Saturday, July 31, 2010

Holy moly! There's a magazine all about chocolate!!!!

I just discovered Cocoaroma Magazine- An internation magazine for chocolate connoseurs at a chocolate shop. It's a great magazine- done much better than many other dessert and pastry periodicals I've seen. There are, however, a few disappointing factors about Cocoaroma that I would like to talk about. I am still torn on how I feel about it, so I am going to list my thoughts by pros and cons.

Con: There are only six issues.
Pro: There's a magazine all about chocolate.

Con: New issues don't seem to be coming out very consistently, and you can't subscribe.
Pro: There is a magazine all about chocolate.

Con: Each issue is $10, and the older ones are $15. Basically, the price of a cookbook.
Pro: There's a magazine all about chocolate.

Con: The issues are hard to get ahold of. The only way I've seen is to order directly from the website.
Pro: There's a magazine all about chocolate.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Just.........just make this

{no need to perfect or adapt this perfect photo and recipe from Williams Sonoma}
White Sangria
  • 6 peaches, plums or nectarines, or your favorite
    combination of stone fruits, halved, pitted and
    sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 cups peach nectar
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
  • 1 bottle (750ml) dry Spanish white wine (white
    Rioja) or Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2 cups club soda, or more, to taste
  • Ice cubes for serving
In a large pitcher, combine the fruit, peach nectar, orange liqueur and wine. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.

Stir in the club soda and ladle the sangria into ice-filled glasses. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Outdoor Entertaining, by George Dolese (Free Press, 2006).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My kind of shopping haul

Have you heard of the most recent form of fashion video blogs where spoiled teenage girls with shrill, obnoxious voices post on Youtube videos of themselves bragging about their most recent "clothes haul" from a shopping trip? If you haven't, you're lucky. For some odd reason some of the videos have gone totally viral, and I just don't get it. Maybe I'm getting old. {here is one for reference.}

This spoof on it is a total crack up, and I find it more interesting anyway.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Fortunate Girl I Am

As if getting to vacation in Hawaii isn't enough....I have been lucky enough to be able to dine at four of the best restaurants on the big island.

I ate at the Canoe House in the Mauna Lani resort the last time I visited Hawaii. The fish is absolutely perfectly done here, and the atmosphere lovely. Service was really slow for us, but I think that might have been a fluke. And who cares when you're in Hawaii, anyway?

Raj and I had an incredibly romantic dinner at Brown's Beach House in the Fairmont Orchid, where we spent a couple of days. While the rest of the food was disappointingly overpriced at this resort, Brown's Beach House- their signature restaurant- was really tasty and plated beautifully. The ambiance was great, as our table was candle lit and nearly on the beach, and the service impeccable. I had phyllo wrapped tempura prawns as an appetizer, and braised short ribs on risotto for my entree. I was very happy. I believe they have a local ingredient standard.

Pahui'a at the amazing Four Season's Hualalai resort
was by far the fanciest dining we did. In fact, the prices were so high here that rather than dinner we went for cocktails and appetizers. Even so, the bill for 5 people was still over $300. It's more than worth it, though. Pahui'a certainly lives up to its Four Seasons name in quality and price. The Hawaiian/Asian inspired menu was creative and fantastic.

Lastly, the biggest must eat on the island is Merriman's. You know you're at a good restaurant when the specials on the menu are foods that the owner chef hunted and fished himself that very day. There are not enough words to describe how much I love this place. Everything that comes out of the kitchen has been grown in Hawaii by small local farmers. Every. Single. Thing. The freshness of the ingredients combined with a creative chef make for one of the most spectacular meals I have ever had.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Hawaiian Souvenir

So, I spent last week in Hawaii- The Big Island, to be exact.

It was an absolutely wonderful time, and I wanted something to remind me of my fabulous vacation when I got back.

The problem is- I can't stand the junk that tourist shops sell with merchandise all made in China and stamped "Hawaii." Not to mention, I hate clutter and even things made on the island don't really go with my home decor style. What's a girl to do?

Buy chocolate of course!

