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  • pixeltheatre 12:02 am on January 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blue cheese, cheese, gougères, gruyère, pear   

    Recipes to Rival – 3rd Challenge: Gruyère Cheese Gougères & Gorgonzola and Pear Crostini 

    The December RTR challenge was a little less involved than last month’s recipe. It was really appreciated on this end, considering how time-consumingthe Daring Bakers’ French Yule log had been. The RTR challenge was hosted by one of the founders of the Recipes to Rival, Temperance and Jen. We had to produce two of the three appetizers suggested. I chose the Gruyère Cheese Gougères & Gorgonzola and Pear Crostini. Although I really like oysters, my partner not so much. Since I wanted to serve these on New Year’s Eve, the choice was easy. Both turned out excellent. I may just try the Galatoire’s Oysters en Brochette for myself on another occasion. Recipes for all three recipes can be found on the Recipes to Rival website.

    Happy New Year all!

    • Debyi 2:36 pm on January 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I made the gougeres & crostini too. Weren’t they great. I also loved how easy these were to make, great job!

    • Madam Chow 5:57 pm on January 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I made the same ones, too. We are not big fans of oysters, either.

    • Temperance 11:28 am on January 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Those do seem to be the popular choices, and as good as they are it is not suprising. I will keep an eye out for the oyusters en brochette.

  • pixeltheatre 9:56 pm on December 13, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cheese, , 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

    Paula Deen’s Chocolate Cheese Fudge

    Press one tablespoon into greased mini cupcake molds. Refrigerate.

    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.

    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
    Profiteroles: Choux paste recipe

    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.

    Chocolate ganache
    Candy cane, crushed

    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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