Halloween at Walt Disney World Resort

Sneak Peek at First-Ever Nighttime Party at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on May 31st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Harambe Nights kicks off in just about a week on June 7, and we got a taste of the amazing celebration that stretches Disney entertainment and dining to new heights.

Early in the evening, the new Harambe Theatre and “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” is the center of attention, with emotional music performed by a live choir and 25-piece orchestra, the back-up for such talented performers – we were mesmerized as we watched scenes from the blockbuster film come to life in a whole new way.

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The Walt Disney World Resort chefs are hard at work too – after the performance, Harambe Village lights up with a lively street party where the food takes center stage. The menu took weeks of planning by Chefs Robert Gilbert and Leonard Thompson, working in symphony with Chef David Njoroge at Sanaa restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, a native of Kenya who embraces true African-style cooking.

Before the show gets started, you get a little taste of the African and Indian cuisine with small bites such as Moroccan beef kefta with tamarind glaze and a mini-cheeseburger with tomato curry aioli. And just for fun, as you watch the show, there’s a cute little container of “Lion Chow,” a mix of pretzel chips benne (sesame) crumbles, cardamom candied pecans, raisins, cherries and ginger.

The evening is a culinary journey with aromatic spices – you’ll smell the lamb cooking, and get a taste of warm naan bread hot off the griddle. The aromatic spice of Africa create a mélange of amazing tastes – so be adventurous if you haven’t tried something like eggplant tikka masala or crispy pappadum crackers. But you’ll find plenty of familiar flavors too, as the cuisine of America’s South borrows plenty of tastes from Africa, such as barbecued pork (served with a delicious polenta) or simple roast chicken.

With all those diverse bites, naan, an Indian flatbread, is the perfect accompaniment. We can almost guarantee you’ll wish for another taste once you are home, so we’re sharing the recipe without the traditional tandoor oven – just use a pizza stone in the oven or your grill. Harambe Nights takes place every Saturday from June 7 through August 9. The welcome reception begins at 7 p.m., showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $119 for adults, $79 for ages 3-9, plus tax. Capacity is limited. For tickets, call 407-939-1319 or visit Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights.

Naan Bread
Makes 5 (8-inch) breads

3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 tablespoons butter, melted

  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; stir to combine.
  2. Combine milk, water, and oil in a medium bowl; whisk to combine.
  3. With the mixer running, pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. As soon as the mixture comes together, switch attachment to a dough hook, and mix until dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Do not over-mix.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. Place a pizza stone on a top rack of the oven, positioned approximately 6 inches below the broiler. Preheat oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Divide dough evenly into 5 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into an 8-inch circle.
  7. Turn oven to broil. Carefully slide one circle of dough onto the preheated pizza stone, and broil until bread is bubbled and golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Watch carefully, as the bread can burn very quickly. Repeat with remaining dough rounds. Brush the warm bread with melted butter, and serve immediately.
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Disney Culinary Story Expands With Golden Oak

posted on May 12th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Ever wonder what’s behind the gates at Golden Oak?

At a recent Tables in Wonderland dinner, we got a peek at the beautiful new Markham’s restaurant at Golden Oak, the first private community at Walt Disney World Resort.

Chef Christian Rumpler and Golden Oak Food and Beverage Manager Melissa Schreiber welcomed Tables in Wonderland guests to the exclusive dining room where “Disney takes service to the next level,” says Melissa.

Chef Christian has his own garden just outside the kitchen door with herbs and seasonal veggies (with a Disney horticultural intern to tend the healthy gardens). The kitchen cures its own charcuterie, makes fresh pasta, even the sauerkraut for the pastrami sandwiches. Lettuce comes from their own garden and from The Land Pavilion at Epcot. Just imagine the perfect BLT: bacon cured in the kitchen, tomatoes from the garden and lettuce from The Land. “We source locally when we can, and focus on sustainable ingredients,” says Chef Christian.

