Wednesday, December 29, 2010

All The Rage?

I am absolutely in love with chocolate bark. Since I have discovered the idea of chocolate bark I have been making it non stop, how could i when there are endless possibilities and combinations of this savory treat. While I have been busy cranking out variations among variations of this chocolate delight it seems that others have been also discovering their inner bark fascinations. I have come across the bark delights in various food magazines and blogs I also recently visited a local chocolate shop where they were selling bark for a hefty price. I highly recommend to everyone to make your own Bark! Its so easy, cheap and you get to pick you own toppings not to mention people will be impressed with your trendy creation.

First pick what kind of chocolate to use: White, Semi-sweet, Bitter Sweet,
you will need 1 pound of it cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

Next melt 1 cup of chocolate in microwaveable container for 30 seconds, then stir do this 2 more times stir and then add the remaining chocolate (from the original pound)

Place the melted chocolate onto a baking sheet covered foil and spread out till 1/4 inch thick around. Next pick your toppings, I recommend using 3 to 4 toppings that are crunchy or chewy this is your chance to get creative! 

After adding you topping make sure they are in the chocolate deep enough to stay put when dried, then let dry for an hour in at room temperature.
After you Bark has dried , drop the baking sheet above a counter and let the bark break into smaller pieces and enjoy!

Featured:  First picture: white chocolate bark with coconut, toffee, and almond.
Second picture: swirled white and bitter-sweet chocolate with dried Craisns and cranberries, coconut, and almonds.
Third Picture: semi-sweet chocolate with figs, pistachios, and crystalized ginger.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Breakfast Anyone

I've been stumbling upon some amazing breakfast recipes and I thought that they needed to be shared with my fellow foodies. so far these are the contenders for the breakfast i will make christmass morning for my family, I have yet to decide which one I will be cooking and I would love to hear some ideas from my food lovers.

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup
1 loaf French Bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
dash salt
parline topping, recipe follows
maple syrup
Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1 inch each
arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13- inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overalpping the slices
in a large bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. cover with foil and refridgerate overnight
the next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
spread praline topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. serve with maple syrup.
Praline Topping:
1/2 pound ( 2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. makes enough for baked french toast casserole. 

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon

1/4 pound sliced smoked salmon
12 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
12 to 15 blades of fresh chives, finely chopped
reserve 2 slices of salmon for garnish. chop the remaining salmon into very small pieces.
whisk you eggs and cream together. add 1/2 cup of your chopped chives and season eggs with salt and pepper. preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. melt butte in the pan and add eggs. scramble eggs with a wooden spoon. so not cook eggs until dry. when eggs have come together but remain wet, stir in chopped salmon. remove pan from the stove and place on a trivet. garnish the eggs with remaining salmon and chives and serve right out of the warm pan. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A return from my hiatus

I've been out of touch for almost a month now due to an unimaginable amount of school work including finals and term papers. But now school has subsided and ended for the semester, i have returned home to New York and once again find myself in my mothers kitchen wondering what kind of goodies i can whip up. The holiday season is now in full force but i haven't had a change to really get in the spirt yet, so i  decided what better way to get back into the swing of things then to gather up some festive holiday recipes. so i begin my return from the underworld of finals, endless papers and sleepless nights with a slew of recipes that is sure to get anyone in the holiday spirt! 

Salty Caramel Croquembouche with Ricotta Cream
Check out the full recipe in fine cooking magazine or on their website at:

Snow Capped Macaroons
check out the recipe at: foodnetwork
Stylish Gingerbread men and women
love these twists on the classic gingerbread cookies from food network magazine, start off with any gingerbread cookie recipe then dress em up in these sweet outfits!

mini marshmallow: snip mini marshmallows in haf with scissors; toss in colored sugar ( it sticks to the cut side). attach with royal icing

fruit leather: cut fruit leather into pants and dresses and attach with royal icing. use thinned icing to make a shirt.
Sour belt: cut sour belts into strips and squares to make shorts or layered dress. attach the pieces with royal icing.

Triple-shot eggnog
serves eight:
3 large eggs, preferably pasteurized, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar
kosher salt
1/2 cup dark rum
1/4 cup bourbon
2 tbs. brandy
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, plus extra for garnish
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl until they just begin  to turn a lighter shade of yellow add the sugar and a pinch of salt and whisk until thick pale yellow. whisk in the rum , bourbon and brandy until well combined and then whisk in the milk, cream, nutmeg, and vanilla until blended. chill the mixture, covered, for 4 hours or overnight. keep the egg white chilled separately in a medium bowl.
before serving, ship the egg whites to stiff peaks with a hand-held electric mixer. fold the whipped egg whites into the chilled yolk mixture. serve immediately, sprinkled with a a little freshly grated nutmeg, or chill for up to 4 hours. whisk the eggnog until smooth before serving.

Mix and Match Chocolate Bark
love this idea, gives you plenty of options you are sure to find one that suits your taste buds, plus these easy creations makes for prefect homemade gifts!
first: prepare the pan line a baking sheet with foil, shiny-side up; smooth out the creases
 second: pick your ingredients,
1 pound chocolate (whatever kind you like), 
1/2 cup, chopped crunch toppings: 
1/2 cup chewy toppings, chopped
spices (optional)
Third: melt the chocolate, check out for full instructions
fourth: spread it out
fifth: add your toppings 

Candy Cane Cooler
For Fusion:
2 cups fresh mint leaves, de stemmed
1 bottle quality vodka
directions: throughly wash mint leaves and place in a decanter or jar. empty vodka into container and muddle slightly to release the essential oils. store in a cool, dark place for at least three days- longer if you want a stronger taste.
for cocktail:
1tbs. crushed candy cane or peppermint candy
1 1/2 oz. mint-infused vodka
1/2 oz. B&B (benedictine and Brandy)
1/2 oz. half and half
peppermint stick
mint sprig for garnish
place crushed candy cane bits into pint glass. muddle the candy can slightly, breaking up the bigger plieces. do not muddle into a powder. add vodka, brandy and half and half and stir. our into a shaker with ice. shake lightly to chill and strain into old-fashioned glass full of ice. add a peppermint stick and stir. garnish with a mint sprig.