Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Marshmallows for the Birthday Boy


Versions of chocolate-dipped marshmallows have been popping up all over the place, peaking around Valentine’s Day. I don’t know why I waited for so long to try my own version, but Mateo’s fourth birthday was the perfect excuse to give them a go.

We used square-cut homemade marshmallows from this basic recipe, although you can make the pops with store-bought ‘mallows as Amy has done. You could also cut them into shapes, like these beautiful hearts from Brenda.


So the method is simple: melt chocolate ( I used 85% cacao for a bitter contrast to the sweet marshmallow) and dip skewered marshmallows about halfway into the chocolate.

Stand skewers upright in water glasses to dry, or jab them into a cardboard box as I did in the photo above.

Once the chocolate has partially set (it will lose its glossy sheen), but before it is dry, add the sprinkles. This is a fun job for kids! Mateo decorated all his own marshmallow pops.


And that’s it! I made these the day before the party and didn’t bother to store them in an airtight container. They were fine left at room temperature until the party…and after? Well there wasn’t even one remaining, so I can’t tell you how long they keep.

Enjoy! For more party-planning tips and Mateo’s ‘Doodle Cake’ check out my recap of the party on Simple Bites.

Dinner at Empire State South


Restaurant reviews are something that went out the window a looong time ago around here. I posted a few at the beginning and then realized that I strongly disliked writing reviews. I just wanted to enjoy my meal, not sweat the poor lighting for photos and hour long write up upon my return home. Non merci.

Plus, with two little children added to our family, our restaurant outings have slowed to a crawl. It’s not exactly like I stay on top of the local restaurant scene. And I don’t pretend to.

This past weekend, however, offered the chance for a dinner out on the town – in humid Atlanta, Georgia. Danny and I were in town for a mini second honeymoon and the Blogher Food conference – of course we wanted to eat Atlanta while we had the opportunity.

You can read my full BHF’11 recap on Simple Bites -I had a marvelous time- but over here we’re going to talk about dinner.

Danny & Shaina

The destination? Empire State South. A Canadian chef’s modern take on Southern food, served up in style, with plenty of love.

ESS proudly considers itself a farm-to-table restaurant, which reminded me a lot of our own Toque! and the scads of in-house charcuterie bordered on Au Pied du Cochon’s style.

Needless to say, I felt quite at home at Empire State South.

My dining companions? Eight fabulous rock-star food bloggers. You just may recognize a few names here: Alice & her husband Rob, Sandy, Carrie, Amanda, Tara, Jenny, Lori, Shaina.
Along with Danny and I, we invaded the small-ish Empire State South and proceeded to ordered half the menu.

Thanks to Amanda, I’ve got food photos from the meal. I was too busy gabbing with the girls to work the camera and was happy to hand it over to the competent Amanda.

Amanda’s first oyster! This ain’t no New York cupcake – The girl is fearless.

Carrie & Jenny

Soft Poached Farm Egg anson mills grits, maitake, baby celery.

Strawberry Gazpacho, pickled shrimp, asparagus, marcona almonds.

Ramp Orecchiette, carrot puree, carrots, english peas, squash and benne.

Roasted Grouper, pea broth, young zucchini.


There are no photos of desserts to speak of, save this one, snapped with my iPhone.


We ordered eight plates, but they disappeared so fast. I was sitting next to Amanda and I don’t know anyone who loves sweets more that that girl!

I knew that if I wanted a fighting chance at tasting dessert, I had to put the camera down. And so I did.

Alice, myself, Amanda

We sampled:

  • Coconut Cream Pie, almond brittle,
  • Fried strawberry pie, pickled strawberry, buttermilk ice cream
  • Coke soft serve ice cream, peanut funnel cake (pictured above)
  • Grasshopper Terrine, candied chocolate mint

Shaina and I have since been fantasizing over the strawberry pies.I think she’s going to have a recipe coming soon. Hopefully just in time for our strawberry season.

Shaina & Lori

Consensus? We loved Empire State South. The entire evening was surreal. Fantastic food. Brilliant company. Inspiring conversation. I think it lasted about three hours, and is definitely going in the books as one of my most memorable dining experiences.

Wordless Wednesday: Mateo turns 3!











How to Host a Pizza Party


1. Decide to throw a party. If it happens to be your little sister’s twenty-fifth birthday, so be it.

2. Invite friends who like pizza. (Warning: pretty much everyone does, so plan for a houseful.)


3. Make a big bowl of Honey Pizza Dough. OK, make that a GINORMOUS bowl. Don’t worry, you can always freeze the leftovers. (I think I did 8 batches)

4. Roast a several pounds of Roma tomatoes for Roasted Tomato & Garlic Pizza Sauce. This stuff is so good, you almost don’t need any pizza toppings. Almost.

