Friday, December 28, 2007

Logs. Yum.

Just a little disclaimer: I am having issues with my camera card and loading pictures. I have been putting off posting because of it, but now I have decided to go ahead and post without the pics for the time being. Bear with me.

Ah, the Yule Log. A treasured tradition for many; my family thought The Log was just hilarious. Here is the picture of Ryan and I holding the Yule log. He is laughing because he just learned that this was my own creation. What's so funny about that?

My sister thought it was unappetizing to decorate a cake to look like a rotting log with mushrooms growing on it. I'm not sure why everybody else kept laughing at The Log, but that's what they did. Maybe they couldn't help themselves because it turned out so darn cute.


I loved this challenge because. It was really fun to decorate. I had more fun with this than with any other Daring Baker challenge yet. It doesn't get better than wood-graining a cake and sculpting little mushrooms out of marzipan. A good time was had by all.

As for the taste, it was pretty good. Classic, light cake with classic, fluffy buttercream frosting on the outside. I made mine chocolate as I don't do coffee. I also chose to use almond flavoring in the filling, which I enjoyed. It went over okay, but we had some leftovers, so I think I will try a different recipe next year. Yep, I will be logging it up again next Christmas.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

New Additions

After much ado about almost losing my hard drive, I am back to blogging (but without pictures for the moment). You'll also have to excuse my writing and lack of train of thought today. Ryan is listening to the Smashing Pumpkins and it's really hindering my creativity.

Now, about food. A food blogger, even a less-active food blogger, shouldn't let thanksgiving go by without blogging about it. Especially if the food was as spectacular as ours was. I'm not taking the credit for it- it's so good to be with Mom and Dad for the holidays!

First of all, our turkey was the moistest and most flavorful its ever been, thanks to Elise (and her mom) from Simply Recipes and
her fantastic turkey instructions . My mom used the Williams-Sonoma brine and spices, with Elise's roasting instructions. Simply Recipes is my go-to blog when I need step-by-step, tried and true instructions for basic things. Every recipe I have tried from Simply Recipes is fantastic. I am especially a fan of Elise's curry chicken salad, and I add a scoop of homemade apricot chutney, which makes it even better. That's a tangent worthy of another post.

Back to Thanksgiving 2007 . This year the gravy was outstanding. It was perfect gravy, enhanced by the lovely turkey-roasting herbs from Williams-Sonoma. You've gotta try the herbs.

For my contributions to the spread, I made two new items. Two new additions that are now traditions for me, they were that good.

I bought the crystallized ginger for Molly's Cranberry Chutney last Thanksgiving, but I didn't actually make it until this year. We really missed out. Visit the first food blog I was ever addicted to,
Orangette, and just look at this beautiful and festive-looking chutney. I actually don't think very many people ate any on Thanksgiving day (its our tradition to set out some cranberry relish or sauce, which only one or two people taste, then we put the leftovers in the fridge because we can't throw away all that perfectly good relish, and it doesn't see the light of day again until its thrown away a week or two later.)

I wasn't a total convert until friday, when I made a leftover turkey, cranberry chutney, and havarti sandwich. The Sandwich was even better than Thanksgiving dinner. I'm thinking of roasting another turkey justs for sandwiches.

Last, but certainly not least, is our new addition to the pie line-up. It's Mrs. Dart's mixed berry pie. If anybody out there has tried
Mrs. Dart's lemon bars, you know that her baking is a force to be reckoned with. This latest pie is being added to my mental list of desserts to impress company with, if I should ever need to impress anybody. If we ever invited anybody over...

This pie is our favorite one from the Dart Thanksgiving, provided it's with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It features a delicious combination of berries and (surprise!) apricots, which I think is worlds better than any single-berry pie.

Here is the recipe. Oh yeah, Ryan swore that it had to be Mrs. Dart's pie crust recipe (an all-shortening crust with a bit of vinegar, water, and egg). I couldn't resist trying out
Elise's combination butter/shortening crust, which was amazing (even Ryan liked it a lot). The butter/shortening crust had a little more flavor, and it has sugar in it, so it was a little sweeter. So choose your crust recipe according to your tastes.

