Category Archives: Eats

Chocolate Amaretto Truffles and Men Trying on Valentine’s Lingerie

Happy Valentine‘s Day!

 

A chocolate lover’s delight ~ handmade truffles, super simple and kid fun-favorite-to-make, too!

Choclolate Amaretto Truffles ©Kim Smith 2011

 

Making truffles for my friends and loved ones tonight and keeping my fingers crossed that despite the ominous forecast, we’ll still get together this weekend. Please stay warm and cozy and safe!

Reposted from 2011.

Ingredients

Mini baking cups

2 ounces Baker’s sweet German chocolate, broken into small bits

6 ounces Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

¼ C. Disaronno Amaretto liqueur

2 Tbs. strong coffee

Few drops almond extract

2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

½ C. pulverized Jules Destrooper almond thins (or Anna’s, or any super fine, thin cookie)

Confectioner’s sugar to taste (approx. ¼ cup)

½ C. Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa powder for final powdering

 

Melt sweet chocolate bits and semi-sweet chocolate chips over a gently simmering double boiler.

Whisk in liqueur, coffee, almond extract, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously, over gentle heat, a few minutes more until mixture is shiny and smooth. Gradually add the butter by tablespoons. With a wooden spoon, beat in the pulverized cookies. Beat in sifted confectioner’s sugar, to taste. Remove the pan from the double boiler and place in a bowl of ice with water. Stir until well chilled and firm enough to form into balls.

By teaspoonful, gather up a gob and form into a rough, truffle-like shape. Roll in cocoa powder and drop into frilled paper cup.

Makes about 22, depending on size. Refrigerate in an airtight container. They will keep for several weeks or they may be frozen. Very loosely adapted from Julia Child’s Chocolate Amaretti Truffles The Way to Cook Page 485.

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Hilarious Adendum!

For the Love of Chocolate

Maybe because Valentine’s Day is coming up….or maybe because we’ve had a gazillion feet of snow and it has been downright miserable out….either way, I’ve had chocolate on the brain.

Without getting all mushy or TMI on you, there’s something undeniably romantic (in my humble opinion) about chocolate.  Not like the average box of chocolates, but like a super yummy chocolate fondue spread, a chocolate martini, or some hot chocolate coffee liquor kind of dessert in a glass…or a crazy rich and decadent gourmet chocolate mousse.  That’s what I’m talking about.

And maybe a little bit of John Legend. Just saying. A girl can dream.

So, with that in mind, and while thinking about “Things to Do Over February Vacation” my mind traveled to hot cocoa.  Because honestly, insert my humble rude awakening,  hot cocoa with the kiddos is much more likely these days than any of the afore mentioned romantic types of chocolate indulgence.

So, on that note, I started to do some research as to where to find the best hot chocolate in Boston.  Why Boston, you ask?  Well, I also have a small love affair with getting over the bridge.  I LOVE living here on Cape Ann, but I also adore taking the boys into the city, flying by the seat of our pants, and making a day (or even better yet…a night) of it.

So, while looking around, I stumbled on a great little piece by Boston.com and figured “Why reinvent the wheel?”

Check this link out for some of the top spots to hunker down with a giant mug of chocolate!   

Some of the places look great for a day with the little ones….and some look like a perfect place to snuggle down for a while with a significant other for some quality time and warm fuzzies.  You choose.

One of the top spots listed is the Langham Hotel and its Cafe Fleuri.  Every Saturday from September to June they boast a Chocolate Buffet to shame all others.  It isn’t cheap…and reservations are a good idea…but what a fabulous alternative to tea with a little sweetheart….or a romantic date with a grown-up one.

Take your taste buds on a decadent trip across the globe with The Langham, Boston’s famous Chocolate Bar.
This season presents a new theme, the “World of Langham,” which pays homage to the upcoming 150th anniversary of The Langham, London. Featuring more than 100 chocolate dessert combinations, Executive Chef Mark Sapienza and Executive Pastry Chef Ryan Pike feature chocolate dishes from Langham Hotels across the globe, every Saturday in the hotel’s Café Fleuri restaurant.

