Friday, December 31, 2010

Chocolate: Chocolate Truffle Pie/Tart

I was asked to bring the dessert to the Christmas Eve dinner with my parents. I'm always asked for chocolate and I'm happy to oblige. This year I scoured the Internet for fast and tasty. The recipe I found was for Chocolate Truffle Tart. However, the website listed pictures and a link for the recipe and the link didn't work. So I searched again, this time for pictures. I found a matching picture and the recipe, only it was listed as Chocolate Truffle Pie. Since it fits both I slashed the title :)

So here's the recipe:

Chocolate Truffle Pie

1 (8 or 9-inch) chocolate crumb crust (see recipe below)
2 cups (12-ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream - divided use
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Fresh berries for garnish (optional)
Sweetened whipped cream for garnish (optional)

In microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. Cook on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Set aside.

In small bowl, beat the remaining heavy cream until soft peaks form. Blend in the chocolate mixture on high speed 1/3 at a time, mixing well.

Spoon into prepared crust. Refrigerate several hours before serving. Garnish with fresh berries and whipped cream, if desired.

Serves 8 to 10.

Chocolate Crumb Crust
1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Combine crumbs and melted butter; press evenly in a 9-inch pie plate.
Bake at 325°F (160°C) for about 6 minutes. Cool completely before using.
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie crust.

There are two pictures accompanying this post. The first is the picture from the recipe online. The second is what mine looked like. Although theirs looks better because my whipped cream looked awful, neither is the best. If I were making this again, the entire top of the pie/tart would be covered with raspberries.

Here's a little backstory: I used chocolate graham crackers to make the crust. I didn't use the pretty ruffled tart tin (well, I tried to and it didn't work out) and instead used the springform pan (removable bottom). I also wanted it to taste really good and spent the extra pennies on Ghirardelli chips. I think that made the difference.

So back to the raspberries. The chocolate tastes like dark chocolate in the pie and the raspberries were the perfect tartness to counter the dark. Strawberries will not work. So again, this time extra dollars, on out of season raspberries. But the result? D e l i c i o u s!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Books: Silent Fall

I was looking for another thriller author and spotted this book, Silent Fall, by Barbara Freethy. It was a quick library stop, and the book would be my 35th summer read. It is the second book in a partnership with Silent Run. You might want to stop reading now because there are some major spoilers in this post. Just in case you do stop reading, my recommendation is a thumbs down.

Premise? Reporter gets framed for the murder of a woman at his brother's wedding reception. Another woman, a psychic the reporter has met before, decides against her better judgement to help him.

The first issue I had was not being able to get into the book, but after the first 100 pages it got busy enough to hold my attention longer. I think one reason was because I couldn't get a good grasp of the reporter's personality. The psychic was easier. She's got a bad history that also has to do with a murderer (one who was never found.)

The second was some really stupid reactions. The woman is a witness in a murder trial that the reporter helped bring about. The reporter thinks the woman/witness may still be alive, due in part to the psychic, and decides to track her down even though he's been told not to leave town. Meanwhile the real killer is also stalking the woman/witness, so instead of staying put and giving himself an alibi he ends up in the same location as the now really dead woman/witness. There were other things like that bothering me.

Third, the psychic starts to make a connection between the reporter and herself. She confides in the reporter about her past with this uncaptured murderer, I said to myself, "Wouldn't it be stupid if the killer was the same for both of them?" Wouldn't you know...

There was some mystery that I hadn't figured out which was good, but it was very predictable. I likely won't read the first story even though there was a little tidbit from it at the end of this book. I kind of know how it ends from reading this one anyway. Wouldn't want to read another predictable book.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

TV: The End of 2010

Many shows have fallen this year...cancelled or ended. Not that this doesn't happen every year...

Anyway, here is a list of some of the shows that are done this year. Several I will miss, others I'm glad to see done, and still others I never cared about.

Law & Order
Ugly Betty
The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien
Ghost Whisperer
Stargate Universe

May the New Year bring worthy and lasting shows.

Hope your holiday is as bright as mine has been :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Miscellaneous: Holidays

This post is just me rambling on. I mean, I should have enough time with me being on vacation to have posts ready in advance, but my need to relax has outweighed the posting by far. Anyway...

Back when I was young and nimble, I would have all the decorations up and the cards ready to mail by the end of the first week after Thanksgiving. That hasn't happened in I don't know how long. I'm somewhat bummed because I'm a person who likes to be organized and on top of things. I don't know how I arrived at this sorry state.

I've managed to get out cards, but the surplus computer monitors destined for the recycling place and the extra babyish furniture from A & M's room currently occupies the space for the tree. And I think it's a bit late for that.

I always think I'll be ready next year. Really, I have a whole 364 days starting the 26th, but it's not happening.