Fortunately for us, we found the Sweet Paradise Chocolatier early in the week and were able to go back many times during the week. Along with being absolutely beautiful, all the chocolates are hand made and use ingredients from the Hawaiian Islands whenever possible. I hand picked my box of twelve. The flavors are as follows:

{First row, starting from left} Mango Mojito, Macadamia Nut Gianduja, Fresh Coconut, Coconut Creme Brulee

{Second row} 70% Dark Truffle, Tahitian Lime, Strawberry Guava, Banana Maui Rum

{Third row} Island Spice, Pineapple Passion Fruit, Toasted Coconut, Smoked Lava Salted Caramel

I won't tell you exactly how much this box cost, but let's just say it was roughly $4 per truffle. Totally worth it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cannelle et Vannille- My fellow pastry chef

Easy recipe for an amazing food blog:

1 culinary degree
1 good camera
An extremely fabulous eye for beauty and taking good photos
An upbringing in the Basque region

See now? Anyone can do it!

I found Cannelle et Vannille when I was looking online for recipes for gluten intolerance. I started looking at the page and my jaw dropped. It's absolutely the most beautiful food blog I've come across. When I finally was able to peel my eyes off the amazing photos and get down to the important stuff (the recipes), I found they were even better than the visuals. I'm telling you- it's like the cookbook that keeps giving. Not to mention I feel connected to her through our love of baking and sweets.

Luckily, as I was just dying to know what kind of person was behind this blog that had made me so incredibly green with envy fascinated, the blog had a bio page. As it turns out, this masterpiece was created by Aran Goyoaga, a pastry chef/ mother/ blogger/ food artist. And if I wasn't jealous impressed enough, she is from the Basque region- a spot between Spain and France that I have ever so long wanted to travel to because of it's beautiful scenery and amazing cuisine.

In the end, I love you all enough to share this fantastic blog with you. Even if it does mean you completely forget about my little blog and start logging daily onto hers instead. But who's comparing, right?

Monday, July 12, 2010

I've found a great use for Twitter.

Quite honestly, I think it's my age that has kept me disinterested. I am finally a generation removed from the most sensory-overloading new technology. {And frankly, there are few people for whom I care that much about what he or she is doing every every second of every day}. Do you really always want to know when all your friends are showering, driving in traffic, watching a movie, thinking philosophically....?

I tried following news Twits, but that, too was too much. Still, with the ten-plus tweets a day from just one news source...I can't handle that. I like peace and simplification (and I now officially LOVE watching British parliament on C-Span. Soooo funny!).

Then it hit me- I don't read a local daily newspaper, so I often miss out on the goings-on of my favorite restaurants. Lots of great places have things like cheese and wine night or buy one get one free coconut milk softserve, and I feel out of the loop when they pass me by and I find out later.


I have now subscribed to the Twitterings of all my favorite restaurants. I am up to date when they get a fresh batch of local heirloom tomatoes, or have a weekend trout special, and I'm all over it! It's really a great way for a restaurant to advertise, really.

I wonder- does this mean I care about food more than I care about my friends?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Why you should make this salad

Above is the (actual) salad I made for the brunch I had a couple of weeks ago. The main reason I chose that recipe was because my friend had just linked to it on Facebook a couple of days before, and it sounded like a good no brainer. {the link is here- from the NY Times} Since I was feeding 40 and didn't want to spend too much money or time cutting fennel and bell peppers, I added lettuce to the mix the first time to fluff it up.

Yesterday I made it again to bring a Fourth of July dinner at a friend's house. This time I followed the exact recipe, with one exception of replacing the lemon juice in the dressing with whole grain mustard (if you recall, I often compulsively add whole grain mustard to anything and everything savory I prepare). It looked a lot more like the photo below, with the addition of a few mustard seeds.

Here is why you should make it this summer:

1} It's super healthy.

2} Unlike lettuce, it won't get wilty.

3} It's something different, so when you go to a potluck that has ten salads made with greens, yours will stand out.

4} It takes about ten minutes.

5} It's beautiful.

6} Oh, and it's really really yummy.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Shortcake Strawberries

These strawberries came from my little garden! They are so delicious- they taste like eating strawberry pie right off of the plant. These few lucky ones actually made it inside. There is only one catch, though...they are absolutely tiny! Here they are next to a quarter to give you some perspective:

It makes me wonder- is this just what fruit looks like when it is not fed growth hormones or genetically altered to be huge? Am I eating more nutrients in my pinky-nail sized berry than I would in a fist sized one from the grocery store? Just thinking.