Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TWD: Grandma's All-Occasion Sugar Cookies

Ulrike from Kuchenlatein was our host this week and she picked a fabulous sugar cookie, very festive! I thought these were super easy to make. I did both the slice and bake and rolled the dough in colored sugar before slicing. I also did the traditional cutouts. I loved these!

Check out the TWD website to see many other fabulous versions of these sugar cookies!

Monday, December 1, 2008

TWD: Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

I made the pie. It was quite the event. Then I got very sick. Then I went out of town for Thanksgiving. So, more details of my pie making to come later today, I hope.

Friday, November 28, 2008

CEiMB: Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

I made it. It was fabulous. More details and recipe to come later :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

CEiMB: Oven Fried Chicken

I have been finding it really hard to cook or bake lately. Work is kicking my butt! If that weren't enough, Jake has been super busy. He is gone pretty much every night. So with my work schedule craziness and his work schedule craziness, we have been doing very little cooking. It has been all about convenience these days.

All that to say I had to drag myself into the kitchen last night to make this week's recipe. And so glad I did!!! This week's selection was chosen by MacDuff. He chose this recipe out of a love for fried chicken. I loved this recipe just for the addition of a new chicken recipe.

I made a few alterations. I used white saltines because that is what I buy. I left of the sesame seeds and cayenne pepper because I didn't have any. I subbed in ground pepper and onion powder. I wanted to leave out the Dijon mustard because I really don't like mustard but in the end I found some honey mustard in the fridge and threw it in. I used boneless skinless chicken breasts and made chicken tenders.

I will definitely be making these again. I even cut up the leftovers onto a salad tonight so I had another convenient dinner.

Check out MacDuff's blog for the recipe and the new Craving Ellie in My Belly blog.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Not this week folks. I just couldn't make it happen. Please visit Isbelle or TWD to see rice pudding.

I promise to return next week with a special Thanksgiving treat-Dorie style!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I have to apologize for missing another week. My husband has been in the middle of rehearsals for an upcoming show that opens tonight! So, meals have been low key and quick.

Please head over to the new Craving Ellie in My Belly website to see Portobello Lasagna Rollups with Easy Tomato Sauce that everyone else cooked up this week! Our selection this week was chosen by Marthe.

Please head over to What's for Supper? by Natalie, new leader of CEiMB!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I am out of sugar!

Don't you hate when you think you have more of something on your pantry shelf and when you need it, its not there! TWD is not going to happen for me this week. I would make it late but I am leaving in the morning for a business trip to Boston!

Check out TWD website for everyone's Kugelhopf and thank you to The All-Purpose Girl for this week's pick!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Viagra Commercial

Sometimes I just can't help myself!


Who loves to win things??

Who loves new things for you kitchen??

I do, I do!!!

Check out Whitney's blog for a fabulous Thanksgiving giveaway!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

CEiMB: Sweet and Sour Brisket

In case you missed it a couple weeks ago, I've joined a new cooking group, Craving Ellie in My Belly. We are cooking from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger.

This week's selection was chose by Natalie from What's For Supper? It was a perfect pick for a comfort food night. I have been craving pot roast and this definitely hit the spot!

I cut the recipe in half and put the other half of the brisket in the freezer for a future meal. I only made a few minor ingredient changes. I left out the allspice berry of which I didn't have and added a pinch of both cinnamon and nutmeg. I also added a bag of carrots and cut up a few potatoes as a side.

I don't own a Dutch oven (yet, its on the Christmas list!) so I used my slower cooker. I put the carrots and potatoes right on the bottom and brisket on top with all the sauce. It could have used just a bit more sauce since the carrots and potatoes soaked some of that up.

I was pleasantly surprised by the ingredients and the flavor outcome. I never would have thought that beef, tomato sauce, raisins, chicken stock, cinnamon and nutmeg would all got together. But, I really loved it and my husband requested it to be a a regular meal this winter.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

This week's recipe was chosen by my very good friend Clara!! I was not surprised when I learned that Clara's selection was a cupcake. She has a LOVE of cupcakes! I was also not surprised to learn that Nikki twisted her arm to get the cupcake and that Clara really wanted to chose the White Chocolate Brownies! LOL You both never cease to make me laugh!!

