Cheryl’s Cuisine

675159c2-45a7-4bea-81ee-c4f87c3c1421Whether or not you dine out for Valentine’s Day, it’s a treat to make a special dessert for just the two of you. A few years ago we decided not to go out for Valentine’s Day dinner due to the fact some restaurants have limited, overpriced menus for the evening and reservations are difficult.    We usually opt for the weekend after the holiday.   But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a nice dinner at home with a spectacular dessert.   And, by the way, the “two of you” can mean a spouse, relative, good friend, or a neighbor.

Here are some easy, “over the top” desserts to consider making

Chocolate Amaretto Cake:

1 box chocolate cake mix
1-8 oz. carton sour cream
4 eggs
2/3 cup Amaretto
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine cake mix, sour cream, eggs, Amaretto and oil in mixing bowl.  Beat at medium speed 3-5 minutes.  Stir in chips.  Pour mixture into a greased and floured Bundt pan.  Bake 55 minutes.  Cool in pan 30 minutes.  Remove from pan and drizzle with frosting.

Chocolate Amaretto Frosting:

2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. cocoa
2 Tbsp. Amaretto
2 tsp. milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine butter, cocoa, Amaretto and milk in saucepan.  Bring to boil, stir until butter melts.  Remove from heat.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla.  Mix well.


Apple Dumpling:

2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and quartered
1 can (8 count) refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 cup sugar
apple1/2 stick butter, melted
1 cup orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wrap 1/4 apple in each roll, place in 8″ pan.  Combine butter, sugar, orange juice and vanilla.  Pour over apples.  Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


If you don’t have much time, try this one:

Sliced Oranges with Cinnamon: 

6 navel oranges
6 Tbsp. Cointreau or Triple sec (orange liqueur)
Powdered sugar

Remove a small slice from the bottom of each orange so it will stand up.  Cut away peel with a small sharp knife and cut fruit crosswise into 1/8″ thick slices.  Arrange in overlapping rows  on serving dish or individual plates.  Drizzle liqueur over oranges and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.


Bailey’s Irish Cream Chocolate Pie:

bailey1 graham cracker crust or chocolate pie crust, ready made
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
1 large package chocolate instant pudding mix
1-8 oz. container frozen non-dairy whipped topping

Combine milk and Bailey’s in large bowl.  Add pudding mix and whisk just to combine. Immediately  add whipped topping and whisk to combine.  Pour mixture into pie crust. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.  Keeps well in refrigerator for 2-3 days.


Toasted Almond Ice Cream Balls:

2 pints vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 cups blanched whole almonds, toasted and finely ground
1- 12 oz. jar butterscotch flavored topping
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Put ice cream in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to slightly soften before starting to make balls.  Chill a cookie sheet in freezer.  Place ground almonds on wax paper or in pie haagendazsvanillapan.  Line chilled cookie sheet with wax paper.  Working quickly, using a 2 1/4 inch ice cream scoop or 2 large spoons, scoop a ball of ice cream, roll in almonds and place on lined cookie sheet.  Repeat with remaining ice cream and almonds to make 7 more (8 total) ice cream balls.  Freeze until firm, about 2 hours.  If not serving the same day, when ice cream balls have hardened, cover with plastic wrap.  Stir butterscotch topping and cinnamon together in a small bowl.  Serve over ice cream balls.


Parisan Apple Crisp:

2 lbs. Granny Smith apples
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Peel and slice apples.  Arrange apple slices in a shallow buttered 9×9″ baking dish. Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well. Stir in butter and vanilla. Spoon over apples.  Bake in 400 degree preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until brown and bubbly.  Serve warm. Top with freshly whipped cream or ice cream.


Cheryl’s Cuisine

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

It isn’t often that one gets the opportunity to enjoy a presentation by an executive chef of a non-stop booming casino.

Such was the case during the recent Lehigh Valley Food & Wine Festival, which was held May 29 through 31 at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem. Executive Chef Victor Bock, director of food and beverage services at the Sands, delighted the audience with a fabulous summer menu.

Bock has been with the Sands since 2009 and is a 1987 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He also earned a degree in Business Administration and Management from Penn State University.  Bock oversees all the restaurants and food services for the entire casino and hotel. As I ponder on this, I can’t imagine having this overwhelming responsibility.

His menu for the afternoon featured “Tastes of Summer,” and I would be remiss if I didn’t share these with you as we still have some (not much) summer weather remaining.


