Before I get to the sweet treats of Valentine’s Day, let’s consider its savory side. As in gooey mounds of cheese, golden caramelized onions, and smokey bacon, cloaked in creamy custard. That’s right, quiche. Or, in honor of today’s theme, a Sweetheart Tart. Who wouldn’t want chocolate AND a “quiche” on a day set aside for romance.
52 weeks of baking – Drink Pairings
Most of the time when I make myself a cocktail I just mix up whatever I have on hand, more often than not it turns out a bit odd. I fiddle with it to try and fix it, sometimes it improved greatly other times it’s more tolerable. There are those rare occasion that I know what I’m looking for, what flavors I desire and it comes out perfect the first time around. This is one of those occasions, I wanted a little evening tipple to compliment my cookies and you can’t have cookies without milk so that was easy to know what my mixer was going to be. This milk based cocktail has baileys that adds a bit of chocolatey flavor and amaretto for some sweet nuttiness that pairs well with a variety of cookies but especially something with chocolate chips.
Chocolate and caramel are a match made in heaven, there are a lot of great recipes for caramel stuffed chocolate chip cookies, but I hate those store bought caramels. They are hard and never a dark enough flavor for me, that’s why I think it’s better to add a real caramel sauce right into the cookie dough. Overall if you were wolfing these cookies down you might not notice the caramel flavor, but it’s there in more than just taste it has a lot of mouth aroma. You know what I mean, that first hot bite of something you are also taking in a breath of air and there is another flavor that hits you at the back of the throat before you start chewing. That’s where the caramel is. Also a heavy pinch of finishing to garnish the cookies before baking really brings out the caramel.
This milky cocktail and caramel chocolate cookie are a great match, a glass of fancied up cold milk with soft flavors and a warm rich cookie with a balanced punch of salt. The texture of this cookie adds another element to this combination, the edges have a delicate crisp while the lower sugar content makes the center softer and calls out to be dunked.
EUGENE, Ore. – The owners and founders of the Euphoria Chocolate Company announced they sold their company Friday.
Owners Bob Bury and Sue Subbot founded the Euphoria Chocolate Company in 1980, and have now sold the company to Van and Bonnie Glass.
“It’s a hard decision to make this change, but the time was right to join Sue in retirement and to turn the company over to people whom we feel confident will be good stewards to Euphoria, our employees, and our customers,” Bury said.
Van Glass is a native of Eugene and was looking to put down roots in the city with his wife, Bonnie. He has plans to grow the company while maintain a strong community presence.
“My wife and I look forward to building on their legacy as we start to write the next chapters of the Euphoria Chocolate story,” Glass said.
The Euphoria Chocolate Company was started in a small kitchen with one employees but has grown statewide, consisting of thee retail locations and 200 wholesale locations.
I am one of those people who would rather have vinegar than sweets but every once in a while I crave chocolate. I’m human what can I say. I think we must have a gene somewhere in our makeup that predisposes us to this phenomenon… It gets on our minds and we can’t get it off until we have that piece of chocolate. Girls, you know what I’m talking about.
Carbohydrates and I, we don’t get along too well (they are to me like styrofoam is to our earth) they turn into sugar and like to hover in my belly region never to go away. On top of that, every time I eat them I “crash” and want to go to sleep so I choose not to eat them. Don’t get me wrong, it gets hard some times
Take my story for example; I tested as pre-diabetic a few years ago (this was a shock because I almost NEVER eat sweets). My doctor contacted me and said I need to be “off sugar” for three months and they would re-check me again. The tests they use are very sophisticated and have the ability to go back to see how your sugar levels were over that period of time. Pretty cool right?
Well, they didn’t get specific with me on what sugar, so in order to pass the test I took myself completely off any sugars. I was selective on what I ate that grew in the ground but not on a tree. I try to eat that way anyhow, so the elevated blood sugars and pre-diabetes diagnosis really scared me.
For three months I did not eat anything that looked, smelled (yes sugar smells) or turned into sugar. That includes rice, pasta, peas, corn, potatoes, flour. I stopped using canned tomatoes because there is sugar in that. Manufacturer’s sneak sugars into everything… Here is a list of “other” sugars that are in your food.
The one thing I missed was the crunch of a potato chip. Lay’s yellow bag to be specific. There is nothing on this green earth that compares to that crunch. I have tried believe me. Searching the internet out of desperation looking for that magic recipe that would solve my problems. I found one for zucchini chips… yeah it didn’t work and I was so disappointed I chucked the whole experiment into the trash.
