Happy-Gourmand

Foolish food

April Fool’s Day is today, so I thought I would use that as inspiration to be a bit goofy.

It could be cabin fever – the delayed arrival of spring has made me a bit stir-crazy. I don’t know about you, but I just feel that a little bit of whimsy is the best way to weather the storm.

I hope you will forgive the lack of nutritional value in this week’s recipes and take pleasure in knowing this topic give you water cooler fodder for the week to come!

Did you know that a real seasonal spring food is Peeps? They are a traditional sweet made by a company called Just Born, in Bethlehem, Penn.; they come most commonly in the form of baby chicks.

If you have never seen or heard of Peeps, check the Easter section of the larger grocery stores. If you’d like to see how Peeps are made, you can check out this factory video.

Peeps have a very loyal following, with some people taking their appreciation to quite imaginative heights. 

There are even such Peep pastimes as Peep Jousts.

  • Arm your Peep with a toothpick under his wing for a lance, then put him in the microwave with another combatant and after placing your wagers on the winner, push the ON button. The winner is the one that expands enough to engulf his unwitting enemy.

There is Peep art.

  • Patterns of the charming little fellows glued on canvas that sell for hundreds of dollars. (Peeps do come in an array of colours, allowing for numerous permutations in design, so it’s not as silly as you might think.)

Simple indulgence in Peeps is ample goofiness, and you needn’t feel guilty eating them. They are only 32 calories each, and there are 350 million of them made each year, so they are certainly not endangered.

I suppose if you prefer natural foods, you could just stick to regular marshmallows.

Did you know they have been around for 200 years and that originally the root of the marshmallow plant was what made them sticky and gooey? This plant was also used to soothe sore throats. I don’t know if you could attest to a marshmallow doing that, but it arguably does make you feel better when you eat one.

Whether you like them pre-stuck to Rice Krispies in a square or roasted over an open flame will not diminish the smile that seems to get stuck on your face after eating them.

I have a few final notes for you if you choose to let whimsy strike and indulge in the spongy confection...

  • Beware anyone brandishing a roasted marshmallow – flaming and sticky is not a very safe combination in the air.
  • If you do get melted (or manhandled) marshmallow stuck somewhere it shouldn’t be, remember to remove it as soon as possible or it will become like Super Glue.
  • The best remedy for unsticking marshmallow bits seems to be licking them off, so try to aim for something or someone you like. (If you use peanut butter, be sure to ask about nut allergies first.)

If you like your marshmallow inside something else, here’s a recipe that includes the other seasonal sweet – chocolate.

Chocolate-Marshmallow Brownies

  • 3/4 cup Callebaut chocolate
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • Zest of 1 full orange, grated on a “microplane” (fine grater)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups small Callebaut chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips)
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Heat chocolate and butter in a pan slowly while stirring, until melted.
Stir in sugar until melted and well blended.
Cool the mixture 10-15 minutes.

Add eggs, orange zest and vanilla and stir until blended.
Add flour, salt, and mix again.
Add chocolate chunks and marshmallows, and pour into your pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until brownies spring back when touched in the centre of the pan.
Let cool on a wire rack.
Cut and serve at room temperature, dusted with icing sugar if you want to dress them up.

Happy April Fool's Day.

 And if you’re saving yourself, Happy Easter!



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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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