Clara suggested that we decorate the cupcakes for Halloween. I'm not really a fan of the holiday, never really was but I do LOVE fall! In an effort to be festive, I purchased mini-cupcake liners decorated for Halloween which sadly you can't really see with a chocolate cupcake. I also purchased black and orange sprinkles. Then I added the fall pumpkin sprinkles that I received in a care package from my mother-in-law!

As for the cupcakes, I chose to make mini cupcakes in order to send them to Jake's rehearsal and feed the starving actors and actresses! I realized about half way into the baking process that the bittersweet chocolate I thought I had in the freezer I had already used. No problem, I have lots of chocolate stock piled! I pulled out some milk chocolate chips! They worked great.

Unlike many of my fellow TWD bakers, my cupcakes were not dry. Knowing that some were having trouble, I was careful not to over mix them and since they were mini I only baked for 10 minutes and pulled them out a tiny bit gooey so they didn't dry out.

These were very good, not mind blowing in flavor but still delicious!

Jake participated in decorating the cupcakes. He was Sprinkle Boy!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

CEiMB: Banana Cream Pie

Sorry folks. I know its only week 2 and I'm already having to bail. Wednesday afternoon bossman called and said I need you in Philly for the next 2 days. Its both a pro and con for my job. As much as I enjoy the traveling, it is not always convenient. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to make this as a re-wind. I was really looking forward to a healthy version of Banana Cream Pie.

Please visit Craving Ellie in My Belly to see what everyone else came up with. Thank you to Heather from Randomosity and the Girl for selecting this week's recipe.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TWD: Pumpkin Muffins

Yum, yum, yum!!! These were amazing, easy to make, delicious, flavorful, sweet and spicy! A new favorite in my book. I don't think I need any more words except, GO MAKE THEM!!

Thank you to Kelly for this week's selection. A fabulous fall recipe.

Ok, for the details of the recipe. I left out the nuts because all I had were peanuts and I just didn't feel like they were going to do justice. I also didn't have sunflower seeds for the top and didn't feel the need to spend the extra money.

I bought a fresh pumpkin and pureed my own instead of canned pumpkin. It was super easy, more to follow on that in another post.

Lesson learned this week: Don't crack the egg on the side of the bowl, while the mixer is running. For example, the beater might bump your hand, causing you to drop the entire egg into the batter. Luckily, my quite reflexes stopped the mixer so the shell was still in large enough pieces so I could pick them out easily. So far no one has complained of a crunchy muffin!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

CEiMB: Steak Tacos with Cucumber Avocado Salsa

Are you tired of cookies, chocolate, and only seeing baked goods on my blog? Then you've come to the right place because......I've joined a new event!! This time its a cooking and eating healthy event! Craving Ellie in my Belly or CEiMB is cooking out of Ellie Krieger's book The Food You Crave.

I must be a glutton for punishment as my blog has been severely lacking this past month. But, I'm thinking this might be just what I need to get my game back and better for the waistlines in this house.

My husband is excited about this one as well because he prefers cooking over baking so this is an event we can do together. We are always looking for healthier recipes. He also said this is something we can actually eat rather than taste and give away to someone! (Side note: Don't for a second think I'm leaving TWD though!)

So, thank you to Leigh for starting this new event! And thank to my good friend Clara for a hosting a great pick this week!

Now about this week's recipe...it was a great one for us to start with. We LOVE tacos and the like. I really loved the flavor of the steak. I omitted the cayenne pepper because we didn't have any but probably could have used that kick.

The salsa I was a little nervous about and therefore I ended up changing quite a bit. Basically I diced the cucumber and avocado and added the lime juice and salt to taste. My husband added red onion to his tacos and I diced up some tomato for mine. I had a bad experience with cilantro one time making my own salsa and hated it. I love things with flavor but not super spicy so I left out the jalapenos.

In the end I wanted to add sour cream and cheese for more flavor since I left most of it out but I resisted the urge to add fatty calories to my healthy dinner. I will be making this again, especially since I have a lot of red cabbage left even after buying the smallest one! Any good cabbage recipes out there?

For more information about this new event or to join us go to Craving Ellie in My Belly!