My co-workers felt sorry for me “having to eat” the way I was eating, but it was okay. I knew I was doing something good for my body and there was no way I was going to take even more medication if I didn’t need to. I am happy to report I passed the test with flying colors.
I studied really hard for that test let me tell you! Not only was I not pre-diabetic, I lost a total of 17 pounds while I was off carbs in those three months. I felt amazing really but once I got the clear from my doctor guess what I did? I celebrated with some Tootie Fruities! I wanted cereal so I got some. I had been a good girl for over 90 days and I deserved them right?
They were WAY too sweet for me and I couldn’t eat them. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t eat anything with sugar in it for a very long time afterwards because it tasted horrible. My body rejected it making me nauseous.
Slowly I have allowed some things back into my life and I do try to stay away from carbs, but they are everywhere.
My conclusion to being pre-diabetic for that short period of time is that it was during the winter months and everyone around me was getting sick. My first thought was to pound as much vitamin C as I possibly could so I stocked up on orange pineapple juice and drank it with abandon. Juice of any kind is not allowed in my house ever again. I seriously had no idea how much sugar was in it! Only real oranges for this girl.
So back to my chocolate story. Talking with a friend one afternoon, I told her I was craving chocolate and didn’t have any in the house.
“I always have chocolate in my house” she replied.
She seemed surprised that I had none for those cravings and mentioned the little chocolate chips for cookies. I thought that was a grand idea. Once day while I was shopping, I grabbed the old standby; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and walked to the baking isle.
I grabbed a bag of Hershey’s Chocolate Melts, they are nickel size flattened Hershey Kisses! In one hand I held a 10 oz. bag of bite size chocolates for $2.08… In my other hand I held a 2 oz. candy bar for $1.00. You don’t even need a calculator to figure out this fabulous deal! So next time you are craving chocolate, do yourself a favor and check out the baking isle.
I had every intention of writing this story a long time ago. I just couldn’t believe the deal I came across. That bag lasted me a month! I know right? Well, I tossed the bag it came in before I thought about the story, so I have been searching for that bag again. I finally found it two weeks ago. I could hardly contain my excitement because I was going to take photographs of it and get really creative.
I must have been having a particularly rough time of it and I ate the whole bag in a week and after countless times of opening and closing the bag, promising myself “just one more” the candy was gone and the bag was wrinkled beyond recognition. They melt so nicely in your mouth, not in your hands.
See you out there! (in the baking isle)
After 38 years of being in the same location, See’s Candies made a move from Valley River Center to its new home located in the Lindsey Crossing Shopping Center on Coburg, opening their doors on Monday June 24th.
See’s Candies have been around since 1921. The store began with Mary See’s original candy recipes and is the mother of the founder Charles See. See’s Candies now has 200 shops across the country and also includes online sales.
Each year, See’s Candies gives away 1 million pounds of free samples, just by walking into the store. They take pride in their candies, and offer a sample of any flavor you could imagine! Their samples are not bite size morsels but the actual candies that are for sale, individually or by the box.
They are known for their beautiful Easter Egg’s, which are hand made. The people who decorate them can do so within 15 seconds. It is apparent they love what they do. Easter is a big season for See’s, selling approximately 4 million pounds of candy during the season and 27 million pounds of candy sold each year.
I had the pleasure to tour their new shop. During our tour, we were offered to sample anything our hearts desired. Their candy is simply delicious. I am not much of a candy person, but after the many samples I had, I may be changing my mind. The peanut brittle was fabulous, but I must say, the Cafe’ Latte lollypop was my favorite! It had a rich, creamy, buttery coffee flavor that I never wanted to end!
All of See’s Candies are 100% gluten free! With certain diet restrictions, this is becoming more and more of a necessity. However, this is nothing new for See’s Candies. Aside from the decorations on top, they have always been gluten free and so becoming 100% in most recent years.
Their candies are made with the best ingredients and contain no preservatives. There is a pull date, and candies should be eaten within 6 months at the latest. The staff are very knowledgable and can tell you just about anything you want to know about their candies, and then some.
Their employment turnover is extremely low. One of the gals there has been with See’s Candies for 30 Years, another for 12. How can you not be happy when you are surrounded by candy?
While there, they wanted to give us an idea of how precise filling a box of chocolates can be; in teams of two we raced against each other to see who could fill their box of 12 chocolates first. Donning our white hair nets, we learned about cupping (separating the little paper cups in one hand) with a tissue paper we picked up a piece of candy with our free hand, placed the candy into the cup and then nicely (cough) arranged them into the little box. This was not easy!