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Golden Oak is named for a scenic ranch in California’s Placerita Canyon where Disney filmed segments of “The Mickey Mouse Club” TV show in the 1950s. Walt Disney Productions purchased portions of the property in 1959 and, over the years, acquired more than 900 acres for TV and movie productions and protect its harmony with nature. Walt Disney and his family spent time relaxing and playing on the ranch. (Some say golden nuggets were found under a tree on the property in 1842, thus the name.)

Markham’s was inspired by “Spin and Marty,” the popular series of TV shorts that aired as part of “The Mickey Mouse Club.” Adjacent Tyler’s Lounge was inspired by the 1960 movie “Toby Tyler,” also filmed at Golden Oak Ranch. Both rooms are upscale and inviting, with warm wood, brick accents and golden tones.

Here’s a recipe that illustrates the Golden Oak culinary team’s level of detail – even for a cocktail. For more information on Golden Oak, disneygoldenoak.com. For information on Tables in Wonderland, visit tablesinwonderland.com.

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The Floridian Peaches and Cream
Serves 1

  • 2 ounces house-made Florida peach vodka (recipe below)
  • House-made cream soda, to taste (recipe below)
  • Florida peach pinwheel, for garnish
  1. Fill Collins glass halfway with ice cubes. Add vodka, then cream soda. Garnish with peach.

House-Made Florida Peach Vodka

  • 1 Liter Ciroc vodka
  • 8 fresh Florida peaches, washed and left whole
  1. Combine vodka and peaches in glass container that can be sealed. Place in dark, cool place for 3 to 5 days, shaking daily. (The longer it sits, the more peach flavor will develop.)
  2. To use, strain liquid and refrigerate. For extra flavor, juice peaches, strain and add to vodka.

House-made Cream Soda
For this recipe you will need a soda charger and soda gas canisters. You can substitute canned cream soda, which will produce the same taste but not the froth.

  • 1 quart cold water for charger
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup cooled vanilla syrup (recipe follows)
  1. Add all ingredients to a soda charger and add two gas capsules to carbonate liquid. Keep cold.

Vanilla syrup

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
  1. Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Cool.
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Disney’s Hollywood Studios Anniversary Cupcake Available Only May 1

posted on April 29th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Walt Disney World Resort guests love the designer cupcakes that the chefs create for special occasions and holidays – and we usually can’t pry away the recipe. But good news: if you can’t make it to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 1, this is one special treat you can (mostly) re-create at home.

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Celebrating 25 years, this anniversary cupcake is a delicious combo of chocolate cake with a rich hazelnut-buttercream frosting. The chefs at the theme park add a little chocolate ganache, chocolate sprinkles and colorful Mickey Mouse candy confetti, then top it with a chocolate “25th Anniversary” disk of chocolate.

If you’re at the park, the cupcakes will be available at Fairfax Fair, Rosie’s All American Café, ABC Commissary, Starring Rolls Cafe, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Co., and Pizza Planet. Cost is $5.19 and the cupcake counts as a snack on the Disney Dining Plan.

If you’re too far away to make the May 1 celebration, get out the mixer and create your own fun!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Hazelnut-Chocolate Buttercream
Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Hazelnut-Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

For chocolate cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in large bowl, whisking to combine. Add oil, coffee, and milk; beat with an electric mixer 1 minute until well combined.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla extract; beat 2 minutes until very well combined. Batter will be thin.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes.
  5. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.

For hazelnut-chocolate buttercream:

  1. Combine shortening and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until creamy. Beat in hazelnut-chocolate spread and vanilla extract until smooth. With mixer running at medium speed, add confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well to combine before adding the next cup.
  2. After all sugar has been added, beat in 3 to 4 tablespoons milk, just until frosting is light and fluffy.
  3. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large round or star tip and pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Alternatively, frost cupcakes with an offset spatula or a butter knife.
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Taste of Disney: Herb Panko-Crusted Rack of Lamb from Blue Bayou Restaurant in Disneyland Park

posted on April 2nd, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Next in our Taste of Disney series: a delectable lamb dish from Blue Bayou Restaurant at Disneyland park. Chef Jesse Tiscareno shows us the steps, starting with a rich rosemary jus made with red wine, then a hearty white-bean stove-top cassoulet, the perfect pairing with the rich lamb.

