The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Food - the common denominator

Let’s face facts, everyone has to eat. Food is a subject common to all mankind, without it we are nothing. When talking politics and religion is a general no-no, everyone can talk food. One can be obsessive about food (i.e. me) and others could care less what they eat (hard to believe)-but without food, we are dead.

In its best form, food brings people together at one table where ideas and conversations are shared. I came from a home where the family sat at the table for dinner: no TV, no radio, and no newspapers – only genuine conversation about everyone’s day, their dreams and desires. I am saddened to see that dining together is a rarity in households: to me, this is core to feeling the warmth and love of the family.

Oh, one might be on a diet but one talks about the foods they aren’t eating, shouldn’t eat or want to eat. I am quoting a bit out of context from a book called The Memoirs of Bambi Goldbloom: “Money makes the world go round but you have to eat everyday. There are 4 kinds of people: those thinking about dieting, those dieting, those thinking about eating and those eating.”

On the precipice of 2009 may my wishes be for full plates for everyone, that hunger in this world disappears and hope that over a dinner table somewhere peace can be achieved.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What are your New Year's Eve nightmares?

Which party dress should I choose? Where shall I dine? Who will join us? What will make this evening special? You might be surprised by all my answers.

My party ensemble will more than likely be my fuzzy blue slippers with the pompoms, blue jeans and a 15 year old sweatshirt. With that get up the fashionistas will picket me like the PETA people after they hear that I’m going to boil lobster for dinner. So where I will dine is answered- at home. We might even splurge for a movie on demand but doubt the husband will stay awake past 8 p.m.

My Nightmare

The last time we went out for NY Eve it was a COMPLETE disaster. It was an overnight package at a suburban hotel. My poor friends who suggested it still apologize for the evening. Both couples checked into the rooms and then on to the dining room. We waited at least 40 minutes before we saw a server and got water and bread-that was all that we had. We waited another hour and never got our order placed. We checked out. So where do you go at 11:30 on NY Eve? We ended up at the Nautilus Diner in Lutherville, had steak and eggs, celebrated the ringing in of the New Year with complimentary champagne and went home. Of course the ordeal didn’t make the husband a pleasant person, like I knew this was going to happen. They say that home is where the heart and this year,all of me is going to be home for New Year's Eve.

I know I can’t be the only one that had a hellish times on New Year’s Eve – do share.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Meridian 54 Restaurant – new hope for an old corner

This triangular shaped restaurant location at the corner of Montford Avenue, Boston Street and Hudson Street in Canton has gone through a number of permutations from Weber’s multiple owners, to the French incarnation with Dennis Manneville to Red Fish and its multiple owners. Renamed Meridian 54, it offers a refreshed, light and airy décor, a creative menu and a talented local chef, Russell Braitsch - this could be just the right mix.

The bar pretty much remained the same as it has always been in decor but the dining room is a light, sunshine yellow countered with the subtle tones of the upholstered banquettes and harmonious sounds of the multiple waterfall panels. It was a sunny afternoon, just prior to Christmas when I met my friend there for lunch.

Executive Chef Russell Braitsch
It was great to find Chef Braitsch again, I knew him from his days as Chef-de-Cuisine at Corks when I was selling Vanns Spices. He’s has moved about a bit to Gardel’s, Noah’s on the Side, Iron Bridge and now stirring up his knowledge of flavors with a slant to Mediterranean on Meridian 54’s menu. Desserts and breads are baked on premise and he utilizes free range, organic and locally grown products.

Four menus
Yes, four different menus: lunch, dinner, lite fare and brunch so depending when you arrive there is an appropriate menu.

Let me start with lunch, because that is when I dined. We opted for the soup of the day ($6) which was a hearty brisket of beef soup that was served in a crock along with housemade bread, perfect for a cold wintry day. We shared the smoked duck and red grape salad dressed with a lovely lemon and cardamom dressing ($9). It was a generous portion of duck that accompanied the salad although my personal preference would be to have the duck not as chilled – a bit more to room temperature.

