiles ahead of the weekend’s Fete de la Musique celebrations.

Francophile New Yorkers can catch Noah at Central Park’s Center Stage on June 21st as part of the city’s version of the Fete de la Musique. For a complete listing of concerts, visit Time Out New York’s website.