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Archive for March 9, 2014

ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPE: Guinness Chocolate Mousse & Truffles


Chocolate mousse with Guinness. Photo
courtesy Guinness Storehouse.


When you’re Justin O’Connor, executive chef at Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, you work Guinness stout into every recipe, from Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes to soup.

Guinness, which has chocolaty notes, is a great match with chocolate desserts. Whip one up for St. Patrick’s Day, and serve it with a small glass of Guinness.


Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 10 egg whites, whisked
  • 1½ cups dark chocolate
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • ½ cup Guinness Draught
  • Optional topping: whipped cream (try these five
    spice or salted caramel whipped cream recipes)
  • Garnish: fresh raspberries or other seasonal berries


    1. MELT the dark chocolate and butter in a bain-marie and add in the Guinness.

    2. BEAT the egg yolks and superfine sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the melted chocolate mixture in with egg yolks and slowly fold in the whisked egg whites until everything is smooth.

    3. TRANSFER the mousse to serving dishes and chill. Serve with fresh raspberries or other seasonal berries.



    Ingredients For 25 Truffles

  • 4-1/3 cups dark chocolate in small chunks
  • 1-2/3 cups cream
  • ½ cup Guinness
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Dessicated coconut (a.k.a. coconut powder), cocoa powder or powdered subgar


    1. COMBINE the cream and Guinness to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the chocolate and grated orange zest. Mix together until the chocolate is fully melted; then leave the chocolate mix until it is cool to the touch, but not set.

    2. TAKE generous teaspoons of the mixture and roll in your hands to form small round truffles. Dust in cocoa powder or coconut powder. Allow to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.



    Chocolate truffles with Guinness. Photo courtesy Guinness Storehouse.



    Check out this chocolate stout float.


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    PRODUCT: Modern Oats


    A better breakfast option than many, but still
    high in sugar. Photo courtesy Modern Oats.


    Modern Oats is a packaging concept that puts oatmeal in a grab-and-go mode.

    All you have to do is add hot water to cover the oats in the coated paper container, put the lid back on, wait 10 minutes and enjoy. No microwave is required, and the colorful packaging gives a boost to starting the day.

    The rolled oats are grown by family farmers in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. They are minimally processed by steaming and flaking; you look into the carton and see what looks like “real oats,” instead of the small particles familiar to consumers of instant oatmeal. The oat flakes provide a textural differences that deliver a more solid bite (and, the company says, optimal absorption of nutrients).

    Modern Oats are produced in a 100% gluten free facility and are certified GF, Non-GMO, Halal, Kosher, Vegan and 100% Whole Grain. (Whew: There’s no more room left on the carton for any more certifications).

    Oats are naturally gluten free*, and are the only major grain proven to help blood cholesterol†.


    The containers were initially intended to be sold in coffee shops and other convenience locations, for a suggested retail of of $3.25 per cup. The brand’s parent company, Innovative Beverage Concepts Inc., develops products for cafés.

    While retail prices vary widely, we were surprised at the cost to buy them online:

  • On, a 12-pack is $44.00, or $3.67 per unit; in (individual flavors or a variety pack.
  • You can buy six-packs on the Modern Oats website for $21.00, or $3.50 per unit.
    Depending on how much you typically spend on breakfast, it could be a wash, a bargain or a convenience premium that’s worth it for the fiber grain infusion (one serving delivers 28% of the recommended Daily Value of whole grains).

    Or, you could cook up a weekly batch of steel-cut oats every Sunday, bring the portion to work and heat in the office microwave. If you enjoy your oats without sugar or with a noncaloric sweetener, you can also save the not-insignificant sugar calories in the various flavors:

  • Apple Walnut: 310 calories, 17g sugar
  • Chocolate Cherry: 310 calories, 20 g sugar, 9g protein, 7g fiber
  • 5 Berry: 250 calories, 46g sugar, 9g protein, 7g fiber
  • Goji Blueberry: 310 calories, 18g sugar, 9g protein, 8g fiber
  • Mango Blackberry: 300 calories, 20g sugar, 9g protein, 7g fiber
  • Nuts & Seeds: 280 calories, 14g sugar, 8g protein, 6g fiber
    But, there’s just as much—if not more—sugar in many of the foods we pick up for breakfast. Interestingly, a Pop Tart, though empty calories, has fewer calories and the same amount of sugar.

    And if you think you’re not getting sugar in that bagel and cream cheese, check again. According to Self nutrition data, a small plain bagel, half to one-third the size of today’s supersized bagels, has 6g of sugar.

    Is a cup of Modern Oats better than grabbing a bagel or a pastry? Absolutely!
    *In the milling and processing process, oats are susceptible to cross-contamination; so that not all oatmeal and other oat products are gluten free. /font>

    †Eating three grams of soluble fiber from oats each day, as part of a diet that’s low in fat and cholesterol, has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. This may reduce the risk of heart disease.


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    RECIPE: Warm Spinach Mascarpone Dip

    Among our Eatin’ O’ The Green recipes for St. Patrick’s Day, this warm spinach dish is very popular. Who doesn’t love a spinach dip, with its glimmer of healthful green spinach blended into a creamy (and not so healthful) base?

    This recipe, from Vermont Creamery,is made even richer with mascarpone.

    It’s delicious as a kick-back snack with Irish beer; or with wine and savory cocktails like the Martini.



  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 16 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Dippers: baguette slices, crackers, pita chips, toasts


    Warm and creamy, it’s Popeye’s favorite dip. Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.



    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. COOK the onion with olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, until translucent.

    3. ADD frozen spinach and heat until spinach is hot but still green. Add mascarpone, salt, pepper, cayenne, Parmesan cheese and stir. Pour the mixture into a small casserole or baking dish.

    4. BAKE for 30 minutes until bubbling around the edges. Serve warm with pita chips or a sliced baguette. Or add a note of healthfulness with raw veggies (crudités).


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Marzipan Cupcake Decorations

    Just in time for St. Pat’s. Photo © Sprinkles


    Marzipan as a cake decoration goes back hundreds of years. It was so popular as a confection, it was used for centuries in Europe to cover wedding cakes, or to create the decorations that topped conventional frostings.

    But times change, and there’s less marzipan decor these days. It’s time to go old school and decorate with marzipan.

    Marzipan, or almond paste, is a confection made from almond meal (ground almonds) plus a sweetener: sugar or honey. It is sold plain, enrobed in chocolate, and fashioned into fanciful animals, fruits, mushrooms and other delights.

    Some historians believe that the confection originated in China; others in Arabia. These are not contradictory: Arab traders brought many items back from China around the 8th century C.E., including pasta!

    With St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day on the horizon, consider using marzipan to decorate your cakes and cupcakes.


    Marzipan can be tinted any color and cut or molded into any shape. In fact, if your crew enjoys the culinary arts, have a marzipan decorating party for Easter instead of decorating Easter eggs; or host a decorate-your-own Mother’s Day cupcake party. Cut out red, white and blue stars for Independence Day.

    Here’s a video from Martha Stewart on how to decorate with marzipan.

    Get out the mini cookie cutters and other tools. Make palm trees for summer, create your dog in marzipan, even try a bust of mom or dad. It’s fun and very delicious.

    And maybe it’ll keep the kids entertained for an hour or two.


    For Mom. Photo © Sprinkles Cupcakes.



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