I feel like I haven't shared an embarrassing story in a hot minute, so its due time you all get one. The theme for this month, Vision of Love, is inspired by a Mariah Carey song that reminds me of my childhood. "Not really a kid friendly song, Katie, so that's a little weird." I know, I know. But 1) it's a great song, 2) Mariah was on heavy rotation during my childhood, and 3) this story is definitely relatable for most kids of the 80s/90s and I am sure many of you have similar memories. So sit right there and I will tell you a story of how I came to Vision of Love (Fresh Prince reference in case you missed it).
Now to set the scene appropriately for this mini-series... The Fitzpatricks love music. We feel it in our bones and pumping through our veins. We (some might say unfortunately) are not afraid share our musical chops with any listening ear. The melodies and lyrics flow freely from mouths, and many times they are used to just fill empty space. Sometimes they are hit songs. Sometimes they are original scores, often made up on the spot much to the amazement of our audience.
My personal favorites of the Fitzpatrick Originals almost always involve the use of a name. For instance, there has been a recent resurrection of the classic, "Jimmy is a Good Boy," sung by no other than Jimmy Fitzpatrick himself. For those of you who don't know... that's my dad and the source of the genes that have blessed us with this natural talent. Other favorites include: "Kelly You are So Cool," "Tara Wake Up" and "Katie You're a Jerk, Jerk, Jerk." That last one does not rank as highly on my faves list as some of the others, but it's an honest song about a jerky child (totally grew out of it... cross my heart).
Had my parents not wanted us to focus on education and other activities, we definitely would've taken this show on the road. Who knows how big we could have been?
Much like this short tale is a piece of the puzzle is to the greater story I am telling, today's recipe is a building block of the confectionary world. Bark is one of the easiest desserts you can make. Get creative (like we do with our lyrics) and add in any combo of dried fruit, nuts, seeds, spices, herbs... the possibilities are endless. For this particular recipe I am using fresh pomegranate seeds and chopped up pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds). While both provide texture and crunch to the bark, the pomegranates also add a brightness to the rich dark chocolate that is somewhat unexpected yet makes a whole lot of sense when you bite into it. I have also made a dried cranberry, almond, and sea salt bark and a roasted peanut and popcorn bark, as two other examples of what you can do.
Stay tuned for Part II of this story and recipe series...
The Recipe: Pomegranate and Pepitas Bark
yields ~ 20-24 servings (dependent upon how much you break it up)
The Bits and Bobs:
10-12oz dark chocolate (can use chips or a bar broken up in pieces)
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (about one whole pomegrenate)
1/8 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), coarsely chopped
pinch sea salt
On low-medium heat, bring a pot of water to a simmer. Line a 9x13 baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat, set aside.
In a heat proof bowl over the simmering water, melt the chocolate. Stirring gently and often to avoid burning. Once smooth, remove from heat and wipe away condensation from bottom of the bowl.
Pour on prepared baking sheet and spread into a rectangular shape until about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Immediately sprinkle on the pomegranate and pumpkin seeds making sure to evenly disperse over the entirety of the chocolate. Sprinkle sea salt all over.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to cool and set up in the fridge for ~2 hours. Once hardened/set, use your hands or a knife to break up into pieces. Size and shape do not matter.