Monday, May 5, 2008

Skewl Daze!

I'm not going to school to learn how to spell....

I went to learn this - 

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Clam Chowder

Sauteed chicken with broccoli and bechamel (needs CHEESE!)

a Cauliflower Gratin

as well as braised short ribs and braised red cabbage with roasted winter vegetables

and steak (!) with grilled zuccini, tomato salad, and creamy risotto

and let's not forget pasta!
and a polenta stuffed mushroom

That's all Quarter 1!!!  Now it's on to Quarter 2.  I'll keep you posted with more fun, as it happens! =)


Ketchup! Or, things you didn't get to eat....

Hey there!  
Things have been oh so busy with school that there have been a lot of recipes and photos I never got the chance to blog about.  Crud.  So, here's a really quick version

You missed out on
Marhsall Field's Chicken Pot pie
Gale Gand's Thimble Cookies

(Those were actually supposed to be cut out using a thimble... but I don't have a thimble, so it was the fat end of a pastry tip)

Middle Class Brioche from "The Breadbaker's Apprentice"  - Thanks Groovy for the book!!!

Caramel Cake

I can't even remember where that came from now...  crud.  It was good though!

There were sticky toffee pudding cupcakes from "Demolition Desserts" by Elizabeth Faulkner, and even better it was cupcakes with Kate time!!!  

Here's Kate!  (With Ninja bandage and also near some leftover cupcakes!)
And here are the delightful, date-filled cupcakes.....  oh the goodness.  =)  I will make those again, oh yes!

You also missed some fashion-based cookies...  (Seriously, you've missed a lot... where have you been?!?!)

Other than that, not much was missed... oh wait... I will have to add another post for everything we've done in school so far.  That's up next!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day! =)

Happy Valentine's Day you crazy kids out there!
The creation for this special day required a bit of thought....  So I got to thinking about romantic movies, that people really love.  I personally, love "Pretty Woman".  Oh that kooky hooker with a heart of gold!!!
Which led me to think about the champagne and strawberries scene...  *LIGHTBULB*
So for you, gentle reader, the cupcake of Valentine's Day is called
Pretty Woman
A champagne cake with fresh strawberry filling.  A dark chocolate champagne ganache, all topped off with a chocolate covered strawberry.
The dental floss -- you're on your own.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Accidents will happen

Accidents sometime happen...  like your chocolate cupcake recipe says I totally bizarre oven temperature and even though you think it sounds weird, you do it any way because hey it's in print....
so you end up with one gigantic cupcake...
but that's ok, because you can save all that cake for some random experiment...  (cuz hey the cake still tastes really good... and then you save some vanilla cake from some cupcakes you needed to fill with stuff.  YAY Mixed Bag of Cake!

And then let's say you work for a really long time on a post, only 
to realize you posted it on the wrong blog.  That's ok... no one judges you.
The post is still there.  I'm not moving it!  Take that!

On a very awesome note your friend made some very tasty cupcakes and let you eat two of them.  TWO!  And then she even entrusted you to bring the cupcake home so your boyfriend could have one.  (It almost didn't make it.)  But here they be in all their delicious glory!

