Tuesday, September 30, 2008

TWD: Creme Brulee

For your consideration: Crème Brulee from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 393, featured this week on Tuesdays with Dorrie.

Simple to make, easy elegance. Breakfast of Champions. I waited until the last minute and made these last night. I just (just) toasted these up and needed to taste test them to be sure they passed muster. I have a butane torch (thanks D!), but haven’t quite figured out how to use it yet. I’m a little freaked out by it and am afraid I’ll scar myself for life, but DH said he’d help me work it out. Since it’s 8:00 am and he’s already left for work, here they are brulee’d under the broiler. Yummy, but way too sweet to eat the whole thing before 8:00 am.

I made a half batch (yes I used 1.5 egg yolks) and made 3 ramekins. I followed an idea from Dorie’s Playing Around cooks notes and made espresso brulees, but didn’t feel like cheesecloth, beans and straining, (oh my) and following the recipe to the letter, so I added a small palmful – maybe about 2 tablespoons – of instant espresso powder to the cream mixture before whisking into the egg mixture. Works for me.

This was a good recipe and the caramelized sugar was crunchy and had nice texture. If I make this again, next time I’ll use less sugar in the custard. I can’t be sure if the added sweetness was because I messed with the recipe and cut it in half, or if this is the way it was intended. The espresso powder really adds an interesting flavor that lingers on the tongue.

Side note: Remind me to test the temperature of my oven and then see if I need to (or if I can) recalibrate it. I think it’s off, as this recipe took longer than I think it should have to cook, just like the Dimply Plum Cake.

Thanks to Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake for choosing this recipe. To see what all the other TWDers did with this recipe, check out the blogroll here. If you'd like to try making Crème Brulee for yourself, you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Dip for Mr Dennis - Country Pork Spareribs

Yes, it’s an AB sort of weekend. I wanted to make these country pork ribs on the grill. Typically I do ribs one of several ways. I either par-boil them and then baste with sauce on the grill (like my daddy showed me) or else I’ll brine them. Today was a brine day. Why brine? Visit here for a complete scientific explanation. Alton Brown, King of the Briners had a great visual example of the brining process using Barbie dolls, but I can’t find it online. Anyway, he has an interesting brine for pork in his James Beard award-winning cookbook I’m Just Here for the Food”. This is a great cookbook that is also a “how-to” and “why-to” of cooking. Can you say SCIENCE?! Along with the recipe, he shares that “Mr. Dennis” is a euphemism for the family pig.

A Dip for Mr. Dennis
Adapted from Alton Brown’s “I’m Just Here for the Food”

Target cut of pork
1 tablespoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
1 ½ cups kosher salt (I cut it by half to ¾)
½ cup molasses

Tea ball or paper coffee filter and string
Medium stockpot
2-gallon plastic bucket

Combine spices in tea ball or tie them securely into a paper coffee filter and place in pot with salt and molasses. Add water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Remove tea ball and discard the spices; pour the liquid into the bucket and add the meat. Allow the meat to brine for at least 6 hours or as long as 12 hours. Remove the meat from the pan, pat dry and immediately cook as desired.

Since I was only using about 5 large “ribs” I cut the amount of salt way back and marinated for about 2 hours. I rinsed the meat off before cooking as well. Grill over med-high heat until juices run clear. Lip-smackin’ pork goodness.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers, September 2008: Lavash Crackers

I am now a Daring Baker and this is my first project!

September 2008: The Challenge: Make vegan and/or gluten free Lavash Crackers and create a dip/spread/salsa/relish to accompany it. As chosen by Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, and co-host Shelly, of Musings From the Fishbowl, chose Lavash Crackers from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread.

I was a little intimidated by this concept, but that’s the point of Daring Bakers – challenging yourself to do that which has not been attempted before. I assembled all my ingredients and started in. I had read a question from another DB newbie about using her brand new KitchenAid stand mixer to make the dough. Hmmm, if I did that I would miss out on all the kneading action and I wouldn’t be stretching myself and trying new things. Be Daring! I did think however that it that might be interesting to compare the differences between machine kneaded dough and hand kneaded dough, so I did it both ways as an experiment (and you know how I love experiments!)

The first batch of dough I did in the mixer and it was ok. I didn’t think that it got kneaded enough, and when I baked up these batches, I had a lot of air bubbles come thru. As for the “by hand” dough, 10 minutes of kneading was way not enough. 15 minutes was not enough. Turns out 20 minutes worked for me. It’s rather relaxing once you get over watching the clock and I could feel it change texture and morph into something entirely different than when I began.

