Champagne Palooza Stills1

Hey everyone… I’m so happy to ring in 2014, and with it I offer our latest Tamara Twist video, Champagne-Palooza, now available online. Champagne is such a versatile, enjoyable and fascinating element of celebration, and perfect for our first in-depth episode.

These twists on champagne are, of course, well suited to New Year fetes, but sparkling wine can really be enjoyed any time of year.

In the video, you’ll find trivia, crafts, recipes and all manner of silly fun. I hope you enjoy it.

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I had a blast making this episode. Happy celebrating. And remember: Don’t ever let anyone dull your sparkle!

xo, T

Candied Bacon

This is truly one of my favorite recipes. I serve this bacon at cocktail parties, brunches, even sometimes at dinners. It’s decadent, easy and irresistible.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Candied Bacon

1 package thick-cut bacon

Fresh ground pepper

Light brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 325°.   Cut the bacon in half, and place on a rack over a foil-covered pan.  Lightly season with pepper.  Sprinkle each strip with a thin layer of brown sugar.

Place in oven and bake 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the thickness of bacon.  Remove when crispy.

Serve immediately, or set aside to cool.  Can be made one day in advance, and reheated before serving.  Best when served warm or at room temperature.

~

Fabio Vivianni Loves my Candied Bacon!

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If your mother lives nearby, why not bake her a cake for Mother’s day?  It’s a simple gift that is beautiful, everyone will enjoy, and is easy to make… it begins with a boxed cake mix!

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Chocolate Cake

1 boxed chocolate cake mix (see package for additional ingredients.  Usually oil, water and eggs)

1 Tbs. Instant espresso

1 tsp. cinnamon

Prepare cake mix according to instructions on box.  Add espresso powder and cinnamon to water before mixing.  Bake and cool.

Chocolate Ganache:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

3 Tbs. liqueur, (optional)

Place chocolate in a heat-safe glass bowl (pyrex).

Heat cream in a pan on medium-high on the stove until it begins to boil.  Pour hot milk over the chocolate, and stir carefully until smooth and glossy and silky.  Add liqueur.

Let ganache cool and pour over cake.  The longer you let it cool, the thicker the glaze, so I let mine cool for at least ten minutes.

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Slice strawberries 1/4″ thick and arrange in concentric circles to form a rose design.

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Refrigerate before serving.  Enjoy, and happy Mother’s day… or any day!

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P1030693Bonus St. Patrick’s day post… a cookie!

The Irish are known to bring us the promise of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, so this is a good not-entirely-green cookie that can commemorate the day.  But it can just as easily be made for a child’s birthday, a spring party, or anytime a lucky or happy symbol is needed.

 

Rainbow cookies

I got the idea from polymer clay canes, and the process is similar.  You can use any cookie dough that’s easily formed into a log.  I used my brown sugar shortbread recipe, click here.

I doubled the recipe, and made two logs shapes for my batch of rainbows.  Here’s how:

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Portion your dough into 6 pieces, each one a bit larger than the last.

In a bowl, color each portion with paste food coloring, starting with the smallest, from purple, to blue, then green, yellow, orange and finally, red.  Begin by mixing color into dough with a fork, and knead by hand if you find it easier.

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Take the purple piece of dough, and form it into a small log, about 4 inches long.

Next, on a floured board, roll out the blue dough into a rectangle the length of the purple log, and wide enough to encircle it.  Place the purple log on top, and roll the blue around it.

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Continue the process with the different colors of dough, rolling each into progressively larger rectangles, until the log contains all the colors.

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Don’t worry if the log seems to get too thick, as when working with clay, you can roll it to a thinner diameter after all the layers are in place.

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Next, roll the log in coarse sugar, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

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Slice in 1/4″ to 3/8″ thick slices, then cut in half, and bake per the recipe’s instructions.

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Whatever the occasion, enjoy!

Happy St. Patrick’s day everyone!  Here’s some cute, quick, and easy food fun for St. Patrick’s day.  One lucky leprechaun even called them ‘magically delicious!’

Start with tiny twist pretzels and sticks.  Add some fabulous toffee (find my recipe here), and if you really want to push the St. Paddy’s day theme, top with a few green M & Ms.

Be sure to arrange the pretzels on your silicone or foil sheets before starting the toffee, because it cools fast, and you won’t have time to stop!  You’ll want to use a ladle to put the toffee in the middle of the pretzels, and CAREFULLY add M & Ms while the toffee is hot (major opportunity for burned fingertips!).

These pretzels are a snack staple in our family, often requested by friends.  I’ll take any opportunity to make them.  Enjoy, and Erin Go Bragh!