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  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on March 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Cooks 23rd Challenge: ¡Me Encanta Perú! – Ceviche and Papas Rellenas 

    Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra. Ceviche, I’d done before, but the Papas Rellenas were a definite first. The recipe was straightforward and delicious. We do our frying outside, and as a tribute to the Andes, the Vancouver weather contributed some snow to make the whole experience even more relevant. Very nice challenge.

    Cheviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche):

    Serves 6 as a “starter” or lunch portion. Serves 2 as a dinner.

    Ingredients

    2 lbs. (about 1 kg) firm white fish (scallops or other seafood may be substituted)*
    2 garlic cloves, mashed
    1 chili pepper, minced (I recommend Aji if you can find it, but Jalapeno or other peppers can sub)
    1 cup (240 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (between 8-12 limes)
    Fresh juice only, no bottled. Can use lemons in lieu of limes.
    1 tablespoon (15 ml) (4 grams) (1/8 oz) fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
    1 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
    Salt and pepper (to taste)

    Garnish:
    1 large sweet potato
    1 large ear of corn
    Lettuce leaves

    Directions:

    1. Boil sweet potato and corn (separately) if using for garnish. Allow to cool. (Can be done hours or even a day in advance)
    2. Wash and trim your fish. Slice into pieces between ½ inch (15 mm) cubes to 2 inch (50mm) pieces, depending on taste.**
    3. Place fish in a non-reactive, shallow pan in a thin layer. Season with salt and pepper.
    4. Combine lime juice, chili pepper, coriander and garlic. Pour mixture over fish. Stir lightly to expose all the fish to some of the lime juice mixture.
    5. Put sliced onion on top of fish as it “cooks”
    6. Let fish stand for 10 minutes.*** Lift fish out of the lime juice and plate individual portions ,**** garnishing with lettuce, slices of sweet potato and slices or kernels of corn if using.
    • It is important to use high quality, really fresh fish. You can use previously frozen (I’ve been using it because I am too cheap to buy this much sashimi grade fish), but it’s not as good. The better your fish, the better your ceviche.

    ** The fish is going to “cook” in the lime juice – how thick you make the pieces will determine how much the fish cooks, so keep your own preference in mind when you are cutting the fish up.

    Papas Rellenas (de carne):

    Makes 6

    Ingredients

    For the dough:
    2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes
    1 large egg

    For the filling:
    2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
    ½ lb (250 grams) ground (minced) beef
    6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives)
    3 hard boiled large eggs, chopped
    1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml))
    ½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
    1 finely diced aji pepper (ok to sub jalapeño or other pepper – if you are shy about heat, use less)
    2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
    ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
    ¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
    Salt and pepper to taste

    For the final preparation:
    1 large egg, beaten
    1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
    Dash cayenne pepper
    Dash salt
    1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)

    Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

    Directions:

    In order to save time, you can boil the potatoes, and while they are cooling, you can make the filling. While that is cooling, you can make the potato “dough.” In this way, little time is spent waiting for anything to cool.

    For the dough:

    1. Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them from the water and cool.
    2. Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).
    3. Add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

    While the potatoes cool down before finishing the dough, you can make the filling:

    1. Gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes).
    2. Add the chili pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes.
    3. Add ground beef and brown.
    4. Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).
    5. Deglaze the pan with white wine.
    6. Add olives and cook for a few moments longer.
    7. Add hard boiled eggs and fold in off heat.
    8. Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

    Forming and frying the papas:

    1. Use three small bowls to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water. Put bread crumbs in the third
    2. Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.
    3. Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat with all dough (you should have about 6 papas).
    4. Heat 1 ½ – 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 – 190°C).
    5. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs.
    6. Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to brown both sides.
    7. Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.
    8. Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately.

    Salsa Criolla:

    Ingredients

    2 medium red onions, cut in half and very thinly sliced (as half-circles)
    1/2 chili pepper (your preference)
    1 tablespoon vinegar
    Juice from 1 lime
    Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Soak the onions in cold salt water for about 10 minutes to remove bitterness. Drain.
    2. In a medium bowl, combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper.
    3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the onions to macerate and the flavors to combine
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  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on February 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Bakers 47th Challenge: Panna Cotta and Florentines 

    The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies. Two of my favorite treats. The florentines made with oats instead of shaved almonds was an interesting twist. The panna cotta is a smooth and refreshing dessert. I served it with mixed berries reduced in balsamic vinegar. That’s the way I first learned to do it in cooking school and it’s still my favorite way to balance the creaminess of this dessert. Thanks for reminding me the simplicity of this dessert.

    Giada’s Vanilla Panna Cotta

    Ingredients

    1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
    1 tablespoon (one packet) (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
    3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
    1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
    1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½

     

    oz) granulated sugar
    pinch of salt

    Directions:

    1. Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
    2. Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).
    3. Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn’t boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.
    4. Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
    5. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.

    Hope you love it!

    Chocolate Panna Cotta

    Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

    Ingredients:
    1 cup (240 ml) whole milk1 tablespoon (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
    2 cups (480 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
    ½ cup (115 gm) (4 oz) sugar
    ¾ cup (145 gm)(5 oz) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
    ½ teaspoon (2½ ml) vanilla extract

    Directions:

    1. Pour milk into a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the top, set aside for 2-5 minutes.
    2. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir in cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a low boil.
    3. Add chocolate and whisk until melted. Whisk the milk/gelatin mixture into chocolate cream mixture. Whisk until gelatin has dissolved.
    4. Transfer to ramekins, or nice glasses for serving.
    5. Cover and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight

    Nestle Florentine Cookies

    Recipe from the cookbook “Nestle Classic Recipes”, and their website.

