Layered Panna Cotta Recipe: #Choctoberfest Sponsored by Imperial Sugar

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I was lucky enough to be able to participate in the first ever #Choctoberfest that was primarily sponsored by Imperial sugar. To participate, they generously shipped out cases of sugar to dozens of bloggers so we can create ever amazing chocolate recipes using their products and even adding prizes to give away to our readers. For this, as a thank you, I am doing my layered Panna Cotta recipe for ALL to try at home. I hope everyone loves it as much as this Chonchudo does.

YIELDS: 6 SERVINGS | Prep Time: 15 minutes | 3 hours total

  • 9 fl.oz.                     Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons      Unflavored Gelatin, Powdered
  • 5 cups                    Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 cup                      Imperial Brand Sugar, Granulated
  • 1/2 teaspoon         Salt, Kosher
  • 3/4 cups                 Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate

Garnish:

  • 1 package each    Raspberries, and Blackberries (rinsed, and dried)
  • 6 each                    Sprigs of fresh Mint

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INSTRUCTIONS:

First, start by adding the gelatin to the milk so it can soften for about 8 minutes and set aside. Next, pour the sugar, salt, and cream into a sauce pan and heat on medium low until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolve in the cream, add the milk/gelatin mixture and heat until the gelatin melts but the mixture doesn’t boil, which will take about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and separate the mixture into two bowls. In one of the separated mixtures, add the chocolate and mix until the chocolate has melted. In the second mixture, add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.

Pour 1/2 cup of the Chocolate mixture into glass containers and let it cool to set.

*PRO TIP- To rapidly set the chocolate layer, place the containers in the freezer on a leveled surface for about 15-20 minutes.

Once the mixture has set in the glass, ladle in the vanilla mixture on top of the chocholate panna cotta and let it set, which will take about 2 hours.

*PRO TIP- To make sure there are no messes, lightly press the ladle to the inside of the glass and pour the vanilla mixture in slowly to make sure nothing runs or mixes.

To serve, spoon in fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries) and add a fresh mint leaf as garnish and enjoy!

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Win A Pair Of Tickets To: BIG BITE BACON FEST

Big Bite Bacon Festival

EVENT WILL BE SATURDAY, AUG 1st; AND SUNDAY, AUG. 2nd. Photo courtesy of Big Bite Events.

I am happy to announce that I am partnering up with Big Bite Events this year to raffle away a pair of tickets (for one G.A. session on either day) to their 2nd Annual Big Bites Bacon Fest that will be held alongside the Queen Mary (includes free self-guided tour of the Queen Mary while at the festival). If you would like to purchase your own tickets, the prices range from $40-80 (a price well worth it, considering all the food that you will eat; beer is sold separately). The events which started last year as a one day event, has grown to become three massive 3-hr sessions over two days, which includes VIP entrances, and wristbands for beer tastings.

Some of the AMAZING restaurants/food trucks that will be there, include:

* Dia De Los Puercos

* Ragin Cajun Cafe

* Slater’s 50/50; and

* The Old World German Restaurant

 

Also, some of the breweries that will be on deck are:

* Lagunitas Breweing Co.

* Allagash Brewing Co.

* Angel City Brewery; and

* Bootleggers Brewery

 

SO . . . If you would like to win a PAIR of tickets for one session on either day, all you have to do is:

1) Like the Big Bite Event FB page

2) Like/follow The Chonchudo Files; and

3) Share this post on Facebook, tag 2 friends & commment with #BigBiteBaconFest, and #ChonchudoLove

GOOD LUCK!!!

*The contest will run from now until July 26th, the WINNER will be announced on July 27th!

MO-CHICA: PERUVIAN STREET FOOD, MODERNIZED

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On our tenth, and final stop on the hunt for the best ceviche in town, we came to the second incarnation of Chef Ricardo Zarate’s pride and joy in Downtown Los Angeles, Mo-chica. Originally, his concept started out as a stall at the Mercado La Paloma on Grand Ave and Exposition Blvd, about a block away from the DMV office that everyone oh-so-dearly “loves.” With its rapid expansion, Chef Zarate knew he had to open a larger location. Luckily, he was able to find his brick and mortar location right in the heart of DTLA off 7th St, between Grand Ave and Olive St. The restaurant has a great modern hipster vibe to it with some communal seating in the front, decorative ceramic Inca dolls throughout, and graffiti, aka modern art on the walls catered to Zarate’s liking.