We opted for the crab cake sandwich ($12) and Wagyu beef burger stacked on a Kaiser roll with applewood smoked bacon, wild mushrooms, Fontina cheese and a basil aioli ($12). Both were accompanied with “Pops” hand-cut French Fries that are topped with Parmesan cheese, truffle oil and chives. They even brought out a sample of their house-made charred beef gravy for us to sample. I thought the burger was a winner both for taste and size. The crab cake was large, generous although it isn’t lump or backfin. I think they have more interesting dishes and flavors to try – Duck Confit Pizza ($7), Shrimp Dumplings ($10), Mediterranean Sea Salt Baked Salmon ($12), Porcini Scented Breast of Free Range Chicken ($14).

We wrapped up lunch with the Whoopie Pie ($6) and the Arborio Rice Pudding ($6). Honestly we only needed one dessert but you know me, gluttony is my middle name. The rice pudding was Arborio rice in a chocolate cup topped with macerated figs and lemon zest served with macaroons. The rice pudding was yum and I liked the fig and lemon zest touch. I believe they are changing the accoutrements to this dish and taking off the macaroons. The Whoopie pie is very rich with a hint of peanut butter on a bed of raspberry coulis and crème anglaise.

Brunch looks good
For $12.95 you get your entrée and a choice of a Bloody Mary, Mimosa or Sangria. The SOS (creamed chipped beef) is served with flat iron steak, Parmesan grits, braised spinach and buttermilk biscuits or the Belgian waffle- both tickle my brunch palate, sweet or savory. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Check out the links below for a look at the dinner & lite fare menu.

If you haven’t made arrangements for New Year’s Eve, this might be a good alternative for you. They are offering multiple prefix menus for the evening, food served up until midnight.

In conclusion, I think the dining room makes a good destination for an upscale business lunch – a really nice atmosphere, subtle – no flat screen TV’s in the dining room distracting you from the joys of conversing with others. Meridian 54 is still refining their soul but they are all heart will Chef Braitsch’s culinary expertise. The question always is would I return and the answer is yes.
For more info:
Meridian 54
845 S. Montford Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224
Open 7 days
11 a.m. to midnight – Monday through Thursday
11 a.m. to 1 a.m. – Friday
10:30 a.m to 1 a.m. – Saturday
10:30 a.m. to midnight – Sunday
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Monday through Friday
10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m – Saturday and Sunday
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. – 7 Days
Lite Fare:
10 p.m. to midnight – Sunday through Thursday
10 p.m. to 1 a.m. – Friday and Saturday

Meridian 54 on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 Top 5 Dining Examiner stories

Pearl S. Buck said, “One faces the future with one’s past.” I look to 2009 with a review of my favorite posts in 2008, my top 5, and leave the top 10 to David Letterman.

Is there such a thing as too many desserts? - I chose this story because it is every foodie’s dream to dine at a world renowned restaurant, to have cache in the kitchen with the celebrity pastry chef and be treated like someone special. Though this took place a number of years ago, it is my favorite restaurant memory.

Shark repellent alla Julia Child - Here was an opportunity to inform you of untold stories about Julia Child, as shared with me by the producer of a number of her television series. Also my experience sharing a table with Julia at her first crab feast.

Chef Barbara Tropp rediscovered - This was my salute to a ground breaking chef from San Francisco who died too early. Her husband, Bart Rhoades, shared a recently found uncompleted/unpublished story she was writing for Bon Appetit. She was a leading expert in Chinese food and forerunner in her philosophies of what we should eat. This story will lend insight into the passion of a chef.

2. Overwhelmed in the Wildwood food triangle - This is my foodie “ah ha” moment, a moment for the hereafter and for the here-and-now, a recipe for one of life’s best sandwiches.

1. Two views from one table - A unique evening with the Food Examiner and I, the Dining Examiner, having dinner together and each of us writing about our view of the evening and the food. The restaurant, Bicycle, was a great back drop and good food. The story has a link to Juliette Goodwin’s view of the evening, it has video and photographs. As they say, and who the h*ll knows who “they” are, there are always two sides to a story.