(I'm working on my photography skills. What do you think?!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TWD: Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

To my fellow bakers at TWD I am sorry for my slacking recently! My kitchen has not been dark; I just fell into a funk about posting to my blog. I really envy some of you!

I was really excited to make this recipe. If you look at the picture in the book, it makes you want to salivate all over the picture. Unfortunately I was disappointed with the end result. The recipe calls for an 8" springform pan, my is a 9" so I cut my baking time and my brownie came out dry. I also had more than a slight crater in the middle which is supposed to be normal, mine looked like a cave in.

As disappointed with the cake as I was I LOVED the caramel. I have never made it homemade before and I was really impressed. I was very careful to watch for fear it would burn but I had great success. I love this recipe just for learning how to make caramel.

Thank you Tammy for this weeks selection!

TWD: Chocolate Chunkers

I am not going to make this long an drawn out since this is so late and everyone has moved on from these but better late than never right! I can promise you these cookies were made on time and they were fabulous! Thanks to Claudia for hosting.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My blog needs a facelift!

Check this out! You could win a blog makeover! For those who actually read mine, I certainly could use something new here. However, for all my computer knowledge, I have no knowledge of graphic design!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

TWD: coming soon...

...they're in the oven now and the batter tasted amazing! Come back tomorrow to see the final product!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dedicated to My Husband!

How well do you know your husband/wife?

1. They are watching TV..... What are they watching?
Judge Judy, Jeopardy, Family Guy, Food Network

2. You're out to eat.what kind of dressing do they get on their salad?

3.What's one food this person doesn't like?
seafood, peas, corn (that's all I can think of at the moment but I know there are others)

4. You go out for a drink. He/she orders...
Alcoholic: Corona, Non: Diet Coke

5 Where did he/she go to high school?
Eliakim (the school his parents founded)
Faith Heritage

6.What size shoe do they wear?
10, depending on the show because one foot is slightly larger than the other

7. If this person were to collect anything, it would be?
Disney lithographs and musical posters

8.What is their favorite type of car?
he hates cars and prefers public transportation

9. This person could eat __________ everyday?
Chinese (if only it were calorie free and fat free!)

10.Favorite cereal?
Wegmans brand Frosted mini-wheats

11. This person wouldn't be caught dead wearing...
Something that didn't match; he wears pretty much anything (I think!)

12.Favorite sports team?
He's not a sports fan but I can list his top 3 favorite musicals! Miss Saigon, Ragtime and Chess

13.Who will he/she vote for?
I'm not sure he even knows who is running

14.What is their sign?
Aquarius (We don't follow these so I actually had to go look it up)

15.What is something you do that he wishes you didn't do?
I tend to be a little too anal

16.How many states has this person lived in?
New York, born and raised

17.What is his heritage?

18. You bake them a cake for their birthday....What kind do they want?
German Chocolate

19.Did he/she play sports in high school?
He didn't play sports

20. This person could spend hours....
playing the piano

Now... how well do you know your spouse? (JKnotties, this means you!)

P.S. I borrowed this my friend, Laura!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

TWD: Chunky Peanut Buuter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

A great cookie was chosen this week by Stefany of Proceed With Caution.

I only made slight changes to the recipe this week. My first change was by mistake. I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing and somehow completely forgot to add the nutmeg and salt. The nutmeg wasn't missed but the salt would have brought out the flavors more. Oops!
My pantry was lacking 1 of the total 3 cups of old-fashioned oats needed so I used 1 cup of quick cooking oats. I opted to use semi-sweet chocolate chips.

The peanut butter flavor is there but only a hint. If I had used raisins instead of chocolate chips I would have thought I was eating an oatmeal raisin cookie with the strong flavor of cinnamon. And the combination of oatmeal and chocolate reminded me of an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. In conclusion, I LOVED the 3-in1 cookie!

I strongly suggest visiting Stefany's website for the recipe and baking up a batch today. You won't be sorry!!

Tuesdays With Dorie

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chicken and Dumplings

Despite what it may look like, I do cook regular food type meals not just TWD delicacies! Though these pictures were taken the first time I made this, I have made it several times since then. It has become one of our favorites.