You can purchase a single piece of candy, by the box or pound if you desire, choosing your own particular pieces, or by selecting an already prepackaged box. See’s Candies also has a line of sugar free candies.
The shop is fashioned after the kitchen where Mary first began making her candies for purchase, with its black and white checkered flooring, to the crisp white walls and glass display cases full of sweetness! See’s opened its first shop in 1937 in San Francisco on Polk Street, which looks pretty much the same today. See’s boasts an assortment of 130 different candies today! Which include Mary’s original candy recipe that is kept under lock and key and highly guarded.
See’s broke the world record for the largest lollypop July 9th, 2012. Weighing in at 3.5 tons!
You can find the new See’s Candies shop at 207 Coburg Road, Suite 104 at Lindsey Crossing in eugene. 541-345-1931. Their shop hours are Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can also find them on Facebook. Enjoy!
Adventures in Homebrew: Rye IPA & Dark, Hoppy Rye Ale
I have been swamped at work lately and, as a result, the ol’ blog has been feeling a might neglected. You’ll have to trust me that this is the lesser of two evils though. And though most of my waking hours have been spent slashing through decade-old C Basic code, I have been able to sneak in a couple brew sessions.
I’ve been on a rye kick for a while now, so when the local market ran it for $.70/lb, I picked up a sizeable amount of the spicy grain. Not surprisingly, it has since worked its way into both of my recent brews. The first is a big NW IPA, judiciously hopped with Chinook and Columbus.
Rye IPA aka Eye-P-A of the Storm
Batch Size: 5.0 gallons
Boil Volume: 6.5 gallons
4.25 lb Great Western 2-Row (34%)
4.25 lb Weyermann Pilsner (34%)
1.5 lb Great Western Organic Munich 10L (12%)
1.5 lb Flaked Rye (12%)
1.0 lb Chinese Candi Sugar (8%)
0.75 oz Chinook (10.9 AA%) @ 60
0.75 oz Columbus (14.5 AA%) @ 30
1.0 oz Chinook (10.9 AA%) @ 15
1.0 oz Columbus (14.5 AA%) @ Flame Out (steeped 30 minutes)
1.25 oz Chinook (10.9 AA%) @ Dry-hopped, 7 days in secondary
1.25 oz Columbus (14.5 AA%) @ Dry-hopped, 7 days in secondary
Wyeast 1469 – West Yorkshire Yeast
Estimated Efficiency: 70%
Estimated Attenuation 75%
Estimated OG: 1.066
Estimated FG: 1.017
Estimated ABV: 6.3%
Estimated IBU: 83
Estimated SRM: 7
Mash @ 156º(F) for 1 hour.
The Rye IPA was the fifth beer I fermented with the same culture of Wyeast 1469 (Timothy Taylor); Oatmeal Stout -> English Bitter -> English Brown -> Heather Ale -> Rye IPA. I had planned on dumping the yeast after my Heather Ale finished, but it looked so damn healthy in the bottom of the fermenter that I couldn’t help but feed one more time. Initially, this was going to be a British IPA, chock-full of Fuggles goodness. But after looking over my brew logs I realized that a straightforward American IPA had yet to grace my kettle. I went rummaging through the freezer for some big, pungent NW hops and emerged with several ounces of Chinook and Columbus.
For this beer, I made a couple adjustments to my usual brewing process. I have been having a problem with my beers all finishing very dry. This wasn’t much of an issue with my Belgian’s, but it has left my English brews feeling a little thin. In an attempt to remedy this, mash temperature has been slowly creeping up with each consecutive brew. My Heather Ale, for example, which was mashed at 155º(F) and contained around 16% caramel malts, still felt a little too light in body.
My next thought was to change my mash out procedure. During most brews, my small mash tun is nearly full. To mash out, I fill the tun to the brim with boiling water. This is usually far less that the amount required to push the temperature above 170º(F) and stop the enzymatic activity. Since I don’t start heating the wort until the sparge is complete, the collected runnings sit in the 160-164º(F) range, where activity could potentially continue. For this brew, I mashed very thick, ~.8qt/lb. This afforded me enough room in the tun to bring the mash out temperature to 172º(F) with a larger infusion of boiling water.
This seems to have down the trick. At kegging (after a 3 week primary and 1 week secondary), the gravity had stabilized at 1.016. The beer feels nicely round and has retained a subtle malty sweetness. By avoiding caramel malts entirely, the hops shine through; bright, clean and spicy. The only downside to the brew is that even at 12% of the grainbill, the rye is almost completely hidden behind the hops. So much so that I probably would not have detected it had I not knew it was there. If I were to re-brew, I would sub out the sugar for additional rye, bringing it up to 20%.
