To make the chocolate flower centerpiece above, you need to start off with a 4×4 cube foam form or you can use real cake as your base. Melt Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chocolate to use as your “glue” and place Ghirardelli chocolate squares to form walls. Once finished, put it in the freezer to let it set, but don’t leave it in too long. In order to make the chocolate flowers, you’re going to follow the directions below.
- Pack of water bomb balloons or balloons that are 5” or less
- Parchment Paper
- Ghirardelli Semi-sweet Baking Chips
- Blow up a few balloons.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30-second intervals or melt in a saucepan on the stove at the lowest heat possible.
- Transfer chocolate to a small bowl and let it cool slightly (the chocolate should not be hot).
- Dip the bottom of the balloon into the melted chocolate and transfer to a piece of parchment paper.
- Allow it to dry for about 20 minutes or until the chocolate has a matte finish.
- After the chocolate has set enough, cut the balloon at the top – just below the knot – and allow the air to escape slowly.
- The balloon should come off of the chocolate.
- Shape the flowers to make a bouquet and place it on your base with your chocolate glue and let it set in the freezer (make sure you don’t leave it in the freezer for too long!).
Deliciously different, ChocolatRouge Sweet Red is a luscious blend of fine red wine and rich chocolate flavors reminiscent of chocolate-dipped red berries with a soft velvety finish. Enjoy this ideal combination for a smooth rich taste not to be missed.
Experience true decadence in a luscious blend of rich chocolate flavors and fine red wine. Deliciously Different, ChocolatRouge Milk Chocolate entices with creamy richness. Serve chilled or savor it on the rocks for the ultimate indulgence.
ChocolatRouge Orangette (pictured above)
Mix 2 oz. ChocolatRouge and 1 oz. orange syrup for this tantalizing drink. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a chocolate-covered orange peel or twist of orange
- Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
- 1.5 oz. Van Gogh Dark Chocolate Vodka
- 8 oz. of milk
- 1/4 cup mini marshmallows, for garnish
- Put 1 oz. of the cocoa into a saucer.
- Put some water into another saucer.
- Dip the rim of a martini glasses into the water and shake off any excess. Dip them in the cocoa mix to make a cocoa rim.
- Heat 8 oz. of milk in the microwave and mix in 4 tablespoons of the cocoa until it dissolves.
- In a shaker, add ice, 4 oz. of the hot cocoa, and vodka. Shake vigorously.
- Let it settle for a few minutes, then strain into the martini glass and garnish with the marshmallows and cocoa.
- ice cubes
- 2 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
- ½ oz. Van Gogh Vanilla Vodka
- 1 oz. butterscotch schnapps
- Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice.
- Shake vigorously and let it sit in the shaker for several minutes in order to let the vodka mellow in the ice.
- Pour into a chilled martini glass rimmed with Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa.
Chocolate Tomato Soup
- 2 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbl Unsalted Butter
- 1 Onion, Diced
- 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 Carrots, Peeled and Diced
- 2 Celery Stalks, Diced
- 1 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Sliced
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to Taste
- 2 tbsp of Sriracha sauce
- 2 tsps Hungarian Paprika
- 2 tsps ground Cumin
- 1 tsp ground Coriander
- ½-3/4 cup Dry Sherry or White Wine
- 1-28 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
- 4 Cups Chicken Broth
- ¼ Cup Cilantro, Chopped
- ¼ Cup Italian Parsley, Chopped
- 3-4 oz Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate
- 2 Tbl Honey or to Taste
- Queso Fresco, Goat Cheese or Crème Fraiche to Garnish
- Heat oil and butter in a stock pot over medium high heat until butter melts.
- Add onion and sauté until translucent, approx. 5 mins. Add garlic, carrots, celery and sun dried tomatoes.
- Season with salt, pepper, harissa, paprika, cumin and coriander. Saute for a couple of minute to toast spices and soften vegetables.
