Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Daring Baker Challenge...Flourless Chocolate Dessert!

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

This flourless chocolate cake recipe was super easy. I baked mine in a large muffin tin. Then I sliced them in half and sandwiched a vanilla bean ice cream that I had made beforehand. Before placing it on a plate, I drizzled hot fudge, and sprinkles powdered sugar on top.

This would make a great dessert when you have your gluten free friends over!

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C

9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C. Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
2 cups of half and half
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon of vanilla bean powder

Mix all ingredients together (we do this in a plastic pitcher and mix with an emulsifier hand blender-whisking works too).Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer. Mix in your ice cream maker as directed.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hooked on Vintage Aprons....

Are you a June Cleaver want to be? Are you the one wearing those gracious pearls and that beautiful apron, as you cook up the family dinner at night. Unfortunately my pearls stay in the jewelry box for that special occasion, and my apron, which I rarely wear, is more of a chef /restaurant style.

Yes, I do own some of these beautiful aprons, but they are tucked away for safe keeping. I am completely hooked on them. But, I think I would be afraid of getting these fragile vintage items dirty. Did these housewives ever splatter, or rub their chocolate battered hands on themselves?

The kitchen apron sensation is part of the growing interest in cooking and entertaining, of which I have always been a part of. With a world of resources — fantastic cookbooks, on-demand gourmet cooking shows, and uncommon products now widely available — it is easy to get caught up in the fun of trying out new recipes and figuring out creative ways to entertain.

Sometimes you can find them at some wonderful antique shows, such as this display at the Brimfield Market in MA. The cost can be anywhere from $2 to $50 depending...

Kitchen aprons are making a come back. Perhaps when hosting your next dinner party you may want to wear one! Influenced by the romanticism of a bygone era, owners of Jessie Steele have tried to recreate that symbol of grace and beauty in the kitchen. Their vintage kitchen apron designs not only show off your curves, but also feature a wide variety of eye-catching prints, sashes, and piping in just the right places. Aren't they the cutest things? They make wonderful gifts!
So what are you hooked on this Friday?
and see what others are hooked on...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Crazy How I Can Be Hooked On These.....

Yes, it is true, I am "Hooked on Cake Stands". These are about half of my collection, the rest are still boxed away in storage. Gone are the days when I can afford to hunt these gems down.
Plus how many cake stands do you need really???

I just think they're beautiful...

These are some of my favorites a "Hobnail", white from Fenton, and pink from Smith Glass.

Or the "Original" design from Smith Glass Co....

I also have several milk glass version of this design.

Or these delightful "Trellis" from Smith Glass...

Or the most well known "Thistle" design,
these are from Smith.

So, now that you know what I'm Hooked on this Friday, check out Julia at "Hooked on Houses", to see what others are up to this week!
Maybe I should have a High Tea and use some of these beauties!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chicken Cacciatore on a Cold, Wet Night....

Once again the weather is cold and wet in New England. Last night we got about 3 inches of snow, and then it has been raining on and off all day long. I thought why not make Chicken Cacciatore.... This meal is so easy, and wonderfully delicious. You can make it on the stove, or throw it in a crock pot and let it simmer all day long. The longer it simmers the better it gets.

I use chicken breast and cut them into pieces, and brown them to hold the juices in. But, you can use bone in chicken as well. If you use bone in, just throw everything in together, and simmer on top of the stove or all day in the crock pot. Your chicken will fall off the bone with so much flavor... Here I used 2.5 pounds of breast.

4 celery stalks, 3 larger carrots, and 1 medium onion.
Then I added in 2 large cans of diced tomatoes,
2 garlic cloves (minced), 2 bay leaves,
2 tsp. oregano, and 1/2 red wine
note: you can also add in green pepper

Put it all together and let simmer, add a little pepper, and this is what you get. I let mine simmer on the stove 2 hours. You can then serve over your choice of pasta or rice.
This is so super easy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Black and White, and Confetti too!

It's Tuesday's with Dorie again in blogland, and today's choice is

Devil's Food White Out Cake

This cake comes from the cover of the baking book by Dorie Greenspan. I was excited, as was everyone else to make this cake from the cover. I used four layers, as opposed to three. And added a lot of sprinkles!
I felt that it came out a little dry, and the frosting was not as sweet as it could have been, more like a meringue. They say sometimes it is the cocoa powder you use that makes the difference. Of course, I will try it again, just to get it right!

You can find the recipe here provided by this week's host. Or purchase the book, it is so worth it!

We give this 3 1/2 glasses,
for udder goodness......

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What can you get for $20 ???

How much can you get now a days for $20? This is what I got on half price Wednesday at the S & A Boutique, as I like to call it....

aka :Salvation Army
2 pairs of Levi Jeans, 3 pairs of yoga pants, 2 pairs of MUDD jeans, 3 ribbed turtlenecks, 1 Nautica pullover, 1 Aeropostale pullover, 1 A & F sweater with wool mini skirt, 1 Old Navy Pullover, and 1 Soccer zip-up.
That's 16 items in like new condition for $20,
yes, $20.
I love half price Wednesday!

Check out this great wool A & F sweater with the cute plaid mini.

Or how about a Nautica pullover or Ralph Lauren Turtleneck,

Or this minty sweat, or perhaps a Luck of the Irish sweat?
These items would have cost me a fortune new, probably well over $300. That is why my favorite hot shop spot is the S & A. There was a recent Newsweek report that said resale shops were so in and so going green. I guess I saw the fad coming because I have always shopped at resales. When you have kids they grow so fast, why spend a lot of money on clothes. I can't tell you when the last time was that I went to the mall, well over 3 years or so ago, and it is only 6 miles away.
I just can't get enough of this store. It's like shopping therapy. I give myself a budget of $25 a month when going there. It may take about 2 hrs, because the clothes are not sized. So, next time you drive by one, turn around and drive right back and see what you can find!
The hunt is so exciting!