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Search Results for “cayenne”

  1. Friday, November 6

    Meet the new hottie in my life…Cayenne Pepper

    I have fallen in love with cayenne pepper.

    cayenne pepper web

    I must inform you all that until a few months ago I was a total wimp when it came to spicy (as in hot) food. I always bought mild or medium salsa. If I saw the little pepper symbol on a Chinese food menu, I wouldn’t even consider the dish as an option.

    That is until we discovered Back-A-Yard, the Caribbean restaurant I told you about a few months ago. Their jerk chicken is pretty spicy, but of course I had to try it, it’s their thing. Boy am I glad I did. Since that day my tolerance for spicy food has increased 10 fold. I’m not scared anymore! I embrace the spice! In fact, at the BlogHer Food after party, there were these chicken kabobs that everyone was saying were too spicy…and they didn’t even phase me. I have officially numbed my taste buds and boy am I proud. I’m not your typical gringo anymore!

    Which is why I’m in love with cayenne pepper. It’s such a great spice for kicking up the flavor. And it’s really so beautiful. I just love opening the lid to find this:

    cayenne 2 web

    As always, if you have any favorite spicy recipes to share, please do! We’re looking for some HEAT today!


  2. Wednesday, February 19

    Maple Soy Glazed Salmon

    Confession: Our family hardly ever eats fish. I cook it once every few years or so and that’s about it. There are a few reasons for this. First, Nate does not like fish, which is shocking since he comes from a long line of seafood-loving New Englanders. The second reason is I just don’t know the best ways to prepare seafood since I never do it. Practice makes perfect and there just isn’t any practice going on in my kitchen!

    maple soy glazed salmon from @janemaynardmaple soy glazed salmon from @janemaynard

    The Salmon Council reached out to me recently about doing a salmon recipe in support of American Heart Month (which is right now!) and I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some fish going on in our house. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish because it’s a good source of protein and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is at the top of their fish list and the AHA recommends eating two servings of heart-healthy fish TWICE A WEEK, which can reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack by up to one-third. I guess my twice a decade isn’t quite up to snuff!

    maple soy glazed salmon from @janemaynardmaple soy glazed salmon from @janemaynard

    I decided it would be fun to throw together a simple and delicious salmon recipe, in the hopes that my kids would go for it. As I was making dinner last night, Cate walked in and asked what we were having. I told her salmon, to which she replied, “I don’t like fish.” I asked her, “Well, what fish have you had?” She didn’t have an answer, so she said she would give it a try and as soon as the salmon came out of the oven, she asked for a bite. She was immediately converted. In fact she had three servings for dinner and exclaimed that it was “AWESOME.” She also said that the “salmon people” would be happy with my blog post because I could tell everyone kids love it. It was super, duper, crazy cute. She also asked if we can have salmon more often. Success! Anna wasn’t quite as enthusiastic, but she did like dinner and cleared her plate no problem! Nate is still on the fence – he said the recipe is good, but…you know, fish. But he promised he would never voice those opinions out loud in front of the kids since they like are really liking fish and it’s so healthy!

    maple soy glazed salmon from @janemaynardmaple soy glazed salmon from @janemaynard

    This recipe is so incredibly simple it’s surprising. Even if you’ve never cooked fish before you’ll have success! The leftovers were pretty good, but honestly, when the salmon is fresh out of the oven it is IRRESISTIBLE. So flavorful and moist with great texture, Cate and I were swooning!

    Also, Cate told me I should take a picture of she and Anna enjoying their salmon. I obliged. How could I not?

    my kids enjoying heart-healthy maple soy glazed salmon for dinner (from @janemaynardIn celebration of American Heart Month, the Salmon Council is giving away a fun salmon starter package! One randomly-selected winner will receive a $30 Visa gift card (to get your salmon!), a Hooked on Salmon Thermo-tote, and  1 pack of Weber Firespice cedar planks (visit Weber.com for recipes and tips including this step-by-step guide for perfect salmon planking). Here’s how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Tuesday 2/25. Winner must have a U.S. address.)

