Archive for December, 2012

layer cakeThis recipe comes from the December issue of Food and Wine. A Chef of Your Own has reworked the recipe to resemble a childhood favorite. Named a Seven-Layer Dobos Torte, we just called it a seven layer cake. It actually has 14 layers, but I think they only count the cake layers. This is pretty easy, but takes a little time and effort, but the over the top results are worth it. (having it at a holiday party this past weekend, my mom said it was better than the original from Katz’ bakery, What a compliment!) this is my adapted recipe.

Seven Layer Cake


8 large eggs, separated plus 3 large egg yolks

1 pound confectioners’ sugar (4 cups)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup all purpose flour

2 Tbls milk

Butter cream

5 ounces semi sweet chocolate

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup half and half

2 Tbls unsweetened cocoa powder

5 sticks butter (1 1/4 pound) unsalted butter, softened


1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup semi sweet  chocolate chips

1/8 cup sweetened coconut + drop green food color (optional)

To make the cake: Preheat the oven. Spray two 12×17 inch baking pans with vegetable spray and line with parchment paper. Spray paper. Put the e whites in the bowl of a mixer, with 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat with a whisk at medium high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy, about 5 minutes. Scrape out and set aside. Add the 11 yolks along with the remaining 2 cups of sugar in the bowl and with a whisk, whip until pale yellow. Fold in flour and milk. Then fold in whites in three parts until no streaks remain. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pans and bake 12-15 minutes until golden and set.

To make the buttercream: Put the chocolate chips in large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the 3 egg yolks with the sugar until pale, about 2 minutes. In a  medium saucepan, heat the half and half with the cocoa powder until hot. Whisk the hot liquid into the yolks, then scrape the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened and a thermometer registers 160 degrees, about 4 minutes. Pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth and melts. Let cool completely. Beat butter in a bowl until creamy. Scrape chocolate mixture into butter and beat until smooth and creamy. Cut each cake layer crosswise into 4, 12 X 4 1/2 inch strips. Layer cake and icing until you have used 7 of the cake layers, ending with buttercream.

To make the Ganash: Heat heavy cream to boiling, pour over chocolate chips and stir until melted. Place cake over cooling rack and pour slightly cooled ganash over cake. Combine food coloring and coconut and use as a garnish if desired.


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Please help me welcome Rachna, to my blog sharing a little of this great city I live in, Orlando.

Orlando Concerts

The home of Mickey Mouse, Orlando attracts tens of millions tourists every year for its world-class theme parks, white sand beaches, fabulous cruise trips, notable shopping malls and concerts. Universally known as The Theme Park Capital of the World because of Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando is also called “Hollywood East” as there are a number of movie studios.  Family vacationers find no better place than Orlando to escape from the boredom of daily hectic schedules and rejuvenate themselves with rock music, reggaeton, hip hop and Latino music concerts after a day at the thrilling rides and spectacular shows of the world’s best theme park.

The Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival, The Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays, and Orlando Cabaret Festival take place during spring, yet Orlando welcomes the lover of art and music in the months from Jan to March too. There are various venues that host concerts regularly, such as House of Blues and Hard Rock Live. Orlando tour without attending a concert in House of Blues or Hard Rock Live is incomplete, especially for music aficionados.

Spring and summer months are the best time to visit Orlando and most of the headlining concerts take place during these months. However, concerts in Orlando take place year round and keep the entertainment live in the city in all the seasons. Both of the venues, Hard Rock Live and House of Blues, offer an exceptionally delightful experience round the year to make sure the tourists have an insight into Orlando’s love for music, no matter what time of the year they visit.

House of Blues vs Hard Rock Live

The House of Blues located at the Walt Disney World Resort is renowned widely for the intimate performances it hosts; Universal’s Hard Rock Live is in itself the best because it enjoys the title Orlando’s “Coliseum of Rock.” With double capacity and versatility to adapt the seating arrangement as per the acts, Hard Rock Live enjoys more patrons.

Second to none, Hard Rock Live is host to other performances as well besides just music concerts. Performances of top comedians such as Wand Sykes at Hard Rock Live catch the attention of tourists and locals alike. Over the years, it has become a top-notch nighttime hub in Orlando.

House of Blues is fine dining restaurant too that serves lip-smacking American and international cuisine. The Sunday Gospel Brunch at House of Blues is just amazing: buffet of Southern cooking as well as music performances by top gospel groups. Whether you visit the place during day time or at night, rest assured you would get to enjoy the best of gospel, jazz, rock and reggae performances by renowned and up-coming performers.


Author Bio: Rachana is an adept travel writer. She writes travel tips, guides and news. Presently, she is working with CheapOair – Cheap flights.

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A Chef of Your Own would like to welcome guest blogger, Kevin Maw from Total Orlando, Editor of Orlando’s Premiere Travel Guide.


