The $25,000 Sundae?

So I'm checking my mail and Yahoo has a video posted that says "$25,000 Dessert" and you know I'm gonna click on that to see what makes a dessert that expensive!

This dessert is a chocolate sundae (for $25,000 it better be chocolate!) but the kicker is the gold leaf lining the dessert glass and sprinkled on top, as well as the shavings of black truffle. The dessert comes with an 18 karat gold spoon and "crown" (a ringlet of gold around the dish stem) but no one mentioned whether or not you get to keep those!

It's being present by Serendipity in New York who give it the title "Frrrozen Haute Chocolate". Personally, for $25,000 I would have hoped for a more imaginative name - I guess all those "r's" are worth the extra zeros. . . .

This much I can tell you - edible gold leaf runs about $25 to $30 for around 100mg and real black truffles ran around $1,200 to $2,000 per pound a few years ago - and you could get bargain basement black truffles wholesale for around $200 - $400. Of course inflation and the current economy could easily double that price but seriously how much black truffle did he use on a sundae? It's a pretty earthy flavor to dump on chocolate! I use edible gold leaf in one of my martini recipes - The Millionaire Martini and I give them away!

So, now I'm wondering - just how darn expensive was the chocolate ice cream and the whipped cream????? Labor didn't add that much - what's it take to toss a sundae together - 5 minutes, 10 tops!

I'm in the wrong business - I need to open up an ice cream parlor!

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I woke up this morning with a craving for one of my favorite tiny foods, my mom's Coral Island Cookies. I have renamed them Bird's Coral Island Cookies in her memory. Don't ask me why, but her nickname was Bird. Guess that's the only way to shorten Bernice!

I've loved these cookies for fifty years. They are buttery, rich, not too sweet and they're a perfect dessert recipe for your Tiny Food table at a party!

I'm making these today and they are not destined for a party. They are all going into me. Not at once though - here's a little tip if you're a one person household and still like home made cookies:
  • Make up a double (or triple!) recipe - it's work mixing up cookies so why do it twice?
  • Now, put about 1/4 of the dough aside to make your fresh cookies, then take the remainder and roll it into your balls, put these on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer for a couple of hours, long enough to harden them.
  • Take them out and place one cookie sheet's worth of the balls into separate baggies and place them back in the freezer.
  • When you want your cookies again, take them out and thaw, then just continue with the rest of the recipe instructions!
Now you can have fresh home baked cookies ready to bake!

Okay, my oven's ready for the first batch - have to run! P.S. Mom, I still love your cookies the best! In Loving Memory of Bernice Marie Blin Dennis, aka Bird, my Mom.

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One of my gal pals from the Baby Boomer Divas, Deb Stevens, editor of Global Music Star has kindly sent me a link to some recipes where you can use Vegemite!

In case you are a Yank, like me, and you don't know what that is - think peanut butter but with a vegetable base! It's a savory and salty paste made from leftover brewers' yeast extract! Yup, a beer byproduct with some veggies and spices. It's sort of a kissin' cousin to New Zealander's Marmite.

Most of the Australians I've met simply slather some on toast and munch away. If they've migrated to the states it seems to be something they miss terribly!

BTW, Vegemite is a product of Kraft Foods though I've never seen their logo on a jar here in the states.

So, there you have it. If you're feeling adventuresome you can usually grab a jar of it at Cost Plus Imports, which is one of my favorite places to find unusual foods and ingredients!!!
(Photo Courtesy of TristanB via wikipedia commons)

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Hell's Kitchen - All is not well at the "Pass"

Yes, I am addicted to all the reality cooking shows. Top Chef, Next Food Network Star, Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares. I love them all for different reasons. Top Chef gets some serious young talent, trained chefs for the most part. Next Food Network Star brings in chefs as well as simple foodies - they're looking for someone with food chops as well as personality because they're giving a cooking show to the winner. Kitchen Nightmares is Gordon Ramsey acting as a restaurant consultant for failing eateries. Hell's Kitchen is a foodie soap opera and I can't help but love Ramsey's portrayal of the "Satan of Saute", lol.

