Chocolate Peppermint Marshmallow Candies

You know when you see a photo of a perfect holiday dessert and it just yells out to you “make me!” “pick me!” “love me!”


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Well, that happened to Miss Niss when she saw the recipe for Peppermint Marshmallow Cream Cups on Lemons for Lulu.  I really should’ve been packing for my upcoming move.  But, I couldn’t get these marshmallow cream cups out of my head and I was determined to use my mixer one last time in my current kitchen.  Tackling marshmallow cream for my first time was going to be the last thing I did to procrastinate packing.  I really don’t like packing.

I really do like licking the bowl clean after making this marshmallow fluff.

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See how sticky it is?  After filling each mini chocolate cup, I couldn’t put down my spoon and ended up shoveling sweet bite after sweet bite right into my mouth.  Sugar heaven.  And before I knew it, the mixing bowl was clean!

It was the idea of the peppermint marshmallow cream cups that intrigued me, but as I read the recipe I got a little apprehensive about eating raw egg whites.  I felt a little crazy for being nervous about it, since I searched for other recipes and all recipes are very similar; it must be okay.  However, I found another recipe for marshmallow fluff.  This recipe involves pouring hot sugary syrup into the egg whites, which in my head means that the egg whites are not completely raw anymore.  I decided to use this fluff recipe instead.   I added crushed peppermint candies and vanilla extract to the fluff, just like I would have to the marshmallow cream.

The end result?

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Pretty and delicious candies to share with my family at our early Hanukah dinner.

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Be careful who is around you when you enjoy these delightful little bites.  They are very messy and you will get chocolate and marshmallow all over your fingers and your face.  It’ll all be worth it though.

I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips for my chocolate.  I loved these candies, just like they told me I would!  I would use more peppermint next time though.  The chocolate is so chocolatey that the peppermint marshmallow almost gets lost.

Mostly, I’m excited that I can make my own marshmallow fluff now.  It was fairly easy too.  You just need some patience waiting for the egg whites to firm up and the chocolate to freeze.  My mixer may be packed away by now [okay fine, it’s not. I’m really bad at packing], but I have big plans for it in my new kitchen.  Coconut marshmallow cream cups…marshmallow fluff filled cupcakes…marshmallow fluff whoopie pies…spoonfuls of marshmallow fluff…you see where I’m going with this.  The possibilities are endless.  It’s going to be a sweet new year in my kitchen!

What new-to-you holiday desserts have you made this year?

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Itadaki – Boston

The subject line of the email inviting Miss Niss to try a new-to-her Boston Back Bay restaurant included the word “ramen.”  The easy part was saying yes the this dinner invitation; the difficult part was finding time to go!

A few weeks ago, Miss Niss found time to try Itadaki, a Japanese restaurant and bar on Newbury St.

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The dark lighting, exposed brick walls, and dimly lit candles set the mood for a unique Japanese experience.

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To start, I ordered the Cucumber Sake-tini, made with Effen Cucumber, Reiko Sake, St. Germaine, and Gingerale.  I love cocktails with cucumber and St. Germaine, and this was no exception.  I would go back to Itadaki just based on the drink menu!

But the food was delicious too.  I’ll admit I was disappointed (and surprised) that none of the ramen soup I was so looking forward to enjoying was vegetarian.  Luckily, there were several other options on the menu that caught my eye.

IMG_0237We shared the Chamame Edamame, special nutty flavored edamame with sea salt.  It tasted a lot like regular edamame, salted to perfection.

For my dinner course, I ordered Baked Eggplant with Miso Cheese Sauce and Itadaki Signature Cheese Gratin.

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The eggplant was the most unique eggplant I’ve had at an Asian restaurant.  The slices of eggplant were perfectly tender and the tangy miso cheese sauce perfectly complemented the dish.  The gratin is a Japanese style macaroni and cheese, made with white onion and mushroom cream sauce.  It is such an unexpected dish at a Japanese restaurant. I mean, have you ever had mac and cheese with chop sticks?

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I can proudly say that I have!  And, it was among the best mac and cheese in Boston.  The sauce was so creamy and the cheese on top had those brown spots reserved only for the best mac and cheese.