Stations with varying levels of chocolate intensity and flavors – from white to dark and everything in between – feature a never ending supply of desserts from every continent along with local classics from the past 25 seasons including Boston crème pie, whoopie pies, brulées, bread puddings and more. Action stations feature crepes, chocolate fountains, chocolate lava cake and ice cream sundaes as a contemporary jazz band sets the tone for the afternoon.

If anyone else has great, and more local, suggestions as to where to mug up for a Winter Treat, please share and comment!  There’s still several weeks to go and we need to make the most of it!  We’re in this together, friends.

Valentine’s Pop-up Coming to East Gloucester Next Weekend

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 Hi Joey,

I just wanted to introduce myself and let you know about an event I’m hosting with another local business on Friday night and all day Saturday.
My name is Lyndsay and I make terrariums and other potted items, which I call lynzariums. I sell these to a lot of local businesses, Lula’s Pantry in Rockport, Willow Rest in Gloucester, have a booth at the Cape Ann Farmers Market during the season and do outdoor plantings for The Market in Annisquam every year. Last month I opened a planting studio in East Gloucester across from Beacon Marine, 186 East Main Street (Ken Gore’s art studio).
My friend Jocelyn Pierce of Mayflour Confections will be joining me at the event, she has a commercial kitchen in Rockport and makes custom cakes and desserts for weddings and events.
We will be hosting a pop up shop for Valentine’s Day, serving refreshments and selling terrariums, potted plants and succulents, cupcakes and a few other sweets. I’ve attached what we have been using on social media. I would love if you could help us spread the good word- and if you’re around, please stop in and say hello!
All the best,
Lyndsay and Jocelyn

 

Cape Ann Bus Tale #1

I took the CATA bus to work this morning, and my driver was Gloucester’s Eddie Salah. Knowing that he owned George’s Coffee Shop on Washington Street at one time, I asked him if he was a good cook. “Hell no, I can’t even scramble an egg! Gloucester attorney Mike Faherty ordered a scrambled egg breakfast, and I had  folded it over like an omlette. Mike showed me how to cook it right, and I’m sure he remembers that hilarious event. That was about 40 years ago, when I was a 17 year old trainee.” Eddie is one of the most colorful and entertaining people I’ve met, and a good driver too! Today, Georges is one of the best breakfast joints around, and is still owned and operated by a Salah. https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=george’s+coffee+shop+gloucester+ma&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&gws_rd=ssl

Would You or Wouldn’t You?

Oh, God, No.

Look, I LOVE oysters.  I really do.

The more horseradish sauce the better.

I happily ate probably no fewer than 20 last weekend in New Orleans and it is a given that I look forward to eating them up each and every time I step foot in Halibut Point.  Key West to me screams “Raw Bar” and Nantucket means oysters at “CRU”.

So, last night was no different.

I happily met one of my best friends in the whole entire world….ordered from one of the best bartenders in the whole entire world (that’s right, Jack), and chatted with the one and only Heather…who has made it into 2 blog posts in a row….not that that is any claim to fame ;)

We ordered a dozen Duxbury Oysters and THANK GOODNESS this one didn’t make it to our plate.

So, my friends, after seeing this photo, the question I ask is, “Would you or wouldn’t you be able to choke this down?”  For the record, as you can see, it is the size of the a woman’s hand.

See Poll Below

Image

 

 

News From Pinoli

Chef Paolo Laboa has decided to take a job offer on the West Coast and move his family back to California. This move is right for his family, but it is with a heavy heart that we at the Serenitee Restaurant Group say goodbye to Paolo and Pinoli.

Pinoli was built around Chef Paolo and his distinctive cooking style, which is why we have decided to evolve the space into something new, yet familiar. We have listened to what the community and our guests have to say, and are excited to announce that we will bring back the beloved Alchemy. The restaurant will continue with its commitment to utilizing the freshest, local ingredients, but the menu will be broader, incorporating many different cooking styles.

During this evolution, the space will not close; Jeff Cala and Serenitee Executive Chef Derek Clough will be in the kitchen to see the restaurant through this transition.

Expect to see a familiar name on Duncan Street sometime this month!

Sincerely,

The Serenitee Restaurant Group

Bananas Are A Berry?