    Ingredients:

    2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5.3 oz) unsalted butter
    2 cups (480 ml) (160 gm) (5 2/3 oz) quick oats
    1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) granulated sugar
    2/3 cup (160 ml) (95 gm) (3⅓ oz) plain (all purpose) flour
    1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup
    1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
    1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
    pinch of salt
    1½ cups (360 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) dark or milk chocolate

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5). Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.

    1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
    2. To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.
    3. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
    4. While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water, being sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).
    5. Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire rack set over a sheet of wax/parchment paper (to keep counters clean).
    6. Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate.

    This recipe will make about 2 1/2 – 3 dozen sandwiched Florentine cookies. You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in which case, drizzle the tops with chocolate (over your wax paper).

     

     

     
    • Mary 9:27 am on February 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I was really happy to be reminded of this dessert as well. I bet it was delicious with the berries.

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on February 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: soba noodles, tempura   

    Daring Cooks 22nd Challenge: Cold Soba Salad & Tempura 

    The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com. After last month’s fat-laden, yet oh so good, cassoulet, I welcomed this healthier dish. Yes, there was some frying involved, but most of it was vegetables. I wasted no time in completing this challenge. Like many asian dishes, this challenge involved a fair amount of prep, but was well worth the effort. We ended up making tempura yams, asparagus (fantastic!), jalapeno, zucchini and shrimp. I also tried perilla leaves after reading Audax’ rave reviews. The Japanese store I shop for all japanese food things carried some. Interesting taste, but not my favorite. The shrimp and asparagus were. We do our frying outside, using hun’s bbq’s burner. Luckily, the weather cooperated, and the rain didn’t start after we finished frying. We served the soba noodles with the spicy sauce and grilled minute steak, marinated in PC’s Memories of Korea sauce.

    Cold Soba Salad & Tempura

    Preparation time:

    Soba
    10 Minutes for the sauce
    10 Minutes for the noodles
    30 Minutes for Vegetable Preparation
    5 Minutes to Serve

    Depending on you, I can make this meal, from walking in the door after work to sitting down to eat in under 30 minutes, so it should be pretty quick.

    Tempura
    20 minutes vegetable preparation
    10 minutes making the batter
    30 minutes frying time

    Again it depends how much your making and what equipment your using.

    Equipment required:
    • A Saucepan
    • A colander
    • Large Bowls
    • Small bowls
    • Ice
    • A Knife
    • A chopping Board
    • A Deep pan for frying
    • Oil for frying
    • Small tongs or Chopsticks
    • Covered container for shaking dipping sauce

    Hiyashi Soba:

    Recipes courtesy of Globetrotter Diaries and About.com-Japanese Food
    Serves 4

    Soba Noodles:

    Ingredients
    2 quarts (2 Liters) water + 1 cup cold water, separate
    12 oz (340 g) dried soba (buckwheat) noodles (or any Asian thin noodle)

    Directions:

    Cooking the noodles:

    1. Heat 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the noodles a small bundle at a time, stirring gently to separate. When the water returns to a full boil, add 1 cup of cold water. Repeat this twice. When the water returns to a full boil, check the noodles for doneness. You want to cook them until they are firm-tender. Do not overcook them.
    2. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse well under cold running water until the noodles are cool. This not only stops the cooking process, but also removes the starch from the noodles. This is an essential part of soba noodle making. Once the noodles are cool, drain them and cover them with a damp kitchen towel and set them aside allowing them to cool completely.

    Mentsuyu – Traditional dipping sauce:

    Ingredients
    2 cups (480ml) Kombu and Katsuobushi dashi (This can be bought in many forms from most Asian stores and you can make your own. Recipe is HERE.) Or a basic vegetable stock.
    1/3 cup (80 ml) soy sauce or a low sodium soy sauce
    1/3 cup (80 ml) mirin (sweet rice wine)

    *Note: If you can’t find Mirin, a substitute recipe can be found HERE

    Directions:

    1. Put mirin in a sauce pan and heat gently. Add soy sauce and dashi soup stock in the pan and bring to a boil. Take off the heat and cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    Spicy Dipping Sauce:

    Ingredients
    ¾ cup 70gm/2½ oz spring onions/green onions/scallions, finely chopped
    3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce
    2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar
    ½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (4 ⅔ gm) (0.16 oz) granulated sugar
    ¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1/8 gm) (0.005 oz) English mustard powder
    1 tablespoon (15 ml) grape-seed oil or vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil (if you can’t find this just omit from recipe.)
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste – roughly 1/3 a teaspoon of each

    Directions:

    1. Shake all the ingredients together in a covered container. Once the salt has dissolved, add and shake in 2 tablespoons of water and season again if needed.

    Common Hiyashi Soba Toppings:

    • Thin omelet strips
    • Ham
    • Boiled chicken breasts
    • Cucumber
    • Boiled bean sprouts
    • Tomatoes
    • Toasted nori (Dried Seaweed)
    • Green onions
    • Wasabi powder
    • Finely grated daikon (Japanese radish)
    • Beni Shoga (Pickled Ginger)

    All toppings should be julienne, finely diced or grated. Prepare and refrigerate covered until needed.

