Friday, February 14, 2014

Be a Chocolatier and make Truffles!

Be honest. You know you want to know how to make chocolate truffles. Really. They are no big deal. As long as you have a few simple ingredients, you'll be able to master truffles too.


Valentines Day is a sweet time to get creative. Let's just say it's easier to make gifts for the people you love. How often do I make truffles for just little ole me? Never. I need an excuse to have a party or visit a loved one. Most of the time I made truffles for a catering gig for a school PTA meeting, swim team auction dinner party, boy scout event, or National Charity League annual tea party. But why not invite a few friends over and have a truffle making party? People WILL come for chocolate.

Here is how I make chocolate truffles.


3/4 lb high quality dark chocolate (or milk) I use Trader Joe's brand, or Cacao Barry or Ghirardelli
(I purchase these at Cash and Carry Warehouse restaurant supply)
1 1/2 C. heavy whipping cream
1 teas flavoring (vanilla, Kahlua liquor, coffee extract, peppermint extract, lemon extract, orange extract)
Get creative here. Use lemon zest, orange zest, raspberry jam, or any liquor.

Heat cream in a heavy bottom sauce pan until hot. Do not boil.
Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate and flavoring. Stir until chocolate is melted.
Pour into a square pan lined with plastic wrap. Place in fridge or freezer until solid. Unmold chocolate ganache onto a cutting board and cut with a large chef's knife into bite sized pieces.
Roll into balls. I find using plastic gloves works the best here. Ask your dentist for a unscented box. That is where I get mine, or purchase from a restaurant supply store.

At this point, you can roll into cocoa powder, powdered sugar, toasted and finely chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, macadamia, whatever you like).

Personally, I enjoy adding another layer of chocolatey goodness by coating these precious gems with tempered chocolate. I have a tempering machine, but you can temper chocolate yourself. It is a process learning how to get chocolate to the perfect temperature. I won't go into a long description on tempering today, but you can Google it or just skip this step. Many chocolatiers serve their truffles by only coating with cocoa powder.

If you do coat with tempered chocolate, you must coat the truffle twice to avoid the ganache from oozing out of the truffle. Use parchment paper, wax paper, foil, or a candy making non stick option when making truffles. These will set up on the counter, or speed up the process by placing in fridge temporarily.

Serve by placing on a small platter or a tiered candy dish. Store them in a covered plastic container in the fridge for up to 3 months or freeze for up to 6 months. Enjoy!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Bay Area Foodies. You Need To Know @ Oxbow Public Market

I had the most amazing day with my sister in Napa visiting the Oxbow Public Market. I heard about this fabulous
destination by reading one of my food magazines. I tore out the page and kept this piece of information hidden in one of my many piles.  I must have wanted to check out Annette’s Chocolates famous rocky road candy or her Italian Cherry Merlot Fudge. Yum! I could easily eat the whole jar with a spoon.

So you can imagine my surprise when driving through Napa, we happened upon the sign to Oxbow Public Market! Sure enough, my sister and I were in heaven. The first stop was Marshall’s Farm Honey stand. There we tasted all types of honey: cloves, orange blossom, CIA Greystone Herb Garden Honey, S.F. Bay Area’ Beekeeper’s Blend, Napa Valley Wildflower, and many more. I had to indulge and purchase two books on cooking and baking w honey “Taste of Honey” by Marie Simmons and “Backyard Beekeepers of the Bay Area” by Judith Adamson.

There was so much more to tickle your senses with the Hog Island Oyster Co and The Olive Press featuring different flavoured vinegars. My favourites were the Meyer lemon and Blenheim apricot varieties. But I also tried Marion berry vinegar which was delightful and would work well in any salad.

You will have to check this place out for yourself. It reminds me of the Ferry Building in San Francisco. If you go, be sure to grab a taco at Casa. For under $10.00 you can satisfy your palette with duck, skirt steak, salmon, or crab. I had the grilled skirt steak, with avocado, sautéed wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, lime crema and a corn tomato salsa. It was so fresh and juicy that it inspired me to make these at home for dinner. My husband couldn’t have been happier.
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Skirt Steak with Red Onion and

Citrus Lime Mojo


1 Skirt Steak

1clove garlic

3 green onions

1/2 jalapeno/ remove seeds

1bunch cilantro, including stems/divided

3/4 cup canola oil or peanut   oil

1teaspoon ground cumin
1teaspoon Mexican oregano
1teaspoon ground mustard
1teaspoon kosher salt
1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice and zest of 3 limes
2 large red onions, peeled and thickly sliced

 Chop the cilantro and reserve 3 tablespoons for garnish. Set aside.

On a clean, wide work surface, place skirt steak down between two pieces of plastic wrap (spray the plastic wrap with non-stick spray before placing steak). Using a flat-sided meat pounder, flatten each steak until tender, paying attention to the thicker side of the steak. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the canola oil, the remaining cilantro, ground cumin, garlic, mustard, oregano, lime and salt and pepper. Process until the mixture is a smooth paste. Rub ½ the mixture over the steak and let marinate at room temperature for ½ hr.

TO COOK AND SERVE: Light a charcoal or gas grill, or have grill pan hot on stove top. When the grill is very hot, remove the steak from the marinade (discard the marinade), pat dry, and season with salt and pepper; cook 5 to 7 minutes on one side and 3 to 4 minutes on the other for medium rare. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes.  Grill the red onions at the same time as the strip steak
6 to 7 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, warm the reserved mojo over low heat. Slice the flank steak very thinly on the bias and serve with the reserved mojo, cilantro and grilled onions.


Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield: Yield:  Serves 4-6
Fat. Total:
Carbohydrates, Total:
% Cal. from Fat: