Tag Archives: Holiday

Get Your Heart On

Valentine’s Day is all about the nostalgia for me.  It’s represented by handmade cards, usually made from doilies and construction paper, and conversation hearts.  You know what I’m talking about.  Those little heart shaped, pastel colored candies with adorable sayings written on them?  You know the ones that didn’t taste all that great but you ate them anyway? Yea, those things.  Ever wonder how such a mediocre candy became the sugary symbol of a whole holiday? Well, I do.  And since I couldn’t figure it out, I decided to give them a makeover.

Thinking outside the box, of candy that is, I decided these pasty pastel pieces need a serious upgrade.   Everyone loves cake and most certainly everyone loves chocolate, and it’s a known fact that everything on a stick tastes better.  So cake pops seemed like an obvious choice.

The best part? Other than the taste of course…By making your own conversation hearts you control the conversation.  Have something to say? Write it in edible ink.   Cause nothing says I love you like..well, a heart shaped dessert that says I love you.

And if you don’t want to say I love you…you can always go in another direction

Conversation Heart Cake Pops (makes about 26)

Ingredients
1 box of yellow cake mix
Eggs
Butter
16 ounces of container ready-made frosting, vanilla
16 ounces of yellow candy coating
16 ounces of pink candy coating
16 ounces of green candy coating
Metal heart-shaped cookie cutter, 1 1/2 inches wide
26 paper lollipop sticks
Styrofoam block
Red Edible Ink Pen

Directions
Bake the cake as directed on the box, using a 9×13 in cake pan.  Let cool completely.  Once the cake is cooled, get organized and set aside a few hours to crumble, roll and dip the cake pops.

Crumble the cooled cake into a large mixing bowl.  This is the fun part, because you get to use your hands to crumble!  Make sure the cake is really crumble, no large pieces of cake please! Add 3/4 of the container of frosting to the bowl of crumbled cake and mix until incorporated.  You can use your hands (the fun way) or the back of a metal spoon.  *Don’t add the entire container of frosting.  If you do, the cake balls will be too moist.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Press the cake mixture into the pan in an even layer.  Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and then place into the freezer for 15 minutes, or in the refrigerator for a few hours.  Once thoroughly cooled, remove and get ready to cut!  Prepare another baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper.  Grab your heart shaped cookie cutter and get cutting! Cut out hearts.  Make sure the heart are thick enough to hold a lollipop stick.  They should be about 1 1/2 inches thick.   If you need to add more cake mixture to the heart, now is the time! Once the heart is cut out, place it on the second baking tray.  Continue until your finish the cake mixture.  If the mixture becomes sticky, place back into the freezer for a few minutes and then continue.

Once all the hearts are cut out, place into the freezer for 15 minutes to firm them up again before dipping.  Once they are firm, transfer them to the refrigerator.  Remove a few at a time for dipping, keeping the rest chilled.

Melt one color of candy at a time in a microwave safe plastic bowl, following the instructions on the packages.  The coating should be about 3 inches deep for easy dipping.  One at a time, dip about 1 1/2 inches of the lollipop stick into the melted candy coating, and insert the stick straight into the bottom of a heart shaped cake, pushing it no more than halfway through.  Dip the cake into the melted coating and tap off an excess coating.

Let the pops dry on the styrofoam block.  When they are completely dry, use a red edible ink pen to write notes on one side of each cake pop.

Serve and Enjoy!

P.S.  If you have extra chocolate, grabs some Oreos and pretzels and get dipping!

Advertisements

It’s Crunch Time…

So, its crunch time, and I’m not referring to the Captain, although I wish I was.   I mean it’s almost V-Day.  4 Days and counting.  Whether you have a new love, old love, or last minute love, you need to plan something.   Unless of course you are unattached this holiday, and in that case, you can stop reading now.

If you are looking to impress your Valentine, or at least not piss them off, I have a few suggestions for you.  Nothing says “I want to spend time with you like dinner.”  Hey, there’s a reason most people go for drinks on a first date.  But dinner isn’t just dinner on Valentine’s Day. So make sure to pick a restaurant that shows you put a little thought into this.

Here are a couple Bite- Sized Valentine’s Day picks…

Bobo.  This French restaurant in the West Village is the perfect quaint and quiet backdrop for a romantic night.  The food will impress.  Just make sure you will too.

In Vino.  This Italian restaurant in the East Village is warm and cozy.  A nice bottle of vino at In Vino is sure to set the mood.

Marc Forgione.  This rustic American bistro in Tribecca is known for their exceptional food and killer cocktails.  What more could you ask for?

Going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day can be uber-annoying, especially if there is a pre-fixe involved.  Pre-fixe has me predisposed to think overrated.  Pre-fixe? More like please fix this ASAP, and get me a real menu.   So, if the kitchen is more your scene than Kittichai, then you know what you have to do.  Love is in the air, literally, if you cook at home.  You’re entire apartment can smell like love, or short ribs, which is the same thing really.

