Friday, October 24, 2008

Shabbat Shalom!

Jerusalem Cheesecake with Couscous

After stumbling upon this recipe from AlmondConer (.blogspot), I have to admit I was puzzled, intrigued and a little grossed out all at once. Couscous in a cheesecake? That just seems wrong.

After the recipe, scribbled on the back of a grocery receit, sat next to my computer for a few months, I decided it was time to give it a shot- with a few tweeks here and there.

Instead of one large custard, I opted to put my tart pan to good use and make a few miniature ones instead. They turned out pretty well, If I may say so myself.
Two of them were topped with a couscous-honey-crushed almond mixture ( as specified in Almond's recipe) and the other two I spread with homemade, homegrown blackberry jam. Honestly, I preferred the jam to the couscous- but hey, that's just me.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

i triple dog dare you...

my first Daring Baker's Challenge: Chocolate Eclairs
w/ Thai Tea Pastry Cream

I was really excited about joining the Daring Bakers and tackling my first assignment. I say was because I made these nearly a month ago (I know, I jumped the gun a little) and the photos have been sitting on my desktop for weeks. It goes without saying that a good amount of my enthusiasm for these eclairs has worn off.
That is not to say that they didn't taste great.. they did.

Instead of going with the chocolate pastry cream, I opted for a thai tea flavor. The filling was a bit of a disaster, it wasn't nearly as thick as I would have liked which in turn made the eclairs themselves look...well..kind of limp

red velvet: a tribute to george costanza and paula deen

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I aquired this recipe from Paula Deen, First Lady of all things artery-clogging.
Suprisingly, the cupcakes themselves don't contain any butter. They does however contain a fair amount of oil making these little beauties incredibly moist. Lord knows there's nothing worse than dry cake and surely Mrs. Deen would never be responsible for that sort of baking tragedy.
Baking Tip a la Paula:
To make buttermilk, add 1 tsp white vinegar to 1 c. milk; let sit 5 minutes.

Her recipe goes as follows:
Granted, I tweaked it a little

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder I prefer a little more, maybe 2tbsp
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tablespoons red food coloring as per usual, ran out. 1 tbsp worked just fine

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a larger bowl, and being careful not to stain everything within 100 yards, carefully whisk together oil, buttermilk, food coloring, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the dry to the wet and mix until smooth and combined using an electric hand mixer.
Divide batter between cupcake pans lined with papers (should make about 24). Bake 11 minutes- turn- bake 11 more. Test for doneness with a toothpick.
Frost with whipped cream cheese frosting:

1/2lb c. cheese
1 stick of butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar

"If it were socially acceptable, I would drape myself in velvet."

Friday, August 22, 2008

all things delicious must come to an end

When we ask the question, "What is the greatest cereal ever known to man?", the answer is clear.

No contest, Count Chocula is king.
Or.. "Count" rather.

Yes, there are many chocolate cereals and many cereals containing marshmallows but when you really break them down, they can't stand up to the sugary goodness that the Count delivers.
The cereal itself is superior. The marshmallows divine. It simply cannot be beat.

This brings me to my next question: Where has it all gone?
It's been years since I last saw a box of Count Chocula on the supermarket shelves. Believe me, I'm looking.
Needless to say, I'm devistated.

In honor of the aforementioned culinary breakfast delight, a word from our sponsors:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

put 'em in the toaster, that's the way you're sposter

Fig Pop Tarts w/ Ginger Frosting & Classic Chocolate Fudge

Ever since I was a child, I have loved pop-tarts

For years and years breakfast meant... pop- tarts.
And, well, pop-tarts meant a whole lot more than breakfast; they were delicious at all hours of the day, particularly 2am.
I was always fond the of chocolate fudge and frosted strawberry variety

Having said that, I should note that up until this morning I've been clean for over two years, no contact with toaster pastries whatsoever. As you can imagine, I had high hopes for what my first venture back into pop-tartdem would be like.
Unfortunately, I was rather dissapointed; it wasn't half the tart I remember it being.

So I decided, with the help of Mr. Alton Brown, to bring back the toaster pastry in style... and without all those weird chemicals.
Don't call it a comeback:

Alton's Pastry Recipe
::I should note that I used 1/2 whole wheat flour, 1/2 AP flour::

The ginger icing consisted solely of powdered sugar, apricot nectar, and powdered ginger.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

my kind of surf and turf

To put it bluntly, red meat ain't my bag.
I lean more towards our feathered friends and of course, the other white meat- babe.
Having said that, let's get to the point here- chicken can be dull.. but it doesn't have to be.

I give you: Sate Ayam

Now- having said that, I have most likely bastardized the traditional Indonesian version of this dish, but hey- the end justifies the means.

Listen closely, this recipe requires precise measuring and your utmost concentration

+chicken. breasts work, i prefer thighs. either way is fine. let's say.. 2 of them.. ish
+plain yogurt, about a cup and a half. read the label, avoid anything with cornstarch or ::shudders:: splenda. no good.
+some soy sauce
+a crapload of each of the following spices:
garlic. ginger. ground coriander seed. turmeric. cumin.

Mix everything together (except the chicken). Now taste it. If it's putrid- you're on the right track.
Add the chicken, toss to coat, and pop the whole thing in your fridge to marinate.
When the time is right, you'll know when, transfer it to a pan and ya know.. cook it.

Serve with peanut sauce.

You ask, "Where is the so-called turf?"
Well, that came in the form of Thai Pineapple & Shrimp Green Curry

"Where are the pictures?"
There are none. It went that fast. It was that good.

coastal northwestern vaguely vietnamese summer rolls

There's something really satisfying about growing your own food.
Not only do you have complete control over what goes in it, on it, around it, but there's something else; a whispered, barely audible "fuck you" to the man. A "yeah, that's right I grow my own food. your wilted, waxed, sprayed and soggy veggies aren't wanted here."

Well enough about that. Here's the recipe for the summer rolls:

+round rice wrapper things- briefly dipped in water (do this one at a time)
+butter lettuce- torn into small pieces
+cucumbers-sliced long and thin
+bean sprouts
+beets-cooked, sliced thin (canned is alright)
+fresh mint
Place a fair amount of each ingredient (use your judgement) in the bottom third- center of the now soggy rice wrapper.
Fold in the sides and roll tightly as you would do with say... a cigar.. or ya know- whatever you're into.
Keep them wrapped in damp paper towls until you're ready to serve them- they dry out and get gummy rather quickly.