I remember chicken and dumplings being one of my mom's favorites so it was something we ate often in my house growing up. I know you don't think of a stew being something you want to make in the summer but this one comes together very quickly and using fresh summer vegetables makes it appealing 12 months of the year. I find it to be a great comfort food when I want to relax.

I have to give props to Rachael Ray because we really love this variation. I do want to make my own chicken stock but that I will save for a winter day! I've learned to double this so we have leftovers too.

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders (Remember to COOK them first)
1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1 russet potato, peeled and diced (skin can be on or off, we've done both)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced or thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped (I use my microplane to get all the flavor and none of the texture)
1 rib celery, diced
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 1/3 palm full
2 tablespoons flour, a handful
1 quart chicken broth or stock, canned or paper container, preferred brand Kitchen Basics
1 small box biscuit mix(preferred brand Jiffy Mix) (I use Bisquick)
1/2 cup warm water
Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup frozen green peas

Dice tenders into bite size pieces and set aside. Wash hands.

Place a large pot on stove over medium high heat. Add oil, butter, vegetables and bay leaf and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season mixture with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Add flour to the pan and cook 2 minutes. Stir broth or stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Add chicken to the broth and stir.

Place biscuit mix in a bowl. Combine with 1/2 cup warm water and parsley. Drop tablespoonfuls of prepared mix into the pot, spacing dumplings evenly. Cover pot tightly and reduce heat to medium low. Steam dumplings 8 to 10 minutes. Remove cover and stir chicken and dumplings to thicken sauce a bit. Stir peas into the pan, remove chicken and dumplings from heat and serve in shallow bowls.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte

Chocolate and Ice Cream...2 words I am very familiar with. Who wouldn't be excited about making a dessert that included both?!

I was really proud of myself this week...I made it early (because we were going out of town and I knew I would be too tired when I returned) and I only made 1/4 of the recipe (therefore, eating very little!)

The hardest part about this recipe is the time requirement. You have to freeze each layer before adding the next one. My variations lead me to use chocolate chip ice cream since it was already in the freezer. I still wanted the flavor of a liquor and the raspberries that Dorie uses. So, in one layer of ice cream, I mixed in amaretto and the other layer I mixed in a raspberry syrup. I just eye balled both amounts and later wished I had use more of both because the chocolate was very rich. I have found that Dorie loves bittersweet chocolate and I prefer semi sweet so I always adjust accordingly. This week I think I would have preferred Dorie's palate.

I made mine in a ramekin and since it doesn't have a removable bottom I lined it with parchment paper. I loved the way it looked when I pulled it out. A very eye catching dessert!

I did enjoy this recipe but I plan to play with it some more in the future. To quote my husband, "I enjoyed it. A little rich but tasty and decadent!"

This week's recipe was selected for us by Amy of Food, Family and Fun. You can see other torte variations by checking out the TWD blog roll!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TWD: Granola Grabbers

This week's edition of Tuesdays with Dorie is a good one! I am a big fan of cookies and oatmeal raisin are one of my favorites. My husband's favorite cereal is granola and he loves coconut so these were a big hit.

I made only a couple of slight changes. I used flax seed instead of wheat germ. I'm not really familiar with either so I didn't noticed any difference. Dorie suggests using granola without fruit because it is often too dry and therefore leaves the cookies dried out. My raisins seemed to be a bit dry on their own so I hydrated them in some warm water before adding them in. It worked great.

Thanks to Michelle of Bad Girl Baking for a great selection!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

TWD: Not this week

I'm afraid I had to miss yet another week of baking. We just returned from vacation and tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday) I leave again for a business trip to eastern Massachusetts. I fully intended to jump in the kitchen in between trips to whip up this week's recipe, Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity.

However, I didn't expected to be nearly so exhausted from our trip. Then, we woke up this morning to find our very own "ratatouille" (or mouse-ouille). I have an awesome husband who is taking charge but until he is gone I refuse to step foot in my kitchen.

In the mean time, I have tucked my blueberries into the freezer to be used in the future for this recipe. Please visit Tuesdays with Dorie to see everyone's ice cream.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

TWD: Black and White Banana Loaf

This week's recipe was chosen by Ashlee of A Year in the Kitchen. She chosen Dorie's take on banana bread. I personally love banana bread. I usually buy a couple extra bananas beyond what we can eat so I have a couple to throw in the freezer.