    Serving:

    Traditionally soba is served on a bamboo basket tray, but if you don’t have these, you can simply serve them on a plate or in a bowl. Divide up the noodles, laying them on your serving dishes. Sprinkle each one with nori. In small side bowl or cup, place 1/2 cup (120 ml) of dipping sauce into each. In separate small side dishes, serve each person a small amount of wasabi, grated daikon, and green onions.
    The noodles are eaten by sprinkling the desired garnishes into the dipping sauce and eating the noodles by first dipping them into the sauce. Feel free to slurp away! Oishii!

    Tempura

    Recipes courtesy of pink bites and itsy bitsy foodies
    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    1 egg yolk from a large egg
    1 cup (240 ml) iced water
    ½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) plain (all purpose) flour, plus extra for dredging
    ½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) cornflour (also called cornstarch)
    ½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (2½ gm) (0.09 oz) baking powder
    oil, for deep frying preferably vegetable
    ice water bath, for the tempura batter (a larger bowl than what will be used for the tempura should be used. Fill the large bowl with ice and some water, set aside)

    Very cold vegetables and seafood of your choice ie:

    • Sweet potato, peeled, thinly sliced, blanched
    • Carrot, peeled, thinly sliced diagonally
    • Pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed, thinly sliced blanched
    • Green beans, trimmed
    • Green bell pepper/capsicum, seeds removed, cut into 2cm (¾ inch)-wide strips
    • Assorted fresh mushrooms
    • Eggplant cut into strips (traditionally it’s fanned)
    • Onions sliced

    Directions:

    1. Place the iced water into a mixing bowl. Lightly beat the egg yolk and gradually pour into the iced water, stirring (preferably with chopsticks) and blending well. Add flours and baking powder all at once, stroke a few times with chopsticks until the ingredients are loosely combined. The batter should be runny and lumpy. Place the bowl of batter in an ice water bath to keep it cold while you are frying the tempura. The batter as well as the vegetables and seafood have to be very cold. The temperature shock between the hot oil and the cold veggies help create a crispy tempura.
    2. Heat the oil in a large pan or a wok. For vegetables, the oil should be 320°F/160°C; for seafood it should be 340°F/170°C. It is more difficult to maintain a steady temperature and produce consistent tempura if you don’t have a thermometer, but it can be done. You can test the oil by dropping a piece of batter into the hot oil. If it sinks a little bit and then immediately rises to the top, the oil is ready.
    3. Start with the vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, that won’t leave a strong odor in the oil. Dip them in a shallow bowl of flour to lightly coat them and then dip them into the batter. Slide them into the hot oil, deep frying only a couple of pieces at a time so that the temperature of the oil does not drop.
    4. Place finished tempura pieces on a wire rack so that excess oil can drip off. Continue frying the other items, frequently scooping out any bits of batter to keep the oil clean and prevent the oil (and the remaining tempura) from getting a burned flavor.
    5. Serve immediately for the best flavor, but they can also be eaten cold.
     
    • Audax Artifex 3:36 am on February 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      WOW it sounds like you really had FUN doing this challenge. Sorry to hear you didn’t like the perilla leaves so much but wonderful to hear you LOVED the asparagus. Great work on this challenge.

      Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on January 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Bakers 46th Challenge: Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet 

    The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert. I really waffled as to whether or not to make this dessert. On the heels of the Christmas season eat-a-thon, I didn’t really feel like creating, and eating, more sweets. But,  after seeing all the creations coming from Daring Bakers on the forum, I decided to go for it. The final result was a chocolate-flavoured Joconde biscuit, layered with a chocolate mint mousse and ladyfingers moistened with cacao liqueur. I only did half the recipe and used a 7-inch spring pan. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to show a photo of the inside of the cake until mid-February. This cake will be dessert for our Valentine’s day dinner. Stay tuned.

    Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet

    Equipment required:

    • Silpat
    • ½ baking sheets or a 13” x 18” jelly roll sheet (rimmed baking sheet)
    • Mixer (optional)
    • Bowls
    • Knives
    • Offset spatula
    • Regular spatula
    • Pastry comb (optional)
    • Rulers
    • Spring form pan
    • Biscuit cutter (or ring mold, or cut PVC pipe, or whatever else you can think of to use as a mold for individual desserts)
    • Torte/entremets mold/Springform pan/ Trifle dish (for larger desserts)
    • Cling wrap
    • Parchment paper
    • Gel, paste or liquid food coloring (optional)

    Joconde Sponge

    YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

    Ingredients:
    ¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal – *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
    ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners’ (icing) sugar
    ¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour *See note below
    3 large eggs – about 5⅓ oz/ 150g
    3 large egg whites – about 3 oz/ 90g
    2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
    2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted

    *Note: How to make cake flour: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2009/09/how-to-make-cake-flour/

    Directions:

    1. In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
    2. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
    3. On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
    4. Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
    5. Fold in melted butter.
    6. Reserve batter to be used later.

    Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

    YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

    Ingredients
    14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
    1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners’ (icing) sugar
    7 large egg whites – about 7 oz / 200g
    1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
    Food coloring gel, paste or liquid

    COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.

    Directions:

    1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
    2. Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
    3. Fold in sifted flour.
    4. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.

    Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:

    1. Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.
    2. Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one.
    3. Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.
    4. Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.
    5. Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
    6. Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
    7. Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

    Preparing the MOLD for entremets:

    You can use any type of mold. I would suggest:

    1. Start with a large piece of parchment paper laid on a very flat baking sheet. Then a large piece of cling wrap over the parchment paper. Place a spring form pan ring, with the base removed, over the cling wrap and pull the cling wrap tightly up on the outside of the mold. Line the inside of the ring with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping top edge by ½ inch. CUT the parchment paper to the TOP OF THE MOLD. It will be easier to smooth the top of the cake.
    2. A biscuit cutter/ cookie cutter- using cling wrap pulled tightly as the base and the cling covering the outside of the mold, placed on a parchment lined very flat baking sheet. Line the inside with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping.
    3. Cut PVC pipe from your local hardware store. Very cheap! These can be cut into any height you wish to make a mold. 2 to 3 inches is good. My store will cut them for me, ask an employee at your store. You can get several for matching individual desserts. Cling wrap and parchment line, as outlined above.
    4. Glass Trifle bowl. You will not have a free standing dessert, but you will have a nice pattern to see your joconde for this layered dessert.

    Preparing the Jaconde for Molding:

    Video: MUST WATCH THIS. This is a very good demo of the joconde and filling the entremets:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca4eLDok-4Q

    1. Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangle shape.
    2. Decide how thick you want your “Joconde wrapper”. Traditionally, it is ½ the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown. However, you can make it the full height.
    3. Once your height is measured, then you can cut the cake into equal strips, of height and length. (Use a very sharp paring knife and ruler.)
    4. Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight. Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out. Once wrapped inside the mold, overlap your ends slightly. You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place. You can use more than one piece to “wrap “your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough.
    5. The mold is done, and ready to fill.

    *Note: If not ready to use. Lay cake kept whole or already cut into strips, on a flat surface, wrap in parchment and several layers of cling wrap and freeze.

     
    • pragmaticattic 10:14 am on January 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Very cute idea to pipe hearts–nice!

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on January 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cassoulet, duck   

    Daring Cooks 21st Challenge: Cassoulet 

    Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman.

    This dish is not for the faint of heart, as the amount of fat is astounding. But it definitely is tasty. I’ve made cassoulet a couple of times before, so was familiar with the multiple steps involved. I was also off this week, so, a good time to spend it cooking. Luckily, cassoulet freezes well, so I’ll have a taste of this hearty stew a few more times this winter.

    Cassoulet

    Cassoulet by Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman (as featured on the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations”)
    Serves 4 – 8 (unless you’re Lisa Michele)

    Ingredients for Duck Confit

    4 whole duck legs (leg and thigh), size does not matter
    sea salt, for the overnight (at least 6-8 hours) dry rub (the amount varies depending on the size of your legs, so just know that you need to have enough on hand for a good coating.)
    2 cups/480 ml/450 gm/16 oz duck fat
    a healthy pinch or grind of black pepper
    4 sprigs of fresh thyme
    1 sprig of fresh rosemary
    1 garlic clove

    Day One

    1.Rub the duck legs fairly generously with sea salt, place in the shallow dish, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. At all times, keep your work area clean and your ingredients free of contamination – meaning don’t allow any other food, like bread crumbs or scraps, to get into your duck, duck fat or confit, as they will make an otherwise nearly non-perishable preparation suddenly perishable.

    Day Two

    1.Preheat the oven to moderately hot 375ºF/190ºC/gas mark 5.
    2.Render (melt) the duck fat in the saucepan until clear.
    3.After seasoning with the black pepper, place the duck legs in the clean, ovenproof casserole.
    4.Nestle the thyme, rosemary and garlic in with the duck legs, and pour the melted duck fat over the legs to just cover.
    5. Cover the dish with foil and put in the oven. Cook for about an hour, or until the skin at the “ankle” of each leg pulls away from the “knuckle.” The meat should be tender.
    6. Allow to cool and then store as is in the refrigerator, sealed under the fat. When you need the confit, you can either warm the whole dish, in which case removing the legs will be easy, or dig them out of the cold fat and scrape off the excess. I highly recommend the former. A nice touch at this point is to twist out the thighbone from the cold confit. Just place one hand on the drumstick, pinioning the leg to the table, and with the other hand, twist out the thighbone, plucking it from the flesh without mangling the thigh meat. Think of someone you hate when you do it.

    Ingredients for Cassoulet

    5 cups/1200 ml/1100 g/39 oz dried Tarbais beans or white beans such as Great Northern or Cannelini (if you use canned beans be aware that you will need double this amount!)
    2 pounds/900 gm fresh pork belly
    1 onion, cut into 4 pieces
    1 pound/450 gm pork rind
    1 bouquet garni (tie together two sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme and one bay leaf)
    salt and pepper
    1/4 cup/60 ml/55 gm duck fat
    6 pork sausages
    3 onions, thinly sliced
    1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
    4 confit duck legs

    Day One

    1.Place the beans in the large bowl and cover with cold water so that there are at least 2 or 3 inches (50mm or 75mm) of water above the top of the beans. Soak overnight. That was hard, right?  (Beans will double in size upon soaking, so use a big bowl!)

