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Archive for February 2, 2014

VALENTINE GIFTS: Fun Stuff From Jacques Torres

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The “Do Not Disturb” sign is chocolate! Photo
courtesy Jacques Torres.

 

Valentine’s Day chocolate isn’t limited to the romance of Champagne truffles and chocolate hearts. Some chocolatiers have fun with it.

“Mr. Chocolate,” Jacques Torres, is one who creates the fun stuff along with the classics.

First up, a chocolate “Do Not Disturb” sign. Why would anyone want to disturb you when they could just eat the sign off the door?

It’s $10.00 at MrChocolate.com.

Puzzled over what to get a friend? This I Love U Puzzle may be a no-brainer, but it’s also a palate pleaser.

It’s $11.00.

There’s more on the menu:

  • Milk- and dark-chocolate covered espresso beans, a treat for coffee lovers (photo), $12.
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  • Milk chocolate Champagne corks, filled with chocolate ganache made with Taittinger Champagne, $20.
  • Kiss & Tell, a chocolate kissing game: Champagne-infused square bonbons have a lipstick kiss motif. Each time you remove one from the box, a message underneath tells you where (or how) you have to kiss your companion (check it out), $36.
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    And if these don’t float your [swan] boat, there are conventional ideas from pretty boxed chocolates in red heart-shaped boxes to chocolate boxes—heart-shaped boxes of molded chocolate.

     

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    Puzzled over Valentine gifts? Here’s a solution. Photo courtesy Jacques Torres.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 28 Fondue Recipes For National Fondue Month

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    Dip anything you like, including chicken
    cubes. Photo courtesy DairyMax.

     

    February is National Fondue Month, a fitting dish for Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day and the other 26 days of February. There are 28 recipes are below.

    For an overview of fondue, how to cook it and what to dip into it, the history of fondue and more, check out our main cheese fondue article. Head here for chocolate fondue.
     
    CHEESE FONDUE RECIPES

  • Apple Lovers Fondue: Blend 1 cup apple chutney (or to taste) to Cheddar, fondue.
  • Americana Fondue: Melt Vermont Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Maytag Blue cheeses with white wine.
  • Bar Boy Fondue: Melt Cheddar cheese and beer. Be sure to have pretzels and sausage to dip.
  • Blue Fondue: Melt Gruyère, Emmenthaler and Gorgonzola with white wine. Use Roquefort instead of Gorgonzola for stronger blue cheese flavor. If you’re an uber-blue fan, you can use Emmenthaler, Gorgonzola and Roquefort instead of the Gruyère.
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  • California Fondue: goat cheese, Gruyère or other Swiss-style cheese, sundried tomatoes, black olives and fennel pollen.
  • Caraway Fondue: Melt white Cheddar and American muenster with white wine. Season with caraway seeds.
  • Classic Fondue: Melt Gruyère and Emmenthaler with white wine and Kirschwasser (cherry brandy). Season with a garlic clove.
  • Cheddar Fondue: Melt aged sharp Cheddar and Emmenthaler cheeses with beer. Season with fresh black pepper a garlic clove. Be sure to serve fruit along with other dippers.
  • Croque Monsieur: Croque monsieur is a classic French sandwich of ham and Gruyère, grilled to toasty perfection. Add a small dice of ham to Gruyère fondue and toast the bread cubes.
  • Dutch Fondue: While not a true Kaas Doop (there’s no milk to dilute the strength of the cheese), melt Gouda with some beer and brandy, juggling the proportions of the alcohols to your preference. Season with fresh-grated nutmeg.
  • Exotic Fondue: This fondue is made from the exotic-flavored cheese of your choice. It could be Rogue Creamery’s Chocolate Stout Cheddar, the Cheddar With Thai Curry from Coombe Castle of England, or your favorite truffle cheese.
  • Goat Cheese Fondue: Melt goat Cheddar and Jack cheeses with white wine. Season with chopped Portabella mushrooms. (Several companies make goat Cheddar; at least one, Meyenberg, makes several different types of goat Jack.)
  • Italian Fondue: Melt Fontina and Taleggio cheeses. Mix in 1 cup of crushed tomatoes (canned or aseptic boxed tomatoes are better than fresh tomatoes for this recipe). Season with chopped fresh basil and garlic.
  • Nacho Fondue: Mix a cup of salsa (or to taste) with a blend of Cheddar and Gruyère. Anything from mild to hot salsa will do; peach salsa adds sweetness. If you like the heat, add diced jalapeños; and of course, add tortilla chips to the dippers.
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  • Onion Lovers Fondue: Stir a cup of caramelized onions into classic Gruyère fondue. Add green onions to the mix of vegetable dippers.
  • Pesto Fondue: Melt Gruyère and Emmenthaler cheeses with white wine. Season with basil pesto (or, if you’re adventurous, one of the numerous flavored pestos from our Best Pestos article).
  • Philly Cheesecake Fondue: Add diced cubes of steak to a Cheddar fondue.
  • Port & Stilton Fondue: These British classics combine, along with chunks of pear; white Port substitutes for conventional white wine. For a crunchy touch, use raw pear; for a softer touch, lightly poach the pear.
  • Pungent Fondue: Use your favorite “stinky cheese.” You can start with a highly aromatic but mild cheese like Taleggio.
  • Raclette: Raclette is a Swiss cheese conventionally served shaved from the wheel, on a plate with bread, cornichons and pickled onions. You can also melt it in a fondue pot and serve it with its traditional garnishes.
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    Classic fondue. Photo courtesy Emmi Roth USA.