Do you have a favorite Dining Examiner story, if so; I would LOVE to know which tickled your gastronomic fancy?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ideal meal for a cold chilly day-recipes included

It was cold and damp out and I thought soup and potato pancakes (latkes) were perfect for a luncheon I was preparing for a friend. It wasn’t my original menu but the luncheon got rescheduled for the next day and the main course had been marinated from the night before, so the husband and I ate it for dinner the night prior.

The soup was what my mother used to call a sweet and sour cabbage soup and she always served potato pancakes with it. I hadn’t made it in a very long time and my pre-Hanukah potato latke craving was kicking in. My friend, Monyka, is an adventurous eater so I didn’t worry. We ended up eating 2 bowls of soup and wiping out all the potato pancakes.

Desserts were cranberry/pistachio biscotti, chocolate ginger biscotti (Click HERE for the recipe) and orange cranberry muffins.

Potato Pancakes (yield 8 to 14 pancakes)

2 baking potatoes, peeled
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
1 large egg
1 tablespoon flour
Kosher salt – to taste
Fresh ground black or white pepper to taste
Canola oil or melted rendered chicken fat

Food processor with grating blade & regular or box grater-large holes
Fine mesh strainer or tea towel
1 large bowl
Pancake griddle or fry pan
Pastry brush
½ sheet pan or cookie sheet

I personally use the food processor with the grater blade to do the potatoes and then put in the regular blade and add back the grated potatoes with the quartered onion and process into smaller pieces.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees or warm.

Once the potatoes and onions are processed I add the mixture to a mesh strainer over a bowl to let the excess liquid drain out. If you don’t have a fine mesh strainer then put the potato/onion mixture in a tea towel and twist it real tight over the sink to help get rid of the excess water content. If you are using a fine mesh strainer you will see liquid in the bowl but a pasty white substance at the bottom. That is starch so I add that back after I drain off the liquid.

I have the potato/onion mixture in a large bowl I then add a generous portion of kosher salt and grind or two of pepper, the egg and 1 tablespoon of flour and mix well.

I have a griddle pan that goes over two burners so I turn on my burners to medium high and let that preheat a little while. I had some melted rendered chicken fat (most of you won’t) but it is an indulgence once a year. I use a pastry brush to coat the griddle top and proceed to make the pancakes.

Once I finish a batch of potato pancakes I put them on the ½ sheet pan and put them in the oven to stay warm. You can use a fry pan, with a small coating of oil and fry the pancakes.
I am a potato pancake purist; I just add salt – no applesauce, sour cream or ketchup when I eat them.

This is the ideal soup for a cold, damp, chilly day. It will warm you through and through down to your toenails. Monyka and I had two bowls and polished of a good number of potato pancakes

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup serves 6 to 8

I am going to give you the short version of this recipe. Tell you I used my pressure cooker to speed up the time. I didn’t measure a thing so these are estimates. I used my homemade chicken stock.


Oil to coat stock pot, dutch oven or pressure cooker bottom
1 package of flanken (cut of beef) or Korean cut beef ribs
(approximately ½ pound to ¾ pound)
Salt and pepper
1 onion, peeled and rough dice
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of salt
½ small can of sauerkraut
3 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon sugar
8 cups chicken or beef stock (homemade preferably – less sodium)

5 to 6 quart pot or large pressure cooker w/lid

Season the meat with salt and pepper to taste

Heat your pot to medium high to high heat, add the oil and then the flanken or Korean cut beef ribs and brown them on both sides. You will probably be doing this in batches so once brown remove to a plate and let the natural juices accumulate.

Add the onions, carrots, shredded cabbage, garlic and salt, stir and cook until the onion and cabbage start to soften.

Add the ½ can of sauerkraut, tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer and let cook covered for about 1½ hours at a low simmer. If you know how to work with a pressure cooker, cook for 30 minutes.

As the soup cools, taste it for additional seasoning.

If there is soup leftover, this freezes very well.

If you have any questions, please reach out to

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Restaurant gift certificates redeemable at over 500 Maryland restaurants

Resolve your restaurant holiday gift certificate giving conundrum as to who would like which restaurant. Give a gift certificate from the Restaurant Association of Maryland redeemable at over 500 local Maryland restaurants.