Mrs. Dart's Mixed Berry Pie

2 9-inch pie-crusts (a bottom and a top)

filling:
2 C mixed
rasberries, blackberries, and blueberries

8 to 16 oz canned apricots, cut into fourths

1 can of cherries, NOT cherry-pie filling. You want unsweetened canned
cherries that you find near the pie filling or by dried
fruits

1 C sugar (or sugar to taste)

3 T tapioca beads

1 T lemon juice

-prick the bottom crust and prebake it at 350 degrees until it just barely
starts to get golden. This keeps it from getting too soggy when you add the
berries.

-mix filling ingredients gently, so as not to demolish the berries.

-dump the filling into the prebaked crust. Dot with 2T butter. Place
your top crust over the top and flute the edges. Cut a few slits in the top
crust. Brush with an egg wash (1 egg plus 2 T. cream, mixed) for
a shiny, professional-pastry chef kind of finish.

-cover edges of pie with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 to 50
minutes.

-allow to cool for about 25 minutes, it should be perfectly warm for
serving with a scoop of ice cream

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bostini Cream Pie

What an appropriate time for the Daring Bakers to celebrate Boston.

This month we made delicious Bostini Cream Pie. It was a delicious mini chiffon cake with an orange twist, sitting in a bath of creamy custard and drizzled with chocolate sauce.

Boston Cream Pie being one of my favorite desserts, I was excited to try this month's challenge. It was a hit with the whole family, and luckily the "8-serving" recipe actually made 20 servings (I made them in muffin tins as I do not have 7-oz ramekins). Leftovers were delicious, too, though I prefer it fresh so the cake is room temperature.

I liked the cake, but it doesn't compare to my favorite Boston Cream Pie. That's why I might not make this recipe again. My favorite is located at some very old restaurant in Boston. I don't remember the name of the place, just the loud-laughing drunk girl, good company, and delicious Boston Cream Pie with sliced almonds stuck to the side.

It wasn't too difficult to make. I have always had good luck in making custards and puddings, but this one started to get lumpy on me. I think I heated it too quickly. I salvaged it because I didn't have another 4 cups of heavy cream to spare. Also, the chiffon cake can be fussy. I had two muffin tins, and one I cooked until they were golden, the other I took out a few minutes before. They were done, but not at all golden. They looked kind of sickly white, actually, and I was worried about them. Turns out that sickly white made for a better texture.

If you decide to try the recipe, you can find it here http://alpineberry.blogspot.com/ . Note that you will need a LOT of cream and like 20 eggs.

Oh yeah, and here's a picture of last month's challenge. I cannot beleive I never posted about it because it was really to-die-for. The dough was so yummy with a hint of lemon. I only made the sticky buns, but if I was making the cinnamon rolls, I would add butter to the cinnamon filling. Other than that, they are perfect! Try this. http://creampuffsinvenice.ca/2007/09/30/a-daring-bakers-ode-to-buns-cinnamon-and-sticky-that-is/
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Daring Milk Chocolate-Caramel Tart

Sad to realize that I post so little now that I will have two Daring Baker posts in a row!

This is what we made this time. Looks right up my alley, right?

Well now that I am openly pregnant, I can tell you that most of what I say, think, and taste can just be disregarded. (on that note, maybe you should check out the other Daring Baker's results and opinions with this project. They look beautiful! Find the daring bakers blogroll here http://daringbakersblogroll.blogspot.com/)

I only ate a small peice of this and I ended up throwing most of the leftovers away. I don't blame the recipe, or even myself. I shall blame the baby because on a normal day I would love a rich, homemade tart created with some of my favorite things- chocolate mousse, a buttery hazelnut crust, and caramel. The components sound too good to be true.

But, unfortunately, lately I prefer doritos. (?)

