{Our delicious dinner at Muse and Easy Homemade “Oreos” with Strawberry Buttercream}

On Sunday night, me and the boy headed over to one of our favourite restaurants – Muse, for an early Valentine’s date night out.

*Apologies for no pictures of the food since the lighting was way too dark for my camera :(*

Source

Tucked on a quiet street down the block from Julio’s Barrio, Muse doesn’t look like much with its earthy burnt red exterior facade and simple metal sign above the entrance. But once inside, you are welcomed with a contemporary and whimsical space. The dining room consists of four different levels with an open area in the centre decorated with a colourful cascade of lanterns hung from the ceiling. The decor reminds me of a Cirque de Soleil show with its upside down umbrellas, striped upholstery and dark rich jewel-toned colour scheme.

We were seated on the top floor where I had a view of the open kitchen on the lower level. The room is dimly lit and the ambience is warm and inviting – reminiscent of a cozy living room, which makes it the perfect venue for a romantic date.

Once we were seated, our server introduced herself and offered us a bowl of beautifully earthy and aromatic truffled organic popcorn to nibble on while we scanned the menus. There was the standard a la carte menu and a separate sheet listing the features of the evening. Me and the boy found it difficult to decide on our dishes since everything on the menu sounded AMAZING. The prices are also pretty reasonable compared other fine dining establishments in Calgary.

Another reason to love Muse – they source locally grown organic and naturally raised meats, produce and dairy – a growing trend that I’m delighted to see at an increasing number of well-respected eateries.

A few minutes later, our server came over and went over the feature dishes in delicious detail and grabbed our drink orders. After we finished off the popcorn, we were served two puffy cheese and herb scones – still warm from the oven, with a few curls of butter on the side. A lovely crispy biscuit crunch on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside – delightful.

For our first course, we shared the feature appetizer – a generous portion of fork tender braised short ribs (slow cooked for 4-6 hours) served alongside some balsamic braised red cabbage ($16). Oh.My.Goodness. The BEST short rib dish we’ve ever tasted. The rich full-bodied meaty flavours of the meat paired perfectly with the tangy and sweet cabbage. An incredibly sexy dish that was very fitting for a Valentine’s dish to be shared that left us wanting more.

For my main course, the server’s mouth-watering description convinced me to go with the feature entrée – a filet of succulent salmon (cooked medium rare) atop of bed of creamy barley risotto, baby asparagus spears and finished with a rich lobster cream sauce ($29).

The boy had an equally tasty dish of salted B.C. sablefish served on a mound of house made pappardele ribbons with a wild mushroom saute and a bright green sweet pea coulis ($33).

Even though we were stuffed, I made sure to save a little room for dessert. Being a sucker for chocolate, it was only natural that I chose the Dark chocolate and praline millefeuille ($11) – with milk chocolate sauce and tendrils of candied lemon zest. Crispy hazelnut praline wafers sandwiched between multiple layers of thick and creamy chocolate mousse. I thought the candied citrus added a surprisingly delicious dimension to the dish. Incredibly decadent – a chocoholic’s dream.

Perfectly stuffed and completely satisfied. Muse is three for three now and continues to impress us with their creative French-inspired cuisine and impeccable service. We will be definitely be returning soon..

Muse – 107 10A Street N.W. | Web Reservations or Telephone Only: 403 670 6873 – Closed Mondays

Muse on Urbanspoon

Now onto the recipe..

Did you know you can turn a box cake mix into cookies?

It’s true.

Now normally I’m not an advocate for mixes like this, but they sure come in handy if you’re in a pinch for a dessert and want something quick and easy.

Cookies are good.. but sandwich cookies are better, tonight’s recipe: Chocolate “oreos”  filled with a rosy pink strawberry buttercream.

It starts with a box of cake mix of your choice…tonight’s flavour was chocolate fudge..

Add in an egg and 1/2 cup of softened butter and mix it up on low-speed in your stand mixer (or by hand) till the mixture comes together into a ball.

Roll the dough into 1″ – 1-1/2″ balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or silpat.

Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes and let them cool on the sheet.

While those are baking, you can prepare your frosting.. Tonight I made a strawberry buttercream: put 3/4 cup softened butter into a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment and gradually beat in 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar. Add in 1-1/2 tsp of vanilla paste (or extract) and 1/4 cup crushed strawberries (thawed from the freezer) and beat till creamy. If its too thick, add in a bit of milk 1 tbsp at a time.

Allow the cookies to completely cool before making your sandwiches. Match up like-sized rounds and with a palette knife, spread a generous amount of your buttercream into the center, top with another cookie and squish down till the filling comes to the edges.

I like to enjoy these cold out of the fridge..

I had one of these with a tall glass of almond milk while watching The Biggest Loser…yea.. pretty contradictory, I know. But hey, it’s my rest day :)

Here are some other yummy flavour ideas you could try:

Chocolate cookies:

  • peppermint buttercream (sub in peppermint extract)
  • peanut butter cream cheese buttercream
  • marshmallow fluff buttercream

Vanilla cookies:

  • lemon cream cheese filling
  • chocolate ganache filling
  • raspberry white chocolate buttercream

Spice cookies:

  • gingerbread spice cookies with salted caramel buttercream
  • carrot cake spice cookies with maple cream cheese filling
  • pumpkin spice cookies with bourbon cinnamon cream cheese filling

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