    Day Two

    1. Drain and rinse the beans and place in the large pot.
    2. Add the pork belly, the quartered onion, 1/4 pound/115 gm of the pork rind, and the bouquet garni.
    3. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue to simmer until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes more.
    4. Let cool for 20 minutes, then discard the onion and the bouquet garni.
    5. Remove the pork belly, cut it into 2-inch/5-cm squares, and set aside. (If you plan to wait another day before finishing the dish, wait to cut the pork belly until then.)
    6. Strain the beans and the rind and set aside, reserving the cooking liquid separately.
    7. In the sauté pan, heat all but 1 tablespoon/15 ml/15 gm of the duck fat over medium-high heat until it shimmers and becomes transparent.
    8. Carefully add the sausages and brown on all sides.
    9. Remove sausages and set aside, draining on paper towels.
    10. In the same pan, over medium-high heat, brown the sliced onions, the garlic and the reserved squares of pork rind from the beans (not the unused pork rind; you’ll need that later).
    11. Once browned, remove from the heat and transfer to the blender. Add 1 tablespoon//15 ml/15 gm of the remaining duck fat and purée until smooth. Set aside.
    12. Preheat the oven to moderate 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4.
    13.Place the uncooked pork rind in the bottom of a deep ovenproof non-reactive dish. You’re looking to line the inside, almost like a pie crust. Arrange all your ingredients in alternating layers, beginning with a layer of beans, then sausages, then more beans, then pork belly, beans, duck confit and finally more beans, adding a dab of the onion and pork rind purée between each layer.
    14. Add enough of the bean cooking liquid to just cover the beans, reserving 1 cup/240 ml in the refrigerator for later use.
    15. Cook the cassoulet in the oven for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to very slow 250ºF/130ºC/gas mark ½ and cook for another hour.
    16. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight.

    Day Three

    1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350ºF/180ºC/gas mark 4 again.
    2. Cook the cassoulet for an hour.
    3. Break the crust on the top with the spoon and add 1/4 cup/60 ml of the reserved cooking liquid. (Don’t get fancy. Just pile, dab, stack and pile. It doesn’t have to be pretty.)
    4. Reduce the heat to very slow 250ºF/130ºC/gas mark ½ and continue cooking another 15 minutes, or until screamingly hot through and through. Then serve.

     
    • lisamichele 11:24 pm on January 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Fantastic job on the cassoulet and confit! I wish I had frozen what I had left, I actually trashed it – no idea what I was thinking!! Thanks so much for taking part in our challenge!

  • pixeltheatre 4:24 pm on December 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: stollen   

    Daring Bakers 45th Challenge: Stollen 

    The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

    I was late in checking the new challenge this month. It goes live on the 17th of every month. Hilariously enough, I looked at it after coming back from the first German Christmas Market in Vancouver. A open-air market with vendors selling typical German-fare such as gluhwein and…stollen! I had bought one, as it is one of my favorite Christmas treat. I told my partner that it was something I always wanted to to make, but never got around to it. I had bought some marzipan a couple of years ago with the intention of making it, but it was still in my cupboard. No more excuses. I particularly liked this recipe, though it’s a multi-day affair. I made this a couple of times, adding marzipan both times. The first, despite reading the instructions over and over, I rolled the wrong side of the dough, ending with a very fat wreath. Still good, though. The second time around, rolled it the right way, but it took a lot longer to bake than the time indicated in the recipe. Still turned out right. This will become a staple of my Christmas baking. Thanks Penny for a great challenge!

    Stollen Wreath

    Makes one large wreath or two traditional shaped Stollen loaves. Serves 10-12 people

    Ingredients

    ¼ cup (60ml) lukewarm water (110º F / 43º C)
    2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) (22 ml) (14 grams) (1/2 oz) active dry yeast
    1 cup (240 ml) milk
    10 tablespoons (150 ml) (140 grams) unsalted butter (can use salted butter)
    5½ cups (1320 ml) (27 ozs) (770 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour (Measure flour first – then sift- plus extra for dusting)
    ½ cup (120 ml) (115 gms) sugar
    ¾ teaspoon (3 ¾ ml) (4 ½ grams) salt (if using salted butter there is no need to alter this salt measurement)
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 grams) cinnamon
    3 large eggs, lightly beaten
    Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
    2 teaspoons (10 ml) (very good) vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon extract or orange extract
    ¾ cup (180 ml) (4 ¾ ozs) (135 grams) mixed peel (link below to make your own)
    1 cup (240 ml) (6 ozs) (170 gms) firmly packed raisins
    3 tablespoons (45ml) rum
    12 red glacé cherries (roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional)
    1 cup (240 ml) (3 ½ ozs) (100 grams) flaked almonds
    Melted unsalted butter for coating the wreath
    Confectioners’ (icing) (powdered) sugar for dusting wreath

    Note: If you don’t want to use alcohol, double the lemon or orange extract or you could use the juice from the zested orange.

    Directions:

    Soak the raisins
    In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the rum (or in the orange juice from the zested orange) and set aside. See Note under raisins.

    To make the dough

    Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

    In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup (240 ml) milk and 10 tablespoons (150 ml) butter over medium – low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

    Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.

    In a large mixing bowl (4 qt) (4 liters) (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.

    Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

    Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!

    Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn’t enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.

    Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
    Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.

    Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath

    1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
    2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
    3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
    4. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 16 x 24 inches (40 x 61 cms) and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.

    Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.

    Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle. You can form it around a bowl to keep the shape.

    This was before I pinched it together

    Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.

    Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

    Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.

    Bake the stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

    Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with melted butter while still hot.
    Immediately tap a layer of powdered sugar over the top through a sieve or sifter.
    Wait for 1 minute, then tap another layer over the first.
    The bread should be coated generously with the powdered sugar.
    Let cool at least an hour before serving. Coat the stollen in butter and icing sugar three times, since this many coatings helps keeps the stollen fresh – especially if you intend on sending it in the mail as Christmas presents!

    When completely cool, store in a plastic bag. Or leave it out uncovered overnight to dry out slightly, German style.