My family liked the tart but they thought it was too rich. Everybody's favorite part was the chocolate mousse which they were using as strawberry dip. I think "to-die-for" would be an appropriate phrase to describe it, though I can't remember how they described it.

I am telling you what THEY thought since I am just no judge of food at this time. Hence the lack of food blogging.

The tart was easy to make, but since the mousse was the biggest hit (and it took only 5 minutes to make) I think that is the only part I will make again (as a strawberry dip, of course!)

FOR THE RECIPE: I must refer you to one of our lovely hosts this month, Patricia at Technicolor Kitchen http://technicolorkitcheninenglish.blogspot.com/ or Veronica at Kitchen Musings http://kitchenmusings.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/08/of-chocolate-an.html
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Friday, July 27, 2007

Daring Strawberry Mirror Cake

Last month I joined a group called The Daring Bakers. This months challenge was Strawberry Mirror Cake. It was a challenge for me, as it was quite time consuming (especially with a toddler clamoring to be a part of it all).

I think it took me three days. I made strawberry puree, strawberry juice, strawberry gelatin, cakes, cut out cardboard to insert in the pan, and dirtied almost every bowl in my mom's house. That is a lot of bowls.
The cake was not quite my style as far as desserts go, but trying new things is what being a daring baker is all about, so I am so glad I joined and participated in this challenge.

This could be a beautiful dessert for a special occasion. My cake was not so beautiful- notice the lumps and unnevenness - but it could be a beautiful cake under different circumstances. It had a nice, creamy, fresh strawberry taste to it.

For the recipe, and a picture of what this cake SHOULD look like, visit our lovely host's blog: http://www.culinaryconcoctionsbypeabody.com/2007/07/30/mirror-mirroron-the-wall/ .

Before all you lovers of stawberries jump up and go buy the ingredients for this cake, revert to 7th grade for a moment and take this brief quiz to find out if its right for you:

1. what does jell-o mean to you ? (a) a box of powder
or (b) mashed up strawberries cooked with water, sugar and gelatin, then strained and chilled

2. would you rather make a dessert that is (a) tasty and rustic looking OR (b) beautiful and bakery-like

3. Do you have 5 hours to spare (give or take a couple)?

If you answerd B, B, YES, then you should totally make this cake!

if you answered A, A, and NO, then see other desserts featured on The Glutton. Or make strawberry shortcake, which has all the good elements of strawberry mirror cake, but without the time investment and needed experience as a pastry chef.

UPDATE: later on the day of posting, I have checked out several other fellow Daring Baker's Mirror Cakes (and you can do it too, http://daringbakersblogroll.blogspot.com/). I have been put to serious shame! What beautiful cakes they have created! How smooth are their mirrors, how velvety their bavarians, and how embarrassing to showcase my little frumpy!
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Thursday, May 31, 2007

We've got a hot one tonight!

Inspired by the weather, I decided to have a go at homemade frozen yogurt. So first I looked at the Cook's Illustrated recipe for strawberry yogurt, and also at David Lebovitz's vanilla yogurt recipe from The Perfect Scoop. Since all the food bloggers (including me) worship the ground he walks on, I decided to trust David Lebovitz more than Cook's Illustrated and adapted the recipe to make strawberry-banana. And David did not dissapoint. He never does.

This beautiful and thick frozen yogurt was sweet, tangy, and so rich even I could only handle a small bowl. That's saying something.

The banana really added to the creaminess, and balanced the tartness of the strawberries and yogurt. I only added one banana, and it was barely detectable. Next time I will add 2.

It is a really simple recipe, but you do have to think ahead because draining the yogurt takes 6 hours. Plus, if your ice cream maker is like mine then you need to freeze the canister for 24 hours. Then, once the yogurt is made, I like the texture best after it has solidified in the canister in the freezer for about 3 hours.


