Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's okay to indulge once and a while.

Since I took a hiatus from blogging through the holidays, I never got to post pictures of recipes from what I made over the holidays, so I will talk and share pictures about some of the things I made. Now before I start this blog, I will warn you, what I used was not in season (really) and was not produced at a local store, but I did purchase most of my products at small family owned businesses, which is equally as important as buying local, because you are helping a small business...and ALWAYS keep that in mind.
So, over the holidays there were plenty of parties to attend and as I was brought up, you never show up to a party empty handed, unless absolutely directed to (i.e., party was catered). For one party we (my mother and I) made stuffed bread or garbage bread as some know it...We did two kinds for that, the first was spinach, garlic, and oil...the second was broccoli and sausage (with seasonings of course). Those are always the first to go at parties...and the spinach was fresh and purchased at the local farmers market. The dough that we bought was from our local italian bakery, this was another way to support a small,local, family owned business. We also made french bark which has dried fruit, chocolate, nuts, and crystallized ginger. I had a picture of it, I was going to post, but I cannot find that picture. For another party I made a tuscan white bean dip, even though the ingredients were imported from elsewhere, the products were purchased at a local family owned italian imports store.This was a simple thing to put together, all that is needed is cannellini beans, lemon, garlic, parsley, olive oil, and salt, pepper, and extra's not local, but it is a light and delicious snack...especially if you cut up some veggies (for those of us who have to follow a gluten free diet)...or you can make homemade pita chips (I didn't have time to do that for this particular one).  I also made drunken figs dipped in chocolate...and I took pictures of these too. While figs are neither local, nor in season, they are delicious and they were dried figs, so they can be multiseasonal. I purchased both the wine and the figs at local family owned stores, not big grocery store corporations. I will walk through the steps of this snack...and encourage you to try them, not everyones cup of tea, but basically the food of the Gods.
First get your dried figs and take provocative pictures of them. Use Williams and Sonoma mixing bowls for best results.
Then you soak your figs in a nice port wine- make sure it's a port wine for best results- then take another picture....These have to soak for at least 24 hours...and if you have enough time on your hands you can let them soak for almost a make them really drunk...They will plump up and absorb most if not all of the wine.
So then they kind of look like you murdered ET, but that is normal. At this point you put out paper towels and let that soak up the excess moisture...because you don't want them to be too moist...or else the chocolate won't stick.
So after you take pictures of the million other tasks you just completed, you get two bags of Ghirardelli chocolate chips, I used one bag of semi-sweet and one bag of bitter-sweet. Also get some good butter to used, I used Amish butter, which is local butter, which helped make this chocolate silky smooth...even though it kinda looks a little unappetizing in this picture. So make sure you do this step in either a double boiler or in a proclad or all clad pot, or in the microwave, but the stove is best...and keep it at really low heat. Warning: YOU WILL BE STIRRING A LOT! You will get a great arm workout with this step, it's all in the arms.  Make sure you don't burn the chocolate, because it will ruin everything and you should just give up after that, just kidding, you can salvage it...note: I actually did not burn the chocolate, I am just warning you of the consequences. So, once you see that it is silky smooth, you can get your figs prepared for dipping, I suggest using a fork or a bamboo skewer. Then dip the fig in chocolate and smother the fig in chocolate, push it, push it real good. Make sure you lay out a cookie tray and parchment or wax paper to set the dipped figs on. Once you have dipped the figs, place them in a cool place for the chocolate to harden, I suggest sticking it in the refrigerator....and then....
You've got the finished product, well sort of, the chocolate wasn't hard on these when I took the make sure you let it get hard...seriously! Once you have followed all of those steps, place them on a nice tray, I used bamboo...and indulge.
I know this wasn't a focus on local food, but I did support local businesses during this endeavor and also used products from the local farmers market. It's okay to indulge once and a while, especially around the holidays, but always try and support something local, whether it is local food or local businesses, the more you do, the bigger difference it will make. I hope to add more food and recipes to my future posts!

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