Mo-chica Mural

Our group casually entered within minutes of each other and struck up conversations as if we had known each other since childhood and had been reunited after years of absence. We planned our meeting perfectly to coincide with the happy hour schedule that mo-chica has set up. As we ordered everything on the HH menu, this is what I tried:

Mo-chica Causa

  • Causa de Cangrejo- An incredibly fascinating dish that I have never tried before. It’s a cold yellow potato (dumpling) mixed with lime juice, onions, and aji Amarillo pepper. Topped with mashed avocado, fresh lump crab mix, micro greens, diced tomato, and aji Amarillo sauce. This dish has a strong acidity that exudes the flavors of crab, avocado, and the aji. I really need to start trying more cold potato dishes if they are as good as this golden egg is.

Mo-chica Chicharron

  • Chicharron de Pollo- Marinated and crispy fried chicken “nuggets,” served with a Rocoto aioli. It had a nice, crunchy exterior, with just enough “crust” on the meat that it was still tender and moist on the inside. Simply put, It was SICK with the combination of the Rocoto aioli.

Mo-chica Colita

  • Colita de Res- Braised oxtail served with Trigo de Mote Pelado (hulled wheat “risotto”), Huancaina sauce (spicy cheese sauce made with aji Amarillo peppers, queso fresco, milk, saltines, onions, and garlic), and Salsa Criolla. One of my three favorites of the bunch. The slow braised and flavorful oxtail went great with the mixture of the Huancaina sauce into the trigo de mote. Tangy, spicy notes within the rich, melt-in-your-mouth texture of the colita  was paired perfectly with the pearlized grains giving flavor and a texture profile to the dish.

Mo-chica Ceviche

  • Ceviche Mixto- Halibut, prawn, squid, and scallop ceviche topped with sliced red onions, cancha, choclo, sweet potato, micro greens, and the ever oh-so-damn-delicious Leche de tiger (the ceviche marinade). Although, I love Peruvian ceviche, it was my third favorite dish, since it was slightly on the salty side. And if you know me, you know I can handle salty foods. Aside from that tiny misstep, the dish is exactly what you would expect from all Peruvian style ceviches, for the ingredients to be truly cooked in the Leche de Tigre, not just tossed in the marinade after being pre-cooked.

Mo-chica Tuna

  • Pan con Tuna- Chef Zarate’s version of Tuna Tartare, spread on top of a grilled crostini with mashed avocado underneath the tuna, cucumber jalapeño relish, and yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit similar to mandarin and grapefruit) aioli. My all time favorite of the bunch! Ever heard a parent insist they don’t have a favorite child when they actually do? Well, this one here, was my favorite child. The sushi grade tuna, tossed in a quick citrus marinade/vinaigrette, placed on top of an extremely crunchy grilled toast with avocado was one of the best tuna dishes I have tried in a very long time.

 

  • Alfajores- Peruvian macarons filled with Dulce de Leche, and Rocoto chocolate ganache. Very sweet, and dry, like a typical macarons. Just make sure you have some coffee or anything else on hand to wash this delicious little dessert down as it has a tendency to stick to the roof of your mouth.

Mo-chica Tres Leches

  • Tres Leches Cake- Not as moist as other tres leches cakes I’ve tried, but definitely more flavor. As I have to admit, I’m a bit of a tres leches addict. I got hooked the first time I tried it, since I can’t stand any kind of dry cake. Even though this one wasn’t “soaked” as the others I have tried, it was still very palate tempting and was able to retain its moisture. Well done.

Although, I unfortunately never got a chance to try Chef Zarate’s fare at his first location, I am certainly content in knowing the fact that I finally got a chance to feast on his awe-inspiring food that would make any gourmand clearly explode in food porn orgasms from the sheer fact of seeing what the next level of cuisine is for Peruvian food. Next trends shall be tamales, and Chilean or Colombian food. Just a thought or premonition.

