Category Archives: Recipe

Champagne & Chocolate for a Posh Valentine

Nothing is more appealing than logs burning in a fireplace, a flute of champagne, and deliciously gooey chocolate morsels to celebrate this Polar Vortex Valentine’s Day.

Americans have become sophisticated foodies.  The consumption of wine has risen considerably and many homes feature wine cellars or storage units. Besides spirits, the country has also fallen in love with good chocolate,  gone are the days of the ubiquitous heart-shaped boxed candy.

What better time to celebrate our new found love of wine and chocolates than Valentine’s Day?  All of it can be done without guilt; we all know chocolate and wine are good for us.

We all have a favorite recipe for brownies, chocolate truffles, and cupcakes.  I like to surprise friends with my Brazilian treat – delectable chocolate treasures – Brigadeiros!

brigadeiros

Ingredients:

1 can of sweet condensed milk

Cocoa powder to taste

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of heavy cream added at the end (My special secret)

1 cup of chocolate sprinkles

Directions:

In a heavy -bottom pan, mix the condensed milk, the cocoa powder and the butter. Mix well. Using low heat stir constantly until the mixture detaches from the bottom of the pan; this typically takes about 10 minutes. Add the heavy cream.  Remove it from the pan and place it in a buttered plate to cool. With buttered hands, form small balls, roll them on the sprinkles, and then place them in paper liners.

If you want a shortcut, contact FaBrigadeirosusa  in Miami (305)934-3870. Delectable little brigadeiros will arrive at your door in all their deliciousness.

flutes copy

{Shop Flutes} – LyonRomeJacaRitzVenise

Pick up one of our gorgeous flutes for some crisp bubbly, the perfect, romantic chocolate companion. With all of your varietal and pricing choices, don’t forget Proseccos (my favorites) or the American sparkling wines.

When the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 the French included limits on the use of the word Champagne to refer only to bubbly made using the traditional methods and grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. Although Americans are not obligated to do it, many producers label their bubbly Sparkling Wine out of respect while Italians do the same by calling bubbly Prosecco.

Being in a patriotic mood after Super Bowl week, and still under the influence of Renee Fleming’s spectacular rendition of our National Anthem, I want to encourage you to try some of our domestic sparklers:  Domaine Carneros Brut (California) or Mumm Napa Brut Prestige (California) both dry and fruity, perfect for chocolate pairing.

celeste duvet cover from poshliving

No one talks about bed linens for Valentine’s but I think that they should be on the top of a gift list. Is there anything better than crisp sheets and soft pillows when tipsy from some wonderful bubbly? Indulge: Valentine’s is only once a year!

Cheers!

~Patricia de Niemeyer Kahane~

A Brazilian-Style New Year’s Celebration!

Eating grapes or pomegranates at the stroke of midnight (then keeping the seeds in your wallet) are some of the many New Year’s superstitions followed around the world. They range from the simple to the elaborate and most are diligently followed in hopes of a better year. These superstitions are taken most seriously in Brazil, where I was born. Rio de Janeiro hosts the most spectacular New Year’s party around the globe.

rio2

Superstitious beliefs abound and dressing in white is at the top of the list. Thousands flock to the beaches to render homage to Yemaja, the deity of the Oceans. Little boats filled with white flowers and beads are thrown to the waves where the hopeful stand in white.  Fireworks explode in a myriad of colors and shapes. Throughout the city, parties abound and the bubbly corks explode in the air while all shades of white populate the landscape.

Reveillon_Rio_de_Janeiro

A Brazilian-style New Year’s party might be the perfect theme for you this year. After all the hurdles of years past, we are more than ready for a blessed and fruitful 2014. Why not try to help out the planets?

Ask your guests to dress in white. It is a must. As far as the underwear goes, there are some rules as well: white for peace, red for love and yellow for prosperity.

buffet

The table is usually a buffet decorated with white flowers and lots of bling.  Champagne should be at hand for the midnight toast. Green grapes are on the top of the grocery list, followed by lentils and pomegranates. The menu should contain foods that can be served at room temperature. This is not a time to be in the kitchen.