    • Leave a comment on this post – any comment! Easy peasy!
    • Bonus entry: Leave an additional comment with your favorite salmon recipe (either share the recipe or a link!)
    • Bonus entry: Follow The Salmon Council on Facebook! (leave a separate comment indicating you’ve done so)
    • Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook! (leave a separate comment indicating you’ve done so)

    The giveaway winner was comment #77, Natahsa P. Congratulations, Natasha!

    Without further ado, the super easy, even more scrumptious recipe for Maple Soy Glazed Salmon!

    (>> Find out more…)


  3. Wednesday, January 8

    Gram’s Super Easy Sweet and Sour Meatballs

    I wish you all could have known Gram Maynard. She was one of those truly good people that you only come across a few times in your life and I am grateful every day that I had the chance to know her. Gram didn’t cook very much, but, despite that fact, some of my favorite recipes and kitchen tips came from her. Today I’m going to share one of those recipes because we had it on New Year’s Eve and, along with inspiring fond memories, it is simple and delicious and needs to be shared!

    gram's super easy sweet & sour meatballs from @janemaynard

    This is one of those recipes that almost isn’t a recipe because it is THAT EASY. These meatballs are perfect for parties and for watching football games. Or, in Gram’s case, Red Sox games!

    gram's super easy sweet & sour meatballs from @janemaynard

    Gram’s Super Easy Sweet and Sour Meatballs
     
    From Barbara “Gram” Maynard
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Beef
    Ingredients
    • 1 package frozen cooked meatballs (between 20-30 ounces)
    • 1 12-ounce jar Heinz chili sauce
    • 12 ounces grape jelly (yeah, I know, it maybe sounds weird, but it tastes amazing!)
    • Cayenne pepper (optional)
    Instructions
    1. In a large sauce pan, mix together the chili sauce and grape jelly. Place over medium-high heat and add meatballs. Bring to an almost boil (will be spluttering, so you will need to stir regularly), then reduce heat to a simmer (medium or medium-low) and cook until meatballs are hot.
    2. Gram never did this, but if you’d like a bit more heat to the meatballs, sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper in at the end to taste.
    3. See Comment #3 below for crockpot directions!

     

    gram's super easy sweet & sour meatballs from @janemaynard


  4. Thursday, May 16

    I’ve got a spice expiration problem

    Apparently I have a problem. I don’t update my spices regularly enough!

    First case in point: cream of tartar. I have proof that it does not last forever, in case you were wondering.

    old cayenne pepper

    Today I have another example of my problem! Cayenne pepper. For months I’ve been thinking that we were out of cayenne pepper. Every time I’d go to use it I’d look around the cupboard, only to realize AGAIN that we were out. Well, I finally remembered to buy some last week. The next day I went to use it and, much to my surprise, I found TWO bottles of cayenne pepper in the cupboard! Only one of them didn’t look so much like cayenne pepper anymore.

    I find it funny that I actually picked the cayenne pepper up countless times looking for cayenne pepper but not even bothering to read the label because it looked nothing like cayenne pepper! I mean, it’s BROWN.

    So, I have a question for you today. Do you update your spices regularly? Do you have a good system for doing so? Or are you like me and forget about your spices until you actually need them and find they are totally useless?!?!

    If you happen to do a good job of keeping your spices up to date, please share tips, resources with info that you like, or anything you’ve got about keeping the spice cupboard fresh! 


  5. Friday, April 26

    White Chicken Chili

    Last week I decided to make white chicken chili for the first time, which involved using two ingredients I’ve never worked with before: hominy and poblano chili peppers.

    America's Test Kitchen White Chicken Chili Recipe

    Honestly, I was skeptical of the hominy. Like I said, I had never used it before and when I opened the can, the smell was reminiscent of corn nuts. I can’t stand the smell of corn nuts, by the way, so I was really hoping the soup would turn out! I am happy to report that the soup not only turned out but was very delicious and a big hit with every member of the family. In case you are wondering, it tasted nothing like corn nuts. PHEW! Nate came home from work, looked in the pot and declared that he was certain he was going to love this soup, even before he knew what it was. And he did!

    America's Test Kitchen White Chicken Chili

    I used the white chicken chili recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. So far every recipe I’ve used from that book has been a winner. The recipes have all been delicious and quick! This chicken chili was no exception. This recipe was simple to prepare and was no problem to throw together on a busy weeknight. I will include my various notes on the recipe below!