Banana Flowers ©Kim Smith 2015Although not native to the Americas, we came upon a banana tree, bearing both blooms and bananas, growing at an abandoned ruin in Solstice Canyon, which is located in the Santa Monica Mountains. The brilliant red high up in the treetops caught our attention and we were amazed to see the cluster of bananas along the stem of the inflorescence. The red bracts are not petals; new flowers emerging are the yellow curly blooms peaking between the opening bracts.

Did you know that bananas are technically speaking a berry? Botanists define a berry as a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit, where the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp and the seeds become embedded in the flesh of the ovary. One banana inflorescence produces 50 to 150 bananas! Blueberries and cranberries are also examples of a true berry.

tomatfr1The tomato graphic above illustrates the pericarp, the fleshy edible part surrounding the seeds. You will most likely not see any seeds in a commercially grown banana because they are cloned from a single cultivar, the ‘Cavendish,’ which also makes them highly susceptible to disease and a potential mass die-off.

Inside_a_wild-type_bananaWild banana seeds

Every morning while visiting Liv and Matt, Liv made deliciously healthy smoothies combining bananas, spinach, avocado, and whatever other fruit and veggie were on hand. That’s how we began our Solstice Canyon day hike and I was glad to have had the power-packed breakfast. As you can see, we encountered beautiful and enchanting wildlife along the trail.Pocket Gopher Southern California ©Kim Smith 2015

Pocket Gopher

California Sister Butterfly Santa Monica Solstice Canyon ©Kim Smith 2015

California Sister Butterfly

Acorn Woodpecker Solstice Canyon Southern California ©Kim Smith 2015Acorn Woodpecker Stashing His Acorns

Acorn Woodpecker Solstice Canyon Southern California -2 ©Kim Smith 2015If I were still designing clothes, the Acorn Woodpecker would definitely inspire an outfit, or two! 

A few more snapshots here – Read more

Nicole Duckworth’s Best Granola (And Duckworth’s Re-opening This Thursday Night!)

Nicole Duckworth Granola ©Kim Smith 2015As you may already be aware, Nicole Duckworth makes the fabulous desserts at Duckworth’s Bistrot–her amazing ‘Death-By-Chocolate’ and ‘Banana Cake’ are two favorites that come to mind immediately. She stopped by with a wonderfully tasty maple-walnut-dried cherry granola, possibly the best ever, along with a sweet thank you note. When she has a spare moment, I’ll ask her if she can share the recipe. Our family thanks you Nicole!Jude Nicole Duckworth ©Kim Smith 2013

Nicole and Jude

Duckworth's ©Kim Smith 2013Duckworth’s will be reopening on January 29th, 2015.

Did you make your Valentine’s Day Reservation?

Backyard Growers Spring Salad Workshop

Hey Good Morning Gloucester!

We have another big event coming up in addition to the fish tasting…and again we would be very grateful if you would help us promote it.

Spring may seem a long way off, but it’s really just around the corner. To ring in the spring and show off their brand new office, Backyard Growers is holding their annual Groundhog Day spring salad planting workshop on Saturday January 31 from 10:00 am – 11:30 am at 269 Main Street. 

The theme of the day: the versatile and colorful world of lettuces! Learn why lettuces are perfect early spring crops while you taste salad samples, plan your spring garden, and plant some seeds for early greens. Participants will leave with:

  • Ready-to-go windowsill lettuce plants
  • Plans for your spring garden
  • New, healthy salad dressing recipes
  • Everything you need to hit the ground running this spring!

No need to get a baby sitter – it’s a family event! Kids will be involved in the process and in their own fun activities like making salad dressings for salad samples. 

​The workshop is free to 1st and 2nd year Backyard Growers and only $15 for any families outside of the program.

However, space is limited! Click this link to sign up today and reserve your spot before January 25!

Interested in volunteering? Sign up here!

Sunday Afternoon Chocolate Party

Our hot cocoa party quickly became a chocolate party when Nicole Duckworth arrived with a platter of chocolate-dipped-and-delicious strawberries, pineapples, and bananas (and I had as usual doubled the amount of chips in the chocolate chip cookies). I so hope the kids fall asleep tonight!

friends ©Kim Smith 2015

See Happy Hot Chocolate Snow Days

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