Monday, November 22, 2010

sweet & savory

What are the first foods that come to mind when you think of a tailgate? Hamburgers? Hot dogs? What's for dessert? Nothing sweet comes to mind when I think of tailgating before a football game. But when my friend, Deb, told me that she was making cupcakes that looked like hamburgers I began to think otherwise. I am a bit of purist—I prefer steamed veggies as opposed to grilled or fried, red ketchup instead of green, and hot fudge instead of the chemically enhanced stuff that hardens. The idea of eating a cupcake that looks like a hamburger baffled me, until I found myself standing in Deb's kitchen fascinated by her confection. One bite had me sold on this clever dessert. The sweet vanilla, chocolate and coconut flavors worked beautifully with the contrasting savory facade. She prepared over 100 hamburger-looking-cupcakes for a fraternity tailgate. Deb used vanilla and chocolate cake-mixes, frosting, shredded coconut, and food coloring for dying.


Bake chocolate and vanilla cake mixes in a cupcake pan. Cut all of the baked vanilla cupcakes in half. The baked chocolate cupcakes you should cut in thirds. The chocolate cake will be the 'burger' and the vanilla cake will be the 'bun.' Use food coloring to dye vanilla frosting—yellow for mustard and red for ketchup. Dye the shredded coconut green for lettuce. Layer the burger with all of the condiments and enjoy this awesome dessert!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the glory of chocolate milk

I just applied for the NYC Marathon, 2011—let the training begin! Along with strengthening my legs at the gym and running outside, I've been trying to eat healthfully so that I have enough energy to keep up with my routine. You'll never guess what I've been gleefully indulging in after my usual run...CHOCOLATE MILK! When I first read about the benefits of drinking chocolate milk after a workout I couldn't believe it—probably because I remember only drinking this sultry and smooth chocolatey delight as a child on occasion. I thought to myself, if this is true I will never miss a day of exercising ever again. Gallons of research has been done on this work-out-recovery-drink and studies show that chocolate milk provides the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins, sodium and fluid to restore your body. Not only does chocolate milk help my body in the physiological sense, but it makes me feel joyous, youthful and alive as it glides down my throat. I drink Organic Valley's Lowfat Chocolate Milk, which comes in a fabulous well-sized container with a straw (always a plus). Let's just say that now I have an even better incentive to keep running.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

hot chocolate

Today was the first real of sign of fall here in Texas. That's right—the third day in November! I woke up in a hurry, walked outside feeling the cool crisp air, looked up and saw a cloudy gray sky. A smile quickly warmed up my face as I thought about coming home later to a nice cup of hot cocoa. I began thinking, what are some varieties of this beloved libation?
Mexican hot chocolate is made with chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla and—depending on how spicy you like it—a pinch of chile powder. American hot chocolate generally consists of a chocolate powder, which is often mixed with hot milk or water. Marshmallows are sometimes added, not only to make ourselves feel like we came up with the warm sweet concoction all by ourselves, but to add a nice creamy contrast in color and texture. In Europe hot chocolate is taken seriously and literally. Their winter drink is made with real chocolate, giving it a nice thick consistency. Just imagine walking around the Marais district, bundled up in a chunky knit sweater and cashmere coat, and coming back to your Parisian loft for a hot cup of liquid chocolate—c'est parfait (perfect)!!

Here's a recipe to for Parisian Hot Chocolate (David Lebovitz):

Four ‘Parisian-sized’ Servings

2 cups (1/2l) whole milk
5 ounces (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, (with at least 70% cacao solids), finely chopped
optional: 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1. Heat the milk in a medium-sized saucepan.

2. Once the milk is warm, whisk in the chocolate, stirring until melted and steaming hot. For a thick hot chocolate, cook at a very low boil for about 3 minutes, whisking frequently. (Be careful and keep an eye on the mixture, as it may boil up a bit during the first moments.)

3. Taste, and add brown sugar if desired.