Tuesday, March 31, 2009
First, I have to say that I don't know how all the other TWD'ers bake these recipes week after week. I simply don't have the time or the energy to bake every single week. Though, I WANT to and I have good intentions to...often, I buy all the ingredients but end up missing the Tuesday deadline for baking & posting.
Like Jayne, I had a helper this week too. Since Jerad was home all day, he so graciously made the cookie dough for me. He measured and creamed and zested and chopped. God love him.
Nevertheless, at 7:45 pm, I'd yet to bake the cookies. You see, Jerad didn't really read the recipe that carefully, so he just put all the dough into a large baggie and stuck it in the fridge. He didn't see the part about shaping the dough in a log before chilling. So, I had to let the dough soften, shape into logs, and re-chill for a couple hours before baking. At 7:45, I was still in the re-chill stage.
No worries, though. (And, I still REALLY appreciate that Jerad helped me out!)
My finished cookies didn't keep their rectangular shape as they baked. Still, they are very good--delicate and buttery, flavored with macadamia nuts and lime zest.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Yes, I know I'm a couple days late with this week's Tuesdays with Dorie posting. My only excuse is that I've been feeling under the weather lately. I'd always intended to make this recipe, but when I got home from school each day this week, I just didn't feel like cooking or eating...mostly because my throat felt like I'd swallowed sandpaper, and I was exhausted from coughing all day. But then, I felt a little better yesterday so I decided to finally bake the French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze that Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction had chosen. But then, I was tired last night from reading and grading papers & annoyed again with more of the coughing, and I didn't get the posting done.
So, here I am...on Thursday. Late, but at least done. ;-)
This is a very easy cake to make; you need two bowls, a whisk, and only a bit of elbow grease. No stand mixer is needed. The finished product is moist and flavorful (made with ground almonds & lemon zest) and tastes better the next day (or two).
Like most people, I used orange marmalade for the glaze because I couldn't find the lemon marmalade the recipe called for.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
At the beginning of the school year, everyone in my department drew names to bring birthday treats for that person. I drew Joni's name, but--I hate to admit it--I completely forgot that her birthday was on Wednesday. That is, until someone reminded me about it Tuesday afternoon. I had class Tuesday night, so I was freaking out a bit about what I was going to make.
I'll admit that I briefly glanced at the cakes at the supermarket. But, I knew I couldn't bring anything pre-made. They wouldn't let me forget it, especially with all the bragging I do about my cooking.
So, I decided to make the oreo truffles I've been reading so much about online. They were the perfect thing...few ingredients, easy to make, and addictively good! In fact, they were such a hit that I am making them again for a baby shower at work.
1 package Oreo cookies
8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 pound dark chocolate
white chocolate (for decorating)
- Crush the cookies in a food processor until there are no big crumbs. Add the softened cream cheese and pulse until the mixture comes together and there are no lumps of cream cheese.
- Roll the mixture into 1" balls (or use a small disher) and place on wax paper (or silicone mat) covered cookie sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about an hour.
- Melt the dark chocolate over a double-boiler, then dip the cookie/cream cheese balls into it, tapping off extra. Set aside on wax paper covered cookie sheet.
- Melt the white chocolate and pour into a pastry bag or small sandwich bag (with the tip cut off). Drizzle the chocolate decoratively over the truffles.
- Chill in the fridge until the chocolate is set or you're ready to serve.
- Makes about 36 truffles.
- I used an entire bar of Ghirardelli white chocolate, and it was too much. I'd suggest only use half to begin with.
- Alternately, you could dip the truffles in white chocolate instead of dark.
- Of course, you could color the white chocolate to create more festive decorations. I am planning to make the dark chocolate truffles with blue drizzles for the baby shower.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I'm not usually a huge anchovy fan; I like the flavor only when the little fishies are melted into something...like puttanesca sauce or bagna cauda dip. Otherwise, I think they are too fishy and/or too salty. Still, I wanted to make a recipe that would feature these anchovies. After some good suggestions from my tweeps, I finally settled on pissaladiere.
