Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
½ cup (125g) whole milk
½ cup (125g) water
1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.
2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.
3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your hand mixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough. You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.
Notes: 1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.
2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.
• Large Bowl, Medium Saucepan, Paring Knife, Two Medium Bowls, Whisk, Fine- Mesh Strainer
• 1½ cups (12 ounces) whole milk
• 1 vanilla bean (or 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
• 1 large egg
• 2 large egg yolks
• 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) sugar
• 1/4 cup (1¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) cold unsalted butter
1. Fill the large bowl halfway with ice and water and set it aside. Pour the milk into the medium saucepan. Use the tip of a paring knife to cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Turn the knife over and use the dull side to scrape the seeds into the saucepan, then add the pod. Heat until the mixture just begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. (If using vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean, skip this step and add the extract later.)
2. Heat the milk to just below the boiling point and remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, and sugar until well blended and smooth. Add the flour and whisk vigorously until the mixture is very smooth. Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to temper the yolks. Slowly pour the yolk mixture back into the hot milk, whisking all the while.
3. Heat the mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the flour from lumping, until it reaches a boil. Continue to cook and whisk for another minute, until the pastry cream is very thick. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter (and vanilla extract, if using). Strain the pastry cream through the strainer set over a medium bowl to remove any lumps or tiny bits of egg. (Save the vanilla bean: Rinse it thoroughly, allow to dry, then use it to make vanilla sugar).
4. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream, then set the bowl into the bowl of ice water. Once the pastry cream has completely cooled, use or store in the refrigerator until needed.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
*Sidenote, I should never use bundt pans. I always will, because I have my grandmother’s bundt pan and I will use and cherish everything that is hers for the rest of my life, but I’m not patient enough for bundt pans. I waited 10 minutes, I even set a timer! Flipped it, felt it touch the plate, and well… there was a big ol chunk still in the pan.
It’s entirely baked, it’s just a curse. Oh well, I guess that was my grandmother’s way of insisting I try it right then and there. Anyway, here’s the recipe. In addition to the ingredients below, I added about ½ cup of pecans and ½ cup of walnuts… because that’s what I had. When it came out of the pan I sprinkled it with cinnamon and brown sugar because uh.. hello it's cinnamon and brown sugar.
Make this, enjoy this, and have a little more patience than me Pear Bread, adapted from here who adapated it from here2 cups all purpose flour1 cup whole wheat flour½ tsp baking soda1 ¼ tsp baking powder1 (heaping) tsp cinnamon½ tsp ground ginger1 tsp salt2/3 cups vegetable oil3 eggs1 cup brown sugar½ cup granulated sugar4-5 ripe pears, peeled and cored1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Butter and flour your favorite bundt pan. Set aside.
Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a large bowl.
Place the pears in a small bowl and mash. *Some of my pears were not as super ripe as the others, and it was just fine if they’re a tad on the chunky side* Add the oil, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract to the bowl and mix well.
Add the pear mixture to the flour mixture. Fold the mixture until no specks of flour remain, being careful not to overmix.
Scrape the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for approximately 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the bread out on a wire rack and cool completely.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
6 tablespoons (97 grams) sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces (56 grams) white chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon Chambord (more or less to taste)
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
- The dough can be started one day in advance. Once the dough has risen the initial hour, it can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, covered.
- The cake is definitely best eaten within one day of preparation, ideally the same day that it is prepared. Be sure to keep it tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature to prevent it from drying out.
- Feel free to play around with the filling recipe, depending on what you have on hand. Finely chopped almonds or pecans, candied citron, dried cranberries or cherries, and raisins are all good options.
- Instead of braiding the dough, you can also roll it up jelly-roll style. After rolling the dough to the 24X10-inch rectangle, brush it with the melted butter and sprinkle the filling on top. Tightly roll the dough and then bring the ends of the roll together, pinching to seal.
For the dough
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
6 ounces butter, softened
4 large eggs
Zest from one orange
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the icing:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
delicious guts of half a vanilla bean
the juice of one whole lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Here is what you'll do:
Prepare the dough: In a small saucepan, heat the milk to about 110F degrees. Pour the milk into a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the surface. Add 1 teaspoon of the sugar and stir to combine. Set the mixture aside until the yeast is foamy, 10 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the remaining sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the yeast mixture and mix for 1 minute. Add an egg and mix thoroughly; follow with a third of the flour. Repeat with the remaining eggs and flour. Add the orange zest, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt, and continue to mix on low speed for 7-8 minutes, until the dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic, and it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too soft, add up to 1/2 cup of flour.
Scrape the dough from the bowl and lightly knead to form into a ball. Butter or oil the inside of a medium size bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning to coat with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
When the dough has risen, turn it out of the bowl, punch it down, and knead it lightly to form a ball. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Form the cake: Flour a clean work surface. Roll the dough into a 10 by 20-inch rectangle, keeping the thickness consistent throughout. Cut the dough lengthwise into 3 strips. Paint each strip of the dough with the melted butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border clean along the length of each strip. Reserve any leftover butter. Sprinkle the strips with the brown sugar and cinnamon.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Fold each strip over lengthwise toward the clean edges to enclose the cinnamon sugar, and pinch the seam to seal the dough closed. Snugly braid the three pieces together. Transfer the braid to the baking sheet and form the braid into a wreath, pressing the ends together. Cover the wreath with a clean towel and set aside to rise for 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
Brush the cake with the reserved melted butter and bake for 18 minutes, until golden brown. Cover the cake loosely with foil and continue to bake for 20-25 minutes more, until baked through.
