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Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’

Mazarine:

  1. Of or pertaining to Cardinal Mazarin, prime minister of France, 1643-1661;
  2. a deep rich blue;
  3. a deep rich blue butterfly;
  4. a silver strainer fitting over a meat dish and used for draining the water from boiled fish;
  5. the first Bible, and perhaps the first complete book, printed with movable metal types; – printed by Gutenberg at Mentz, 1450-55; – so called because a copy was found in the Mazarine Library, at Paris, about 1760.
  6. A forcemeat entrée.

Mazzarine – patisserie & chocolaterie artisanale

Israel’s English-language food bloggers, a cheery private dining room, a couple bottles of fume blanc, good conversation, and Tel Aviv’s finest desserts – last Thursday was a deliciously wonderful evening.  I’ve been overly-exhausted with work, and thus have gotten behind in all the things I want to write about. The other ladies have indeed beat me to the punch, and rightly so.  In any case —

It was delightful to meet Michelle Kemp (Baroness Tapuzina), Miriam Kresh (Israeli Kitchen), Sarah Melamed (Foodbridge), Liz Steinberg (CafeLiz), and Yael (Apples & Honey – an Israeli food blog in Finnish).  We spoke about so many different things, it’s difficult for me to recall them all now.  Arab markets, local ingredients, local winemaking, local dairies and cheeses, blogging, travel, cook books, genealogy, freelance food writing – you name it – just what semi-pro expat foodies in Israel would talk about.

I have long since discovered that food blogging (all blogging really, but here more significant that most) depends upon drop dead gorgeous photography.  My colleagues’ photos are far superior to mine (I encourage you to visit their blogs), as I decided to break in my new uber-bells-and-whistles cell phone.  These are great photos for a cell phone.  But I’ve learned auto-focus is more than somewhat lacking…and these ladies are exceptional with a Nikon, one even coming with a fancy long lens.

Seared tuna, chive pancakes, jasmine rice, soy reduction sauce

The dinner was OK.  Creative options, certainly.  Their pastas superior to the fish special I ordered.  Some homemade gnocchi, one with artichoke, another (a special) filled with plum (prune) in a portabello and shitake sauce.  The soup was a clear veg broth with mushrooms (I believe), salmon pieces, and large homemade pasta squares blanketing the top.  My seared tuna with some sort of chive pancakes and jasmine rice with a reduced soy sauce was a bit of a downer.  Others enjoyed it but found the sauce too salty, something I agree with.  But the fish was cut into strips with the “pancakes” interspersed between each slice.  The pancakes were hard as pita crackers, and the fish was nearly cold when served to me (and was well stone cold long before I got into the middle of it).

By far the best part of the culinary experience of the evening was the dessert. Mazzarine is an incredible patisserie.  I had the above cake, the “Ebony,” a 70% cocoa chocolate covering a dark chocolate mouse with some sort of meringue inside, a truffle on top, and a meringue glued to the side.  The others had similarly decadent chocolaty, layered, glossy, rich concoctions.

To tell you the truth, the best part of the entire evening was communing with some extremely lovely friendly women.  We had common interests, we all had seen each others’ work online, and it was almost therapeutic to meet in person.  In years past before blogging, before the web, meeting in person was commonplace.  Besides talking on the phone or writing a letter on a piece of paper, we met.  Not anymore.  It’s strange to be cooking such interesting foods, drinking such great wine, and feeling as though I don’t have too many people with whom to share it with.  Not that I don’t have friends.  But we don’t pop on by unannounced.  We’re all busy.  And weeks go by sometimes when I don’t have meals sitting down at an actual table sitting in front of a real person instead of my computer.  The meeting was delightful.

A great thanks to Miriam and Michelle who organized it.

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Don't put pleasure off 'til tomorrow...if you can enjoy it today!

I’m still in New Years mode.  My parents are still visiting in Israel.  As such, every day includes some sort of adventure, for good or bad.  I have so much interesting food and wine news and gossip to spread, but I just don’t have the time and energy. So, I’m making this particular post short.  Juicy chunks of meaty entertainment must wait.

But…I’ve got great links! Enjoy them!

Open That Bottle Night” (OTBN) – is the last Saturday in February, this year, February 27th.  This was started by two of NY’s leading wine critics, and I think it’s a fine idea.  Looking back at the subject of my earlier post, it’s nice that there is an attempt at creating a holiday devoted to “that special wine bottle.”  No more hesitating or excuses for not opening the best!

A Cheeky College Essay” – A lovely little controversy or silly brouhaha revolving around a college essay that was so humorous and loved, that the dean of admissions at my alma mater, the University of Chicago, sent it to remaining prospective students still going through the application process – in order to ease their nerves.  Read this.  Hilarious! My alma mater is famous for its college essays.  There are incredibly creative prompts, the essays inspired reveal the personal side of the applicants, and I know that these are taken into account (sometimes heavily, depending on the student’s academic situation) when decision time comes around.  I personally spent ages writing and refining mine, going through up to 6 or 7 drafts, and at the time I was so proud of the resulting essay, believing it to be the finest writing I ever produced.  And it probably was.

Carpe Diem? Maybe Tomorrow” – Fantastic little article about research into pleasure…and why we put it off.  Basic message – we need to place deadlines on fun – or we won’t have it.  New years resolution to us all: have fun NOW.  A great read.  Let’s hope we can cash in those frequent flier miles, take that vacation, and open that wine…soon.  (with thanks to Bruce for sending it to me)

Champagne, in brief – a nice little history and how-to tasting guide for Champagnes, brought to you by France Guide, the official tourism website.  I like this site.  Don’t know why.  They have catchy little gimmicks like entertaining vlogs, fun quizzes and giveaways.  And I love France.  So it’s cool.  And hey, as far as capitalistic industries go, I’m good with tourism.  Get out there!  See another country (or state or city)!  It’s good for you, and I bet it’ll be fun, too!  In France you can drink lots good wine for cheap(er)!

Fun, beautiful, attractive, and appealing things…to me:

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Chocolata – a little glob of heaven found in the winter at almost every Israeli cafe. Pronounced “shokolatah” with soft European consonants, this is very different from your standard thin milk hot chocolate.  I’ve yet to attempt to make one at home, but it’s on the list.

Here’s the best description I can come up with for what it tastes like: hot chocolate pudding.  Yup.  Made with dark chocolate and the very best cream, of course, but the consistency is right up there with Bill Cosby’s wigglin variety.  Sometimes I’m tempted to see what would happen if I bought an individual made-for-a-school-lunch chocolate pudding and stuck it in the microwave.  Because it’s really like that.

The Israeli chocolata comes close on the chocolate-satisfaction scale to Parisian chocolat chaud (that I’m afraid, will always take the cake in that department).  But it’s the springy custardy consistency which makes it stand out from the average wintery chocolate beverages.  You need a spoon to “drink” it.

Here is a very simple recipe (untried) that I’m translating from an Israeli website.

For 2 servings

  • 100 g bitter chocolate
  • 2 TBS honey
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20 g butter
  • 1/3 cup sweet cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tsp Amaretto
  • 1 TBS Cognac
  • 2 pearls of pistachio praline (optional)

In a saucepan on a low heat mix all the ingredients except the Amaretto, the Cognac, and the chocolate.  Stir until all are well mixed, but do not bring to a boil.

When at a low boil, break the chocolate into small pieces and add to the mixture, stirring until entirely melted and combined.  Add the Amaretto and Cognac and stir until the mixture becomes thick.

Remove from heat, pour into two ceramic cups, and top with a decorative praline.

Let me how it turns out if you try it!

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