    The stollen tastes even better in a couple of days and it toasts superbly…. so delicious with butter and a cup of tea….mmmmm

    Storage
    The more rum and the more coatings of butter and sugar you use the longer it will store.
    The following is for the recipe as written and uses the 45 mls of rum and two coatings of butter and icing sugar
    1. Stollen freezes beautifully about 4 months
    2. The baked stollen stores well for 2 weeks covered in foil and plastic wrap on the counter at room temperature and
    3. One month in the refrigerator well covered with foil and plastic wrap.

     
    • Audax Artifex 5:00 pm on December 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I just love that first photo your stollen looks so perfect and rustic wonderful effort and the snow effect on you blog is so cute.

      Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

    • Coz 7:37 pm on December 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I think your stollen looks like a snow topped mountain. I like how you did your cuts to make it look that way.

    • Erin 8:13 pm on January 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful job on the challenge this month!! Your stollen is beautiful and just looks so festive. I love that you made the recipe a couple of times during the month. Well done!

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on December 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: eggs benedict, poached eggs   

    Daring Cooks 20th Challenge: Poach to Perfection! 

    Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

    I was grateful for a simple technique and  choice of recipe for this challenge. It’s been a busy November, and I knew I could easily complete this one, while making one of my favorite breakfasts: eggs benedict. I am no stranger to poaching. While working in one of my part-time cooking gigs, I had to par-poach (no less) 300 eggs, in preparation for Mother’s Day brunch at a local country club. I used the huge soup kettle for this task, poaching a tray of 24 eggs at a time.  I’ll always remember trying to figure out which egg I had cracked first, as the eggs swirled in the simmering cauldron, to scoop it up as soon as the last egg of the tray hit the water. Quite a feat and a challenge. I cheated at the end of this challenge and used a powdered mix for the hollandaise. My timing was a little off in putting everything together in the end, but we both cleaned our plates nonetheless. 🙂

    Eggs Benedict

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    4 eggs (size is your choice)
    2 English muffins*
    4 slices of Canadian bacon/back bacon (or plain bacon if you prefer)
    Chives, for garnish
    Splash of vinegar (for poaching)

    For the hollandaise (makes 1.5 cups):
    3 large egg yolks
    1 tsp. (5 ml) water
    ¼ tsp. (1 ¼ ml/1½ g) sugar
    12 Tbl. (170 g/6 oz.) unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small pieces º
    ½ tsp. (2 ½ ml/3 g) kosher salt
    2 tsp. (10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
    Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

    • for gluten free, use gluten free English muffins or bread of your choice

    º for dairy free, use a dairy free margarine

    Directions:

    1. Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer.

    2. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and set aside.

    3. Whisk egg yolks and 1 tsp. (5 ml) water in a mixing bowl large enough to sit on the saucepan without touching the water (or in top portion of a double boiler). Whisk for 1–2 minutes, until egg yolks lighten. Add the sugar and whisk 30 seconds more.

    4. Place bowl on saucepan over simmering water and whisk steadily 3–5 minutes (it only took about 3 for me) until the yolks thicken to coat the back of a spoon.

    5. Remove from heat (but let the water continue to simmer) and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time. Move the bowl to the pan again as needed to melt the butter, making sure to whisk constantly.

    6. Once all the butter is incorporated, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper (if using).

    7. Keep the hollandaise warm while you poach your eggs in a thermos, carafe, or bowl that you’ve preheated with warm water.

    8. If the water simmering in your pan has gotten too low, add enough so that you have 2–3 inches of water and bring back to a simmer.

    9. Add salt and a splash of vinegar (any kind will do). I added about a tablespoon of vinegar to my small saucepan (about 3 cups of water/720 ml of water), but you may need more if you’re using a larger pan with more water.

    10. Crack eggs directly into the very gently simmering water (or crack first into a bowl and gently drop into the water), making sure they’re separated. Cook for 3 minutes for a viscous but still runny yolk.

    11. While waiting for the eggs, quickly fry the Canadian/back bacon and toast your English muffin.

    12. Top each half of English muffin with a piece of bacon. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place on top of the bacon. Top with hollandaise and chopped chives, and enjoy!

     
  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on November 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Cooks 19th challenge: Soufflés 

    Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

    I had done a soufflé before in cooking school, but couldn’t remember how successful I had been. I knew they were pretty fussy. I looked for a recipe online that wouldn’t be so big. There’s only two of us to feed, and found what looked like a pretty straightforward spinach soufflé recipe. Didn’t work. Never rose, though it was cooked throughout and tasted good. It didn’t involve a water bath, though. I also had waited for the oven to reach the proper temperature after folding in the egg whites. Perhaps that was the reason? Who knows.

    So I went back to basics and did the lemon soufflé recipe from my school notes. It worked, kinda. Didn’t rise
    much, but had a nice light and lemony taste. Interesting challenge, but not one I’ll be doing again soon. As noted above, too fussy.

    Here’s one of the recipes Dave and Linda offered.

