Sunday, November 22, 2009

Beautiful Chocolate: Mast Brothers!

Oh my sweet and thoughtful friend Miko fulfilled a chocolate dream of mine last week... and it was a SURPRISE! I opened up our crickety old metal black mailbox last week to retrieve the day's mail. Inside was a little package sent to me... I opened the package and squealed with delight-- a super cute birthday card from Miko, and a bar of my very own MAST BROTHERS chocolate!!! I really felt like lucky little Charlie in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory when he got his once-a-year Willy Wonka bar of chocolate for his birthday from his two sets of grandparents and his mom and dad. I felt even more like Charlie when I unwrapped the beautiful fleur de lys print paper stock to reveal a gold foil wrapped bar underneath!! And... once again... just like Charlie when he found the soggy dollar bill buried deep in the snow, then went to the nearest corner store to buy himself a bar of chocolate... I peeled back the gold foil and broke off a square of the chocolate and let it melt in my mouth.

Let me explain further.. we live in CANADA, see! No Mast Brothers chocolate here! And they only just began to provide an online ordering service, but at $100 for 10 bars, a leeeetle bit pricey... but Miko's friend Alia, who lives in Brooklyn, helped out in buying the bar for Miko to give to me!

The bar I received was dark chocolate, almonds, sea salt and olive oil, 72% Madagascar cacao! The Mast Brothers make each bar by hand... with lovely ingredients. I can relate to the painstaking process of making each piece by hand from scratch! I just think their packaging and design is just so perfect and nice. Here is a link to view more of their beautiful packaging!!

Wouldn't it be fun to have your very own chocolate factory? A mini chocolate factory in a tiny, beautiful, well-lit with natural light kitchen?

DREAMY. PS... a Willy Wonka link for you too!

Monday, November 16, 2009


TERRINE: my definition: randomness food items floating in space jammed into a mold using gelatin or other fun products.

Ie: Jello explosion table of delightful desserts...

and fun times egg and meat party trapped in clear aspic...

Oh trompechompe. I've ignored you so badly in the last two months and for this I apologize. It seems as though Cupcake Mountain has taken over my life, and my hobby of updating this here blog fell by the wayside for a bit. But no longer.

So it was my birthday once again (you know how that thing happens? Once a year it seems to occur?) on November 15th and I had another "theme" party of sorts... "FOODIE!" My cousin-in-law and I are deeply obsessed with the television program Top Chef--so much so that I bought her a subscription to Food & Wine mag for her birthday, and one for myself too... and now a foodie themed birthday. The request: that guests bring a "foodie"-ish item. I was also told that I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO MAKE A DESSERT because I am always the dessert maker at parties-- I love making them and admittedly I was in PAIN AND CONFUSION because I was like, "Uh oh. I gotta make a savoury? What the H am I gonna make??"

So... I flipped through some varying recipe books of mine... and found the perfect mix of comedy and (hopefully)... deliciousness... the TERRINE!

I had seen the terrine be prepared many times on Top Chef. Okay, so it looks like it's a bunch of things packed tightly into a stainless steel mold, then chilled, upturned and cut into fancy slices that can be laid atop crostini or plopped (placed?) in the middle of a plate. Usually made with venison, or head cheese (yum!) or tongue, I've been told... since I have become a vegetarian of late (since starting to read Eating Animals... though reading this has since been interrupted by Barney's Version)... so I made mine with fresh goat cheese, asparagus, roasted portobello and sweet red pepper and wrapped it in blanched leek leaves.

So here is my documentation of "My First Terrine" !!! Enjoy! Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres cookbook...


Study first. Le Cordon Bleu handbook has some nice pics and ideas... for instance, putting your filling in a piping bag. Brilliant! Much less messy than trying to paddle and pat it down with a spatula...

Martha! Look at that triple threat of terrines from her Hors d'Oeuvres handbook! The two on the left involve the use of gelatin though, which I wanted to avoid.

First, line your terrine mold with cling wrap so it overlaps over the edges. Then, add quickly blanched leeks, lengthwise, as they make a handy dandy terrine wrapper.

Fill your piping bag with filling: mine is fresh goat cheese, beat with some plain yogurt to make it smoother, and sauteed finely diced leek ends (the white part).

Bricklay those cooked-until-just-tender asparagus in! It's like they're floating in clouds of tangy chevre!

Pat pat pat down with an offset spatula. Really pack 'er in.

Add more filling: I roasted sweet red pepper and slices of portobello mushroom for about 15 minutes on 400 degrees. Let cool completely before adding to terrine of course... Continue to "pipe and pat" and layer it up until you reach the top...

When you reach the top, fold over the leek edges. Then fold over the plastic cling wrap, then put the lid onto your terrine, put into fridge and let it set for 4-6 hours until well chilled!

Carefully unmold your terrine using a flat plate on top of the terrine--flip over and carefully unmold. Then, carefully unwrap. Then, slice with a sharp serrated knife!! I also made butter crostini (using store-bought French bread) in the oven, broil both sides so it gets crispy.

Hello, cuteness!! I thought it looked like a funny little caterpillar...

Slice 'er up and place on buttered crostini... Bite into deliciousness! Hooray!

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