Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Cookies and Candies

This year I took two days to make cookies and candies for family, friends and clients. I usually pack it all into one day, but this year I wanted to experiment with chocolate.

Last Sunday with my mom and nieces, we made Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls, Sugar Cookies, Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bars, M&M Clusters, White Vanilla Chocolate and Peppermint Bark and a Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Candy Bar Bark. We had so much fun decorating and taste testing.
Today, I made the two most requested Christmas treats; Holiday Biscotti Dipped in White Vanilla Chocolate and M&M Clusters.  For the biscotti, I replaced the dried cranberries with Tart Dried Cherries.  The tart cherries gave it so much more flavor.  I can’t wait to dip one in my coffee tomorrow morning.

The M&M Clusters are the perfect candy.  They have salt from the pretzels and dry roasted peanuts, then dipped in white vanilla chocolate, and topped with mini M&M’s.  It’s the perfect balance of salt and sweet.

I had bought some caramel balls at the candy store the other day, but I didn't know what I was going to make with them.  Then I was thinking about brownies made with peanut butter chips and caramel.  How can you go wrong with chocolate, peanut butter and caramel?  You can't.  So I made them into Mini Brownie Bites.  They were gooey like a brownie should be and with the melting caramel it was perfection.  Definitely making those again!

I was putting some things away in my pantry when I noticed two pounds of Callebaut Milk Chocolate.  My mind instantly starting thinking about what kind of chocolatee bark can I make?  I thought almonds and coconut would be really good.  I used slivered almonds to go with the delicate sweet coconut.  It was so good!

When I was putting away the coconut, I noticed I had some raw cashews.  I toasted them in olive oil and added cayenne and smoked salt.  Now, I have only seen people on TV say how good cayenne is with chocolate, but I have never tasted it together.  This is my new favorite bark!  You can taste the cayenne, but it’s not hot like you would think, just a warm hint in the background of great tasting chocolate.  It is an amazing flavor combination.

Here is the picture menu:

My nieces are so creative with their decorating.

Please post your favorite Christmas Cookies or Candied you make? 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Personal Chef Cook Day 06-01-11

Who doesn't love food on a stick?  Kebobs are so fun to make and eat.  The best part is you can make them to everyone's individual tastes.

Here is the picture menu:

Honey Mustard Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

Vegan Honey Mustard Seitan and Veggie Kabobs

Pesto Chicken Manicotti

Vegan Pesto Seitan Manicotti

Vegan Indian Vegetable Pullao

Please post your favorite kebob.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cuisine du Jour

The Cuisine du Jour cooking classes at Trevarrow are the best classes I have ever taken.  I learn so much every time I attend a class.

This month, Chef Frank Turner, did Healthy Holiday Entertaining. He is the Culinary Wellness Director at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, and oversees patient food service, catering, Henry’s (the hospital's destination cafĂ©), and the hospital’s state of the art Demonstration Kitchen. If you have never been to this amazing hospital, I urge you to go there for lunch and you will be in awe of the wonderful food. I know you will walk out healthier than when you walked in.  I salute how this hospital is healing with food!

The first recipe he made Michigan Carrot Hummus.  Now, I have to be honest, because I was looking at all the recipes he was making, I thought, “None of these recipes sound like they go together or would taste good.”  I am so glad I was WRONG!  The hummus had spectacular flavor.  Carrots, lime juice, coriander, curry and fresh ginger were the subtle background tastes, but you knew you were still eating hummus. 

The Grilled Shiitake and Asparagus Salad tasted fantastic!  We had the salad cold, but you could also eat it warm.  It tasted like a refreshing summer day (even though it was freezing outside). 

Next, he made Herb Crusted Michigan Turkey Tenderloin with Braised Organic Black Cabbage and Black Eyed Pea Ragout and topped it with Spinach VeloutĂ©.  And I thought, “I don’t think I am going to like this.”  But - WOW!  I wanted to lick my plate it was so damn good.  It was healthy comfort food.  I can’t wait to make this dish for my clients.

For dessert, Chef Frank made Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars with a Cranberry Orange Compote.    So, I took a bite expecting the worst taste ever, but found that the whipped cream between the pumpkin and the cranberry orange compote was the perfect combination of flavors!

I will never judge a recipe before I taste it again!  From now on, I want to be surprised by the fusion of flavors that I think don’t go together.   What flavor combinations surprised your taste buds?

Personal Chef Cook Day 05/16/17

Happy Memorial Day!  To all the veterans, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. I can't believe it's May 27!  Time is fleeting by too fast. ...