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Archive for March 18, 2016

EASTER CANDY: Easter Chocolate From Our Favorite Chocolatiers

You can’t enter a food or drug store without facing down all the chocolate Easter bunnies and other candy. Thank you very much, but when we eat chocolate, it’s got to be really good chocolate.

Here’s a sample of what are favorite chocolatiers are featuring this Easter. The candies are all natural (no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives) and handmade in small batches. All are beautifully packaged. Each company has other Easter choices as well.

Since they don’t contain preservatives, artisan chocolates should be eaten within 10 days of receipt. (That’s not a tall order!)

BURDICK CHOCOLATE:
SIGNATURE BUNNY BOX

This keepsake wooden box contains our favorite Burdick Easter candies, embellished with a gold wax seal and a beautiful ribbon. It includes:

  • Five hand-piped White Chocolate Bunnies with an orange-flavored hazelnut chocolate interior and almond ears
  • Two sets of Marzipan Eggs
  • Two sets of Chocolate Truffles
  •  
    The Signature Bunny Box is $26.00 at BurdickChocolate.com.
     
    CHARLES CHOCOLATES:
    EDIBLE CHOCOLATE BOX OF BONBONS

    A signature item at Charles Chocolates, the Easter Edible Chocolate Box has a white chocolate lid with a smiling Easter bunny. The bottom of the box is dark chocolate. Yes, it’s 100% edible.

    Inside the box are the chocolatier’s chocolate-enrobed caramels—Classic Fleur de Sel and Bittersweet Chocolate Fleur de Sel Caramels—with chick and bunny designs. The total weight of the box and contents is 17 ounces.

    The Easter Collection Edible Chocolate Box is $65.00 at CharlesChocolates.com.

     
    JOHN & KIRA’S:
    CHOCOLATE COTTONTAILS

    You’ll have to provide your own grass, because these adorable Chocolate Cottontails arrive in a charming keepsake box made of heavy pink paper. The label is removable so the box can be repurposed as you like.

    Three of the Cottontails are filled with peanut butter praline, three with coconut ganache and three with salted honey caramel. The outer shell is white chocolate, with a dark chocolate shell underneath.

    The box of 9 bonbons is $29.95 JohnandKiras.com.

       

    Gourmet Easter Chocolate Assortment

    Gourmet Easter Chocolate

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/2016 chocolate cottontails johnkira 230s

    Top: Signature Bunny Box from Burdick Chocolate. Center: Edible Chocolate Box from Charles Chocolates. Bottom: Chocolate Cottontails from John&Kira’s.

     

    Recchiuti Easter Eggs

    Gourmet Chocolate Easter Eggs

    Z Chocolat Easter Candy

    Top: Recchiuti’s Easter Eggs are filled with burnt caramel and chocolate ganache. Center: Speckled Robin’s Eggs from Woodhouse Chocolate are filled with brown butter ganache. Bottom: Classic French pralines in a mahogany box from Z Chocolat.

     

    RECCHIUTI CHOCOLATE:
    CARAMEL & CHOCOLATE EASTER EGGS

    This special box of chocolate Easter eggs divides the treasure between Recchiuti’s beloved Burnt Caramel in milk chocolate shells and his Force Noir Ganache (dark chocolate laced with vanilla) in dark chocolate shells.

    The Combo Egg Box, 28 pieces (10.75 ounces of chocolate), is $45.00 at Recchiuti.com. Note that the eggs are halves (the backs are flat).
     
    WOODHOUSE CHOCOLATE:
    SPECKLED BROWN BUTTER GANACHE CHOCOLATE EGGS

    These beautiful Speckled Robin’s Eggs are delicately hand colored in pastels and filled with Woodhouse’s signature Brown Butter Ganache. The box can be given as is, or added to an Easter basket.

    A box of six pastel eggs is $15 at WoodhouseChocolate.com.

     
    Z CHOCOLAT:
    EASTER PRALINES

    How about an elegant gift sent directly from France? Virtually no one will have received such a special box of chocolate.

    Z Chocolat, known for its elegant packaging, offers its Easter pralines—miniature chicks, bunnies, and other critters—in stunning black boxes.