Since I had plenty of dough I made 4 different types of crackers. For each one I rolled over the toppings with the rolling pin to imbed them into the dough so they wouldn’t flake off.

Rosemary, basil and sea salt.

Hungarian paprika, poppy seed, ground mustard and sea salt,

Plain sea salt (not pictured as it's kind of boring looking)

And a sweet variation: cinnamon sugar (gotta have my magic sprinkles!), slivered almonds and coconut.

I tried using cookie cutters, but the first 3 shrank up so badly, I ceased and desisted. Interesting how those puffed up like little pillows!

Now for the dip. Fun fun fun! I roasted about 6 heads of garlic the other night (which I'll post soon!), knowing I wanted to do something garlicky with the dip. Again, it had to be vegan and/or gluten free. I had a number of homegrown tomatoes gifted to me that needed to be used up before they got funky so I combined the two in my Magic Bullet (love that thing) and pulsed slightly until I got a nice chunky salsa-eque dip. Chiffonade of basil leaves and ooooooooh so yummy. I am quite anti-oxidated right now.

Many thanks to Natalie and Shelly for choosing this gluten free and vegan recipe. To see what all the other DBers did with their Lavash, check out the blogroll here. If you'd like to try making either one of these recipes for yourself, you can find the recipe in Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread. or see below.

Lavash Crackers

Recipe Reference: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.

Here's a simple formula for making snappy Armenian-style crackers, perfect for breadbaskets, company and kids...It is similar to the many other Middle Eastern and Northern African flatbreads known by different names, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret and mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish), and pideh (Armenian). The main difference between these breads is either how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, or the type of oven in which they are baked (or on which they are baked, as many of these breads are cooked on stones or red-hot pans with a convex surface)...The key to a crisp lavash,...is to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets.

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar ( I used sugar, and would have used honey if not vegan)
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.
2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.

4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).
7. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Daddy Makes Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Sunday is “Daddy Makes Breakfast” day. Daddy makes “real” breakfast: bacon, toast or English muffins slathered with butter, eggs, French toast or like today, pancakes. A few weeks ago when I bought blueberries, it was blueberry pancakes. Today it’s Chocolate Chip Pancakes. (YES! I AM going to use up these chips this century! Now don’t get me wrong, these chips are adorable, but they have almost no chocolate taste whatsoever.)

I have a big mason jar filled with Alton Brown’s “Instant Pancake Mix” or sometimes DH just uses Bisquick. Hey, I say, as long as you’re making breakfast honey, you can do what-eh-va you want, as long as you clean it up. I generally don’t eat starch for breakfast, so the boys and Daddy chow down on his masterpieces.

The secret to add-ins for pancakes like chips and blueberries is to dole out the batter first and then put the extra ingredients on the uncooked “second side”. When you flip the flapjacks, the add-ins will get incorporated beautifully with no running or clumping. For blueberry pancakes, they’ll stay pancake color and not turn that funny blue-gray color.

You can freeze any leftovers by layering them with waxed paper and then keeping them in a zip top bag. For reheating, I just throw ‘em in the toaster. :)

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Black Bean Taco Pasta

As usual, I lost track of time and had nothing planned for dinner. I wanted something pasta, something fast (!), something not necessarily low fat/cal but something that had protein but not meat per se as I’m trying to scale back on the amount of that I use on a weekly basis. Back from my Weight Watchers days, I remembered I had a recipe for Taco Soup (supposedly a “One Point” recipe for those of you in the know). I modified my original recipe to be kid friendly – they liked it, but next time I need to only use a tablespoon or so of the taco seasoning instead of the whole pouch. (Mommy, this is a little “spicy”.)

Black Bean Taco Pasta
Serves 4

EVOO for sautéing onions/garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Taco seasoning (pouch)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
½ cup sour cream
Kosher salt
Fresh parsley, chopped
½ - ¾ pound uncooked gemelli pasta

Boil pasta according to package directions. In the meantime, in a large skillet, on medium high heat sauté the onions and garlic in the EVOO until soft. Add the taco seasoning and stir briefly until powder is absorbed. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, corn and beans, deglazing the pan if needed. Bring mixture to a simmer. Add sour cream and stir thoroughly. Cook for about 5 minutes for flavors to meld and sauce to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss cooked gemelli pasta with sauce, sprinkle with parsley, serve and enjoy.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TWD: Dimply Plum Cake

For your consideration: Dimply Plum Cake from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 41, as part of the Tuesdays with Dorie baking clan.