    White Chicken Chili
    From The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook, with my notes
    - 1 15-ounce can white or yellow hominy (ATK recommends white because it has a deeper flavor)
    - 4 cups chicken broth
    - 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    - 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (Jane note: I used two chicken breasts)
    - Salt and Pepper
    - 3 poblano chili peppers (Jane note: I only used 1) – de-seed and core the pepper, then chop
    - 1 onion, chopped fine (Jane note: I only used 1/3 of a large yellow onion)
    - 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    - 3 garlic cloves, minced (Jane note: I used my garlic press)
    - 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    - 1 teaspoon ground coriander (Jane note: I didn’t use coriander b/c I didn’t have it in the cupboard and didn’t feel like buying it)
    - 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Jane note: I used 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper because I am out of cayenne, which makes me very sad – I need to rectify that!)
    - 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa or salsa verde
    - 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (Jane note: I bought flat leaf parsley instead of cilantro, which I didn’t discover until I took it out to start chopping. I was SO bummed because cilantro would taste wonderfully in this soup, but I just went with the parsley because that’s what I had. I am happy to report that the parsley was also very delicious! So, feel free to choose the herb you like better and go with it!)

    Process the hominy with 1 cup broth in blender of food processor until smooth.

    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, season with salt & pepper then brown chicken lightly on both sides, about 5 minutes. (If you don’t have a dutch oven, a large pot should work.) Transfer chicken to a plate. Add remaining oil, poblanos and onion to the pot and cook until onions and peppers are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, garlic, cumin, corinader (if using) and cayenne (or pepper) and cook about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in remaining 3 cups broth, deglazing the bottom of the pan. I used a flat whisk here and it worked very well, but a standard whisk will suffice.

    Stir in pureed hominy. Add chicken, along with any accumulated juices, and simmer gently over medium-low to medium heat until chicken registers 160 degrees, about 10 minutes. I highly recommend using an instant-read thermometer so that you don’t overcook the chicken – it will be super tender if you cook until 160 degrees. Remove chicken, shred then return to soup. Add salsa, cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 1 minute then serve!


  6. Tuesday, October 9

    Chicken Fried Steak

    Growing up, one of the dishes that I would always order if it was on a restaurant menu was Chicken Fried Steak. I loved the stuff.

    The last time I had chicken fried steak, however, was before Cate was born. It was at a restaurant in Orange County and it was only okay. So, I must admit, I have kind of shied away from the dish since that night.

    But a few weeks ago I got a hankering and decided to try my hand at making the stuff myself.

    I followed Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for cooking the steak and Ree Drummond’s recipe for making the gravy. The result? Chicken fried steak in all its rich, delicious glory. For REAL…the fried breading part on this steak was to die for. I’ve never had a desire to fry chicken at home, but after this I am seriously considering it!

    Also, I used a thermometer and followed the directions precisely. I love it when Cook’s Illustrated recipes have a temperature to work with, I feel like success is much more imminent that way. Another ALSO…Nate has an infrared thermometer (science nerd alert!) that worked PERFECTLY for this. The surface of the oil reads the correct temperature and it’s a super fast way to read the temp. Speed is good when you’re frying food.

    Note: this is not a difficult recipe, but it is a bit labor intensive. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. This might be a good recipe to tackle on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

