Monday, February 21, 2011
So I finally finished my challenge and knocked out the Crème Brûlée. My sister was very happy about getting to finally taste it. I was happy because I successfully accomplished a challenging dessert. With each dessert I finish I feel like I'm adding weapons to my arsenal. I can imagine myself now serving this to guests at a fancy dinner party. I would be just like Ina Garten, doing all the hard work while I'm alone and then schmoozing with all my guests who will be shocked when I bring a special dessert out of the kitchen. But enough fantasizing for now, lets get back to the main event. The Crème Brûlée was easy to put together. I mean who would have thought that you could make such a fancy dessert with only cream, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla. But believe it or not that’s all I used. Maybe the food Gods felt so bad for charging $10 for ONE vanilla bean that they decided four ingredients would have to do. After I created the mixture I had to bake and cool for 2 hours. Right around this time my sister asked "How come when you order Crème Brûlée in a restaurant it comes so fast." This is when I informed her that all the hard waiting was probably done overnight while we sleep. When the waiting was over it was time to brown the sugar on the top. Now because I do not have a personal blow torch, and probably wouldn't be allowed to use one in my moms house anyways, I used the broiler. It was faster then I expected. In a matter of minutes I had a finished bubbling dessert. I served it immediately after allowing the sugar topping to harden just enough to create a crackling crust. The only tool needed now was a spoon. I cracked through the sugary shell and revealed the luscious custard below. It was soft and slightly warm against my tongue. As I brought each spoonful to my mouth the perfume of vanilla entered my nose and made for a rather sensual experience. Of course all good things come to an end, however the recipe made 8 individual cups. I see another Crème Brûléeexperience in my future. That's all for now.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
These are the cookies featured in the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox. A movie that I have fallen in love with over the past couple of weeks. I really made them on a whim after arriving at my mama's house with nothing to do. Surprisingly I had many of the ingredients already. But I did have to go to the store for some of the spices. After getting over the shock of paying $10 for a bottle of ground clove that I only used a "pinch" of I was on my way to make them. It was a rather simple recipe. A little out of the ordinary pattern of cookie making but still easy to do. The hardest part was trying to get the apples sliced thinly enough while maintaining a full apple slice. Once baked the end product was beautiful. Even more so then I expected. I think the pretty star shape I got in the middle of my apples added such an artsy appeal to the cookies. While "voraciously" devouring the cookies I kept replaying my favorite scene from the movie in my head. It's the part when Fantastic Mr. Fox says to his son "Where did you get that nutmeg ginger apple snap and why are you wearing that fake bandit hat." Hahaha. It's so funny. My only regret is that I didn't have any of Farmer Bean's prized cider. I can imagine it right now. Like Melted Gold!: o )
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Here it is everyone! I finally accomplished the Chocolate Soufflé. After much anxiety and stress I did it. I really don't know what lit the fire under me today but I just woke up and wanted to make the Soufflé. Surprisingly it was not that difficult. My advise for anyone trying a Soufflé for the first time is organization. Make sure you have all of your ingredients ready to go and set up. This really helped me get thru the process smoothly. Once everything was in order it was as easy as melting butter. Every step just flowed into the next like a well orchestrated symphony. I even stayed calm during the egg white whipping step, which haunted many of my Soufflé nightmares. I have never whipped egg whites into anything let alone stiff glossy peaks. But once I had the confidence of knowing everything was in order I flew right by this stage. Once the Soufflés were in the oven the worrying began. I wanted to avoid making any noise that could beat down the fluffy clouds I created. To my surprise the 15 minute cook time went by fast and when I opened the oven I have perfectly risen Soufflés. They were so pretty I almost forgot I needed a picture. I quickly picked up the hot ramekin and set it on a white plate just in time. After that was the tasting, which was the of course best part. The warm chocolaty clouds melted in my mouth like cotton candy. The first spoon was so sinfully good that when I opened my eyes I was filled with joy when I saw I had more to come. Each bite was just as rich and delicious as the first. I moved quickly thru the cup of goodness making sure not to miss a morsel. Before I knew it I was on the last bite looking at an empty ramekin. This was by far the biggest up/down experience I have had with a dessert in my life. One minute I was flying high on the wings of baby chocolate clouds and the next I was alone holding a cooled cup of empty. But with the recipe being so easy I am sure to try this one again. It will be the perfect ending to any meal. In this case maybe EVERY meal. : )
These are the cupcakes I made for a friend. Her son's birthday party is today and she wanted something inspired by Iron Man. These may look easy but let me tell you it wasn't. The biggest problem I had was with the red frosting. I never realized how much red food coloring you need to make red frosting. I used the entire food coloring bottle and then some extra but I was still at pink. Not to mention the fact that the more food coloring you add the more bitter the flavor gets. I couldn't serve that to the crowd so I had to rush to the store to get a red icing that would work. Two trips and $20 later I found something that I could bring myself to serve. It worked well enough once I got it loaded into my cookie press. Which by the way is also a frosting master. After that crisis I was able to get the cupcakes frosted and in their boxes. I did however have to remove the toppers to get the boxes to close. I'm not sure how they looked at the party but they turned out pretty good for me. I hope everyone enjoys them. We all know kids are the toughest critics.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
This was a quick decision recipe. I saw a cornbread being made on TV and wanted to try it. It looked simple enough so I decided to change it a bit and add bacon. I guess I'm trying to branch out from the recipe and try my own things. I am so glad I did. The texture was moist and the bacon was the perfect partner to the sharp Vermont cheddar. Combined with the sweet cornbread it was the perfect bite of food. My mom served it with chili and I think my dad ate it as a meal by itself. I do have to thank my sister for taking this professional looking picture. She even included a slice of bacon in the background to give it that special touch. She would make a great food stylist. Maybe she should think about a career change. You never know.
This cookie recipe came to me while I was looking at foodporndaily.com. Now anyone who knows about food porn knows that they do not offer recipes. This is my only problem with the website. They show you these great looking dishes and then leave you hanging with no way to make it. Unless of course you get creative and start designing your own cookie like I did. I wanted to make this cookie taste like a steaming hot cup of cocoa laced with cinnamon sticks. This might sound a little strange but I love o add cinnamon to my cocoa. There is something about that smell of cinnamon spice that adds another level to the cocoa. I searched online for different recipes and finally came up with this. Of course there was creaming and sifting like all the other cookies and then spooning and baking. Nothing was too different from what I'm used to except the intense smell of cinnamon and chocolate as I opened the door to uncover the finished cookie. It was so mouth-watering. I immediately was brought back to a time when I sat in front of a warm fire place sipping a cup of cinnamon hot chocolate. The smell was so good I couldn’t wait to taste tem. I grabbed one and broke it down the middle. The mini chocolate chips I used oozed at with the pressure of my finger leaving the soft center vulnerable to my attack. I took one bite and was hooked. My friends and family felt the same I guess because they were mostly gone by morning. I know this recipe will make it to my bakery one day. I think I will call it a spiced cocoa cookie. Sounds like music to my ears.