#Gourmetzia2014

Get your taste of gourmet food and beverages at Gourmetzia 2014 this weekend, September 20-21, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Some of the exhibitors include Darby’s English Toffee, Takeya, Zipfizz Gourmet Blends, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, and many more.

This is a twist on a traditional food show as it aims to present upscale and artisan delicacies from various trends including gluten-free, paleo, chocolate, cheeses, healthy drinks, ethnic foods etc. Gourmetzia 2014 is for bona fide food lovers always on the look out for new food trends with a profound enjoyment of trying new foods.

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Find more information on Gourmetzia 2014 here.

Of course, the Chonchudo will be present at this event and I hope to see you all there.

SINNERS & SAINTS

 

Located on Lincoln Blvd., between Washington and Venice Blvd. is a slightly hidden shop between all the others that line the street, but at first glance of their display case, your eyes will widen and your salivary glands go into overdrive. *Hint- all desserts labeled as a “Saint” are gluten-free, and can either be low in sugar or fats; and also offer Paleo diet, and Vegan options.

 

I was lucky enough to be invited to this event where everyone gathered to sample different desserts created by Sinners & Saints. The place opened three years ago by Elisa Testone and Chef Dustin Hodges, both having previous experience with owning catering businesses, as well as their loyal followers. People have been known to drive from San Diego for their desserts, and I can understand why. They prefer to source all their products from organic farmers themselves, that way they can personally assure the quality of the items they are purchasing. They do not deal with purveyors or big companies, and incorporate this philosophy into their baking. All of their desserts are made in small batch quantities to ensure that every single pastry is of the best standards possible before they say it’s good enough to sell to their customers.

 

  • Cannoli- Filled with peanut butter and strawberry jam, then topped with chopped pistachio nuts. Man, oh man, did it ever feel like the better parts of my chubby childhood brought back into the present when I took my first bite into this lip smacking cannoli. Good thing I’ve developed somewhat of a bit of self control, or else I would’ve annihilated the whole lot of these.

 

  • Red Velvet Cupcakes-Yes, I know. What’s the big deal with red velvet, EVERYBODY’S got it on their menus, right? Well, in their case, however it is that their recipe is  modified, it’s working. The batter itself is lighter, crumbles beautifully, and its moisture content is higher than the other red velvets I’ve tried anywhere else. Also, paired with the creamiest frosting that is so on point, my fat ass was ready to buy it on the side like a junkie wanting to score a fix.

  • Bourbon Croissant Bread Pudding- Warm and fresh out of the oven. Amazing flavor with the diced apples and cinnamon infused within as if an apple strudel and a bruleéd French toast had a drunken threesome with a rich and buttery croissant, then nine months later this bread pudding was born. I must have it again. Can I be your quality assurance specialist?

  • Gluten Free Blackberry Goat Cheese Cheesecake – As soon as I read the description, I had to try it. It seemed like this particular cheesecake was specifically made for my sister. It is rich and decadent in flavors, without worry of it affecting your health. The tartness of the berries is balanced out by the sweetened, creaminess of the goat cheese. You definitely get hypnotized by swirls of the blackberry infusion within the cake itself. Well worth trying at least once in your life… or twice.

  • Gluten Free Caramel Cheesecake – A soft and crumbly crust that is covered with a thick, insanely good cheesecake topped with Dulce de Leche, or caramel sauce for you non-food speaking adventurers. It is also garnished with hefty pieces of peanut brittle putting other candy/dessert shops to shame. I tried to pace myself eating this beauty so it would last me for at least two days..Was gone by the end of the first night.

Bakeries, please take some notes from them on how they make some of their unique, gluten-free creations. None of these were stale, nor did they taste like cardboard – you know who you are. It’s worth coming not only to satiate your sweet tooth, but to also get to know the people and their families behind the counter. Great people, beautiful attitudes, and desserts that will make you feel like a kid again – if you aren’t one anymore.

SINNERS & SAINTS

2547 Lincoln Blvd

Venice, CA 90291