For springtime, the panko-crusted lamb goes with just about any seasonal vegetables, and you could even add some baby carrots or fresh peas to the cassoulet.

But this is the way they serve the classic at Blue Bayou Restaurant, an oasis in New Orleans Square where diners can relax and enjoy the French influences of Louisiana (with Cajun and Creole flavors too). Re-creating this dish takes time, so start early – or make the rosemary au jus and cassoulet a day head.

For Blue Bayou Restaurant reservations (or any Disneyland Resort restaurant), visit www.disneyland.com/dine or call 714-781-DINE (3463).


Herb Panko-Crusted Rack of Lamb

Serves 4

Rosemary Au Jus

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup diced shallots
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, stems removed, loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup cabernet sauvignon
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bread Crumbs

  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Cannellini Beans for Cassoulet

  • 3 cups dried cannellini or great northern beans
  • Ham hocks, about 1 pound
  • 1 leek, trimmed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves

Cannellini Bean Stove-Top Cassoulet

  • 1/4 cup olive oil or butter
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 1/2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 3 cups prepared cannellini beans (from above recipe)
  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • Cooked ham hock meat (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 herb bouquet (3 stems fresh rosemary and 5 sprigs fresh thyme tied together with kitchen string)
  • Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Lamb

  • 2 racks of lamb, (16 ribs total)
  • Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 8 tablespoons prepared bread crumbs (recipe above)
  • 8 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup micro-greens rainbow mix, optional
  • Rosemary jus (recipe above), for serving

For rosemary au jus:

  1. Heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, shallots, rosemary, peppercorns, bay leaf, and wine.
  2. Cook until reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add beef stock and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through fine sieve. Discard solids.
  3. Return liquid to pan. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time over low heat, whisking well. Season to taste.
  4. Allow to cool completely then place in an air-tight container and refrigerate several hours.
  5. About 30 minutes before serving, reheat over low heat.

For bread crumbs:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover baking sheet with foil.
  2. Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Transfer crumbs to sheet and bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning.
  3. Remove from oven and cool. Place in air-tight container until ready to serve.

For cannellini beans:

  1. Rinse beans, place in large bowl, cover with water and soak for several hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400°F. Place ham hocks on sheet tray or pan. Roast until tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Slice meat off bone and finely chop for later use in cassoulet. Reserve bones.
  3. Wrap leek (white and green parts), bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns in cheesecloth.
  4. Place drained beans, water, onions, garlic, leek sachet, and ham hock bones in large pot. Add more water if necessary to cover all ingredients.
  5. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until beans are tender, about 25 minutes.
  6. Strain beans through sieve and set aside, reserving broth. Discard bones and cheesecloth with ingredients.

For stove-top cassoulet:

  1. Heat oil in medium stockpot over medium heat. Add garlic, carrot, celery, onion, red and yellow peppers, and beans, stirring frequently. Cook until vegetables are lightly browned.
  2. Add bacon and ham hock meat and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add beef stock and herb bouquet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook about 45 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

