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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Get Festive!

Celebrate the Season.
Eat. Drink. Dance. Love.
Be Merry.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Persimmon and Watercress Salad

FOOD:
Fuyu Persimmon
photo:Wikimedia Commons
Persimmons became a favorite fruit a few Autumns ago. I would see them popping up in produce sections around September. Persimmons' bright orange color and oblong to elongated shape make them an attention grabber. Curious, I did a little research and found quite a few varieties. My persimmon of choice is the Fuyu because it is sweet and fleshy. Other persimmon are described as astringent which for me means a bit tart but still pretty tasty. Here's an easy, healthy salad that compliments just about everything. The Persimmon and Watercress salad is on time for a quick meal alongside a simple grain and lean protein (revisit Cooking Lounge Top 10 Easy Cooking Tips).
Persimmon, Watercress, Grape Tomato, Cucumber, Red Onion

photo: wbj HTC Hero
The photo shows you all you need to know. Make the combination of ingredients your own.  I tossed the salad with a rice wine vinegar, olive oil and lemon vinegarette. No grape tomato use cherry, plum or vine. Prefer scallion, shallots or chives, that works too.  Want more of a fruit salad switch up the cucumber for apple or pear. Infinite possibilities and lots of fun.
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's All Academic - Mishka and Das Racist

 LIFESTYLE:
Mishka NYC
Looking for something FREE and interesting to do; clicked through Flavorpill and decided on an in-store performance from Das Racist.  Checked out the Mishka NYC site to see what was up with the spot. Mishka's flagship shop is under the train tracks in South Williamsburg on Broadway blocks, yet a world away, from destinations like Dressler's, Marlowe and Sons, Fatty Cue,  and Peter Luger's. Landing on Mishka's Holiday 2010 Lookbook, I was surprised to see an edgy, interpretation of prep/jock/collegiate with hallmarks of Mishka's origins in skater, Si Fi, streetwear and graphic tee culture. Page turning editorial photography by Elizabeth Weinberg sorta made me forget the night was about new music. 
The plan was to meet my friend Adam; check out Das Racist; see what was hot about Mishka. People cued down the block before 7p show. We met across the street at Trophy Bar. Had a Miller High Life. Went back to Mishka. Das Racist had spit their rhymes and the turntables were being packed up at 8p sharp. Punctual set! Sucked for us. Stayed and looked around the space. Checked out the photo exhibit of Insane Clown Posse fans (Juggalos) by Jason Shaltz who followed the band on a US tour. Mishka has a curated calendar of events and installations  that are expositions of and expansions on the Mishka brand. 
These days Mishka spans its roots in graphic tees and caps branching out to vinyl toys (Lamour Supreme, Secret Base, Cure Toys), a record label, NSFW pin-up girl calendar and now this sleek, retro meets skater cut and sew line of clothing. Next Wave street cred, hitting platforms and keeping a poignant point of view.
MUSIC:
Clicked around to learn more about Das Racist and their burgeoning pop status beyond cultural meme.
photo: Caroline Mort
For a relatively new duo that is really a trio, Das Racist has kicked up a lot of dust since 2008 and garnered a lot of inkI listened to the "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell"and found it funny in a Cypress Hill, stoner humor way. BUT lurking below the surface of "Sit Down, Man", there is a thick layer of smarty pants, academic cultural and social deconstructionism. Das Racist stands in the Next Wave street cred fast lane. Still bumming, I missed Das Racist close-up and free before they embark on a world tour. Listen up.
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cod Fish Cakes with Poached Eggs

FOOD:

Nostalgia for a taste, for a moment, a remembrance can create a meal. A fleeting mental essence causes you to smack your lips and smile; 'ummmm, love to have that again.' Cod is a flavor I like.  Recently, I tried my hand at Baccala (cod fish) Salad which has variations from Italy to Portugal to Puerto Rico. A friend gave me some pointers and the next thing I know I progressed to Pulpo (octopus) Salad which became a high protein staple this summer. Thanks for the tips Angel. Digressing. So the cod got me thinking about one of my most favorite breakfast dishes as a kid, cod fish cakes with scrambled eggs. I have craved this dish but the few times I have seen cod fish cakes on a menu and ordered; the cakes were bready, heavy pucks that were either flavorless or too fishy and salty. So on occasion, I search for Gorton's Cod Fish Cakes because that was what Mom used. Well, you can not find Gorton's Cod Fish Cakes or Cod Fish in a can anymore. Gorton's please start making this product again. Inspired; I improvised.
 
