Sunday, November 16, 2008
Barked Up the Right Tree: Recipe
Today was one of those lazy Sundays. You know, the days you sit around eating as much as possible without getting off the couch? But all the parents out there know full well that those days don't really exist once you have little people to look after. So today I spent my day playing and cooking.
I set out to cook up a storm - and I did - but some of us have flops every once in a while and that includes me. I made a pumpkin soup today using a recipe in Bon Appetit magazine. It was horrible!!! And you know? I knew better. The soup called for 2 cans of pumpkin and some half and half and a few spices. OK, off to a good start...but it also called for water. As I poured in the water I recognized that it was a great deal of it. So I wound up with - what else? Pumpkin-water. It was nasty. Right down the drain. YUCK! Lovely waste of time, effort and food.
Then I went on to make peppermint bark. This is a treat I have seen in tons of holiday shopping catalogues and I've actually never eaten it before but I love mint and chocolate together so I imagined it tasted great. Well something made me conjure up a recipe and voila! It worked. I was thrilled and to be honest, I'd love to eat the whole thing myself. The kids hung around me like vultures waiting for me to drop pieces as I cut it up. It looks pretty and it is a snap to make. If you need a nice looking gift to bring to someone's house this season and you're short on time - make this. It's wonderfully refreshing and deliciously rich. And if you put it into a pretty tin or a nice box it will be a huge hit.
The kids and I, together, made "Rice Krispies Treats." My children have never had them before and one taste and they were smitten. They loved them - who wouldn't? If you haven't made these in a long time for your family...make them! Homemade treats are great. The kids were bowled-over and they wanted to eat them by the fist full!
I topped off the day by making a chicken dinner that required a great deal of chopping and you know what? It wasn't nearly as good as it promised to be - and I even doctored the recipe to enhance the flavor (I reduced the amount of chicken broth by 1 cup and increased the white wine; I added leeks and sweet potato, etc.). It just wasn't as good as I thought it would be. So I will leave that recipe off the blog.
To be truthful, these days happen. I have tons of photos of good looking food that didn't live up to its potential - photos I intended to upload, along with the recipe, here on this site. But after tasting the dish I realized it just wasn't worthy of a blog entry - maybe the spice wasn't perfect or maybe it didn't look as good as it tasted or maybe, like today's pumpkin soup, it was just terrible. Regardless, today I embarked upon four projects and came away with a clear winner to share with you. Enjoy.
12 oz. 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, broken up
12 oz. White Chocolate, broken up
6 Tbsp. heavy cream, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp. Vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. Pure Peppermint extract
10 red and white striped hard peppermint candies, smashed
Spray an 8"x8" square utility pan with non-flavored cooking spray and set aside. In a double boiler, melt bittersweet chocolate along with vanilla and 3 Tbsp. heavy cream until smooth. Pour into the pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash and dry double boiler and again place clean top portion over simmering water. Fill with broken white chocolate, peppermint extract and 3 Tbsp. heavy cream. Stir until creamy and smooth. Remove pan from freezer and top chocolate with white chocolate. Spread evenly with spatula. Pour broken candy over the top and smooth into the white chocolate with spatula. Place in the freezer for about an hour and a half.
With a sharp knife, pierce the chocolate square and remove (in one piece) from the pan and place onto a cutting board. Cut into haphazard pieces. Keep refrigerated until ready to use and allow bark to come to slightly cooler than room temp before serving.