My perfect supper would be a delicious ham (I have heard that Martha Stewart has a great recipe for ham with pear and cranberries on her site), a lentil salad, a pomegranate salad and many bowls of green grapes. No heavy desserts. Buy assorted chocolate bites, like truffles, that pair beautifully with champagne.

Lentil Grape Salad

A couple years ago I took this Lentil Salad to a friend’s home and it was a hit:

For 4 servings

2 cups of dried green French lentils (lentils de Puy)

Cook the lentils in low sodium vegetable or chicken broth with salt and pepper and  2 bay leaves. Be careful not to overcook them. Drain pour over the dressing while they are still hot.

Also add:  golden raisins soaked in rum, candied pecans or chopped walnuts and green scallions

I also love to add some cubed roasted beets which you can substitute for halved grapes

Dressing:

Sweet curry powder ( I usually buy it at Penzey’s spices)

Rice vinegar

Maple syrup(make sure you get the real deal)

Mustard

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

cauliflower pomegranate salad

Cauliflower and Pomegranate salad:

For 4 people

Roast one head of cauliflower with olive oil and salt and pepper in a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until soft, but not mushy.

Prepare a dressing using Tahini, lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Dress the cauliflower while hot and sprinkle some pomegranate over it.

alyssa_collection_1_1

You toasted the New Year with a flute of bubbly, ate the grapes and the lentils, the pomegranate seeds are already inside your wallet and now it is bedtime – white pajamas and crisp white linens should be waiting for you. Light a nice scented candle and think good thoughts before lights out. Happy 2014!

Now that you have done all of it and your next year will be fantastic, make sure to call your travel agent and book your next New Year’s in Rio to see in person what it is all about!

~Patricia de Niemeyer Kahane~

Holi-D-I-Y Crafting

Tis the season to get crafty! After spending tons on presents for family, friends, coworkers, pets, and just about everyone else you know, the last thing you want to do is spend money on entertainment for your kids over winter break.

Instead, spend your time together doing family-friendly DIY projects that are sure to get you (and your home) in the holiday spirit! We have put together a list of some favorites:

pinecone-snowman-craft

Skiing Pinecone Snowman

Work with your cuties to create this adorable winter décor!

What you’ll need:

  • Pinecone
  • White, light blue, and black craft paint
  • 1 brown chenille stem
  • 1″ piece of orange chenille stem
  • 2 medium light blue pom-poms
  • 2″ piece of light blue felt
  • 12″ light blue scrap fabric, cut to 1″ width
  • 2 medium white glittery pom-poms
  • 2 toothpicks
  • 2 jumbo craft sticks
  • Blue glitter glue
  • Snow texture medium (recommended: Snow-tex)
  • Blue chenille stem
  • White craft glue or hot glue gun
  • Scissors

Feel free to play around with colors to fit your family’s favorites and follow the tutorial here.

Christmas-Tree-Chocolate-Cupcakes

Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Looking to make your holiday foods more festive? Desserts are the perfect place to start.

What you’ll need:

  • 6 chocolate or vanilla cupcakes
  • 3 cups homemade or store-bought vanilla frosting
  • 2 Tablespoons green food coloring
  • 6 ice cream sugar cones
  • Edible silver ball sprinkles
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • Special equipment: pastry bag or gallon-sized sealable plastic bag; small star-shaped pastry tip

If colorful trees are more your style, add round rainbow sprinkles as the festive ornaments! Find the full recipe here.

full decorative wreath

Candy Cane Wreath

You hang them on trees, stockings, and now as wreaths! This simple, yet adorable design will fill your home with the holiday spirit.

What you’ll need:

  • Candy Canes
  • cardboard
  • black marker
  • Scotch tape
  • Ribbon

Once you follow the basic directions here, add ribbons and more to give the wreath some flare.

Happy Holiday Crafting!

Entertain the Verrine Way

According  to the Larousse Gastronomique a “verrine is a thick glass with no stem, used for serving individual portions of food rather than drinks.” Do you have old fashion glasses? They are your verrine when you are not using them for scotch. The very fashionable stemless wine glasses also make great verrines. And what about the forgotten shot glasses? They can be mini verrines perfect for cocktail parties. We also love them for small portion desserts.

old fashioned verrines

I love to entertain and with time I am becoming smarter about it. I have my repertoire of key dishes that do not require time in the kitchen when guests arrive and verrines are on the top of my list. They make the perfect start for a meal and the perfect ending. Pair it with a dish that comes out of the oven to the table and you have an elegant yet easy dinner menu.

