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Lewes, Delaware
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February 17, 2006     Cape Gazette
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February 17, 2006

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I CAPE GAZETTE Friday, Feb. 17 - Monday, Feb. 20, 2006 - 113 FOOD DRINK . John McDonald Jack Clemon$ photo The creamy tartness of Key lime combines with delicate chocolate in this creative Key lime tarts a unique creation I had originally planned a different topic for this week - you'll be able to read about some culinary Mardi Gras traditions next week - but I decided instead to share the results of a recent experiment (since it worked out!). I made, chocolate shells for Key lime tarts - using balloons for molds. The first step was the purchase of some "candy melts." These are small wafers made of sugar, milk solids, vegetable oils and fla- vorings. Available in a variety of colors, they are the perfect consistency for melting and forming into candy shapes. For the molds I bought the largest bag of balloons I could find (a full quarter-pound). Just in case the balloons were a bust (no pun intended) I also acquired a regular candy mold in the "Roses in Bloom" pattern as backup.. The basic process is fairly simple: place the candy melts in the top of a double boiler; stir into a smooth syrup; pour the liquefied candy into the molds; and chill until set. The balloon process was a little trickier. Here are some tips I learned (by making sev- eral mistakes). Don't use large balloons as they are hard to keep upright. Don't blow up the balloons completely or they will pop when they touch the melted candy. Don't dip the balloons directly into the pot or they will pop if they hit the sides. Don't try to remove the balloon until the mold is set or you will have a lovely pile of candy chips. Don't untie the balloon to deflate it while it's still inside the candy shell or you may have a catch it mid-flight Don't pop the balloon to remove it from the shell or you will have a pile of even smaller candy chips. Once you've mastered the technique, you can fill the shells with ice cream, pudding or CAPE FLAVORS Denise Clemons fruit, and decorate with chocolate chips or sprinkles. Or, you can use these beautiful, one-of-a-kind creations to hold a delicious Key lime filling. Your mouth is not expecting the creamy tartness of the Key lime and com- bining it with the delicate chocolate shell is a wonderful surprise. The response from my test kitchen audience of Bob, Terry, Wayne, Denise, Jen and Jack was overwhelmingly positive. In fact, we're having some for dessert tonight. BALLOON-MOLDED CHOCOLATE SHELLS 10 to 15 small balloons 14-ounce bag of candy melts Inflate the balloons about halfway and knot to close. Over a medium heat, bring water to a boil in the bottom of a double boil- er. Place the Candy pieces in the top and stir constantly uil the consistency is smooth and all the cindy is melted. Remove pan from the heat.: Using a wooden spoon, scoop up some meled candy and spread over the bottom half of a balloon in a thick layer, turn- ing the balloon against the spoon to coat completely. Place the balloon on wax paper to harden, candy side down. Once the shell is firm (about! 10 to15 minutes), use the knot as a handle to ently pull away the skin of the balloon from (he inside of the shell. Once all the edges are!freed, tug carefully to release the bottom of the balloon. Fill (chill if nec- essary) and serve. Yield: approximately 12 shells. m CREAMY KEY LIME FILLING 8 oz cream e$eese, softened 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk 1 C undiluted evaporated milk 1/2 C Key lime juice Iri a small nixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. I Gradually pour in sweetened condensed nlk and evaporated milk, beat- ing constantly until smooth. With mixer on medium speed, slowly add lime juice and beat for 1 minute as the mixture thickens. Pour into 9-inch graham cracker pie crust, filo dough shells or prepared candy shells. Chill for at le*st 1 hour. Prior to serving, let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Garnish with berries, chocolate shavings or candy hearts. I Note: if you can't find the authentic Florida Key West Key Lime Juice, the ver- .sion sold in fi plastic lime-shaped squeeze container is a reasonable substitute. Email comments or questions to capefla- vors@ I W I N E Understanding wine-food affinity This week ! want to focus on some Loire Valley wines. These lend themselves so well to enjoyment with seafood, but many who try them to sip find they are too dry or too tart and shy away. The wines of the Loire, in most cases, are made for food and it is unwise to compare them with chardonnay, which is less food friendly. If any region in the world is known for pro- ducing seafood friendly wines and is sim- ilar to our area, it is the Loire. Take a look at a world map and you will be made aware why this is so. Both regions, the Chesapeake and the Loire, are found in the same latitudes; the Atlantic and other large estuarial bodies of water influence them and they both have a great deal of fiat tidal farmland. In fact the tidal areas are so similar, I often wonder why vintners in our area haven't spent more time trying to develop Sauvignon Blanc, one the vinifera of the Loire, since they don't require chalky soil but enjoy it. I am equally sure that I am not the first person to whom this has occurred. I have not really delved into the reasons. I will speculate that we don't get the early morn- ing fog that is prevalent in the Loire River Valley and perhaps these grape types need its protection and coolness to thrive. Another possibility is the lack of lime- stone or marl soil types. Maybe my long- time friend and local vineyard expert Peggy Raley will be kind enough to email at or give me a call, some time, to give me the answer to this seeming conundrum. My first pick to sample was Pascal Jolivet Sancerre, Chateau du Nozay, 2002. This-selection was given fairly high scores by several other writers and my sampling indicates somewhere in the low 90s is fair. Keep in mind that wines of the Loire rarely reach a 90 pt. score. They are usual- ly not made to cellar and the snobbery of the trade relegates short-lived wine to less- er scores, regardless the satisfaction they provide. The Jolivet was quite aromatic with the expected mineral aroma tucked into its varietal nose. This gave way to sharp flavors of gooseberries, lemon zest and flint. Considering its lineage, it is rich with a long well balanced and juicy finish. I particularly enjoyed the intense flavors that continued through to the end. Best of all, you will be able to buy this wine under $30 per bottle. Although this isn't truly for the cellar it should continue to drink well through 2006. Continued on page 114