    Chocolate Souffle

    Adapted From BBC Good Food Recipe by Gordon Ramsay

    Ingredients

    FOR THE DISHES

    2 Tbsp (30 ml) 1 oz (30g) unsalted butter, for greasing
    Cocoa powder or finely grated chocolate

    FOR THE CREME PATISSERIE

    2 tbsp (30 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
    2 tsp (10 gm) (0.35 oz) caster (superfine) sugar (regular sugar is OK)
    ½ tsp (4½ gm) (0.15 oz) corn starch (aka cornflour)
    1 medium egg yolk
    1 medium whole egg
    4 Tbsp (60 ml) milk
    5 Tbsp (75 ml) heavy cream (or double cream)
    3 oz (90gm) good-quality dark chocolate preferably 70+% cocoa solids, broken in pieces
    2 Tbsp (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
    Optional: 2 tsp orange zest or 2 tsp minced chipotle chile en adobo or 1 tsp chipotle chile powder. (The chile version is a Monkeyshines favorite!) Optional: powdered sugar for dusting

    FOR THE EGG WHITES

    6 medium egg whites
    6½ Tbsp (95 ml) 3 oz (90g) superfine/caster sugar (if you don’t have it, regular sugar is OK)

    Directions:

    1. Heat oven to moderate 375 ˚F/190 ˚C/gas mark 5.

    2. Take four 1 cup/~240ml soufflé dishes and brush them completely with softened butter. Tip a little cocoa powder or grated chocolate into each dish, roll the dish around tilting it as you do so it is evenly lined all round.

    3. For the crème patisserie, mix the flour, sugar and corn starch into a small bowl. Put egg yolk and whole egg into a medium sized bowl, beat lightly, then beat in half of the flour mixture to give a smooth paste. Tip in the rest of the flour mixture and cocoa powder and mix well.

    4. To make the ganache, pour the milk and cream into a pan and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and beat until it is melted and smooth with no lumps.

    5. Gradually stir hot chocolate ganache into the paste from step 3, and add the orange zest or chile if using. This is your crème patisserie.

    6. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks with an electric whisk. Sprinkle in the sugar as you are mixing. Keep whisking to give stiff, firm peaks to give volume to the soufflés.

    7. Stir about 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the beaten egg whites into the crème patisserie. Carefully fold in a third of the rest, cutting through the mixture. Fold in another third (take care not to lose the volume), then fold in the rest.

    8. Spoon the mixture into the dishes. Run a spoon across the top of each dish so the mixture is completely flat. Take a little time to wipe any splashes off the outside of each dish, or they will burn on while cooking.

    9. Bake the soufflés for 15-17 minutes.
    10. The soufflés should have risen by about two thirds of their original height and jiggle when moved, but be set on top.

     

     
    • Danielle 2:45 pm on November 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I have not been daring enough myself to try a souffle but after seeing your awesome pics, I think I’ve gotta! 🙂

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on October 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: donoughts, donuts,   

    Daring Bakers 44th Challenge: Mmmmm…doughnuts! 

    The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious. Doughnuts!? Oh yeah! Also a proud canuck, I knew where this host was coming from. Tim Horton’s is more than a doughnut shop, it’s an institution in this country. Hun and I often have our Saturday breakfast there, and no matter the location, it’s always busy with a spectrum of people.

    I’ve always wanted to make donuts, but for some reason, was a little worried. Not sure why. Especially after doing this challenge. I was on my way home from holidays when I looked at this month’s challenge and emailed Hun right away. Glee, all around! The debate about what we would stuff in some of them started in Orlando, and continued while I waited for my connection in Houston airport. We’ve been playing with mini snickers stuffed in wonton wraps or funnel cake batter and fried, and doughnuts seemed the next natural step.

    For good measure, I tried both recipe. I was pleased to see (or taste) how less sweet homemade doughnuts can be.  The recipes suggested were straightforward. We fried the doughnuts outside on the bbq burner. Cooking time was quite less than the one suggested. Also, we found that 375F was too hot, cooking the outside before the inside was properly done. Reducing the heat to 350F fixed that. We tried a couple of glazes (white and chocolate) found on the web, but we’ll need to revisit those. Too watery and didn’t coat very well. The snickers stuffed doughnuts, done with the yeast recipe, worked well enough, though I’ll have to use more dough next time, to make sure the dough really rises around and covers the half mini-snickers piece well, as we ended up with some chocolate canola oil.

    All in all, a great challenge. We came out with four dozen donuts (not including the holes). Thankfully, these freeze well. 🙂 Looking forward to making some fresh ones at Christmas time, when my mother visits. She adores them — as a treat, of course.

    Yeast Doughnuts:

    Preparation time:
    Hands on prep time – 25 minutes
    Rising time – 1.5 hours total
    Cooking time – 12 minutes

    Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

    Ingredients
    Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
    Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
    Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
    Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
    Eggs, Large, beaten 2
    White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
    Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
    Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
    All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
    Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

    Directions:

    1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
    2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
    3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
    4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
    5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
    6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
    7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
    8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
    9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
    10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
    11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
    12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

    Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts:

    Preparation time:
    Hands on prep time – 25 minutes
    Cooking time – 12 minutes

    Yield: About 15 doughnuts & 15 doughnut holes, depending on size

    Ingredients
    Sour Cream ¼ cup / 60 ml / 60 gm / 2 oz
    All Purpose Flour 3 ¼ cup / 780 ml / 455 gm / 16 oz + extra for dusting surface
    White Granulated Sugar ¾ cup / 180 ml / 170 gm / 6 oz
    Baking Soda ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml / 3 gm / .1 oz
    Baking Powder 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
    Kosher (Flaked) Salt 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz (If using table salt, only use ½ teaspoon)
    Nutmeg, grated 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / .3 oz
    Active Dry Yeast 1 1/8 teaspoon / 5.6 ml / 3.5 gm / .125 oz
    Buttermilk ¾ cup + 2 Tablespoon / 210 ml / 225 gm / 7 ¾ oz
    Egg, Large 1
    Egg Yolk, Large 2
    Pure Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon / 15 ml
    Powdered (Icing) Sugar ¼ cup / 120 ml / 65 gm / 2.3 oz (Used for decorating and is optional)

