Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fruit and nuts

Give Cadbury's some competition -- make your your own chocolate candy. I was captivated by Ina Garten's recipe for chocolate bark. Unlike the American version where all the goodies are mixed into melted chocolate, Garten -- The Barefoot Contessa -- in her latest cookbook, Back to Basics, presents a French version. It's a veritable throw rug of cashews and crystallized ginger, dried cherries, golden raisins and diced dried apricots. (I subbed dried pears for the apricots: 1. pears and chocolate are a divine combination and 2. I didn't feel like walking to wherever the heck the dried apricots were hiding in the grocery.)

I varied the recipe a bit because I love dark chocolate. Here are the basics: Melt 14 ounces of good-quality dark chocolate (I used 70-percent in the microwave in 30-second increments until it is just melted. Let it sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it is completely smooth and cooled slightly. On a piece of parchment paper, spread out the chocolate into a 9"-by-10" rectangle. Then evenly sprinkle on the goodies in this order: 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger, 1 cup whole roasted cashews, 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1/2 cup diced dried apricots, 1/4 cup golden raisins. Make sure everything is stuck in the chocolate, lest a few raisins roll off like pebbles later. Let it cool for about 2 hours then cut into medium-sized pieces.

The whole thing will look like a gorgeous Turkish carpet before it's sliced. And it'll make a fabulous sweet for the holidays.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Revisit one of the Two Saucy Chicks' most popular shows: It's a familiar story – young man goes to Paris for the first time and falls in love. For Glenn Harrell, though, cheese – fromage – was the object of his desire. He's keeping love alive at his Los Angeles boutique, Say Cheese; the Two Saucy Chicks follow up a chat about cheese with its perfect accompaniment. Wine educator Barry Alberts, of Berries to Wine, tells you how to start a tasting club; former Buffalo Bill Cornelius Bennett made a smooth transition from the gridiron to the griddle, hosting his own food show on TV. He helps Robbie and Nancy celebrate football during the holiday season deliciously.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We just finished our show and had a winner for a surprise gift from Eric Woods' boutique wine store, Harlem Vintage, located on Frederick Douglass Blvd. in New York City. The winner was South Florida chef, Irie Spice.
We missed Dr. Sharon Jefferson, the Jerk Queen, she is in Jamaica on a good will mission. Dr. Jefferson (right) is a dentist and she is helping children in her home country to have a brighter smile - Kudos to Dr. J.
Talk to you next week

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Finally, a place to chat with the world!

Great to be here, another beautiful fabulous Miami, Florida day. One of those days you just have to go out and explore and I didn't get a chance to do so today. My plan is to visit Michael's Genuine in the Miami Design District for 5 days straight and only order soup. Why, you ask? Well, a week ago I was at Michaels with a friend for lunch and had a soup that was soooo fabulous that I could not think straight. It was a simple chicken soup, Thai style; a little coconut milk, lemon grass and a smattering of veggies - it was just so yummy it made my "Scrumpterou Report".

What is the "Scrumpterou Report", I will tell you later. Right now I want to talk about two things: 1 - The Miami Book Fair International - I had the pleasure of introducing Chef Andrew Carmellini, author of Urban Italian, Chef Michelle Bernstein (Cuisine a Latina), and Food Network star, Ingrid Hoffmann who has released SIMPLY DELICIOSO: A collection of Everyday Recipes with a Latin Twist. What a fabulous hour and half. Miami Dade College campus was the setting for a packed house; the mood was very informal and absolutely friendly. The authors took the stage one-by-one and gave us a feeling they were sharing something very personal; in each case you felt the closeness, their books were a part of them. When we got to the Q&A part, the audience was alive with tons of questions to all of the authors. It was so interesting to see how comfortable Michelle Bernstein was as she managed to curl up in a standard chair (you know, the kind of metal chair in classroom) like a little girl chatting with her friends. Andrew was a hit with his story of hunting porcini mushrooms in Italy with his uncle and meeting the "ladies" along the way. Ingrid's star-power personality comes through when she takes the stage; she has a fabulous cross-cultural background: she is from Colombia, raised in the Netherlands (Aruba), moved to Miami - she represents what our show, Join Us at the Table, is all about. I was delighted to participate, for my 2nd year, in this annual event and look forward to returning next year to host another panel of food personalities.

2 - On Saturday's show I talked about my Jamaica Kitchen experience - WOW!!! Let me tell you I cannot say enough - I went twice and going for a 3rd trip. The owner, Cheryl Chin called me this afternoon to let me know her husband was cooking up the Jerk sausage (made with chicken). Let me tell you - this little spot is a hit! It has been there over 20 years and I can't figure out why it took me so long to discover it. Thanks to my friend Cynthia who lives in that neck of the woods. That's the real deal, you need friends to turn you on - I drive for food; when other people, who know their food, say you should check it out - I am on my way.

The Jamaica Kitchen is a tiny Jamaican Chinese grocery you heard me right, a grocery with 1 folding table and two counters to service the eat-in customer. They deliver and cater authentic Jamaican foods, specializing in Jamaican & Jamaican Chinese foods. Guy Fieri found it, that's how Cynthia found out about it and it was right in her neighborhood. I am ranting and raving because I have had their curry goat, escovitch fish, stewed oxtails, peas & rice and stew peas (okay, I admit, I did not know what stew peas was - I do now and love it). The Jamaica Kitchen serves

Jamaica Kitchen is located at 8736 SW 72nd St., Miami 33173 Ph: 305.596.2585 - Be sure to tell them Robbie sent you.

In light of my recent success with getting my cholesterol down - I think I am going to back off for awhile - at least 15 minutes (hahahaha) and regroup.

Talk to you soon. In the meantime, tell us about your favorite spot, we'd love to hear from you.

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