Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chocolates in Spring

The weather has taken a turn. Finally! Apart from the weekend (which just had to rain when our house had visitors over), sunshine has reigned again and warmth is all over the slopes! I started running outdoors last week - something I was longing to do since Jack Frost decided to visit five months back. I almost forgot how beautiful Ithaca is without that thick quilt of snow blinding everything in sight.

We had another weekend cookout last Saturday - a Tuscan-inspired seafood pasta special (I ♥ angel hair!) and some sesame-honeyed spinach greens tossed with cranberries, roasted almonds and clementines - a wonderful meal to usher in the long-awaited springtime. And seeing that I have had one gourmandizing episode after another for the past couple of weekends, I decided to cut back on the sweet treats and go for something savory instead. Cheese is always a favorite.

We decided to roast some red and bartlett pears with walnuts, fresh gorgonzola and brie. I just love those candied walnuts, roasted and gleaming in its glossy cloak of clover honey and vanilla. The pears were a little underdone, I must admit. A little longer in the oven would have made those voluptuous pears perfectly soft - but a watched pot never boils, so we all settled for something a little crunchier.

And the cheese... mmm... 
Simply satisfying, nonetheless!

I had a HSI networking session two Tuesdays ago, and I know I promised some Nanaimo chocolate bars for the event. Nanaimo bars - for those unsure - are no-bake chocolate bars that originated from Canada. They're basically layered with a waffle crunch bottom, a white custardy middle layer, and a dark top coating of milk chocolate.

So I intended to swap the base for a brownie batter, then top it off with a layer of milk chocolate (I don't fancy white cocoa that much), then finish it off with a blanket of deep, dark cocoa spread. However, the middle layer didn't harden as quick as I thought it would, so I ended up with a chocolate truffle swirl - which I actually preferred just because the textured surface makes this sweet confection so pretty.

They're really rich, so one-inch cubes would be ideal bite-sized portions at a party. Don't you just adore those pastel-colored paper cups? It makes everything look so floral and feminine. It's like a springtime chocolate bouquet - what could be more perfect than that?

Spring break is just two days away! I can almost smell the salty ocean breeze and feel my toes wriggling through the moist sandy beaches, all framed beautifully under the sublime Caribbean sunshine.

I'll definitely keep my promise of sharing postcards from the Caribbean when I get there! XOXO!


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