I was initially inspired to make this plum cake based on a post by Smitten Kitchen and then when it popped up on the TWD "to-do" list I knew it was meant to be. This was super easy to make although it took wayyyy longer than 40 minutes to cook through. I wound up resetting the timer several times and had to cover the top with foil to prevent it from becoming too brown. I think overall it was in for an extra 25-30 minutes. No big deal there though.

My plums were of such a size and shape that I only fit 12 plums on mine, (the recipe called for 16) but that was plenty for full plummy, yummy effect.

I haven’t sliced into it yet, but the batter was really, really good! There’s a teacher birthday at school tomorrow and I’m bringing it for her celebration. I’ll report back on the flavor then.

Many thanks to Michelle of Bake-en for choosing this recipe. To see what all the other TWDers did with this Dimply Plum Cake, check out the blogroll here. If you'd like to try making either one of these recipes for yourself, you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.

(Hey, you lookin' at me?)

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

2 Experiments: 1 Pass, 1 Fail (Part Two: the Pass)

I think I am sufficiently recovered to go on. Immediately after I took the debacle that was the cake yack blobs out to the trash, I see No Thank You Boy/Science Boy picking through it. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You KNOW those things are gross! Get OUT of there! NOW! Turns out that he wasn’t looking for the blops he was looking for a soda bottle. He had taken a book out of the school media center about science experiments (I think it was called Really Messy Loud and Stinky Exploding Experiments You Can Do In The Comfort of Your Own Home), and was gathering materials to make an Exploding Volcano. I knew he was collecting materials because the kitchen chair was pulled up next to the open doors of the pantry and all my stuff had been rifled through. Exploding Volcano. Sigh. As long as it’s outside, I’m too tired to argue and I need something to cheer me up and no you may not use my paste food coloring, use the drops.

Directions to make an Exploding Volcano. You will need:

Empty 2 liter soda bottle
¼ cup baking soda
1 Tbsp. dishwashing liquid (in the cow :))
Food coloring (liquid)
½ cup vinegar

Add the baking soda, (note the fresh "swimmer hair" on the left)

dishwashing liquid,

and a few (I said a FEW!) drops of food coloring to the soda bottle. Take the bottle outside (or in the sink or bathtub) and slowly pour the vinegar into the bottle.
You may need to shake it to get things going.
The reaction of the baking soda and vinegar mixed with the soap will create bubbles that will spew out of the bottle (note: spew, not explode). The kids were able to squeeze the bottle and make them come out a little faster (and into their faces). The experiment created a very lovely yellow patch in the grass, but considereing that we're in a drought and it's half dead anyway, this is not a tragedy.
PASS. This was easy – much easier (and neater) than I thought it was going to be. Thank goodness. I will re-tackle those cake balls though, and soon. You have been warned.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2 Experiments: 1 Pass, 1 Fail (Part One: the Fail)

(preface) No Thank You Boy is also Science Boy, Engineer Boy, Lego Boy and Experiment Boy. He takes after his mother who loves chemistry, physics and all nature of scientifical things. We aren’t afraid to try new things to see if they will work and learn cool new stuff. This insight will become relevant momentarily.

(Chapter One)
While I’m moving the container housing the TWD Whopper Drop Boomerang I say to myself, “Self! Hey, here’s a great idea! Why don’t you use this big hunk of whopper drops to make Cake Balls? I saw those Cake Balls and they looked like a fantastic idea! Using these will be awesome! The kids will love it! You will love it! You can post it on your blog! Yay!” So with the highest of hopes I went and found Bakerella’s Cake Balls recipe. Ingredients: cake (check), frosting (check), chocolate bark (check), little sticks (check), food coloring (check).

So I chop up the whopper dropper boomerang into whopper dropper chunks and put them in a bowl. Checking my stash of pantry fodder I find a can of Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Frosting and mix it in. Note to self: Duncan Hines Canned Cream Cheese Frosting SUCKS BIG TIME. DO NOT EVER, EVER, EVER BUY IT AGAIN. You will convulse into violent, wrenching dry heaves at the merest suggestion of it.

What I am now looking at in the bowl will be lovingly (and most accurately) described later by my three children. For now, I take this very sticky cat yack and try rolling it into balls. Right. Not gonna happen. So I blop them onto the cookie sheet in ballish, clumpie, ah, blops and throw it into the freezer in hopes of firming them up enough to make proper balls later.