- Add wine and continue cooking on high until all of the liquid has evaporated. Add tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 mins or until the vegetables are tender.
- Pass soup through a food mill to puree sorry, and remove any large particles. Return soup to pot and place over low heat.
- Add parsley and cilantro. Add chocolate and enough honey to balance acidity. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Serve hot, garnished with queso fresco, fresh goat cheese or crème fraiche.
- Panini Bread
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces Brie cheese, thinly sliced
- 12 oz. of Ghirardelli Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- Preheat the panini grill.
- Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil. Grill the bread slices until they begin to turn golden, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove from the panini grill and place 2 ounces of cheese on 1 slice of bread (the bottom half), top the cheese with 1/3 cup chocolate chips, and a sprinkle of basil.
- Top with another slice of bread. Continue with the remaining sandwiches. Return the sandwiches to the panini grill until the chocolate begins to melt, about another 2 minutes.
- Cut the sandwiches into 2-inch wide rectangles or small triangles and transfer to a serving platter.
- 1 whole medium chicken, about 2 lbs
- 4 carrots, roughly cut
- 2″ ginger, sliced into 1/4″ coins
- 1 onion, roughly cut
- 1 garlic, halved
- 2 bunches thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bottle white wine
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 10 white peppercorns
- Water to cover
- 3/4 stick butter
- 1/2 cup shallots, diced 1/4″
- 1/4 cup AP flour
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup sliced celery, diced 1/4#
- 3/4 cup corn kernels
- 3/4 cup carrots, diced 1/4″
- 1 cup diced potatoes, 1/4″
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
- 2 cups reserved chicken stock
- 1 cup milk
- 6 oz. of Lindt Excellence Chili Bar
- 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/4 cup brandy
- add reserved chicken meat
- Bring everything but the chicken to a simmer. Let cook for 25 minutes until vegetables are soft. Turn off heat and set aside to room temperature.
- Butcher chicken into 8 pieces, separating into 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, and saving all the backs and carcasses.
- Remove the innards and use it for a different recipe.
- Rinse chicken under cold running water and pat dry with a towel.
- Add chicken pieces to chicken stock, starting with the wings, followed by thighs and drumsticks, and breasts on top, and turn heat to simmer and poach until chicken is tender and meat falls apart from the bones.
- Remove chicken from stock and refrigerate until cold. Once cold, pull chicken meat, discarding skin and fat, and save the meat to be used in filling. Strain chicken stock for use later.
- Sautee butter with shallots and flour until browned. Add cocoa powder, chipotle, celery seeds, potatoes, and cook for another 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add chicken stock to deglaze, add milk, whisking until mixture comes to a boil, whisk in Lindt chocolate and emulsify until homogenous. Add the rest of the vegetables and bring the mixture to a boil. Fold in chicken meat and brandy. Consistency should be like that of a chowder.
- Place filling in pie molds. Top off mold with pastry fit to size with a 1/2″ overhang and season top
- Pastry cut to size with 1/4″ overhang
- Fill mold with chicken mole pie filling
- Fit pastry to size. Season top with salt and pepper.
- Bake at 375 degrees until top is golden brown and bubbling with filling. Let rest for 15 minutes and reheat before serving, then dust with Ghirardelli Unsweetend Cocoa.
- 1 pound all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
Parmesan Pasta Sauce
- 2 cups cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 1-2 oz. of 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bar
- ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano
- Optional: Chocolate truffle
Chocolate Covered Bread Stick
- 1 pound cake flour
- ½ pound butter
- ¼ cup water
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 thin slices Prosciutto di Parma
- 1 cup Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate, melted
- Sift flour and cocoa powder together and knead in the eggs and olive oil for 15 minutes.
- Rest for another fifteen minutes then roll and cut in a pasta machine.
- Heat up a pot of lightly salted water and boil pasta until al dente.
Parmesan Pasta Sauce
- In a medium sauce pot scald the cream.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, Parigiano Reggiano, and melted chocolate.
