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These great spring dishes are from an article I found on BizBash Florida:

THE SCOUT   03.17.08 11:15 AM PRINT | SEND TO A FRIEND
Afternoon Delights
These lunchtime dishes celebrate the fresh flavors of spring.
CONTINUED >
Photo Gallery                           Pan-roasted Maine diver scallops with sautéed pea shoots and sunchokes  and a ramp-and-lemon vinaigrette from New York-based Williamson Calvert
                          Pan-roasted Maine diver scallops with sautéed pea shoots and sunchokes  and a ramp-and-lemon vinaigrette from New York-based Williamson Calvert                                                        Thai-inspired salad wraps with steamed lobster, green beans, mango,  avocado, and a chili-lime dipping sauce from DeLish in Toronto
                      Sweet corn, red pepper, and green pea soufflés served in mini terrines  from Design Cuisine in Washington                                                        Locally sourced porcini-crusted rack of lamb with spinach, oyster  mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, and tomato concassé from Chicago's Greg Christian Catering
                          Black rice salad with seared tuna, salmon poke, and papaya, topped with  citrus vinaigrette and passion fruit from Los Angeles-based Food Perfected                             
Locally sourced porcini-crusted rack of lamb with spinach, oyster mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, and tomato concassé from Chicago’s Greg Christian Catering
Photo: Kristina Carter Photography
   —Lisa Cericola

Enjoy!!

Photo and article credits: (http://www.bizbash.com/florida/content/editorial/e10161.php)

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Did you think I was going to post about The Ohio State University?  No, not I!!  Today’s post is about the decadent candy called “Buckeyes”. The candy closely resembles the native fruit of the Buckeye tree, which is also Ohio’s State Tree.  The candy is mass produced and marketed by several companies in Ohio, but I enjoy the homemade ones the best.

If you are looking for a unique treat to serve to your wedding guests, as a flavorful addition to your wedding cake, or as a special gift to take home at the end of the evening, Buckeyes are a great choice.

I found some great recipes to share with you.  Enjoy!!

From www.allrecipes.com:

Buckeyes I

SUBMITTED BY: Tammy Winters      PHOTO BY: LROSE55

“This recipe is so good that I double it whenever I make it. Since it is peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate it is almost like candy. Real buckeyes are nuts that grow on trees and are related to the horse chestnut.”

PREP TIME  15 Min
COOK TIME  5 Min
READY IN  50 Min
SERVINGS & SCALING
Original recipe yield: 5 dozen
    

About  scaling  and  conversions

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. The dough will look dry. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.
  2. Press a toothpick into the top of each ball (to be used later as the handle for dipping) and chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until smooth.
  4. Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like Buckeyes. Put back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until serving.
Buckeye Balls Buckeye Balls Description
A recipe for Buckeye Balls

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups Smucker’s® Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Coating:
  • 1 pound chocolate flavor candy coating
  • 2 tablespoons Crisco® Shortening

Preparation
1. Combine Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, butter or margarine, vanilla and salt in large bowl. Beat at low speed of electric mixer until blended. Add 2 cups sugar. Beat until blended.

2. Continue adding 1/2 cup sugar at a time until mixture shaped into ball will hold onto toothpick. Shape into 3/4 inch balls. Place on tray. Chill.

3. For coating, combine candy coating and Crisco Shortening in microwave-safe bowl.

4. Microwave at 50% (medium) for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until mixture is smooth. Insert toothpick in candy ball. Dip three-fourths of ball into melted coating. Scrape off excess.

5. Place on waxed paper lined tray. Remove toothpick. Smooth over holes. Refrigerate until coating is firm; then remove from paper. Store at room temperature in covered container.

Nutrition
no information available

Serves
Makes 8 dozen

Variations
no information available

Source Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter

Buckeye Candy Buckeye Candy Description
A recipe for Buckeye Candy

Ingredients

  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter (not all-natural)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 3 3/4 cups (16-ounce box) powdered sugar
  • 2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Preparation
LINE baking sheets with wax paper.

BEAT peanut butter and butter in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in powdered sugar until mixture holds together and is moistened. Shape into 1-inch balls; place on prepared baking sheets. Freeze 1 hour.

MELT morsels and shortening in medium, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) 1 minute; stir. Morsels may retain some of their shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until melted.