By chance, during a trip to historic Essex Street Market on the lower eastside of New York City, I saw salt cod at Batista Market and Grocery. The cod was not dehydrated to grayish fish leather, the cod was plump and white. A taste for nostalgia hit me; and, I knew I was going to make Cod Fish Cakes. So the next day, I make brunch for two of the coolest ladies I know - Cod Fish Cakes, Poached Eggs, Baby Arugula, Tomato and Whole Wheat Toast. Not quite Mom's breakfast, but the Cod Fish Cakes were golden, slightly crisp on the the outside and light, fluffy and moist inside with the potato and cod combining seamlessly into a savory cake. Ummmm, a comforting taste flashback! 
Check out the slideshow above. Remember get creative. Make it yours.
Cod Fish Cakes
1 1/2 cod - soaked overnight and drained. Boil the cod for about 15 minutes. Sat aside.
2 med size potatoes  - peeled, cubed and boiled (in the same water as the cod with a Bay leaf).
2 cloves of garlic and a few shallots - sliced, diced and sauteed.
2 eggs slightly beaten.
1/4 cup of flour.
1 handful  of parsley chopped.
 Salt, Pepper.
Mix all together.  Form uniform cakes. Use a ice cream scoop. Gently pan fry in a little oil. 
I'll leaves eggs and side dishes to your culinary imagination. Think regions, cultures and seasons when pairing flavors or think out of the box and experiment.
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Sunday, October 3, 2010

minimalist power_ Kanye West_ Saturday Night Live - October 2, 2010

MUSIC:
There's a buzz about Kanye West's performances on Saturday Night Live last night. Gawker posted 2 videos, "Power" and "Runaway." Minimalism was the stand-out and strength of "Power" for me.  Less is more in a form synonymous with excess.  Watch "Power" now! Here's the link: Gawker TV.
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fresh Leather - DUNLIN

LIFESTYLE:
Wandering a tree lined stretch of Havemeyer on Williamsburg's Southside after my friend christened her new gallery in Bushwick, I was struck by a soft, moody glow emanating from a small shop. Aged patina, antiquated lighting, bygone era aura fills this tucked away gem. And, the smell of leather saturates the air. Hand-crafted leather at DUNLIN.



photos: wbj HTC Hero





Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Monday, September 20, 2010

Honeychiles' Po Boys



FOOD:
Jesse Crawford, co-owner
photo:wbj
Oyster po' boy and Fish po' boys at Honeychiles'
photo: wbj
Jesse Crawford, one of the owners, was behind the counter at Honeychiles' when I went in after a show in Williamsburg (see music post below).  Went in with a couple of friends wanting a good, filling, and fast meal to soak up the beers before bedtime). Honeychiles' name brought a big smile to my face thinking about all the sunshine in this southern term of endearment.  I could hear the distant lilt of grandmothers and aunts in Virginia. Perfect place on a summer night for seafood po' boys and a cold beer.  Honeychiles' is inside the Charleston, a rocker bar on Bedford Avenue and North 7th.  The food was the attraction not the insouciant, tattooed and just-so-coiffed bar patrons. The oyster po' boy was crunchy on the outside with a juicy, briny, fresh oysters crowding an pretty average italian roll slathered with a lemony remoulade sauce and shredded iceberg lettuce.  My friends found the fish po' boys equally good even a bit large because they had to skip out on the bread and go for the fish.  There are other items on the menu worth trying. Honeychiles' has been getting lots of press for it's punk meets New Orleans comfort food m.o. Go early to avoid the 'scene' and grab a table and a cold one. 
MUSIC:
NOT BLOOD PAINT

