The words “empty cream puff shells” almost sound sad and lonely, but not when they’re the centerpiece of a Make Your Own Profiterole Bar! They become catalysts for excitement and “profiterole-abilities” when paired with ice cream and whipped cream for filling and chocolate sauce, raspberry sauce, and caramel sauce for drizzling and all sorts of sprinkles, nuts, candies, etc. for dazzling.
You have to make chocolate bark at your cafe a friend said before I opened Divalicious Chocolate Cafe, on the edge of Chinatown, in the neighborhood of NOLITA. I said, “Sure”, but I had no idea what she was talking about.
I envisioned a chocolate confection that resembled bark from a tree. It seemed fascinating and complex. How is it made? Did you have to pump air into the chocolate? How does that even happen? Perhaps it would look like a Cadbury Flake bar since it resembles layers of peeling. A Flake bar would be challenging to make without a machine. I seemed hard in my imagination.
Later, when I found out that chocolate bark was just thin sheets of chocolate with dried fruits, nuts, cookies, etc on top, I realized I’d really overthought this. I wondered “Is bark too easy to make and sell at my chocolate cafe?” Absolutely not. It turned out to be a hit and my Salted & Toasted Black and White Sesame Chocolate Bark was best-seller
Monday, I was back at Santina, a restaurant in the meat packing district that I’d been to this past February. I’ve been obsessed with one of their dishes, the cecina, since my first visit. It’s rare that I visit the same restaurant twice in a short time since I have restaurant ADHD. I want to eat at pretty, shiny new restaurants all the time. But my cecina obsession trumps my ADHD and I had a good blogger friend in from DC who wanted to try it. It hits many marks. It’s unusual. It’s easy to make. It’s gluten free. It’s vegan. It’s cheap to make. It’s fun to eat. It can be eaten alone or with a myriad of toppings or even a salad on top.
This morning, I was looking to give the gift of chutneys and relishes, I canned last fall, to a neighbor who did me a favor. I whipped up a list of sixteen ways to eat it because people always ask, “How do I eat it?”. The true answer is any way that you like it.
When I went to see what I had from last year, it turned out that I have quite a bit left over. Looks like I’m going to have to find people to give it to. If you see me, ask if I might have a jar in my purse. If I do, it’s yours.
“Pssst… Your tart was the best thing on the table.” Normally, I wouldn’t be bragging someone whispered this to me about the Roasted Asparagus, Mushroom, Bacon and Cheese Tart I made for a New York Women’s Culinary Alliance potluck last week. But the person to who said it was the former owner of one of the finest bakeries in New York City. Plus, I’d almost threw the tart in the composter early that day.
Who remembers the 1969 Alka Seltzer commercial? Mama Mia! That’s A Spicy Meatball.
On Saturday, the plan was to remake the spicy calamari salad, I’d made the previous Sunday because the original would not have given the guy in the heartburn. It lacked kick. I’d also served it cold and I thought it would be better warmer on the temperature side and the Scoville scale side.
I wish the story behind the recipe for this Lazy Cheesy Turkey Shepherd’s Pie was something interesting and compelling. Wouldn’t it be cool if it were a recipe that I never got from my estranged grandma, but was found by my mother in her old high school yearbook that she hadn’t looked at for 50 years? Only that wouldn’t have happened because she never got her yearbook since she graduated early in January instead of June. You’d think she still would have received one…
What if Lazy Cheesy Turkey Shepherd’s Pie were a recipe from a compilation cookbook by the Junior League of Copake Lake, where we summered as kids near The Berkshires? It does sound like a recipe that would show up in one of those kinds of cookbooks from the 70’s. Sadly, Copake Lake was a bungalow colony for blue collar workers from the city. It was probably not fancy enough for a bowling league, much less the junior league.
Do you remember the time I got a little over-excited about a dessert for Easter after seeing and tasting the Merveilleux at the Aux Merveilleux de Fred shop on 8th Avenue? Yes, that was just this past weekend. Let us not count the hours it took me to come up with and make an assortment of five completely different flavors of Merveilleux. Suffice it to say it was a lot and it is out of my system… for now.
Merveilleux are light, gluten free pastries made of meringue discs sandwiched and smothered with Bavarian cream and rolled in a coating of chocolate, meringue, nuts, etc. Apparently, according to one my less-than-mature male friends, mine looked like boobies. Boobie cakes. I think that may give them even more appeal. Merveilleux translates from French into Marvelous or Wonderful. I call them “Wonderfuls” because they are.
An eyeglass store is not the first place you’d think you’d find cooking inspiration. At the Warby Parker stores, you can buy books from small presses, in addition to eyeglasses, but I didn’t notice any cookbooks. This recipe for Sriracha Honey Lime Glaze for my Cooked The Sh*t Wings was inspired by an event at the store on Washington Street. It was for a book that 826NYC and Edible Schoolyard helped produce, filled with stories by New York school kids called “Chicken Makes the Ice Cream Taste Better”.
C-R-U-N-C-H!!! has to be one of the most satisfying sensations in your mouth. Caramelized Millet Puffs add a little sweet, crunchy texture to desserts. You can also sprinkle them on French toast, oatmeal or granola.