Tuesday, December 2, 2008
It has a subtle celery flavor, nice and mellow, balanced by the sweetness of the leeks, and is creamy because of the addition of the potatoes. It also asks for cayenne pepper-, which is brilliant. The original recipe calls for crème fraiche to be swirled on top, but I just used some heavy cream and mixed it in after pureeing.
Instead of stilton toasts (I am not a fan of blue cheese…) I made some croutons that were coated in olive oil, cayenne pepper and sea salt- it added great crunch and texture to the soup.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I know, I know, but really- they are so good, and easy, and it’s all about the frosting anyway, right?
I decided on a Chocolate Raspberry, and a Lemon Cupcake.
For the Chocolate Raspberry, I took a milk chocolate cake mix and made it to the specifications, however I added some raspberry puree (thawed frozen raspberries, pureed and strained) in place of half the water. This added a subtle raspberry flavor to the chocolate cake.
I decided to do two frostings- first, I made a chocolate frosting by adding melted chocolate to softened butter, and powdered sugar to taste. For the raspberry Buttercream, I added raspberry puree, a little red food color, butter and powdered sugar to taste. I piped the chocolate frosting on first, followed by a rosette of raspberry frosting. Damn Tasty.
Milk Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Chocolate & Raspberry Frostings
For the Lemon cupcakes, I took a vanilla cake mix, and substituted some fresh lemon juice and some lemon oil, for half the water. I also added 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon zest to the batter. The cake tasted zesty and lemony, but not overpowering- just a hint of lemon to compliment the frosting.
The frosting I made with equal parts Butter & Cream Cheese then added powdered sugar, lemon and lime zest, and lemon oil- as well as some limoncello liquor that I had in the freezer. I made it completely by taste. It was really good, if I do say so myself!
Lemon Vanilla Cake with Lemon Cream CheeseThe finishing touch was to make some candied lemon zest.
Simply strip the zest from the fruit- using either a peeler and then cutting them into thin fine strips, or use a citrus zester-, which peels it off in thin strips. Place the strips in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let it sit for 30 minutes then drain. Heat 2 cups sugar and 1-cup water in a small saucepan, cover and boil. When the sugar is dissolved, add the zest, reduce heat to medium low and cook, uncovered for 10 minutes. I pulled out the zest and placed them on a piece of parchment paper- discarding the syrup, and let cool. Wile they were still sticky, I dusted them with white sugar so they are sparkly.
As you can see from the pictures, they look pretty good!
I have a recipe that I found in Food and Wine Magazine, and it seemed to fit the bill, easy, chocolaty and rich. Perfect!! The chilled and finished pudding was really good, but not what I was originally intending. It was much more dense and fudgy, than light and silky- more like a super rich chocolate mousse. It was great- but I am going to try and find a recipe that is lighter, so it can be more of a snack, as opposed to a dessert, but I will be making this one again for sure!
Monday, November 10, 2008
The recipe is basic; onion, garlic, tomatoes, water and the pimenton, finished with a touch of cream. It sounded too easy!
I am often wary of making sauce or salsas with fresh tomatoes that have not been roasted before hand, so that was a modification that I made. I cut the tomatoes in half, drizzled with olive oil and black pepper and set them in a 350 degree oven for around one and a half hours. I did not want the moisture sucked out of them, just roasted enough to concentrate their flavor so my soup wasn’t lacking in depth.
A quick sauté of onions and garlic (I added 4 extra cloves!!) then add the pimenton- and this is where the soup comes alive. It adds such richness and depth of flavor, that I can’t believe I have not discovered it sooner. It amps up the tomato taste and has an underlying smokiness that is subtle and yet unmistakable at the same time. You then add the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf and a little water and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Blend, puree, add a little cream to cut the acid, and voila- a soup that warms the soul!!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
I halved the recipe as it was just for the two of us, and I served it with some Grilled Gruyere and Ham sandwiches, and a Baby Green Salad with Pecan Crusted Sautéed Goat Cheese.
The soup had wonderful flavor, a lot like a French Onion Soup, but with the added richness of roasted garlic. I made a few changes, like adding a little white wine to deglaze the pan, and instead of pureeing the soup in the blender I used my handy dandy Breville hand blender, but next time I would strain the soup through a sieve in order to have a smoother texture. Marc didn't mind the chunky bits of onion and garlic, but I wasn't all for it. The Soup worked great with the salad and sandwich and with some tweaking, this is a great recipe!
Emeril’s Roasted Garlic Soup
4-6 large Red onions (3.5 pounds)
Cloves from 2 large heads of garlic, peeled
2 shallots, peeled
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs Emerils Original Essence (I used Cayenne pepper only)
6 c. Chicken Stock
2 tsp. finely chopped sage
2 ts. finely chopped fresh thyme
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 c. Heavy Cream
1: Preheat oven to 400F. Combine onions, garlic and shallots in roasting pan (single layer). Add the olive oil and essence and toss to coat. Roast until well browned, about 1.5 hours.
