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November 2010

Smokin' Hot Molten Chocolate Lava Cake: A Chile and A Spoon Recipe Competition

The following Smokin' Hot Molten Chocolate Lava Cake is a recipe I have created for the Marx Foods "A Chile and A Spoon" contest. Marx Foods sent me a generous supply of chiles and I have been having so much fun experimenting with them. 

For the Smokin' Hot Molten Chocolate Lava Cake recipe, I chose the cascabel chiles, which rattle when shaken. These unique looking chiles piqued my curiosity the moment I saw them. The heat index is mild, but when the cascabel chiles are roasted their flavor intensifies.

After much experimentation, I've finally perfected the chile lava cake recipe and am excited to share it with you today. It's best to roast the chiles first, make the chocolate ganache icing, than prepare the cakes. Let's get started.

Marx-foods-chiles Thanks to MarxFoods.com for these amazing dried chiles!

Fresh Roasted Cascabel Chile Powder

The cascabel chiles need to be roasted in order to grind them into chile powder. Simply heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the stem from 2 cascabel chiles and place in the skillet. Heat the chiles until they become aromatic; about 7 to 8 minutes. When the chiles begin to sweat, remove from heat and transfer to a coffee grinder or food processor. Pulsate grinder until peppers are a medium-coarse grind. Store leftover chile powder in an airtight container and place in the pantry.

Visit MarxFoods.com for a detailed guide to roasting chile peppers and making your own chile powder.

Tip: To clean peppers from grinder, add 1 tablespoon white rice and pulsate until a fine grind. Dump rice powder and wipe grinder clean with a paper towel. I learned this trick from MarxFoods and it works really well!

Chocolate Ganache Icing

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Yield: 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Chop chocolate and place in a medium bowl.
2. In a small pan, heat heavy cream over medium-heat. Bring just to a boil. Keep a watchful eye to avoid scorching the cream.
3. Pour cream over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Set aside until cakes are ready to frost.

Smokin' Hot Molten Chocolate Lava Cake
Yield: 4 (6-ounce) Souffle Cakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 7 to 8 minutes

1 teaspoon butter (to grease souffle cups)
1 teaspoon cocoa powder (for dusting souffle dishes)
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon cake flour
2 to 3 teaspoons cascabel chile powder (2 teaspoons is mild-medium heat, 3 teaspoons is smokin'-hot)
1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Lightly butter bottom of each soufflé cup. Dust the bottom of each cup with cocoa powder. Tilt to coat and tap out excess cocoa.

3. Using a double-boiler, melt butter stick and chocolate.

4. While butter and chocolate are melting, add eggs, egg yolks, and sugar to a medium sized bowl. Using a handheld mixer, beat until light and thick.

5. Slowly add butter and chocolate mixture. Do not add all at once or the egg mixture will curdle. 

6. Add flour, chile powder, and cinnamon and mix well. 

7. Divide mixture between 4 (6-ounce) soufflé dishes. Each dish should be about half full.

8. Place dishes on baking dish and place in oven.

9. Bake until sides are set and center is soft; about 7 to 8 minutes. DO NOT over bake or the cakes will not have a molten liquid center.

10. Allow cakes to cool for 15 minutes.
11. Add 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons chocolate ganache icing per cake.
12. Grab a spoon and dig in!



Black Friday Deals: Gourmet Food, Gift Baskets, Kitchen Gadgets, and Holiday Gifts

THESE BLACK FRIDAY DEALS are for November 2012.

Black Friday has arrived and it's time to save money from the comfort of home! As an affiliate for the leading merchant program, Commission Junction, I'm happy to offer exceptional deals and money-saving coupons for gourmet food, gift baskets, kitchen gadgets, and holiday gifts.

Many of the Black Friday deals extend through the weekend, while others extend through the end of November. Don't delay though, because some of these holiday gifts are certain to sell out quickly.

As a CJ affiliate, I will earn a percentage of the sale from the vendors below. This does not cost you anything and will help offset the operating costs of The Cheap Gourmet blog. Thank you for shopping with these select vendors and helping keep this food blog free for everyone.

Click on the highlighted links to take advantage of these great Black Friday deals!

Happy Holidays!

Clubs of America - Gift of the Month Clubs:  Give the gift that keeps on giving. Beer of the Month, Wine of the Month, Flower of the Month, Fruit Gift of the Month, Cigar of the Month, Coffee of the Month, Chocolate of the Month, and Pizza of the Month. You can't go wrong with this great holiday gift!

