Browsing Tag

Sweet Treats


Bear Essentials

October 26, 2011

Halloween is almost here, and we’re excited to celebrate with some sweet treats. These adorable gummy bears aren’t edible, but they can do an impressive trick. Give them a squeeze and they light up!

If you love these bright bears, you may also enjoy these Spooktacular Uncommon Goods!

The Uncommon Life

V’reens or Verrines?

September 9, 2010

This French style of cuisine is growing popular among foodies for its ability to bring out not just the taste, but also the texture and color of your ingredients.

What is a verrine? Verrines are layered dishes. Rather than blending or stewing or mixing or baking, when you make a verrine, you layer up all the ingredients.  Verrines give each layer its time to shine, by putting it on display in a special glass.

Last month, Kevin Weeks from NPR did a great piece on the art, science and history of preparing verrines (or v’reens).

A verrine can be an appetizer, an amuse-bouche, a salad, a side dish, a dessert (the most common application) and, I suppose, even a complete meal, with the right combination of ingredients and the right sort of glass.

Verrines are clearly linked to the parfait, a soda-fountain treat popularized in the middle of the last century, as well as other layered dishes, such as the Cobb salad and the English trifle. Verrines, however, are individualized, with a single serving in each glass and yet as carefully arranged as the famous seven-layer salad of Super Bowl Sunday fame.

You might combine — from the bottom up — something green (peas) with something brown (mushroom duxelles) with something golden (sauteed onions) with something white (pureed potatoes). This arrangement also layers — from the bottom up — textures such as slightly mushy peas, grainy duxelles, crunchy onions and silky-smooth potatoes. Each layer provides its own flavors, and all of the flavors, tasted in turn and in combination, bring their own brilliance to the assemblage.

I’m convinced v’reens might be the perfect party dish. They look so complicated, so intricately prepared. But in truth, many verrine recipes are quite simple. Try one the next time you’re headed to a potluck or dinner party. I bet your friends will be oh-la-la-ing over your v’reen creation.

The Uncommon Life

Sweet Treats Week: Recipe #4

July 23, 2010

I love buying my groceries from the farmers who actually grew it.

Strawberry image by Bahadorjn, posted under a Creative Commons License

I just started going to the farmers market at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. In the past I’ve frequented markets in Carrboro, NC, DC and Vermont.  It can be hard to get up on a Saturday morning, but it’s worth it. Just check out this video of the farmers market in Burlington, VT!

But once I get home, I’m stumped. I just bought 3 lbs of strawberries! What do I do?

Continue Reading…

The Uncommon Life

Sweet Treats Week: Recipe #3

July 22, 2010

Orange Pineapple Sunshine Cupcakes

Doesn’t the name alone just make you smile? I’ve never met a more cheerful, upbeat dessert! If you have a summer birthday coming up, these are a fun alternative to typical ice cream cakes. They have a wonderfully delicate tropical-meets-vanilla flavor. And they feel very  light and airy – thanks to applesauce as a substitute for oil and whip cream frosting. Plus, with oranges, pineapples and applesauce – it’s practically like eating a fruit salad! At least that’s what I told myself as I ate one for breakfast this morning… Continue Reading…

The Uncommon Life

Sweet Treats Week: Recipe #2

July 21, 2010

Whether it’s cookouts or cocktails, every family has a twist on an old classic. Like an heirloom (but more fun), family recipes are passed down, tweaked, perfected—and if you’re a lucky dinner guest—shared.

As UG’s resident Cuban-American, I grew up chomping on ropa vieja (shredded beef) and frijoles negros (black beans) steeped with garlic and know-how. Always full, yes. Blessed, double yes. But much to the disappointment of my grandmother, I’ve gone untouched by the kitchen fairy. So when it comes to indulging my cultural pangs, I stick with our national pastime. No, not baseball. Our other social sport: mojito mixing.

My Havana-born parents can muddle a mojito blindfolded. Me, I need prescription contacts and a blender. Here’s what you’ll need to whip up Mango Mojitos fit for a Continue Reading…

Gift Guides

Do not lick your computer screen

July 20, 2010

It’s about this time every summer, when I feel like I’m no longer living on Earth but on the surface of the sun, that I switch over to a diet consisting mainly of ice cream, iced tea, sherbet, sorbet, watermelon, berries and the occasional piece of icebox pie.  All of these are usually consumed while sitting in front of a fan/air conditioner: a true triumph of heat-induced laziness.

And so, in honor of sugar comas and ice cream headaches, this week is all about sweet summer treats! Below are some of my favorite ways to serve summer drinks and desserts.  And for the rest of the week, we will be posting yummy dessert and drink recipes, including raspberry lime pie, sunshine cupcakes and the perfect mojito. What are your favorite summer desserts and drinks? Share with us below!

Sweet Treats for Summer

From top left: Tweet Tweet Cupcake Set, $12.  Ice Cream Bowls, $36. Old-fashioned lemonade crock, $135. V’reens dessert and appetizer tray, $50. Cupcake corer and decorating set, $20. Pittoon Platter, $45. Glass Ice Cream Bowls, $30.

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