DIP peanut butter centers into melted chocolate using toothpick, leaving small portion of center uncovered. Shake off excess chocolate and scrape bottom of candy on side of bowl. Return to baking sheets; refrigerate until chocolate sets. Store refrigerated in covered container.

Nutrition
Nutrition Information per Serving: 100 calories; 50 calories from fat; 6g total fat; 2g saturated fat; 0mg cholesterol; 40mg sodium; 11g carbohydrate; <1g fiber; 9g sugars; 2g protein

Serves
Makes about 6 dozen candies

Variations
no information available

Source Nestlé USA, Inc.

From www.andreasrecipes.com:

Buckeyes

Buckeyes

This is a Midwest Christmas tradition that both our families enjoy. Buckeye candy is designed to look like the seeds of the Ohio buckeye tree and is quite popular during the holidays or during the Ohio State University football season. I have made the traditional recipe for years, then this year I decided to darken things up a bit by adding some good bittersweet chocolate, and the new recipe was a hit.

I usually make two batches of this, but I do the batches separately. I’ve had trouble fitting a double batch of the peanut butter mixture ingredients in my 4-1/2 quart mixer bowl without making a huge mess, but if you have a large mixer bowl it might not be a problem.

[Recipe updated November 11, 2007]

Equipment

stand mixer with paddle attachment
half cookie sheets line with wax paper
toothpicks
4-cup glass bowl
tins or plastic containers, for storing

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preparation

1. Combine peanut butter, sugar, butter, and vanilla in mixer bowl. Stir until blended, mixture will be slightly dry.

2. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on prepared cookie sheets.

3. Stick a toothpick in the top of each peanut butter ball. You’ll use this “handle” later for dipping. Freeze the balls for about 30 minutes, until hard.

4. Pour semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate chips into glass bowl. Add the butter. Microwave 60 seconds at 70% then gently stir. Microwave for 30 seconds at 70% and stir, repeating until the chocolate is almost but not completely melted. Do not overheat. You don’t want the chocolate to be completely melted in the microwave. If you’ve done it right, the last few stirs will mix in the remaining firm chips.

5. Dip the peanut butter balls into the chocolate, leaving a circle of peanut butter showing on top. They should look like buckeyes (see photo below). Place the dipped balls back on the cookie sheets.

6. Refrigerate finished buckeyes for at least 2 hours. Remove the toothpicks and store in tins between layers of wax paper.

Aesculus glabra seeds (Ohio buckeye tree)

References

Wikipedia -Aesculus glabra (Ohio buckeye tree)

Wikimedia – Image: Aesculus glabra seeds

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Are you planning to watch the Oscars on Sunday night?  Why not have a few friends over to join in the fun!  It’s not too late to have a fabulous party!  Here’s a few how-tos…

Decide on the Timeframe for Your Oscars Party

For a Preview Oscars Party

  • Begin your party at 5 or 6 p.m. and end at 8 p.m., sending your guests home in time for the actual award ceremony. If you are an avid Oscar fan, this is probably the best plan for you. You’ll have had fun with your guests, but will be able to enjoy the show in peace and quiet!

For an Oscars Viewing Party

  • Begin your party at 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. and end the party when the award show is over, which can be late!

Invitations

However you choose to invite your guests to your Oscars party, encourage them to glam it up! Gowns, glitter and boas for the women, and black tie suggested for the men! When else will you be able to dress up like this on a Sunday night!

  • “Reel” Movie Film Tins – from take1.com (pictured at top) you’ll find tins in 6 sizes with prices beginning at $3.99 each. Write your invitation on a circular piece of paper cut to lay flat inside the tin. Gold and silver metallic confetti would be a fun touch!
  • Clapboard Invitations - order an adorable die cut two piece invitation from Paper Style depicting a movie “clapboard” attached with a black and white checked ribbon. (paperstyle.com, $18.50/10)

  • “You’re a Star” – this clever and unique box invite features a bowing gentleman figurine in front of a glittering silver star! Party details go inside of the box lid! (plumparty.com, $34/8)
  • Movie Film Invite – this is another cute variation on our first recommendation! Inside of individual film tins you’ll find 1 yard of yellow film that can be personalized with your party particulars. (plumparty.com, $24/set of 5)

Source:  http://www.busybeelifestyle.com/category/parties/oscars-party/

Here’s a list of general things you can do to set the stage for your party:

