So the day arrived. Book Release Day. I spent all last year working on and adjusting the recipes during the day, and finding the right words for the copy at night. Throughout it all whenever I needed a break, I would imagine how great it would feel to page through my cookbook. And it is great. I flip through my cookbook just for fun-whenever I want, relishing the delicious thrill of a dream come true, every time.
We launched the cookbook very fittingly with a Mama Doni Concert at JCC Metrowest in West Orange, with a couple Recipe Rachel cooking spots sprinkled into the mix. I demo’d the Chocolate Bark from the Tu B’Shvat chapter. It was fun to be so silly, and give my inner Willy Wonka some play time. And I think I may have left a few smudgy chocolate fingerprints on a few of the cookbooks I signed.
For party favors I made a few batches of chocolate bark, which I broke into hundreds of shards and neatly wrapped in cellophane. I wanted to show restraint, and not scare off the adults, so I made a Breakfast Bark that utilized cornflakes, dried strawberries and banana chips as toppings on a 3:1 milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate base. Then because I was in a whimsical mood, I crushed a few sugar cones and scattered them across the white chocolate bark along with a few handfuls of mini semi sweet chips and a scattering of sweet-tart dried cherries. It tasted like ice cream flavored chocolate. Vanilla Sunday Cone Bark.
When I got home half the family was splayed out on the couch watching their various sports competitions, and the other half were at the Park. I knew it was just a matter of time before everyone would converge on me pleading for something good to eat because they were “starving“. After my high energy day, I was ready to crash, and was thinking Chinese takeout, but instead decided to rummage through the fridge, and give myself a quickfire challenge a la Top Chef. It’s more of a bother but much cheaper.
When I was growing up, every so often my mother would make us a dinner of fried eggs and salami. Probably on those Sunday nights when she didn’t feel like cooking, but was too sensible to pack us all in the car to pick up dinner. I remembered her salami and eggs as I was taking inventory of my fridge, and came across half a salami. The left- over cartons of rice from a purchased Chinese meal earlier in the week brought it all together: Salami & Eggs Fried Rice. I fried the salami slivers to a golden brown toastiness, and was sure the eggs were well set before cutting them into strips. I made a sauce out of spicy brown mustard, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and sesame oil. Somehow the dish tasted both Jewish and Asian at the same time. And it was a fine Sunday night meal, although in truth all I really wanted to do was order take out .
4 cups chocolate chips
2 cups your favorite toppings (eg: chopped nuts, dried fruits, crushed pretzels, cookie crumbs, mini chips, toffee bits….)
1. Melt the chips in a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate is smooth. Alternately, you can microwave chocolate for two minutes, remove and stir, and then return to microwave for another minute. Remove and stir until chocolate is completely melted.
2. Fit parchment paper over a baking sheet and with a spatula spread the melted chocolate evenly over parchment paper.
3. Cover the entire surface of the chocolate with your toppings. Or, if you prefer the French method: mix the toppings directly into the melted chocolate and then spread evenly over baking sheet. Saying Zut Alors! all the way to le fridge.
4. Refrigerate for two ours or until firm. Break the chocolate into bite sized pieces.