Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bacon and Rosemary Quiche

I told Brian I'd make him a few things before we left town-- Rosemary Quiche, we'd make a gingerbread house, and lamb risotto. I made all three-- I plan to make pumpkin bread when I get back. This was one of our dinners earlier in the week (so he could have it throughout the week while I was busy with other things). And man, it was sooo good. I got the recipe from Imperrfections. I admit, I changed it a little, but it probably didn't need it. I just like trying things-- and I tend to add nutmeg to most egg based dishes.

But yeah, it turned out really good-- sorry for not having a picture of the entire thing. I admit I burned the crust a little, and it didn't look nearly as pretty from afar as it did upclose. I was also staaarving by the time this was finished since I made this and the gingerbread on the same day-- I spent the entire day baking and cooking (igloo cake, quiche, then gingerbread, we stayed up all night doing all of this. Brian's a saint to stay so long doing stuff like this with me...).

But great flavor, great texture. The hashbrown crust was so good too. And I love the combination of rosemary and bacon. I'm kind of tempted to do that all the time. Rosemary seems good with everything, to me-- though my roommate Karin might disagree.

We enjoyed our quiche with some frozen vegetables--but I'm pretty sure some salad would be good. We also had it for breakfast with some coffee. Excellent!

Bacon and Rosemary Quiche with Hashbrown Crust
Recipe Adapted from Imperrfections

1 red potato, shredded
1 white potato, sredded
3 TBS butter
1 tsp salt

4 eggs
1/4 C milk
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
pinch of salt and pepper
4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 C shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 C onion, chopped

Oven at 450 degrees Farhenheit

Shred the potatoes with either a cheese grater or with a food processer, soak them in a bowl for 10 minutes to get rid of extra starch. Drain and squeeze the shreddings to remove as much moisture as possible from them. Use anything possible to do this.

After drying, toss shredded potatoes with butter and salt then press into the bottom and sides of a pie plate to form a crust. Bake for 20-30 minutes until it's lightly browned.

Whisk eggs with milk, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix in the bacon, cheese, and onion and pour into the hash brown crust. Make sure the filling is spread evenly then bake for 25-30 minutes.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Gingerbread Outhouse!

Gingerbread house! Brian and I actually made a gingerbread outhouse this year. The recipe for the gingerbread can be found in my previous gingerbread post here. I think I took better photos last year-- the lighting is better this year, but I liked the 'making of' pictures. Also, I forgot Jeff suggest that I make a template for everyone. Next year. Maybe when I get back Brian will take a picture of our gingerbread with me. But I don't know how keen he is to appear on Foodival.

So mostly this post is going to be a photo montage. Hah.

See the moon on the door? Hah!

Can you guess what that kiss was supposed to represent? ;)

Happy Christmas and Holidays everyone!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Igloo Cake (Coconut and Mascapone with Sauteed Dates)

Last year for Christmas my mom got me this fantastic Igloo pan. It's huuuuge-- much larger than I thought it was. (The original recipe for this only filled a quarter of this pan, which stunned me and I had to scramble to change the recipe to make up for it. So yes, this was a science experiment. Luckily, I know enough about baking that I was able to make up for some liquids, fat contents, etc. It definitely was difficult...)

So yeah, I decided I'd make this tasty little contraption-- beautifully rendered in igloo format. Originally I saw the recipe for the mascapone and coconut cake and was like-- woah! That sounds delicious. I love mascapone cheese and dates, and my roommate (Caitlin) loves coconut. This seems to be perfect. Wintery enough to make sense for an ingloo cake, and requiring no frosting.... yes, perfect indeed (except small).

I had to convert the recipe into cups and tablespoons-- I don't have a kitchen scale. I used to. Before I moved to LA and became homeless, hah. The original recipe I found at 1001 hours.
What I really liked was how much like a pound cake this turned out to be. The edges were all brown and crusty and thick, and the inside was soft, tender, moist... delicious. It wasn't too sweet, it was hearty-- which paired well with the uber sweet date topping. I made a huge batch of that and kept a lot of it in my fridge which I then reheated when I needed it.

