Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, which means you need some sweet treats to celebrate with your loved ones!  One of my favorites for the holiday is chocolate dipped strawberries.  Light but decadent and a rare enough to feel special...well at least we don't eat them very often, not sure how much chocolate dipped strawberry eating goes on in your house! Now, there are plenty of fancy and sophisticated recipes for chocolate dipped strawberries, but this is my DIY version.  Easy enough to make on short notice with ingredients we often have in the house.  Okay, so maybe not everyone tends to have a stash of chocolate chips on hand at all times, but we do for some reason.  He he!
Norwegian Krumkake

Ah, krumkake...the cookie that equals Christmas in Christian's family!  If you aren't familiar with krumkakes, it's a Norwegian waffle cookie that is crisp, light and delicious.  Especially with coffee or tea...but then again, I think we just like an excuse to eat cookies for breakfast.  It's similar to a delicate ice cream cone, and some even use them this way (or to fill with other delicious treats such as whip cream!).  The holiday undertone of this cookie, however, comes from the hint of cardamom.  Fabulous!

So how do you make these beauties if you don't have an adorable Norweigian grandmother cranking them out for you like a pro? Oh, how we miss Grandma Henricksen!  Well, it takes a bit of special equipment, some patience, and fingertips tough enough to handle the hot cookies (aka, Christian in my household...although even he wears heavy duty kitchen gloves).  The batter is ridiculously simple and the process is really fun...part of the holiday tradition in our household since we often make them on the living room table in front of a Holiday movie!
Family Recipe: Zuccarini Cookies

I recently held a family recipe contest at the call center in Peoria, IL that I oversee as a part of my day job.  I got so many amazing contributions of recipes that sounded delicious & had a fabulous back story, but there could only be one winner...and that winner was Michelle Turchi's Family Succarini (or Zuccarini) Cookie Recipe!  Just in time for me to try out for my annual Cookie Party!

So what did I think?  They're quite yummy...and remind me a lot of biscotti, so are a great "breakfast cookie."  But making them in this particular little shape and then trying to dip them in hot bubbling sugar without burning yourself is a bit labor intensive.  So I think next time I make them I'll make them larger so they're both faster to make and easier to dip.  That probably means they wouldn't technically be Zuccarinis....but hey, they'd still taste just as good!  Kudos to Michelle for making them every year...hers were much more beautiful than mine so maybe she has some tips on how to make the process easier as well!

Michelle's lovely family backstory and recipe are below...enjoy, and of course if you have a family cookie recipe of your own please share!

Broiled Figs with Yogurt, Nuts & Honey

The recipe below is a SavoryGirl original that was inspired by what was in season at the Farmer's Market years ago when Christian & I first started trying to eat locally and seasonally.  While it is certainly different now, growing up in New England the only thing I knew about figs was that they were a critical component of Fig Newton's...oh how I've grown.  Now we count the days until fresh figs appear at our Farmer's Market each year.  If you're lucky you'll get an early crop in the spring and then another crop in the keep your eyes peeled!

Cinco de Mayo Menu

How could I forget to include a Cinco de Mayo dinner in this week’s menu?!  Christian and I love going to Mexico and in fact spent our honeymoon about 6 years ago there.  We also work Mexican inspired dishes into rotation so regularly that we often joke that we must have been Mexican in a past we simply can’t skip the Cinco de Mayo festivities even if we do stay home.  That means I’ll be swapping out the White Bean & Kale Soup on this week’s menu for the Cinco de Mayo menu below (since I have the ingredients for the soup though I’ll make that next week....thankfully kale lasts forever!).
Mangoes with Sticky Rice

  Oh, who doesn’t love mangoes with sticky rice? Christian was absolutely in heaven sitting on the beach eating this (almost every day when we could find it!) so we had to learn how to make it right. Traditionally the rice is just a bit sweet, but not overpoweringly sweet, but of course you can add more sugar/coconut milk to your liking.   The recipe is adapted from the one we received at Siam Rice Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Foodie Valentine’s Day Celebrations

Christian and I celebrated V Day on Sunday with a trip to the SF Ballet to see Giselle (fabulous!) and dinner at Paul K (a bit underwhelming).  But we also celebrated on V Day proper by cooking a nice meal at home and popping a bottle of bubbly so I thought I would review both celebrations.

I’ll start with the dinner we made ourselves on Valentine’s Day itself...a nice bottle of 2006 Mumm Blanc de Blanc, Mussels Steamed in a Spicy Tomato-Cilantro Broth with a DIY salad of Arugula, Beets, Fresh Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese drizzled with truffle honey, balsamic, olive oil, salt & pepper.  Dessert was homemade chocolate dipped strawberries.
Chocolate Fondue

Christian is a true choc-aholic, so every Christmas Eve when we have our little family Fondue Party he is kind of just tolerating the cheese & meat fondue courses so that he can get to the chocolate course!  I think a lot of people assume that fondue is complicated or super messy, but really it's quite quick and easy.  It's also the perfect dessert for a party since it allows you to converse and have fun while playing with your food and indulging your sweet tooth!

The recipe below uses dark chocolate since that's our favorite, but you could also use milk or white if that's your preference.  Depending on how big your sweet tooth is, this should serve about 6.