Valentine’s day is a Tuesday this year, and it’s hard to prepare a whole meal after work.  So, my suggestion, start early.  Make things this weekend you can refrigerate, or freeze, until you are ready to serve them.  Like soup, click here, here and here to see a few soup recipes.  Another recipe you can make in advance? Gnocchi!  Make the dough this weekend, precut the gnocchi and freeze them.  On Tuesday, take them out of the freezer right before you want to cook them. They will just need a few minutes in the boiling water, and voila! You will have a meal sure to impress!!

Craving a little more spontaneity? How about breakfast? This oh so important meal can be a totally unexpected Valentine’s surprise.  Start your morning with pancake hearts or a heart shaped egg in a hole.

Looking to heat things up, but not in the kitchen?  Check out Shag Brooklyn.  This unique adult store, art gallery, event space hybrid is hosting a Valentine’s event for the books.  Aphrodisiacs and Amor is a blindfolded tasting meant to tease, tantalize and tickle your taste buds.  Their words, not mine.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen sex store, and head to Nitehawk Cinemas.  This movie theater takes the idea of dinner and a movie to a whole new level.  The theater has a full restaurant that delivers your food to your seats during the show!

Great, dinner down, but one gift to go…Check out Tasting Table’s Valentine’s Shop.   Of course, this will only work if your Valentine is a foodie.  Otherwise, best of luck to you!

What are you planning this Valentine’s Day?

One Hell of a Chanukah Party

Last night, I had one hell of a Chanukah party.  The champagne was flowing, the caviar was chilled, the latkes were piled high.  It was a great night with great friends and family.  So great, in fact, that I dreamt about it.  So, when I awoke, I was still thinking about latkes.  But isn’t that truly the test of deliciousness? When you dream about your food.  Sure is.

Leftover latkes are incredible.  If you have a lot, you can pop them in the freezer and defrost at your leisure.  Or, if you are like me, and eat 15 at a time, you probably won’t have any latkes for the freezer.  I never do, because I eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.   Breakfast Latkes are some of my favorites.  The latke is like a hash brown, but better, because it’s a latke.  So, it’s an egg-cellent base  for eggs.  Get it? Happy Chanukah!

 

 

Menorah Blahnik

So, last night was the night, the big night. And by big night, I mean my big Chanukah party.  I’d prepped all week.  After you saw my Thanksgiving prep, did you really expect anything else? Right. So after a week of prep work, I was finally ready.  While there was lots of yummy stuff on the menu, there was clearly one leading lady and that leading lady was the Latke. 

Although I celebrate Chanukah with the 3 C’s, champagne, caviar and chocolate, none of these means of celebration would exist at my party without the latkes.  My latkes, like many of my other recipes are easy.  Well, easy with a food processor. If you are grating potatoes by hand, and make it through 10 lbs. without fainting, well that’s really a Chanukah miracle in itself. 

Latkes (10 servings)
Ingredients
5 lbs.of baking potatoes
5 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
15 tablespoons flour
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable Oil
Butter

Directions
Wash and then peel the potatoes.  Grate them lengthwise. Place the potatoes in a colander or kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. (Potatoes hold a lot of liquid!)

Combine the potatoes in a bowl with the egg, flour, salt, and pepper. Mix well.  I recommend using your hands.  It’s fun, it’s messy and it’s really the best way to get all the ingredients incorporated.  

Add oil and a little butter to a skillet over medium to high heat. Drop a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture into the sizzling butter and oil.  I like big, thick latkes while my Dad likes them to be thin and crispy.  So I change up the amount of potato mixture I add the pan to create different size latkes. Feel free to play around! 

Flatten the latke with a spatula and cook for approximately, 2 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Flip the latke and then flatten again. Cook for approximately another 2 minutes, until crisp on the outside and golden brown.

Remove from the pan and set aside on a paper towel absorb some of the excess oil.  Serve with apple sauce, or the Bite-Sized way, with a dollop of sour cream and a touch of caviar!

Happy Chanukah!

Recipe inspired by Ina Garten
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-pancakes-with-caviar-recipe2/index.html

Dreidles to Play With and Latkes to Eat

Chanukah is my favorite holiday, well really second favorite.  Obviously because Halloween is my first.  But I guess if we are only talking holidays in terms of religion, Chanukah is my number 1.  Wait, who am I kidding? Candy is a religion. Halloween is still my number 1.  But I really do love Chanukah.  Now, I know what you are thinking; Chanukah is my favorite because I get eight presents.  Well both my parents can attest to the fact that that’s just not true anymore.  So what makes this holiday so special? Everything, that’s what.  But, if I had to narrow it down I could choose 3 choice words to describe this holiday: champagne, caviar and chocolate.

I bet that’s not what you were expecting me to say.  But since when is this Bite-Sized Blonde predictable? While predictable I’m not, I am traditional.  And I mean that in the sense that I create traditions and then follow them.  So, for me, Chanukah tradition is all about the three C’s.