Not Blood Paint
In early August, I saw Not Blood Paint at Cameo in Williamsburg. Cameo is a backroom performance space behind The Loving Cup Cafe on North 6th Street.  A raw room with high ceilings, lots of concrete and brick so not the best acoustics but still a good room.  Never felt like the music was bouncing all over the place.  Met up with Leisa Arndt from TrashCan Magazine and our friend Carlos to see Not Blood Paint (NBP).  TrashCan is a new online mag where Leisa wrote a music review for NBP.  A few weeks later FREE WILLIAMSBURG, posted an article, "Not Blood Paint: Band Most Likely to Start a Cult",  that peeps in on the NBP's fanatical followers and straight-out-of-bushwick cred.  Wondering if NBP is this art hood's Fischerspooner?. Not Blood Paint made me think of Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust days.  NBP had crazy presence with a theatrical and choreographed performance that would have kept you caught in the onstage antics and projected visuals if they weren't such a solid  band with each member in the mix on vocals. 
Enjoy,
Cooking Lounge!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fennel, Orange, Olive and Mint Salad

It's been a while since I posted.  I made this dish for a friend's brick oven pizza party in late spring.  Give this a try for a cook-out, potluck or an easy meal for you.
FOOD:
Fennel, oranges and olives tossed in sherry vinaigrette with mint is a refreshing summer salad popping with bright flavors.  I think this salad works with seafood to grilled meats to artisanal pizza; and, with some finessing (toss with_______) can be a really nice, mediterranean inspired entree.  
Adjust the main ingredients to fit your taste and add your favorite oil based dressing.
photos:wbj
Here's what I did. 
Trimmed 2 bulbs of fennel.  Sliced fennel lengthwise.  Cut off the bottom so the bulb easily separates. Pick your favorite seedless orange (approx 6).  Slice off the top and bottom so ends are flat. This makes it easier to separate into segments.  Peel removing as much of the pith as possible.  Divide into segments.  Toss in pitted olives ( I used katamala, approx 8 oz) and chopped fresh mint. The host of the party had a crazy selection of oil and vinegars.  I went with a combo of vintage sherry vinegar (Gran Capirete 50 year old) and with a newer, more acidic sherry vinegar from the same maker and virgin olive oil with a little salt and pepper.  Done!  Served the Fennel, Orange, Olive and Mint Salad on a bed of baby arugula for color, extra bite and as a filler to stretch the salad.
LIFESTYLE:
Periodically, Cooking Lounge will have Lifestyle posts, advice or links from Larry Betz on health and fitness.  Yeah, you know so you can eat more and eat better.
Larry Betz, CSCS, has over 30 years of training experience, from gymnastics to a variety of martial arts and weight training. Larry is a certified expert on overall health, strength and conditioning after study with some of the top coaches in the world. 
Some of his certifications include: CSCS (Certified Strength Conditioning Specialist), Exercise Science from The Swedish Institute of Health Science, Holistic Health Counselor from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, NSCA-CPT, Titlist Performance Institute (golf fitness instructor).  Check back soon for links and more.
MUSIC:
Step-up your game; keep your music FRESH.  
Here are some links.  Find your summer jams.

http://www.discobelle.net/
http://pitchfork.com/
http://prettymuchamazing.com/
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What's in the Fridge?, Spinach Potato Pancakes aka Latkes

FOOD/LIFESTYLE:


What’s in the fridge?” is a common question when you want to eat but have no real plan.  Often you open the refrigerator, and glaze over with a million miles stare at the assortment of condiments, take-out and leftover bits.  Open and slam a few cabinets. Then you decide, there is nothing to eat.  Wrong!  Put down the phone, save some money, and cook.
So Cooking Lounge is starting a new posting called...that’s right What’s in the Fridge?.
The jump-off idea is to get you thinking about what works together, how to use what you got and make the most of your food $$$.  
Note: Hope you read the previous post (Top 10 Easy Cooking Tips) and have some basics on hand.
Spinach Potato Pancakes aka Latkes
Used what was on-hand so no etched in stone way to make this.  This is a guide.  Tailor it to you.
Spinach Potato Pancakes aka Latkes are savory, filling, easy to make and keep well in the fridge.  They go from brunch to supper with simple additions.  Serving suggestions: for a variation on Eggs Florentine, top with a sunny side up or poached egg; tasty plain from stove to plate as a snack; nice with sour cream and a little smoked salmon or even salmon roe; a hearty late night meal when topped with leftover chicken in a cream sauce.
1lb (approx) thawed and drained frozen spinach.  This was the last of a large bag of spinach in the freezer.  Drained means squeeze all the water out of the spinanch.
11/2 cup mashed potatoes (a dinner leftover). Roasted potatoes will work too as long as you chop them up well.  Even instant potatoes will work if you MUST.
3 eggs
1/2 cup grated hard cheese.  Pretty much any cheese will work except maybe soft cheeses like brie.  But you can try that too if that is what is in the fridge.  Have some fun.  Experiment.
1/4 cup of flour
1/4 cup milk.  May need less or more depending on potatoes used.
sauted garlic (on low heat till soft not browned)
sauted onions
salt 
pepper
olive oil or vegetable oil
Combine potatoes, flour, chopped sauted onions, smashed sauted garlic and cheese in a large bowl.
Beat the eggs; add milk; pour into the large bowl of potatoes etc;  throw in the spinach.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until all ingredients are combined into a chunky batter.
Heat a large skillet or griddle with a little oil.  Vegetable oil is fine for this.
I used an ice cream scoop to measure batter portions.  Use a spatula to flatten and flip.  Cook each side until golden brown.
Yields approximately 10 large, thick, spinach potato pancakes.
Here's a video impression of the process.

