Tuesday, April 28, 2009

4/28: Chocolate Cream Pie

These diner varieties Dorie talks about used to be my favorite as a kid, so I was looking forward to this week's recipe!

I am still having trouble appropriately mixing my tart dough. Not that I've had much experience.... I was planning on making a half batch of the pie, but I tried two crusts and used some of my grandma's old pie tins. The one on the left certainly looks overmixed to me, and the one on the right - ha! It makes me laugh just to look at the picture. I think I was overcompensating. I used the overworked one for the pie :)

Barely related, since reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, I've been trying to only use local pastured eggs. I'd bought some regular $1 variety for dying easter eggs since the local usually come with only 4 white eggs per dozen. The local are all the brown eggs in the back (look at that one on the right!) and the white eggs are all the regular grocery variety. These are all labeled "large". I love that there's some variance in the sizes for the local pastured. I also need to get a battery for my scale!

I loved the chocolate pastry cream. I used a couple of the Trader Joe's 72% bars, and it was really good! I didn't have much chocolate left for my curls, but the pie was still delicious! Thanks Kim of Scrumptious Photography for selecting this recipe!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Goat Cheese

After my yogurt, I saw You Are What I Eat's goat cheese. It's a "cheater" version using lemon juice or vinegar from an eHow article. I used a local goat milk, pasteurized (not uht) but not organic. I was really hoping the lemon juice would work for me, but no luck. I think I stirred too much. I didn't realize that I should just let it sit for the curds to develop (really, that should be common sense, but I missed it). In any case, I ended up also adding 1 tsp red wine vinegar. I started by combining 1qt goat milk and 1TB lemon juice.

Bringing the milk to 175 and skimming the curds.

After draining 4 hrs (and the dark-evening photo).

After wrapping in parchment and refrigerating for 2 days, it turned out pretty nice. It was milder and less goat-y than the chevre I've purchased, though I don't know if that's the difference in the type of cheese or the milk or both.

Also on the goat cheese theme, we had a little goat cheese tasting here :) Carr Valley's Snow White Goat Cheddar, Cocoa Cardona (Sendiks carries!) and Mt. Sterling Co-op Creamery's Raw Goat Milk Mild Cheddar(from SlowPokes in Grafton). I've just finished The Ominvore's Dilemma, which I loved, so I liked the idea of just Wisconsin cheeses. Even if they're on the other side of the state :) I think my favorite was the Cocoa Cardona. It was creamy rich and almost buttery. The Mt. Sterling was very mild. The difference in the Snow White Cheddar and the Mt. Sterling cheddar seemed to be similar in the difference between the fresh goat cheese I buy and what I just made. We'd never really tried any hard goat cheeses before, so this was fun.:)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yogurt Cheese

I've been making yogurt a lot lately - we have a donvier yogurt maker that has it's own little containers and they're the perfect amount for the kids (besides that it's only yogurt). With half of one of the batches, I made yogurt cheese.
The yogurt:

Boiling the towel (just to make sure it's sanitized, I'm not sure this is necessary). Lining the strainer and adding the yogurt.

And after 24hrs

I added 2 TB of fresh parsley and a green onion, and we used it in a wrap with spinach, red peppers and tomatoes. It was nice - almost a cross between cream cheese and yogurt (in texture and flavor). I've read of others adding olive oil and red pepper flakes and serving with toasted pitas - I'm hoping to try that next time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chocolate Amaretti Torte

Like quite a few others, I made my own cookies for the torte. I used an epicurious recipe for Italian Almond Cookies. They were nice and dry for the torte, though I quit shaping them in the one inch balls, figuring they were going to be ground anyway - you can tell the difference in the pic, the lumpy one on the right :)

I used 8 cookies for my half batch of the torte (the half batch of cookies made 24). I used a 6in pan which seemed to work well, and still used a full batch of the glaze. I cut before the glaze had really set (running late with this one!), but this is really tasty! I've not had very good luck with finely ground almonds before (mostly Maida Heatter's Queen Mother Cake), but these seemed to work really well when grinding with the cookies. I think this would be even better in a full size, I like the taller pieces I've seen of others.

Thanks Holly of Phe/Mom/enon for selecting this week's recipe!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter marshmallows

I'd been thinking of making some lemon, strawberry and coconut marshmallows for Easter, and I then I saw Martha Stewart's little peeps. They're so stinking cute! I had to try them, though I figured I'd just go for the bunnies, the chicks looked too hard.

The first batch I used the Martha Stewart marshmallows for piping recipe except I subbed lemon juice for the water used for the bloom. They tasted great, though a little soft so they flattened out into little Easter trilobites.

In the second batch, I was trying Talanian's strawberry recipe, which uses strawberry puree for both the bloom and syrup, but I guess I got impatient and went too high on the heat because I scorched the syrup. So I improvised and used nightscotman's recipe on egullet (an adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe) with a couple small changes.
Make the bloom:
1/2 c strawberry puree
2 pkg gelatin

Make the syrup:
1/2 c Talanian's mm syrup
1TB corn syrup
3/4 c water
1 1/2c sugar
pinch salt
Bring the syrup to 240, blend for 8 min. Transfer to piping bag or pan. Dust with potato starch/confectioners sugar.

In piping, I made the body bigger, which I think made them look a little more bunny-like. The mm held up really well this time. Then cocoa powder and water paste and a toothpick for the eyes and nose.

For the coconut I used Talanian's recipe which recommends blending 12 min. They were getting really stiff, so I ended at 9 min. They were pretty firm, but I was happy with how well the rolling in the toasted coconut worked.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bread Bowls & French Onion Soup

I loved the French Onion Soup in a bread bowl at Mary's Market when we lived in Rockford. This was about 15 yrs ago, but it still feels like winter here, so out of my reminiscing I thought I'd try to make my own.

I love the Artisan Bread in Five, and just made little loaves, then lopped off the top and pulled out all but maybe 3/4 in of bread. For the soup, I used an epicurious recipe and left out the celery.

The bread is much better than I remember, the soup was nowhere near as good. I also don't think I'm as enamored with bread bowls as I used to be, but that could be because I kept eating all the scraps as I was making the bowls! In the end, it was a nice winter meal, though I'm not sure we'll be repeating it :)

Toba's Chocolate Fudge Cake

This is one pretty incredible cake. It's almost as rich and dense as a flourless torte, but just barely light enough to be a cake. It is so good. I think it's probably more an adult chocolate-lover's cake. My kids ate the frosting off and left the cake. I was ok with eating their leftovers though :)

I used Toba's French Vanilla Buttercream to frost and fill, though for the filling I tried to make it a praline buttercream by boiling 1/2 c sugar and a TB of corn syrup til golden, then adding 1/3 c almonds. Then I poured it on a silpat to cool and tried breaking it up in a plastic bag with a heavy ice cream scoop. I wanted it to be a little chunky and figured the food processor would break it down too fine. It turned out pretty tasty. Then I used fondant and chocolate fondant (added in 5TB of Penzeys ductched cocoa powder for 1 lb fondant). I'm not a huge fan of the taste of fondant (you can see I didn't skimp on the bc!), but the chocolate fondant was pretty good.

I'd gotten a Wilton punch for fondant for Christmas, and this was my first time trying it out. I thought the paisley was cute, and it worked out pretty well for a first try.

I'll definitely be making this cake again!