It sounds so complicated, but its really not so here is the recipe:

3 C drained plain yogurt (start out with 5 or 6 C of yogurt, it
drains down to 3. drain for about 6 hours in a mesh strainer, maybe lined with
cheesecloth. After draining, it will look thick, as in picture.)
3/4
C sugar
10 large Strawberries, cold & sliced
2 ripe bananas,
refrigerated
(I used 1, but I wish I had used 2)

Mix drained
yogurt with 1/2 cup of sugar and let sit for 1 hour.

Mix 1/4 C sugar
with sliced strawberries and mash a little with a potato masher. Let stand for a
few minutes and then stick the berries in the freezer for about 15 minutes or
until the juice is starting to freeze so they are nice and cold.

Mash
banana with a fork and place in the freezer until you use them, to make sure
they are cold.

Stir yogurt again and make sure sugar is dissolved, then
add it to your ice cream machine (If your machine is like mine, then you'll need
to add it after its already churning).

I added the fruit after the
yogurt churned for a few minutes, but the yogurt is so thick I think it would be
fine to add it from the beginning. Now freeze according to the ice cream machine
directions.

Serve it as soon as its done churning if you like it extra
soft, or freeze it for a few hours to let it firm a bit. Enjoy!


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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The New Old Standby

This is my new standard chicken salad recipe. It is available at wholefoods.com , along with a plethora of other recipes. It's a handy resource, too, because the recipes come with the nutritional information (if you're into that. But for this recipe, don't be).

I am without words to describe the tastiness of this salad. The dressing is just right- tangy, with a hint of honey. The celery and pecans add crunch and the grapes (you MUST add the grapes or substitute apples) are essential to the fresh, sweet taste of the salad. Ryan was raving about it- and he's not usually one for chicken salad. I left the celery out of the pictured batch, and it was just as good (or better, in Ryan's opinion). Also, I used canned chicken, which made this salad a cinch to put together. Let the flavors mingle overnight before serving.

Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
5 tsp honey
2 tsp poppy seeds
sea salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste Salad
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted
2 cups red seedless grapes
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

Prepare the dressing by thoroughly mixing together all dressing ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. (Can be prepared up to 2 days
ahead.)


Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the chicken breasts in one layer in a
baking dish with 1/2 cup water. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes until
completely cooked through. Remove cooked chicken breasts from baking pan, cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate.

When the breasts are completely chilled (at least 2 hours refrigerated), dice into
bite-sized pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in pecans, grapes, celery
and dressing.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Wild Rice Chicken Salad

"Tuna salad, chicken salad, macaroni salad? Who the hell cares! It's all just another word for 'mayonnaise'!"
-Roseanne*


I love all kinds of salads. If I had to choose one food to eat for every meal, it would probably some sort of chicken salad. Mixtures and assortments of foods are delicious, especially when bound by some sort of deliciously high-calorie dressing, be it mayonnaise or not.

This is a new recipe for Chicken Rice Salad that I acquired from Sara at our enrichment recipe swap. Last month's topic was salad, and everybody raved about this one. I think it is pretty flexible, as you could add any leftover vegetable odds and ends or really anything else that strikes your fancy. You could substitute the regular peas for snow peas. Make it without the chicken if you want to. BUT I wouldn't swap out the avocados or the chopped pecans, as they balance a very acidic dressing. When I made it at home, I didn't really follow the measurements for the vegetables and I served it in a pita (though it was also delicious on its own).

* If I remember correctly, this show was forbidden in my house. Somehow I watched it anyway. Sorry Mom. I guess you found the Roseanne family trashy and offensive, but somehow I have remembered this quote for years because to me, it was offensive. How could she insult some of my favorite salads like that? And also, is she right? Because if she is, that means I like mayonnaise a whole lot more than I thought. I'm not a food snob or anything, but that is so trashy.



