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 jalape√Īo 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? ūüėČ

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.

Market appearance

This week Comfy Confections makes its debut at the Outdoor Market of Stained Marketplace in Ybor City. We’ll be selling slices of fresh baked apple pie made completely from scratch and mini apple pies that fit in the palm of your hand. We’ll have our special homemade Jaffa cake slices and mini cakes infused with a creamy orange liqueur and coated with a luscious chocolate ganache and some delicious Millionaire’s Shortbread derived from the people of Australia.

Don’t forget to try our awesome line of cookie cups! This week we have the Frappuccino Cookie Cup, a mocha cookie cup filled with delicious caramel made entirely from scratch; our Chocolate Lovers Cookie Cup, a chocolate chocolate chip cookie cup filled with fresh chocolate ganache and our Euro cup featuring a sweet sugar cookie filled with Italian hazelnut spread and topped with bits of English toffee. We’re also introducing a taste of Fall with our Autumn Cookie Cup, a gingersnap cookie cup filled with pumpkin spice flavored marshmallow whip and dusted with nutmeg.

Finally, for those of you watching your figure we have a range of fat free and low fat items. This week we’ll be selling 90 calorie Apple Oatmeal muffins and mini cakes and 100 calorie Banana Crunch mini loaves.

So join us Thursday August 22 through Sunday August 25 from 8am to noon at Stained Marketplace 2106 East 15th Avenue, Tampa. We take cash and credit cards and advance orders are always welcome.

Comfy Confections comes to Tampa Bay this Fall!

Good afternoon and Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there:)

Apologies for the hiatus but as we all know sometimes life grabs us, takes us for a ride and won’t let go until it’s done. Now that things have calmed down I’m focusing hard on jumpstarting my cafe. Picture it, you enter a large amber lit room colored with deep rich earth tones, artwork from local artists adorning the wine and pumpkin colored walls and mahogany shelves. Your ears are met with the sound of music originating from one of any number of world cultures as you choose a seat among plush couches and chairs in the corner or dining sets reminiscent of a French bistro. The menu is an array of delights that would please the palate of anyone missing the comforts of home or with a taste of adventure. Such is the experience that is The Comfy Cafe. Of course this is only a concept, the actual cafe does not yet exist but is the reality my husband and I are pushing for. At the moment however, we will have to start super small, even smaller than the food truck we hope to expand to on our journey towards the cafe. No, right now, in it’s infancy, The Comfy Cafe is known as Comfy Confections.

Scratch Apple Pie

Scratch Apple Pie

Comfy Confections is a cottage law business operating in the Tampa Bay area of Florida and in keeping with the international comfort food theme, we will be offering delicious desserts and breakfast items that are familiar to Americans of old such as my famous apple pie from scratch, lemon tarts and spiced banana nut cake. We will also be offering cuisine that the rest of our cosmopolitan customers will enjoy just as much such as Omm Ali, Amaretto stuffed peaches, Green Tea cake and Italian sesame cookies.

Omm Ali                                                                                               (Eggs, cream, nuts, raisins, cinnamon and filo dough = YUM!)

 

Green Tea Cake

There will also be selections for those with an adventurous palate and a love for fusion cuisine. These include my savory Japanese inspired rice pockets filled with sweet strawberry, mango and marmalade preserves and a salute to the King, the natural peanut butter and baked banana filled Elvis Pockets drizzled with Foster sauce.

Fruit filled Mochi goodness

We hope to be operating out of the Fresh Market at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel, the Ybor City Saturday Market and one other location in New Tampa this Fall so watch this space for locations, schedule and menu. Unfortunately, do to restrictions by Florida Cottage Law, we are unable to take orders online or ship out of state. However, if you do wish to order for a pick up in person we will have order forms available once the business gets underway. We will do custom orders and if you have an event in the Tampa Bay area that is looking for food vendors, please feel free to contact us.

Chow for now!

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‚ĀĄ2-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‚ĀĄ2 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‚ĀĄ4 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‚ĀĄ2 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‚Äď5 hours on high or 8‚Äď10 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‚ĀĄ4 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.‚ÄĚ ¬†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?

Tuesday’s Table: Halloween Party Recipes for Adults

This year I’ll be throwing a Halloween themed housewarming party and wanted to find some fun recipes to make. ¬†Unfortunately most of the recipes I found were for gross looking food, desserts, sweets and kid friendly. ¬†This is all well and good but just not what I was looking for. ¬†After a great deal of searching I did find a few very unique, very tasty looking, classy recipes for mature people who like to dress up and look funny:)

An excellent idea for a dinner party (or if you REALLY want to put yourself to work;) is the Mesclun Meanie

This is a zesty little salad served in oranges that have been scooped out and carved to look like jack o’lanterns. ¬†Personally if I had the time (or an army of ghouls to help me) I would make this myself. ¬†However, instead I found these scrumptious looking wings which will be making an appearance, Smoky Cranberry Chicken Wings.

Isn’t that a thing of beauty?

One thing I kept finding were chicken wing recipes like “bat wings” that sounded fun and probably are delicious but involved lots of food coloring paste which I have a real problem with. ¬†Not only are there people out there who have a severe allergy to food coloring but these recipes seem to insist on just slathering the stuff on to the wings. ¬†I can only imagine just how that might affect the flavoring let alone the texture and just couldn’t bring myself to serve that kind of thing to my guests. ¬†It makes me want to gag just thinking about it! ¬†These wings, however, are a pleasant blend of tart, sweetness and smokiness that I can really get behind and¬†can probably be served any time of the year but I think would be most appreciated this time of year at Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and even Super Bowl parties!

Another great dinner party idea would be the Hungarian Goo-lash Stuffed Baked Baby Potatoes.

Personally the few times I’ve attempted Goulash, it sucked out loud and I’m done trying, at least for the time being anyway. ¬†I would probably replicate this with pulled pork myself.

Now this next recipe, I think, can either be served individually at a dinner party like the recipe suggests or in a large hollowed out (properly cleaned) pumpkin or gourd for effect.

This Pumpkin Risotto sounds perfect for pumpkin lovers and super tasty although personally I would make sure to use smoked bacon and maybe add some spices like clove and nutmeg.  It seems a shame to have all that pumpkin without them.

Now that you have the food down, what about drinks? ¬†Sure you can do the old “slap some funny labels on to soda bottles and cans” gag or make the usual fall back halloween drinks like the Bloody Mary or Zombies, but since we’re getting creative, why not go all out? ¬†This website has some unique and delicious drinks that everyone at your party (over 21) can enjoy! ¬†Here are some examples:

The Neon Ghost

Brain Hemorrhage

 

The Smashing Pumpkin

 

The Graveyard

So be safe, have fun and please don’t drink and drive! ¬†Chow for now!