I also made this igloo cake at the apartment I share with the girls-- I'm not sure if Karin had any, but Caitlin and Vicky seemed to enjoy it and most of it was gone by the time I left LA to go home to CO for Christmas. That's where I'm blogging from now, currently. The good old town of Boulder.
Okay, the rest of this is mostly filler. My mom wanted me to make the igloo cake for my little brothers, but I wasn't about to take this pan home with me. It's huge, it'd fill like... a quarter of my suitcase. Nooo thank you.
I loved that the coconut stuck out-- it gave the cake a heartiness and a chewiness that was really nice and complinted the dates. Really, all the flavours of this complimented well. Even though I altered it quite a bit. I'm still curious how the original dessert would have turned out-- someday I'll have to make it. But this is quite nice too.

I liked the texture of the cake on the outside, and I loved the crispness of the crust. Again, this made a lot of cake, it'd probably be frugal to half the recipe and make a smaller amount. my bundt pan was humongous and even with all of this recipe it didn't fill it up entirely.

Look how thick that cake is-- and it's even pretty with a slice taken out, hah!
The dates were rich and tender. I tend to make dates at Christmas time for my brother and I make them the same way. I cook them in a little butter with some honey and cinnamon and we just eat them whole-- well, we remove the pits afterwards. They're all gooey and creamy. I fed a full date to Brian before I left, and he said he liked them better as a paste for the cake-- he said they're too paste like to be a solid object. I guess I can see that point of view. But darn, another boy who doesn't like dates as much. Luckily I can cook them and I think he'll like them better.

I love dates, I'm glad they're such a wintery tasty treat.

Coconut and Mascapone Cake with Sauteed Dates
Adapted from 1001 hours

2 cups sugar
1 cup grated coconut
1 package mascapone cheese
half a package of cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 6 oz container vanilla yogurt
11 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

Oven at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease your pan.
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour the dough into the prepared pan and bake -- this large of a cake took me about an hour and a half to bake. Hah!
Allow to cool, top with powdered sugar and dates.

2 tablespoons butter
1 package fresh dates, chopped and pitted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Melt butter in a small pan. Add all ingredients and cook until melted and heated throughout.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Goopy Carbonara

As you all know I tend to not make fancy meals every day of the week. Most of the time, I'm more inclined to make a quick meal such as macaroni and cheese, or pasta with parmesan cheese. If I'm with Brian, I'll do something like "add chicken". With Jeff, we often added hot dog and ham to things. BUT, Carbonara pasta is -supposed- to have ham... okay, okay, pancetta. But come on, I love ham. I actually tend to like it better than pancetta because often pancetta has thick piece of fat on it, and I really, really dislike chewy things. It's a texture thing. So, ham it is. I can get lean ham, I can make lean ham, and it is all salty and sweet and tasty. Mm.

So, this pasta is just carbonara. It's super easy. And I kind of got the idea of making it goopy from the Sims. Yeah, I know, lame, but come on-- goopy carbonara?! How good does that sound? It's GOOPY!

Please also forgive me for my terrible pictures. Sometimes, I can take good ones. Sometimes, I can't. It depends on the dish, the lightning, the day, and how much time I have and how hungry I am. That's just the way the cookie crumbles. As for the recipe below, I sort of wing things like this, so I have to vaugely remember how I made them. I hope if it's remade by any of you readers, you'll tell me if it seems correct and what you may have done different. If I make it again, I'll try to make it specific to this recipe and will see if there's any changes I need to do. (Might be too much parmesan, hmm).

Goopy Carbonara.... approximately

1/4 cup cooked chunks of ham
1/4 cup frozen peas, heated
1/2 package angel hair pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup milk, cream, or combination there of.
1/8 tsp (or less) freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 onion, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Boil the pasta in salted water as per directions on package.
In a medium skillet, heat the butter and olive oil until combined. Mix in the flour to create a roux, and cook into light golden. Add the cream, onion, garlic, and spices. Bring to a simmer and stir until thick. Add the parmesan cheese. When the angel hair pasta is done, drain well and fold into the cream sauce with ham and peas. Top with pepper, cajun, extra parmesan, or whatever you wish.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Basic Crepes

Crepes are something that I love. I grew up going to this restaurant in my hometown (Colorado Springs) called La Creperie. They had all sorts of crepes there-- filled with turkey and mushrooms or asparagus or chicken and bechamel sauce (I didn't know what that was at the time, I tended to substitute hollandaise which I recognized as the funny yellow sauce my mom would sometimes make from the packet. Hee!). I really enjoyed going there for most of my life and thus grew up with a special affinity for crepes.

