Browsing Tag

Sweet Treats

Design

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…