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Recipes : Strawberry Napoleon

½ pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed (If you are putting this together at the last minute, set one sheet of pastry out to thaw while you cook and eat dinner.)
2 6 oz. refrigerated vanilla pudding cups
1 can whipped cream (You know, the spray kind.)
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 oz. semi sweet chocolate
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.

3. Unfold the pastry and cut along the fold lines. This really gives you enough pastry for two Napoleons, so I you would like to double the other ingredients and make two then do.

4. Bake pastry for approximately 15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool for approximately 5 minutes. You can get the other ingredients ready while the pastry cools.

5. Sprinkle berries with sugar.

6. Put pudding in a bowl. Add one cup whipped cream. Fold together until combined.

7. Split each pastry into two layers. You will only use three.

8. Place one pastry layer on a serving dish. Top with half of the pudding mixture and half of the berries.

9. Repeat layers.

10. Top with a third piece of puff pastry.

11. Top the third layer with whipped cream and additional strawberries.

12. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

13. Melt chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals. When melted drizzle over berries and whipped cream.

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Sources : Strawberry Napoleon Photo | Strawberry Napoleon Recipe
Moodi Foodi Blog : Gourmet Gents
I chose Gourmet Gents simply based off of the photography of their recipes. With each recipe a moment is captured, it makes you close your eyes and go back in time and relive a favorite moment of yours. Not only are the photos incredible but the recipes are quite delicious. I have prepared a few of them myself.  James and Aaron take you on an incredible foodie ride and show you why they are called The Gourmet Gents.

Gourmet Gents
“We aim to showcase delicious food, beautiful photos, and amusing asides. Feel free to let us know how we're doing. After all, we're all about sharing with the community.  We hope you enjoy our recipes and stories, and welcome you to follow us or stop back often.” – James

Blog Example Recipe : Strawberry Lemonade

8 oz fresh, ripe strawberries (about 8-12 large berries)
1 c water, boiling
1 c sugar
1 c fresh lemon juice (about 5-6 lemons)
6 c water, chilled
2 c ice
Additional strawberries and lemon slices, to garnish (optional)

1) Wash and hull the strawberries, then puree in a food processor or blender to desired consistency.

2) Use a spatula to transfer the strawberry puree into a large pitcher.

3) Add the sugar to a small dish of boiling hot water and whisk quickly until the sugar 
dissolves completely and the syrup becomes clear. Add the simple syrup to the pitcher.

4) Juice the lemons, adding the lemon juice to the pitcher, and stir to mix.

5) Add the ice and cold water, and stir until thoroughly incorporated and cool to the touch. Serve immediately or chill for later.

Response to Recipe: Strawberry Lemonade
Response By : Unknown
June 4th, 2012

“Your photo with the lemonade pitcher looks like a Dutch still life. Very nice.”

Gourmet Gents

"Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly."

Quotes : The Intimate Act : M.F.K. Fisher
Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher (July 3, 1908 – June 22, 1992) was a preeminent American food writer. She was also a founder of the Napa Valley Wine Library. She wrote some 27 books, including a translation of The Physiology of Taste by Brillat-Savarin. Two volumes of her journals and correspondence came out shortly before her death in 1992. Her first book, Serve it Forth, was published in 1937. Her books are an amalgam of food literature, travel and memoir. Fisher believed that eating well was just one of the "arts of life" and explored this in her writing. W. H. Auden once remarked: "I do not know of anyone in the United States who writes better prose." (Read More)
News : An Apple A Day Keeps Obesity Away, Studies Find

Scientists at Washington State University have concluded that nondigestible compounds in apples -- specifically, Granny Smith apples -- may help prevent disorders associated with obesity. The study, thought to be the first to assess these compounds in apple cultivars grown in the Pacific Northwest, appears in October's print edition of the journal Food Chemistry. "We know that, in general, apples are a good source of these nondigestible compounds but there are differences in varieties," said food scientist Giuliana Noratto, the study's lead researcher. "Results from this study will help consumers to discriminate between apple varieties that can aid in the fight against obesity."

The tart green Granny Smith apples benefit the growth of friendly bacteria in the colon due to their high content of non-digestible compounds, including dietary fiber and polyphenols, and low content of available carbohydrates. Despite being subjected to chewing, stomach acid and digestive enzymes, these compounds remain intact when they reach the colon. Once there, they are fermented by bacteria in the colon, which benefits the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut.

The study showed that Granny Smith apples surpass Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Red Delicious in the amount of nondigestible compounds they contain.

"The nondigestible compounds in the Granny Smith apples actually changed the proportions of fecal bacteria from obese mice to be similar to that of lean mice," Noratto said. The discovery could help prevent some of the disorders associated with obesity such as low-grade, chronic inflammation that can lead to diabetes. The balance of bacterial communities in the colon of obese people is disturbed. This results in microbial byproducts that lead to inflammation and influence metabolic disorders associated with obesity, Noratto said. "What determines the balance of bacteria in our colon is the food we consume," she said.

Re-establishing a healthy balance of bacteria in the colon stabilizes metabolic processes that influence inflammation and the sensation of feeling satisfied, or satiety, she said.

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Sources : Apple Photo | Apple Article
Recipe : Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

1 1/2 c. chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. butter, melted
2 T. sugar
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
2 T. milk
1/2 t. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 300F degrees. Combine crackers, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press into bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan; set aside. In bowl beat 1 package cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in peanut butter and 1/4 cup sugar until combined. Fold in 1 lightly beaten egg; set aside.

2. In saucepan stir chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cube remaining cream cheese; add to chocolate. Stir to combine. Stir in milk and vanilla until smooth. Fold in 2 lightly beaten eggs. Spread half the chocolate mixture into pan. Carefully spread all the peanut butter mixture over layer. Evenly spread remaining chocolate mixture.

3. Bake 45 minutes or until top is set when lightly shaken. Outer 2 inches of the top will be slightly puffed and dry-looking; center will look darker and wet. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Use a small sharp knife to loosen crust from sides; cool completely on rack. Cover; chill 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

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Sources : Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Photo | Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Article
Drinks : The Smith And Curran

2 1/4 ounces dark creme de cacao
1 ounce half and half
A little bit of seltzer

Build ingredients in a highball, over ice, in the order given. Stir briskly for just about five seconds — says Felten, “just enough to mix the ingredients, but not so much as to dissipate the soda.”

Tasting Notes:

Felten’s published recipe does not denote whether to use light or dark creme de cacao. We actually did a first pass using light, which seemed to produce quite a frothy head (that’s what she said) but, in turn, a not-heavy-enough body. On a second take, we switched to the dark creme de cacao and added a dash more than the two ounces he calls for. This measurement gave the drink its desired heft, with a more chocolate-forward flavor profile, although you do lose quite a bit on the head (that’s what she said).

As much as I advocate owning a seltzer bottle, I do not endorse using it to make a Smith and Curran. The reason being, those puppies are stur-rong, and chances are trying to add just a quick hit of seltzer into a highball glass that’s already half-full with liquid will only result in that liquid being blown out of the glass and onto your tabletop. However, do always try to use a never-been-opened bottle or can of seltzer so that your cocktail’s as fizzy as possible.

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Sources : The Smith And Curran Photo | The Smith And Curran Article