The name Eye-P-A of the Storm was coined by Jesse and is a reference to the brewday. When we started heating the strike water, the sun was out, the sky was clear and I was feeling
guilty about not mowing the lawn. By the time we were mashing in, the sky was black, the rain was coming down sideways and we were forced to construct a windbreak from spare lumber and bricks to keep the propane burner from going out. Almost as if the gods knew I had something else I was supposed to be doing.
Dark Hoppy Rye Ale
Batch Size: 5.0 gallons
Boil Volume: 6.5 gallons
6.0 lb Weyermann Pilsner (60%)
2.0 lb Great Western Organic Munich 10L (20%)
1.5 lb Flaked Rye (15%)
0.5 lb Crisp Pale Chocolate (5%)
0.5 oz Falconer’s Flight (10.5 AA%) @ 60
0.5 oz Falconer’s Flight (10.5 AA%) @ 15
Wyeast 3333 – German Wheat Yeast
Estimated Efficiency: 70%
Estimated Attenuation 75%
Estimated OG: 1.051
Estimated FG: 1.013
Estimated ABV: 4.9%
Estimated IBU: 33
Estimated SRM: 14
Mash @ 149º(F) for 45 minutes.
Decoction using ~1/3 of mash volume, boil for 10 minutes.
Return Decoction to main mash to reach 172º(F) mash out.
Ferment @ 62º(F)
Originally, I had intended to use Weyermann Chocolate Rye, which the Maltster has listed at 180-300L on its website. When I arrived at the LHBS, the grain was marked at 400-500L. I felt this would be too roasty for the beer I had imagined, so I went instead with Crisp Pale Chocolate, the roasted malt with the color closest to my original recipe.
The Falconer’s Flight hop blend was also an on-the-spot substitution. Since enjoying a couple pints of Union Dew, from a firkin Ted brought down from the mountain, I’ve been set on brewing something with lemony Sorachi Ace hops. Unfortunately, none were to be had come brewday, so I reached into the depths of my memory bank and pulled out a little factoid about Falconer’s Flight. The blend contains Sorachi Ace, along with Simcoe, Citra and a slew of other recently fashionable hops. Being the closest thing at my disposal, I picked up a few ounces and continued on my deviated path.
The odd chose of yeast is yet another example of a last minute change. The beer was going to be about 40% flaked rye, with a starting gravity north of 1.070. Something like an Imperial Roggen-wit for those of you inclined to classify everything. Wyeast 3333 seemed like a great choice for such a recipe, with its restrained banana flavor and high flocculation. Too bad I forgot to pick up rice hulls, forcing me to abandon a large percentage of the flaked rye.
Despite the recipe setbacks, the brewday went great. In fact, it was the first time I’ve brewed rain-free this year. And following my “if it ain’t broke, use a bigger hammer” philosophy, I abandoned all that I learned brewing the Rye IPA, I opted for a decoction mash. Unlike a traditional decoction schedule, I used the process only to take the mash from saccrification rest to mash out. One-third of the mash was pulled after 45 minutes and quickly brought to a boil. After ten minutes, the boiling mash was returned to the tun, bringing the main mash up to 172º(F).
The decoction worked perfectly and I ended up with a full 5 gallons of 1.056 wort in the fermenter, a few points higher than anticipated. The German Wheat Yeast tore through the wort in about 4 days, taking the beer down to 1.018. This is a few points higher than expected, probably the result of too much caramelization during the decoction or too long sitting at 172º(F) while I cleaned the kettle and heated sparge water. I fermented at 62º(F), an attempt to coax out the clove flavor while keeping the banana esters in check.
The beer has been in the tank for about two week, but I haven’t quite decided what to do with it. From early samples, I’m not happy with the hops. The bitterness is quite bracing and and the hop flavor is muddled. I have a feeling I should have moved the 15 minute addition to flameout. I still have an ounce or two of the blend, so dry-hopping is an option, but I’m still vacillating over whether or not the beer can handle it. Anyone out there with experience using the blend care to chime in?
In any case, the beer will definitely be drinkable, and I’m sure the harshness will subside given time. I am planning to take another run at the recipe as initially intended. Basically, the chocolate malt will be switched to .25 lb of Chocolate Rye, the flaked rye increased to 5.75 lbs. and the hops switched for Sorachi Ace.