Invite your friends for a night of cheese and wine and sprinkle the table with shot glasses of mini desserts and you will have a fun and carefree party.

verrines display

For a bridal or baby shower, an assortment of savory and sweet verrines can be made into a beautiful tablescape.  For Oscar or Soccer night (the World Cup is almost here) try an assortment of delectable verrines and your guests will love not having to leave the TV to dine.

One of my easy favorites is listed below, but that does not mean that you should not search the web for other creative ideas to entertain the Verrine way:

smoked salmon verrines

For 4 vodka shot glasses ( you can increase the quantities for a larger glass)

2 (or 3) large slices of smoked salmon

2 tablespoons of crème fraiche

3 tablespoons of ricotta

About 20 stems of chives

1 teaspoon of lime or lemon juice

Add dill if you like

Chop the salmon into small pieces, chop the chives and the dill. In a bowl mix the lemon juice, the ricotta, the crème fraiche and the herbes. Black pepper to taste. Add half of the chopped salmon.

Layer the bottom of a verrine with the smoked salmon, make the ricotta mixture to be the middle layer and finish it off with the smoked salmon and a sprig of dill. Keep it refrigerated until serving time.

salad verrines

Verrines are all about layering.  Do you have a great crab salad recipe? Layer it with guacamole and decorate it with fresh cilantro. Do you make a delicious potato salad? Layer it with hard boiled eggs for a sophisticated approach to that all American favorite. Do you make a mean pudding? Layer it with whipped cream and some fruit . That wonderful brownie that you are so proud of can be crumbled and layered with crème fraiche for a yummy treat. Endless possibilities…

old fashion glasses2

When we chose to add old fashion glasses to our selection, we had in mind that they would double as verrines. We are particularly fond of the Quaddro Old Fashion for traditional style and the Savana for the modern home.

~Patricia de Niemeyer Kahane~

Tomato Soup Time!

IMG_57231-1024x702

The minute the temperature cools down it’s comfort food time.  What’s better than a creamy tomato soup with a luscious and decadent grilled cheese to say hello to winter? We all grew up with the uber-famous and cherished Campbell’s Tomato Soup, but now that we are grown up and our taste buds are more sophisticated, our tomato soup needs to reach new levels and leave the can behind.

The irony is that by this time of the year tomatoes are not at their best so I suggest you to run to the store and buy them a few days in advance so they ripen fully. Tip: Never ever store the tomatoes in the fridge.

This is my modern take on Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese, which is fancy enough to be a dinner menu when you expect company:

Ingredients for the soup

12 large ripe tomatoes (about 4 pounds) quartered

¼ cup of olive oil

¼ cup of the best quality balsamic vinegar you can buy

4 large garlic cloves not peeled

½  cup of chopped yellow onions

Salt and pepper

2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock

1 spoon of sugar

1 spoon of ketchup

1 cup of fresh bay leaves (loosely packed)

Cooking Instructions

Place the first six ingredients in a non-reactive baking dish. Roast them in a 400 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes until the tomatoes are charred. Let them cool a bit.

Squeeze the garlic out of its peel. Place all the contents in a blender with the chicken or vegetable stock. Add the spoon of sugar if needed, the spoon of ketchup, and the fresh bay leaves.  Turn on your trusted blender (or Vitamix) and blend until very smooth.

You can make it ahead of time and refrigerate until needed. If you are not afraid of fat or cream, add a couple spoons when warming it up. Be careful not to get carried away with too much cream or you will lose the wonderful tanginess of the roasted tomatoes.

The Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Use two thick slices of a wonderful whole grain bread. Spread some Dijon mustard on one side (if you ever go to France bring back a couple jars of their supermarket brand-Amora. It’s divine!) and honey on the other.  Add one mozzarella slice (or two) and one slice of Havarti cheese (or two) topped with a couple of basil leaves.