Adagio Teas: Loose leaf teas, teapots, tea infusers, tea chests, electric tea maker, glass mug teapot, and tea stocking stuffers.

My M&M;s - Save up to 20% on gifts!: Personalized M&M candies for all occasions including birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, sporting events, weddings, bridal showers, and birth of new babies. Fabulous selection of gifts!

Dan's Chocolates: Boxed chocolates, chocolate truffles, personalized chocolates, chocolate bars, chocolate chips, chocolate towers, and chocolate business gifts.

zChocolat.com - Holiday Collection: Gourmet chocolates, gift boxes, gift packs, holiday gift baskets, French chocolates, truffles, and pralines.

Flirty Aprons: These are my all-time favorite aprons. Sexy, stylish, unique, and functional!

BudShop: Gifts for the home bar, personalized coolers, sports, racing, and outdoors.

Holiday Savings at BudShop.com! Get Free Shipping on Orders Over $75 with Code BUDSHIP75. Offer Ends 11/30/12.

2013 Entertainment Books Now 25% off + FREE SHIPPING!

Calling All Home Cooks! MasterChef Season 2 Casting Calls Now Taking Place

If you've ever dreamed of being a MasterChef now is your chance to shoot for the stars. Fox Broadcasting is hosting nationwide casting calls for MasterChef Season 2. Known as the 'American Idol' for home cooks, the winner of MasterChef takes home a $250,000 cash prize and a cookbook publishing contract.

In order to become a contestant for MasterChef, home cooks must attend a casting call to present their signature dish. MasterChef casting calls are being held across the nation from November 6 through December 11, 2010. Host cities include: Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, New Orleans, Orlando, Chicago, Dallas, Denver and Portland. A complete list of dates, times, and locations is available at MasterChefCasting.com.

While I'm not certain of the exact number of home cooks who attend casting calls, I'd venture to say there will be several hundred at each casting call. As one who has entered cooking competitions in the past, I encourage you to give plenty of thought to your signature dish.

One very important thing to consider is how well your dish will taste at room temperature. You see, there is no kitchen facility at MasterChef casting calls. Instead, contestants prepare their dish at home, transport it to the casting call, and stand in line until their name is called. Chances are it will be several hours before your food passes the lips of food judges.

MasterChef has taken this into consideration and encourages contestants to bring along a photo of their dish. Applicants are also encouraged to shoot a short video (less than 15 minutes in duration) and bring along to the casting call. Take advantage of all options available. That way, if you become tongue-tied during tryouts, you will have a video and photograph which can be viewed by casting producers.

Take time to review ALL of the information published at MasterChefCasting.com. Read it two or three times to ensure you understand the requirements. Then, fill out your application and prepare a few test drive dishes. After all, you are competing for a quarter of a million dollar prize and the opportunity to launch your very own cookbook.

I will be attending the Orlando MasterChef casting call. If you plan to attend, I'd love to hear from you! I will also be covering the event as a foodie journalist and am looking for contestants to interview, so if you are trying out, contact me so we can arrange an interview.

As a wise young man once told me, this isn't a matter of having good luck. It's a matter of having good skill. Hone your skills and you could very well be the next MasterChef!

Are You the Next MasterChef? Upcoming Casting Calls for Talented Home Cooks



Black-eyed Peas Salsa Recipe

I was introduced to black-eyed peas salsa while dining at Flip Flops; a favorite local restaurant that became famous when head chef, Chef Danny Veltri won the reality TV show, Hell's Kitchen. Flip Flops serves used to serve the salsa to bar patrons and diners as they awaited their meals.

I became addicted to black-eyed peas salsa the first time it crossed my lips. One of Flip Flops bartenders, who just happens to be the brother of Executive Chef, Erik Amalfitano, shared the ingredients so I could make the salsa at home. The recipe has become a staple in our house and is the first appetizer I make for guests. Everyone loves this salsa and I hope it becomes a favorite for you as well!


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Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes


1 (15.8 oz) can Seasoned Blackeye Peas, drained
1 medium Celery stalk, sliced thin
1/4 Red Onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Drain blackeye peas and place in medium size container.
2. Add celery, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
3. Mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
4. Serve with tortilla chips or flat bread.