It was Sunday evening, we had just come from a sail on the tall ship Lady Washington down in Coos Bay; a 3 1/2 hour long battle cruise. Heading home we found ourselves hungry and facing the dilemma of choosing from bad fast food where we knew what we’d get; one of the familiar roadside restaurants that had predictable food as well; or taking a flat out chance. We nearly missed out – we had passed them all without choosing.
From Coos Bay to Reedsport it seemed like all the places we hadn’t eaten at over the years were either offering asian food, or mexican cuisine, neither of which we were in the mood for – a rare event. Before we knew it we had arrived at our turnoff for Elkton-Drain and then the highway home; food was now nearly out of the question. Leave it to a teenager to not let that happen. As we took the ramp towards home, one of my sons said, “there’s a place Dad, lets just eat there”; the epitome of take a chance decision making. I hit the binders and just made it into the parking lot. We got out, stretched and made ready to accept whatever culinary punishment that might be headed our direction.
As we crossed the lot it struck me that the lot was clean, in fact the building was clean, even the paper boxes were clean. This made me optimistic. As we went inside the size of the place sunk in; it was tiny. It was also spotless, with several local families tucked into booths and tables enjoying what smelled and looked like delicious food. The cook greeted us and told us to sit where we liked.
We had no sooner settled in and got the requisite bathroom run out of the way – the rest rooms are also wonderfully clean btw – when our waitress, Darci, came over smiling and got us started. First glance at the menu had a listing for onion rings staring up at me. Having had many bad experiences with onion rings in small places I started to ask Darci if they were whole rings, or processed when Manager and cook Ryan Handran came out to let us know that they were not only freshly cut to order from large sweet onions, but that the batter was hand made as well. Say no more and throw on an order of rings.
Ryan had also overheard my youngest talking about how hungry he was and started to tell him about the ribs and chicken special. Ryan didn’t make it to the side dish before my son, nearly overcome with food lust at this point, ordered it. My eldest and I had the hand battered fish and chips.
By the time I was getting a nicely timed refill of my coffee, a large plate of lovely golden onion rings arrived, piping HOT. Bobby Flay needs to take this guy on in an “Onion Ring Throwdown” so I can find out if there is a better onion ring on the planet. The rings came with 2 dipping sauces, both made from scratch. All told the rings last all of 35 seconds and I nearly lost a finger. The young wolves were hungry and were now primed for the meal, what a way to start. The meal didn’t let us down:
The chicken was hand breaded with a very light batter, house smoked short ribs glazed with a house bbq sauce that was well seasoned and flavorful, and a side of hand cut coleslaw. The fish came with a house tartar sauce that it was almost unfair to call tartar sauce, it was so delicate and light. All the food arrived hot, fine food dining room hot. You rarely get food served this close to when it hit the pass, clearly well timed and all arriving together. I’m not sure if this was because there weren’t many of us in the building, or if it was their standard service, but it was a treat. Did I mention the plates were pristine? The food was obviously carefully plated, again something you don’t expect in a family diner.
We ate in near silence, only mono-syllabic grunts and moans to be heard, an occasional nod for drink refills. As we are running out of internal storage space, someone at the table inquires if the desserts are handmade as well. Yep: Carrot cake that was golden and rich and moist with a barely sweet frothy frosting, a deep dish marionberry crumble that was tart and good, and a molten chocolate cake also made by hand, from the ganache center to the cake, topped sky high with ice cream and whipped cream and running with warm chocolate. The only thing that wasn’t homemade it seems was the ice cream.
Speaking with Ryan he said he’d been with the restaurant for about 17 years, our waitress for 5 years at this point and was a returning employee. Ryan explained that they try to use local ingredients to the fullest extent possible and organic products as they are available. All their foods are hand prepared from the owners family recipes, or recipes created by the cooks; often variations of traditional diner fare. I was surprised by this dedication to putting out good creative food, it wasn’t what I expected at the last turn-off from Reedsport to Drain. According to our waitress, the Harbor Light Family Restaurant has been at the same location for nearly 30 years. I’d been past that very corner hundreds and hundreds of times and never stopped. Shame on me.
If this restaurant was in Eugene, it would be a top 10, maybe top 5 restaurant: simple, delicious, handmade foods prepared with care and skill and pleasantly served in a sparkling clean restaurant. I won’t miss the opportunity to eat there again, you won’t want to miss it either.Harbor Light Family Restaurant 980 Highway 101 S
Reedsport, OR 97467