20 ounces of chocolate (Your choice: Milk, Bittersweet, Dark, etc.)
16 ounces of white chocolate
Crushed pepper mint candies or candy canes
Note: Make sure you use REAL chocolate. The stuff that has palm oil or cotton oil or whatever in it in place of cocoa solids will NOT work!! I recommend Green and Black’s or Ghirardelli.
First step you need to temper your chocolate. (Note: Just the chocolate at this point. You are not ready for the white chocolate yet.) Tempering is easy, though a lot of people think it is difficult. I could write up a whole thing about how to do it, but Ghirardelli explains it so well I’ll just direct you to their link on the subject.
Once the chocolate is tempered spread it evenly on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or waxed paper and let the chocolate harden. You can place it in the fridge to make it harden faster.
Once the chocolate is hardened then melt and temper your white chocolate. Once melted and the tempering process is complete, stir in crushed peppermint candies or candy canes. You may also add a bit of mint flavoring if you like, though this step is not necessary and I think it’s pepperminty enough without the mint extract.
Spread the white chocolate/mint mixture over the hardened chocolate layer and let it harden as well. Once it has hardened break into pieces and your bark is done.
Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge with a tight cover.
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"Tsoureki (τσουρέκι) is a Greek brioche like sweet bread flavored with orange and a spice that is ground from the pits of wild cherries called Mahlab (or Mahlepi). The sweet loaf is commonly served for major holidays including Easter in Greece to break the Lenten fast."~Tomitheos
Preparation Time: 3 hours Cook Time: 1 hour Yield: 4 braided loaves Ingredients:
8 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed
3 envelopes dry yeast
1 2/3 cup unsalted butter (or 3 sticks and approx. 3 tbsp.)
1 2/3 cup sugar
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon
1 tbsp. Mahlab (Mahlepi)
5 eggs (lightly beaten)
*** sprinkle whole sesame seeds on the top.
The Dao Heaung Market extends along the Mekong bank and offers a vast assortment of foodstuff. During the day, the town is quiet, shying away from today’s rain, but in the afternoon, the market animate it. You’ll find clothes, CDs, food and much more. There were things I could have passed seeing on display, such as dried rats, squirrels, frog legs, snakes, guinea pigs, bats still twitching and other nameless treats. Abstraction made of these dishes that no kind Lao would offer a foreigner. Food stalls are popular with locals, cheap & tasty. Although there are several weaving villages in the area, a lot of the stuff is here on the market.
Photos taken on the Dao Heaung Market or new Talat Dao Market near the Japanese bridge over the Mekong 2km East from the center of Paksé – Laos. A very new Market. The girl at the food stall selling chicken and fish takeaways. Much of Lao cuisine is roasted over an open fire and served with fresh herbs and vegetables. Takeaways such as these grilled chicken (pîng kai), grilled fish, spicy papaya salad (tam màk hung) and minced pork salad (làp mu) are commonly available. Freshwater fish is the main source of protein. An ingredient in many recipes is nâm pa, or fish sauce, which is used like salt. Most Lao cooking calls for fish sauce so you may want to order "baw sai nâm pa" – without fish sauce. Sticky rice, then, forms the central theme of virtually every Lao meal. It is generally accompanied by a selection of dips, parboiled vegetables, salad, soup and various curried meat dishes or fish dishes. The sticky rice is generally served in a simple but attractive woven bamboo container shown above called a tip khao.
Pakse or Pakxe is a city in the Champasak province of Laos. It’s one of the biggest towns in Laos and a major transportation hub for southern Laos. But it’s is still a small town so walk around. Otherwise there are enough tuk tuks around. There’s not so much to do in Pakse but this is the base for travel to the Bolaven Plateau and Si Phan Don. It’s quiet town. located between the two lazy rivers, the Mekong and Xe Don river. Life flows slowly here, just like the muddy Mekong. Today, Pakse is the capital of Champasak province in Laos.
Tagged: , Pakxe , Dao Heaung Market , new Talat Dao Market , new Talat Dao Heaung Market , Champasak Province , South of Laos , Foodstuff , child on motorcycle , motorcycle , Southern Laos , Along the Mekong bank , Life flows slowly , Cheap & tatsy , Shop and stop , popular with locals , A very new market , Near Japanese bridge , Food stalls , Meat and fish , takeaways , grilled chicken , Grilled fish , Frog legs , Fresh herbs , Roasted meat , Sticky rice , Woven bamboo , Banana leaf , Food stall , Laos , Tell me a story… , TMS , UltimateShot , slice of life series , Fast food , 50+Faves , top-f50
We had an abundance of cucumbers from our CSA, including some lemon pickles, so I decided to try making some refrigerator pickles. Thanks to the friends on Twitter who pickle and can, I found this Alton Brown recipe which was super simple and fast to make. They were ready in about two days. The only thing I would change would be to reduce the amount of sugar next time – I love sweet pickles but I’d take them a tad more sour, and the pickles were too sweet for Mr.P. I do love the two colored cucumbers though!