Started in 1994, RAM's restaurant gift certificate program provides a win-win for Maryland diners and restaurants by providing easy and flexible redemption options as well as additional business for local restaurants.

"When consumers 'give the gift of dining' to their friends and family with our restaurant gift certificates, they are playing a significant part in strengthening the state's economy. When people buy local this holiday season, we all benefit by keeping money in Maryland, with Maryland businesses that provide Maryland jobs," commented Paul Hartgen, President and CEO of RAM. "Many large employers in the state have also recognized the value of these restaurant gift certificates, using them as a chance to reward their employees with a night out when they may be tightening their own belts" Hartgen continued.

A recent article in the Baltimore Sun recommended that this holiday season consumers give restaurant gift certificates from RAM. “Our dining certificates eliminate the guess work in choosing that special gift. They are easy to purchase in varying increments, without the hassle of parking lot mayhem. Recipients are presented with numerous dining options throughout the state for any and every occasion” added Hartgen.

To make it easy to 'give the gift of dining' RAM restaurant gift certificates are available for purchase in increments of $10, $25, or $50 online at, by phone (410) 290-6800 or in person at RAM's headquarters located at 6301 Hillside Court, Columbia, MD 21046. For a complete list of member restaurants participating in RAM’s gift certificate program please visit the website at or simply click on

Thursday, December 18, 2008

WIN Iron Chef tickets, cooking class or dinner with Eric Asimov

For $10, you can buy a virtual raffle ticket to win a one-on-one cooking class with me and an autographed copy of YUM-Tasty Recipes from Culinary Greats (item # UE38), win exclusive tickets to the filming of Iron Chef (item # UE27), dinner with Eric Asimov of the New York Times (item #WB02) and more.

As a self professed foodie-gone-awry, I have had the pleasure of food styling for a number of culinary greats including Giuliano Bugiali, Nick Malgieri, Sara Moulton, Steven Raichlen and many more. This one-on-one cooking class will last 3 hours either in your home or mine on a date that is mutually agreeable.( class is limited to the Baltimore-Washington DC area). (item # UE38)

I am also donating an autographed copy of my co-authored cookbook with Jeff Spear, YUM – Tasty Recipes from Culinary Greats that features recipes from culinarians from around the country like Jody Adams in Boston, Jacques Torres, Nick Malgieri, Sara Moulton in New York, Susanna Foo in Philadelphia, and José Andrés, Michel Richard, Nora Pouillon in DC.

So many more; Steven Raichlen, Norman Van Aken, Susan Spicer, Sherry Yard, Jamie Gwen, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Christine Keff, Jerry Traunfeld, Tom Douglas, Dan Barber, Suvir Saran, John Fleer, Nathalie Dupree, Joanne Weir, Susan Hermann Loomis, Charlie Trotter, Dorie Greenspan, Rick Bayless, Rick Tramonto and more!

Hear more about the book in this audio interview on public radio – Click HERE.

Food Bloggers World Wide
Each December, food bloggers from all over the world join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related prizes for the Menu for Hope raffle. Anyone – and that means you too - can buy raffle tickets to bid on these prizes. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of your choice. At the end of the two-week campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim.

Last year, we raised nearly $100,000 through the online food community and that money went to supporting the school lunch and farming program for the children in Lesotho

List of Prizes
There are many more culinary prizes available in this raffle -check out all the prizes HERE and HERE for East Coast prizes

What is Menu for Hope?
Menu for Hope is an annual fundraising campaign hosted by Chez Pim and a revolving group of food bloggers around the world. Five years ago, the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia inspired Pim to find a way to help, and the very first Menu for Hope was born. The campaign has since become a yearly affair, raising funds to support worthy causes worldwide. In 2007, Menu for Hope raised nearly $100K to help the UN World Food Programme feed the hungry.

Who is the beneficiary of this year's campaign?
Once again we’ve chosen to work with the UN World Food Programme. WFP is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good.

