Chocolate Anyone? How about Triple Chocolate Pots de Creme with White and Dark Pistachio Bark?

This gorgeous chocolate dessert is so simple to make and can be made ahead of time—hint hint—maybe the perfect ending to a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner if you are celebrating at home this year?

Let’s face it, it is pudding–a really really rich, delicious, luxurious, creamy, amazing chocolate pudding so don’t be put off by the fancy name.  And the pistachio bark?  It takes longer to shell the pistachios that it does to make the bark!  The recipe is below and here is the link on line to a contest that I have entered it into.

http://www.mixingbowl.com/message/recipe/view.castle?g=1537317&m=9882258

If you are Mixing Bowl member (it is a great recipe site!) you can vote daily until February 23rd.

For the Pots De Crème

6 oz finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
4 oz finely chopped semisweet chocolate
4 oz finely chopped milk chocolate
6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 ¼ cup light cream
2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 teaspoon warm water

For the Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the White and Dark Pistachio Bark

4oz bittersweet chocolate, broken in to squares (I use Ghirardelli)
4oz white chocolate, broken in to squares
¾ cup shelled salted pistachios, roughly chopped

Directions:

For the Pots de Crème:

Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and set a fine meshed strainer over the bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, vanilla, sugar and salt until completely combined. Whisk in heavy and light cream. Place saucepan on a medium low heat burner and cook mixture until custard thickens and reaches 175 to 180 degrees, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

Pour custard over chopped chocolate through the strainer and allow mixture to stand for five minutes undisturbed. Dissolve espresso powder in water and set aside. After 5 minutes, whisk the custard and melted chopped chocolate gently until smooth. Add espresso and water mixture and whisk again to combine. Divide mixture evenly among 6-8 ramekins or dessert dishes and set desserts aside to cool to room temperature.

When cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours. Before serving, allow pots de crème to warm slightly at room temperature. Top with sweetened whipped cream and garnish with white and dark pistachio bark.

For the whipped cream:

In a large bowl beat together cream, sugar and vanilla using a hand mixer or the whisk attachment of a stand mixture until cream has doubled in volume and holds a soft peak.

For the White & Dark Pistachio Bark:

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Break chocolate into squares. Arrange the white and dark chocolate squares into a checkerboard pattern on the prepared baking sheet. Place chocolate into preheated oven for 5-7 minutes until chocolate is very soft. With a knife or skewer, swirl the white and dark chocolate together as desired. Sprinkle swirled chocolate with pistachios and allow bark to cool completely at room temperature. When ready to serve pots de crème, break bark into large shards and stand one or two pieces up in the dessert.

Compost, recycling centers to be open Jan. 30

From the Beacon

The drop-off compost facility on Dogtown Road will be open for the disposal of brush, leaves and yard waste on Saturday, Jan. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Leaves must be free of rocks and debris and brush cannot be more than four feet in length and four inches in diameter. Plastic bags must be emptied and will not be accepted. Paper bags are fine. No bricks or stumps are allowed. For information or directions, call the DPW at 978-281-9785.

The DPW Automotive Recycling Center, fluorescent light bulb shed and metal recycling will also be open on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 9 a.m. to noon for collection of used oil, oil filters, tires and car batteries as well as mercury items such as thermostats, thermometers, button cell batteries and fluorescent light bulbs. Residents should limit their tire disposal to two per month.

Gloucester residents only.

Community Heart and Soul Photo Contest

Good Buddy Erika hansen alerted me to this contest

From Erika-

The photo contest deadline is JANUARY 31!!!!  But it’s really easy to enter. And you can submit up to five photo entries.

I am thinking perhaps one of the Lobster Trap Tree Photos?

There’s something special about every community—the corner barbershop on Main Street, acres of wilderness, busy local shops, a striking shoreline, lively gathering places and deep-rooted traditions. That character is why people love their towns, it’s why they live there, and it’s also increasingly in danger.

BiddoRochambeau_260x400.jpgEnter the Orton Family Foundation’s first Heart & Soul Photo Contest and help us and citizens of small cities and towns across the country celebrate, nurture and revive community heart and soul—the special cultures, landscapes, economies, traditions and values that make places unique.

1. Take a photo that captures the heart and soul of a community you love.
2. Fill out the contest entry form.
3. Upload up to 5 photos to Flickr and post them to the Community Heart & Soul Photo Contest Group.
4. Tell your friends, visit often to see new photos, and come back in February to vote for the win

http://www.orton.org/page/heart_and_soul_photo_contest

Dennis Poirier’s Paintings

Here are some beautiful Paintings from Dennis Poirier.

Blue Moon

 

Winter Light

 

For more information on Dennis Poirier here are some links to his works and Art classes

http://www.artbreak.com/denbria54

http://dennispoirierstudio.com/works

http://dennispoirierstudio.com/workshops

http://www.FrontieroGallery.com

 

Library News: ‘Nature of Cape Ann’ on Feb. 4

From the Beacon

The Sawyer Free library is located at 2 Dale Ave. For information, call 978-281-9763 or visit sawyerfreelibrary.org.

Lyceum program: ‘The Nature of Cape Ann’

The Sawyer Free Library and Gloucester Lyceum will offer a program titled “The Nature of Cape Ann,” presented by Chris Leahy, a field ornithologist with the “The Nature of Cape Ann,” on Thursday, Feb. 4, on the Main Floor at 7 p.m.

The talk will illustrate in words and pictures Cape Ann’s rich diversity of habitats and spectacular species, including the origins of its rocky foundations, the fascinating marine life of its surrounding waters, its many natural communities such as vernal pools, pocket fens, salt marshes and coastal heathlands and a variety of intriguing life forms from whales to orchids and salamanders to dragonflies. Leahy will also discuss conservation issues and answer questions about the nature of Cape Ann.

For more information, please call 978-281-9763 or visit the library Web site at sawyerfreelibrary.org.

For more Library News, click here.

Steve Borichevsky Gives Some Insider Tips On How To Enjoy Cape Ann Winter Birding Weekend

You can check out Steve’s Blog at www.shootingmyuniverse.blogspot.com

For information on what to bring, what birds you may expect to see, and some rcommended reading click the video to hear an insider’s birding take on the Cape Ann Winter Birding Weekend-