I was stoked. I would finally get to blog. I only have photoshop for my raw photos on my desktop.
But no! The table is unfinished and has to be stained. Jake says it will take a week. He could tell I was disappointed and got started on making it right away.
I couldn’t take it. So I am sitting on the floor with the keyboard, sweating after dragging all of my desktop computer parts out of the extra room where 20 unpacked boxes still sit. The computer is covered with furry dust and is screaming at me to update five billion virus scanners and security updates and also wants to reformat my camera card.
I don’t care. I am blogging. And we finally have curtains. I am happy.
I got an early Christmas present when Dianne Jacob came to give a workshop on food writing.
I don’t recommend moving and trying to organize a workshop at the same time, just FYI, but it was totally worth it in the end. About 5 bazillion people had to help me out, a lot, to make it happen, and I owe them so many favors that I will be repaying in baked goods for the rest of time.
Dianne was even better in real life, which is really hard to believe, I know, because I already liked her so much. She was warm and funny and really has such great taste, as she loved my Lantern Ilima lei. It matched perfectly.
We picked her up at the airport before the workshop and ran into Chinatown to get some food. She bought my friend and I each two char-siu buns (which are ten thousand times better in Chinatown than 7-11) and we got a couple of smoothies to go.
I think the advice that stuck with me the most, weeks later, has been: “Have an opinion. it’s so much more interesting.”
She has lots of opinions and she conveys them in a smart and funny way. It’s possible to be positive without being gushy, I’ve decided. I was really trying to learn from that. I’ve been fired up again to write more and write well.
Dianne bought me lunch nearby. We ate some garlicky ong choi and some stir fried mochi (only in Hawaii!). Dianne said that the mochi had great char from the wok. She told me the technical term but I can’t remember. My internet research led me to Wok Hei.. That smokiness was the smooth edge between burnt and savory. It made me want to go to Chinatown every day.
Catherine Toth met us for the last five minutes of lunch and gave us cake pops. I unfortunately had to share with my kids. I have no idea why I didn’t take a picture of how cute she is and how cute her cake pops were. Shame on me.
After the workshop we went to eat again with the ladies and gentleman from Les Dames I drove Dianne to the airport again, and raced home with a head full of food writing. I have too many New Year’s resolutions that have nothing to do with dieting.
I have been making way too many of these.
In between batches there are neighborhood kids trying to “Catch That Chicken!” whilst scrambling underneath our house.
Then there’s the Jackson chameleon in our car port. He must’ve been looking for his relatives.
We are alive, eating, and Hawaii-living.
Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?
Island Style Filled Chocolate Bon Bons
- 1/2 Cup lilikoi puree
- 1/4 Cup white chocolate chips
- 5 marshmallows
- 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
Heat the lilikoi puree, white chocolate, marshmallows, and powdered sugar in the microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring after each. Once it is completely melted, whisk in the powdered sugar. It should be very thick soup. Let cool for 5 minutes and then put in the fridge until you need it. If it is too liquid you can add more powdered sugar. I put in even more lilkoi puree to one batch for extra punch.
Christmas Style Filled Chocolate Bon Bons
- 3 Tbsp eggnog
- 1/4 Cup white chocolate chips
- 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
Heat the eggnog and white chocolate chips in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir, and return to the microwave for 10 more seconds if needed. Whisk in the cream cheese and powdered sugar and beat until thick. Put in the fridge until needed. Add more eggog for stronger flavor (but you’ll need a little more powdered sugar).
Peanut Butter Bonbons
- 1/2 Cup chocolate chips, melted
- 1 Cup natural style peanut butter
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
Combine the melted chocolate, peanut butter, and cream cheese in a stand mixer (with the regular paddle). Beat it together for 30 seconds, scraping the sides twice. Add the powdered sugar and mix again until it is crumbly but can be rolled together in your hands.
You’ll need some plastic molds that are dome shaped. I had success with many different domes. Milk chocolate is the hardest to unmold because it is so soft. Darker chocolate and even white chocolate for some reason is easier.
For the chocolate, it does work with chocolate chips but I recommend going with something a little better. I used Trader Joe’s huge dark chocolate bar (well, just a part of it) with good success.
Get a glass bowl with a lip and place it over a sauce pan that has an inch or so of water in the bottom. The bowl should not be touching the water (this is a double boiler). Heat this over medium heat until the water is simmering. Place about 1 Cup chocolate pieces in the bowl, and stir with a silicone spatula until melted and very shiny. If you have a candy thermometer heat the chocolate until about 110 degrees. To tell the truth, I don’t use mine usually. I heat it until it’s pretty hot when I stick my finger in it, but I can still barely stand it.
(Don’t you love my instructions?)
Then remove the chocolate from the heat, throw about 1/3 cup more of chocolate pieces in there, and stir it around until the chocolate is all melted.
Immediately put a little dollop of chocolate into a few of the molds (work with only a few at a time as to not let the chocolate cool down too quickly) and then start brushing it (yes! with a paintbrush!) in the inside of the mold. You don’t want the light to show through the chocolate. You may have to do two coats with a cooling in the refrigerator session in between.
Once you’ve painted the inside of the molds (up to the top! But not over the edge.) place them in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
When the chocolate is hardened in the molds then add the filling. Fill just under the top level so you have room to drop a little more melted chocolate over the filling. You will probably need to reheat the chocolate to hot again over the double boiler before doing this. If the chocolate is too cool with this last step, the chocolate will not harden properly and will feel too soft.
Put the chocolate molds back in the fridge and wait until they harden. Then pop out the chocolates. Usually I have to kind of tap and press a little on the molds to pop them out. The milk chocolates were the hardest—I ended up freezing them for a little while to get them out.
Clean your molds between batches. Do NOT put them in the dishwasher even though you just got a new dishwasher and you think it’s a miracle. Lesson learned.
Now, what do you do if you have some leftover chocolate?