I decided not to make a loaf for a couple reason. I've only used my king size muffin pan once since I bought it and thought this would be a great opportunity to use it again. Some of my fellow bakers had some trouble with the batter being too runny and the loaf cooking for up to 2 hours and I just wasn't interested in having my oven on for 2 hours! I figured the cooking time would be less with a smaller surface area.

The batter came together pretty easily for me. I did leave out fresh lemon zest as I didn't have any. When I got to my flour I found my pantry to be lacking a new bag and was left with only what was in the canister. I was short only a couple tablespoons and since I had already started mixing things I didn't want to run to the store. Since many had runny batters, the last thing I want to do was skimp on the flour. So, I added a couple tablespoons of oatmeal. It worked perfect and I didn't even notice it in the muffins. I am also not a fan of rum so I substituted with amaretto and could even taste it in the end. My batter wasn't really runny, maybe a little thinner than a typical banana bread but not drastically different.

I wasn't sure how much of a swirl pattern I could get with my muffin pan so I decided to do layers. There was supposed to be 3, white, chocolate and white on top. As you can see I only ended up with 2. I'm really not sure why the chocolate layer over took my top white layer. But, they came out great and tasted fabulous!

If you really have your heart set on seeing a black and white loaf, please visit Tuesdays With Dorie. This probably won't really be my go to recipe for banana bread but I'm sure I will make it again!

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I didn't post last week's recipe until Friday. If you missed it please scroll down and see my summer fruit galette and pictures of my new kitchen!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

TWD: Summer Fruit Galette

If you are a faithful follower of Tuesdays with Dorie then I'm sure you have already seen a ton of galettes this week. My reasons are legitimate and I do apologize for being late. It is really hard to get settled again after moving. Of course, life doesn't ever slow down enough for you to make a major move without feeling some stress. I have dealt with too much stress recently and though I wish I could say life is going to slow down it just isn't going to slow down right now.

I did manage to make this delicious treat on time. I had a lot of trouble with my crust this time. I was rushing and just didn't take the time to let it rest enough. Thankfully, this is supposed to be rustic and not pretty so all worked out in the end.

I had a rough time blanching the peaches. I think they may have been a little too ripe. But no worries, Dorie's 8 peaches is more than enough to fill the galette. I paired the peaches with some homemade red raspberry jam. It was amazing!

Thank you to Michelle of Michelle in Colorado Springs for selecting such a fabulous treat for a very stressful week!

And as promised...pictures of my new kitchen!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

TWD: Coming to a Blog Near You...

Tomorrow! Sorry, I'm falling asleep trying to type. Please come back to see my summer fruit galette and pictures of my new kitchen!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Pudding

The bowl says "Somebunny needs a treat" and somebunny ate one! I did take a picture with the bowl full however, my pictures were just bad.

This week's recipe was selected by Melissa of It's Melissa's Kitchen. I was super excited to make this recipe for a couple of reasons.
1. My husband loves pudding.
2. I have never made pudding before and I've been wanting to make it from scratch (see #1).
3. I am in the process of moving and this looked easy.

Well, I can tell you that this is super easy. Having never made pudding before I wasn't sure how complicated the process was going to be. Dorie's instructions say to use a food processor however, I don't have one big enough. I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the whisk attachment and it came out perfect.

The pudding was amazing. I will be making this again!

If you need a visual of the pudding, check out the blogroll at TWD. Thanks Melissa!

P.S. I won't be around for next week. This weekend is the big move and I don't anticipate my kitchen to be up and running by Tuesday. When I return, I will have pictures of my new kitchen, its bigger and better. I can't wait!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

TWD: Double Crusted Blueberry Pie

I'm am posting this super fast because I'm heading out the door for a business trip. This week's recipe was chosen for us by Amy of South in Your Mouth. The original recipe was for a blueberry pie and though I've recently learned to almost like eating cooked fruit, cooked blueberries are still a problem for me. I know I'm weird I can't help it. And my husband does not like blueberries at all.