Fast foward a few years and I was in college-- it'd been years since I've had crepes. Savannah had very few french bistros or crepe joints. So, I began making my own. My boyfriend at the time, Ryan, bought me a book of french recipes and from it I started making crepes (as well as a few other things you've seen on here). The first thing I actually made from that book was chocolate mousse... which I later made into a cinnamon chocolate mousse pie that I shared with Jeff. At the time, it was just mousse. Then crepes. The crepe recipe in the book is fairly straightforward, and I've sort of just adapted my own over time. But originally, crepes came from my French cookbook (which is Williams Sonoma, I might add, I suppose).

After that I didn't make crepes very often. It's kind of difficult to do it in a frying pan that sticks easily and doesn't have gently sloping sides. But I made do. Eventually (not sure when anymore) I got a crepe pan. I spent the summer after graduating college in Denver, with my best friend Sarah (who's an editor/writer/awesome person) where I made her crepes time after time. We called them blini, but really, they were crepes. Except the one time I made them out of buckwheat. But whatever.

Fast forward. I live in Los Angeles and I haven't made crepes once. I used to get them with Jeff-- sometimes, when we were down at the Del Alamo Shopping Center, there was a crepe place there and we'd get the occasional treat. Also, we'd sometimes eat at Monsieur Marcel, and I remember getting crepes there, maybe once.

However, since Brian and I started dating I've had crepes multiple times-- we actually had crepes once when we were just friends and we went to lunch at the Farmers Market-- those were okay. Just okay. Then, in Boston, we had supper at a crepe place in Coolidge Corner called Paris Creperie. It was fantastic! We've also had crepes in Santa Monica for our3monthsversaryyesi'maromanticnerd some reason and enjoyed those but maybe not as much. But I did unpack my crepe pan from one of my boxes in persuit of my igloo pan, and promised my roommate Vicky I'd make her crepes.

She's Russian. My roommate, Vicky. So I just assume she likes crepes-- because Sarah (the bff) majored in Russian and went to Russia and likes crepes. So I assumed. Luckily, she did like crepes. I made them for her for breakfast one morning (after I made her kasha, which I didn't take a picture of-- sorry guys). We both enjoyed them sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and drizzled in butter. My crepes are probably too buttery, and they are a tad small-- my crepe pan is but a small one. However, that makes them feel all homey to me-- not perfect like the kind I can buy out of my own home.
I'm not very good at making crepes anymore, however. The first batch came out very thick, but I got the hang of it and started making them thinner. Still, not perfect. But whatever, they tasted very good.

Basic Crepes

1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter

Whisp together the flour and eggs. Gradually add in the milk, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter and beat until smooth.
Heat a crepe pan or griddle over medium high heat. Oil the pan with butter and pour the batter into it, swirling it around ot cover the entire pan-- do this quick! Try to get them as thin as possible. COok for about 2 minutes, loosen with a spatula, flip, and cook for another two minutes-- until each side is very lightly browned.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cheesy Potato Bread

For Thanksgiving Dan, who is Brian's roommate, and is a wonderful and awesome guy, made like... 5 pounds of mashed potatoes. Or maybe it was 15 pounds. It was a lot-- a LOT of mashed potatoes. He brought them to two potlucks, they were eaten, and there was still a gigantic bowl left over. I was eating mashed potatoes for days-- and after a few, I said... hey, why don't I make something out of this?

So I pulled out an old recipe I had been meaning to try, this cheesy potato bread from Real Mom Kitchen, and was like... yeah. Yeah, this is perfect. This is exactly what I need-- it's snacky, we don't have a lot of bread right now, and it uses 3/4 a cup of mashed potatoes (which is far less mashed potatoes than I thought. It barely dented the bowl).

I flavoured up the potatoes a little bit before putting them into the bread. It's not that Dan's potatoes weren't flavourful, but since they were going into a bready substance I figured they should be punched up as much as possible. This included adding some sour cream, butter, thyme, salt, and pepper. I also added some more thyme to the actual dough. And cheddar cheese-- I used extra of that.