Who collects the money?
Certainly not me, nor is it the other bloggers participating on the campaign. We know our readers trust us, but we also want to be completely transparent in our fundraising. So, we use a very good online fundraising company called Firstgiving, who has worked with us since the first Menu for Hope years ago.

Donors can make an online donation with a credit card. Firstgiving collects and processes the payments and, at the end of the campaign, transfers the donations in one lump sum to the WFP. This is a win-win situation for all parties involved. The bloggers never touch the money. The WFP doesn't waste overhead on processing mini-donations, the majority of which were between $10-$50, that’s a whole lot of tenners. Firstgiving does all the work and collects a small fee, which include the credit card processing charges.

Last year, Firstgiving gave back 1% of the total amount raised in lieu of a discount on their processing fee. Thank you Firstgiving, we appreciated it very much!

To Donate and Enter the Menu for Hope Raffle
Here's what you need to do:

1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope above(be careful with your item numbers)
2. Go to the donation site at Firstgiving and make a donation.
3. Please specify which prize you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code.
Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02 - 2xEU01, 3xEU02.
4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.
5. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

For more info: Join the giving and win – Donate HERE Any questions email me at

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

The best biscotti recipe ever with bonus recipe

Baltimore Dining Examiner: The best biscotti recipe ever with bonus recipe ; photos

Posted using ShareThis

Brother, can you spare a dollar?

A friend told me her father hired a part-time helper in his shop and realized the gentleman was not eating lunch. He advised his employee to stop and take lunch. The helper said it was more important that there is food for his children and was skipping the meal. My friend’s father is now keeping peanut butter, jelly, bread and ramen soups for his employees, so no one goes hungry.

Yes, times are tougher for all of us but could you skip the cost of one lunch and send that money to a charity that helps put food on the table for the less fortunate? Could you spare time to help get the food out to those in need? Could you check on friends/family/neighbors/coworkers? - You might be surprised who might be in trouble?

Hunger, hungry children and lack of permanent shelter on a local, national and worldwide level is growing by leaps and bounds. Even though you are cutting back on your decaf latte from Starbucks, there are people trying to figure out how to feed their family of four for the cost of that one coffee.

A friend and local food blogger, the Baltimore Snacker, posted a story about a couple in San Diego who decided to live on one dollar a day for 30 days. Their experiment crystallizes what families are going through. In reality, more and more families and individuals are facing this plight and it will get worse before it gets better. Let me direct you to his story: $1 a Day

Empty plates
We tend to think of the less fortunate around the holiday times. Dining Dish has put up permanent links to two local organizations that help put food on the table, Meals on Wheels and Maryland Food Bank. The links will remain as a gentle reminder that we need to help year round.

The money I usually spend on holiday cards and postage has been donated to charity. What can you do?

For more info:
515 S Haven St
Baltimore, MD 21224
(410) 558-0827
2200 Halethorpe Farms Road
Baltimore, MD 21227
Phone: 410-737-8282

Monday, December 08, 2008

SCAN IT! Save Time! Save Money!

As I dashed into my Gucci Giant Supermarket on Old Court Road, at the entrance I saw this new display with hand-held scanners that you take with you in your shopping carts. New technology, I’m game…alas, it kicks off tomorrow, December 9th.

Giant’s new SCAN IT! allows you to scan your groceries, get extra savings, keep track of your total and bag your groceries while you shop. When you are done your shopping you just pay and go!

-When you enter the store you pick up scanner and bags. And at the SCAN IT station scan your bonus card.
-The scanner rack will light up, identifying which SCAN IT! scanner to use.
-Take the scanner and some bags
-Place the bags on the inside of the card and begin shopping

Extra Savings

-Get extra savings exclusively with SCAN IT!
-Special offers just for you every time you use SCAN IT!


-Select an item and scan the barcode
-After scanning the item, place it in the bag and continue shopping

Special Care Items

-Produce: Most produce items can be scanned after printing a label at the SCAN IT! scales in the Produce Department. For items that are pre-packaged, like bags of apples or containers of cherry tomatoes, just scan the barcode on the product.
-Bakery: For baked goods that are sold individually, like donuts and bagels, scan the SCAN IT! barcode on the appropriate sign in the Bakery Department
-Bulk Coffee & Candy: Weigh your bulk coffee and candy during the checkout process.