- Temper this mixture into the hot cream and bring to a light simmer, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
Chocolate Covered Bread Sticks
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Put the butter and flour in a mixer then add water, salt, sugar and egg yolks, and mix until just combined.
- Let the dough rest for fifteen minutes then roll out to ½ inch thick.
- Cut into ¼ inch thick strips and bake untill golden brown. Let the bread sticks cool then wrap in Prosciutto and dip in chocolate. Allow to set.
Toss the hot pasta in the sauce, serve with a breadstick, and dust with Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa.
Valentines Day is the most romantic day of the year and the ideal time to plan a couples getaway to a romantic destination. What about those of us who can’t fly to our dream destination of choice or don’t have extra cash lying around so soon after the holidays?
I’ll show you how to create a romantic Valentine’s Day stay-cation without leaving the comfort of your own home and without the hefty price tag. I’ve created three Romantic Stay-cation themes based on three lover types; Languid Lovers, Sporty Lovers, Lover Lovers. Each dinner is comprised of food, drinks and décor inspired by the culture and landscape of each of the destinations.
A Tropical Stay-cation Destination for the languid lovers who love to lay around with each other, sipping on drinks wearing only a strategically placed lei. Click the link to see how you can cool off your hot night with exotic frozen drinks and savor the sensual tastes of the tropical islands.
A Ski Stay-cation Destination for the sporty lovers who love to cozy up to a warm fire and enjoy après-ski bites and nibbles without the hassle of suiting up…in ski clothes! Click the link to see how you can prepare hot cocktails to warm you up from top to bottom and how to satisfy your sweet and savory sides with a classic Fondue menu.
A City of Love & Lights (Paris) Stay-cation Destination for the lover lovers who love to fair l’amour en Francais. Click the link to see how you can prepare bubble cocktails that will tickle your palate and how to prepare a romantic picnic by the Seine-style menu.
If you’re interested in a more traditional door, adorn a pine wreath with holiday colored ribbons, bows, ornaments, and lights. Just like a Christmas tree, start with the lights first, follow it up with ornaments, and finish it off with a ribbon garland and bows.
You can create any theme you would like and for ornament collectors, it’s a great and easy way to decorate. The global theme I used was inspired by ornaments I’ve collected from my travels, with the most recent being the piñata and sombrero from Mexico. You can also use items that you have left over from trimming your tree and decorating the rest of your house.
Secret Weapon: Use ornament hooks to wire on the ornaments and ribbon.
Cut the leftover ribbon from the wreath into varying lengths. Tie bells and ornaments onto the end of each piece of ribbon and make a bow out of the other end. Apply damage-free clear mini hooks across the top of your door and hang one ribbon from each one.
Secret Weapon: Use Command Clear Damage-Free Mini Hooks for easy application and removal.
Memorial Day is THE party kick-off event of the summer entertaining season. Get the party started right with my Summer Entertaining Essentials for Summer entertaining on-the-go or on demand.
I will share my picks for this summer’s entertaining must-haves that will take you through every summer holiday and every day summer entertaining whenever they pop up. Also, I will ensure that you’ll be entertaining in style as he brings the latest fashions to your tabletop with his “colors of the season” entertaining décor tips… And throw away those paper plates, for good, because I have great tips on environmentally friendly, sustainable entertaining for your summer eco-taining arsenal.
Setting the table for the perfect summer entertaining on-the-go or on demand is as simple as 1-2-3!
First, start with the perfect bag of party tricks! I believe that keeping all your Summer entertaining essentials in one convenient and easy accessible place is key. My go-to Summer tote is make of Land’s End canvas and is the perfect eco-friendly Summer carrying bag made by Lands’ End. It is water resistant with plenty of storage for all your essentials.
Beach towels do double duty as picnic blankets or tablecloths. Fun vintage inspired pattern help set the festive tone. This beach towel, provided by Lands’ End is the perfect Vintage pattern tying in the color palette from the entire table.