WOOHOO!!!!  These were so good - I don't lie about baked goods, ever.  Make em again!!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Needing some comfort... where to turn, where to turn?
The chocolate chip cookie...
No other cookie - not peanut butter, not oatmeal raisin, not sugar provides the childhood comfort more than the chocolate chip cookie.  (You can try to argue with that, but you'd be so wrong there's just no point in wasting your time.)
Which chocolate chip cookie to make though?  Ghiradelli's recipe, or Tollhouse?  Oh wait!!! I got a wonderful book for Christmas called, "Demolition Desserts" by Elizabeth Faulkner - THE LADY from Citizen Cake in San Francisco.  Oh joy!  Let's get this party started
Chocolate Chip Cookies Straight Up or with Nuts (no nuts thank you says Brat)
8 tbl unsalted butter, softened but still cool
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tbl granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cup plus 3 tbl all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped to the size of chocolate chips, or bittersweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional... NO THANK YOU!)
In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, cream together the butter and brown and granulated sugars until smooth but not overmixed.  (You can use a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, beat on medium for 1 to 2 minutes, and then scrape down the sides of the bowl before continuing)  Add the egg, vanilla, and salt and stir until just combined.  Sift in the flour baking soda, and baking powder and stir gently until combined.  Add chocolate and stir just until evenly distributed throughout the dough.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Position the racks in the upper third and lower third of the oven and preheat to 350.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop up 1-inch balls of the dough with a spoon or mini scoop and set them 2 inches apart on the prepared pans.
Bake the cookies, rotating the pans after 7 to 9 minutes, for 13 to 17 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.  If you like a very soft cookie, bake them for 13 minutes.  If you like a crisp cookie, bake them for 17 minutes.  Transfer to the racks and let cool.
Best the day they are baked.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Raspberry Buns - adventures in Rice Flour

Very simple - rather exciting...
I was interested in using rice flour since I never had before... so I looked up recipes to use rice flour with.  This recipe for raspberry buns comes from  =)
You will need
1 cup AP Flour
3/4 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup tepid milk
1 large egg, beaten
8-10 tsp raspberry jam
Mix the flours, salt and baking powder together.  Rub in the butter and then work in the sugar.  Add the milk to the egg and mix them into the dry ingredients.  Form the mixture into 8 to 10 balls and place them on a buttered baking sheet.  Make a well in each ball with your finger and put 1 tsp of jam into the well.  Fold the dough over the well to seal it.  Bake the buns in a preheated 400F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool.

These were really good and very simple.  I imagine you could use any sort of jam you want.  No one would stop you.  The thing that was strange to me about using the rice flour is that when you pour in the liquid, it is as if that one spot of flour wants to take ALL the liquid.... so you have to stir and stir and stir to get it incorporated... but you don't want to go crazy and build up the gluten (remember you're using AP flour too) too much.  I'm not sure how to get around that...  It was super soft though (the rice flour) it was silky - I liked it.  Buns were yummy!

Yeasted Dinner Rolls

The stuff
3 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
pinch of sugar (not a spoonful....  we're not taking medicine here)
1/3 cup warm water (105 to 115degrees)
1 cup tepid buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey (I went for the honey)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (please don't hurt me!!!)
1 tsp salt
4 1/2-5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour - plus extra as needed
Canola oil for greasing
Whachoo gotta dooooo
In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water and stir to dissolve.  Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes....
during this time - amuse yourself by imagining Alton's Brown Sock Puppet Yeastie Beasties burping like mad in the bowl.  BURP!
In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, eggs, salt and 1 cup of the flour.  Beat on medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the yeast mixture and 1 cup of the flour, and beat for another minute.  Beat in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the bowl sides.
Switch to the dough hook (after you're done pretending to be Captain Hook.... you know you do it - YAR!)  Knead on low speed, adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough sticks, until a very soft dough forms, about 1 minute.  The dough should be softer than typical bread dough, yet smooth and springy.
Transfer the dough to an oiled deep  bowl and turn the dough once to coat it.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Grease two 8-inch cake pans.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board.  Divide the dough in half and roll each half between your palms into a tight rope 18 inches long.  Cut each rope into eighteen 1-inch pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball, and place the balls, sides just touching, in the prepared pans.  Cover loosely with plastic and let rise at room temperature until puffy, 30 -45 minutes.  During this time you could be doing sit-ups... but I doubt you will.
Preheat the oven to 375F.  Bake the rolls until light golden brown 18-23 minutes.  Let cool slightly in the pans or transfer to a rack.  Serve warm.
Makes 36 Rolls
From the Williams-Sonoma Bread Book

I am a bread junky.... these rolls delivered everything I could have hoped for... and it made so  much that there's plenty to put into the freezer to save for later.  =)  I highly recommend it!

Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplings

Ok so we know I like the comfort food.  I made this version of Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplings and I was highly disappointed.  It tasted like a bowl of salted chicken.  There was not a whole lot more flavor invited to the party.  I'm sure there's a way to make this better... I just need to find it!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My boyfriend, is a sock rocker!

YAY!!! Josh is the bestest boyfriend in all the land!!! Look at the wonderful present he got for me for beginning Culinary School!!!

Before... loverly vintage 70's avocado green.... Wonderful and faithful, but missing something....


If you want to trick out your KitchenAid Mixer, head over here

and visit the nice people at They have all kinds of wonderful decals to put on your mixer. =) You can find the perfect set of flames to go with your mixer. You will experience pure joy!

Thank you Josh, thank you!!! This is the best present EVER!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thanksgiving food - super late!

All righty, so I have my camera, I have the cable, and I have the new computer. Now, I can post all the pictures that have been clogging up the ye olde memory carde. =) So here, super late is the thanksgiving fun!

Let's kick it off with Cranberry Bars.... This recipe is from the November 2007 Issue of Gourmet
Cranberry Bars - Makes 12 bars

The stuff
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (not thawed if frozen, 3/4 lb)
1/4 cup water
Confectioners sugar for dusting

What to do, what to do
preheat oven to 350 with the rack in the middle
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with crisscrossed sheets of foil, leaving an overhang on 2 opposite sides, then butter foil.
Blend butter, flour, salt, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a food processor until mixture begins to clump together. Press into bottom of pan.
Bake until pale golden and sides begin to pull away from pan, 25 to 30 minutes
While crust is baking, cook cranberries, remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, and water in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries burst, 6 to 8 minutes.
Pour cranberries over crust and bake until edge is golden, about 25 minutes.
Sift confectioners sugar over top and cool completely in pan on a rack. Lift out of pan using foil overhang and cut into 12 squares, then sift more confectioners sugar over top.

Yours will look better since you will remember to take the picture AFTER you remove them from the foil... You are so good, aren't you?? :)

Then came these cookies that I can't find the recipe for now... but they are chocolate chip, orange and cranberry.... It's a shame I can't find the recipe, I'd like to make them again.

And now for my favorite one of the day.... Apple Walnut Torte. Oh goodness yum!

Also from the November 2007 issue of Gourmet

The stoof!
2 sticks unsalted butter, well softened, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 lb tart apples (I used Granny Smith)
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baling soda
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups walnuts coarsely chopped, toasted
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure almond extract
3 tablespoons apple jelly (or if you are like me and can't find apple jelly that is without MINT in it, get yourself some apricot instead... thanks Lisa for talking to me for like an hour in the grocery store while my brain was near exploding)
Equipment - a 9 by 3 inch round cake pan or a 9 inch springform pan wrapped in foil.

Preheat oven to 350 with rack in the middle
butter pan and fit a round of parchment paper in bottom. Butter parchment then flour pan.
Spread 1/2 stick butter thickly on bottom of a 12 inch heavy skillet and sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar evenly over butter. Arrange apples, cut sides down, over sugar and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Cook over medium heat, turning apples occasionally, until sugar is caramelized and apples are tender and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
Arrange apples, cut sides down in concentric circles in bottom of cake pan, then pour over any carmel from skillet.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt.
Pulse walnuts with remaining cup sugar in a food processor until finely ground
Beat remaining 1 1/2 sticks butter in a bowl with an electric mixer until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add walnut sugar and beat until just combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in extracts. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined (batter will be thick)
Dollop batter over apples and spread evenly. Bake until torte just begins to pull away from side of pan and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool torte in pan on a rack 30 minutes. Put rack over torte, then invert torte onto rack. Melt jelly in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring.
Brush apples generously with jelly and cool torte completely, 1 to 1/2 hours.

Serve with Calvados Whipping Cream

Or if you are like me and couldn't find apple brandy....

1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon maple extract
2 tsp sugar

beat until it holds soft peaks