Champagne is somewhat obvious.  I told you once, a party just ain’t a party without a little of the bubbly stuff.  And Chanukah is one hell of a party.  You certainly cannot celebrate, especially a miracle, without champagne.  I think that’s considered sacrilegious.

Caviar – also a celebratory food, but that’s not the reason you’ll find it at my Chanukah table.  Caviar is salty, which offsets the greasy latkes perfectly.  With just a hint of sour cream, it’s really the perfect pairing.  If this tasty treat sounds awfully familiar, it’s because it’s kind of like a blini, but better.  And in case it didn’t sound familiar at all, and know you’re wondering what a blini is, I’ll tell you.  A blini is a pancake typically topped with crème fraiche and caviar.  What makes my Chanukah blinis great, is a great latke as a base.

Now chocolate.  Chocolate is as much a part of Chanukah as dreidles.  Hello…gelt.  But, if you’re anything like this Bite-Sized Chocoholic, gelt isn’t enough to calm your cravings.  So, we end our Chanukah celebration with even more chocolate.

I hope your mouth is watering.  I know mine is.  But what I really also hope is that you have a wonderful Chanukah!

Stay tuned this week for recipes, and of course, a photo recap!

Foto Friday

Ughh, that’s the only sound I can make right now.  Probably because I am still so full.  Oh, the beauty of stuffing your face for 3 straight hours.  Well, one more thing I’m thankful for this year, is that this feast only happens but once a year.

I have been promising you photos all week, and boy do I have a lot of them! I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as  I did.  And if you are still hungry for more, I have serious leftovers.

Thanksgiving Photo Recap…it’s right about now I wish this was a slideshow…

Baked Brie 

Autumnal Salad

Turkey Breast 

Drunken Cranberry Sauce

Coconut Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Apple Pie

Brownie S’mores Pie

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!! Or in Turkey speak…Gobble Gobble! Ironic that we gobble up the one thing that says gobble gobble? Not to get all existential on you or anything.  But today is the time to reflect, and say thanks for all the things we are grateful for.  Here’s a brief list of the things I am especially thankful for this year:

Family – and the fact that I got to spend this week with the people I love most
Friends – I am a lucky girl to have such great friends
The health and happiness of my family and friends
Cookies
My grandma
- 86 and still the smartest person I know
Glitter
- especially the edible kind
My new niece – I miss you already Arli Dylan
Puppies – all of them everywhere
My Bite-Sized readers – my love for you is anything but Bite-Sized

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for…drumroll please…

Turkey Breast
Ingredients
1 bone-in turkey breast
4 Bay leaves
1/8 cup of Black Peppercorns
½ head of garlic, smashed
¾ cup of sugar
¾ cup of Kosher salt
Sage
Rosemary
1 Apple (preferably reddish and sweet)
Butter, and lots of it, at room temperature
1 bag of large carrots, cut into big pieces
3 onions, quartered
2 parsnips

Directions
The first thing you have to do to ensure a tasty turkey is brine, brine, brine! To make your brine, add 8 cups of water to a stockpot.  Then add ½ head of garlic, 1/8 of a cup of black peppercorns and 4 bay leaves.  Bring this toa boil.  Once the mixtures boils, turn off the heat and add ¾ cup of kosher salt and ¾ cup of sugar.  Remove from the heat and let cool completely.  Add your turkey breast to a brining bag and place the bag in a baking dish.  This will prevent any bring leaking in your refrigerator.  Once the brine has completely cooled, add it to the brining bag with the turkey.  Make sure the entire breast is submerged and then tie to seal.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.

When you are ready to cook your bird, preheat the oven to 380 degrees.  Remove the turkey from the brine and pat completely dry.  Place the sage and rosemary under the skin, stems removed, just leaves.

Place the carrots, turnips and onions in the bottom of your baking dish and place the bird on top of the vegetables.  Place the apple in the cavity and then cover the turkey in a very generous amount of butter.  Think Paula Deen.  Add the leftover herbs to the turkey breast as well.

Place the bird in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, remove the baking dish from the over and cover with foil.  Return to the oven and cook for about an hour or until the bird is 160 degrees.  This may vary depending on the size of your bird.  Once it reaches 160 degrees, remove the foil and let the bird cook until it is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let sit for about 20 minutes before carving.

While the turkey is resting, it’s time to make the gravy.  Remove the veggies from the baking dish and place on the tray you will use to serve the turkey, making sure to preserve the drippings in the pan.  In a small saucepan, make a roux.  A roux is a combination of flour and fat, which will help to thicken the gravy.  Combine 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of butter in the small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook for a minute or two until the flour has been completely incorporated into the butter.  Once the roux is finished, pour in the drippings from the turkey pan.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth and warm.  Serve with your turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving!!  And remember, there will be pictures tomorrow!!