    But even more stunning are the two fine wood boxes: the Easter Diamond box, handcrafted mahogany that’s embellished with an artistic egg motif and a gold metal latch; and the white basswood box.

    No matter which box you choose, it’s filled with pralines and solid chocolates in dark, milk and white.

  • The Easter Diamond (Mahogany) Box is $189.48 for 76 pralines.
  • The Easter Sunshine (Basswood) Box is $148.87 for 52 pralines.
  • Three sizes of heavy black paper boxes are $39.47 for 26 pralines to $136.46 for 62 pralines.
  •  
    Prices were converted to dollars from Euros at a $1.13/euro conversion rate.

    Head to ZChocolat.com.

     

      

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    EASTER: Speckled Egg Malted Milk Cake

    Easter is early this year: just 10 days after St. Patrick’s Day, on March 27th. This year we’re passing on our beloved coconut-covered lamb cake in favor of this elegant caker. Who knows: Next year, maybe we’ll make one of each.

     
    RECIPE: SPECKLED EGG MALTED MILK CAKE FOR EASTER

    Wow guests with this impressive cake inspired by malted milk candy eggs. It was developed by Heather Baird for Betty Crocker.

    Prep time is 40 minutes, baking, frosting and assembly time is 2 hours. You’ll also need a new, stiff-bristle paint brush to “fling” the chocolate speckles. (It’s fun!)
     
    Ingredients For 10 Servings

    For The Cake

  • 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup malted milk powder
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  •  
    For The Frosting

  • 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash salt
  • Liquid blue food color
  •  
    For The Speckling Chocolate

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  •  
    For The Phyllo Nest

  • 1/3 cup kataifi* (kah-TAY-fie, shredded phyllo dough)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 speckled candy-coated malted milk egg candies
  •  

    speckled-egg-malted-milk-cake-2-230

    Athens Foods Kataifi

    Top: An Easter cake delight by Heather Baird for Betty Crocker (photo courtesy Betty Crocker). Bottom: Make the nest with kataifi, shredded phyllo dough (photo courtesy Athens Foods).

     
    ________________________
    *Shredded phyllo (fillo) dough, kataifi, looks like shredded wheat. In addition to Greek pastries, it is often used to make edible bird nests. Look for it in a Greek or Mediterranean market or wherever Athens Foods products are sold; or buy it online.

     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; set aside.

    2. WHISK together in large bowl the cake mix and malted milk powder. Add the remaining cake ingredients; beat with electric mixer on low speed until well combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans.

    3. BAKE for 22 to 28 minutes or until the layers spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool the cakes in the pans on cooling racks for 5 minutes. Turn the layers out onto cooling racks and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Level the cakes using a large serrated knife or cake leveler, as needed.

    4. MAKE the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt and beat 1 minute longer. Add the blue food color, 1 drop at a time, beating until a light blue color is achieved.

    5. FILL and and frost the cooled layers. Refrigerate the frosted cake 1 hour or until the frosting is dry to the touch.

    6. MIX the baking cocoa and vanilla in small condiment bowl. Load a new (unused) stiff-bristle paint brush with the cocoa mixture. Using your fingers, flick the loaded brush bristles toward cake, creating a splatter pattern. Re-load the brush and cover the entire cake with chocolate speckles. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.

    7. MAKE the phyllo nest: Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter 1 muffin cup in regular-size muffin pan. Tear off 1/3 cup portion of kataifi and place it in the muffin cup in a circular nest shape. Gently brush the phyllo nest with melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes or until the phyllo is golden brown around the edges. Gently remove the nest with a fork; cool on a cooling rack.

    8. ATTACH the cooled nest to the cake with a dot of frosting. Place the 3 speckled egg candies inside nest. To serve, bring the cake to room temperature. Store the cake loosely covered with plastic wrap.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Horseradish Sauce

    Pork With Horseradish Sauce

    Salmon & Horseradish Sauce

    Steak & Horseradish Sauce

    Fresh Horseradish Roots

    Horseradish Root

    Horseradish sauce on: (1) roast pork sandwich (from National Pork Board), (2) poached salmon with dill-horseradish sauce (Sysco), (3) steak salad (Good Eggs); (4) horseradish root, freshly dug (North Fork Horseradish Festival) and (5) horseradish root as it often looks in the market (Markon.com).