Now at this point I’m thinking, “This tastes like shit and looks even worse, but in the name of SCIENCE! I will keep going and maybe at least master the technique of creating cake balls so that this won’t be a total loss.” Pressing onward, I melt the chocolate bark. I chose white bark to be able to test out a food coloring idea I have. I used the real stuff food coloring. I used too much real stuff food coloring. I wound up with fluorescent yellow bark. Scary fluorescent yellow bark. SCIENCE!! (the technique, focus on the technique!)

I keep going. I take the blop balls out of the freezer and try to make ROUND blop balls out of them. (Do I really need to touch every one of these at this point?) SCIENCE!!! The Little One comes up and immediately recoils at the sight of the tray of cat yack blops. (Hey honey, wanna help me stick sticks into these? EEEEEyeH! WHAT ARE THEY?!) Holding his nose, he gingerly helps me stick the sticks in. Now we’re ready for the dee-licious candy bark coating. I try dunking one of the cake blops into the bark but it’s so thick that it won’t dip properly. (For the record, I am really good at making real chocolate dipped strawberries, apricots and other things. People clamor for my dipped treats. They do. Really. Pinkie swear.)

Hmm. Thick bark. I make my dipping chocolate ah, dippier by adding a little shortening, maybe that will help here. Alas, but no. No, it won’t. In fact it will make it much, much worse and turn the “dip” into a thick unspreadable concrete-like paste. Two steps backwards. Great. Remember: SCIENCE!!!!
What if I add oil? No!
More heat? No!!
Water? (I’m way past even considering “edible” at this point and I’m into full Science Girl Mode trying to see what happens if I do This?)

I finally got out the camera realizing that I needed to document this technicolor nightmare.

Oh, water made it spreadable allright.

The big kids come in. “AAAAAHHHHH!!!! WHAT IS THAT????? Chicken balls!? Tuna balls!? Cat Throw-Up Balls!? Barf Balls!? You’re not that far off, kids.

I present Exhibit A:

1. Nekkid cake blop
2. Cake blop dipped in thick bark
3. Cake blop schmeared with paste-like bark
4. Cake blop dipped in runny 3-Mile Island nuclear reactor meltdown bark

The Messy One (who’ll try almost anything once), bravely took a bite of specimen #2 – cake blop dipped in thick bark. It didn’t even make it to the molars. He took a bite and then went running into the bathroom and let it just fall out of his mouth into the toilet. Blop. True spitting would have had to involve additional tongue contact.

Bill Nye has left the building, folks. The whole mess went right into the trash, and not just in, but out. Wrapped, bagged, tagged and kicked to the curb. I bet even the raccoons won’t mess with it and eat them. If they do, I’ll bet we’ll see them glowing in the forest like little woodland creature nightlights. Or find nuggets of neon ‘coon poo dotting the countryside.

I turn to you, my fabulous foodie friends for help. I implore you - where did I go astray? When did I cross over to the Twilight Zone where my vision of ethereal cake balls became effluvial cat yack blops? Was it the crappy frosting? (I confess I may have added too much to the boomerang chunks in the first place.) What about the bark? (yes, I nuked it.) I need brand names of ingredients, people! I need manufacturers! I need answers! I need… I need a quiet moment to myself.

This however was not to be, for you see, Science Boy had spotted the food coloring…..

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TWD: Granola Grabbers rewind

I’m doing a rewind as I don’t have THAT much chocolate (or cash!) in the house at the moment to make the $$ Chocolate Chunkers, page 70, that the rest of the TWDers are making this week.

For your consideration: Granola Grabbers from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 82, featured back on August 19, 2008 on Tuesdays with Dorie.

I’m generally not really crazy about raisins in cookies, therefore I swapped out just a sprinkling of chocolate chips for the raisins in this recipe. I also only made a half batch since I am a little cookied out as of late and can easily dispose of 2 ½ dozen in places other than my thighs or butt.

Surprisingly, these came together pretty easily as I was wondering while reading the recipe – what holds these things together? (there’s almost no flour.) Yup, butter and sugar. And an egg.Yes I did it again. Stupid stupid stupid.

I scooped out 2 trays and popped them in the oven. To the remaining dough I added some cinnamon to change it up a little. Both ways are good. Like the other TWD cookies I’ve made thus far, these are not so wonderful straight out of the oven. They need to rest a little and are best warm or cool. I was expecting a holy moly granola-y wheat germy flavor, but that’s not the case. They taste like regular cookies and are pretty good at the right temperature. I liked these but they aren’t anything that I absolutely NEED to make ever again, unless it’s to use up the monster jar of wheat germ I bought to make this recipe. Any thoughts on what to do with that???