    Chicken Fried Steak
     
    From Cook’s Illustrated
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Chicken
    Ingredients
    • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
    • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 6 cube steaks, pounded to ⅓ inch thickness
    • cooking oil for frying (Jane note: I used canola oil)
    Instructions
    1. Getting the initial oil temperature to 375 degrees is key to the success of this recipe. An instant-read thermometer with a high upper range is perfect for checking the temperature; a clip-on candy/deep-fry thermometer is also fine. If your Dutch oven measures 11 inches across (as ours does), you will need to fry the steaks in two batches.
    2. For the steaks: Measure the flour, 5 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and cayenne into a large shallow dish. In a second large shallow dish, beat the egg, baking powder, and baking soda; stir in the buttermilk (the mixture will bubble and foam).
    3. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper to taste. Dip steaks into the flour, both sides, shaking off excess. Using tongs, dip the steaks into the egg mixture, turning to coat well and allowing the excess to drip off. Coat the steaks with flour again, shake off the excess, and place them on the wire rack.
    4. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, set a second wire rack over a second rimmed baking sheet, and place the sheet on the oven rack; heat the oven to 200 degrees. (Jane note: I DID set up this wire rack in the oven, however. I wouldn’t skip this step! You will be cooking the steaks in batches and you want the ones that are already cooked to say hot and crispy throughout the process.) Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels. Meanwhile, heat 1 inch of oil in a large (11-inch diameter) Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Place three steaks in the oil and fry, turning once, until deep golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes (oil temperature will drop to around 335 degrees). Transfer the steaks to the paper towel-lined plate to drain, then transfer them to the wire rack in the oven. Bring the oil back to 375 degrees and repeat the cooking and draining process (use fresh paper towels) with the three remaining steaks.
    Notes
    Jane note: I just set a small wire rack over a dinner plate. Simple and easy.

    Jane note: the steaks were pretty large, so I believe I had to cook in three batches.
    Chicken Fried Steak Gravy
     
    From Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • ¼ cup of the grease from cooking the steaks
    • ⅓ cup flour
    • 1½ cup whole milk (or whatever milk you have in the fridge)
    • salt and pepper
    Instructions
    1. After all meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the pan, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add ¼ cup grease back to the pan. Allow grease to heat up.
    2. Sprinkle ⅓ cup flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix flour with grease, creating a golden-brown paste. Keep cooking until it reaches a deep golden brown color. If paste seems more oily than pasty, sprinkle in another tablespoon of flour and whisk.
    3. Whisking constantly, pour in milk. Cook to thicken the gravy. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Add salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until gravy is smooth and thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned.

     


  7. Wednesday, April 18

    Homemade Enchilada Sauce {Red}

    I’ve had a hankering for enchiladas lately. Normally I go with the creamy chicken enchilada recipe that I love so dearly, but this week I felt like a more traditional enchilada. And I wanted to try something I’ve never done before…make the sauce from scratch. I’ve always either bought a sauce packet or enchilada sauce in a can, but I got to thinking yesterday…homemade enchilada sauce would probably be pretty easy to throw together. It was!
    homemade enchilada sauce from @janemaynard
    After some poking around the Internet, I discovered that most enchilada sauce recipes are pretty much the same, so I just did a variation on what I found. I really really liked how the enchiladas came out! Nate and Anne (my sister who recently moved to town) agreed it was very tasty. No more packets and cans for me…I’ll definitely make the sauce from scratch from now on!
    homemade enchilada sauce from @janemaynard
    I stuffed last night’s enchiladas with pinto beans, cheese, grilled chicken, and sauteed bell peppers and onions. I just couldn’t stop myself from adding more and more stuff! Of course you could keep them more simple, but, I’ve gotta say, that combo was mighty fine.
    Also, if I may, I do believe that I made the best guacamole ever last night. How do I do it? ;)
    homemade enchilada sauce from @janemaynard

     

    homemade enchilada sauce from @janemaynard
    Homemade Enchilada Sauce {Red}
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish
    Cuisine: Mexican
    Ingredients
    • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pushed through a press
    • 2 tablespoons finely diced onion- ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
    • 1½ cups water
    • ½ teaspoon cumin
    • salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon)
    • cayenne pepper to taste (if desired…I left it out last night for the girls, but we agreed this sauce would be SO good all hot and spicy!)
    Instructions
    1. Heat about 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Sautee onions until translucent. Add the rest of the oil, garlic, flour and chili powder. Stir constantly and cook for 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Add tomato sauce, water, cumin. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne pepper (if using).

  8. Tuesday, March 15

    Blackened Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

    Before we get to today’s recipe (which is mighty tasty, by the way), I have to share something with you. If you just so happen to get this magazine in the mail or see it on the newsstand…

    …be sure to check out page 90.

    All I have to say is, “Woooooo Hoooooo!” I know. Very eloquent and oh so very Martha. But seriously, I still can’t believe my name, blog, photos and recipe are printed on the pages of a Martha Stewart Living magazine. I’m downright giddy.

