Updates from December, 2007 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • pixeltheatre 9:56 pm on December 13, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , cooking challenge, cranberry, fudge, peppermint, profiterole   

    Blog Party#29: Another Bite of Dessert: Cheesy Fudge Cranberry Tarts & Peppermint Profiteroles 

    With wet snow falling outside my window this morning (again), it was a perfect day to tackle this month’s Blog Party Challenge: Another Bite of Dessert, hosted by the Happy Sorceress. The theme was straightforward: dessert canapés.

    So many choices…Last week, for the first time, I finally got access to the Food Network as part of my new digital TV system. And for the first time, I got to see the Iron Chef of America show. Well-timed, the show was titled: All-Star Holiday Dessert Battle: Cora/Deen vs. Irvine/Florence. From the Food Network website:

    In another All-Star culinary showdown, the Chairman has invited Paula Deen to partner up with Iron Chef Cat Cora and compete against Food Network’s own Tyler Florence and Robert Irvine.

    The hour was filled with a myriad of desserts and sweets. My fillings were hurting at the final offering to the judges. Tina Fey was comatose by the end of it all. But, I had found my inspiration for this challenge.

    Paula Deen’s Chocolate Cheese Fudge was intriguing. I had baked cream cheese with chocolate, but Velveeta cheese?…I decided to tone down the richness of that fudge by using it as a base and adding cranberries as a topping.

    Chocolate Cheese Fudge Cranberry tartsCheesy Fudge Cranberry Tarts

    Base
    Paula Deen’s Chocolate Cheese Fudge

    Press one tablespoon into greased mini cupcake molds. Refrigerate.

    Topping
    1 cup frozen or fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
    1 tbsp sugar
    1/4 cup water
    Splash of Southern Comfort (could also use Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
    Fresh mint leaves, chiffonade

    In a small saucepan, heat up the Southern Comfort with the chopped cranberries over medium heat. Add the sugar and water, reduce. Remove from heat and cool.

    Assembly
    Unmold the fudge cups, spoon some of the cranberry mixture in the cup and garnish with mint chiffonade.

    The ladies also concocted a peppermint martini for the judges. This triggered my second canapé:

    Peppermint Profiteroles
    Base
    Profiteroles: Choux paste recipe

    Filling
    Peppermint Pastry Cream:
    2/3 cup whole milk
    2 inch vanilla bean
    2 egg yolks
    3 tbsp sugar
    1 tbsp cornstarch
    1/4 tsp peppermint extract

    In a small, heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the milk and vanilla bean and bring to a simmer.Peppermint Profiterole

    Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until well blended. When the milk reaches a simmer, remove it from the heat and gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture.

    Return the mixture to the saucepan and place it over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream thickens and boils, about 1 minute. Stir in the peppermint extract. Discard the vanilla bean and cool.

    Toppings
    Chocolate ganache
    Candy cane, crushed

    Assembly
    Pipe the pastry cream into each choux. Dip each choux into warm ganache. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane.

    For the cocktail, I decided to keep it simple: Brandy Toddy, from DrinkMixer website.

    Brandy ToddyBrandy Toddy
    2 oz brandy
    1/2 tsp powdered sugar
    1 tsp water
    1 twist lemon peel

    Dissolve powdered sugar in 1 tsp. water in an old-fashioned glass. Add brandy and one ice cube and stir. Add twist of lemon peel on top and serve.

    Happy holidays all!