Thanks to Michelle of Bad Girl Baking for choosing this recipe. To see what all the other TWDers did with these Granola Grabbers OR this week’s selection, Chocolate Chunkers, check out the blogroll here. If you'd like to try making either one of these recipes for yourself, you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

A Chocolatini for Susan

Susan over at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy Chewy is celebrating her 1 Year Blogiversary on Wednesday the 17th! She's throwing a virtual cocktail party and I'm bringing the Chocolatinis. Smooth, sweet and creamy these certainly go with everything she's been dishing out on her blog.

Congratulations Susan! Thanks for all the great recipes and fun. Cheers and here's to many more!

Serves 4 -6

3/4 cup half-and-half or light cream
8 ounces chocolate liqueur
2 ounces vodka
premium cocoa powder for dusting rim of glass

Wet rims of four to six chilled martini glasses and dip into cocoa powder. Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice; shake vigorously. Strain into glasses and enjoy responsibly.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Plum Galette (cheater's version)

I have several yummy plums that I was going to make something with, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. So before they disintegrated I decided to make a plum galette that was inspired by the TWD recipe floating around the blogosphere. It was from before I joined the group so I didn’t officially make it. It’s not official now either in the strictest sense as I am (YES!) using up more stuff out of my treasure trove of a freezer. Pre-made pie crust - check - scratch one of those off the list.

This was so simple to put together and it was so delicious. I need to remember this one as a pull-it-out-of-my, um, sleeve for a fast but impressive dessert. I used two plums and apple butter for the jam portion of the program. The plums and the apple butter were fantastic together! I'm glad I only made a small one as I would have felt compelled to eat it all.

Summer Fruit Galette
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours
Makes one small galette

Good For Almost Everything Pie Dough (or a single crust, chilled or premade crust)
2-3 tablespoons jam or marmalade (I used apple butter)
2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
Fresh summer fruit: about 10 apricots, 8-10 nectarines, 8 ripe but firm peaches, 8-10 firm plums or 2 stalks rhubarb (I used 2 plums and cut them up into thin slices)
Decorating (coarse) or granulated sugar, for dusting

For the Custard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 scant cup sugar
1 large egg
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat to oven to 425 degrees F. Unroll one premade pie crust. With the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula, spread some of the jam in the center- how much will depend of the jam flavor you want. Sprinkle over the crumbs, adding a little more than 2 tablespoons if you think you’ve got particularly juicy fruit.

Arrange the fruit on the dough, cut side down if using stone fruits, then gently lift the unfilled border of dough up and onto the filling.

As you lift the dough and place it on the filling, it will pleat. Brush the dough very lightly with a little water, then sprinkle it with a teaspoon or two of sugar. Bake galette for 25 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the fruit is soft.

Meanwhile, make the custard. Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in a bowl; set aside until needed. Remove the baking sheet from the oven (leave the oven on), and carefully pour the custard around the fruit. Depending on how much juice has accumulated and how much space you have between the fruit, you may not be able to pour all the custard into the galette, but even 2 tablespoons can give the right effect. Pour in as much custard as you can, then carefully return the pan to the oven. Bake for another 12 to 15 minutes, or until the custard is set- it shouldn’t jiggle when you gently shake the pan.

Cool the galette on the baking sheet on a rack for 10 minutes.Very carefully slide a small baking sheet or cake lifter under the galette and slip the galette onto a rack to cool. The galette can be served when it is just warm or when it has reached room temperature. Dust with confectioners sugar just before serving.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Someone Thinks I'm Brilliante!

While I was out, it seems that the awards gods have again smiled on me.

Nancy at A Recipe a Day gave me a Brillante 2008 award. Thanks Nancy, I’m so happy you like my blog! It’s really a nice feeling that people have run across my hatchlings musings and enjoy them.

I am passing this award along to some amazing chefs, bakers, bloggers and photographers. Your work inspires me and makes me want to cook (and sometimes laugh out loud!)
There are some rules that come along with the award and they are:

1. When you receive a diamond, make a post about it on your blog.
2. Name the blogger from whom you got it.
3. Award the diamonds to 7 other bloggers.
4. Link them.
5. Tell them they got one.

I hereby send this out to the following Brilliant Brillante Bloggers:

Annie’s Eats
Baking Bites
Christie’s Corner
Cookie Madness
Mimi on the Move
Nosh With Me
Thanks for your inspiration.

