Let me start by saying I’m a candy factory fanatic. Since reading Steve Almond’s Candyfreak back in college, I’ve had dreams of touring the country in search of my favorite confection. When I discovered the OCHO Candy factory was located just across town here in Oakland, CA, I knew I had to check it out. You may have noticed OCHO candy bars in the chocolate aisle at your local Whole Foods or other neighborhood market. The bright, colorful wrapper stands out in a crowd and the same can surely be said of the taste. OCHO makes organic alternatives to traditional candy bars. I was pleasantly surprised to see that all their candy is actually handmade. That’s right, each and every bar is artfully molded with high quality chocolate and the centers hand piped with delicious fillings like crunchy peanut butter, caramel and coconut! You really can taste the difference – a certain homemade freshness, combined with the precision and consistency you expect from a traditional candy bar. I should say however, that despite being surrounded by caramel, coconut, peanut butter, and chocolate all morning, the best part of my time at OCHO was getting to meet the staff. Most employees live in and around the same Oakland neighborhood, not to mention still love eating the bars they make everyday. Pretty cool if you ask me.
What better to follow up a slew of Super Bowl themed recipes than with a tutorial on how to make heart shaped tea bags for Valentine’s Day?! “Grrrrr” to “awwwww,” we’re a culture of extremes – what can I say? So now that you’ve fully transitioned into a sweet and romantic mindset (what beer nachos?), let me walk you through how to make these adorably easy tea bags. Because we all know a spot of tea is like a hug in a cup.
- white coffee filters
- a piece of cardstock
- loose tea
- crepe paper
Are you ready for Super Bowl Sunday??? I just placed an order for 300 buffalo wings for our party. But, if you’re not feeding a huge herd of hungry football fans like I am, try out our favorite Super Bowl recipes!
As you probably know, I’m a San Francisco 49ers fan. It’s a little embarrassing for me to say, given all the drama surrounding the team this past year. Especially with the Seahawks close to winning it all . . . again. Ugh! Needless to say, I’ll be focusing a bit more on the food and drink this Super Bowl Sunday. Usually we head over to my parent’s house to watch the big game, but this year with the new baby we decided it would be fun to host. And since it’s the Super Bowl, and the beer will be flowing, I thought it would appropriate to serve these luscious beer floats. If you’ve never had a beer float before, you simply aren’t utilizing ice cream or beer to their full potentials. The most common beer float combo is dark beer, usually a stout, poured over vanilla ice cream. However, if you’re feeling adventurous there are many other combinations you can try (let me know if you have any other recommendations). The possibilities are endless. Here I chose to keep it classic and use a couple imperial stouts. Imperial stouts have a high alcohol content and stand up well to the sweetness and the creaminess of the ice cream. I paired one of my favorite beers, North Coast Brewing Co’s Old Rasputin with Straus Vanilla Bean ice cream. Next, I paired Evil Twin Brewing’s I Love You With My Stout, with Three Twins Bittersweet Chocolate ice cream. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to find these exact brands in your area. The important thing to keep in mind is that you want the ice cream and the beer to complement each other. For example, the I Love You With My Stout has a chocolate cake thing going on, which works perfect with the bittersweet chocolate ice cream. A beer with strong coffee notes will be perfect for that coffee ice cream. You get the idea. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some football to pretend to watch . . .
I love Super Bowl Sunday. Sure, there’s that thing called football, but I’m in it for the food– the coma-inducing carb and fat feast. This recipe is a variation of one of my favorite bread recipes: pretzel buns. Making bread is a little tricky and tedious but there is nothing like fresh hot bread straight out of the oven, and in this case, fresh hot crusty pretzel bread stuffed with melted cheddar cheese and studded with salty smokey bacon straight out of the oven. The trick here is to not over-handle or over-work the risen dough when stuffing it and to make sure the edges of the dough are thinner around the edges so when you bring the edges together the dough is even. I like to serve this with mustard– the tanginess of the mustard cuts through the richness of these rolls. Of course, you can try stuffing these pretzel buns with anything you want. Next Super Bowl Sunday, I’m going to add little bits of kimchi. Yup.
Oh 2015. You’ve only been around for a little less than a month and already I feel like I’m drowning in you. Life has been hectic lately, so in an attempt to escape from it all, I’m daydreaming about where I want to travel to next. This photo is from my recent trip to Tulum, Mexico and these margaritas were from the bar at the Mezzanine Hotel, where I stayed. The one on the right was my favorite — a spicy habanero margarita made with smoky mezcal. Everything was so perfect that day!