For lamb:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Cut each rack in half.
  2. Pour olive oil into large oven-proof sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place lamb fat-side down in sauté pan and sear all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Transfer lamb to oven and cook until desired temperature, 145°F for well done, about 115°F to 120°F for medium rare. (Notes: If lamb cooked to a medium rare preference, this item may contain raw or undercooked ingredients. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.)
  4. Remove lamb from oven, cover immediately with foil, and allow to rest for 7 to 10 minutes.
  5. Slice each half rack into 2, 2-rib pieces. To serve, spoon 1/2 cup beans in bottom of each serving bowl. Drizzle rosemary au jus around beans. Brush mustard on fat side of lamb, press into bread crumbs and place 2 pieces of lamb on top of each serving of beans, one slightly crossing over the other. Repeat with remaining bowls.
  6. Sprinkle feta cheese on lamb and top with pinch of micro greens, if desired. Serve immediately.
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Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day Extended Hours for Breakfast at Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

posted on March 14th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day Extended Hours for Breakfast at Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Looking ahead, it’s not too early to book your breakfast/brunch reservations for one of the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World ResortBoma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day Extended Hours for Breakfast at Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
The restaurant will be open 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both holidays (April 20 for Easter, May 11 for Mother’s Day). They reopen for dinner from 4:30-9:30 p.m. But you know how much mom loves a special start to her day, like a cup of Kenyan AA coffee, tropical juice and an expansive brunch buffet that includes fresh fruit, salads, carving stations, smoked salmon, charcuterie, omelets, pastries and all sort of South African-inspired dishes such as bobotie, a kind of South African quiche.

After breakfast, stroll outside for a look at the beautiful savannah, where giraffes, zebras and other African wildlife put on a show sure to make mom smile.
Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day Extended Hours for Breakfast at Boma – Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
The generous Boma – Flavors of Africa buffet is one of our favorites, with a little something for everyone, like this easy, refreshing salad that’s a true taste of Florida.

Cost is $21.99, $11.99 ages 3 to 9. For reservations, visit www.disneyworld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.
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Papaya, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
Serves 4 to 6

1 small papaya
1 ripe but firm avocado
1 grapefruit
10 mint leaves, julienned
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon honey

  1. Peel papaya, halve, and scoop out seeds. Dice into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Slice avocado lengthwise all the way around to pit. Gently twist sides in opposite directions to separate halves. Remove pit. Slip a large spoon in between the skin and the meat and scoop out flesh. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
  3. In a large bowl, peel and section the grapefruit, letting the pieces fall into a bowl. (Reserve juice for dressing.)
  4. Add papaya, avocado, and mint leaves; set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, grapefruit juice, and honey.
  6. Pour dressing over the fruit and toss gently.
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Carthay Circle Lounge at Disney California Adventure Park Named ‘Best Cocktail Bar’

posted on March 4th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Nightclub & Bar Media Group has named Carthay Circle Lounge at Disney California Adventure park “Best Cocktail Bar” in its annual Nightclub & Bar Awards, “the best and brightest movers and shakers in nightlife.”

“Receiving this award means the recipient has demonstrated the skill and innovation needed to succeed and excel in this highly competitive business,” says Jon Taffer, president of Nightclub & Bar Media Group.

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Cocktails at Carthay Circle Lounge are handcrafted by mixologists with attention to detail, from unique glassware, gourmet garnishes to drink-specific ice. Classics like a Manhattan, Pisco Sour and Negroni are the foundation, with inventive Carthay Circle creations like the Tequila Daisy with an edible viola flower and the Sparkling Mare made with Iron Horse sparkling wine. California craft beers and world-class wines round out the drink menu.

And the setting is part of the charm, in a building inspired by the original Carthay Circle Theatre in Hollywood with Spanish Revival architecture and an interior that tells the story of the relationship of Carthay Circle Theatre to the Walt Disney Company, with photos and artifacts from the 1937 premiere of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Disney’s first feature-length animated film. The interior of the 68-seat bar and wine lounge is reminiscent of the grand palace movie days.

A delicious menu pairs well with the classic cocktails. Divided into Bites and Snacks, Rolls, Small Plates and Desserts, tastes range from Santa Monica deviled eggs with smoked salmon to duck confit sliders with apricot conserve, watercress, crisp onions and Taleggio cheese.

The lounge is open daily from 11:30 a.m. until park closing.

