Shame on me. I’ve been a little tardy with my posting this week. As an apology, I’m posting two recipes that I’m calling “cheaters,” because you can put them together in NO time and together they almost amount to the time of making one meal. Chocolate bark is, like, the easiest thing ever. You can’t screw this up. You can’t even make this take more than 10 minutes. So, if you’re looking for a recipe to complain about, this ain’t it! But what this IS is the perfect thing to make as a holiday gift, for your children if you’re a busy working mom, or even just as an impressive looking dessert. Please also check out this BEAUTIFUL chocolate, tahini & pistachio bark!

What you need:

1 lb dark chocolate (I use the 72% bars from Trader Joes, but chocolate chips or regular chocolate bars are fine)

1/2-3/4 c assorted nuts/dried fruit–depends on how many “goodies” you want in your pieces (grab your favorite trail mix, assortment of dried fruit–dried cranberries, almonds and apricots are a great combo, but salty peanuts or broken pretzel pieces would be fantastic, too, I think)

1/2 tsp orange zest (*optional, but I forgot to put this initially)

1 piece of parchment paper and a baking pan (do NOT use wax paper–it will stick and ruin your day)

How to do it:

Melt the chocolate over a flame in a double-boiler OR in the microwave. While it’s melting, place your parchment paper on a pan and lay your nuts/fruit on it, spread out kind of evenly. Once it melts, add your orange zest.

Pour the chocolate over the nuts, directly onto the parchment paper. Tilt the pan back and forth so the chocolate evens out, somewhat. The thicker it looks, the thicker your pieces will be. The more you thin it out, well, you get the idea…Feel free to sort of spread it around with your plastic spatula.

Place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Once hard, break into pieces of bark and store in tupperware in fridge. Just a fair warning: this kinda melts quickly once it has been out of the fridge for a bit, so serve with napkins. Enjoy!

Now, on to cheater #2

Artichoke hearts, basil and shaved parmesan

At one of my favorite restaurants in Jerusalem, they serve a really simple and fantastic artichoke appetizer. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out how they made the marinade for the artichoke hearts so damn good. So, I just asked. And the answer was: we just open the jar. So, while I am normally one to make my bread instead of buy it, sometimes it pays to be lazy.

Serves: 2-3 people

What you need:

1 jar of artichokes “in brine” or in whatever marinade looks good to you

1/4-1/2 c of basil, cut into ribbons (how to do this here)

parmesan; shaved (the amount is up to you, but it should be about a piece of parmesan per artichoke)

How to do it:

Really? … Place the artichokes on the plate. Put the cheese next. Then the basil. Make it look pretty. Serve as a fast appetizer/lunch or side dish and enjoy!

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