    Okay, enough squealing from Jane. Thanks for indulging me. On to the real reason we’re here!

    In the not-so-distant past, I was pretty much scared of spicy food. I could barely handle medium salsa, folks. Yes, I was a wimp. Then Nate and I discovered a fabulous Caribbean take-out restaurant in Menlo Park with jerk chicken that is to die for. The chicken is coated in the most delicious but super spicy jerk sauce. The only way I could eat that chicken was if I got tough and faced the heat head on. And I did just that. Not only is that now one of my favorite dishes, but I am in love with spicy food. Bring it on!

    This year I have the opportunity to participate in a Newman’s Own “Own It” campaign with Martha’s Circle. The challenge is to take recipes and make them your own through simple flavor changes. For my first recipe, I was asked to incorporate one of the Newman’s Own sauces into my dish. I started browsing through their sauces and the Alfredo caught my eye. Alfredo is most often simply paired with fettuccine and, if things get really crazy, chicken. It’s a traditional favorite that seemed to be screaming for a new twist. With my newfound love of heat, I decided to kick up the spice factor a notch…or twenty.

    Blackened chicken seemed like a fun and unique twist to the classic Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo. Can I say how glad I am I gave this a try? This recipe is a keeper! Nate and I both really enjoyed it. The spicy kick of the chicken was such a great counterpoint to the super mellow and rich Alfredo sauce. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to regular old chicken fettuccine alfredo again!

    4.0 from 1 reviews

    Blackened Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
     
    Spicy, creamy, and delicious!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry, Pasta
    Cuisine: Italian
    Serves: 4
    Ingredients
    • 9-oz package fresh fettuccine
    • 1 jar Newman’s Own Alfredo Pasta Sauce
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    Instructions
    1. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking pan or dish with cooking oil. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Pound the chicken breast until quite thin (around ¼″ thick). Mix all of the spice ingredients together thoroughly. Coat both sides of the chicken breasts with the spices.
    3. Heat a non-stick grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken breasts in pan and brown both sides, 45-60 seconds per side. Place chicken in prepared baking pan and bake in oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and slice chicken into strips.
    4. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return pasta to warm pot over medium-low heat. Pour in alfredo sauce and mix thoroughly.
    5. Serve pasta with sliced chicken served on top. Serves 4.


  9. Friday, August 27

    Adobo Chicken…and some darn good tortillas

    I am finally writing about the spice from this week’s menu post. As some of you guessed, it is annatto seed, also called achiote seed. And I made adobo chicken with it. And it was GOOD.

    Nate came home one day saying how good the adobo chicken at work is, so I started searching for recipes. Oh my, there are so many recipes and they are all so different from one another…so I just picked one that sounded good and went for it. And the result was delicious! Different than what Nate had at work, but delicious just the same!

    Before I get to the recipe, I have to talk about the tortillas we used with our chicken. Tortilla Land sent me some of their uncooked corn tortillas to try out. I’m a tough corn tortilla critic and, I have to say, I’m so glad Tortilla Land sent me their corn tortillas. They are wonderful! They are not dry at all and don’t fall apart or break, which is what you normally get with store bought corn tortillas. I saw Tortilla Land at Costco just this week, so keep an eye out next time you go!

    Okay, back to annatto seed and adobo chicken. I used a recipe from About.com, but I’ve changed it up and written it out for you below. I know the recipe looks long, but honestly, this was an easy recipe, so don’t be scared!

    The sweet but spicy sauce is oh so yummy, and grilled chicken is always the best. We served the chicken with tortillas, tomatoes and avocado. You could serve over rice if you like (which I think is how it’s generally served), or just eat straight up!