Chicken and Wild Rice Salad

2 Packets of wild rice mix, prepared according to directions
(the packets I used contained about 2 or 3 servings each)
juice of 1 small
lemon
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced

4 chopped green onions
3 oz snow peas
1 diced red pepper
2 avocados
1 C chopped pecans

Dressing:
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 t
salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 C rice wine vinegar

stir the rice, chicken, vegetables, and pecans together. Add some of the
lemon, but not all as you will add the rest to taste later on. Emulsify dressing
ingredients in a food processor or blender and stir about half of the dressing
into the salad and taste. Add more to taste and allow salad to sit overnight to
allow flavors to mellow and blend. Keep the dressing and lemon juice- you might
want to add more tomorrow.
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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mrs. Dart's Lemon Bars of Enlightenment
I have had these lemon bars twice and both times they have schooled me. First I had them when the lovely Mrs. Dart, my mother-in-law, made them. That is when I learned that lemon bars can be downright addicting. Before that day, I actually thought I disliked lemon bars. These babies could change anybody's mind.

Now for the second bit of wisdom imparted from these luscious bars: I learned that my oven is really unneven. Notice the bar in the back, left side of this picture has almost no lemony filling, but the bar in front has an abundance of filling. Watch out for oven uneveness, because the extra lemony ones can be tart enough to give one a sore throat when one inhales 3 at a time in a response to hunger so strong it could only be church-induced.

Here's the recipe. Make it sometime, you might learn something.

Lemon Bars of Enlightenment

Crust:
1 C Butter (I softened it, and that
seemed to work)
2 C flour
1/2 C powdered sugar
dash of salt

Mix.
It will be crumbly. Press lightly into 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for
10-15 minutes and cool slightly. Don't turn off the oven
yet.

Filling:
4 beaten eggs
6 T fresh lemon juice
2 C sugar and
1/4 C flour stirred together

Stir all the filling ingredients together
and pour over pre-baked crust. Bake all together at 350 for 25 minutes.
Optional: dust with powdered sugar.
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Monday, April 23, 2007

Real Gluttons Eat Pie for Dinner
This is another item I made for the Register's farewell fete.

Need an easy and delicious idea for dinner? A substantial appetizer for a party? Don't know what to feed your vegetarian friends (not vegans)? Do your arteries need clogging? A tomato-basil tart is appropriate for almost any occasion.

This one is especially easy because it is made with store-bought pie crusts. It is especially delicious because it includes 2 Cups of mozzerella cheese in addition to tomatoes and basil.

I made two versions: one in this pie dish, and another in a 10-inch springform pan. I actually prefer the latter, now that I have tried it, because the crust looked kind of pizza-like instead of so pie-like in the pie dish. It actually looked elegant with the tomatoes piled high inside. Yum!


Tomato-Basil Tart
1/2 (15-oz) package refrigerated pie crusts
2 C shredded mozzerella cheese
4 T fresh basil, divided
3 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 T olive oil
1/4 t salt
1/4 t fresh ground pepper

preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheit.

Place crust in 10-inch pie pan or springform pan and prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Bake crust for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle cheese over crust and top with 3 T basil. Arrange tomato slices on top and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 35 minutes. Top with remaining fresh basil and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Achtung. Because somebody told me that means "caution" in German.

Oops. I looked it up and Babelfish disagrees with that translation, so maybe a German can let us know.


I'd been waiting for an excuse to bake this. This is a very dangerous cake to have just sitting around your fridge begging you to eat it and with no one there to help you finish it off. That's why I say achtung. Better have a group of 15 or so people to help you out. I thought a going-away party for the Registers was the perfect reason for some serious flourless chocolate cake.

And serious it was. It was like eating a truffly (but so much better because a slice of cake it so much more fit for this girls chocolate cravings than a couple of measly truffles). It was the smoothest, silkiest flourless chocolate cake I have ever eaten. Maybe that has something to do with the the 3 (!) sticks of butter in one 9-inch cake. Maybe.

I did not have the time to take a picture of the whole cake, but it was coated with a beautiful, smooth ganache that made it look so elegant. After everybody left the party, there was just this one little peice left. And I saved it for you. Ryan wanted it but I saved it for you.