To remove an item:

-Press the remove button and scan the item
-The item will be removed from the scanner and the total will be adjusted

Pay & Go

-When finished shopping, proceed to the checkout lane.
-Scan the “End of Order” barcode at the checkout area.
-Place the SCAN IT! scanner in the return rack at checkout.
-Scan your Giant Bonus Card at the checkout register and follow the on-screen instructions to complete your transaction
-Pay and Go!

I will report back once I have tried the new system.

I never seem to have my bonus cards when I need them. Maybe I need a personal barcode tattooed on my palm that will cover all this. SCAN IT! convenience for us, time & money savings for us…not such good news for the checkout staff.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Have you eaten a Harley burger?

Today, as the husband and I detoured today down Druid Hill Avenue, past my former elementary school and long-gone Carlin’s park, we chatted about their ice rink, roller rink and swimming pool. I immediately flashed back to the pan of Harley burgers sitting in the mystery red sauce that was served at the pool’s food pavilion.

I’m not sure what the red sauce was and I’m food curious if any of you might have an idea what was in it? I did like my Harley burgers. I know they were tasty, yes! – healthy, aaah doubtful. I’m not sure what kind of meat was in them, supposedly beef.

Don’t talk amongst yourselves; the floor is open to discussion.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

2008 Best Xmas Light & Music Display

Michael Mohammadi of just sent a link to this great holiday video...I'm sharing. We need something to smile about.

Double Cheeseburger more at McD's

Nation's Restaurant News yesterday reported that the real barometer of our economic times has hit. That gastronomic delight called the McDonald's Double Cheeseburger will be increasing to a suggested retail price to $1.19, still maintaining its double patty-double cheese and come off the dollar menu. Don't worry, the Dollar Menu will include a NEW sandwich, the McDouble - which is made with two pattys and one slice of cheese. Now can you live without that extra slice???????

Papa John's hits $1 million in sales from mobile-phone web orders....Yoo hoo restaurateurs, here is your wake up call - get with it, get the technology to help your bottom line. SIDEBAR: When will we totally loose the ability to personally interface with other human beings. I know I spend too much time at the puter. Your thoughts?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What You'll Eat in 2009: Predicts New Food Trends

Here is another list of food trends for 2009.

What You'll Eat in 2009: Predicts New Food Trends

Be sure to check earlier post on 2009 Restaurant trends.

Hot, Hot News from Clementine Restaurant

I just ran into Chef/Owner Winston of Clementine (the place is packed every night - you need reservations) who informed me they just got their permit today to expand. They will soon be opening a bar and a curing room where they will be curing their own of meats as well as adding some additional seating. Yippee!!!!!!!!!
Clementine Restaurant
5402 Harford Road
Baltimore, MD 21214
410 444 1497

Cheesecake Lollipop Recipe Experiment

Make something different than cookies for the holidays. Learn how I played with ready-to-eat cheesecake filling to make cheesecake lollipops. It truly dresses up the holiday table with a not-too-filling sweet finish that is festive.

President elect Obama has a fancy for Fran’s Chocolates out Seattle which is caramel, chocolate and smoked sea salt -I paid homage with some of my chocolate caramel cheesecake pops with smoked sea salt.

Cheesecake Lollipops

1 Tub Container – 24 oz Philadelphia Ready-to-Eat cheesecake filling

12 to 18 ounces – Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
12 ounces - Caramel Sundae Topping
12 ounces – White chocolate chips
8 ounces – Nutella

Assorted chopped nuts
Cookie decorations like jimmies, colored sugars
Coarse sea salt & smoked sea salt

Freezer Space
1 glass of warm water: for dipping the melon baller between cheesecake balls
24 lollipop sticks (or cocktail stirs)

Freeze the cheesecake filling in its container or spread in a wax paper lined ¼ sheet pan (or cake pan) and put it in the freezer. You want the filling to firm up so they can be shaped in small balls. I found that a minimum of 30 minutes was needed on the ¼ sheet pan and would really leave it a full hour athe next time. If you are freezing the whole container, you might allow 1 ½ hours and check the consistency at that time and give it more time if necessary.

