Dining Outside the Home: Trevi in Las Vegas, Nevada! There’s something about having dinner on an outdoor patio at the edge of “The Fountain of the Gods” in Caesars Palace. The romantic atmosphere makes everything taste better, which isn’t really a far stretch of the imagination. Classic and Italian dishes are superbly prepared with artistic expression. This is called “attention to detail”. The Roasted Chilean Sea Bass was so buttery and rich it practically melts in your mouth. Take time to enjoy the food, the way Italians do. Soak up the ambience. Order Illy blend espresso at the end of the meal, along with an incredible dessert worthy of sharing. Remember, this is Date Night, and it’s worth it.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Chow Down: Java Chip Cookies! Anyone will tell you the aroma of coffee triggers good feelings. If you don’t believe me, check out the neighborhood coffee shops and you’ll find a local place where people hang out. It’s not just the free Wi-Fi either. Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around, especially now with intense flavorings topped with a mound of whipped cream. Transform the blend of coffee and sugar into a cookie, charged with caffeine, and you’ll be as popular as the Pied Piper. People will follow you anywhere!
JAVA CHIP COOKIES
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tablespoons espresso instant coffee
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup toffee bits
1/4 cup chocolate covered espresso beans, roughly chopped
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. In a food processor beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, espresso instant coffee, and vanilla extract until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until blended. Combine flour, baking soda, and sea salt in a separate bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture until it forms a dough. Fold in toffee bits, chopped espresso beans, and mini chocolate chips. Chill dough slightly. Using a melon ball scoop, drop cookie dough onto a baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Do not burn. Remove from oven. Let cool for 2 minutes. Dredge java chip cookies in sugar, if desired, before transferring them to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Yield: 3 dozen, large cookies.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Espresso Obsession! You can be a master barista in the comfort of your own kitchen. Some essential items make all the difference in the results; a good coffee bean grinder and a reliable espresso machine, for instance. Always use quality ingredients. Begin with a premium blend of whole roasted coffee beans to grind yourself. A very fine ground is necessary in order to brew classic Italian roast espresso beverages. Drink it hot or turn it into an iced coffee version. Grazie!
Fresh roasted espresso beans
After the coffee beans are ground to a consistency of sugar, use 1/4 ounce per shot, an one ounce serving. (If it is too coarse, water will run straight through it leaving the coffee lacking a robust flavor.) Pack the grinds into the espresso handle and press down with a tamper, but not too hard. You’ll know when you see the cream-like foam finish. Make sure the water is not boiling. An espresso machine will keep the temperature at 90C degrees. Perfection. Serve immediately.
I choose a dollop of whipped cream on top making my signature coffee drink an “Espresso Con Panna”.