My friend loved her fresh sushi too.

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Not one to pass on dessert, we shared the Japanese Style Flan and Strawberry Mochi.

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I’m not sure what was so Japanese about the flan; it tasted like a regular flan, creamy and decadent.  The strawberry mochi tasted like rich strawberry ice cream inside a soft doughy bun.

We had a fun and delicious meal at Itadaki, combined of both traditional and unique Japanese flavors.  Take a break from this busy holiday season and enjoy a night out at Itadaki!

What new-to-you restaurants have you tried lately?

 

 

This meal was provided complimentary.  As always, our opinions are our own.

 

 

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Boston Wine Expo 2015 – Coming Soon!

It’s that time of year again. No, not time to get ready for Thanksgiving and the holiday season.  Well, yes, actually that too. But it’s time to plan ahead to February, 2015, and get ready for the Boston Wine Expo.  The Wine Expo was so much fun last year; I’m looking forward to attending again this time!

Just like last year, Miss Niss had the opportunity to attend a preview event and sample some fine wines that will be at the Expo.  I sampled red, white, and sparkling wines that you will get to sample also, if you attend the Wine Expo.  I took photos of my favorite wines of the evening – take a look at the bottles that made my cut.

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In addition to sampling wines and chatting with the vendors, I enjoyed the gourmet cheese table in the center of the room.  The Wine Expo is of course mostly about wine, but the food last year was also noteworthy enough to write home about.  A day of wine and food is timed perfectly in the middle of winter, when few events will excite you to treck across the city to the Seaport World Trade Center.

The Expo is February 14-15, also timed perfectly with Presidents’ Day Weekend.  For a limited time, you can purchase tickets at a reduced price.  Through November 30, tickets are $10 off.  Purchase your Wine Expo tickets here.

Stay tuned for more info and a ticket giveaway as the Boston Wine Expo gets closer!  We’ll see you there!

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Biscoff Everything Treats

If you’ve ever flown Delta you are probably familiar with Biscoff — those graham cracker-like cookies that are always a better option to peanuts. TFAW were shocked to learn there is life outside of planes for these little guys, and when we received a gratis package we put the new baking ingredient to work.

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The premise of this recipe was a little of “everything left in the pantry.” While Speculoos or Biscoff spread probably would have been a preferable ingredient to peanut butter, I made do. I will admit, they were a bit dry and not as gooey as I would have liked. I would suggest cutting the baking time by 5-10 minutes or adding some more butter perhaps.

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Biscoff Everything Treats
makes 24 mini treats

1/2 package Biscoff cookies, finely crushed
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup HEATH milk chocolate toffee bits
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup peanut butter (I used PB&Co. Mighty Maple ’cause that’s what was in stock)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill a 24 mini-cupcake tin with liners. On a stovetop over medium heat, melt butter and brown sugar. Once smooth, remove from heat and add peanut butter, stirring until blended. Set aside and let cool.

Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then fold in the marshmallows, butterscotch chips and HEATH pieces.

Add egg into your cooled mixture on the stovetop, then combine liquid and dry mixtures. Pour into each of the 24 mini-cupcake tins, filling about 3/4 to the top. Bake for about 25 minutes.

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Spice up your Summer Grilling

I’d never heard of Coleman’s mustard or COOKINA grilling sheets before I was asked if I wanted to participate in the Summer Blogger ‘Grill – Off’ hosted by COOKINA and Coleman’s Mustard, but I thought who doesn’t love summer grilling and mustard?  I sure do!

Soon enough, my package of goodies arrived at my door.  I received one COOKINA Barbeque Reusable Grilling Sheet, Coleman’s Dry Powder Mustard, and Coleman’s Original Prepared Mustard.  I tasted the mustard immediately.  It looked like plain yellow mustard.  I put a big smear on a cucumber stick and was blown away.  This is no ordinary mustard.  It tastes a lot more like wasabi than a typical mustard.  I checked the ingredients – there is no horse radish!  Just mustard.  Very spicy mustard.

Since the mustard reminded me of wasabi, I thought an Asian marinade would be appropriate.  Then I thought better of my audience.  Not everyone likes such a spice so instead of marinating vegetables, I made a sauce to use as a topping for grilled vegetables.