video:wbj
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Nneka – Afropean global soul

MUSIC: 
Nneka is a fairly new artist to American audiences; but, she is gathering a bundle of accolades in the US.  This camera-ready Nigerian raised artist, currently based in Hamburg, Germany, has her eyes on the States.  “Concrete Jungle” is Nneka's 3rd release since 2005, after critical success in Europe and Africa. Nneka’s website.
 
Nneka is in a Top 10 list of artists to watch from SXSW 2010 compiled by Flavorpill.  Nneka is the stand out for CL; because, she is not so prefab, not so slick (yeah, yeah she's a label artist).  Her music is raw, from-the-gut worldbeat and change focused.  

In a way, Nneka is a combo of Zap Mama  and Erykah Badu (note: making headlines w/ her new video,"Window Seat") with some American-style folk rebel in the mix. Nneka will get you all irie.

Check out the “Heartbeat” video filled with Nigerian street life scenes.
 
Feel her spirit in this short docu video, "Who is Nneka?".
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Friday, March 26, 2010

Top 10 Easy Cooking Tips

                               Spring, Awright!              photo wbj
FOOD/LIFESTYLE:
Lately, several people (yo! Gordon, was listening) have told me they would cook more and eat healthier, if they had a guide.  Once you wrap your head around 'no need for a big production' and understand the basics, cooking a good meal is simple.  In New York City, people expect and accept near empty fridges. 

Eating in means calling out.  With subtle lifestyle adjustments, you can chow fresh food and feel full and satisfied.  Plus, you will save a chunk of change.  That's money for drinks later.  Go out; it's Spring.

Here's the Cooking Lounge Top 10 for Easy Cooking.
Top 10 Easy Cooking Tips
  1. Olive Oil
  2. Butter
  3. Sea Salt and Black Peppercorns (buy a grinder)
  4. Brown Rice, whole grains or other good carbohydrates (fiber, fiber, fiber)
  5. Pasta
  6. Garlic
  7. Onions
  8. Quality Herbs and Spices (buy a pre-filled spice rack)
  9. Fresh produce (salad greens, tomato, zucchini, green beans, kale, spinach, whatever you eat or is convenient or is in SEASON).  Seasonal produce tends to be fresher, more local.
  10. Fresh chicken, beef, pork, seafood (or a meat substitute if a vege... protein is the point)
With the above items on hand a 30-minute meal is within reach.  
Let's be real.  This is doable.  You can pick-up a meat or a veg on the way home from work, or stock up on items over the weekend.  Plus, there are companies like Fresh Direct that will deliver in a lot of metropolitan areas.  If you travel a bit or have an unpredictable schedule, buy high quality frozen vegetables and stick the meat or seafood in the freezer (in serving portions - so it's grab, thaw, cook). 

The bottom-line is have it in the house; so, you can cook a quick, easy, healthy, meal.
Suggest you cook a batch of brown rice in advance when you have a little downtime because brown rice can take 45 minutes or so. Or get the quick cook version (not my usual choice).  With the cooked brown rice on hand, all you need to do is microwave or reheat with a little water and a touch of oil or butter in pan.  Quinoa is a great side dish that is making its way onto more US plates.  Pasta is a no brainer and fast.  Add whole-wheat pasta to your choices for a change.  

Now, all you have to do is saute, broil or bake your meat or seafood.  Make a salad.  Wilt some spinach with slivers of garlic and squeeze lemon over it.  Saute green beans and toss with strips of red peppers. Broil some zucchini brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs.  