  • Royal Fondue: Blend Gruyère, Emmenthaler, Brie and Roquefort with white wine. This “royal” blend features the “king” and “queen” of cheeses, Roquefort and Brie. Season with a garlic clove and some lemon juice.
  • Shepherd’s Fondue: Melt your favorite sheep’s milk cheese (we use Roncal) with some fresh herbs.
  • “South of the Border” Fondue: You have a few options here. (a) Aged Sharp Cheddar and Emmenthaler cheeses with salsa (a cooked, shelf stable salsa is better than a watery fresh salsa—read the difference). (b) For more chile heat, blend Aged Sharp Cheddar and Emmenthaler cheeses with your choice of chopped ancho, jalapeño or smoky chipotle chiles). (c) For built-in heat, melt Cabot’s Chipotle Cheddar or Habanero Cheddar cheese, or other chile-based cheese. Use beer as your cooking liquid in all recipes. See our Chile Glossary for information about the different types of chiles.
  • Smoky Fondue: Melt smoked Cheddar with beer. Serve with smoked chicken, smoked sausage, steamed vegetables and pretzels.
  • Spanish Fondue: Melt Manchego cheese with sherry.
  • Swiss Cheese Fondue: Gruyère and Emmenthaler cheeses with a dry white wine base. Garlic, Kirschwasser and an array of other spices.
  • Triple Crème Fondue: Blend a triple crème Brie, St. André or Explorateur cheese and Gorgonzola Dolce, a sweeter, creamier version of mountain Gorgonzola. If you don’t like Gorgonzola, make a Brie and St. André or Explorateur blend and be prepared to go over the top. Drinking Champagne or other sparkling wine may help take the edge off. Fruit, bread and more delicate dippers pair better with this recipe than do heavier items like sausage.
  • Wild Mushroom Fondue: Blend Gruyère and Emmenthaler with chopped, sautéed morels, porcinis or other wild mushrooms (see our Mushroom Glossary).
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    COMING TOMORROW: Dessert Fondue

      

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    VALENTINE GIFT: Chubby Wubby Cookies

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    Raspberry Chubby Wubby cookies. Photo
    courtesy Cake Chicago.

     

    Gifted cake maker Mary Winslow of Cake Chicago also turns out “Damn Good Cookies” and “Ugly Truffles.” Everything is primo quality and delicious.

    Mary calls her chocolates and cookies “laid back luxury sweets.” The wedding cakes are anything but laid back: both classic and modern designs. If you like looking at wedding cakes, there are dozens in the photo gallery. We picked up a few ideas.

    But before you pop the question (or are the popee), send someone some Chubby Wubby for Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing Valentinesque about them, but anyone who’d rather have chocolate cookies than chocolate candy will be thrilled.

    For gluten sensitive Valentines, there’s a gluten-free version (along with gluten-free brownies and chocolate chip cookies).

     

    Chubby Wubby sandwich cookies are soft, rich, chubby chocolate cookies—about two bites worth—studded with chocolate chips. The sandwich layer flavors are universal favorites:

  • Chubby Wubby Chocolate Cookie—gluten free
  • Chubby Wubby Hazelnut Cream Cookie
  • Chubby Wubby Mint Cookie
  • Chubby Wubby Caramel Cookie
  • Chubby Wubby Peanut Butter Cookie
  • Chubby Wubby Raspberry Cookie
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    A 12-piece box is $25, a 16-piece box $34. Get yours at Cake-Chicago.com.

     

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    Peanut butter Chubby Wubbies: a new way to enjoy chocolate and PB. Photo courtesy Cake Chicago.

     

      

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