Smooth Operator Intense Chocolate Cake
Adapted from "Chocolate Intensity" in Tish Boyle's The Cake Book

Makes one 9-inch cake
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used around 70% cacao), finely chopped
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with a parchment round and butter the parchment. (If you're using a pan with a removable bottom like a springform, make sure to wrap the pan with 2 or 3 layers of foil, so water from the water bath can't get inside the pan)

Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir butter, sugar and milk until the butter is melted and mixture has just started boiling.

Pour the hot mixture over your chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously until blended. Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Slowly add about 3/4 cup hot chocolate mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. (Tempering the eggs with a little bit of the hot chocolate mixture will prevent "scrambled eggs" when combining the two mixtures.) Add the egg mixture to the hot chocolate mixture and whisk to combine well.

Strain the batter through a sieve (to catch any cooked egg bits- I skipped this part, because I thought my batter looked quite free of scrambled eggs but then I detected one or two teeny egg bits in my slice of cake) and then pour batter into prepared pan.

Set cake pan in a large roasting pan and fill the pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center is shiny and set but still a bit jiggly.

Transfer cake pan to a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a cardboard round on top of the pan and invert the cake onto it. Remove pan and carefully remove the parchment paper. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before glazing with chocolate glaze.

Bittersweet Ganache
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Gently stir in the vanilla.

Transfer glaze to a small bowl and cover the surface of the glaze with plastic wrap and let cool for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.

To glaze the cake:Place the chilled cake, still on the cake round, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Slowly pour the hot glaze onto the center of the cake. Smooth the glaze over the top and sides, letting the excess drip onto the baking sheet.Scrape the extra glaze from the baking sheet and put it in a small ziploc bag. Seal the bag and cut a tiny hole in one of the bottom corners. Gently squeeze the bag over the top of the cake to drizzle the glaze in a decorative pattern. Refrigerate the cake at least one hour before serving.












Monday, April 09, 2007

C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me
When Pennsylvania finally started to defrost a couple of weeks ago, I had the desire to come out of hibernation and maybe visit the neighbors, assuming they still lived next door. That was anybody's guess since I hadn't seen them in 3 months. Of course, I put off making the cookies until we saw snow again. Anywho, I made a new sugar cookie recipe this weekend. They were delicious and buttery, almost like shortbread cookies.

Ryan couldn't stop eating them before I frosted them, but then we liked them even better when we put almond-flavored frosting on top (pink and yellow, to celebrate "spring").

I forgot to take pictures of the final product, but I did take pictures of the dough, which was strangely mealy until I pressed it together into a ball. I guess that's how it is supposed to be.Thanks to elise at
Simply Recipes, since I stole this recipe from her post that you can read right here. (note: yields 5 dozen cookies??! I scarcely got 2 dozen. what is wrong with me?)
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Sugar Cookie Recipe number one

Cookies:
3 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soft butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tbsp cream
1 tsp vanilla
Icing
1/3 cup of softened butter
1 pound of confectioners sugar
About 1/4 cup of milk
Almond extract, to taste (1 tsp-
ish)
1 Sift dry ingredients (use a real sifter), cut in butter and
add other ingredients. Blend thoroughly; chill for several hours.
2 Break
off a piece of dough the size of an orange and pat it flat in your hand. Using a
rolling pin, roll on dough on floured board (best to use a 2/1 ration of
flour/sugar - 4 Tbsp flour mixed with 2 Tbsp sugar) or between wax paper. (It
helps if you flour both sides of the dought.) Roll out to about a 1/4 inch
thickness. Cut out and put on
silpat-lined or ungreased
cookie sheet. Bake 5-8 minutes at 400 F. Remove the cookies from the oven as
soon as you see them turning color at the base of the cookie. Let cool
completely.
3 Mix icing ingredients together until smooth. Separate into
different bowls, add food coloring to achieve various colors. Spread on cookies
with a butter knife, use cake decorating piping equipment to add decorative
accents. If you want the sprinkle type decorating candies to stick, brush the
cookie with clear Karo syrup and then sprinkle.
Makes
Scarcely 2 Dozen Cookies

Monday, March 12, 2007



THE Cheesecake would probably have been the perfect cheesecake if only I had made it perfectly. I decided to take advantage of this girl's quest for the perfect cheesecake. I, too, would like to eat perfect cheesecake. She was scientific about it in a way I wish I was, but I will never be, so I just decided to take her word for it that THE Cheesecake is what we have been searching for. Thanks for doing the brainwork, Kitarra! Whoever you are!