5. Rock as many or as few pizza toppings as you like. (See suggestions below. I went with ‘many’, as you’ll see.)


6. Set up a station for roll/tossing/stretching pizza dough. Find all the pie pans in the house. Provide parchment paper, scissors, olive oil and a rolling pin or two.


7. Preheat the oven to crazy-hot. Like 450 degrees. Invite guests to shape their pizzas.

8. Snap some photos. Sigh. Wish you were twenty-five again. Pour a glass of wine.


9. Set out the prepared pizza toppings. Pictured above: diced sauteed bacon, sliced grilled chicken breast, baby shrimp, broccoli, pepperoni.

Toppings II: sauteed zucchini, diced feta, sauteed leeks, cherry tomatoes, sliced Vidalia onions.
And more toppings…diced colored peppers, Capicola, diced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, black olives, mushrooms, apples, pears, Gouda, oven-roasted tomatoes.


10. Encourage guests to create their own pizzas.


11. Get creative. Half pesto, half roasted tomato sauce…


…finished with shrimp, red onion, mozzarella and colored peppers on the pesto, and sauteed leeks, apples and Gouda on the tomato sauce. A.Ma.Zing.


12. Do not laugh at ‘stuffed crust’ attempts. Even if you think that looks like a lot of crust.


13. OK, go ahead and laugh.


14. Eat pizza, pour more wine. Laugh a lot.


15. Berate your friends for not eating more. Attempt to make up for it with another slice or three.

Inspiration for a sweet table


Remember my fall list? Well, it’s been keeping me pretty busy. Tonight, as we roasted cinnamon marshmallows over the open fire, and the flaming maple leaves fell all around us, I contemplated taking a little hiatus from this space. You know, since fall is such a busy time and all.

But then I realized that we’d be heading into Christmas once I returned, and after Christmas is Blissdom (yes, I’m going) and then in February is that engagement party I’m throwing and Mateo’s birthday and, and…

It’s always a ‘busy time’, so I’m just going to keep posting here and there when I have a few minutes and keeping you up to date with the goodness leaving my kitchen.

Speaking of which, have you seen the Chilled Pumpkin Cheesecake? Just in time for our Thanksgiving? Yep. Don’t miss it, nor the new vlog that I had a ton of fun making. (just ignore the pantyhose comment, OK?)


On to the food! In this case, the sweets. I had the opportunity to bake up a storm for a baby shower for one of my most favorite people ever, Angela. She makes up half of the Tim Chin Photography dynamic duo (check out our last family photo shoot with them) and she’s about eight months pregnant with Tiny Tim, as I like to call him.


I had to go a bit nuts with the food. Ange is such a stylish girl…and loves food almost as much as I do! Here are some of the sweets that the guests feasted on:


Sour Cream Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting. You’ve seen the cake before, now meet the mini-cupcake.


Chai-Scented Creme Brulé, because creme brulé is Ange’s favorite dessert ever. I infused the cream with a little of Philippe de Vienne’s Chai Spice Blend, and it was just enough to give the dessert a hint of something special.


Quebec Pear and Candied Ginger Individual Crisps, served warm with Cinnamon Whipped Cream.


Prosecco-Lime Gelée with Seasonal Fruits, inspired by this post on Desserts for Breakfast. Refreshing, elegant, and low-fat, if you’re concerned about that.


Chocolate Pecan Puddle Cookies are a must at any event, as are Orange Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Caramel Ganache.

S’mores! Traditional graham crackers, cinnamon marshmallows (blue for ‘boy’) and dark chocolate squares. (I used Lindt). I torched these á la minute for the girls.


Close up of the sandwich cookies. I used Jamie’s Chewy Lemon Cookies, which were fantastic because they can be mixed up, rolled into logs and frozen in advance. I used orange instead of lemon and it paired well with the dark chocolate.
For the filling I prepared Robin’s Dark Chocolate Caramel Sauce, and let it firm up before filling. These cookies were pretty, bite-size and perfect for a baby shower, however they had to be refrigerated right up until serving. Not a warm weather cookie!

There were also mini Lemon Poppy-Seed Cupcakes, and these Nutella Brownies. And that was about enough.

Congratulations again to the mother-to-be. I’ll bet the little guy was kicking up a storm after this sugar rush! Way to get him hooked on crême brulé early…