Archive | February 2013

Easy, Good for You Bonbons

After exploring healthy chocolate snacks at assorted food blogs, I developed my own version. I wanted a super easy recipe that needed no food processor (they creep me out) and no microwave or stove for melting ingredients.

Into my bowl went a handful of (about 8) Medjool dates which I pitted and mushed up well with my fingers (as my Irish grandmother used to say “fingers came before forks,” I gladly bow to her wisdom).

I sprinkled in Trader Joe’s almond meal, a bit at a time (a scant 1/2 cup perhaps), mashing it about until I got a consistency I liked and then added a tablespoon (or two) of chocolate chips. I love coconut and added a tiny sprinkle (as I planned to roll the bonbons in coconut afterwards), and finished squishing the mix until it was easy for me to roll it into bonbons. The flakes of coconut were far too big for rolling in — I learned I must get some finely shredded coconut for this. Nevertheless, my “raw” truffles were a delight!

Crushing on Alice Carey (and Linda)

Well, if you must know, the crush with Alice and her memoir has waned a bit since I first drafted this piece. What can I say? Linda Rodin came along in the meantime. But heck, I’m allowed more than one girl crush. Now that I think of it, I probably have several, those two just happen to be high on my radar at the moment.

What attracts me to them? With Alice, it’s the vintage, the gay culture, Ireland, and her words. Her home in Bantry, County Cork, being only about 16 miles from my home there is another reason. I’d love to meet up with her next time I’m across the pond. We could pop into Skib or Clonakilty, maybe have some fish and chips for a fiver at the bar in Union Hall, or grab a coffee at the Coffee Shop. I imagine Alice loves the charity shops as much as I do, and of course, there’s glorious walks and wine in between it all. We’d have plenty to while away a bit of girl time before we’d venture back to the rest of our lives.

As for Linda, I can’t quite put my finger on why I’m crushing on her. I love her casual, approachable vibe, her cluttered apartment, simple style, her independence and entrepreneurial spirit. And her poodle’s name! (as that is my pet name for a special someone in my life, too). And while I do like my icons with a twee less notoriety, I know that Linda can’t help it. Since she’s been “discovered”, she’s a hot topic on many blogs and in many magazines. But I won’t hold that against her if I can have a cappuccino and a chat with her someday. I mean, I live near the beach and loads of shells (which she loves); perhaps I can persuade her to visit?

Pasta Club

For Christmas, my daughter and her boyfriend gave me some pastalicious gifts — a pasta making class, and pasta club. The pasta class has me on the hunt for a manual pasta maker, preferably unused, in the box, sitting in one of our local thrift shops. (I gave mine away years ago thinking I’d never use it! Wrong!) Fresh pasta is now like fresh local grapes were for me when I first had them…nothing but fresh and local (my own kitchen if possible!) will do now.

But, in the meantime, I have pasta club and this past Saturday was my first day of it. Major yum and so simple! I picked up fresh tagliatelle, grated butternut squash, fresh thyme and basil, a plug of butter and olive oil, and salty toasted pistachios in several little containers. Included was a take and bake baguette, also!

To make the entree: get your pot of salted water boiling for the pasta. In a cast iron pan, heat the butter and olive oil on medium heat until hot, then add your shredded squash, stirring occasionally as it cooks. When the water’s boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain most of the water out, leaving a wee bit. Dump this in with your squash, lowering the heat and giving it a good stir. Add grated Romano or Parmesan if you’d like, toss well and serve with pistachios and crumbled herbs (I used the thyme…so delicious!). Mangia!