Snap.  Done.  Minimal mess. Minimal fuss.  Minimal cost.  Give this a try!

Garden of Eden is one of my favorite food places in the New York City area.  They import a wide range of specialty foods; so if you look around, you will find bargains.  Check out the Garden of Eden with shelves and aisles ladened with goodness.  

Oh and as I have noted before, I am not a health or food expert; so, it is best to check with you doctor prior to making significant lifestyle changes.

MUSIC:
Spare beauty and a dark resonance haunts The xx's music.  The single "Crystalised" topped the UK charts in 2009.  I listened to several tracks on the debut release "xx" plus some Rough Trade bonus tracks.  "Heart Skipped a Beat" is my favorite at the moment.  Thought of the soulful, engrossing pull of Portishead on "Dummy" while listening to The xx.   "VCR" is the  latest single, released in January 2010.  Here's the video.

Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Monday, March 8, 2010

Beef Stew Slow Cooked in Red Wine with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms - Beef Bourguignon

FOOD:
Beef Slow Cooked in Red Wine with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms
Craving food that envelops you in comfort?  Beef Bourguignon is perfect.  Sooo much snow the last few weeks, right as you start thinking, winter's end.  Bacchanal celebrations to chase away the dead season have waned.  Come oooon Spring.  Knee-deep snow still covering the ground, icy rain slicking streets, brisk sunny days turning into near freezing nights, make stews and soups seem more appropriate, more seasonal.  I used Julia Child's classic Beef Bourguignon recipe as a guide to making this beef stew slow cooked in red wine (a very traditional French favorite).  
Here's what I did:
Serves 6, easily stretched to 8.  
8 oz of slab bacon
3.5 lbs of lean beef.  I used a rump roast ( cut into 2 inch cubes).
2 diced carrots.  If you want, use whole baby carrots...nice presentation; guesstimate on amount 1/3 - 1/2 of a cup.
1 large onion diced
3 cups of hearty red wine.  Selected a liter bottle of Chilean Concho y Toro, the ubiquitous brand of choice at gallery openings for awhile.  Went with Frontera, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend...drinkable (yep!) and very reasonably priced around $12.00.  I marinated the beef over night in 1 1/2 cups of wine with thyme, garlic and a little salt and pepper. Some recipes marinated for two days.  Julia Child's not all.  Do your own thing.
2-3 cups of beef stock.  I made my own.  But a quality packaged stock works. 
1lb - 1 1/2lb Small boiling onions.  You want 18 - 24 according to Julia Child. I added more.
1 lb of small whole Crimini mushrooms
1 tbs of Tomato sauce
2 tsp Sea salt
1 tbs of cracked whole black peppercorns (use less if you like)
Garlic
Thyme
Bay Leaves
Olive oil
Flour
Sides Dishes
Green beans (threw in a few sauteed cloves of garlic and grape tomatoes for color)
Little Fingerling potatoes boiled in salted water w/ bay leaf
Hardware: Fireproof casserole dish (like Le Creuset) or a Dutch oven as most people know this type of sturdy stove top to oven cookware.   Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Drain the marinade from the beef and blot dry with paper towels.
Trim the rind from the bacon.  Cut into chunky strips.  Toss all into a quart or so of water and boil for 10 minutes.  Drain and place chunky strips on the side.  Then saute for a couple of minutes to brown in casserole/Dutch oven.  Remove bacon.   In same pan, brown small batches of beef in the bacon fat. Set aside with bacon.  Saute diced onion and carrots in bacon fat; you may need to add a little additional oil.  Remove the onions and carrots; place with the bacon and beef.  Empty the oil.  Return beef, bacon, onions and carrots to pan.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper then dust with flour, tossing all through these steps.  Place in the HOT oven (450 degrees) uncovered for about 5 minutes, toss, and return to oven for about 4 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Lower temp to 325 degrees.  Time for the wine.   Stir in the wine, beef stock to cover meat.  Add tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bay leaf (remember to remove bay at end).  Cover and place oven.  Slow cookfor approximately 3 hours until meat is fork tender.
Now the onions and the mushrooms:
Basically you need to braise, saute, boil or roast the onions and mushrooms because they are going to be added just before serving. Cook them how you like.
Finishing Beef Slow Cooked in Red Wine with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms.
When beef is done, use a colander over a saucepan to drain off all the luscious liquid that will become the sauce. Skim fat from the top and reduce the cooking liquid. May want to add a little butter or cream, maybe a bit more wine. After thickened, the sauce can be refined by pouring through a sieve. Wash up the casserole pan because all the ingredients go back in and it can be used for serving. Add all the elements. Pour on the sauce and the Beef Slow cooked in Red Wine with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms is ready to serve.
Here's a video impression of the process.