Fighting the urge to skip this week's recipe all together, I remembered a bag of frozen raspberries left over from our mixed cobbler a couple weeks ago. The crust came together very easily for me which I was surprised by since I have never made pie crust before. Dorie's explanation and tips lead me all the way to a fabulous flaky and buttery crust. I did forget to put the breadcrumbs at the bottom of the pie but mine came out great anyway. I loved this pie. The crust was amazing and the fruit was sweet with a zing of lemon! Another winner in my book!

For actual blueberry pies, check out our blogroll at TWD.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

TWD: Apple Cheddar Scones

I can't believe its July already and its another Tuesday. My summer has been a whirlwind of activity and it sure isn't going to calm down in the near future. I was super excited about this week's recipe. I have never made scones before but I love them so I was excited to try them on my own. The best things about TWD are learning new things, new techniques, new flavors, meeting new people and stepping outside of my comfort zone.

These scones came together very easily. Though the dough is super sticky, they are worth all the mess. The cornmeal was a little odd to me but it added another layer of texture that really worked great.

Since I had never made scones before I wanted to try a variety of flavors. Trying to stay within budget and use what was in my pantry I settled on milk chocolate chips and dried cherries. I loved the apple cheddar combination; sweet and salty is one of my favorites. I opted for fresh granny smith apples instead of dried apples and it worked perfectly. The chocolate scone and the cherry scone were also great but missing a little something. Next time I'll try the combo together or add another flavor to tie them in. The chocolate was a tiny bit dry. The cherry scone was also the same way but I didn't put enough cherries in either.

I will definitely be making these again. Thank you to Karina from The Floured Apron for this week's selection. And don't forget to visit the blogroll at Tuesdays with Dorie for more fabulous scones.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TWD: Mixed Berry Cobbler

This week our TWD host was Beth from Our Sweet Life. She chose a perfect summer dessert. However, Dorie threw in a twist! A mixed berry cobbler with frozen berries. I have to say I was surprised when Dorie recommended them. Fresh berries were an option if we so chose but I'm a picky eater sometimes. I don't like cooked fruit. I'm a texture eater and for those of you who share that with me, you understand what I mean. There are certain foods that I just can't eat based on texture. I make one exception when it comes to cooked fruit, my grandma's apple pie. Other than that, if the fruit is cooked and mushy I won't eat it.

Enough about my eating issues because this week's recipe changed that for me. I found frozen berries at Target and for what I considered to be inexpensive. I chose a bag each of mixed berries, raspberries and blackberries. Once cooked, these berries did not lose their structure. They were not mushy! I couldn't believe it.

The recipe came together very quickly. On the recommendation from fellow bakers who baked before me this week, I added cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla to the crust for flavor. It was perfect. My husband loved the crust too.

I was tempted to skip out this week but I'm really glad I pushed myself to try something new. To see more fabulous looking cobblers visit our TWD blogroll.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TWD: Peppermint Cream Puff Ring

To say that I was nervous about this week's recipe is an understatement. I was terrified! Pate a choux??? I couldn't even pronounce it. However, Caroline of A Consuming Passion chose this recipe with that very thought in mind. Trying something new.

Putting my best foot forward I started this week's recipe. I chose to make 1/4 of the recipe just in case I did manage to pull it off I didn't want dozens of cream puffs around for me to eat. I actually didn't have any trouble with the pastry. It cooked nicely. I followed other recommendations to let it cool a bit before adding the egg and that worked great. I piped out 7 little éclairs and a mini cream puff. I didn't think about the baking time before I put them in so I ended up cooking mine at 425 for 15 minutes and they were done. They did come out slightly lopsided though.

My vanilla pastry cream did not come together quite so easily. I am still not exactly sure what went wrong. I tempered the eggs, I'm pretty sure I brought it to a boil and cooked it a bit longer. It looked like a pastry cream at this point. Then, I let it cool for 5 minutes before adding the butter like Dorie says and that's when it turned into scrambled eggs. It didn't taste bad but the texture was not creamy at all. I think I must have overcooked the cream. I'm not one to be defeated so I will try this again but I ran out of time for this week.

I didn't use Dorie's chocolate glaze recipe. I was going to but tried to take a shortcut by putting it in the microwave and I burned it. I just melted some milk chocolate chips with a little milk and then dipped the éclairs in.

