Saturday, March 30, 2013

Kale Salad With Peanut Vinaigrette A La Houston's

I got knocked out with the flu this month, which was a major shock since I have the hearty constitution of an ox and rarely get sick. (My last cold was so long ago that George W. Bush was president at the time, the economy hadn’t tanked yet, and Daniel Day-Lewis only had one Best Actor Oscar instead of three!) I was in bed for a week and had no appetite whatsoever, but towards the end of that week I began craving kale in the worst way. I didn’t want just any kale dish; I wanted the Houston’s kale salad with peanut vinaigrette that my friends and I have recently become obsessed with. 

I found this baby red kale at the farmer’s market. Isn’t it gorgeous? It was worth the effort of getting out of bed for the first time all week. 

I know that everyone has a kale salad recipe these days, so much so that it’s a food trend in danger of overkill. I’ve even posted two different kale salad recipes here on Kitchen Fiddler in recent years, but I’m going to give you one more, regardless. And you won’t be sorry that I did, once you taste it for yourself. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Matcha Green Tea Truffles

My Cocoa Roar truffle kitchen closes up shop after Valentine’s Day until Thanksgiving each year. It makes sense to go on hiatus during the warmer months, not only for a whole slew of practical purposes but also in the interest of the chocolatier’s sanity. However, the response to this year’s Valentine’s truffles was so overwhelmingly positive that I decided to ride that momentum with a round of St. Patrick’s Day truffles.   How could I possibly deny my chocoholic customers, after all?

Many enthusiastically put in their two cents about which flavors I should do, and it was unanimously agreed that several flavors should be appropriately boozy. Guinness! Jameson! A green crème de menthe! Guinness again! Bailey’s! One friend said quite frankly, “I think you should just make whatever you want, and we’ll buy them!” 

Mini trial batches: Guinness bittersweet ganache and
swirly green tea&white chocolate ganache
I couldn’t resist doing the obvious flavors such as Bailey’s and Guinness for St Patrick’s, but I also wanted to do a token green truffle for the occasion. I figured that matcha green tea powder would fit the bill, naturally tinting the white chocolate a beautiful green without any artificial coloring. And it worked like a dream.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Perfect Milk Frother

I’d like you to meet my new BFF: the Bodum Brazil French Press. As you can see from the photo, I’m not making coffee with it but instead am using it for exuberantly frothed milk for cappuccinos.  Since it’s Tax Preparation Season, meaning that I have permission to drink as many cappuccinos as I need to get through it, this little Bodum is getting a major workout these days. 

My cappuccino obsession was fueled last fall when I was on tour for two weeks in Philadelphia.  Our hotel was around the corner from the original La Colombe, and I was there averaging two coffee drinks a day. The baristas took great pride in each espresso drink they poured, and I was fascinated watching their ritual.