While the cake is baking, make your icing. Cream together butter and cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Then add vanilla bean insides, vanilla, and lemon juice. Beat until all ingredients are incorporated and it becomes light fluffy and delicious. Divide icing into three bowls and color appropriately with the dye of your choice.
Remove the cake and while it's still warm, smother in cream cheese icing. I decorated it so that there were 3 chunks of each colors. Green, yellow, purple, green, yellow, purple, green, yellow, purple. Get it? Got it? Good.
P.S., this was far easier than expected, and truly gratifying when it turns out beautifully. I had a picture of the great braid before I iced it, but apparently my SD card ate it, grr. Don't forget to hide a little plastic baby! (I didn't get to because well, I live in Missouri which is a giant sheet of ice currently) Just realize it's a commitment. It's a day project, for sure.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
A few interjections must be made, and will be done so at this time.
1) I love cooking. I cook a lot. I make meals that make grown men drool. It’s what the women in my family do; we are blessed with natural ability and a developed palate. I made a roast over winter break that almost made my father hold me hostage from going back to college. The reason I never blog about “real” food is because I do love cooking, and I rarely have written recipes. I cook by taste. I throw this in throw that in and if doesn’t taste perfect I add a little more of this or that. Even when I bake I have to stop and think about how much of what I put in, so that I can share it with you all later.
2) I’m not a vegetarian, at all. Once at Sam’s Club bought a case of Boca Burgers because they are so low in calories and when I diet I’ll eat dirt if it fills me up without being caloric. Anyway, with a case of Boca Burgers in my cart I instantly ran and bought a 3 lb slab of bacon because I didn’t want people to think I was a vegetarian… as if that was a bad thing. “That girl only has Boca Burgers in her cart, she must be a murderer!” But seriously, I’m a carnivore, and have been my whole life. Truthfully I never realized steak was considered a treat to some people until I was like 13 because we ate it almost nightly growing up. As a kid I use to be like “ugh, steak again??” and demand a bologna sandwich or frozen pizza again. My father could eat steak 3 times a day, and probably has.
3) I’m dieting, and truthfully I always feel ashamed when I talk about dieting. I’ve lost a lot of weight, close to 40 lbs. Anyone who has lost weight knows it takes a while for the mind to catch up with the new pants size (which may I add I’m wearing the smallest pants size I’ve ever wore), and truthfully I’m awesome at dieting and feel like I can help others diet too. I’m counting calories and eating great. I will tell you my secret to dieting. Get as full as you do on Thanksgiving, everyday but on awesome awesome food. (example: I eat a sandwich FULL of veggies, so full I can barely put my mouth around it, with healthy lunchmeat and good cheese, an apple, a yogurt cup, and a serving of baked cheetos. I am always full halfway through my lunch but press on. It’s amazing how you feel when you are THAT full on such great foods.) Eat real food and eat lots of it.
But anyway, back to the actual point of this entry. I saw a bowl of soup on foodgawker that looked delicious so I clicked on it, and it turns out it was vegetarian chili. I love chili. I love eating healthy so I thought, why the hell not.
This is hearty, delicious, spicy, and… awesome. I wouldn’t call it soup and I wouldn’t call it chili. If soup and chili had a love child, it would be this recipe. Here are the ingredients as listed by Pickycook, and I’ll add my helpful (or snide) comments.
-1 package “meat crumbles” (I know, I know)
-1 onion, chopped (I used a sweet yellow onion)
-1 pepper, chopped (I used an orange bell pepper)
-5 cloves of garlic, minced
-1 large bottle of V8, hot & spicy variation
-28 oz can (or 2 14 oz cans, whatever) fire roasted tomatoes, diced
-2 Tablespoons of chili seasoning (That is what the recipe called for, but I don’t even know what that is. Put what you normally put in chili, I used a random mixture of cumin, cayenne pepper, hot chili powder, oregano, garlic salt, a few dashes of "chipotle tabasco sauce" adds smokiness, dried chives, and coarse ground black pepper.)
-1 Teaspoon Chili Powder (I used hot)
-1 bay leaf
-kosher salt and black pepper to taste
-1 lb macaroni cooked 2 minutes less tah instructions (I used a box of Healthy Harvest 7 grain fusilli)
-1 can black beans, rinsed (I used Bush’s seasoned Black beans)
-I also put some Jalapeño rings (the ones you put on nachos that come from the jar) and Green onions (because I put green onions on everything) and I topped it with Sargento’s Reduced fat Mexican Shredded Cheese blend
Get started: In a large pot get a pot of water boiling and throw in some kosher salt. When the water has reached a rapid boil add in your pasta. Remember you will want it a little “under done” as it will cook a bit in the pot later.
In another large pot, coat the bottom with olive oil and sauté the chopped onion and pepper until tender. Add the garlic and let it all do it’s business for a few minutes. Add the dried spices and bay leaf. Stir to combine. Pour the crushed tomatoes and the V8 into the pot. Let it come to a boil, and then reduce the temperature to a simmer for around 15 mins. Check your seasonings, does it taste good? Does it need something? Let your tongue tell you what’s up!
Okay, brace yourself and add the crumbles and black beans and let it all cook for another 5 mins or so. Then dump in your pasta and let it cook for like 2 more mins. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf!!
Bowl it up and add some shredded cheese and green onions on top!