Culinary Cousins: Homemade Chocolate Syrup

My chocoholism strikes again.

(Help.)

Read all about it: Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate Syrup | Culinary Cousins

Monday Musings: On cheap chocolate and bad grammar.

Some things on my mind this Monday:

Life is too short to eat crappy, drugstore chocolate. So splurge on your Valentine!

My job falls somewhat in the realm of public relations, so I read the PR Daily newsletter, well, daily. I was relieved to see this story call out all the made up words we use. Nothing makes my skin crawl like hearing someone say “supposably,” “irregardless” or “orientate.” I’m glad to know I’m not alone.

I can’t get enough of Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project.” Every episode is laugh-out-loud hilarious. So go watch it, because if it is canceled, I will cry. FOX, Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. (But not this week, since the president’s on.)

Whoever thought to serve a full menu of food and alcohol at the movie theater is a genius.

Lastly, an update on my musing about Girl Scout cookies last week. Apparently the name of the cookie depends on the bakery they come from. My boss was an equal opportunity orderer this year from multiple Girl Scouts, so he has boxes of both “Dosidos” and “Peanut Butter Sandwich” cookies. I think that only makes it more weird, no?

Cooking Spree: Peanut Butter Pie

I’m not one of those people who’s in love with peanut butter … I like it, it’s okay, sometimes it hits the spot, but I don’t have to have it. I am, however, a big fan of peanut butter pie.

That love affair began back in the ’80s with the peanut butter pie at Reilley’s, an Irish pub and restaurant on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Reilley’s pie is legendary, decadent and ridiculously delicious. We still talk about it, though it’s been years, probably decades, since I’ve had a piece there.

Last week I was at Hilton Head helping Mom recover from her foot surgery. Mom, I should note, is one of those peanut butter fanatics. She eats it by spoon right from the jar. On crackers, sandwiched between Thin Mints, atop gingersnaps, in a Thai sauce on noodles. Any which way it will come, really. (Oliver thinks it’s pretty nifty as well.)

While we were out to lunch during the week, Mom and I shared slices of peanut butter pie for dessert at two restaurants. Each was a different interpretation on peanut butter pie schools of thought: one a dense, rich version covered in a layer of chocolate, so dense in fact it could almost be considered a bar, and clearly inspired by peanut butter cup candy. The second version is a more traditional pie, with a light, frothy filling of peanut butter whipped with cream or whipped topping. It’s often drizzled with chocolate sauce and plenty of whipped cream, but the filling can be so light that its flavor only distantly resembles peanut butter. I suppose there’s another category for frozen and ice cream pie concoctions, though those don’t interest me as much.
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Using what you have on hand.

I have entered the week quite exhausted and out of sorts — the drama of the fire on Saturday didn’t help, then I classically overscheduled myself on Sunday. I had committed to volunteering in the afternoon, which I always enjoy, followed by a Super Bowl party that evening. Somehow I just ran late all day, leaving me distracted and mentally tired, both at those events and in easing back into the work week. The good news is that I perfected a new recipe and have been able to feed my stress with sweet, spicy, chocolatey goodness.

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Cooking Spree: Chocolate Banana Bread

I have a confession to make:  I’ve been on kind of a cooking spree.

Well, a baking spree. It’s what happens when I don’t cook for awhile. It all builds up and comes out in a binge.

I was visiting a friend in D.C. a couple of years ago, and she served this amazing banana bread with chocolate chips. A winning combo. I don’t make banana bread often, maybe once a year, but I had some leftover bananas just about to turn and a hankering to bake something. Plus I live and breathe for chocolate. Any kind, anywhere, anyhow. Keep reading »