Pecan Squares and Class

No matter what we do in life, we all need to continue learning our craft.  It only makes us better at what we love..  I started this blog a year ago, jumping in and not really knowing what I was doing.  And if we’re really being honest here, I still wonder if I know what I’m doing!

A friend and local food expert teaches a class in food writing, called “Expressions in Food”.  It’s instructional in writing blogs, journals, and food reviews so I thought it might give me some insight and help improve my blog I share with all of you.  (you’re still out there….right?)

Our first class suggested we bring snacks to share.  I had a weekend of Super Bowl, moving into a new office and this class so I decided to bake Pecan Squares, courtesy of Ina Garten.  The recipe makes so many I could cover everything with one dish! So I trudged in with my plate of bars, everyone brought their food of choice and our instructor, Patrick brought wine.  Now that is my type of class!

IMG_6463

For two and a half hours, we shared our interest in the class, drank wine and ate our snacks, all while learning how to describe what we were eating.  It was a cornucopia of smells, textures and flavors, from creamy onion dip that jumped off the salty crunch of the potato chip around the plate to the sweet caramel and sandy texture of the pecan squares.  What a tasty way to spend my Sunday afternoon!

I left the class, happily anticipating the next one and I hope it helps me to relay to you my love of food and recipes in such a way that you will love to read my blog even more than you do now.

Happy reading (and eating everyone)!

IMG_6460

 

Chocolate Temptation Cake

There are some days when everything just goes so right.  This was one of those days.  I had my first piece printed in the local newspaper and although it doesn’t seem like much, it meant a lot to me.

IMG_5633

It all came about when an acquaintance,  Lorraine Eaton, wrote a cookbook titled “Tidewater Table.”  She happens to work for the local paper.  They came up with the idea that if anyone made a recipe from her cookbook and wrote about it they would publish the piece in the paper.  Well, I certainly wasn’t going to turn down a chance at notoriety for a day, so of course I had to get the book out and figure out something to make!

There were many good ideas, but I made my decision when I saw the picture of the “Chocolate Temptation Cake.”  Who doesn’t love chocolate?  I for one could live on chocolate but what made this even better was the fact it had hazelnuts and raspberries in the cake.  This recipe was from Williamsburg’s Marcel Desaulniers, the author of several chocolate-centric cookbooks, including “Death by Chocolate.”   I had to try to make this, despite the fact it was a bit of a challenge.

It really wasn’t that hard to make, just time-consuming.  The hardest part for me was skinning the hazelnuts, if you can believe that.  Those skins just didn’t want to come off!  The taste however, was well worth the time into it and would be a great ending to any dinner party you had.

IMG_5073

Try this recipe, try the cake and buy the book.  It will be a great addition to your collection!

 

Smore’s Cupcakes

My idea of camping is a reservation at a Holiday Inn.  With that said, I do enjoy the benefits of camping…….like smores.   Who doesn’t love smores?   Warm melted chocolate and marshmallowey goodness. (is that a word? Yes,  I think it is now)

I got an idea for this cupcake when I saw a brownie recipe where they added a couple of mini marshmallows.  I started imagining how melted marshmallow would taste in a cupcake and before you know it my mind had me sitting outside the Holiday Inn at a fire pit and I had smores in my hand.  A chocolatety smores cupcake. (and yes, chocolatety is a word too)

This recipe does take a few steps but the process is worth it.  You will not be able to do this over an open fire but you can make them and eat them in front of a fire.  It’s the same thing.  Just like a reservation with the Holiday Inn is like camping.  It’s all how you look at it.

I hope you enjoy these.  Bon Appetite!

CHOCOLATE

Who doesn’t like chocolate?  I, for one, cannot live without it and when I heard there was a chocolate festival in town this past weekend, I had to get tickets.

I think i expected something else but there were some interesting and tasty booths at the event.   There were a couple of local businesses there and if you are ever in need of good chocolate, check them out.

The Royal Chocolate
The Royal Chocolate

The first was The Royal Chocolate, located in the Town Center area in Virginia Beach.  Among other items, they have chocolate and caramel covered apples in many varieties and chocolate covered strawberries.  I tried their chocolate and bacon…amazing!  My absolute favorite is their caramel and chocolate covered popcorn.  It’s made with belgium chocolate and so addictive and yummy I have to get the small bag because I will eat the entire amount and I don’t share.  Whatever your taste they probably have it.

The Royal Chocolate can be reached at www.theroyalchocolate.com or by calling 757-557-6925.

Trafton's Chocolates
Trafton’s Chocolates

Trafton’s Chocolates is another local company located on Central Drive in Virginia Beach.  They had the cutest little Easter rabbits and chicks.  I couldn’t walk away without getting some for gifts.  The chocolate is silky and smooth and melts in your mouth.  I spoke to one of the owners, Susan Landeche, who was very helpful and truly loves what she does.  I love that her business card shows how chocolate outweighs antioxidants over many other foods.  My kind of girl.

Trafton’s can be reached at www.traftonschocolates.com or by calling 757-412-7922.

South 'n France
South ‘n France

Finally my third favorite was South ‘n France.  It’s a husband and wife team that make bon bons in many flavors.  I had the pistachio….very yummy.    They are located in Wilmington, NC and it’s definitely worth the drive.

South ‘n France can be reached at www.southnfrance.com or by calling 910-762-6882.

Of course there were many others that were just as good.  If you’ve never been to the event, I would certainly watch for it and try it out next year.   Chocoholics everywhere should make the trip….you won’t be disappointed!

 

Brownie Pudding

Dessert.  Sometimes we all have to have some….and especially if it’s chocolate.  That was my husband and I not too long ago.  We wanted something with chocolate, something gooey and warm…what to have?  We couldn’t decide. But, as luck would have it, I was looking through recipes by one of my favorite chefs, Ina Garten, and low and behold there it was.  Brownie pudding.

Is there anyone that doesn’t love a brownie?   A little crust on the top and gooey goodness all the way through.  This was more than that.  The combination between the brownie and pudding was delicious.  Almost like an underdone brownie.  And who hasn’t been there?  (come on, remember when you begged your mom for the bowl or the spoon?)

This will take you back to your childhood.  It’s easy, it’s good and it’s definitely going to take care of that chocolate craving you are having.  I give it a glorified YUM!

 

Pin It on Pinterest