In past summers, My Mr. and I have grilled frequently.  This summer has been so busy that we’re barely home for dinner and sadly have not used our grill once!  Luckily, my parents had us over to grill.  I took control of the veggie side of the grill and finally had an opportunity to test out my grilling sheet and mustard sauce.

I started with sliced zucchini tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

I started with sliced zucchini tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

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You can’t even tell, but the COOKINA grilling sheet is on the left side of the grill under the veggies.  I cut the sheet to fit the grill.  I actually read the directions – rare for me, I know – and it said you can cut the sheet.  It also said you don’t need to use any fats when grilling.  Too bad I had already added the olive oil.  The sheet is nonstick and not only suited for grilling, but a replacement for tin foil wherever you may use it in cooking or baking.  I see cookies on a COOKINA sheet in my future.  My favorite part of the COOKINA sheet is not the ease of use or the nonstick surface.  It’s the fact that this sheet can make any grilling surface vegetarian!  I won’t have any meat touching my vegetables!  My parents know this and actually keep the left side of their grill vegetarian for me, but now I can bring this reusable sheet to any barbeque and ensure my vegetables are vegetarian.

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Anything grilled on a COOKINA reusable grilling sheet gets grill marks as if it was grilled directly on the grill.

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My grilled zucchini also tasted just as delicious as if it was grilled directly on the grill.  And this Spicy Mustard Sauce only took it up a notch.  It was a hit with the whole family.

You too can celebrate summer grilling with COOKINA.  The brand is hosting a social media contest and the winner gets a trip to Las Vegas!  Tag your photo featuring COOKINA on Instagram or Twitter with #YesYouCanCOOKINA or upload your photo to their Facebook page to enter to win.  COOKINA is available at Home Depot, and you can visit their website for more information.  The easiest place to buy Coleman’s mustard is Amazon.

Spicy Mustard Sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 T sesame oil
1-3 T Coleman’s Mustard, depending on how spicy you like it!

Stir all ingredients together in a dish.  Top your favorite grilled vegetables, meat, or fish.

What have you been grilling this summer?

 

I received COOKINA Reusable Grilling and Sheet and Coleman’s Mustard products for free.  My opinions are my own.

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , | 1 Response

Brunch at Puritan and Co

Last weekend, Miss Niss had the pleasure of joining the Boston Brunchers for Sunday brunch at Puritan and Co in Inman Square.  It’s been a long while since the last time I brunched with this wonderful group of bloggers, and I was so excited to see Renee organized another brunch at a new-to-me restaurant.

Immediately upon entering Puritan and Co, I made eye contact with the pastry table.

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What other restaurant can you name that even has a pastry table?  The croissants, the donuts…

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I wanted a bite of everything.

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And then I looked up and saw Renee waving to me from the table.  I settled into my seat, chatted with old and new bloggers, and soon enough we had coffee and brunch cocktails.

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The coffee was actually a big weak for my liking, but my mimosa hit the spot.  Our server brought us plates full of each pastry from the pastry table to sample as we enjoyed our brunch beverages.

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Based on looks, I expetect the Boston Cream Donut to be my favorite, however the Dulce De Leche and Coconut Danish blew me away by surprise.  I didn’t think I liked coconut, but combined with the dulce de leche and flaky danish this was a unique and scrumptious pastry.  It was clear that all of the pastries were baked fresh.  The donut, lemon corn muffin, and chocolate cherry blondie were are creative twists to breakfast pastries and had me really looking forward to my main meal.  I actually would’ve been happy to eat this whole plate of pastries as my meal.  Anyone else?

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My Spinach and Cheddar Scramble also surpassed my expectations.  This seemingly simple dish was anything but.  The ratio of eggs, cheddar, and broccoli was perfect and it was cooked thoroughly, just how I like it.  The arugula salad was a light side dish, and the small toast was deceptively well buttered and tasted like fresh homemade bread.  My whole meal was delicious!

I am so glad I had the opportunity to dine at Puritan and Co with the Boston Brunchers and discover a new restaurant to add my brunch rotation.  Thanks for organizing another successful brunch, Renee!

