Funny, as I’m writing this week’s post, Mr. S. is making his monthly run to Costco, buying the biggest packages of paper goods available to add to our current three-year supply. I’m not criticizing super stores or super husbands; I’m just so over the notion that “Bigger is Better.”
Now, we all know we shouldn’t be eating a 16-ounce rib eye weekly. We also know to reserve the 300-calorie Venti Caramel Macchiato for a special treat, and even the All-you-can-eat Chinese buffet usually doesn’t seem as appealing after we’ve downed a dozen dumplings and the Pork Fried Rice Combo platter.
New York’s Mayor Bloomberg is also on the bigger-isn’t-better bandwagon. Last week he proposed a ban on the sale of large-size sodas, energy drinks, and pre-sweetened iced teas that are sold in New York restaurants, delis, fast-food chains, movie theatres and sports arenas, as a way to combat the rising obesity epidemic.
But lucky for us, there’s been an influx of tiny treasures that will satisfy even the die-hard bigger-is-better bunch.
Check out Figs & Function’s new “Little Faves.” They may be small, but they pack a powerful punch of decadence.
Mini Brie Cheese
Okay, so Brie cheese isn’t making the “eat-as-much-as-you-want“ list of any health care provider in the country. It’s a high-fat, triple-crème cheese that should only be an occasional indulgence. But sometimes you just need a little “yum” to get through the day. These perfect tiny nuggets are my answer to satisfying that craving.
They also make excellent bite-sized hors d’oeuvres. No serving knife or crackers needed.
Just a suggestion: let them cool a bit before you serve them to your guests. The cheese gets really hot, but oh-so melty and gooey. Click here for the recipe.
Deviled Quail Eggs
So I love making these deviled quail eggs.
They’re cute, luxurious, and you can eat a few of them without blowing your daily allowance of cholesterol. Click here for the recipe.
If you’re an espresso fan, or maybe you just like the cute little demitasse cups they’re served in, you’ll love an Affogato. This classic Italian confection has become my favorite “treat. “ It’s a scoop of either ice cream or gelato, topped with hot espresso. Seriously, it’s pure magic. The sweet cold ice cream slowly melts into the surrounding pool of brewed bitter beans, creating the most incredible over-the-top dessert you’ll find this side of Tuscany.
They always say you never forget your first. Well it certainly holds true for me, and my Affogato. My first and favorite was at the adorable little gem of a restaurant on Main Street in the Manayunk section of Philly, called Agiato (www.agiatophila.com). The fun and casual atmosphere is reminiscent of a European café serving salads, panini and the most incredible selection of cheeses, wines, and beers along with their other fab lunch, brunch, and dinner items. If possible, try to save room for the Affogato. You won’t be sorry.
Silver Dollar Pancakes with…
I love, love, love, pancakes! But eating the typical stack of 8-inch rounds on Sunday morning will surely set us back more than a few calories, not to mention the ¼ stick of butter and ½ cup of high fructose corn syrup disguised as pancake syrup. It seems the only redeeming feature of this meal is a long afternoon nap on the couch in a total food coma.
But you can still have your stack of pancakes; just make them smaller. And try to add some sort of protein with the carbs. Top your silver dollars with:
Crème fraiche and fruit
Smoked salmon and whipped cream cheese
The Magic Bullet Blender
I’ve been criticized by my family of being a “cookware snob.” The set of All-Clad pots and pans that I had to have (20% off coupon at Bed Bath and Beyond) to go along with the micro-layered high-carbon-steel-blade knives, and the most recent purchase of a Vita-Mix, all made me feel pretty silly once I found the best piece of culinary equipment for my kitchen—The Magic Bullet. Who knew that such a small gadget could be so powerful, so functional, and so easy to clean? I think everyone should have one in his or her house or apartment.
And just an FYI for those looking for graduation gifts for young adults; this makes the perfect addition to the new dorm room or first-time apartment. More than a few young people have told us that they could not live without their Magic Bullet. I haven’t figured out, though… are they blending a healthy mix of kale and cucumber, or is it strictly used for Ketel One cocktails?
So, my “bigger-isn’t-necessarily-better” buddies, remember these small indulgences the next time you need a “little” tasty treat. I know, it’s not as easy as grabbing a few Oreos, but then again, with these you may be able to stop with just a few.
Until Next Time (in two weeks),