Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu decided on Vanilla Ice Cream as this week's TWD recipe. Check out Lynne's blog for the recipe.
Vanilla ice cream is such a fun base to play with. For today's treat I decided to add nutella (about 1/2 a container) and some finely chopped toasted hazelnuts (about 1/2 cup) to my ice cream. I added the nuts to the base about 4 minutes before it was done churning. Once it was fully churnned I folded in the nutella.
It shouldn't be surprising to anyone that this ice cream was beyond delicious. There is just no way nutella, hazelnuts and vanilla can go wrong (unless of course you're allegic to nuts).
Monday, July 27, 2009
In my opinion mustard is an underrated condiment. It's uses are endless; sandwiches, vinaigrette's, marinades, meats and fish all benefit from mustard. I even had mustard ice cream at Taylor in NYC (though not sure that was my favorite mustard application). I love all types of mustard, but spicy, grainy mustard's are my favorite. I was excited to see this recipe on Saveurs website.
Anything made with Guinness scores big with me, so I went to Penzey's and picked up some brown mustard seeds to make the spicy Guinness mustard. This recipe was a breeze to make. You combine Guinness, red wine vinegar, spices, sugar and mustard seeds in a bowl and let it sit out for 2 days.
After two days process it for about 3 minutes in a food processor.
That's it. Funny, if you combine all the time I spent "making" the mustard, I'm sure I've spent more time on occasion trying to open a bottle of commercially sealed mustard.
This mustard is delicious. It's complex with a nice spicy kick which will mellow out over time. I'm sure I'll come up with some interesting ways to use mustard, so stay tuned.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Best Ingredients? Yes
Tasty? Not so much
I really want to like everything I bake, but sometimes there's no love to be found. I found a recipe in this month's Gourmet for Olive Oil Madeleines. The recipe came from Eleven Madison, so I was pretty sure I would love it. They baked off perfectly. Beautiful bubble on the bottom and just the slightest color on the "shell." They looked perfect. Flavor wise they were bland, bland, bland; which was shocking because I used an amazing olive oil from Lebanon and the zest of two lemons. I think this recipe could work if I wanted to make a "spiced-up" madeleine, but for the time being; I use my stand-by madeleine recipe.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Persian spice donuts
Market tart with Sienna Farms broccoli and sumac
Pate a choux donuts:
Chamomile Umm Ali with nectarines and almonds
Blueberry sweet cheese tarts
Insiders view of pastry display
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy selected Raspberry Blanc-Manger as this week's TWD recipe.
I loved the idea of this cake, but the end product was a bit lack-luster. Two things I did that I won't do again. I used natural almonds which created a non-blanc manger. Second, I make the cake in VT, and I accidently grabbed a 10" cake pan instead of an 8". The resulting cake was really thin, maybe only 1/2" tall. I would like a taller cake next time. I did love the contrast between the tart raspberries and creamy almond mousse. I found myself only eating the sections that had both raspberries and cream.
I love the idea of a go-to no bake summer dessert, so I'm going to try this again soon. Next time I'll infuse my cream with thyme, and I will use a smaller cake pan and blanched almonds.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Joe went to California last month, and I've been fortunate to experience his trip via the wine he brought home. We've already drank some wine from our favorite wineries such as Unti and Michel Schlumberger, but last night we had something special.
Joe opened a bottle of Buoncristiani Dolcetto di Nonno 2006 from Dry Creek Valley. I find it hard to describe this wine because I was so impressed by it. It was smooth and floral with structure that's not biting. Really it was one of the best wines I have had in a long time.
I did a little research, and Buoncristiani is owned by 4 brothers. This wine is named after their Nonno (grandfather). I'm sure he would be proud if he tasted this wonderful wine. For more information check out their website here.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Lisa of Surviving Oz chose Katherine Hepburn brownies as this week's TWD recipe. I had made these once before using the optional cinnamon and wasn't thrilled. Today I decided to make them without the cinnamon, and kept my fingers crossed that I would like them.
Shockingly enough, I'm a bit chocolated out. After the brownies I made for my dad, and the grandmother's cookies from Martha… I'm ready for some vanilla or fruit.
The recipe was very easy to make. You melt your butter then add cocoa powder and espresso powder. Next beat in your eggs and vanilla; followed by dry ingredients and chocolate chunks. I love that this recipe is done by hand so quickly. The resulting batter is dark, dark, dark studded with bits of lovely bittersweet chocolate.
