Wednesday, February 15, 2006

So I have that going for me.

Dear Internet,

As reported previously, yesterday was St. Valentine's Day and I went on to some length describing NOS's, because, frankly, that was pretty much the most exciting part. Still, in the interests of full disclosure, I'll let the rest of you in on what happened among the married people who live in my house.

TFBIM (a/k/a TCPAIM*) being in the throes of tax season, I'll just say her presence was something felt (by me) on a more ethereal plane. It's weird to "have someone" on St. Valentine's Day except they are not there. It's like having something on back order...sure, yeah, you paid for it...but it's still not here. Weird.

Giftwise, I made out OK. I got the Tiffany Swiss Army Knife in sterling silvah, to put at the other end of my pocket watch chain and a small gift box of assorted Ghirardelli chocolates. An email alerted me to their presence.

I had wanted to get TFBIM the Easton Press-like Harry Potter books, but, alas, that was not to be. Instead, she had been complaining that she didn't have what she called "in-between" jewelry, something that could play up (for clients) or down; something that wasn't white (or yellow) gold but not the sort of sterling silver usually seen on Woodstock attendees on walkers.

I managed to find a very nice sterling mesh set** (very discreet, whimsical in it's meshy-ness) but girly in a casual way, and I also had a dozen roses in assorted shades of pink and red. The nice thing about having someone who works brutal hours during St. Valentine's Day is that you can actually get her roses at regular rose prices, instead of the jacked-up-for-the-moment prices. Those among you who have purchased Christmas trees at 6pm on Dec. 24 will know what I am talking about.

Anyway, I wish I had enough time to commiserate with the lovely and gracious Poppy who was undergoing a similar situation with her absent mate. Poppy and I have long maintained we have ~92.something% of similarity in our tastes and outlook and situation. She also humors me by scrupulously failing to omit the "St." from St. Valentine's Day. So, like, mad props for her.

Still, it was cool being the only room mom without Fallopian tubes at this tea reception thing. At least TFBIM was able to come home to a buncha roses and a Tiffany box and yummy leftovers (Chicken paillards a la dijonnaise, pommes Anna and spinach sauteed in bacon) and some chocolate truffles I made.

For the record, making chocolate truffles is STUPID easy. Here...I'm bored, so I'll share:

18 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (or just chopped fine, if you can't get chips) I like Ghirardelli semisweet chips, myself. (Divided into 10 & 8 oz)
3 tablespoons sweet (i.e., unsalted) butter
1/2 cup heavy cream (if at all possible NOT ultra-pasteurized!!)
1/4 cup bourbon/dark rum/brandy/liqueur/espresso
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (I like Droste) and/or crushed nuts (Paging Dr. Freud!) and/or toasted coconut shreds (the kind you can find for rimming Piña Colada glasses is best) and/or powdered sugar (the kind you make yourself in the blender--without corn starch--is best) for coating truffles (this is what the other 8 oz of chocolate are for)

1- Place the 10 ounces of chocolate and butter in a medium size glass mixing bowl. Zap in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir, and repeat this process 1 more time if needed...all you want to get to is "soft" no more. Set aside.

2- Warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the butter/chocolate mixture; let it rest a couple of minutes. Using a silicone (rubber if that's all you have) spatula, fold gently, all chocolate is melted and the cream/chocolate mixture is smooth and creamy. Gently fold in the liquid (I'm partial to espresso or a rich bourbon like Knob Creek). Pour the mixture into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

3- Use a melon baller or one of those TEENY ice-cream scoops to scoop chocolate onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

4- Place the cocoa powder, nuts, powdered sugar and/or toasted coconut each in its own shallow bowl, assembly-line style if you are using more than one) and set aside. You can also place the other 8 oz of chocolate into a small bowl floating on top of a large bowl filled with hot tap water, so the chocolate melts and stays "melty". Depending on your tap water temperature, you may need to add a bit of cold or hot water. Stirring the chocolate occasionally, test the temperature of the chocolate and continue heating until it reaches 90F to 92F (33C, I think); do not allow the chocolate to go above that because if you do, the coating will not have a nice bite to it. Once you have reached an ideal temperature, maintain it.

For a weekday operation, I stick to only one coating (plain cocoa or powdered sugar, depending on my mood and inventory) so don't panic or feel overwhelmed or obligated to use multiple coatings.

5- Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and shape into balls by rolling between the palms of your hands (use disposable latex gloves or whatev.) if the melon balling process left them insufficiently round for your liking. If so re-refrigerate for another 30 min. For my taste, the melon balling will suffice 97 out of 100 times, so don't sweat it.

6- Carefully put each truffle in the bowl of whatever coating you want (use a dipping fork if you're doing that whole melted chocolate thing) and roll around to coat. The condensation on the truffle surface upon emerging from the fridge will make sure the coating adheres, and to make sure it does, leave truffle in the coating for 10 to 15 seconds before removing.

Allow to rest in a cool DRY place for at least 1 hour; or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Truffles are best at room temperature.

So there,

-J.

*That CPA I Married

** Necklace, earrings & bangle

Posted by Joke at 8:24 AM

5 Comments

  • Blogger --erica posted at 10:34 AM, February 15, 2006  
    sigh.
    I am insanely jealous. I love tiffany's. That Swiss Army knife is divine.
  • Blogger blackbird posted at 10:37 AM, February 15, 2006  
    I did tilapia in corn meal with fresh salsa and polenta with asparagus.

    K arrived at 8 and I was too tired to eat the semisweet chocolate three layer cake with vanilla cream that I worked all afternoon on. (avec ganache)

    It was my third attempt with vanilla cream that contains gelatin -
    remind me not to use it again.
  • Blogger Sarah Louise posted at 3:50 PM, February 15, 2006  
    oooh, a truffles recipe. Good to have.
  • Blogger BabelBabe posted at 8:56 AM, February 16, 2006  
    I made everyone on the gift list truffles for christmas one year. insanely easy and a huge hit.

    you two are so freakign romantic. H and I exchanged a card (me to him) and mints (him to me) and then ate scrambled eggs for dinner.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 10:05 AM, February 16, 2006  
    Oooh! I totally FORGOT the card. (So did she...PHEW!)

    -J.
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