I liked the bread-- it could've used more salt, but it was good. We tried it with various condiments-- spicy chipotle mustard being one of the winners. Good old butter wasn't a bad choice at all-- and strawberry jam cut the cheddar quite nicely. All in all, a good day for quick and easy potato bread. I made it while Dan, Brian, and AJ (Dan's fantastic fiance who I adore) were at improv -- they're part of a group called Hot Biscuit. I have nothing to do with improv, so I stay home and meander and some
I believe we wrecked this cheesy potato bread before dinner-- but I think there was just a liiiittle bit left, so we paired it with some seared herby chicken and frozen vegetables. Again, trying to eat healthy-ish. Not sure cheesy potato bread is the way to go on that but-- eh! C'est la vie!

Cheesy Potato Bread
Recipe from Real Mom Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup seperated.
1/4 tsp dried, crushed thyme
3/4 cup mashed potatoes
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Oven at 425 Degrees Farhenheit.

Mix first 4 ingredients together. Add 1/4 cup cheese and the potatoes to the flour mixture and mix together. Add the water and oil and mix them together to make a soft dough. Turn the dough onto floured surface and shape into an 8 inch circle. Place the dough on a greased pan and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool before eating.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tarte a la Citrouille

Sometime before Thanksgiving I found this recipe for French pumpkin pie-- Tarte a la Citrouille. With lots of little a dashes and accent pieces on letters that I don't necessarily know the short keys for, and am not very willing to get out my character map to do them. Sorry, blog readers, I'm a little lazy aboout accent marks. I hope you can all forgive me. But believe me, if I were writing it in script and I knew them all by heart, I would make sure to mark them down-- I believe it could change the word otherwise. Luckily I'm pretty sure google knows what I'm talking about, so you can google it and voila!

I got really excited about this -- I love, love pumpkin pie and really wanted to make it for Thanksgiving, but something seemed strange and exciting about making a French version.
The French version wasn't that much different. The one I had found had a little less sugar and no spices, it was also in metrics-- so I had to convert the metrics over to what I understand (also, I don't have a kitchen scale anymore), which did involved looking up other recipes. Still, I'd say that this pumpkin pie was a bit smoother and less thick than the American version. Not quite as sweet, though I added spices to give it more of the punch that I really, really appreciate this time of the year. It'd be like drinking chai without the spices-- then it's just a sweet tea latte.
Maybe I should make a chai pumpkin pie next year. Hmm, cardamom....

I made fresh whipped cream to go around the edges-- and I'm pleased to say it was a hit. We had a huge potluck at my roommate's place, and Brian and I also went to a potluck up in Van Nuys at a friend of his place. The food there was excellent-- one of the friends was an excellent cook. I happened to make my marbled mashed potatoes which is a hit every year with everyone. Brian made green bean cassarole. Yes, the kind from the can-- and it was amazing. I helped him spice it up a little, but I gotta admit, I like a few things from the can. Like green bean cassarole. Or cranberry sauce.

Though I'll take the non can version of either, of course.

It was definitely an excellent pumpkin pie. I even got to use my leftover frozen pumpkin puree (it's old, I need to use the rest of it-- gonna try to make some pumpkin bread!! I haven't made it in ages.)

Tarte a la Citrouille
Recipe inspired from a number of sources, but mainly from Foodbeam

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon butter

2 eggs
1/3 cup raw sugar
1/8 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
seeds from half a vanilla pod

Oven at 325 Fahrenheit.

Whisk pumpkin, spices, sugars, vanilla beans and extract. Add eggs. Whisk in heavy cream. Pour into blind baked pate sucree. Bake for 45 minutes.

Pate Sucree

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup ground almonds
seed from 1/2 vanilla pod
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt

Cream butter. Mix in sugar, ground almonds, vanilla seed. Mix in eggs. Mix in flour and salt until just incorporated.

Form a large ball with the dough and gently press them down, wrap them in cling wrap and refrigerate overnight (or up to two days).
Roll the dough between two sheets of baking or waxed paper. Cut into a disk an inch or so larger than your tarte pan. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Line the pan with your pate sucree. Place it on top of the tarte pan and press down and into the folds, pinching slightly with your fingers. If you have a fluted tarte pan as I do, its about making sure it fills the gaps. Chill for an hour.
Remove from the refrigerator line with baking powder, fill with dried beans or rice. Bake at 350 Degrees Farhenheit for 17-25 minutes then remove the paper and bake for another 3-5 minutes until nicely coloured.

