Friday, May 28, 2010

Croquembouche


This month’s challenge recipe is for a Piece Montée, which means literally “mounted piece.” You may know this dessert by another name – Croquembouche (“crunch in the mouth”). I prefer to go by the later....(Croak-em-buche), just because that is the most widely known. Most Americans will find this only during Holiday time. Perhaps at a hotel party or brunch. But others around the world will use this at a ceremonial feast such as a wedding or baptism.

The small balls are made from Pate choux, baked and then filled with a custard lightened with whip topping. Then you cook up some sugar to use to glue them together. With remanding sugar you can make spun sugar to go around your dessert. It is important to be very careful when using the hot sugar. You can get a pretty nasty burn. Poly gloves are best to wear when working with spun sugar.





The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of
Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.
You can go to here site for the recipe. But most Pate Choux recipe are pretty standard and you can find them in most baking books. I made small dessert size ones, just because I thought the would go better with my family. I used a shortbread cookie bottom to hold the on to.
Once you have conquered making these profiteroles, which are what the small ball shapes are called. You can accomplish any dessert using the Pate Choux recipe. Such as eclairs, cream puffs, Zeppoles, or any other dessert where this base is used. They are great small pastry trays.
Give them a try,
you will be delighted with your achievement!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday......Where are you Cleveland?

Wordless or Speechless....
American Idol ends on a sad note this season.
I was really pulling for Crystal from the very beginning.
Love, love, love this truthful Single MOM.
Such style and grace.
Can't wait to hear her album!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream Pie.......TWD

This week's TWD was chosen by Spike of Spike Bakes: banana coconut ice cream pie! Spike's a fellow New Englander......Yea! I have to say I was real excited to see this pie play out. As you know, I make these items on Tuesdays......imagining others baking with me around the world. I had everything on hand which was great. But to my embarrassment, this is how it played out:

The recipe called for a freezing time of 4 hours after preparation. I gave it a good 4 1/2, but I guess that wasn't good enough. When I took it out it looked great on the plate. Ready to take the picture and NO BATTERY, it was being charged. I run to get the battery, and because of the 90 degree weather it proceeds to melt. Of course it looks like a mess, nevertheless, it was delicious for sure!

Would I make this again? YES! Next time I'll give it a good day or two to freeze up. Then wait for 70 degree weather to test it out. Big thanks to Spike for her terrific selection this week! You can find the recipe for the pie on her blog or on page 350 of Baking: From My Home to Yours.

We give this 4 glasses of milk,

for utter goodness!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quick and Easy Dinner Side...




This is a quick and easy dinner side for a nice steak or chicken perhaps. You can roast them ahead and then just pop them back in the oven to crisp up. You could even roast a bunch up and freeze them. And if your having a brunch cut them a little smaller and serve them with an egg casserole and sausage.





DIRECTIONS -

**First I cubed some red bliss potatoes, about 3 pounds

**Then in a large bowl I mixed together:

1/3 c. Dijon Mustard

1/3 c. olive oil

1 tsp. garlic

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp. of herb of choice: basil, thyme, or rosemary

**Then put the red bliss in the bowl and coat with Dijon mix,. Pour onto sprayed sheet pan in a single layer. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, or until crispy.




You will love them!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday......

After sticking out their tongues....



And making crazy faces at each other.....

They still remain the best of friends.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Berry Berry Bread Pudding

For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Liz of Cake or Death? chose Dorie's Apple Apple Bread Pudding. Because bread pudding is one of my favorite Fall/Winter go-to desserts, I thought I would make this version a little Spring/Summer friendly.

Dorie's version seemed a little lengthy, so I made some changes......
*Instead of apples , I used berries as the fruit, and I didn't caramelize them.

*I didn't do the pre-boiling of the milk mixture, I just mix everything in a bowl and pour.

* I cut the milk to just 3 c. of lowfat, and no cream at all

* Changed the eggs to 6 whole only.

* For the caramel effect I was missing....I melted butter in the bottom of the pan and sprinkled it with 1/2 c. of light brown sugar, before adding the bread on top.

* Switched the apple butter to Strawberry Jam, and used DayOld French bread.

This was awesome!!!! I have made plenty of bread pudding in my time, but not mixed berry like this. It was lite and delish for sure. I will definitely make this again.

BoldWe give this 5 glasses of milk,
for utter goodness!


My Recipe :
- Bottom of glass 9 x 13 pan melt 1/2 stick butter and spread around, sprinkle 1/2 c. lt. brown sugar.

- slice thin slices of french bread, about 2/3 of the loaf. Spread with Strawberry Jam, cut in half place over brown sugar.

- Sprinkle on 2 cups of mixed berries, fresh or frozen. I used frozen.

- In bowl whisk 3 c. of lowfat milk, six eggs, and 2 tsp of vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Press bread to bottom to absorb liquid. Let sit 30minutes before baking.

- Bake in a water bath in a 350 degree oven for 80 to 90 minutes covered. Let sit 30 minutes after baking before serving. Taste so good warm!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Fair is in Town.....

The fair came to town this weekend, the Enka Fair The weather was good and a great time was had by all. It usually will rain on one of the days, if not all. So the kids were able to ride the rides. If the lines weren't too long that is.....