I left the brownies in the oven for an additional 5 minutes because they were still liquid after 30 minutes of baking. After reading a bit online, it seems like I should have used a metal pan instead of a glass for them to bake in the 30 minute zone. Regardless, these brownies are good. Their intense fudginess almost screams for vanilla ice cream. Luckily, I didn't have any on hand...these are so fudgy that you can't eat too many. As far as brownies go, I still prefer the Scharfenberger recipe to this one. That being said, I would be proud to serve these to company.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Martha Stewart's Cookies is my latest cookbook obsession. I bought it last week at TJ Maxx (yes, I did get the max for the minimum), and have been obsessing over most of the recipes ever since. Each recipe has a picture, which I love. They are not just pictures either; they're pictures from Martha Stewart's talented staff, so they look amazing. I hope to one day take pictures as good as theirs.
I wanted to make macaroons for the 4th of July, but it wasn't in the cards. Instead, I made Martha's cookie dough recipe for her raspberry cream sandwiches. The dough is full of vanilla flavor. The recipe calls for a whole vanilla bean and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. I was afraid the vanilla would overpower my jam, so I used half a vanilla bean and only 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. I also added a heaping ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper to bring out the pepper in the jam. The dough was delicious and I had high hopes for the finished baked cookie.
While baking, the dough spread more than I thought it would. I ended up cutting the baked cookies with a cutter to get the shape I wanted. The flavor of the dough was good, but very sweet. Once I added the strawberry jam they were sugar bombs, and I was running for my toothbrush after eating one. I wouldn't combine this cookie dough and jam together again. The dough is delicious on its own though, and I bet it would be great with some bittersweet chocolate. I have lots of left over dough to play with, so I think I might try to use it as a flat tart base later in the week. If I do I'll be sure to post my results.
Martha strikes again. Grammy's chocolate cookies are addicting, chewy, crunchy (from the turbinado) and insanely chocolaty. They spread a lot while baking and become very flat; making them the perfect cookie for sandwiching with some vanilla ice cream.
For the recipe, please reference Martha Stewart's Cookies or visit Martha's website here.
The only difference I saw between the two recipes is the book calls for an additional 2 tablespoons of AP flour; and it calls for rolling the cookies in sanding sugar (not granulated). I highly suggest rolling the cookies in either turbinado or sanding sugar. Sanding and turbinado sugars add a nice crunch to baked items because they typically don't dissolve in the oven.
Another suggestion I have is use the best cocoa powder you can get your hands on. The cocoa flavor dominates this cookie, so the better the cocoa powder the better the cookie.
Nancy Silverton's recipe for coffee cake is by far the best I have come across. Made with crème fraiche, it is light with a beautiful crumb structure. Our 4th of July started early this year because my bocce partner Kady and I were playing at 10:00 AM in a bocce tournament. Knowing we would need a solid food foundation to start off our day of merriment; I decided to make the coffee cake for breakfast.
Lesson learned on this cake, use crème fraiche. I decided to make this cake last minute, so I didn't have time to make crème fraiche. Nancy says you can use sour cream, which I did. The resulting cake was much heavier and chewier than its crème fraiche variation. Everyone at the party loved it, but knowing how great it is with crème fraiche I couldn't help but be a bit disappointed.
Here's my adaptation of the recipe from Nancy Silverton's Pastries from La Brea Bakery
1 cup chopped walnuts (toasted)
¼ cup plus 2 Tb light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Mix above ingredients together, set aside.
2 large eggs
2 cups crème fraiche (or sour cream)
1 tbsp vanilla
8 oz cold butter cubed
2 cups sugar
3 cups AP flour
1 Tb baking powder
1 tsp salt
Butter a 14-cup capacity bundt pan.
Preheat oven to 325.
In a bowl, mix dry ingredients. In another bowl whisk crème fraiche, eggs and vanilla together. In a mixing bowl paddle butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. Add the crème fraiche mixture to the creamed butter a little at a time till fully incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches till fully incorporated. Put half the batter into the bundt pan using your fingers to smooth it out (wet fingers with water first, it makes it easy to spread). Scatter the brown sugar walnut crumbs all over the batter. Put the remaining batter on top of the crumbs, using wet fingers again to smooth it out. Bake for about an hour till firm to the touch.