This meal was provided complimentary to the Boston Brunchers.  We only paid a tip.  As always, all opinions are my own.

 

Posted in Blogger Event, Boston, Brunch | Tagged , , , , | 2 Responses

Boston Wine Expo 2014

Back in February, Miss Niss attended the Boston Wine Expo at the Seaport Wold Trade Center.

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I was really excited to check out the Wine Expo for the first time, and to see how it compares to the Mogehan Sun Wine Fest.  After experiencing both events, I can tell you that they are very different.  The Boston Wine Expo is set up in a huge space which allows the wine to be well organized by geographic region, a whole separate section for food vendors, and it never felt crowded even though the room was buzzing with people.

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I love Italian wines, and they were easy to find with the large hanging banners throughout the room.

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The Mr. has a fondness for South American wines, so we split our time between the two sections.  The wines available were high class wines and tasting pours were generous.  We took photos of our favorite bottles, but I don’t recall not liking anything I tasted.  The food at the Boston Wine Expo also set it apart from other wine events.  There was a row of food vendors almost as long as the room.

The truffle popcorn was as good as it sounds

The truffle popcorn was as good as it sounds

This chocolate granola could've used more chocolate!

This chocolate granola could’ve used more chocolate!

Of course I tried the Blonde chocolate - and of course it was delicious with its caramel notes.

Of course I tried the Blonde chocolate – and of course it was delicious with its caramel notes.

A bite of eggplant rolatini from Sebastian's in Revere, MA had me craving more.

A bite of eggplant rolatini from Sebastian’s in Revere, MA had me craving more.

We each made our own spice mixes, thanks to Celebrity Cruises.

We each made our own spice mixes, thanks to Celebrity Cruises.

Even this wine was surprisingly good!

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The most surprising wine I tasted and enjoyed was TY KU Sake.  I never thought of sake as a casual wine that I could enjoy as a whole glass, but TY KU changed my mind.

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The Coconut Sake reminded me of Malibu rum, and I would happily drink this one as a cocktail.

My Mr. and I had a lot of fun drinking our way making our way through the Expo.  We even bought a vacation!  It may not have been our smartest decision to buy a vacation at a Wine Expo, but I don’t think we’ll have any regrets when we’re relaxing in the Berkshires this summer.

When we were ready to leave, we wanted to grab a bite to eat before we headed home.  We meandered across the street to Tamo in the Seaport Hotel.

My veggie tostada was fresh and tasty.

My veggie tostada was fresh and tasty.

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His Tamo Burger was juicy and satisfying.

His Tamo Burger was juicy and satisfying.

The Boston Wine Expo is well worth the ticket price for the experience of tasting so many different wines, chatting with knowledgeable wine connoisseurs, and tasting new foods.

Have you ever been to the Boston Wine Expo?  What’d you think?

 

My tickets for the Boston Wine Expo were complimentary.  As always, all of my opinions are my own.

Posted in Booze, Boston | Tagged , , , | 1 Response

A-Tooch Travels: Dubai

Well friends, this may just be the farthest apart TFAW have ever been. Just how far, you ask? For a month-long work assignment, A-Tooch is exploring the Middle East, based out of Dubai.IMG_9015

Hi, Dubai! Burj Khalifa – day and night

While I’d love to go through culinary differences here, what many Americans don’t know about Dubai is that it’s hugely modern and cosmopolitan, with all of the comforts of home. Yes, even a Shake Shack, Eataly and Rosa Mexicano. Aside from the usual traveling quirks (e.g. a turkey + tomato sandwich on a “bagel”…which they buttered…) there really aren’t many culinary differences. Cuisine options are the same, if not more, than our native NYC and Boston. The emirate is composed of about 85% expats, so true local cuisine is hard to come by.

Lesson over. Today’s highlight: beverages. Since the UAE is a strict Muslim country, it’s unlikely you will be having a glass of wine over dinner. (Exception: hotel restaurants and bars) To accommodate a largely dry population, a range of delicious delicious delicious fresh juices, smoothies and mocktails are available all over. I am so in love that I may return a sober woman. Maybe…

IMG_9176 Behold: a ginger, pineapple and mint juice (left) and cooling mango lassi (right)

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment
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