Allow to cool before filling.

And here's some photos from our Thanksgiving!

Brian, Vicky (one of my three roommates), and I are eating Jeff's ham. I should say DEVOURING Jeff's ham. It was very good. My pie is in the corner-- Brian is like, framing it with his hands.

This is the hand turkey I made. The one on the right. I called her 'glamour turkey'. She's got nail polish and everything. Hah!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Turkey Burgers

I've been trying to eat a little healthier lately (not only for my sake), and that resulted in me getting onto a huge protein kick which involved wanting to buy buffalo, the grocery store not having it, and me buying Turkey instead. It's a lean protein-- and a tasty one, but not as good as buffalo.

But I like ground Turkey. I got the extra lean kind and used it for the rest of the week, cooking it up in scrambles or in pastas. I tend to add a lot of spices which make the turkey super tasty. Can't go wrong with that. But I can't necessarily tell you what spices, it changes every time-- but I tend to stay in the heavy on the garlic, poultry spice, maybe some cajun, and then rosemary or thyme or both. Sometimes parsley? I dunno, I really like playing with it-- cinnamon is a good spice to sometimes add as well. I've done that before, though not for the Turkey burgers. For the turkey burgers I just did different types of herbs so as to compliment the cheddar cheese and our sparse toppings.

This is me cooking the turkey burgers in a cast iron skillet-- my roommates have one and I try to use it as much as possible. One, because my skillets are packed away. Two, because I like cast iron and also Alton Brown tells me to. *zombie face*.

I cooked the patties and then covered them with cheese, of course. I basically coated the pan with olive oil, so its sort of like pan frying. I guess it is pan frying. I don't have a grill right now! I actually have no idea where my indoor grill is at the moment (oh wolfgang, I miss you). And there isn't any room for it anyway. On the plus side, the shredded cheese that fell off turned into tasty fried cheddar cheese crispies. Mmm.

We finished off our burgers on wheat bread (no buns, this was an impromptu dinner), sliced fresh sweet onioon, and spinach. They were very tasty, nothing overpowered the flavor of the herbed turkey, so that was nice. I really like fresh onions on my burgers, thanks to In-n-Out. They very much got me into that amazingness.

This wasn't so bad for a quick, easy meal. From like, a month ago.

Turkey Burgers

1/2 pound of ground turkey
1 tablespoon panko
1 teaspoon worsestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients and a bowl and mash mash mash. Mix up and form into patties. Cook in a pan on medium-high heat, until the outsides are golden and the interior is cooked thoroughly. This may take covering with a lid and turning down the heat, if you form especially thick patties (like I did, ahem).

cheddar cheese
To top and make tasty. With some ketchup and mustard. Oh, and a bun of some sort.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Potato and Apple Gratin

Awhile back my roommates and I were hanging out, and I decided to whip up this potato and apple gratin for brunch. It kind of made a nice snack-- it was enough for I believe the four of us to have some. Vicky and I went back for more. I had mine with a fried egg, for extra protein. I gotta say, this was a pretty tasty treat. It wasn't difficult to make--it'd be much simpler with a mandolin, but even with a knife it's just slicing the potatoes/apples thin, layering, and topping with tasty cream and cheese.

I actually have a french cookbook that I rarely cook out of. I've made a few recipes out of it, and there's a potato au gratin in that. I think I have actually made it-- and this isn't the first time I made potato gratin. Though I can't tell you when else I made it (maybe Thanksgiving one year? Or Christmas?).

Growing up my mom would buy potatoes au gratin in the box in the store. Yeah, you know the kind. Little red box. Potatoes in it, you just pour them in a pan and sprinkle the stuff over it. You know, making your own potatoes isn't that much more difficult. Heck, it might even be easier. And tastier. I encourage everyone to make potatoes au gratin from home and not from a super lame box mix. Unless you really like the box mix and have a love affair with it, like I do with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Which is what I had for brunch today. Hah.

Anywho, check out this recipe, try it, maybe have it for breakfast with some eggs (heck, potatoes and apples and eggs, what's not to love?).

