Life by Chocolate
Chocolate, white, milk, dark, in all its forms forms life. Chocolate truffles, caramels, and other confections are at the core of enjoyment. This is life by chocolate because death by chocolate is the wrong attitude.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
My yummy Whiskey Sour Mix recipe
1 cup water
1 cup sugar (or if you want it less sweet, use only 1/2 cup sugar.)
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice
First bring the water to simmer and dissolve the sugar in the hot water, stirring until it is in solution. Once the sugar is dissolved, take the syrup off the stove and let cool. About 10 minutes. Then add the lemon juice and the lime juice. Stir well.
To make a whiskey sour, use your favorite whiskey, I suggest Marker's Mark bourbon. The recipe is simple, one shot of bourbon for every two shots of the mix. Or you can eyeball it.
Don't forget to make eggnog this season! Here's my wonderful recipe, Mark's Killer Eggnog.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Tiramisu à la Greenville Arms 1889 Inn
Serves 8 to 10
You can make this tiramisu in individual portions, or as one big dessert in a large rectangular baking dish, like a lasagne dish. At the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops and the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn we use individual glasses.
3 free-range eggs, separated
3¼ oz granulated sugar
1 cup whipping cream
9 oz mascarpone cheese
½ cup Kahlua or other coffee-flavoured liqueur
1 cup espresso coffee - if you don’t have an espresso machine at home, ask your local coffee shop to make you a couple of espressos to go
24 lady finger biscuits (Recipe to follow. We make our own.)
3½ oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa), grated
Put the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat using a cake mixer or electric beaters on moderate speed for about 10 minutes, or until pale and thick. Meanwhile, whip the cream in a separate bowl, being careful not to overbeat it. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
When the egg yolk and sugar are done, add the mascarpone and beat gently with electric beaters until well combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a spatula, gently fold the whipped cream through and add ¼ cup of the Kahlua, mixing well. Fold the beaten egg white through. Pour the rest of the Kahlua and espresso into a flat dish or your parfait glass. We use juice glasses.
Spread a thin layer of the mascarpone mixture on the bottom of the dish. Dip a lady finger biscuit in the Kahlua and coffee mixture for about 4 seconds per side - you don’t want the biscuit to become soggy nor do you want the ladyfinger to be dry. Place it on top of the mascarpone mixture at one end of the dish. Repeat the process, laying the biscuits side by side until you have a layer covering the bottom of the dish.
Spoon a thick layer of the mascarpone mixture over the biscuits, then sprinkle half the grated chocolate over the top. Repeat the lady finger layer, gently pressing them onto the mixture underneath. Spread the remaining mascarpone mixture over the top and finish by sprinkling the last of the grated chocolate over.
If you are using individual parfait glasses, first put into your parfait class some of the mascarpone mixture and then a well saturated ladyfinger diskette, more marscarpone, another ladyfinger, and finish by topping off the parfait with more of the mascarpone mixture. Sprinkle with the grated chocolate as above.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
The Very Long Awaited and Coveted Rack of Lamb Recipe
I am serving this tonight. As I write this, I've actually served it. This means everyone has eaten it and loved it. This is one of the best dishes I do here at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops and Fiber Art Workshops.
I only serve 1/2 a rack. I cut a medium sized rack in half. (But first I wash it. Very important. I also French it and take off the membrane.) Season with salt and pepper. Be generous. This recipe calls for two racks cut into 4 half racks. Serves four.
After coating the lamb properly, it should look like this:
To make the pesto coating, put into a Cuisinart
1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley springs
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
6 T extra virgin olive oil (and use a good one.)
1 t finely grated lemon zest or to taste.
2-3 medium clove garlic, chopped.
2 t kosher salt
Process until chunky. This should look like a chimicurri sauce or a pesto. Then spread the coating thinly on the half racks. Do not coat heavily. Make sure every part of the lamb is coated.
For the crumb coating, put into the Cuisinart:
2 cups 1 inch cubed fresh baguette with crust. A nice crusty baguette. Don't stint.
1 1/2 oz toasted pine nuts
1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 T finely grated lemon zest
2 medium clove garlic
2 t kosher salt
1/2 t ground pepper (or to taste.)