Second, throw away those paper plates, for good! and opt for Bamboo plates, silverware, and serving pieces. These items, made by Core Bamboo, are made from 100% organically grown bamboo. They are finished with natural oils to make them food safe and the lacquer comes from natural cashew trees. If and when you do throw them away, they are 100% biodegradable and compostable, leaving you guilt free!
Thirdly, bring the hottest fashion colors to your Summer party with re-usable and disposable napkins. MY DRAP tear-off napkins are the only 100% cotton napkins on a roll that come in a variety of colors and sizes that can be mixed and matched for a mega dose of fashion colors. Guests get the feel of cloth napkins in a disposable that are good for the environment, making you “look marvelous” (and feel marvelous too)! The best part about these napkins is they can be washed and reused up to six times!
The perfect compliment to the MY DRAP napkins is the Table Chameleon Napkin Rings, which I designed and produced and are the perfect summer entertaining essential! The Table Chameleon Napkin Rings are designed to bring a bit of character to your table in whatever way you please with a variety of colors and styles. Easy to use, the 3/4″ thick hand-cut acrylic rings are held together with magnets and feature inserts in four different designs – London, Ada, Saturn and Miami – in the colors, red blue, orange, and green. To switch out the inserts, there are four simple steps: slide, slip, snap and create! All you have to do is slide the pieces apart, slip in the insert, snap the two pieces together and create the look you want for your table! For more information or to purchase The Table Chameleon, go to my website!
To be the ULTIMATE Eco-tainer, make sure you party like a Local-vore!
A local-vore is a person dedicated to eating food grown and produced locally. There are a lot of reasons to eat locally grown and produced foods.
- Less resources (primarily fossil fuels) are expended packaging and easy transporting from Farm to Table.
- It supports the local economy – more money remains in our local community.
- It is healthier – processing and preservatives are less important since the food doesn’t have to travel so far.
- It is safer and thus local-vores are less susceptible to foodborn illnesses.
- It is more honest – honesty in terms of the food source and the growing/producing process.
- And last but not least – it tastes better!
Here are a few examples for shopping for like a local-vore that I incorporated into this segment by shopping right here in NYC:
Asparagus – NJ Native
Tomatoes – NJ Native
Valentine’s Day is about showing your lover how much you love them. What better way to celebrate than with a romantic rendezvous? I have curated three different rendezvouses to romance your Valentine: A Shared Romance, Romance On-the-Go, and The Ultimate Romance. I have decided to go beyond the norm of greeting cards, flowers and chocolate and shows you how to romance your Valentine the right way!
Champagne is synonymous with Valentine’s Day. I have decided to incorporate three different gift sets from Moet Hennessey to pair with your romantic type, shared, on-the-go, and ultimate as well as a sweet treat to share with your sweetie and a gift or gadget to “wow” your significant other on Valentine’s Day.
Click the links below for more information on the three romantic types
A Shared Romance
Check your local listings for dates and showtimes!
The Ultimate Romance is for the couple that feels you can’t put a price on love.
For this romantic type I have chosen Moet Hennessey’s Dom Perignon Side by Side. This gift set is a limited edition with two bottles of Dom Perignon with two different levels of maturation. These bottles were created for one to enjoy a new experience and an unforgettable champagne tasting experience. This gift set retails for $459.00.
24K Gold Creme Brûlée, made with edible 24K Gold and Silver Leaf is the ultimate dessert for this amazing couple! Each creme brûlée is adorned with a gold or silver gilded white or dark chocolate truffle.
You & Yours Signature DNA Rings are the perfect personalized gift for the person who has everything. These rings bring a new meaning to sharing your DNA. With these rings, you are able to give your loved one your DNA to treasure for the rest of their lives. Signature DNA Rings are an intimate reflection of a one-of-a-kind person and the one that means the most to you. These rings retail at $400.00/each.
