Manquer Le dîner à San Francisco

We always look forward to attending Le diner à SF and have only missed one over the years. Weeks before the event we find ourselves scouring recipes in our cookbooks and on-line. Then as the day gets closer, we spend hours in the kitchen preparing  for Le cuisine de jour, whipping up madelines or some other confection at the last minute, wondering the whole time where it is we’ll have to schlep it all. Over the years we’ve contributed a coconut cream cake that tilted a little, an array of white vegetable crudités, and an assortment of white candies and desserts. And always plenty of wine, usually sparkling.

However, and more importantly, it’s the wonderful time we have with friends that keeps us coming back each year. We hope all who attend have a wonderful time. We’ll be missing this year’s Le diner en SF, but for good reason. Instead of waiting for our day-of-event location alert, we’ll be attending the SF Crafts Spirits Carnival, where we’ve been asked by Bulleit Bourbon to bake 500 of our tasty Bulleit Pecan Bites. We’ll miss our picnicing friends and hope they have a great evening in white, wherever it may be.

One of our most favorite confections is a simple white chocolate caramel popcorn. A little herbs de Provence adds the perfect touch of France to this American standard. The recipe is a little odd, directing you to boil chocolate, butter, and brown sugar for 5 minutes. The first time we made it we thought it would be a complete disaster, but it all came together beautifully. This is hot caramel, so always be careful when tossing the popcorn and keep a bowl of ice water on the side near you in case of burns!

Bon Appetit!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

White Chocolate Caramel Popcorn
Recipe from McCormick
Makes 13 cups (16 servings)

10 cups plain popped popcorn
2 cups coarsely chopped mixed nuts
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 225°F. Mix popcorn and nuts in large bowl. Spray foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan with no stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Bring sugar, butter, corn syrup and chocolate to boil in medium saucepan on medium heat. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in Herbes de Provence and baking soda. Pour over popcorn mixture. Toss to coat evenly with spatula sprayed with no stick cooking spray. Spread evenly in prepared pan and place on middle rack of preheated oven.

Bake 1 hour, stirring after 30 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack. Break into clusters. Store in airtight container

Green Things & Popcorn

Crispy, crunchy Green Things.

If you need a quick, healthy, and delicious snack that will satisfy the pickiest eaters in your household, it’s time to try green things. You’re probably thinking: what are green things? We’re referring to leafy green vegetables, like kale and collard greens, slowly dehydrated in the oven with a little olive oil and salt. These crunchy veggies offer a fun way to eat your greens. If you haven’t had leafy green chips before, this is a must try. The leaves dry out in the oven and become brittle and crunchy instead of chewy and tough. With the addition of a little salt and smoky paprika, the flavors deepen, tasting like the delicate leaves have been slow roasted.

In addition to our oven toasted “chips,” we’ve recently rediscovered an all-time favorite American snack-food: popcorn. In spite of all the kernels that have been popped over the years, it’s one of those snacks that we haven’t embraced, until now. The air popcorn maker we own is a super cheap one that we bought for the purpose of popping corn that we then used as packing material (just another one of our dirty hippie tricks). Cheap works for popcorn poppers, and if you prefer to pop in oil, a pan and a little oil on the stovetop works well and costs pennies.

In the last couple of months, we have pulled out the air popper and started trying out a variety of flavors and spices on our popcorn. A little olive oil, salt and pepper is delicious. Add a bit of freshly grated Parmigiano cheese, even better. We’ve even had the occasional sweet tooth that requires something a bit more decadent than salt. Jason recently made a nice maple crunch popcorn that we couldn’t stop eating. Our favorite flavor, so far, comes as a result of an experiment with the green things described above, crumbled and added to a bowl of fresh popcorn. The result is a wonderful, complexly flavored crunchy snack that is packed with nutrients.

Green Thing Chips

Bunch of Kale, Collard, Chard (or any other leafy vegetable)
Drizzle of olive oil
Sprinkle of smoked paprika
Salt

Preheat oven to 250 – 275 degrees. Wash the greens and remove the stem. Spin the greens dry in a lettuce spinner. Lay the greens out on a baking sheet, or two, trying not to overlap the greens. Drizzle a little olive oil over the greens and toss with your hands. Sprinkle salt and paprika and bake for about 12-15 minutes, checking and rotating the pans every 5 minutes. Pull out of the oven and eat as chips or toss the chips in a bowl with air popped popcorn.