  • Buy, rent, or make a red carpet out of fabric or carpet remnants to welcome your guests at the door.
  • Before the big show begins, play the soundtrack from your favorite Oscar winning movie in the background.
  • Pretend that you’re one of the paparazzi and snap instant photos of your guests as they arrive at the party. Put them into cardboard frames that have been decorated with stars and give them as party favors.
  • Decorate with large silver and gold star cutouts, either purchased or homemade.
  • Use black, gold and/or silver tablecloths and napkins.
  • Decorate your table with star confetti and glitter.
  • Dangle unwound rolls of film from your ceiling.
  • Don’t plan a sit down dinner. You need food that can be eaten in front of the television balanced on plates.
  • Prepare an Academy Awards trivia game to play with your friends during the commercials. Award prizes at the end of the evening for highest and lowest scores.
  • Hand out ballots before the ceremonies begin. After tallying all the scores at the end, hand out awards for most and least correct picks.
  • Check out the official award website, oscars.org for the full listing of winners and nominees along with history and trivia.

 Source:  http://entertaining.about.com/cs/holidays/a/oscars2001_2.htm

Make Ahead Appetizers

Source:  http://busycooks.about.com/od/theweekendcook/a/oscarparty.htm

Oscars Hostess Gifts

Some nice ideas for your Oscar Party hostess include:

  • Cocktail Table Books – Lovely cocktail table books like The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History or Four-Star Movies: The 101 Greatest Films of All Time.
  • DVDs - A DVD of a former Oscar winning film.
  • CDs – A CD such as Twenty Years of Oscar Winning Original Songs or the sound track to one of the nominated movies, see amazon.com.

Oscars Party Favors

  • CDs - Burn CDs featuring your favorite award winning songs! At dancemetonight.com, you’ll find a complete listing of songs that will definitely bring back some great memories: “Let the River Run” from Working Girl, “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun, and “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s to name just a few!
  • Framed Photos of Your Guests – If you do take photos as the couples arrive, frames will make a fun favor! An acrylic movie “clapboard” photo frame is perfect. (take1.com, $6.99)
  • Candy Filled Movie Tins – “Reel” Movie Film Tins, suggested above for invitations, can also be filled with gold and silver wrapped candies!
  • Splits of Champagne – For a quick and easy favor, wrap splits of champagne in cellophane bags. Tie with metallic star trim.

Desserts

Some easy Oscars party dessert ideas include:

  • Champagne flutes filled with chocolate mousse
  • Star shaped cookies, decorated with icing and little silver candy beads
  • Bowls of chocolate truffles

Source:  http://www.busybeelifestyle.com/category/parties/oscars-party/

Use your imagination, have fun, and we’ll see you at the movies!!!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!  There will be tons of dinners taking place all over the world tonight, most over candlelight and great food.  Some will end with sweet desserts, some will end with a serenade or a dance, some will even end with a marriage proposal.

(Be sure to call me when that happens, I’d love to hear all about it!!)

 

Here are some great inspirations and resources for your Romantic Meal.

Bon Appetit!!

http://www.recipelink.com/cupid.html

http://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/valentines/dinner.htm

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/et_hd_valentines_day/article/0,1972,FOOD_9846_1743341,00.html

http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Holidays-and-Events/Valentines-Day/Main.aspx

Photo credit: (http://media.canada.com/a1b51a79-8ee0-46df-9172-e2c14489c21f/valdinner2_375.jpg)

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I found this article on Biz Bash NY.  Sounds totally decadent!!  Enjoy!!

Suite Chocolate
To unveil this year’s Valentine’s Day promotion, Godiva brought press to the East Village for ataste—and photo op—of a room made almost entirely of chocolate.
Last January, Godiva created a chocolate-walled lounge for In Style‘s Golden Globes after-party,but for its yearly Valentine’s Day competition this year, the chocolate brand is going one step further,

with an experiential marketing stunt that offers a weekend stay at a hotel suite made almost entirely

of chocolate. At Divine Studio on Tuesday afternoon, 30 members of the press gathered for a first

glimpse of the grand prize, which will ultimately be enjoyed only once, at the Bryant Park Hotel.

Erica Lapidus, head of public relations and promotions for the Belgian-based chocolatier, worked

with public relations firm Alison Brod and Los Angeles-based designer Larry Abel to produce a

wall-to-wall Godiva-loaded room that doesn’t melt at room temperature.