    Directions:

    1. In a small stainless-steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, heat the sour cream until just warm.
    2. Heat the oil to 375°F/190°C.
    3. Over a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg; make a large well in the center. Place the yeast in the well; pour the sour cream over it. Allow it to soften (if using packed fresh yeast), about 1 minute.
    4. Pour the buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolks, and vanilla extract into the well. Using one hand, gradually draw in the dry ingredients. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour. Mix until it is completely incorporated. The dough will be very sticky. Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour.
    5. Sift an even layer of flour onto a work surface. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of flour. You don’t want the doughnuts sticking to your counter. Scrape dough out of bowl onto the surface; sift another layer of flour over dough. Working quickly, pat dough into an even 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness. Dip cutter in flour and, cutting as closely together as possible, cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place holes and doughnuts on a floured surface. Working quickly, gather scraps of dough together, pat into 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness, and cut out remaining doughnuts and holes.
    6. Drop three to four doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Once they turn golden brown, turn them and cook the other side. Cooking times may vary, but with my oil at 375 °F/190°C, I found they only took about 20 to 30 seconds per side.
    7. Once cooked, place on a baking sheet covered with paper towels to drain.

    Sift powdered sugar over doughnuts and serve.

     
  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on October 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Cooks 18th challenge: Grape Leaves Stuffed 

    Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. I’ve always enjoyed dolmades and was glad to get an opportunity to make these from scratch. Since Thanksgiving was right around the corner, I decided to give these a twist by adding a spicy roasted butternut squash, based on a Jaime Oliver recipe. Turned out alright, but next time, I’ll use the usual greek recipe.

    Wara Einab or Dolma/Cold Stuffed Grape Leaves
    Adapted from Claudia Roden’s The New Book of Middle Eastern Food a Borzoi Book, published by Alfred A. Knopf

    Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    Ingredients

    24 – 30 preserved or fresh grape leaves.
    1¼ cups (300 ml) (9 oz) (250 gm) long grain rice
    1- 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
    1 large onion, finely chopped or 4 tablespoons (60 ml) (35 gm) finely chopped scallions
    2 tablespoons (30 ml) (25 gm) finely chopped flat leaf parsley
    2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) crushed dried mint
    ¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) ground cinnamon
    ¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) ground allspice
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6½ gm) dill
    Salt and pepper
    2 tomatoes, sliced **optional**
    3 or 4 cloves garlic
    2/3 cup (160 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar
    Juice of 1 lemon or more

    Notes:

    If using grape leaves preserved in brine, to remove salt put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Make sure that the water penetrates well between the layers, and leave them soaking for about twenty minutes, then change the water a time or two using fresh cold water.

    If using fresh leaves, plunge a few at a time in boiling water for a few seconds only, until they become limp, and lift them out.

    Directions:

    1. Pour boiling water over the rice and stir well, then rinse with cold water and let drain.

    2. Mix the rice with the chopped tomatoes, onion or scallion, parsley, mint, cinnamon, allspice, dill, salt and pepper to taste.

    3. Place a grape leaf on a flat surface, vein side up.

    4. Place about two teaspoons (10 ml) of the filling in the center of the leaf, near the stem edge.

    5. Roll the leaf end to end, starting from the stem edge. As you roll, fold the sides of the leaf in toward the center. The leaf should resemble a small cigar, about 2 to 2 1/2 inches (50 mm to 65mm) long.

    6. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

    a.(You can freeze the stuffed grape leaves at this point. Just line a baking sheet with wax paper. When firmly frozen, transfer to an airtight plastic bag place back in the freezer.)

    7. Pack the stuffed leaves tightly in a large pan lined with tomato slices or imperfect grape leaves Place a whole garlic clove in between them for extra flavor. The tightness will help prevent the rolls from unraveling.

    8. Mix together olive oil, 2/3 cup (160 ml) water, sugar and lemon juice and pour over the stuffed leaves. Put a small heat proof plate on top of the leaves to prevent them from unwinding, cover the pan and simmer very gently for about 1 hour, until the rolls are thoroughly cooked, adding water occasionally, a cup at a time, as the liquid in the pan becomes absorbed. Cool in the pan before turning out. Serve cold.

    There are many variations you can use but here are just a few suggestions:

    Add ¼ cup (60 ml) (1½ oz) (45 gm) raisins or currants and ¼ cup (60 ml) (1⅓ oz) (40 gm) pine nuts to the filling.

    Mix a pinch or two of powdered saffron with the olive oil and water before pouring over the stuffed grape leaves.

    Soak about ¼ cup (60 ml) (1½ oz) (45 gm) dried chickpeas in water overnight. Crush them using a processor or blender and add them to the filling. In this case use ¼ cup (60 ml) (1¾ oz) (50 gm) less rice. You could also use drained canned chickpeas.

     


     
    • Audax Artifex 3:53 am on October 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      WOW great to hear that you liked the challenge (not the butternut filling so much) they look really delicious. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

    • cuppy 2:37 pm on October 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I was so absorbed with trying to make a cuppy-perfect-flavored dolma I didn’t even experiment. 😉 I love butternut squash, tho, so I might like your stuffed leaves!

    • Mary 5:52 pm on October 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I think butternut squash sounds like a fantastic filling, and much better than my Thanksgiving leftover one: I used the turkey liver.
      😛
      Yours look great with the tomato wedges.

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