I love that this cheesecake has no crust because it allows the velvety texture to shine. And was it ever velvety. It was practically winter formal wear. It was just the right density- dense but not dry. The taste was also very nice and tangy with just a hint of lemon.

If you make it- be sure to get your springform pan water tight (via directions in the recipe) I didn't do a good job and some water leaked into the cake, so some spots on the bottom were not velvety like they should have been. Also- you might want an oven thermometer if your oven (like mine) doesn't have 200 degrees on the dial. This can also create some texture issues.

Before I link to the recipe, here's my take on a hard-to-find ingredient, and also a warning on the time consumption of baking this cake. She calls for kifir cheese or labnan, a type of cheese. In my searching I discovered that they are more commonly spelled "kefir" or "labne". You can make the cheese if you buy your own kefir, or you can use her suggested substitution, drained greek yogurt. That is what I did. I don't know what the difference is between greek yogurt and regular old plain yogurt. It tasted like it was full-fat and thicker than your average american-made yogurt. I think you could easily and undetectably substitue sour cream.

Finally- read the baking directions before you decide to start making this at, say, 9 o'clock at night (start at 500 degrees for 15 minutes, turn oven down to 200 degrees for an hour, loosen the cake, bake again for an hour, turn up the heat again....) Consider yourself warned.

Without further ado, here's the link to the recipe, plus the creator's novel of comments about her quest.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Very Bitter Greens
Is it not true that certain plants are bitter tasting as a warning that they are actually poisonous?

If so, then I don't know how on earth broccoli raab came to be acceptable for human consumption.

Broccoli Raab is actually pronounced like "broccoli rob". It is also called broccoli rabe or rapini. Last night I made broccoli raab with sausage and grapes.

Somebody must like it, but Ryan and I couldn't even eat our dinner so I am not posting the recipe. Maybe we just aren't the healthy vegetable-lovin type. Rachel, if you want this recipe, then email me.
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Saturday, March 03, 2007

TURNIP THE HEAT, IT'S COLD IN HERE

In an effort to mature my palatte, I have decided to incorporate vegetables that I have never tasted, prepared, and/or never enjoyed into our dinners. Feel free to join me in my adventures, or send recipes you love for vegetables that are generally less-loved.

First up: turnips. So ordinary, but I have never tried them. Plus: they are available at the pathetic produce section of my most local grocer.

I made these pureed. No exact recipe is needed. That is, if you know how to make mashed potatoes. In fact, for thickness, throw a potato or two in with the turnips. I used 2 turnips and one potato.

Peel and cut the potato and turnips into cubes. Boil them (in a pot of boiling water, of course) until the turnips are very soft. They take longer than potatoes alone- about 20 minutes total. Then drain the potato and turnips and puree them with a bit of butter, salt, and pepper. No milk is needed because they should be thin enough.

MY VERDICT: Turnips do nothing for me a potato can't do better. Not bad, though.Here's to an effort towards a well-rounded palette.

Join me next time for adventures with broccoli rabe!
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Monday, February 19, 2007

Sweet Seduction
Sugar High Friday #28

There is nothing in my house that is more seductive than these molten chocolate cakes.

I will keep this short because my words pale in comparison with the deliciousness of molten cakes.

In short, here is a link to the recipe. My advice is to use the best chocolate you can afford. I like 70% cacao for these cakes. They are best topped with ice cream or whipped cream and, most importantly, rasberries.

