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Monday, December 23, 2013

Last minute Food gifts

Every year, I make a food gift for the holidays to give to my friends at work as well as it is nice to give as a hostess gift for parties this time of year.  This year I made 2 different things and they both ended up being delicious!  There is something delightfully decadent about chocolate and I often make chocolate goodies for the holidays.  This year I decided that I would make chocolate truffles and vegan chocolate coconut fudge.

The chocolate truffles are so easy and people are usually very happy to receive them.  A chocolate ganache, chocolate and cream with or without flavoring and rolled in cocoa.  It's candy making made easy.

The vegan chocolate coconut fudge was a bit more involved but mostly it was just measuring and melting the coconut oil in a pot.  I reduced the amount of maple syrup in the recipe in half and I found that it was still very sweet fudge.  Perhaps, it's because I often find regular fudge to be cloyingly sweet that I reduced it so much.  The strange thing about this recipe is that it said to pour the mixture in a dish but it did not specify what size.  From looking at the mixture in the pan, I decided that a small loaf pan, 3 by 5 by 3 inch was the perfect size for fudge that was a great size for cutting into cubes.  The original recipe called for walnuts, but I wanted to keep my fudge unadulterated.  If you prefer, add nuts or she suggested that you may also like to try dried fruit.   I found that when I started to cut the fudge it crumbled fairly easily.  I think a little more time in the fridge might have helped keep it more firm.

Chocolate Truffles adapted from Ina Garten's Chocolate Truffles recipe
1 cup Heavy cream
1 pound Bittersweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Chop chocolate finely with a sharp knife and place in a bowl.

Heat cream in a small saucepan until it just boils.  Pour cream through a strainer into the bowl of chocolate.  Whisk mixture together until the chocolate is completely melted.  Whisk in vanilla extract.  Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

Scoop out teaspoonsful of the chocolate mixture into a bowl full of cocoa and shake the bowl until the truffles are coated in a fine layer with the cocoa.
The gifts all wrapped up!

Vegan Coconut Chocolate Fudge  adapted from the Culinary Life blog
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Maple syrup
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Melt ingredients gently in a pan and pour into plastic lined small loaf pan and allow to cool.

The results:
The chocolate truffles were intensely chocolately.  A few truffles for a gift is enough, as it is quite rich.  I would definitely make these again!  Maybe next time I'll add frangelico and roll in chopped hazelnuts, which I saw Ina make the other day.

The fudge was surprisingly sweeter than I expected considering my reduction in maple syrup.  I think there is something about the coconut oil which inherently tastes sweet as is.  The fudge was delightful, but I might even go further and reduce the maple syrup.

Link to the original Ina Garten Chocolate Truffle recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/chocolate-truffles-recipe2/index.html


Link to the original Vegan Fudge recipe:
http://www.theculinarylife.com/2008/perfect-raw-chocolate-fudge/
http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2013/12/edible-holiday-gift-special-vegan.html

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Recipes I've Tried But Haven't posted

I made these Chicken Drumsticks a while ago from a Nigella Lawson recipe Buttermilk chicken.  I dipped them in crushed corn flakes after marinating the chicken and baked it.  It was delicious.  The subtle sweet maple syrup flavor and the spices were wonderful.

 Here is the link to the recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/buttermilk-roast-chicken-recipe/index.html


I watched Giada de Laurentis make a calamari salad for one of her family's Christmas dinners.  It has tomatoes, garlic, and a lemon caper sauce that goes on top.  Calamari didn't look good when I went to the store the other day so I ended up with snapper.  I added some baby spinach, baby kale and baby chard to the mix for more nutrition.  It was very good.  I kind of flew by the seat of my pants on this one.  Just from watching the show.  Giada's was more of a salad.  My dish was a hot entree.  I served it over whole wheat spaghetti.

Here is the link to the official recipe:  Again I did this from memory when I actually made it.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/calamari-tomato-and-caper-salad-recipe/index.html

How did I do?

Well, I survived the Thanksgiving meal.  Everything was delicious, but there were a few meltdowns from me.  :)  Oh well.  Only a few people saw those moments.  Thankfully.

I was not able to make everything.  I needed some help and help was given.

Here is a photo of the feast!
Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Garlic-y Greens, Cranberry Pecan Stuffing (Dressing), Roasted Pearl Onions, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Cranberry Sauce and Homemade Rolls.

Two Pumpkin Pies and an Apple Pie

I went kind of above and beyond my usual tree that I put on the apple pie and made a beautiful tree this time.