“I had to imagine the perfect chocolate-lover’s fantasy,” Abel said about the suite, soon to be

rebuilt at the hotel for the sweepstakes winner. Abel, who has worked with Godiva for four years,

said this was the biggest and most extravagant project yet. “It took a team of 14 to bring the brand

to life, beginning in L.A. and continuing with the two-day installment in New York,” he said. Godiva

reps wouldn’t comment on the cost of the products used, and Abel admitted there was too much for

him to even estimate the number of pounds of chocolate.

CONTINUED >
Photo Gallery                                                                                             For Larry Abel's art mosaic, one of his most challenging pieces, he used bonbons from every Godiva collection.
http://www.bizbash.com/newyork/content/editorial/e9766.php#photosanchor   http://www.bizbash.com/newyork/content/editorial/e9766.php#photosanchor
http://www.bizbash.com/newyork/content/editorial/e9766.php#photosanchor   http://www.bizbash.com/newyork/content/editorial/e9766.php#photosanchor
http://www.bizbash.com/newyork/content/editorial/e9766.php#photosanchor  
For Larry Abel’s art mosaic, one of his most challenging pieces, he used bonbons from every Godiva collection.
Photo: Sara Jaye Weiss
From the initial concept to the finished design, Abel says he put more than 1,000 hours of work into the piece, which, to him, is more than a simple showcase of colorful chocolates. “I considered the art elements, how I would invent a really cool, unusual space with rich browns, varied textures, and mixtures of classic and contemporary designs,” he said. For Lapidus, the goal of the suite was to create a “unique culinary experience,” which, despite being edible, will hopefully be “more admired than nibbled on.”Playing with interactive components, Abel included a crystal ice bucket filled with white chocolate truffles, books that open to pieces of chocolate in place of pages, and even edible flowers. He also created interpretations of two paintings: a Jackson Pollock-inspired canvas splattered with multicolored chocolate and a re-creation of Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.” “The Kiss” in particular was a challenge for Abel, who describes the piece as an explosion of gold, ribbons, foils, and mint cherry cordials. The Pucci-inspired chocolate upholstery on the armchairs and the chocolate mosaic on the dining room table are also deeply detailed designs that pushed Abel to come up with something visually appealing while using chocolates from every Godiva collection.

To add a little life to the suite, Godiva tapped Heroes star Ali Larter to help promote the competition (which anyone can enter by purchasing a $23 heart-marked gift box) for reasons beyond her pretty celebrity face. The recently engaged actress claims to carry tins of Godiva chocolates, and last year requested a Godiva cake for her birthday. “This year, Ali Larter, a huge Godiva fan and bride-to-be, best embodied the brand,” said Randi Peck, vice president of lifestyle at Alison Brod. Larter, the only non-press guest at the event, participated as the roving centerpiece and a draw for the photographers.

The Decadence Suite is only part of Godiva’s promotional package; other sinful goodies include a year’s supply of Godiva chocolates and a private chocolate tasting led by Godiva’s executive chef and chocolatier, Thierry Muret. “This is our most extraordinary prize to date,” Lapidus said of the suite, “which is why we’ve already started brainstorming ways to top it next year.”   —Lauren Matison

Godiva Chocolatier’s Valentine’s Day Promotion Press Conference
Design, Production Larry Abel / De-signs
Lighting, Sound XL5 Productions
PR Alison Brod Public Relations
Printing Five Boro Flag Banner & Sign
Rentals Broadway Party Rentals
Staffing T and L Events Inc. / ThePartyCrew.net
Venue Divine Studio
RELATED TOPICS Godiva, Valentine’s Day

Source:  (http://www.bizbash.com/newyork/content/editorial/e9766.php)

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These desserts are simply sinful, and look too good to resist!!  What a way to finish off a great meal, any time of the year!  This feature is from BizBash NY:

 