     

    In the U.K., horseradish sauce has long been paired with roast beef. But its zinginess enhances other beef preparations from filet mignon to steak, brisket and corned beef; other meat dishes (pork, lamb, smoked chicken) including sandwiches; assertive seafood like mackerel, salmon and smoked fish; even veggies.

    To make horseradish sauce, you can use a base of sour cream or heavy cream, or substitute fat-free Greek yogurt. Made with fat-free yogurt, it’s a low-calorie sauce.

    You can add other flavor accents, from capers to herbs to Dijon mustard to lemon zest, all with negligible caloric impact.

    The sauce can be made in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

     
    RECIPE #1: HORSERADISH SAUCE WITH HERBED WHIPPED CREAM

    Ingredients

  • 1 horseradish root, peeled
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • White wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herb: chervil, dill, parsley or chervil (or capers or lemon zest)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. GRATE the horseradish root finely with a microplane into a small bowl. Mix it with a splash of white wine vinegar to prevent browning.

    2. WHIP the cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the whipped cream with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix in the herb as desired.

    3. PLACE in the fridge for 2-4 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

     
    RECIPE #2: HORSERADISH SAUCE WITH DIJON SOUR CREAM

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup grated fresh horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or grainy mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. GRATE the horseradish root finely with a microplane into a small bowl. Mix it with a splash of white wine vinegar to prevent browning.

    2. PLACE all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smooth and creamy.

    3. PLACE in the fridge for 2-4 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
     
    WHAT IS HORSERADISH?

    Believed to be native to southeastern Europe and western Asia, horseradish has been cultivated for some 3,000 years, prized for its culinary uses as well as for homeopathy.

    A pungent root, horseradish is a perennial plant in the Brassicaceae family* of cruciferous vegetables, known for their antioxidant, cancer-fighting properties. It is a root vegetable that is used as a spice.

     
    Like mustard, the raw plant is not pungent. The heat and aroma only appear when the appropriate part of the plant is crushed (mustard seeds), cut or grated (horseradish root), creating a chemical reaction. Once exposed to air or heat, the pungency begins to erode. Prepared horseradish is grated root that adds vinegar to preserve the pungency (and needs to be refrigerated).
     
    Why is it a “horse” radish?

    In German, the root is called meerrettich, sea radish, because it grows by the sea. It is believed that the English mispronounced the German word “meer” as “mare,” and began calling it mare radish, which evolved to horseradish. “Radish” comes from the Latin radix, meaning root.

    While horseradish and conventional radishes are both members of the Brassicacae family (“Brassica” in English), they are from different geniuses. The horseradish genus and species is Amoracia rustincana, and the radish is Raphanus sativus.

    During the Renaissance, horseradish consumption spread northward from Central Europe to England and Scandinavia. While it was used medicinally, it wasn’t until 1640 that the British began to eat horseradish, and then only by the rural people who grew it.

    But by the late 1600s, horseradish had become the standard English accompaniment for both beef and oysters. The English, in fact, grew the pungent root at inns and coach stations, to make cordials to revive exhausted travelers.

    Early settlers to the American Colonies brought horseradish to cultivate. It was common in the northeast by 1806.

    In the U.S., commercial cultivation began in the mid 1850s, when immigrants started horseradish farms in the Midwest. After World War II, horseradish was planted commercially in Northern California and other areas in the country. Today, approximately 6 million gallons of prepared horseradish are produced annually in the U.S., with a much smaller amount of fresh root sales.

    While the root gets all the press, horseradish leaves are also edible: raw or cooked, in pestos, salads, sautés and stir fries. They have a sharp, bitter, peppery taste similar to arugula and kale, their Brassica cousins.

    Horseradish.org, which supplied some of this information, has dozens of horseradish-related recipes from the expected (dips and sauces) to the intriguing (cream of horseradish soup with peas and bacon).

    Two of our favorite recipes are horseradish compound butter for steak, and horseradish mashed potatoes.
     
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    *The Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables, called Brassicaceae in the Latin-based taxonomy system, includes bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, horseradish/wasabi, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes and turnips, among others.

      

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