Last night I was watching Hell's Kitchen and one part actually had me laughing out loud. During the dinner service Maitre D' Jean Phillipe was keeping his ears on the pass in order to avert disaster in the dining room, here's a little sample of the action:

Jen first under cooks the fish, then turns it into rubber:
Jean Phillipe to the servers - "Meat. Meat. Meat. Push the meat, Push the meat"

Bobby turns the Beef Wellington into charcoal:
Jean Phillipe to the servers - "Now I'm totally screwed here. Push the chicken, Chicken. Chicken. Chicken."

Poor Jean Phillip, pauvre bébé! Poussez les desserts!

As for this season's Hell's Kitchen contestants, there doesn't seem to be a short order cook among them, let alone a Michelin Level Chef! As opposed to prior seasons, where there were some serious contenders with obvious talent, this season doesn't seem to offer any real cooking abilities.

Personalities aside (I wouldn't want to be trapped on an island with any of them for even a day), the success of Chef Ramsey's new restaurant which the winner will run is in serious jeopardy. I wonder, has Hell's Kitchen put too much emphasis on "good tv" to the detriment of good cooking? This season the only reason I continue to watch is to enjoy the Ramsey rants.

Let's face it, this is television. Ratings are king, personality conflicts and oddball stars/contestants are good for the bottom line of television which is numbers. Viewers = ratings = ad revenue. Hell's Kitchen is the most blatantly over produced of the cooking reality shows in this respect, with Ramsey being the number one Drama King of the Kitchen. But, all drama aside, the man knows his way around the restaurant business and I do learn something about cooking and restaurants when I watch his shows.

And, yes, I actually wouldn't mind being stranded on a deserted island with him! He could turn those coconuts and monkey brains into a first class meal, probably distill a credible wine from wild berries and tree sap and, when he's not screaming at a sou chef, he actually exhibits a great deal of charm!

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SAVE THE SHROOMS! - Marinated Mushrooms

I got a good deal on some button mushrooms the other day and grabbed them up because I love sauteed mushrooms.

I'll toss my mushrooms in a saute pan, sprinkle them with EVO (that's extra virgin olive oil to those of you who don't watch Rachel Ray), toss in a little butter and some chopped fresh garlic. When the garlic is looking nice and caramelized I pour some good red wine over the little buggers and reduce the sauce down. Yum, I could eat the whole pan but I usually have to share.

The amount of mushrooms I bought was going to be too much to saute in a couple of days, even for me and I wondered if I was going to end up tossing out shriveled mushrooms in a day or so. Then I got a bright little idea! Why not marinate the rest?

My father used to marinate mushrooms and I loved them. I love anything marinated or pickled (well, almost!) I ate sweet pickle sandwiches on (omg!) Wonder Bread when I was a kid - my family knew I was demented from that moment on. My father always had pickled herring at the holidays and served it up on Ritz crackers. That is my culinary ancestry - not terribly auspicious, but I yam what I yam. . . . .

I was thinking of marinating them in teriyaki sauce but, alas, I went to the fridge and no teriyaki! But I did have soy sauce and - what did I spy? - a bottle of Paul Newman's Raspberry and Walnut vinaigrette dressing! So, I grabbed it and the soy and proceeded to mix them together in a bowl - about 1 cup of Paul's dressing and about 1/3 a cup of soy, or thereabouts. Then I added some salt, a little pepper, a bit of garlic powder and I dumped in the mushrooms.

I tossed the whole thing around until the mushrooms were completely submerged in the marinating mixture, covered the bowl with that new cling wrap that seals it self up and put it in the fridge overnight. I did grab a couple of mushrooms and popped them in my mouth to test the marinade and it was really good! Not teriyaki, but something completely original.

I've been munching on these with my little meat, cheese and cracker lunches for the last few days. Marinated mushrooms are a great little accent for a meat plate or Charcuterie platter and they can be added to a gourmet pizza, grouped on skewers and just popped in the mouth!

Plus I did not toss out any shriveled up 'shrooms this week!

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