2: Remove the pan from the oven and set over two burners on medium low heat. Add two cups of chicken stock, the sage, thyme and salt and cook for 10 minutes, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
3: Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.
4: Scrape the puree into a large pot over medium low heat. Add Remaining four cups of stock and the balsamic vinegar, stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and stir in the cream. Serve.
Goat Cheese Salad
Make a vinaigrette from Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with Salt & pepper. Toss in mixed greens to coat.
Roll balls of goat cheese in chopped pecans and sauté in olive oil until warmed through and nuts are toasted. Serve over baby greens.
The Onions in the pot after deglazing
The Finished Soup...
And with the Grilled Ham & Cheese and Goat Cheese Salad
Friday, October 3, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Back home I used to make these great cookies called 'Melting Moments'. I am not entirely sure of their origins, but they are very popular in
The shortbread is sooooooo easy- a monkey can do it- but alas- the recipe I had was BASIC- and I should have had the warewithall to add Vanilla or Lemon- but I didn't, so I was left with an okay cookie- just not excellent.
The passion fruit filling is great, but as the puree gives the filling so much liquid, you cannot add too much. This is where I think Lemon is the better choice. Zest in the cookies and in the filling would enhance the flavor without making it bland or runny.
Another change for next time would be to make my cookies a little thinner- they are so tender that the two cookies together is harder to eat and thus I end up making a big mess!
Overall though, this cookie is GREAT and reminds me of home- which is more than I can ask for!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Cream Pies are awesome- they are mostly unheard of in Australia, but my American Born mother would indulge us once or twice a year with one… chocolate, Coconut or Banana…
It was always done from scratch, with a great flaky pie crust, vanilla custard layered with fresh slices of banana, and slathered with a slightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream. They were divine, but I wanted to up the ante!
Top the whole pie off with rum spiked vanilla whipped cream and you have a damn great pie.
The pictures really don’t do it justice (I am still learning about food photography…) but when I served each slice I topped them off with slices of banana to finish the dream!!
The Cooked Crust
Keep in mind that my crust recipe is an approximation. I made it up as I went along. If your crust seems too dry, add more melted butter, or if it seems to wet, add more crushed Nilla wafers and pecans. The sugar, I have realized is not necessary, as the nilla wafers are sweet enough, but it worked for me!
The Banana Pudding
The Finshed Pie
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
So I have been dreaming of perfect gnocchi, and Mario is my go to guy, so I opened my Babbo Cookbook and got started. I decided to pair it with a classic basil pesto and some crusted pork milanese.
Well, a few things here... Mario says that the gnocchi will take as much flour as it can, meaning, it will stop absorbing it when it has had enough. If it it humid (which it is), it will take more flour than when on a dry day. The idea is that the more you make it, the more you know what it is supposed to feel like, and you can live without the recipe. As it was my first time, I worked it the best I could, but it did seem to take more flour than was called for in the recipe. But they worked out beautifully!!! Perhaps a little soft, but they didn't fall apart, and in the fragrant basil pesto, they were delish!!!!!!! I will surely be making this again, and can't wait to use up the rest of the dough today for round two!
p.s- the cheesecake is better the next day, as it gets moister, but still not my fave.
The Basil Pesto
The Gnocchi before being cooked
The finished product- Crusted Pork Milanese, Potato Gnocchi in Basil Pesto
Monday, September 8, 2008
Well, here I am- a former pastry student, a former pastry cook and believe it or not, I have never made a cheesecake. I even used to work at a restaurant with Cheesecake right in the name! I have eaten every different kind of cheesecake, lemon, Chocolate, Peanut butter... but truth be told, it is never something I would order off a menu, or have ever felt the need to bake, but it was the first real season football game, and I was cooking a feast! My Boyfriend had always raved about how much he loves cheesecake, so I though, 'Today will be the Day'!!
So I found a recipe I had saved from Bon Appetit from January 2005, and decided to give it a go.
Photo Courtesy of Bon Apetit
Well, truth be told, Marc loved it, as did our friend Jeff, but I wasn't all that fond. I found the toffee 'sauce' on top sets up and was not hard like a toffee, but not soft like caramel sauce. Kind of like melted candies- this didn’t work for my taste. The cheesecake itself was a little dry, if that is even possible. I am someone who loves the creamy texture of no bake cheesecakes, more akin to a cheesy mousse, so that could be why I was not thrilled. The one part I loved was the gingersnap crust- I will definitely be making that part again! The boys did love it though, so I guess I will have to resume my search for MY favorite cheesecake. I will keep you posted!