Linda’s remarkable success as Orlando’s best personal Chef service connects beautifully with the origin of our Orlando Travel Guide.

After years of visits to Orlando, punctuated with frustrating lunches and dismal dinners, our family vacations swiftly became a little seed for our pet project!

Our passion for great food gradually evolved into our humble but ‘almost tasty’ Orlando vacation guide that now fills our entire working day (and many evenings)!

We didn’t originally set out to spend our vacations in Orlando’s finest (and worst) restaurants, but, inadvertently, we quickly amassed a huge catalogue of restaurant reviews that we thought might be fun to share on the Internet.

We felt it only appropriate to add in some detailed theme park information, complete with some really nice photography and then a section of activities ‘beyond the parks’ and www.totalorlando.com was swiftly born in the Spring of 2012!

Our restaurant section is the most fun and is of the most comprehensive Orlando Restaurant Guides out there as far as we are aware!

Our tech guy; James has made it really easy to pick out the very best restaurants by selecting ratings or cuisine types to find your perfect places to eat.

Our food qualifications are minimal, but our decisions can be trusted we feel.

We are consistent, never accept free meals, we never announce ourselves to the restaurant staff and we only consider the very highest of standards to be worthy of a 5 star rating only!

The most difficult part of any restaurant review is splitting that final decision down.   Many great restaurants complain that we only rated them as a 3 star.  In our book, a 3 star is a great achievement, as it literally means ‘good’.

So many guides have in our opinion gone astray and that is perhaps reflected in our rating system!

Now, if we dare leave the table briefly, and move off to those all-important theme parks, we have also tried as hard to be factual and objective.

With young children in our team, we were often frustrated by expeditions deep into a park just to face being ‘split up’ unexpectedly as a result of pesky ride height restrictions!

Our Find Your Park tool fixes so many problems for families like ours.  Enter your kid’s height and all of Central Florida’s rides show up in a flash!  If you want to narrow that down a little by ride speed or just pick out the shows, again, they appear right in front of you, all of them!

One thing that we have learned as a result of our many trips to Orlando, is that planning and preparation is the key to success, an opinion that is very much shared by Linda as she creates her amazingly tasty dishes!

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121207_003Here is a easy holiday entertaining idea from a Fresh Market demo, recipe from Chefs USA this past Friday. This time of year, The Fresh Market, comes out with a booklet of easy entertaining Holiday Recipes. This is the third year A Chef of Your Own has participated.

The PB Crave is an amazing product. It is a creamy, smooth, all natural peanut butter with the addition of yummy ingredients, chocolate chips, raspberry swirl, honey. Pick some up today!

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cheese Ball

1 Block (8 oz) TFM Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature

1/4 cup powered sugar

2 Tbls Madhava Raw Agave Nectar

3/4 cup PB Crave Cookie Nookie Peanut Butter

1 cup vanilla wafers, crushed, plus additional for serving

1 cup chocolate chips

1 Honeycrisp apple, sliced

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, agave nectar and peanut butter in a bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Form mixture into a ball, place on plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. To serve, unwrap and roll ball in crushed wafers and chocolate chips. Serve with wafers and fresh apple slices.

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WOW, sorry for the long gap between posts. Seems being busy and just not having a lot to say got the best of me,  but here is an amazing make ahead breakfast to make for Christmas morning! A Chef of Your Own is always looking for that recipe I can leave with my clients for breakfast the next morning and I found this one in the December 2012 edition of Cooking Light. I used some blackberry preserves instead of the fruits cooked in cider, but I imagine it might be almost a good as the original. I also used french bread slices, leaving the crusts on. However you make it, whatever you make it for, enjoy the holidays and remember to share in the blessings of the holidays.

Streusel topped French Toast Casserole with fruit Compote

1 cup unfiltered apple cider

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 cup fat free milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 Tbls vanilla extract

1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon, salt, divided

4 large eggs, slightly beaten

Cooking spray

8 (1 1/2 oz ) slices sourdough bread, crusts removed

6 Tbls flour

1/3 cup old fashioned oats

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 Tbls chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1. Bring cider to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook until reduced to 2/3 cups (about 4 min). Add fruits and let stand 10 minutes

2. Combine milk, sugar, vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt and eggs, stirring with a whisk.

3. Coat a 9 inch deep dish pie plate with cooking spray. Lind bottom of dish with half of the bread in a single layer. Pour half of egg mixture over bread, let stand 1 minute. Spread cranberry mixture over bread. Top with remaining egg mixture over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

4. Combine remaining 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, flour, oats, walnuts, and brown sugar in a small bow. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Uncover bread mixture and sprinkle flour mixture evenly over bread mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes, Cut into 8 wedges.


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