Here’s a recipe for one of our favorite cocktails:

Double Pear Martini

Serves 1

  • 1 ounce Double Cross vodka
  • 1 ounce Absolut Pears vodka
  • 1 ounce Kern’s Pear Nectar
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce Monin agave nectar
  • Garnish: 1 Chilean baby Pear

1. Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a Chilean baby Pear.

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Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Downtown Disney Epicenter of St. Pat’s Celebrations

posted on February 25th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


For the real deal, the celebration at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Downtown Disney West Side begins on March 7, a full 10 days before the official St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. That’s plenty of time to eat, drink, dance and do it all over again.

Nine different bands, pro dancers and some of the best Irish food make every day worth stopping by – the fun goes from 5 p.m. – 1 a.m. March 7 – 14, then cranks from noon – 1 a.m. March 15 – 17 for a weekend of revelry. Check out raglanroad.com for details.

Food is a highlight, so look for one or more of the four Disney Food Trucks (Fantasy Fare, Namaste Café, Superstar Catering and World Showcase of Flavors) serving delicious eats, including a St. Patrick’s Day cupcake, and Fisherman’s Pie, a favorite from the Ireland kiosk at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (at the Superstar Catering truck).

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Raglan Road favorites are on the restaurant’s lunch and dinner menus, along with beers on tap. For a quick bite, stop at Cooke’s of Dublin for fish and chips, battered sausages or deep-fried candy bars. The other Downtown Disney restaurants are joining the fun with St. Pat’s fare too.

On the big day March 17, seating is first-come, first-served basis with a cover charge of $10 for each guest age 18 and older. Reservations can be booked for other festival days by calling 407-938-0300. For more information visit Disneyworld.com/StPatricksDay.

Chef Kevin Dundon’s new Raglan Road cookbook, “I’d Ate the Back Door Buttered Ma” is the perfect souvenir, with classics like this traditional loin of bacon with cabbage and potatoes. That title, by the way, is a Dublin phrase that translates as “hey, mom, I’m starving!”
Happy St. Pat’s!

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Warm Chocolate Truffle Cake from Napa Rose at the Disneyland Resort

posted on February 5th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Red roses are nice, but a home-baked sweet says love in a special way. Pastry Chef Jorge Sotelo from Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa artfully shows us the way it’s done with his mini-chocolate truffle cakes, and we share his recipe below.

Just give yourself plenty of time to wow your Valentine. You can make the ganache a day ahead, as it needs plenty of time to cool. The truffle cakes are best straight from the oven, served warm with your favorite ice cream (they serve it with cherry vanilla at Napa Rose). Just make sure you use a good-quality dark chocolate for a taste to remember.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Truffle Cakes with Ganache
Serves 8

Ganache

  • 4 ounces Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Truffle Cakes

  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (extra for ramekins)
  • 6 1/2 ounces Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided (extra for ramekins)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Favorite ice cream, for serving

For ganache:

  1. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour boiling cream over chopped chocolate. Slowly stir in a circular motion with a rubber spatula until all chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes.
  2. Let sit at room temperature until ganache cools to 70°F. Meanwhile, make truffles cakes.

For chocolate truffle cakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly butter bottom and sides of 8 individual (3/4 cup) ramekins. Coat thinly with sugar and shake out excess. Set aside.
  2. Prepare a double boiler and bring water to a simmer over low heat. Place butter and 6 1/2 ounces chocolate in the top of the double boiler and gently stir until melted.
  3. Whisk egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth and slightly thickened. Stir in flour.
  4. Ladle a small amount of melted chocolate into egg yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Add another ladle of chocolate into egg yolk mixture and continue to whisk. Once the temperature of the egg yolk mixture has been warmed, add remaining chocolate to egg yolks and vigorously whisk. Set aside.
  5. Combine egg whites and 1 tablespoon sugar in stand mixer; whip on medium speed until soft peaks form.
  6. Slowly add an additional 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar while continuing to whip egg whites. Increase speed to high and slowly add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Whip another 3 to 4 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
  7. Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture, being careful not to overwork mixture.
  8. Divide batter equally among prepared ramekins, filling 3/4 full. Place on baking sheet and bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until tops are puffy, but center still soft. Do not overbake.
  9. While cakes are baking, make the ganache: Finely chop remaining 4 ounces of chocolate.
  10. Cut around edges of cakes using a small knife to loosen. Carefully invert cakes onto a serving plate. Top each with 1 generous tablespoon of ganache and serve immediately with favorite ice cream.