Potato and Apple Au Gratin
Recipe inspired/from Six Course Dinner

1 large apple (I believe I used Honeycrisp, nomnom)
1 large white potato
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
rosemary, crushed or chopped

Oven at 375 Fahrenheit.

Thinly slice the potatoes and place in a large bowl of water to remove the excess starches. Thinly slice the apples and reserve. Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet to evenly coat the bottoms and sides. Alternate slices of apple and potato in the skillet until the bottom is covered. Continue layering until finished. Pour the heavy cream, rosemary, salt, and pepper on top, then coat with cheddar cheese (use extra if you want it extra cheesy, like I did). Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until tender and bubbling. Remove the foil and cook until the cheese is golden brown. Serve warm.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Brian's Birthday!

The beginning of November was Brian's birthday-- so, again, this post is quite old. I'm catching up! Only a few more until we're at Thanksgiving, hah! Then maybe I'll get to Christmas ones before Christmas happens. We'll see.

I cannot begin to tell people how I appreciate Brian. He has been so, so very helpful to me. In many ways, my life fell apart pretty quickly. After Jeff and I broke up, I lost my job (show was cancelled), could not find nor afford a new apartment, and a lot of family issues started popping up. One right after another. Brian was definitely a stone-- he was my friend who helped me through the break up, then later when we were together, he helped me move, he helped me find a place to stay (I split my time between him and a few of my female friends who are wonderful, wonderful people and I adore them endlessly), and talked me through many of the other issues of the time. He's patient and understanding and doesn't get upset too often.

He's also helped me (by just happening to talk to the right people at the right time) with finding a job. I am now an agency signed fashion model. Woah! That's pretty crazy, right folks? I'm including in this post a rare photo of myself, at a recent fashion show.

Yes, that is me. Without the normal Foodival picture formatting.
Anyway, there's a lot of good things that have happened and some of them I can thank Brian for, and some of them I can thank Lady Luck for. For example, this blog was listed in PC Magazine's top 50 blogs of 2009, found here. I have many to thank for that, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to? (You know who you are, and I appreciate you very, very much).

This is starting to sound like a Thanksgiving post. I AM GIVING THANKS. Well, it is after Thanksgiving, and so the mood perhaps is just striking me.

Also I have a few other opportunities up my sleeve. And this being-a-model-and-not-spending-75-hours-a-week-animating thing does give me more time to bake. But it also means I guess I'm supposed to watch it? Or something? Eh! Caution to the wind!

Anyway, on to the food.
So for Brian's birthday (oh yeah, that's where this posted started), I really wanted to show him how much I adore and appreciate him. And thus I made him BBQ Ribs! I mean, come on, that's how you show a guy you like him, right? Ribs? Yes? (No?) Well, it was my way. With it, I made smokey cheesy creamed corn, which I made mixing a recipe I found here with what I have had before at Grub (tasty place, that).

The ribs I made in the Alton Brown method-- the kind he made on both Good Eats and when I went and filmed with them in Florida for Dear Food Network. Except I couldn't find baby back ribs at my local market (what!?) so I used spare ribs (eh-heh-heh). And I also made my own glaze, because I wanted to do things my own way. I'm stubborn that way. But you'll see inspiration. You should check out Alton's recipe, because who doesn't love Alton Brown? It can be found here.

My glaze came out a little thin-- but Brian liked it. It was, however, very flavourful. I really liked it. My dinner came out much better than my cake-- which was delicious, but I did an attempt at meringue frosting that failed terribly. That's why I'm not showing a picture of it. However, I will probably attempt something similar again because the cake was so darn tasty, maybe make it into cupcakes, and post it. We still haven't finished the cake-- it was too much for one guy and one girl. Nobody else seemed to want it's scariness. Hah!

But the dinner. Now that was envy inspiring.

Brian's BBQ Ribs
Based loosely in method and style off of Alton Brown's Baby Back Ribs

1 rack spare pork ribs.
kosher salt
black pepper

Rub: note* This will make enough rub for many a rib rubbing. Also good on any pork product.
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup chili powder
1/8 cup paprika
1/8 cup garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayennee
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard

BBQ Sauce:

1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 cup instant espresso or very strong coffee
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup hard apple cider
1 teaspooon onion powder

Place the ribs on a sheet of wide, heavy-duty aluminum foil. Season them liberally with salt and sprinkle approximately 3 tablespoons of the rub on. Turn the rubs, meat side down, and tightly seal each pouch. Refigerate overnight.