The fair can be a money trap for most parents: rides, food, prizes, ect. We set up ground rules with our kids before they ever attend. They are allowed just 50 tickets each, and when they're out they're out . It takes about 4 or 5 tickets to ride the rides, so that gives them 10 to 12 rides. And since they have to spend their own money on food, they come home for food and bathroom breaks, since we live just 3 blocks away. How convenient....

The Enka Fair is organized by a large group of volunteers, the Enka Society. They have various events throughout the year to raise funds to give back to the community in the form of scholarships and grants. Especially supporting education.....


It takes a week to set everything up for the fair, the rides, the tents, and everything. And then in just a few hours after, everything is packed up and gone. Within 8 hours everything was empty and cleaned up. Sometimes I wonder how safe the rides can be when it takes just a bit to tear them down....Just a thought!

Are you going to some fair this summer??




Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Someone is ready for the Sunshine!
I think we need to tell Mother Nature
to Bring it On!!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Quick Berry Tart


This week's TWD choice is Quick Berry Tart. To say this is a quick item may be an understatement to most. Some of the TWDer's were having trouble with their Pastry Cream. It can be hard for first timers, but to the seasoned bakers it would be a cinch. Of course, if your really having trouble, or do not want to separate those six eggs, not knowing what you would do with the whites. Just break down and make a batch of vanilla pudding and kick it upa notch by adding a Hazelnut liquer. Nothing is easier than that!

Another tip I want to give you....Is when you are ever making a tart like this, paint the inside of the tart shell with a little melted white or dark chocolate. This will help the pastry cream from seeping into the shell when you need to hold it off for service later.

I love fruit tarts they can be so artistic. You can use a variety of sliced fruits and design them on top of the cream in beautiful styles. So nice that you won't want to cut into them and ruin your masterpiece. In that case, make personal size tarts for each of your guest so they will have a Rembrandt of their own.......Just Saying......

This week’s recipe was chosen by Christine of
Cooking with Christine. Please visit her blog for the recipe.

We give this 4 glasses of milk, for utter goodness!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mint Chimichurri with a Kick!

This weekend a represented a lovely winery out of the state of Washington, Columbia Crest. My company had me pair it with a New York Strip and a spicy Mint Chimichurri. The stores that I attended were running a special on Sirloin tips, so that is what I went with. All the flavors went over well, but the Merlot seemed to be the favorite. Smooth, fruity, great with a red meat.


The Chimichurri companion, is such a wonderful blend of sweet and spicy. It starts out sweet and smooth, and then the hot kicks in.....My customers were surprised. It has Serrano Chilies in it. Which on the Hot Scale is about a 6-7. The Mint can be hard to find. So if you really like it, grow your own. It would be great with lamb.


Mint Chimichurri

INGREDIENTS
2 c. Mint Leaves fresh
1c. Cilantro fresh
1 c. Parsley fresh
3 Serrano Chiles
3 Cloves Garlic
6 Tbl. Honey
3 Tbl. Dijon Mustard
Pepper to taste
Olive Oil

DIRECTIONS
**Place all the ingredients except Olive Oil in the food processor. Process until smooth.
**With motor running add the oil slowly until emulsified.
Store in the refrigerator.




Simply Delightful!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Mexican Celebration.....

Today is Cinco de Mayo, an annual celebration in Mexico...
I know I will be celebrating, how about you?
Cinco de Mayo, means the 5th of May. It also means the day of the defeat of the French Army, May 5th, 1862. It plays out like a Mardi Gras Party in Mexico...lots of food and fun.
This weekend I had the opportunity to represent the beer,
Dos Equis
I was promoting the beer for the Cinco de Mayo Celebration.
Along with the beer tasting, I made a wonderful Guacamole.
And yes, it did have beer in it...
a whole bottle for every 3 avocados.
Dos Equis's parent company is Heineken,
so you know it must be good...
I myself prefer the Amber, the Lager is much lighter.

Dos Equis Guacamole
Ingredients
1 bottle of Dos Equis Lager
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 to 5 Sundried Tomatoes (not in oil)
3 large avocados
1/4 c. red onion chopped
1/4 c. diced roasted peppers
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
1 Tbs, lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Directions
**In a hot skillet with olive oil, saute the garlic, onion, peppers, and tomatoes
**Add a half a bottle of beer and simmer to reduce, then set aside and let cool.
**After slicing and scooping out the avocado, cut into small chunks and place in bowl and slightly mash.
**Gently mix in the cooked ingredients along with the cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I add the rest of the beer before serving.
**To store: Store with the pits inside the dish, with a shot of lemon juice on top, and plastic wrap smoothed on top as the skin. This will slow down oxidation.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream with Pecan

This week's recipe of Burnt Sugar Ice Cream comes from Becky of Project Domestication. I chose to add a little pecan to mine, just to switch it up a bit. We love ice cream in this house, so needless to say it wasn't around that long. This recipe if definitely a keep....rich and delish!

This is a custard based ice cream. So if you have made custard before you will have no problem. Your only problem may be have a ice cream machine. If you do not have one, it can easily be made in the freezer. Just simply pour the custard into a shallow pan, place in freezer. Continue to check on it and stir every 30 minutes until it is the consistency that you desire.
You can find the full recipe HERE, or check out Dorie's book" Baking from my Home to Yours"
We give this 5 glasses of milk,
for utter goodness!