Cook’s Notes:

  • If you cannot find Scharffen Berger Chocolate, you may substitute Valrhona Manjari chocolate or a high quality 58 percent bittersweet chocolate.
  • Make sure your small metal bowl is very clean and dry before attempting to whip egg whites to stiff peaks.
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This Bitter Storm at Napa Rose Will Warm You Right Up at Disneyland Resort

posted on February 4th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


While brisk winter weather blankets much of the country, it’s still pretty balmy here in Southern California – where the only “Bitter Storm” is at Napa Rose restaurant at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

The bartender layers sweet and sour tastes from bourbon to cherry liqueur, adds a splash of lemon juice and tops the cocktail with a tart sliver of grapefruit peel. It’s a sunny sip of California that can take you away even if you’re shoveling snow.

Bitter Storm
Serves 1

  • ¾ ounce Bulleit Bourbon
  • ¾ ounce Fernet-Branca
  • ½ ounce Cherry Heering liqueur
  • ½ ounce Poire William brandy
  • ½ ounce Orgeat syrup
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • Grapefruit peel, for garnish
  1. Pour all ingredients into a shaker; fill with ice and vigorously shake for 30 seconds.
  2. Strain into a tall chilled glass filled with ice. Garnish with grapefruit peel.

For more about dining at the Napa Rose, read these posts:

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Kicky Ribs from Storyteller’s Café at Disneyland Resort are Perfect for the Big Game

posted on January 30th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


The big game calls for a plate of delicious ribs to share (with plenty of napkins). Grillmasters, however, settle back and enjoy the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos because this recipe comes together on the stovetop and gets finished in the oven.

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The chefs at Storyteller’s Café at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa created this kicky sauce with spicy chipotle and sweet tamarind glaze. We go light on the glaze to let the flavor of the tender, meaty pork shine through.

Serve it with the crunchy red cabbage slaw and some crisp garlic bread. The restaurant adds fresh broccoli and mashed potatoes, but you can save that rendition for another day. With a cold brew, this is down-home deliciousness.

Chipotle and Tamarind-glazed Ribs with Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Slaw
Serves 4

Chipotle and Tamarind-glazed Ribs

  • 1 (2-pound) rack pork ribs
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 5 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup root beer
  • 1/4 cup minced chipotles in adobo
  • 1/4 cup tamarind pulp
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Slaw

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 cups thinly shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives

For chipotle and tamarind-glazed ribs:

  1. Place ribs in a large stockpot. (Cut ribs in half widthwise if needed to fit.) Add enough cold water to cover ribs by 1 inch. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Cut a 6-inch square piece of cheesecloth; place pickling spice in the center. Pull edges up and tie into a bundle with a piece of kitchen twine. Add spice bundle to cooking liquid.
  2. Turn stove to medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 1 1/2 hours, or until ribs are very tender.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, cooking until golden and very tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, cooking until fragrant and tender, about 2 to 4 minutes more. Add tomato sauce, ketchup, root beer, chipotles, tamarind pulp, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring very frequently to prevent burning, until well combined and slightly thickened. Set aside.
  4. Preheat broiler. Remove ribs from cooking liquid and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Coat both sides of ribs with prepared sauce; broil 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbly.

For red cabbage and golden raisin slaw:

  1. Whisk together vinegar, oil, honey, shallots, cilantro, garlic, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add cabbage and carrots, tossing to coat. Stir in raisins and chives. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
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