The next day, heat the oven to 250 degrees.

Open one end of the pouch and pour in 1 cup of hard apple cider. Reseal the pouch and place on a sheet pan in the oven for 2 hours. Remove the ribs from the oven, carefully open one end of the pouch and pour the braising liquid into a heatproof measuring cup. Reseal the pouch and place it and the liquid in the fridge (for up to 8 hours).

The fat in the braising liquid will have solidified on the top and can be removed at this time. Transfer the liquid to a small saucepan and add the honey, brown sugar, ketchup,apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, espresso, cayenne pepper, celery salt, and onion powder. Whisk to combine. Set over medium high heat and reduce to a glaze.

Heat large, cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Brush with olive oil, and place the ribs flesh side down, and cover. Decrease the heat to medium, and leave alone for 4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Repeat if not charred enough. Remove the ribs from the pan and cut the ribs (I had to break mine with my hands, it was gruesome). Add the ribs and half the glaze to a large, large serving bowl, and toss throughly. Serve the remaining glaze on the size.

Roasted Potato Stacks
Recipe from Seasaltwithfood

2 white potatoes, scrubbed
1 tablespoon Cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Chopped Rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon Juice, or to taste
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Oven at 425 Degrees Farenheit.

Lightly oil two muffin cups in a muffin pan

Slice the pootatoes very thinly with a mandoline or a sharp knife.
In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with olive oil, rosemary, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
Stack the potatoes in a muffin pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes turn crispy on the outside and the flesh is soft.
Transfer the muffin pan to racks to cool for 2 to 3 minutes before carefully removing the potatoes. Serve warm.

Smokey Cheesy Cream Corn
Recipe inspired from Food Channel

2 strips bacon, 1/2-inch diced and drippings
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1/2 package frozen corn
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup half and half or cream
Salt and pepper
1/8 powdered ginger
a dash of cayenne
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp chipotle powder
1 clove of garlic, minced
a sprinkle of cajun, if desired

Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and cool, then crumble.
In the drippers saute the onions until soft, but not brown. Add the garlic and allow to cook for 1 minute. Add the corn and cheese. Cook stirring about 10 minutes. Add the cream and seasonings. Heat until bubbly, then serve topped with bacon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Tart

So after I made the delicious Autumn Pork Roast, I served up this delicious dessert of Chocolate Caramel Tart. I actually had this recipe bookmarked for a long time before actually making it, I kept coming back and eyeing it-- when will I make this? On what occasion can I possibly make this?
Ah, on this such occasion.

This was delicious-- it's super rich, sweet. The caramel is delicate (the first time I burned it), and it goes well with the chocolate pastry and the ganache. Well, how can you go wrong? Really, it's a simply flavoured dessert. Rich, dark chocolate. Rich, sweet caramel. Topped with some sea salt, and voila! There really isn't much to say.

What I will say is this. It's absolutely fantastic to pull this out of the fridge, slice it, and have the caramel just slightly puff and ooze out from the sides. It's fantastic to have there be a string of caramel to your mouth. The salt adds another dimension of flavour (this salt I got from Il Fornaio for participating in their passport program). The chocolate is both rich and dark, not too sweet, to allow the caramel to shine more keenly.
The chocolate crust, while a little difficult (again, I don't have a lot of room in other peoples kitchens), was yummy-- very tender, almost cookie like.
I could also see this being very good with a chocolate mousse layer as well, then topped with a ganache. My ganache was pretty mousse like-- I was in a rush and didn't really concentrate on how much cream I was pouring in. It just missed the fluffy.

Chocolate Caramel Tart
Recipe from Lottie + Doof

Chocolate Tart Dough

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Caramel Filling

1/2 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoons sour cream (or creme fraiche if you can find/afford it)

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 ounces extra-bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, and mix until just combined. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and form it into a disk; wrap well. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

Preheat the oven to 325° F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the tart dough into a large circle 3/16 inch thick. Transfer the tart dough to a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press into pan. If it falls apart at all just push it back together in the pan. Chill the tart shell in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Prick the shell all over with a fork. Line with parchment paper filled with pie weights or dried beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights, and bake until the pastry looks dry and set, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. (The tart shell can be made 8 hours ahead.)