It should be a New Year's Resolution.

By the way, how do you purchase your Christmas cards? Do you make those photo things through Costco? Use an online photo place? Purchase cards? Get them printed through a place like Colorful Images? Do you write the addresses on the envelops yourself? Buy special stamps? Write letters? Have each person sign or do you sign for everyone?

Just curious!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Men: David Williams

Name: David Williams
Best Known For: Rugby Player
Year of Birth: 1986
Status: Single?
Height: 6'
Fun Fact: His favorite movie is Fight Club and he loves his hair...

...which makes sense considering that he prefers his beard. He is known as The Wolfman. I'm sure his fans (rugby fans, that is) also prefer his beard. I do not. Without it he is H O T. And since he doesn't think he's sexy I can see why he likes his fur. I didn't post a picture because I had a hard time finding one that isn't property of some magazine. But feel free, really, to Google Image him. Fur and de-furred.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chocolate: Chocolate Good

This was a nice tidbit :)

So were the Hershey's nuggets: Almond and Toffee & Almond. Virtual share?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Books: The Song Reader

Ugh! I hated it. Just in case anyone is confused or has not read any of my previous book posts, I read for enjoyment. FUN! If I want someone's sob story about how their mother died and their father left and that the two of them (sisters) have to survive the older one's giant failure, then I can watch the news, scan the Net, or call my family for an update. I don't read so my thoughts can be provoked. I don't read to see someone else's triumph over adversity. I don't read to increase my level of wisdom or to change my life.

I read fluff because it warms my heart and makes me laugh. They take me back to when I fell in love with my hubby. I read thrillers because, depending on the author, they go into the forensics, they provide mystery, and they make me think I'm watching some action flick.

I pulled The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker off the library shelf because the woman in the story could use songs instead of tarot cards to read people. I thought it would be cool to see what the woman was able to do and was hoping for somewhat comedic and somewhat serious consequences. What I got was the woman going into a severe depression over a reading that caused half the town to turn against her, the woman's younger sister having to become an adult (bill paying, child care, housekeeping, depressed sister care) at 15 years old, and a returning father who had OCD and wasn't capable of helping either sister survive.

Little more than halfway through the book I was done. But I wanted to be fair to Tucker and read till the end only to be disappointed that there wasn't a happy ending. Ugh!

Friday, December 10, 2010

TV: American Being Human?

No. No, no, no, no. Being Human is fine the way it is. British, humorous, and drawn out. I like my stuttering George, my flaky Annie, and my brooding Mitchell. But some dim bulb is trying to make an American version. No. No, I say (stamping my foot for more emphasis.)

What's this nutter going on about you ask? I've seen the previews by Syfy. They do not look good. Despite the name changes they are copying the look of the British show. If they do this version, they will either need to do a superior job or completely make the show different. The actors copying the look and mannerisms won't come off correctly. I'm afraid.

If you aren't, the show is scheduled to air in January.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Miscellaneous: Accountability

When will the parents be held accountable for their children?

San Francisco bans Happy Meals
"Parents, not politicians, should decide what their children eat, especially when it comes to spending their own money," said Newsom. "Despite its good intentions, I cannot support this unwise and unprecedented governmental intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices."

This is just one item on the long list of situations where everyone else is to blame for the behavior and habits of children, but parents are excused from the responsibility.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Men: Joe Manganiello

Name: Joseph Michael Manganiello
Best Known For: TV, True Blood, One Tree Hill, How I Met Your Mother
Year of Birth: 1976
Status: Engaged (Audra Marie)
Height: 6'5"
Fun Fact: Was a roadie

So where are all the True Blood fans? And who decided not to apprise me of this hottie? I found these lover-ly pictures of his bod and decided he needed to be featured.

I'm not fond of the pics where he looks like Sawyer from Lost, but it doesn't change his hotness.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chocolate: Cake Balls 2

I posted about Cake Balls a little over a month ago. Then later had an addendum with video :) So guess what? I MADE THEM!

They taste as good as I thought. Little bites of sugary goodness. There are a few things we would add (my SIL made them with me) to the directions. Have a little heating pad or hot pot heater beneath the melted candy bits. Reheating was a giant pain. We didn't want to do the pops this time (SIL will try that next) so we were trying to find a way to coat them without making marks. There were plenty of examples, but we went with toothpicks. It was better to use a blunt toothpick end instead of pointed. We removed the toothpicks after they cooled and covered the hole either with a drop of melties or with decoration (see pic.) Lastly, we noticed a bubble of oil appeared at the top if we left the hole open. We were confused by this, but closing the hole seemed to do the trick.

Anyway, with SIL trying out pops (she's going for the reindeer), I'm going to try again with the recipe and see if I can make them even tastier.