Bring out your Panini press or a heavy skillet and some melted butter.  Press down your sandwich until the scrumptious cheeses melt.

Such a light meal leaves plenty of room for dessert. Reach out to your recipe box and bake a scrumptious apple pie (or buy one if you are feeling lazy). It will be the perfect ending for this all American menu.

33677_PD2

Pretty china enhances any food, so look for a lovely soup bowl and coordinating plate for the warm cheese bite.  This black and white china designed by Christian Lacroix would be perfect. Can’t you picture those bold stripes against the bright red of the tomatoes? This design can be appropriate for dinner or lunch. It gives a punch of style with presentation. Isn’t that what this meal is all about? (See this Copacabana Bowl and others here.)

Share your recipe experience with me: [email protected]

~Patricia de Niemeyer Kahane~

Halloween DIYs That Are Scary Fun!

It’s time to get ready for tricks and treats with Halloween is right around the corner! What better way to celebrate than a fun DIY project for you and your little one?

 blackboard pumpkins

Blackboard Pumpkins

Tired of the messy pumpkin carving thing? This is the perfect craft for you especially if you don’t want your little one around carving tools. Just cover the pumpkin with chalkboard paint, let it dry and let your imagination wander! Plus, there’s no reason to fret over a little mess up since it can be erased.

For the full craft: Indie Fixx

Cheerios-Chocolate-Tarts

Chocolate Tart Pumpkin Bites

What’s the point of ‘trick-or-treat’ without the ‘treat’? This is an easy no-bake recipe that the whole family will love. Best of all, it is a much healthier treat than candy.

For the full recipe: Family Fresh Cooking

Serve your snacks on a spooky plate like this one for extra fun: Trick or Treat Personalized Halloween Plate

(Like the plate? Order soon and receive before Halloween.)

trick or treat halloween plate from PoshTots

Happy Halloween Crafting!

Fourth of July DIY

Trying to think of a patriotic party treat to bring to the neighbor’s cookout? Want to get the kids involved in representing the red, white, and blue? These simple yet fun DIY projects are sure to get everyone in the American spirit this Fourth of July!

Patriotic Paper Lanterns

small-paper-lanterns-9

Supplies You will need to make the Paper Lanterns:

-Cardstock in Red, White and Blue

-A ruler

-Scissors

-Star punch or Star Stickers

-A pencil

-Glue Sticks

-Festive Ribbon

-Stapler

Step One: Fold your cardstock in Half Lengthwise.  Then take your ruler and draw lines from the fold, leaving an inch from the end of your line and the edge.  Leave about .75 inch on each side.

Step 2: Have the kids cut on the line, stopping when the line ends, not through to the edge.  (This is great cutting practice)

Step 3:  Unfold your paper and then with the folded bumps on the outside, turn inward and attach at the top and bottom.  Then staple both the top and bottom a couple of times.

Step 4: DECORATE! Add festive stickers, star cutouts, ribbon, etc.

Step 5: Using ribbon or string, hang the lanterns for festive décor either inside your home or outside.

Red, White, and Blue Rice Krispy Treats

krispy treats

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 Bags, 10 oz – marshmallows

12 cups Kelloggs Rice Krispies cereal

Red and Blue food coloring

Instructions: Make 3 small batches – Red, Regular, and Blue. In large saucepan, melt 1/3 or 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Add 1/3 of the marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add Blue, Red or No color to each third of the ingredients. Add 1/3 of the Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated. Transfer each mixture to a separate bowl.

Using buttered spatula or wax paper, loosely press each mixture into one 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Each of the 3 layers should be about 1″ tall. Cool and Serve.

 

This Calls for Some Champagne!

champagne cupcakes

No, nothing extraordinary happened, unfortunately.

Ok, something did.  THESE!!! Oh. My. Gawd.  A friend of ours brought these to the office today and, well, as much as we love champagne, and any celebratory reason to drink it, these give us an excuse to enjoy champagne for any old reason at all.  They are the bomb.  Seriously.  Delicious, decadent and decidedly un-resolution friendly, but soooo doggone worth it.

Find the champagne cupcake recipe, and more delicious creations, on Gimme Some Oven.