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Back to Business

Wow, that seemed like an eternity! One new modem, 6 phone calls to Bellsouth and many, many hours spent with customer service and then several more of pure freefall "hey, I'll try this because it's already so majorly screwed up that all I can do is move in the right direction or have it spontaneously combust" and I'm back online. I love those woo hoo woo hoo hoo snoopy happy dance moments. Thanks also to my computer guru Bry who almost always has a minute to listen to my ravings.

Now all I need to do is attend to countless emails and all 147 google reader entries...

Missed you guys.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

M.I.A. :(

Hi all-
I'll be missing in action until my internet connection gets fixed. They overnighted me a new modem and it arrived this morning, but I still can't connect. My very generous friend is letting me use her computer for a bit (hence this message), but I'll post more when things get worked out. Until then,

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

TWD: A Whopper of a Cookie

For your consideration: Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 85, featured this week on Tuesdays with Dorrie.

These were interesting cookies. I had several “Aha!” moments while making them

1. Aha! Ovaltine original is not the same as malted milk powder – it has “sugar” listed as the first of many ingredients. Nestle/Carnation’s Malted Milk has “wheat flour and malted barley extracts” as the first ingredient(s).

2. Aha! My countertops are not level.

3. Cool... Mt. Malted Milk.

4. Aha! I adore my sideswipe paddle more and more every time I use it.

5. must. use. up. these. stupid. chips. (no, I just can’t just throw them away, that would be wasteful.)

6. dough! (DOH!) or is it batter?

7. yee ha! scooper’s back in the saddle again.

8. I’m ready for my close-up now, Mr. DeMille.

9. A Whopper of a Whopper Cookie boomerang. Aha! Shoulda used wax paper in between for storing.

Despite the big hunk o’ cookie later, these were good. I did peel the pretty ones off the top and share them with school. Remember – they love treats!

Thanks to Rachel of Confessions of a Tangerine Tart for choosing this recipe. To see what all the other TWDers did with these whopper drops, check out the blogroll here. If you'd like to try making the Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops for yourself, you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

My First Major Award

Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs nominated me for this award! Thanks so much, Nancy... I {{heart}} your blog too!

The rules of the award are:
1. The winner can put the logo on their blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7-10 other blogs
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of those you’ve nominated.

There are so many sites I {{heart}} and subscribe to in my google reader. These are just a handful of the many talented and clever bloggers out there that I’d like to give a Major Award to.

Baking Obsession – I so aspire to be like Vera one day. Her photography is absolutely pitch perfect and the presentation is always so unique and unexpected.

Brown-Eyed Baker – Chelle has fabulous recipes and beautiful photography. I need to know her secret on how she stays so slim with all the baked goodies she whips up!

Chocolatechic – talks to you like you’re sitting across from her at the kitchen table. She blends her real-life day to day experiences with delightful recipes. I love that she shares pics of her family (and neighborhood!) with everyone.

Clumbsy Cookie – desserts and cookies with the occasional song lyric reference. What’s not to love?

Culinary in the Desert – Joe makes all manner of really good food from entrees to sides to (yes) dessert (with 2 “s”es). The pics of his blue-eyed pooch Gus will make your heart melt.

Dinners for a Year and Beyond – has recipes my kids might actually eat without a showdown. The fact that she also has a “No Thank You Boy” brings her even closer to my heart.

La Bella Cook – Bridgett has a great blend of sweet and savory recipes. I love her photography and the wide range of ingredients she uses.

Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy – Susan is a class act all the way around. Not only does she have the most amazing recipes, she has a great sense of humor and knows her way around the kitchen with a camera. Her éclair photos could go in a magazine.

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary – also named Lisa, she has great recipes and a wonderful wry sense of humor. Love the photos of her garden and food.

Vanilla Sugar – Dawn makes the most amazing looking desserts. Reading the actual recipes and looking at the great photography makes me want to jump up and start cooking (or eating).

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

“Quick” Quiche

I can only assume they were referring to the prep time. That was a snap. Cooking/actual time from oven to plate was 45 minutes to an hour later. The name is definitely misleading but very tasty and so well worth making. I made two so the next time I needed a "quick quiche" I could have one almost instantaneously.

Quick Quiche Recipe
courtesy Elizabeth Gilroy, Food Network

4 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup real mayonnaise (aka Hellman's :))
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup minced onions
Salt and garlic powder
8 ounces shredded Swiss or sharp cheddar cheese
1 package frozen chopped spinach
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Hand whip eggs, half-and-half, mayonnaise, and flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch, deep pie crust. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top is golden brown.

makes 1 quiche

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