My husband enjoyed the éclairs and I'm glad I attempted this recipe. To see much more fabulous looking cream puffs and the original cream puff ring, please visit our TWD blogroll.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

MasterBaker: Vanilla

I realize that this post is way overdue and I don't really have an excuse. Well, I do but I'm sure you don't really want to hear them. However, since the roundup still isn't posted I figured I still had time. That and I really loved this recipe. And although it is posted very late, I did make this on time!

The master baker ingredient was vanilla and since I had never used real vanilla beans before I wanted to give it a try. I've heard rave reviews about vanilla beans. Someday I will become adventurous enough to make my own vanilla extract and vanilla sugar. Vanilla is one of my favorite flavors.

I decided to make vanilla bean angel food cake with a fruit salsa. I didn't have a very much success with the angel food cake. I have a mini-bundt cake pan with designs on the top. You can see in the picture above how well that turned out.

Since, I don't have a regular sized bundt pan, I put the remaining batter in my springform pan. It certainly didn't rise very much. It ended up being a dense little cake. I learned that angel food cake can only be made in a regular size bundt cake pan.

Despite the appearance, it tasted fantastic!! And the fruit salsa on top was amazing!!

Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake
Source: Cooking Light

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 (2-inch) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup sifted cake flour (about 4 ounces)
12 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325°.

Place 3/4 cup sugar in a small bowl. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean, and add seeds to sugar; discard bean. Work the vanilla seeds into sugar with fingers until well combined.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and sugar mixture, stirring with a whisk to combine.

Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt; beat until soft peaks form. Add remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Beat in juice. Sift flour mixture over egg white mixture, 1/4 cup at a time; fold in after each addition.

Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan; cool completely. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula. Invert cake onto plate.

Fruit Salsa
Source: Cooks Illustrated via All Things Mimi

2 T. apple jelly
2 T. light brown sugar
1/4 c. orange juice
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
2 granny smith apples, cored, peeled and chopped fine
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped fine
3 kiwis peeled and chopped fine

Whisk jelly, brown sugar, orange juice and chile together in a large bowl. Add apples, strawberries and kiwi and toss to coat.

VTV: Freestyle=Eggplant

This week's vegetable was up to us! Since I missed eggplant week I thought I would go back and revisit that vegetable.

Eggplant is something I don't really remember eating as a child. I think my mom stuck to the basic in order to please 5 children.

One of my favorite ways to eat eggplant is parmigiana style. I found this recipe while watching a Tyler Florence episode in which he searched the world for eggplant dishes. He visited a charming woman in Sicily, Anna Tasca Lanza. I decided to give it a try. It is fantastic! I chose to grill the eggplant instead of frying them so I felt like it was a healthy version of eggplant parmigiana.

Involtine di Melanzane con Capelli d'Angelo
Recipe courtesy Anna Tasca Lanza via foodnetwork.com

3 eggplants
2 cups olive oil, to fry the eggplants
2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 fresh basil leaves, roughly shredded
1/4 pound angel hair pasta, or spaghetti
1 cup tomato sauce, or passata
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons caciocavallo cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut off the bottoms and stems of the eggplants. Peel them using a vegetable peeler and slice them into 1/2-inch slices.

In a heavy bottomed pan heat some olive oil and fry the eggplant slices for about 4 to 5 minutes (if you prefer a healthier version of the dish, you can grill the eggplants). Place the cooked slices on some paper towels to drain any excess oil.

In a large bowl combine the butter, freshly grated Parmesan, and salt, to taste. Add the roughly shredded fresh basil leaves.

Place the angel hair pasta or spaghetti into a pan of boiling water, bring back to the boil and cook until al dente. Drain.

Add the cooked pasta into the big bowl with the butter mixture and combine.

Take a small portion of the pasta and place it on top of an eggplant slice. Roll the eggplant around the pasta and place it in an oven-proof dish. Repeat this process with all the eggplants slices.

Pour some pureed tomato sauce, or passata, over the eggplant rolls. Place slices of cacioavallo on the top. Finally cover the dish with more freshly grated Parmesan.

Place the dish in oven for around 20 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly.

Yields 4 to 6 servings.

Side Note: Does anyone know how to make the VTV logo smaller for my sidebar??