Pissaladiere is kind of pizza from the south of France. There isn't, however, any tomato sauce or cheese. It's simply puff pastry topped with caramelized onions, anchovy fillets, and black olives.
And, oh my! Was it good! Sure, the anchovies were salty, but they were not at all fishy. They were VERY tasty.
- I used 1 sheet of store-bought puff pastry, four white onions caramelized in a couple tablespoons of butter & olive oil, the entire jar of anchovies, and pitted kalamata olives.
- Score a frame around about an inch or so around the puff pastry to get those fat, golden edges.
- Caramelize the onions (halved & sliced thin) over low heat so you don't burn them. You want an even golden brown color.
- Rise the drained anchovies if you want a less salty flavor.
- Arrange the anchovies & olives in whatever pattern you'd like, but don't just be all willy-nilly with the toppings.
- Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until the bottom of the pastry is cooked (and not soggy) and the edges are golden brown.
- Cut into slices and serve with dry red wine or an Indian Pale Ale (we discovered that the richness of the pissaladiere & the tartness of the beer is a good combination!).
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles. I planned to make the lemon cup custards on Sunday evening, since Jerad's parents were coming over for dinner. After seeing everyone's comments on the TWD website (a lot of people complained that they were too eggy & not lemony enough), I decided to add fresh raspberries to the dishes and brulee the finished custards.
Dorie Greenspan herself added a comment to the discussion of texture:
Sorry that so many of you aren’t happy with the custard being eggy. Eggy is really what this custard is about. It’s meant to be jiggly, not Jello-y and it is, as some of you said, like flan. Making it less eggy, is making it a different recipe, so this just might be something that those of you who don’t care for this kind of texture, might want to skip. If you want a more lemony flavor, you can rub the lemon zest into the sugar, the way you’ve done with other lemon-and-sugar recipes, and you can add lemon extract or lemon oil — oil being stronger than extract.
I made the recipe without the added extract or oil and thought there was plenty of lemon flavor. Though, the raspberries did add another kind of tartness.
Everyone seemed to like the dessert expect for Jerad, who only really liked playing with the brulee torch.
He said: I would say that the use of the torch was the best aspect of the dessert. There were just too many different textures going on for my taste...crunchy sugar, tofu-like custard, & soft cooked fruit. My mouth was confused. Thank god for the FIRE.
She said: Yeah, the custard was pretty firm (aka slimey) like flan, but I thought the raspberries & crunchy sugar topping created a nice contrast in texture and flavor (sour, tart, & sweet). Overall, I was pretty happy with this dessert.
Monday, March 09, 2009
The weather's been in the 70's this weekend. I had the windows open all afternoon yesterday, except during the crazy-windy thunderstorm that lasted about 10 minutes. I have spring fever. Bad.
I not just ready for more sunshine and longer daylight hours, I am also ready for spring food! I'm anxious to resume my Saturday morning farmers market & breakfast outings. I'm craving fresh fruits & vegetables and salad suppers.
To celebrate the warm temperatures, which aren't supposed to last much longer, last night we grilled marinated flank steaks & I made a green, spring-time version of a panzanella (bread salad).
1 loaf hearty (preferrably day-old) bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used a french baguette)
2cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, minced finely
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
a couple pinches of salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, cut into segments
2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
4 handfuls spinach
juice of 1 lemon
In a large bowl toss the bread with the garlic, shallot, thyme, salt and olive oil. Turn the bread out onto a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes - or until they are nice and golden and crunchy.
In a cold skillet pour in a splash of olive oil, a splash of water, and a couple pinches of salt. Dial up the heat and when the water starts to bubble stir in the asparagus. Cover, wait about twenty seconds, now add the peas. Cover, wait a few seconds, now add the spinach. Cover and cook just a few more seconds until the spinach starts to collapse just a bit.
Put the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Now pour the asparagus and peas and all the pan juices over the top of the bread. Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl and toss to combine everything. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.