Put the crumb onto the top of the lamb and put the lamb on a sprayed sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cook for 30 minutes. Check the temperature. Serve between 145 and 155. This should be somewhere between medium rare and medium. If you like it rarer serve at 135 but I would not serve it any rarer.
Labels: Pesto Lamb
Monday, July 29, 2013
The Even Longer Awaited Chili Recipe.
2 lb of boneless short ribs
1 lb of flank steak
2 t of Black River Creole Seasoning (or to taste.)
2 t of salt
2 t of black pepper
1 t cumin powder
1 onion per 4-8 people depending on how much you like onion. I usually go with 8.
1 garlic clove or to taste minced. I add a lot of garlic.
2 poblano peppers diced. I use 4 per 8 people. 1 chipotle chili (optional) I usually add 1 per 4 people.
16 ounces of diced tomatoes, Romas. Use canned if you like else take skin off and dice and seed.
1 t fresh lime juice
16 ounces of pinto beans, and I suggest you use the canned variety.
The first step in creating this wonderful chili is to braise the short ribs. Use as much as you want. I use quite a bit because I am feeding a crowd at a time. Figure on a half pound per person. And if you have any flank steak lying around, chunk that up as well but don't braise it. Rather, brown it separately and reserve. We'll deal with the meat later.
I braise the ribs in beef stock after seasoning both sides, pepper and salt, add the cumin to the short ribs, and putting on your favorite Creole Seasoning. I use Black River from Savory Spice Shop.
Then I pour a little oil in a pot, heat the pot and start sautéing diced onions. I use a high heat. When they start becoming transparent, add the garlic. Add the peppers. (If you want crunchy peppers in your chili, add the peppers at the same time you add the beans.) Add the tomatoes and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. dd the liquid, too, if canned.
Shred the braised short ribs and add the browned flank steak.
(As you can see in the picture, I added it right after the onions. Do that if you feel the short ribs need more cooking time.) Add the lime juice. Add half of the braising liquid. Simmer, uncovered, for another 45-60 minutes. Make sure you don't burn the chili. Add the pinto beans and cook until hot, 5-10 minutes. Add another teaspoon of Black River if you like it spicy. Serve over rice and with Irish Soda bread. (Trust me, it's great. I'll post a recipe for the Irish Soda bread.) Use Frank's hot sauce to heat it up. Also feel free to chop up and add chipotle peppers if you like it hotter.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Ma Pêche: The second half of our trip to NYC for the Fancy Food Show
I am sure you have all been waiting for is my review of Ma Pêche, a new David Chang restaurant. I have gone to Momofuku and thought it was good (click here for reviews of Momofuku, Perilla and WD-50 back in '06.) (Click here for a list of great places we have eaten. It's an old list and will need much updating.)
I liked Ma Pêche. The goats milk butter, a la carte, sold Kim on the restaurant. That and the sweetbreads. (I have no pictures of the goat's milk butter.) I had a bourbon old fashion which was nicely made but I would rather have a rye old fashion. I drink bourbon manhattans and rye old fashions. Yeah, I'm weird but that is how I was brought up.
It was like eating in a Giant Peach. Not the best color for a restaurant and the art they had up wasn't very good, conceptual or not. The service was OK but not anything spectacular. It was efficient.
Kim had the pork bao (bun) which she liked.
I started off with the baby octopus. I can't find a picture of it. Kim had the sweetbreads. I liked them so much I ordered some for myself. She had them in a dinner portion, I believe, and I had the appetizer size.
I also had the duck, which I thought was pretty good. It was so book I had eaten most of it before I remembered to take a picture.
We shared an unknown side that they gave us. I forget what this was. Can anyone help? I can't find it on the menu. Pretty good.
We had decaf lattes and espresso drinks. All in all, one of the best dining experiences we had until we got to Petrossian. Petrossian blew everyone one else out of the water. We only had lunch there.
Next up: Petrossian and the rest of the Fancy Food Show pictures. (All of these pictures were taken with my iPhone 4. The lighting was very low.)
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Breakfast at SaraBeth's: The second half of our trip to NYC for the Fancy Food Show
I've been screwing around tweeting, mostly on my twitter account, follow me (click here), and posting on my Facebook account or my Life By Chocolate Facebook page, follow us, (click here). Or you can follow Life By Chocolate on twitter (click here). Time for some strenuous blogging! Back to work fingers.