- 1/2 bag Wilton Light Cocoa Candy Melts
- 2 cups boiling water, divided
- 2 packages (3 oz. each) JELL-O Raspberry Flavored Gelatin
- 1 cup cold Moet & Chandon Champagne
- 1/4 cup Chambord
- 1/4 cups cold water, divided ice cubes
- 1 cup thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping
- Decorations, assorted Valentine sprinkles and candies
- Make heart candies using by squeezing melted chocolate out of a piping bag onto parchment. Place in refrigerator until hardened, approximately 10 mins.
** Helpful Tip: When making the hearts, pipe multiple layers on top of each other allowing time to set in between, this will help prevent breaking!
- Add 1 cup boiling water to 1 package gelatin mix in a medium bowl, stir 2 minutes or until mixture is completely dissolved
- Stir in 1 cup cold water and mix thoroughly
- Pour into champagne cups, refrigerate 1 hour or until gelatin is firm
- While JELL-O is firming in the refrigerator, add remaining boiling water to remaining gelatin mix, stir for 2 mins until completely dissolved.
- Mix remaining water and Chambord and add enough ice to mixture to measure 1 cup. Add to gelatin and stir until thickened.
- Stir in Cool Whip, spoon over gelatin layer in cups
- Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm
- Decorate with chocolate hearts and Valentine’s candies or sprinkles
How to melt chocolate: Place Wilton Candy Melts in a piping bag and microwave on high for 1 minute, mix until chocolate is completely melted.
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 large egg yolks, beaten
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon of 24K gold flakes
- 24K gold gilded chocolate truffle
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit
- In a medium saucepan, cook the cream and the vanilla bean over moderate heat until the surface begins to shimmer. Remove the vanilla bean and let sit for 10 mins.
- Meanwhile, beat 1/4 cup of sugar and egg yolks together in a large mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, pour warm cream mixture into the beaten egg yolks and pour through a very fine sieve into 4 (4 ounce) crème brûlée dishes
- Place the dishes into a shallow baking dish large to hold them without crowding. Place the dish on the middle rack of the oven. Carefully fill the baking dish with boiling water so it comes halfway up the sides of the filled dishes
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until the custard is set in the center. Remove the custards to a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until ready to use.
- When ready to serve, preheat the broiler. Generously sprinkle the top of each chilled custard with an equal portion of the sugar, taking care to cover all of the custard, so that it gives an even finish
- Place the chilled crème brûlée dishes under the preheated broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, or until the tops are crackling brown
** Pro Tip: Use a culinary torch to brown the sugar, taking care to constantly move the torch around the surface to avoid burning the sugar topping
- Remove from the broiler and serve immediately sprinkle with 24K Gold Flakes and top with a Gold Gilded Truffle
Using the same plastic tablecloths as the table setting cut them into four triangles by folding them in half (cut in two) and fold the halves into triangles (cut in two). You can use either rectangular or circle tablecloths and you should get at least four capes from each tablecloth. Attach self-adhesive Velcro attach it to the top of the triangle to make a closure. Using the foam remnants from the invitation project, cut fun shapes and allow the children to decorate the capes and masks with quick dry glue sticks, washable markers, etc.
To download the Super Hero Cape Shields, click here!
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Use inexpensive party supplies in multiple colors to set a festive tone to your table setting. For our Super-Kids theme, I am using red, blue, yellow and lime green tablecloths with complimentary cups, plates and flatware. Plastic party tablecloths can be cut to fit any shape tape and can be taped together for extra large table. Cover all surfaces that the kids will eat or play on for quick clean up and to protect your furniture.
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Using small candy bags, (yellow, kiwi, red, blue,) decorate the bags with colorful markers “Kai’s 1st Masked Super Hero Birthday Bash!”. At the end of the party, place small scoopers into the vases and allow the children to select the candies of their choice to bring home to enjoy.
To download the Make Your Own Candy Bag Shield, click here!
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