Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Pineapple and a Playdate

I asked somebody today …how are you doing?  And the person replied AWESOME!  I typically hear the casual “fine, thank you” or even a “good and you” but to hear somebody say "Awesome" with such enthusiasm put a smile on my face subject I know, but I had to share.

So what did we make this weekend with a pineapple…well as usual we went through a list of common things to make with it, from smoothies to pineapple upside down cake.  Now keep in mind that my Little Chef Sydney had a friend visiting us so there would be THREE of us in the kitchen…simplicity was key!

A few years ago I remember watching one of Giada De Laurentiis’ shows on the Food Network right around Valentine’s Day all centered around Sweet Treats, as a matter of fact, that was the name of the episode.  One of the recipes she made involved pineapple, grapes, and bananas on a skewer dipped in chocolate and hazelnuts.

I remember back then thinking what an odd combination that was, maybe not so much the banana with the chocolate, but PINEAPPLE and GRAPES…in Chocolate??  However, as you get to know us, you will realize…we are all about odd combinations and fusion of flavors, so we decided this would be a fun recipe to undertake for a Saturday afternoon with our friend Sophie.  Not too wild that would scare our friend away but different enough to have fun with it.

First things first…our ingredients.  We already had bananas and grapes at hand but we needed a good looking pineapple so off we went.

We found one along with some flowers, the ladies wanted to decorate our working table.

Back in our kitchen the ladies separated the flowers into two Mason jars and set up our working area while I did all the "knife" work.

The ladies assisted in separating all the fruit into bowls and getting their own working area set up with a plate and the skewers.  We used both regular pointed skewers and lollypop sticks, their choice.

 Sometimes they ate the fruit...
 Sometimes they went wild with it...
 and sometimes they there was lot of concentration involved...
Little by little they started getting their fruit put together while I worked on the chocolate, which was sort of a ganache to dip the fruit into. I melted the semi sweet chocolate (I used your classic semi sweet chocolate chips but I do recommend using a better quality chocolate as well) and heavy cream in a bowl over boiling water, the recipe also calls for a teaspoon of vegetable oil to give the ganache that shine.

Then came the most entertaining part of the process.. dipping the skewers of fruit into the chocolate ganache.  Now, it's fair to say that most of the chocolate ended up inside their little mouths and not on the fruit, although the fruit did get enough of it, the chocolate ganache was a hit.

So sad to say that my Little chef is really not at all fond of nuts right now.  We needed a substitute for the hazelnuts in the recipe much to my disappointment.  Sydney suggested graham cracker crumbs since we used those on a spin to s'mores we made a few months ago.  I thought it was a great suggestion and so graham cracker crumbs it was!
One by one they dipped each skewer into the chocolate as they pleased.  The recipe said to only dip half of the fruit but... well what the heck, I let them go at it and make their own creations.  Besides, isn't that more fun?  At the end we had enough skewers to keep and to send some home with Sophie for her and her family to enjoy! 
The tanginess of the pineapple and the sweetness of the chocolate turned out to be a surprinsingly tasty combination.  One thing I might add is that the grapes were a bit harder to work with, at least the ones I had.  They were smaller than the banana slices and pineapple chunks, therefore the grape didn't get as coated with the chocolate as the other fruit.  Next time I may use bigger grapes or substitute it with something else... marshmallows??

My Little Chef Sydney and her friend Sophie had a blast making these delicious treats, quite a  little change from their adventures in dance.  Perfect for dessert, or even a mid day snack.

And if you're wondering what to do with the left over chocolate...well I'm sure none of it will go to waste!

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