Archive | February, 2014

Sweet Oscars Treat

26 Feb

Oscar night is approaching and we always enjoy an indulgent night on the couch watching the Hollywood action.

And on that couch there are always snacks inspired by Wolfgang Puck, the food master of celebrity parties.

This night also marks his 20th year catering the Governor’s Ball. His signature smoked salmon pizza, wagyu beef sliders and remoulade, and chicken pot pie with shaved black truffle always make an appearance. But we’ll dream of the crispy lobster dumplings with five spice and shots of carrot orange gazpacho.

Last year, we had some couch potato fun cutting tortillas with star-shaped cookie cutters, baking them until they were crisp, and spreading them with smoked salmon cream cheese to nibble during the show. They were a delight and pretty stylish to boot.

But this year, we’re thinking of whipping up something sweeter.

FunkyChunky Chocolate Popcorn has a cult following, and we’re keen to give the artisanal snack a whirl. It’s on this year’s Oscars dessert menu, alongside citrus panna cotta and chocolate-dipped strawberry cheesecake pops.

“FunkyChunky arrives LOADED with nuts – big almonds, whole pecans and jumbo cashews glazed to perfection with the popcorn. Hand-drizzled by artisans with dark, milk and white chocolates, we then break it up into mouth-watering chunks, with no two pieces alike.”

Whether we end up drizzling popcorn or pretzels, it sounds like a perfect Oscar treat. A challenger for our wee obsession with Cava’s chipotle caramel corn or Julie’s sriracha caramel corn. Or popcorn tossed with maple syrup and cayenne.


12 cups popped popcorn

3.5 cups whole cashews, almonds and pecan halves

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

¾ cup butter

½ cup light corn syrup

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup good quality dark chocolate chips

½ tsp neutral cooking oil

1 ½ cups white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 250*F. Place popped corn and nuts in large roasting pan.

Make caramel: combine brown sugar, butter and syrup in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Boil for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in baking soda.

Pour mixture over popcorn and nut mix in roaster. Stir well. Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn out onto parchment paper. Let cool completely.

Melt dark chocolate and oil. (Some say to melt in a sandwich bag in the microwave for up to 30 seconds, knead bag and zap again repeating until melted. Then snip corner of bag and drizzle over popcorn). Drizzle over popcorn with a spoon from a height. Repeat with white chocolate.

Let stand until chocolate is set (three to four hours). Break popcorn mixture into chunks and store in airtight containers.


Melt the 1 cup of butter in a medium sauce pot. Add 2 cups brown sugar, ½ cup light corn syrup and 2 tsp salt and cook for 5 minute, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in ½ tsp baking soda.

Pour the mixture over 12 cups of popcorn, stirring to coat evenly.

Spread the mixture onto baking sheets lined with parchment or Silpat. Bake for 45 minutes at 250F.

Remove and sprinkle ½ cup butterscotch chips over top.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Break into pieces.


Sweet Melba at Last

14 Feb


This has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, other than to fill someone’s heart with joy.

Okay, that may be overstating it. But we’re thrilled to share a sought-after lost Seventeen recipe we found on Pinterest quite by accident (Thank you , Sandra S.).

And we recalled a plea we received from Mandy way back:

“I am looking for a recipe that a friend made for me on my seventeenth birthday way back in 1976.  It was a peach melba ice cream pie with a lemon wafer crust (I think).  It was so good.  I want to make one for her on her birthday this year.  The recipe was in the July or August Seventeen Magazine of 1976.  Anybody?”

Well, the folks at Arroyo Room came to rescue:

“I found this lovely recipe in Seventeen Magazine back in the last 1970s. I kept it all these years, only taking it out to make dessert for the most special of occasions.”

So without further ado:


For the crust:

1 1/3 cups lemon wafer or graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

Combine ingredients in a bowl, then spread mixture evenly over bottom and up sides of a 9″ pie plate. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Place on a wire rack and cool completely.

Melba Sauce:

10 oz frozen raspberries

1/2 cup red currant jelly

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp cold water

Thaw the raspberries. Drain a few on paper towels to decorate the pie later. Refreeze. Place remaining raspberries with the jelly in saucepan. Heat to a boil. Mix cornstarch and water until smooth. Stir into raspberries. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles for three minutes. Pour melba sauce into a bowl, through a sieve to remove raspberry seeds. Cover surface with wax paper and chill until completely cool.

1 pint vanilla ice cream

1 1/2 pints peach ice cream

1/2 pint heavy cream

1 Tbsp powdered sugar

Soften vanilla ice cream and spread all over the bottom of the pie pan on top of the crust. Cover with 1/3 cup of the melba sauce, marble it with spoon. Freeze pie until firm. Then top with scoops of peach ice cream. Freeze 4 hours. Whip the heavy cream, and add the powdered sugar. Using a pastry bag fitted with a shell tip, pipe the whipped cream around the scoops of peach ice cream. Add the reserved whole raspberries here and there.

Return to freezer.

When slicing, drizzle plate with a little remaining melba sauce.

Sweet Somethings

14 Feb


Here’s a little 1984 flashback: a small plate of wee treats. We’ve managed to lop off two of the recipes.

We’re missing the cream puff instructions, but made a note to fill them with strawberry ice cream using a melon baller.

Also, the mini lemon cheesecakes recipe is missing, but we scribbled it down.

2 packages of cream cheese

3/4 cup of sugar

1tsp lemon juice

1tsp vanilla

2 eggs

34 vanilla wafers

foil cups

Topping: yogurt, mandarin orange segments, raspberries

Preheat oven to 375

combine ingredients and set aside. Place a cookie in each foil cup and top with mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool and top with a dollop of yogurt and piece of fruit.