Friday, December 30, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

I love recipes that use an entire store portion of an ingredient, especially ingredients that I don't use everyday, like sweetened condensed milk and shredded coconut for instance. This recipe ranks high in this regard, and the macaroons are super tasty too. I particularly like how the sweetness of the macaroon is balanced by the bittersweet chocolate dip. You can drizzle the top of each macaroon with a bit of chocolate too, but I guess I was a heavy dipper and barely had enough chocolate to dip all the cookies. Oops... So, I added another 2 ounces of chocolate to the recipe, 6 ounces instead of 4 ounces, if you want to drizzle. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pomegranate Cleaning Tips

Super healthy- check
Super seasonal- check
Super pain to clean- most definitely

I love pomegranate seeds in salads, with yogurt and granola, alone as a snack, and floating in Prosecco. Until recently though, I avoided pomegranates since they're such a pain to clean, but now I've learned a simple technique to avoid stains and make prepping pomegranates painless.

You'll need:
1 pomegranate (or more!)
1 large bowl filled with water
1 pairing knife
1 sieve

Carefully cut off the ends of the pomegranate but only cut off the red outer layer. If you cut too deep you'll hit the first layer of pomegranate seeds (I hit one seed in the picture below).

Next, score the pomegranate skin 4 times, as if you were going to quarter the pomegranate. Just slice through the red outer layer and barely into the white pith.

Now, this is going to be where the large bowl of water becomes your best friend. Holding the pomegranate under the water, pry one scored section away from the fruit. This will reveal your first set of seeds while the water prevents any rogue juice spray from broken seeds.

Continuing to work under the water, use your thumbs to gently separate the seeds from the white pith. The seeds will sink and the pith will float, which is another added bonus of the water bath.

Continue working with the section until all the seeds are freed and then return to the pomegranate and pry apart another section. Eventually you'll end up with a pile of pit and skin like this.

Pour the excess water out of the bowl but try not to let any seeds escape. Then, place the seeds in a sieve so that you can give the seeds a quick rinse with fresh water and remove any lingering pith. Now you are the proud owner of cleaned pomegranate seeds without stains. 

Prosecco with Pomegranate Jewels

Add a touch of seasonal bling to your champagne flutes the next time you pop open some bubbly. The pomegranate seeds will float, sink, and generally bobble about but they won't alter the flavor of your drink since the seeds are sealed. I do think, however, that pomegranate compliments Prosecco very well, but that's just me. To read my pomegranate cleaning tips, click here.

Prosecco with Pomegranate Jewels

Prosecco (or any sparkling wine you'd like)
1 Pomegranate, seeds separated

- Drop 10-15 pomegranate seeds in the bottom of each champagne flute and fill with Prosecco.

* Update *
- I made another batch of jeweled Prosecco and was quite surprised to see none of the pomegranate seeds floating... none. It was a new type of Prosecco, but I was using the same seeds, albeit they were a few days older. I had fresh pomegranate seeds around as well, which all tumbled about and floated to the top of the glass... So, depending on the freshness of your pomegranate seeds their buoyancy will totally vary, but will still look great.