Place 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan. Add sugar and corn syrup, and cook mixture over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it becomes an amber caramel-- you might want to remove it at about medium color, I removed it at a lighter colour because my pans cook hot-- this should take about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and carefully (the mixture will bubble up) and slowly add the heavy cream followed by the butter and sour cream. Stir until smooth.
Pour the caramel into the cooled tart shell and allow to set, first at room temperature and then in the refrigerator.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and let stand for 2 minutes, then stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour the ganache over the tart. Refrigerate until set.

Remove the tart from the refrigerator 5-10 minutes before you are ready to serve it. Cut the tart into slices and sprinkle each with Fleur de Sel.

Also, I had to change my blog counter (sad!). The other site I think has died, and so it has started over. Goodbye 10k hits. Maybe this time I'll do you right and make you something.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Autumn Pork Roast

I gotta admit, it's been busy. We all know this, I've said it like my last five posts. We all know this because I made this beauty back in like, September. Maybe late September. But it was still September. Since then I've made few other things (it sucks to not have your own kitchen, let me tell you that. I'm fine with using other peoples, but jeez, it's still kind of difficult).
But that's okay. Because I've made some pretty delicious things the few times I've actually made things.

This was a pork tenderloin, a recipe I got from Dutch Girl Cooking/Kayotic Kitchen

It was a nice little dinner I made for Brian and I. It wasn't too difficult to prepare-- I actually remember it being quite easy (as opposed to the dessert, which wasn't too hard either, but I think we were under a time constraint).

The pork turned out super tender and delicious. The mushroom cream sauce was divine!! I mean, it was kind of like a cream of mushroom soup-- but in sauce form-- and also fresh. Which makes sense, since it was basically a roux with mushroomness added. Whatever, it was good, and I loved it, and Brian loved it too.

To go with it I made a quinoa pilaf. Brian is trying to do a healthy thing, and I was trying to be mindful of it (sort of). Quinoa is super healthy, it's high in fiber and protein, one of those delicious ancient grains. I believe I flavoured this one with vegetables, and... chicken stock, I think. And some saffron. And rosemary. It's been too long, so I fail. Next time, I promise to write down what I do-- because it was quite delicious (though a liiiittle bland, I needed to heavier on the salt, at least).
All in all a fabulous meal. I don't make pork a lot so it was a nice change of pace-- and these pork tenderloins (hah, I accidentally typed porn at first) are quite easy to make and delicious.

Autumn Pork Roast
Recipe inspired from Dutch Girl Cooking/Kayotic Kitchen

1 pork tenderloin
3 oz mixed mushrooms -- I used a mix of regular white button and criminis.
1/2 medium red onion
1 1/2 heaping tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon course mustard (I used dijon)
1/2 tablespoon crushed rosemary
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup milk (I used a bit of cream too)
2 tablespoons butter
flat leaf parsley
worcestershire sauce

Rub the pork tenderloin with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Rub the course mustard and rosemary over the meat. Set the meat aside and allow the flavours to meld.
Meanwhile, chop the mushrooms and onions, coarsley.
Grate or mince one medium sized garlic clove.
Heat a tablespoon of the butter and sautee the onions for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook over low heat for about another 3 minutes, until the mushrooms are starting to soften and 'wilt'. Add the flour and cook for a minute to nuetralize the floury flavour. Pour in the milk/cream and stir until it is lump free. Bit by bit, pour in the chicken broth until you have the right consistency-- I think I may have used 1/2 cup because I wanted it thick and creamy, but not too dry. Simmer the sauce on a low heat for about 15 minutes.

Heat the remaining butter over medium-high heat and brown the meat on all sides. Cook for a few minutes on each side. Pour in some of the broth (or some water), and cover, allow to braise for 10 minutes or so (make sure it's cooked all teh way through, but with some very slight pinkness to the center).

Chop the parsley.

Once the meat is done, remove from the pan and cover with aluminum foil -- allow to rest for 5 minutes. In that 5 minutes, season your sauce with worcestershire, pepper, and salt. You may need a lot of it. :) Add the parsley last, serve over the pork tenderloin.