Menu for December 14th

Seasons greetings to all!

This week Ybor City Saturday Market will be hosting Art in the Park. A fantastic event that brings out local artists, young and old. There are also lots of vendors selling some great stuff for the holidays. At our festively decorated booth we will be selling more of our creamy and delicious mint cream chocolate Yule Logs and crispy chocolate hazelnut snoballs.

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$2 each

$2 each

We’ll also have some delicious S’more Pops, marshmallow dipped in homemade chocolate ganache and dusted with graham cracker crumbs, and our Key Lime Crunch pops, chocolate coated marshmallow topped with crunchy key lime flavored candy. 

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As always, we try to have a healthier alternative for the calorie conscious and this week’s option is our Sugared Cranberries. Fresh tart cranberries bursting with flavor rolled in chocolate, sugar or cinnamon sugar is a nice treat that won’t hit your waistline as hard.

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Another new addition to the booth this week is our Christmas Bark. Crunchy pieces of peppermint, butterscotch and maple peanut candies and chewy gumdrops are immersed in soft fudgey Ghirardeli chocolate. Finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas without gingerbread so we’ll also be selling our light and fluffy Lemon Gingerbread cake.

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Christmas Bark

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This will be our final appearance at the Ybor City Saturday Market in 2013 as we’ll be out of town for Yule and due to my husband, Paul’s commitment to the Wounded Warrior Navy team, we will be in Hawaii in January for training and competition. A heartfelt thanks to all of you who donate your frequent flyer miles and to Hero Miles for making this trip possible! Barring acceptance for the new season, Comfy Confections will return to Ybor City Saturday Market January 18th. Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season!

Menu for November 23rd

Anyone else tired of the camel?

Happy Friday all!

Apologies for the delay in posting but I have been a baking fool this week. In the spirit of the holiday my moist and luscious pumpkin bundt with cinnamon glaze and apple cinnamon popovers topped with cinnamon sugar have made a comeback.

Pumpkin bundt w/cinnamon glaze

Pumpkin bundt w/cinnamon glaze

I have also experimented with some old flavors and will be presenting apple pockets and pecan pockets. A flaky crust filled with sweet juicy apples, cinnamon and sugar and crunchy pecans surrounded by gooey maple and molasses flavored goodness. $1 each.

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My further experimentation with homemade marshmallow yielded some unexpected results. It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that while I make a mean yorkshire pudding and my ropa vieja have brought people to their knees in awe, I cannot for the life of me, make Jello. It’s the damnedest thing, even my teachers in culinary school couldn’t understand it. So when I decided to incorporate Jello flavors into my homemade marshmallows I already knew I was in for a fight and fight I did. The end result is my fantastically chewy chocolate dipped mint and vanilla marshmallows. These of course came out exactly how I wanted them to and I couldn’t be happier!

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$2 each

However, I also found myself with lots of marshmallow cream that tasted fantastic and smells like Fruity Pebbles but just wouldn’t stiffen enough to be dipped in chocolate. So I decided to sandwich them between two chewy homemade chocolate chocolate chip cookies to create a delicious and gooey delight. Whoopie Pies are made with cake and cream and I adore them. I never knew they existed until we were transferred to Maine 4 years ago but there is just no way I could get the cream to hold in the heat of the Florida sunshine even now in mid-November. Instead I’ve made Yippee Pies which are available in two sizes, $2 for the smaller ones and $5 for large, and in original vanilla, strawberry, orange, mixed berry and pineapple.

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$2 each

$5 each

$5 each

Once again we’ll have gifts available for purchase for the holidays now through the end of December.

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The weather is looking beautiful so come on out to the Ybor City Saturday Market tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans and Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish readers. Safe travels to all.

It’s All Happening at Ybor City This Saturday!

Good morrow good people!