Watermelon Gazpacho:

1 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
1 Medium Watermelon, seedless and diced in 1/4 inch cubes
2 Red Peppers, toasted, peeled, seeded and diced
4 Scallions, minced
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced
6 Vine Golden Tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 qt. V-8 Juice/Tomato Juice
3 ribs Celery, diced
2 Cucumbers, seedless, peeled and diced
1 Lime, zested and juiced
3 oz. Rice wine vinegar
4 oz. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, minced
2 Tbsp. Fresh Basil, minced
Salt and White Pepper to taste
Sugar to taste

Combine all ingredients in stainless steel pot or bowl and refrigerate overnight.  For a spicy finish, add or delete the jalapeno peppers or use ground cayenne pepper.  Makes one gallon.


Wasabi-Soy Maple Glazed Shrimp:

6 Shrimp (U-10 count), jumbo
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger, minced
1 tsp. Garlic, mince
1 Lime, zested and juiced
2 Scallions, thin, bias cut
1/2 Tbsp. Wasabi paste
1 1/2 oz. Soy Sauce
2 oz. Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Cilantro
1/4 cup Frisee
Salt and Pepper to taste
Plantain Chips to garnish

Season shrimp with salt and freshly ground pepper. Saute’ shrimp in olive oil, cooking on each side approximately for three to four minutes. Remove from pan. Add garlic and ginger to the pan and lightly saute’ until tender. Add lime juice, wasabi paste, maple syrup and soy sauce. Allow this to reduce for approximately five minutes or until it becomes syrup-like. Return shrimp to pan. Add scallions and lime zest and adjust seasoning. Serve garnished with frisee and chopped cilantro. Serve with Butternut Squash-Potato Fufu.

Butternut Squash-Potato Fufu:

1 Butternut Squash, large dice, blanched in salted water until tender
1/2 White Onion, minced
1 tsp. Ginger, minced
1 oz. Olive Oil
1 cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock
3 Yukon Gold Potatoes, medium diced, blanched in salted water until tender
Pinch of Cardamon
Pinch of Curry Powder
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp. Whole Butter, softened
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute’ ginger and onions in olive oil until tender. Add potatoes and butternut squash. Add chicken or vegetable stock, continuing to cook squash until nearly dry and just past fork-tender. Add remaining spices and ingredients and adjust seasoning.


Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin and, Scallion-Shitake Mushroom Slaw:

1 Pork Tenderloin
1 oz. Olive Oil
2 cups Shitake Mushrooms
1 tsp. Ginger
2 oz. Maple Syrup
1 oz. Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Sesame Oil
1 oz. Hoisin Sauce
1 Scallion
1 cup Cilantro
1 tsp. Garlic
1 Lime
Sesame Seeds, garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste

Season and sear the pork tenderloin in olive oil until golden brown on all sides. Finish cooking in the pan, usually eight to 10 minutes or until an internal temperature of 135 degrees is reached. Remove and let rest. In sauté’ pan add mushrooms, ginger, and garlic and sauté until tender. Add maple syrup, soy, sesame oil and hoisin. Reduce heat and allow mixture to reduce in volume. Adjust seasoning. Add remaining items and serve over sliced tenderloin.


Crisp Pork Belly with Smoked Corn Salsa and Goat Cheese:

Pork Belly:
Pork Belly (slab bacon)
1 qt. Soy Sauce
2 cups Hoisin Sauce
1 qt. Sake
Bay Leaf
3 Tbsp. sliced Ginger
8 cloves Garlic
2 cups Cilantro
1 Star Anise

Brine pork belly/slab bacon for 24 hours.  Braise, covered at 225 degrees for four to five hours until fork tender.  Allow to cool.  Slice as needed.

Smoked Corn Salsa:
2 cup Sweet Corn, silver queen/white peg, lightly smoked
2 oz. Goat Cheese
2 Tbsp. Red Onion
1 Vine Tomato
1 Tbsp. Fresh Basil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive Oil
Sherry Vinegar

Combine all ingredients and serve.


Pulled Pork Potstickers:

2 cups Pulled Pork
1 Scallion
1 tsp. Fresh Mint
1/2 tsp. Sambal
1 tsp. Basil
1 tsp. Cilantro
4 Wonton Wrappers
1 oz. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

After braising pork shoulder, allow to cool and pull the meat. In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Adjust seasoning. Lightly egg wash egg roll or wonton wrappers. Fill each with approximately one ounce of pulled pork mixture.