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Monday, January 29, 2007


Ryan’s Sweet Buns
Caramel Rolls, Sticky Buns, call them what you will but I will call them “Ryan’s Sweet Buns” because Ryan really enjoyed having these for breakfast every morning last week.

These rolls remind me of the pecan rolls from Cinnabon. They are baked in a shallow bath of caramel sauce and pecans, which makes for one deliciously gooey roll. I doubled the caramel sauce in the recipe below, because I thought they would be even better that way, though they were pretty good the way I made them originally, too. Total active time in the kitchen was only about 20 minutes and the machine does the rest.

I am not a bread snob, and I am happy to have a machine that knows just when and how much to knead the bread. I love my bread machine. I highly recommend them, and Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway.

The dough I used for these rolls was SO easy to work with.. No overworked, tough rolls here. I am usually terrible at rolling it out with only a few swipes of a rolling pin, but with this recipe it was a snap They were delightful and light, especially right out of the oven.


Ryan’s Sweet Buns
Adapted from “Basic Buttermilk Sweet Dough” from Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehberg & Lois Conway and “Cinnamon Rolls” by Cathy Nowell on Allrecipes.com

For 1 ½ lb bread machine
7/8 C buttermilk (or 3 T buttermilk powder with 7/8 C water)
1 egg
3 C all-purpose flour
1 t salt
4 T butter
¼ C sugar
¼ t baking soda
2 ½ t fleischman’s active dry yeast or 1 ½ t Red Star brand (there are about 2 ¼ t in a ¼ oz packet of yeast)

2/3 C butter
1 C brown sugar
1 C vanilla ice cream
1 C pecans (optional)
½ C butter, softened
1 T cinnamon
½ C brown sugar

place all ingredients in bread pan, select Dough setting, and press Start.

As dough is being made, melt 2/3 C butter in a small saucepan. Add 1 C brown sugar and 1 C ice cream; bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Pour into 9x13 inch pan. Spread Pecans over caramel, if desired

When the dough has risen long enough, the machine will beep. Turn off machine and turn out dough onto floured countertop. Roll out and spread or dot with ½ C butter. Sprinkle 1 T cinmamon and ½ C brown sugar on the top. Roll it up and seal the edge. Cut into 12 rolls, and place in prepared pan of caramel. Allow to rise until doubled (I let mine rise for about 75 minutes in a slightly warm oven, though it might take only 45 minutes)

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve upside down, so the caramel and pecans are on top

Monday, January 15, 2007

New Years Resolutions are to blame for my outdated blog.

I have realized that cooking, though I enjoy it, is the enemy in keeping up with housework.

So, meet my new best friend, T Marzetti's Asian Ginger salad dressing. As a salad dressing, its not that great, but I have found it to be a versatile chicken marinade. I add a little bit of fresh ginger with the dressing and marinade chicken for as little as a couple of hours or overnight. I have been using it to top Won-Ton Chicken salad, sticking it on skewers with red peppers and grilling it, or if I forget to marinade it, I just put some chicken peices in a pan with this dressing, ginger, and peppers for a stir-fry to be served over rice.

It is so easy to make and, more importantly for me, easy to clean up!

Instead of cooking, I am trying to make my new hobby working out.

we'll see about that.

Anyway, mytastebuds really miss the variety in my dinners. If anybody has quick and easy dinner ideas, feel free to post them in the comments section! We could use a few more in the rotation.
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Friends, it has been too long since I last blogged on the glutton.

And sadly, my entries might continue to be sparse.

This is a picture of our breakfast a couple of weeks ago: banana bread french toast with berry topping and whipped cream. Toni told me about this delicious dish and it was as good as she described (very good).

I used Mark Bittman's banana bread recipe from How to Cook Everything , I won't post the recipe because it wasn't my favorite and I don't want to get in trouble. The banana bread has coconut in it, which I thought was nice and it went well with the berries.

So use your favorite banana bread recipe, make french toast out of it, and warm some frozen mixed berries in a small pot with a bit of sugar, and a dash of salt for a topping. It's delicious!

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