I don’t know about you but I am psyched about the festivals happening at Ybor City Saturday October 12th. First up, yours truly will not only be vending at tomorrow’s 3rd Annual Cupcake Festival but we’ve entered the contest for Tampa’s Best Cupcake Maker.  A panel of local judges will munch their way through 20 entries to determine the best-tasting cupcakes along with the best-looking creations. Winners will earn the title of “Best Cupcake in Tampa Bay 2013,” along with up to $400 in cash prizes.

Here’s our entry, we call it the Have S’more Cupcake! Moist and chewy graham cracker cake infused with our very own rich chocolate ganache and topped with homemade marshmallow and a dusting of chocolate.

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These will be available for purchase after the judging is over at noon. In the meantime you’ll still be able to try and buy our other creations at the festival. You’ll go bananas for our Bananas Foster cupcake made with banana flavored cake with homemade caramel and baked bananas at the bottom and caramelized sugar on top. Kids will love our PB&J cupcakes blending grape flavored cake and frosting made with natural peanut butter.

Also in time for Halloween is our Candy Corn Dream cupcake which tastes even better than it looks! Orange and lemon cake batter has been poured into each cup together and topped with festively colored vanilla butter cream icing.

Finally we’ve brought back the British favorite, Jaffa Cake, in the form of a cupcake with our rich chocolate ganache topping.

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If you experience cupcake overload at the festival, fear not! We will also be selling your favorite mini apple pie, mini pecan pie and Chocolate Espresso mini bundt cake.

So come check out the Ybor City Saturday Market at Centennial Park (corner of 8th Ave & 19th St.), 1901 19th Street, Tampa, FL 33605 Saturday Oct., 12, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and stick around for Streetcar Fest 2013. Ride the TECO Line Streetcar for only 25 cents from 10 a.m. – 1:30 a.m and check out all the events and sights there is to see!

October Happenings and a New Venue

Greetings and salutations!

After a brief hiatus, Comfy Confections is gearing up for the holidays at our new venue, the Ybor City Saturday Market. Your favorite mini apple pies will be available this weekend as well as our new Pumpkin Crunch Mini Pie blending autumn spices with velvety pumpkin flavor and the crunch of toasted pecans.

Not the exact pie but you get the idea

Also returning is an experimental dish that made a big hit at the Art and Soul Food Festival last month. Our decadent Chocolate Espresso cake, described by one customer as “flavor that just punches you in the face” will be available this weekend in mini bundt form.

Have some cake!

We’re also starting the celebration of one of our favorite holidays with an assortment of Spookies. Starting from $3, you can take home a box of delicious homemade sugar cookies shaped as coffins, headstones, witches, cauldrons, brooms, spiders and webs, cats, bats, moons, candy corn, haunted houses and ghosts. For those who aren’t feeling the spirit of Halloween we also have a nice assortment of Harvest cookies featuring Oak and Maple leaves, apples and pumpkins for $5.

Also not the exact cookies but you get the idea

Finally, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a cause near and dear to Comfy Confections, we are offering the Neapolitan Booby cupcake. A rich chocolate and vanilla cupcake with a bold raspberry jalapeño icing (or strawberry icing for those who prefer a more subtle fruit flavor) presented in a pretty pink paisley cup can be yours for $3. All proceeds for the Neapolitan Booby cupcake will go to the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Do I need to say it again? 😉

So join us at the Ybor City Saturday Market this Saturday from 9-3 and Sunday at Stained Marketplace for the Art & Soul Food Festival from 11-4pm.

Tuesday’s Table: Country Style Beef Short Ribs with Horseradish Cream

As winter has most of us firmly in its icy grip, I thought I’d share with you my favorite stew recipe courtesy of Weight Watchers.  Now, don’t be alarmed, just because it’s low fat doesn’t mean it’s low taste.  I’ve been making this dish for several years and it’s always a crowd pleaser, especially after a long day out in the cold!  Ladies and gentlemen, set your crockpots to stun!

Ingredients:

Yields 2 cups stew and 2 tablespoons horseradish cream per serving.