# 3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
# 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
# 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature, softened)
# 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
# 2 teaspoons ground ginger
# 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
# 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves *optional – I usually up the cinnamon a bit and skip this
# scant 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
# 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper * I go less than this, personally
# 1/2 teaspoon salt
# 1 large egg
# 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and spices. Adding a little extra flour makes these cookies very soft. Set this bowl aside.
2 According to the official recipe, in electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter – I do my mixing by hand, because I am a martyr. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Mix in eggs and molasses. Gradually add the flour mixture; combine on low speed, or if you are mixing by hand, stir at slow speed – not that you would be able to stir this fast – this is a serious workout. (You may need to work it with your hands to incorporate the last bit of flour, if you are using a Kitchenaid, like a normal person.) Divide dough in thirds; shape the thirds into flat bricks and wrap each third in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour-2 hours. Before rolling out, let sit at room temperature for a few minutes. If after refrigerating the dough feels too soft to roll-out, work in a little more flour.
If you like a little flavour in your gingerbread, try rubbing your cutting board or rolling pins or hands with a very, very small bit of flavouring – chocolate liquers are nice, as are cointreau or straight orange flavouring. Blood orange would be nice, too, especially on the ones dipped in chocolate.
3 Heat oven to 350°. I have a large wooden board that I use to roll my cookies out on, which I cover with flour – a cutting board would work well too. Using a rolling pin, roll dough – not too thin – I usually do mine about half a centimetre or more. Use a cookie cutter to cut into desired shapes.
4 Transfer to baking sheets – I line mine with parchment paper and bake the cookies on that, to keep the bottoms from hardening and going dark. Bake about 6-8 minutes, until cookies are still soft. Remove from oven and let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet on top of the oven for a few minutes more to set. Move to a wire rack to cool completely.
How do you make cookies soft? Easy: cut them thick, underbake slightly, and let them finish baking on top of the stove while they set on the cookie sheet. if you like them crispier, bake 8-10 minutes, until the edges start to brown.
ICING – this is straight from Martha Stewart
Puzzle Cookie Royal Icing –
Makes 2 1/3 cups
1 one-pound box (about 4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons meringue powder,**
1/2 cup water
1. with a hand mixer, combine confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder or egg whites. Mixing on low speed, add a scant 1/2 cup water drop by drop. For a thinner consistency, usually used for flooding, add more water. A thicker consistency is generally used for further embellishing. Mix until icing holds a ribbon-like trail on the surface for five seconds when you raise the paddle.
** some people make icing with egg whites, but there are a lot of people (the pregnant, immuno-compromised, etc) who cannot eat raw eggs, so in the interest of not asking random acquaintances about the current contents of their uterus, I opt for meringue powder.
Melt chocolate. Dip cookies. Eat. This one is pretty easy.
We now have a new government, not the prettiest crowd of people but they’ll have to do for now so business and investor expects to have some sort of clear indicator of economic direction so they can all plan ahead.
I was just at a client’s restaurant during lunch discussing new renovation project (not the picture featured here), nothing fancy. There’s a new law that was formed in the previous government and ‘could’ be in effect in this government, that is baning all smoking in air conditioned area. For the Wine bar area, this law means they need to develop an out door area for their client to smoke, particularly cigar. They are skeptical and not sure about expanding the restaurant area because he said that fine dining business is said to be ‘a very fast economic indicator’, when there’s a lot of new projects and business, the restaurant is very active, and when there’s a slumber the business go down, and right now everything is not up or down.. sustaining. He’s waiting to see how things are turning out this year especially with this new government.
One thing I can speculate about this new government, a direct descendant from Taksin’s previous government before the military took over, knows about money and will probably dig out more government-loss-projects that puts money in the hand of the poor, as they don’t know how to manage it. That had worked well as a quick economic boost recipe before. More money is spent on the market, the economic "image" looks good, and people are happy. In the long run, government’s central reserved is drained out.. these stimulus plans are disaster in the making without long term consideration.
"Money, it has been observed, sticks to the rich but just slides off the poor, which makes them the lynchpin of stimulus. After decades of hearing the poor stereotyped as lazy, stupid, addicted and crime-prone, they have been discovered to have this singular virtue: they are veritable spending machines." – Barbara Ehrenreich, The Nation.
So we can probably expect economic stimulus packages to get more people to spend — and lure people to invest. The economic boost recipe quickly put food on the table like fast food restaurant.. but we all know that fine healthy food requires wholesome quality ingredient, and that takes time to developed.