This is my third post on the Fancy Food Show. Most of my posts about food are photo driven. These posts are no exception. See, Fancy Food Show Eatathon! Our trip to Manhattan and the fun we had (click here) and then Perilla: The second half of our trip to NYC for the Fancy Food Show to catch up. Don't worry. It's mostly pictures.
As you can see, we had a wonderful breakfast at SaraBeth's. The service was terrific. I had a very nice Salmon Benedict. My only complaint was that it came out luke warm and not hot. The eggs were poached perfectly and, apart from the temperature, the food was very good.
Kim had oatmeal. She liked it but I was disappointed it wasn't steel cut. They may have had a steel cut the menu but I didn't see it and neither did Kim. So, SaraBeth, please put steel cut oatmeal on your menu. Thank you.
I read my complimentary Wall Street Journal from the Essex House and Kim people watched. (She says she was only eating her breakfast but I know better. LOL. We talked over breakfast.) The OJ was also good if a little thin but it was probably fresh squeezed. And when the server forgot to bring my bacon to the table, she made up for it by tripling the size of my order, on the house. Kim and I shared in the bounty. I can't wait to have breakfast at SaraBeth's again. (Kim says that the huge bacon bounty was a normal sized order. Now we'll have to go back to see if that's the case or if the waitress was making up for her error.)
Coming soon: Ma Pêche and Petrossian. I promise.
Monday, July 8, 2013
Perilla: The second half of our trip to NYC for the Fancy Food Show
I admit it. We had every intention of going to the Fancy Food Show for all three days. We even planned to leave NYC at 5:45 so we could spend all day on Tuesday at the FFS. But we didn't. After grazing and tasting and eating for 7 hours on the first night, Sunday, we had a different view of how we should spend our time.
We decided to explore new restaurants. I wanted to go to Perilla for one thing and one thing only, to try a new type of martini. I had my first Hendricks Martini there at Perilla and it was wonderful. I've been a convert ever since. So, I had a Greenhook Martini and I did not like it at all. I drank it to make sure but I was not a happy camper. It just wasn't my idea of good gin. I have drunk a lot of gin in my time and before Hendricks, I usually drank Boodles. But now nothing but Hendricks, please.
To be fair, before I say something I regret, I need to acknowledge that it was Sunday night. We had just had the cab ride from heck, through the Gay Pride Parade, which the concierge from the Essex House did not inform us was going to make getting to Perilla difficult at best. We were definitely under informed. If he had told us that we were heading into a massive parade, we might have postponed our trip downtown to the West Village. It all worked out anyway. Plus the parade, I love parades, was a blast. It reminded me of San Francisco's Exotic Erotic Ball, always a fun time.
Is Perilla slipping? I did not know if Harold was there but I have noticed that when he is not, the food isn't as good. Plus, as I said, Kim and I were stuffed. On the plus side, I asked them to make the appetizer portion soft shelled crab into a dinner portion and they did it. I love soft shelled crab and this was pretty good, even though it was batter dipped. I wish they'd just been lightly floured and panfried in butter or something like that. I had a nice white wine with it but forgot the name of the grape. Urp. Sorry.
And Kim had the stuffed artichokes. She thought they were good but that they were not outstanding.
I also got a very nice quinoa salad.
If you have not gone to Perilla, I would suggest it. It's a very solid restaurant. And the first time is magic. But please, Harold, change your menu. I can't wait to see what you come up with next. We didn't get any dessert that I remember but we were given these nice cookies.
More restaurant reviews coming up: Ma Pêche and Petrossian.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Fancy Food Show Eatathon! Our trip to Manhattan and the fun we had
Kim and I decided to go to the Fancy Food Show to see what the trends are. To sum up the trends, GF (Gluten Free) Food is in. Organic is waning. The last time we went to the Fancy Food Show, they had an organic pavilion. No longer. The only pavilion that was in evidence was the cheese pavilion. There was a What's Hot section but that was more of a Fancy Food Show thing than an actual trend. Who knows, perhaps they're good predictors.
The next hot trend was olive oil. Olive oil is the new wine. Or rather I should say, olive oil is the new chocolate because the last time we went to the show, chocolate was the new wine. There were not only single varietal olive oils but also single origin oils. I think I even saw single orchard oils but don't hold me to that. And speaking of chocolate, there were more retail and wholesale chocolate than ever before. Innovation was very evident. We even saw goats milk caramels, not enrobed.
