Strawberry Shortcake Recipe (Makes 8 shortcakes) INGREDIENTS: 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour 1/4 cup sugar 1 tbsp baking powder 2 hard-boiled egg yolks 1 pinch salt 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold 1 tbsp lemon zest 1/2 cup … Continue reading
Tiramisu (serves 12) INGREDIENTS: 2 cups heavy cream 3 cups mascarpone, room temperature 12 egg yolks 3/4 cup sugar 2 tbsp honey 1/4 cup water 1 cup espresso 1/2 cup Kahlua 1 package ladyfingers METHOD: In a stand mixer fitted … Continue reading
I love cupcakes, but often find what’s on the market too dry and sweet with not enough flavor. That’s why I developed my Bling Cupcakes on HSN, which debut in red velvet, vanilla salted caramel, and chocolate marshmallow. One flavor … Continue reading
(Makes two 9×5″ loaves) INGREDIENTS: 3 1/3 cup all purpose flour 1 tbsp baking soda 3/4 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp salt 2 1/4 cup sugar 4 eggs 1 cup oil 7 bananas, mashed 1/4 cup sour cream 2 tsp vanilla … Continue reading
Let me introduce myself. I’m Meredith- Donatella’s right hand woman and I have a secret. Even though I work for a top chef, I can’t cook. (That’s me on the right..)
Before approving directions on her products, Donatella has me follow them. No, not because she values my palate but because she says if I can make it, anyone can. I am truly her perfect customer because although I LOVE food, I can’t prepare it. Donatella’s products allow me to pretend that I can. Until she teaches me how to prepare her award winning meatballs, Donatella’s products let me fake it ‘til I make it.
Last week, we were traveling back from HSN and Valentine’s Day was around the corner. Donatella asked me what I had planned for my fiancé, and I had no idea! We had a strategy session, and with her help, I planned the perfect Valentine’s Day. From the meal to the makeup, here’s what I learned from the woman who best knows how to entertain:
Skip the Restaurant: I know it’s shocking, but Donatella suggests skipping the restaurant on Valentine’s Day. Forgo the crowds, travel time and expense and create the perfect Valentine’s Day at home.
Presentation is Key: Here’s the secret: disposable napkins and placemats used as runners. It’s so easy, looks expensive, and there’s little to no cleanup. It’s as simple as tearing a paper towel off a roll.
Personalize the Evening: Take the time to do something special. At Donatella’s wedding, guests received bags of homemade biscotti. I’m took a page out of her book and made biscotti
from scratch with Donatella’s biscotti mix (from her Chocolate Escape)– wrapping it in pretty cellophane and ribbon, and adding a handwritten note.
Put Together a Menu: Nothing says, “I love you” like a “home cooked” meal and luckily, Donatella did all the work for me! I almost took full credit for it…
Appetizers: Garlic knots and breadsticks made with Donatella’s pizza mix and pesto sauce for dipping. Her meatballs would have been a great appetizer too, but I had them for dinner instead!
- Dinner: meatballs with marinara sauce for me and spaghetti and meatballs with arrabbiata sauce for him. For portion control and a touch of glam, I served them in Donatella’s ramekins.
- Dessert Part I: Donatella’s bling cupcakes! I adore these cupcakes because they are delicious, all natural, incredibly moist and not too sweet. They were almost too pretty to eat. I did say almost…
- Dessert Part II: I LOVE dessert, so why not have another round? Chocolate fondue was perfect for Valentine’s Day- it’s sexy, romantic, and delicious. Like Donatella, my fiance and I love coconut, so we dipped the strawberries into shredded coconut and added chopped pistachios and almonds for crunch.
Makeup: One little secret about Donatella is that she isn’t ALWAYS glamorous. Shocking I know, but like me, she often forgoes makeup completely. Having said that, she knows when to glam it up, and she knows that a little goes a long way. Here are her makeup must-haves:
What to Wear: I borrowed this Cinderella dress that Donatella wore at Manhattan Magazine’s Chef’s Night Out. As always, Donatella suggests a little color and a touch of sparkle!
And for those of you with a few more skills in the kitchen than me, Donatella suggests her delicious chocolate soufflé dish. It’s so delicious, in fact, that it has been featured in Dessert Buzz! Get the recipe here:
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cup dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tahitian vanilla bean, split horizontally and scraped
- 2 ounces 66% chocolate, chopped fine
- 1 ounce white chocolate, chopped fine
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
To Line the Molds:
- Coat the bottoms and sides of six 5-ounce individual soufflé molds (oven safe coffee mugs work as well) with the butter.
- Sprinkle the sugar in the molds and rotate to distribute it evenly. Refrigerate the molds while you prepare the souffles
To Make the soufflés
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring the sugar, water and vanilla bean to a simmer. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.
- Turn the heat back to medium, and gradually add in the cocoa powder- making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding more. Continue to whisk until mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl, and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, begin to whip the egg whites and salt until they reach soft peaks. Add in half of the sugar and continue to whip until incorporated. Add remaining sugar and whip until medium-stiff glossy peaks form.
- Fold about a third of the whites into the cocoa base with a spatula. Fold in the rest of the whites just until no white streaks remain. Fold in the finely chopped chocolate.
- Distribute the mixture evenly between the soufflé molds/cups, filling them level with the top. Put the molds on a sheet pan.
- Bake the soufflés until they rise about 1” above the rim, about 18-20 minutes.
You call them Pine Nuts, I call them Pignolis! They’re very different from your average chocolate chip, and these Sicilian cookies are incredibly addicting! A little almond paste creates a chewy, gooey consistency while the pignolis add a crunchy element. INGREDIENTS: … Continue reading
Last year, I worked feverishly to bring you an original line of packaged goods and cookware and I can’t thank you enough for the support and feedback. I’m thrilled to be back Monday, February 10th (9am & 5pm EST) and … Continue reading
Nothing beats a creamy latte by the fire, a few chocolate biscotti, friends and family! But if you’re getting bored with the “just add milk and heat” routine, you HAVE to try one of these unique and delicious desserts. What’s … Continue reading
I’m so excited to debut two new sauces to my line for HSN: Creamy alfredo and zesty pesto! I’ve added some pizza recipes with both sauces here, as well as the recipes below. For further inspiration, try using the sauces … Continue reading
Need a little inspiration for making the perfect pizza? Look no further- here are some of my favorite recipes, made easier by the use of my HSN Pizza Crust Mix & Table-top Oven. My biggest advice? Have fun! There are … Continue reading