· December 11, 2013
Last week, I was invited to an incredible dessert tasting at Michel Richard’s new patisserie shop, Pomme Palais, in the Palace Hotel. We sampled their specialty cakes for the holidays, which were all delicious and beautifully prepared. I can’t wait to buy these cakes for an upcoming holiday party!
It’s difficult to pick a favorite from all the cakes we sampled, but this one was definitely the most beautiful:
The cake is called the “Charlotte cake” and is made with tons of raspberries, blackberries, passion fruit yogurt mousse and lady fingers:
The cake isn’t too sweet but has a very fresh and light flavor. Definitely a good pairing with green tea!
The second cake I tried, the Lemon Eggceptional cake, was also a work of art:
This cake had layers of sponge cake, lemon curd, French meringue and it was topped with white chocolate lemon eggceptionals:
The opera cake, layered cake of coffee, chocolate, and almond flavors, was very decadent:
And the cutest dessert was Michel’s snowman, which is purchased to go:
It’s a white meringue snowman that’s wrapped with a sugar scarf and a marzipan-chocolate hat. The inside is hollow so you can fill it with ice cream (or pudding, whipped cream, or anything that fits into the meringue) and serve with the raspberry sauce it comes with…the cutest part is that Chef Richard illustrated how to assemble the snowman. We had ours prepared with chocolate mousse:
The meringue was beautiful and so tasty! Definitely a great gift to bring to a holiday party (or just fun to eat at home!) The event was so fun and Pomme Palais is right in between my office and Ken’s office, so we meet there sometimes for an afternoon snack and coffee break. I can’t wait to go back and try more of their desserts!
My friend, Stephane, recently went to Paris for the holidays and to visit family, take care of family business. While he was there, he ate a lot of foie gras, canales, macarons, and basically all of my favorite foods! Luckily, he is nice enough to bring treats back for his friends (like me!) – look at the goodies he brought back for me this time:
The bread is from Poilane bakery, which pairs well with butter or foie gras (once toasted). Ken was out of town when the loaf arrived…it doesn’t exist anymore because I ate it all before he got back.
The chestnut spread comes in a small, cutely decorated container:
Stephane said that it’s very sweet and the perfect size for travel…specifically, for when you’re skiing in France! I haven’t opened this yet (waiting for Ken) but the packaging is really cute and it’s available in multiple sizes. This size is a single serve, Ken is lucky that I’m willing to share.
My favorite gift is the chocolate from A l’Etoile D’Or, possibly the best chocolate shop in Paris. The chocolate bar Stephane gave me is usually only found in Lyon, but Denise Acabo, the owner of the chocolate store, is able to source the chocolate. The bar I received is dark chocolate with caramel (another gift that I’m willing to share with Ken once he gets home!) David Lebovitz’s wonderful blog has a post about the chocolate shop!
So excited to have all these wonderful treats from Paris – it reminds me of the wonderful time we had in Paris over the summer. Thank you, Stephane, for thinking of me and bringing back these treats!
· December 5, 2013
,Things to do in NYC
After becoming so obsessed with Organic Avenue’s probiotic coconut yogurt, I decided I should try making it myself. Organic Avenue isn’t that close to my office or my apartment, so it was becoming increasingly inconvenient to make a trip to Organic Avenue to pick up the probiotic yogurt. I tried looking up some recipes online but most were for paleo dieters and used coconut manna instead of coconut meat. Coconut manna *is* coconut meat, but it also includes a lot of the coconut cream and is much thicker and has a very different consistency than the coconut yogurt from Organic Avenue. So, here’s my recipe that is very close to Organic Avenue’s:
- 1 container coconut meat, defrosted (Exotic Superfoods is the only brand that has the young coconut meat that you need to make this yogurt)
- 1/2 container raw coconut water (you don’t have to buy raw coconut water, but Harmless Harvest’s raw coconut water is so good that it’s kind of difficult not to buy this in bulk)
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (any kind of sugar is fine)
- 4 probiotic pills; the probiotic pills I bought were 14 billion good bacteria/pill
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder (this can be found online or in a health food store)
All you have to do is defrost the coconut meat and place into a blender:
Blend with the juices in the coconut meat container and also add 1/2 the container of raw coconut water. The consistency should be pretty smooth:
Next, add the probiotic pills (break the pills and just use the probiotic powder), sugar and the vanilla powder, blend until smooth and place into a glass bowl:
This mixture needs to become yogurt by letting the probiotics activate. You can do this in two ways: 1. place in the oven and turn the oven light on or 2. place in the warming drawer and turn the warmer onto medium. You want the drawer to be around 100 degrees so the probiotics can do their work; too cold and the probiotic won’t do anything, too hot and the probiotics will die. I tried doing one batch with my oven light but the thermometer I placed into the oven only read about 90 degrees, so I find working in the warming drawer works better.
After 8 hours (yes, you have to let it sit for 8 hours), the mixture will have a dried layer on top and the sides might look a little bubbly:
You’ll want to place this in the blender one more time (so you don’t have to discard the dried layer), and then it’s ready to be refrigerated and eaten!
My version of coconut yogurt is on the left and a new container of Organic Avenue’s coconut yogurt is on the right:
The yogurt I made tastes just like Organic Avenue’s; now I don’t have to trek all the way uptown to get my probiotic coconut yogurt snack! One container of coconut meat makes about 3.5 Organic Avenue containers of yogurt. The cheapest I’ve found the coconut meat is online, directly from Exotic Superfoods; it’s $9 for one pound (but you have to buy in bulk!)
· December 4, 2013
Earlier in November, my trainer, friend and overall superstar, Anna Kaiser, opened up her flagship AKTinMotion studio on the upper east side! Anna and I met last year when I was trying to lose weight for my wedding; we became fast friends and I not only lost 20 pounds while working out with her, I’ve also become friends with her and a great group of women. I always tell my friends and coworkers to take a class with me; some people even think I have equity in AKTinMotion because of how often I talk about the classes! The studio is gorgeous; it’s on the fourth floor on 84th street (between Second and Third) and has three workout rooms, a private massage and accupuncture room, and office, and there’s a seating area so you can come in a little early and read magazines, grab a coconut water, or just talk to the friendly receptionists and account coordinators. The main room is large, has great floors that don’t make your feet or knees hurt, and even has a disco ball!
The program is addictive; once I started going, I saw the results right away (I mean, 20 pounds off my frame is quite a change). I continue to go because it doesn’t feel like a workout but I’m still sweating a ton and challenging my body on a daily basis. I’d love for my readers to try the classes sometime – if you do, please let me know when you’re going to class because I will most likely be in the class!
· December 3, 2013
Occasionally, I get super hungry around the mid-afternoon – usually around 4pm. Most days, I’ll get a piece of dark chocolate or some almonds, but I had a doctor’s appointment the other day and I was walking back to my office but passed by an Organic Avenue. I love the smell of wheatgrass and freshly pressed juice and stopped in for a quick snack, the probiotic coconut yogurt:
This small container of yogurt cost me $6. SIX DOLLARS! I asked if the yogurt was really worth the hefty price tag and everyone in the store said it’s their favorite product. I got back to my office and tried it – it was definitely worth the $6; it’s tangy and tart but doesn’t have any milk in it; it’s just coconut meat, coconut water, probiotics, coconut sugar, and vanilla:
It’s creamy and tangy and tastes just like yogurt! I definitely recommend trying it – tell me what you think!
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