Sweet Endings
Reward guests for braving winter weather with these five desserts that spotlight seasonal fruit, aromatic spices, and rich flavors.
CONTINUED >
Photo Gallery Well Dunn Catering in Washington, D.C., offers a roasted Anjou pear  crisp. Chef Michael Payne places the pear on a caramelized puff pastry  raft and pairs it with house-made Hawaiian white-honey ice cream and  reduced blood-orange puree. The dish is garnished with pomegranate  seeds and a sliver of honeycomb.
Well Dunn Catering in Washington, D.C., offers a roasted Anjou pear  crisp. Chef Michael Payne places the pear on a caramelized puff pastry  raft and pairs it with house-made Hawaiian white-honey ice cream and  reduced blood-orange puree. The dish is garnished with pomegranate  seeds and a sliver of honeycomb.                                            Chicago's Calihan Catering's moist honey ginger cake is a new twist on  traditional spice cake. Pastry chef Pedro Gomez completes the dish with  cider-poached apples, caramel sauce, and a
                    New York-based Sebastians makes a bright and tangy cranberry-orange upside-down cake. The cake is flavored with citrus and cinnamon and baked on top of a layer of sugar-coated cranberries. Pastry chef Kathleen McAllister finishes it with orange syrup, frozen orange mousse, and a cranberry-orange sugar stick.                                            Toronto's Bite Catering serves its mini praline and caramel bread pudding in an espresso cup. Chefs Lara Katz and Karen Rachlin bake cubes of brioche in a sweet cream mixture, then top the puddings with caramel and crushed pecans.
                    Los Angeles-based Global Cuisine offers a s'mores-like chocolate Bavarian cream tart. Pastry chef Todd Dickinson tops the pastry with marshmallow meringue and chocolate shavings.                       
Chicago’s Calihan Catering‘s moist honey ginger cake is a new twist on traditional spice cake. Pastry chef Pedro Gomez completes the dish with cider-poached apples, caramel sauce, and a “snow globe” made of sugar and filled with vanilla ice cream.
Photo: Michael Maes for BizBash
   —Lisa Cericola

Source:  http://www.bizbash.com/newyork/content/editorial/e9414.php#photosanchor

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This article was posted in BizBash Florida.  Cheers!!

What Are Some Creative Cocktails for Non-Drinkers?
                      Liquid Architecture's alcohol-free wild raspberry mojito
Liquid Architecture’s alcohol-free wild raspberry mojito
Photo: Courtesy of Liquid Architecture

Nonalcoholic drinks run the gamut from ascetic beverages (seltzer with a lemon slice) to cloyingly sweet concoctions more suited for kids (virgin daiquiris, Shirley Temple-like “mocktails”). To offer non-drinking guests something fun yet appropriate, cocktail experts suggest looking to the produce section for inspiration. “The biggest trend [right now] is fresh ingredients,” says Kim Haasarud, founder of Liquid Architecture, a California-based beverage consultancy that has designed signature drinks for Maxim and Armani Exchange. “Some popular ingredients I see across the U.S. include pomegranate, Concord grape, pear, grapefruit, blood orange, and herbs like sage, rosemary, basil, and cilantro.”

Tony Abou-Ganim, the self-dubbed Modern Mixologist, suggests a wild-berry mojito made with fresh fruit and mint. In a 12-ounce glass, muddle 8 to 12 mint leaves, one-and-a-half ounces of mint syrup, a handful of mixed berries, and the juice of one lime. Fill the glass with crushed ice and stir until it is reduced by a third. Spritz with soda water and stir.

Puns aside, tea continues to be a big drink trend for teetotalers—not served steaming hot or straight up over ice, but mixed like a cocktail with other nonalcoholic mixers. Award-winning mixologist Lucy Brennen, author of Hip Sips and owner of the Portland, Oregon-based restaurant Mint and an adjacent cocktail lounge called 820, says she uses a variety of teas, including jasmine and lemongrass, as a base for drinks. Haasarud makes a hibiscus soda by filling a glass with two ounces of hibiscus syrup (one part tea combined with one part sugar) and topping it off with soda water and a lime wedge.

Alcohol-free wine has gotten a bad rap, but Dale DeGroff, a leading cocktail expert and author of The Craft of the Cocktail, says it’s not all terrible. “There are quality nonalcoholic wine products on the market from Arial and Sutter Home. Some of them can stand alone as a wine substitute, and others make a wonderful base for nonalcoholic cocktails,” he says. For another interesting mixer, Haasarud suggests experimenting with syrups (she recommends the Monin and Amoretti brands) or making your own syrup by mixing alcohol and sugar and bringing the mixture to a boil, which will burn off the alcohol and create a nonalcoholic syrup with the flavors of the original spirit.

For something more traditional, perhaps to serve with a menu of classic cocktails, DeGroff suggests a lime rickey—the “drinking man’s nonalcoholic drink.” In a tall glass, combine three quarters of an ounce of lime juice with one ounce of simple syrup and top it with club soda; garnish with a lime peel.  —Lisa Cericola

source:  http://www.bizbash.com/florida/content/editorial/e9610.php

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