video:wbj
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Thursday, March 4, 2010

GQ Cooks Eat + Drink: GQ.com, 10 essential tips

LIFESTYLE:
Knowing how to cook warms hearts, stomachs and beds.  It's no secret women love a guy who knows his way around a kitchen.  Skilled hands are useful.  Eating is sensual.  
The GQ Cooks article/slideshow caught my eye.  Contains lots of helpful, practical information.  

GQ Cooks 10 essential tips, techniques, and secrets that every man should know.

Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

VV Brown Hiro Ballroom "Shark in the Water"

MUSIC:
The invite only show on February 17th at Hiro Ballroom was V V Brown’s NYC debut concert put together by Giant StepClick here to see the press release.  It was a frigid night. Though the room was not packed, an eclectic nyc crowd comfortably filled the main floor.  Seating was available on the upper levels and drink service was quick and friendly at the bars (true rarity at a club in the Meatpacking District).
V V Brown is an artist straddling genres and typecasting.  VV is an established songwriter and composer in the UK moving to center stage, very similar to what US artist, Santigold  did in 2008. The set was a short, mash-up that included retro tinged L.O.V.E. and "Crying Blood", along with poppy originals "Back in Time"and "Bottles", and a cover of Drake’s “Best I Ever Had”, plus an encore of "Crying Blood" that played to her Jamaican roots with a dub beat.  Will check-out V V Brown more.  Let’s see what V V’s sophomore effort brings.
Here’s a video for the last song of the show, “Shark in the Water”.
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sexy Sweet: Strawberry Dipped in Dark Chocolate with Grand Marnier

FOOD:
A strawberry dipped in chocolate conjures images of champagne and seduction.  A strawberry or two may have played a part in an off the chain night, but the sexy sweet is luscious anytime and easy to make at home.
Stopped by Trader Joe's and picked up a Pound Plus (weighs over 17oz) of Belgium (72% cocoa) Dark  Chocolate, a pint of heavy cream and a quart of untrimmed strawberries (Unfortunately, TJ's  did not have long stemmed in stock).  In the kitchen, I pulled out some unsalted butter to soften and grabbed a dusty bottle of Grand Marnier.  Years ago, Grand Marnier was the bartender's shot of choice poured in the Georgetown enclave of Washington, D.C.  The addition of GM was about adding old school flavor and a reminiscence.
We have all heard the drone of health media going on and on about the benefits of dark chocolate.  Okay, we all get the point.  Dark chocolate has health benefits! BUT come on y'all, chocolate tastes GOOD.  In fact, I think dark chocolate has a more complex flavor than milk chocolate. 
Here's the rundown for Strawberry Dipped in Dark Chocolate with Grand Marnier:
10 oz of Dark Chocolate
1 quart of strawberries with leaves, even better w/ stems.
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 or 2 tbs of unsalted butter
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
The chocolate needs to be melted in a bain-marie or double boiler if you have these useful but fancy items.  I do not, so what I do is use a large stainless steel bowl that fits snuggly in a large sauce pan or small pot.  I fill the pot so that water line is about 1 inch below the bottom of the bowl.  This technique creates low even heat for melting the chocolate.
Add the chocolate to the bowl.  Stir with a fork as it melts.  When 1/2 of the chocolate is soft or melted, stir in a tablespoon of butter.  Continue to stir.  All melted.  Slowly add the cream while stirring.  Add the Grand Marnier while stirring.  You want the chocolate to be velvety. Depending on the chocolate you may want to add a little bit more butter and a bit more cream.  Individually, dip each strawberry into the chocolate; rotating the strawberry to evenly cover.  Sit on a tray lined with wax paper to harden, 30 min - 1 hour.  If you have stemmed strawberries, you can invert the berry and stick the steam in styrofoam to harden.  
Here's an impression of making the sexy sweet shot on a Flip Camera.

video:wbj
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

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