Once the filling is firm, use a melon baller to shape them in little balls, a full rounded tablespoon. I found I finished shaping them in my hands. So keep a damp towel handy. I also suggest you work quickly and do ½ a batch at a time because the filling will defrost quickly. Put the lollipop sticks in the cheesecake balls and replace in the freezer for 1 hour.

You can prep your coatings and toppings in the mean time. I highly suggest you go with one topping at a time i.e. chocolate, white chocolate. Now I had to keep heating up the toppings because I was working with too many. Microwave the chocolate, Nutella and caramel at 50% power for 30 seconds. If they haven’t soften enough, another 30 seconds, etc. You will need to whisk the toppings to make sure they are pliable and smooth. The white chocolate chips took longer in the microwave and set up faster. You want to heat the toppings just prior to taking the cheesecake lollipops out of the freezer.

When your pops are frozen, take out only what you can coat quickly and dip them in one coating at a time. Sprinkle on your toppings and place them back in the freezer on a wax paper lined pan. I dipped some of mine in caramel, then the chocolate and sprinkled on sea salt( the above homage to Obama). Keep your cheesecake lollipops in the freezer until 30 minutes prior to serving.


If you make the lollipops too big they will bend over on the cocktail straw, the regular lollipop sticks might hold it better. These are not hard, just time consuming as to really letting the cheesecake firm up that working with it is simple.

The finished product is in the photo. You could tie little ribbons around the pops for added color and presentation. I took a wide mouth jar, filled is the floral glass balls to hold the sticks and tied a ribbon around the neck of the jar.

I discover a couple other recipes where you make your own cheesecake filling …this is much simpler. If you make these pops, send me photos… I’m sure you can come up with some clever presentations that you can share.

I found the ready-to-eat cheesecake at Super Fresh. I didn’t check any other stores. They did not have lollipop sticks. You might check with William Sonoma or the Cake Cottage on Belair Road for those.

I shot a lot of this in video and spliced it but it didn’t upload correctly, I got the audio from the whole thing but only the last section of the video. HELP!

Monday, December 01, 2008

One World Cafe takes the Eat In Season Challenge

Baltimore’s best all-vegetarian dining spot, One World Café, will take Slow Food Baltimore’s Eat in Season Challenge this month from December 8-15. Chef Sue Novak and co-owner Cindy Novak, have created a special locally-sourced, seasonal menu. Anyone who enjoys healthy, seasonal, delicious food will find these options inviting:

Organic split peas soup with baby carrots, leeks and golden potatoes

Cranberry goat cheese salad with organic baby spinach with sliced Clementine, pear slices and toasted walnuts served with pomegranate vinaigrette

Organic butternut squash puree with a pumpkin butter sauce and toasted pumpkin seeds

Root vegetable pot pie with turnips, parsnip, carrot, radish and red potato served over sautéed mustard green with kale and topped with a roasted shallot gravy

Organic red and golden beet stir fry with sweet potato, fennel and crispy tofu sautéed in a sweet and sour sesame sauce served over organic brown rice with candied pecans ( vegan)

Sliced tofurkey with Brussel sprouts in a creamy horseradish sauce served with mashed parsnips and granny smith apple sauce

One World is located at 100 West University Parkway in Baltimore, across from the Hopkins’ lacrosse fields. It is the eighth restaurant to meet the Eat in Season Challenge.

A diverse group of area restaurants has stepped up to take the Eat in Season Challenge, an initiative of Slow Food Baltimore that invites area establishments to serve -- during one week of the month -- a special three-course menu each night with the primary ingredients in each course to be locally sourced, and either currently in season, or traditionally preserved. The metro-wide campaign encourages chefs to be innovative; to create food that otherwise may not be featured or showcased. The Challenge also teaches people about the powerful benefits of eating seasonally.

For more information visit, and click on “Eat In Season.”


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