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  • pixeltheatre 1:26 pm on November 25, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cocktail, custom, gift, Singapore   

    Customized cocktail: the ultimate gift for that person who has it all… 

    CocktailRun out of gift ideas for that difficult-to-buy-for person on your list? Singapore-based Provocachic may just have the recipe you’re looking for: a custom-designed cocktail. Back in 2002 Damien Sim started designing cocktails for friends. Before long his flair for the art and science of mixology extended to companies looking to dazzle during special events and (well-to-do) couples looking for that special drink for their nuptials. Being based in Singapore, Sim often uses ingredients indigenous to that region. Custom glasses, best suited to impart the flavours of the drink. These concoctions don’t come cheap and will set you back $1,200 to $3,600, depending on the event. More details, and a recipe, can be found here. (Photo: REUTERS/PRNewsFoto/Pernod Ricard USA)

     
  • pixeltheatre 9:57 pm on November 15, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: canapés, ginger, limoncello, martini, tofu, tuna salad   

    Virtual Blog Party #28 – Fusion Canapés 

    Tuna Salad Tofu CanapésJust in the nick of time, I think, I got my canapés ready to submit to the Happy Sorceress for the upcoming Virtual Blog Party this Saturday. I wanted to keep things simple. So, my idea of fusion came down to the basic tuna salad stuffed into tofu puffs. To add a bit of colour and crunch I added some finely chopped orange pepper and celery. The tofu puffs I purchased at a small Chinese grocery store right around the corner from where I live. I usually use those in stir fries, but I thought they would make an interesting base, when chopped in half. I was right. I sprinkled each canapés with a mixture of parmesan and fontina cheeses and baked them until the cheese melted. The tofu came out nice and crispy. I’ll definitely be playing around with those puffs more in the future.

    Here’s my recipe for the tuna salad:

    1 can pale flaked tuna, drained
    1/4 orange pepper, finely chopped
    1/4 rib celery, finely chopped
    Mayonnaise, enough to bind
    Salt and pepper
    4 tbsp parmesan, grated
    4 tbsp fontina cheese, grated
    10 tofu puffs, sliced in two

    Mix all ingredients except cheeses and tofu puffs. Spoon a small portion of the tuna salad into puff halves, and sprinkle with a bit of the cheese mixture. Bake at #350F until cheese melts. Plate and crack some fresh pepper over canapés before serving.

    The challenge requires us to also submit a cocktail/mocktail. My choice for this dish is a the Lemon Ginger Martini, found on the Raley’s and Bel Air Recipe Center. It includes one of my latest discoveries in liqueurs: limoncello. It goes as follows:

    Lemon Ginger Martini

    INGREDIENTS
    1 1/2 oz. superpremium vodka, such as Skyy
    or Grey Goose
    1 slice fresh ginger, chopped
    1 oz. limoncello

    DIRECTIONS
    In a cocktail shaker, mash vodka and ginger. Add limoncello and shake well with ice; strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

    I haven’t made the drink yet, though I have the ingredients. But I don’t have a martini glass. That will be taken care of tomorrow. Stay tuned for picture…

    Cheers!

     
    • music 6:05 pm on January 7, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      very interesting.
      i’m adding in RSS Reader

  • pixeltheatre 8:33 pm on November 8, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Back on the challenge track… 

    Now that the month of November is underway, so are the slew of new cooking and baking challenges around the Web. I completed the Daring Bakers November challenge yesterday, and it was a very nice one. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Watch this blog for results at the end of the month. Next up are the Retro Challenge #10: Story Book Food, and my first virtual blog cocktail party, hosted by the Happy Sorceress. The theme for this one is “Fusion” and must include both an appetizer and a cocktail/mocktail. The party is scheduled for November 17th.

     
  • pixeltheatre 12:00 pm on September 27, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Hold the bubbly! World shortage of champers expected… 

    champaign.jpgA story on tonight’s National news on Global TV caught my attention as I was getting dinner under way. Seems like champagne is going to be a rare commodity very soon. This drink, synonymous with class and all things glamorous, has become very popular in recent years as an every day aperitif, instead of just a celebratory drink. France’s champagne region is struggling to keep up with demand, and more vines are being planted, but the results will not be seen for 10 years. Time to stockpile?…

    Full story available as a podcast (09-26-2007) through the Global TV website (story starts around the 14:30 mark)

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