6 Tbsp fat-free sour cream
2 Tbsp store-bought horseradish
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp table salt
1 1/4 pound(s) uncooked trimmed beef shortrib(s), boneless, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into 11⁄2-inch chunks
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 medium uncooked onion(s), sliced
1 pound(s) uncooked whole white potato(es), whole, scrubbed
18 medium uncooked baby carrots, about 1 1⁄2 cups
2 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), chopped
1 leaf/leaves bay leaf
1 cup(s) canned, beef broth, low sodium
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp water, cold
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, flat-leaf, chopped

To prepare the horseradish cream, combine the sour cream, horseradish, mustard, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Sprinkle the ribs with the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the ribs and cook, turning once, until browned, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the ribs to a slow cooker. Add the onions, potatoes, carrots, garlic, and bay leaf. Pour the broth and Worcestershire sauce over the meat and vegetables. Cover and cook until the meat and vegetables are fork-tender, 4–5 hours on high or 8–10 hours on low.
About 20 minutes before the cooking time is up, combine the flour and water in a small bowl until smooth; stir in about 1⁄4 cup of the hot liquid from the slow cooker until blended. Stir the flour mixture into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high, until the mixture simmers and thickens, about 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in the parsley just before serving. Serve with the horseradish cream.

Stay warm kiddies, chow for now!

Having Hope For Humanity (Strong language)

I know I am not the only person who watches the news on a daily basis, sees grown adults dissolve into foaming rabid beasts in forums and comment threads about things as trivial as kittens and puppies playing and wonders about the state of our society today.  I know historically people have always done this so I’m hoping mankind and society is not as horrific as it often seems to be.

Then I come across stories that are so heartwarming, that make me stand up and cheer and want to give people a high five that I realized humans may not be in as dire straights as a race as it often seems.  Lately these stories have come out of the Hospitality industry, an industry where the customer is always right and proprietors are supposed to bend over backwards to please their guests so that they will return again and again and bring friends and family.  So what happens when a guest behaves in such an abhorrent manner that it goes against everything you know is right? Two employees and establishment owners faced this question when they came across insultingly ignorant customers within just the past three weeks!

In Columbus, Ohio, employees of Mikey’s Late Night Slice pizza truck heard a commotion towards the back of the line of customers waiting to be served.  It turns out a gay couple was standing in line holding hands and minding their own business when the twatwaffle (and I’m sorry but what other adjective is strong enough?) standing behind them started cursing at them and screaming homophobic slurs.  Upon hearing this one employee informed the douche “If he couldn’t treat the people like human beings that were in the line and stop spewing that hatred at them, that I wasn’t going to serve him” and made him get out of line!

In Houston, Texas a waiter at Laurenzo’s Prime Rib refused service to a family who insisted on being moved because they were sitting next to another family with a boy who had Down Syndrome.  Reportedly, the “man” at the table had remarked “Special needs children need to be special somewhere else.”  Well, the family’s request to be moved was honored, they were moved right out of the restaurant!

Now I know some people may think, well wouldn’t it be bad for business to throw customers out because they don’t share the same beliefs as you?  Apparently not since both establishments have reported a boost in business from people who want to meet the employees who took a stand against ignorance.  Even Chick-Fil-A, whose homophobic stance brought in record numbers from other bigots, saw a boost in sales by standing for their own misguided beliefs.

The fact of the matter is the battle for society and its norms rages from everywhere and can come at any time and from any place and that includes the hospitality industry.  No, the customer is not always right and establishments do have the right not to serve you (within the law) if you behave like an asshat and are insulting to the proprietor and their customers.  Proprietors do not have to keep quiet and tolerate ignorance, bigotry or sexist remarks for fear of losing business.  Not only are you responsible for maintaining a favorable work environment for your employees, which does not include forcing them to have to deal with disparaging remarks, but in taking a stand it shows customers and potential customers exactly what kind of establishment you are running.  I’m sure some of Mikey and Laurenzo’s customers decided not to come back after hearing about these incidents but many more people flocked to these establishments because they took a stand.  In the end you need to think, how much does the almighty dollar mean to you?  How much is your soul worth?