In which I make truffles! Or, wow, cocoa powder is disgusting…

We went over to some friends’ house on Saturday to watch the Packers destroy the Vikings and to catch up with some out-of-town friends who were visiting. One of those friends is vegan so when I saw this recipe for (Vegan) Chocolate Chile Coconut Truffles, I had to give it a try despite never having made truffles before. They turned out pretty well! They’re a little bit spicy (I had to use japones chiles since I couldn’t find any chiles de arbol) and then there’s a hint of cinnamon at the end, very subtle and very nice and the ganache sort of bursts out of the chocolate coating when you bite into them.

But, oh my god, I wish I could rinse them off – the cocoa powder is soooooo bitter! I don’t know if I used the wrong kind of cocoa powder or if it’s just my unrefined palate which does not appreciate bitter chocolate, but I can hardly eat them at all. Next time I would coat them in powdered sugar or something to sweeten them up a bit – maybe some toasted coconut would do the trick. Yikes! Fortunately Drew doesn’t seem too averse to them so they’re slowly disappearing.

What’s a good substitution for chicken? Quiche!

Being a vegetarian, I’ve never gotten to enjoy the classic 40 Clove Garlic Chicken, but you know what else you can put 40 cloves of garlic in? A quiche!

Apart from some structural difficulties, I think the hardest part of this recipe was peeling the 40 cloves of garlic and when you have a lovely live-in houseboy like I do, he takes care of that for you!

The main stumbling block was the aforementioned structural difficulties, in other words, my crust. Instead of using the gluten-free crust included in the recipe, I decided to go for the puff pastry that she mentions was used in the original recipe. Well, two things there: a) I forgot to prick the pastry so the whole thing just puffed right up like a balloon and b) I also forgot how much puff pastry shrinks so I was left with really just a base crust with not much in the way of sides. When I poured the egg and cream mixture over the crust, cheese, and garlic cloves, it promptly overflowed the crust, ran down underneath it, and leaked right out of the bottom of the tart pan. After overcoming my initial kitchen paralysis, I got out a different pan, covered it with foil, put the tart pan on it, used the foil to reinforce the tart pan, and poured the leaked egg mixture back into the tart pan. And it pretty much worked!

I think it turned out quite nicely and I was pleased that I finally got to experience something with 40 cloves of garlic in it!

Two birds with one stone…

I’m behind on my movie reviews! First up…The Hobbit.

I had been sooooo excited for this and then the mediocre reviews starting coming out. Dun dun duuuuun! Of course I still wanted to see for myself and, I hate to say it, but the mediocre reviews were kind of right. There are wonderful things about it, namely Martin Freeman as Bilbo – he’s fantastic, I just want to cuddle him through the whole movie. Actually all of the acting is good, but, as everyone will have said by now, Bilbo’s scene with Gollum is the highlight of the movie. I think the main problem was just the pacing – there are parts that are very exciting and just as enthralling as any of the LOTR movies, but there are parts that drag and things that got added in that I don’t think needed to be added in. I am a little bit peeved that they’re stretching out The Hobbit into three movies when they did LOTR in the same amount of film time. It’s just unnecessary and it certainly feels a little money-grubbing. Not that it’ll keep me from seeing the rest of the movies – I’m so super excited for Smaug in the next one. Oh, lovely Cucumberpatch, you were made to voice a dragon!

Then Drew and I saw Hyde Park on Hudson. And it didn’t really bowl him over and I was, frankly, a little disappointed.

We both really liked Bill Murray as FDR – he really is a very good actor (I don’t know why that always surprises everyone, myself included)! I really liked the royals (though I kept expecting the king to be played by Colin Firth every time he came on screen) and the interactions between both the king and FDR and between the king and queen and would have liked to see more of those relationships or more of the political goings-on surrounding the visit. The weak link for me was definitely Daisy. I didn’t like her and wished we could have known more about her (maybe that would have made me like her more). I didn’t buy the relationship between the two of them – I found her to be quite naive and definitely didn’t seem like someone that would challenge or even interest someone like FDR. The other women he surrounds himself with (Eleanor and his secretary, Missy) are intelligent and seem immersed in the political world, people that FDR could talk to as an equal. Maybe that’s why he gravitated toward Daisy, but the movie rushes the relationship so much that it left me just not believing it. So, yeah, kind of a meh movie, this one which was a bummer because I’d been so looking forward to it.

Nails and new TV!

I had a big meeting at work today, so I thought I would paint my nails for the occasion (you can’t go to an important meeting with chipped nail polish!) – I wanted something subtle and neutral but still sparkly so I went back to an old favorite combination:

I couldn’t get the lighting to show the color accurately – it’s really more of a salmony color than it looks here and it’s a bit lighter and brighter. It’s an Urban Outfitters polish in Cocktail and I think the glitter polish is from Urban Outfitters as well, but there doesn’t seem to be a name on the bottle – it’s a multi-size glitter in a super light pink-but-only-barely base.

And, yes, that’s Courteney Cox on the TV in the background in a new season of Cougar Town, Tuesdays at 9:00 CST on TBS. Yay!

And, sigh, yes, I still have my Christmas tree up. Don’t you judge me!