When Kim and I arrived on Sunday, we checked into the Essex House, now taken over my J.W. Marriott. Sigh! At least we got Marriott points for our stay. The room was large and very nice.
Where do I start? How about we start at the beginning: The Train Station waiting for the train.
We checked in to our nice hotel room at the Essex House, now the Marriott.
Then a funny thing happened. We started talking to one of the security guards and he started talking about all the changes J.W. Marriott himself was making to the hotel. He also mentioned all the money Marriott was spending. The guard then took us on the tour of the new VIP lounges. They looked nice. We'll see once they're done if they come up to the quirky fun of the old Essex House.
After checking in we took a taxi to the Fancy Food Show and ate our way across the Javits Center. 6 1/2 or 7 hours of eating took its toll. That's a lot of eating. And it wasn't in any logical order. We did not progress from starter to main course to dessert. No! Nothing was that systematic. Even though we were systematic in our browsing of the show, what we sampled jump around. Chicken here, pork there, olive oil, a cookie, a tamal, some salsa, chips, chocolate(s), fish, Indian food, balsamic vinegar, chocolate, kefer, yogurt, olive oil.
The above were some of the more interesting products. Most were Gluten Free.
Olive Oil is the new chocolate and we all know that chocolate was the new wine. There were single varietal olive oils. Single origin, single varietal olive oils. There were even single orchard, single varietal, single origin olive oils. There were flavored olive oils. You name it; it was there.
I would say over the two days we went to the Fancy Food Show, we burnt out and didn't go the third day, I must have tasted around 100, maybe even 200, olive oils.
Gluten Free was the other trend. Everything was gluten free. Organic was absent. Vegan was too, regretfully.
Packaging was also very evident. And I must point out that there were more chocolate retailers and wholesalers than ever before.
I also took pictures of all the loot that was given to use over the course of the long weekend. (It actually started on Sunday and we left for home on Tuesday.) The first picture is Kim's Loot and the second is mine.
My next post will be on all the restaurants we ate at, including Petrossian, Birraria, Ma Pêche, and SaraBeth's. You may now start being jealous.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
The Long Awaited Chicken Jambalaya recipe
This is the recipe I use at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops and the Fiber Art Workshops at the Greenville Arms. Unfortunately, it's for 12-20 people. I'll give you the 12 people version, which also feeds my staff of 5. So, hang on to your hats. It's time to dust off your Creole Cookin'. A note. I make a Creole version of Chicken Jambalaya not a Cajun version. It's spicy but not hot.3 wogs (These are small 3 pound chickens. WOG stands for With Out Giblets.)
3 yellow unions finely chopped. I like a small to medium dice, not a mince.
6 chicken sausage, sliced. Use your favorite.
1 chicken kielbasa,sliced. Believe it or not, you can buy it in the grocery store.
4 poblano peppers, medium dice. These are sweet.
1-2T Black River Creole Seasoning. Depends on taste.
3 cups of long-grain white rice.
1-4 T minced garlic. Depends on taste.
3T chopped fresh thyme
4 dried bay leaves
2 bunches of celery. If you like celery make that 3. I slice the celery thin but not too thin. About 1/2 inch.
4 carrots chopped, small dice
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 bunch asparagus, chopped small
Serve this with Frank's Hot Sauce. One of my favorites.
Season chickens. (Salt and black pepper.) First roast chickens at 375F until internal temperature is 155. Do not worry if the chicken looks undercooked because we'll be cooking it more in the Jambalaya.
Pick the meat clean from the bones of the chicken and use the carcass and leftover parts to make stock. Making stock does not have to be hard. You put in 2 carrots, cleaned and chopped, 4 pieces of celery, chopped, 2 chopped onions, and the chicken bones. Cover with water. Put on stove at medium heat and simmer for one after after the water comes to a boil. Use a big stock pot. I use a 20 quart stock pot. Strain the stock when it is done. Taste and then season. (Salt and Black Pepper. Remember, when a chef says season, he means only salt and pepper.)
To a large flat pot, mine is about 3-4 feet across, add the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté for five minutes, stirring.