    Adobo Chicken…and some darn good tortillas
     
    Sweet and Spicy!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dishes
    Ingredients
    • 4 chicken breasts (I actually used 3 drumsticks and 3 boneless thighs b/c that’s what I had on hand!)
    • Salt (pref. kosher)
    • Rub:
    • ½ Tbsp. annatto (achiote) seeds
    • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
    • 4 Tbsp. white vinegar
    • 1 tsp. cayenne
    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • Sauce:
    • ⅓ of the rub above
    • 1 cup orange juice
    • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
    • 1 tsp. basil
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • a splash or two of white vinegar
    • a few shakes of cayenne pepper
    • a few shakes of black pepper
    • about 1 tsp cornstarch, whisked with some cool water
    Instructions
    1. Cover annatto seeds with boiling water. Cover and let sit overnight.
    2. Drain seeds. Place seeds along with the rest of the “Rub” ingredients in a food processor. Grind until you have a coarse paste, without too many large pieces of seed left.
    3. Place chicken in a casserole dish and sprinkle all over with kosher salt (or regular salt if that’s what you have). Cover pieces with about two-thirds of the achiote rub. (Note on the picture below: I just sprinkled salt and pepper over a few extra pieces of chicken for my girls, so they would be less spicy – they still ate the sauce, but the chicken had less heat for their younger palettes.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for a few hours.
    4. Preheat grill. Grill chicken about 10 minutes on each side over a medium flame or until done. (Click here with even better directions for grilling chicken pieces – this follows closely to what Nate did over a charcoal grill, he’s smart like that.)
    5. To make the sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients (except the cornstarch) and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture during the simmer.
    6. Pour sauce over grilled chicken and enjoy!

     

     

    By the way, if anyone out there DOES have an adobo chicken recipe they love, please share! Would love to try it out!


  10. Friday, March 26

    San Francisco International Chocolate Salon

    Last weekend Nate and I attended the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon. It was a LOT of fun. We went without the kids, the weather was spectacular, and we stuffed ourselves silly with chocolate.

    sf chocolate salon marti chocolatt top webPictured: Chocolates from Marti Chocolatt

    The Chocolate Salon is an open-to-the-public event where oodles of chocolatiers and confectioners come show off all their chocolatey goodness in a hugemongous room at the Ft. Mason Center.

    sf chocolate salon space web

    We tried some very “interesting” chocolates (chocolate bacon, anyone?) and some really great stuff. I have to share some of that goodness with you!

    There are so many companies I could write about, but I’m going to focus on our favorite. Marti Chocolatt is based in Los Angeles and is the one company we actually purchased something from. Marti does a fantastic job integrating chocolate with very unique and sometimes unexpected ingredients. Our favorite Marti chocolate was the ube flavor, purple yams in dark chocolate.

    sf chocolate salon marti chocolatt purple web

    The umeshu flavor, Japanese plum wine in white chocolate, was also quite amazing. And the jasmine citron? The only word I can think to describe this chocolate is intriguing. I am normally not a fan of flower-infused foods, but this jasmine chocolate was very appealing. When you eat it, it’s more like you’re smelling flowers than tasting them. It’s hard to describe. Marti Chocolatt took first prize in our book.

    Of course there were many other amazing companies, and I just can’t write about all of them.  Here is a small sampling!

    As an artist, I absolutely adored these truffle bars from Sterling Confections. The truffles do in fact taste great, but I love the visual concept more than anything.

    SF Chocolate Salon Sterling Confections web

    Plumeria Flours makes these beautiful chocolate covered Oreos. I’m not a big fan of Oreos, but I actually did like these. Plus, they’re so cute!

    SF Chocolate Salon Plumeria Flours web

    I couldn’t help but snap a shot of these pretty (and tasty!) white chocolates with flowers from Robyn’s Chocolates and Confections.

    sf chocolate salon robyn's chocolates web

    I have to tell you about one more chocolate we tried. By far the CRAZIEST chocolate we tasted was from Vice Chocolates. It was called “Vixen” – a passion fruit truffle with Thai chili, jalapeno, and cayenne, decorated with white chocolate and a caramelized red pepper on top. I’m pretty sure she said it had all the different taste flavors – Sour, Sweet, Salt, Bitter, and Spicy. And BOY was it spicy. I have a pretty high tolerance, but that one got me for sure. I’m glad we tried it!

    We were completely chocolated out 2 hours into our venture. I don’t think that has ever happened to me! I am so happy that the event was at the Ft. Mason center…beautiful views of the Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz, downtown and the Bay Bridge. Such a lovely spot and a morning to be remembered!

    SF Chocolate Salon The View web


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