Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jan yummy Daring Baker's

The month is fast slipping by so today is the day for the Daring Baker’s Challenge. This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Baking Soda and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf.They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux. I thought this would make a nice elegant dessert for the upcoming family reunion in April so I was excited to give it a try. I chose to do the simple vanilla tuile with a lemon curd as the filling. Lemon curd is something I have wanted to make for a long time so this was the perfect time. Check out all the amazing bakers at .

I think perhaps I wasn’t thin enough (story of my life) when I spread them out. I did make a template but decided to pipe it and then smooth them out. I think I should have let them get a wee bit darker but I took them out at the first hint of browning. Next time I will let them get darker as I think they will set up harder and hold the shape better. I rolled a few and then used a cup to mold them in a cup shape. I thought both made for a nice presentation but again I wished I had let them go darker.

The lemon curd I did an amazingly easy recipe. I now feel I can make lemon curd anytime it was that easy!

3 large egg yolks
3 3/8 ounces granulated sugar
2 1/4 ounces fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
3/4 pinch salt
1 1/2 teaspoons lemons, zest of, finely grated (optional)

In a non-reactive saucepan, whisk yolk and sugar until well combined.
Add remaining ingredients except lemon zest.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly (Do not whisk), until thickened and you see the first bubble.
Pour through strainer, stir in zest.
Chill in refrigerator with plastic wrap pressed on top of curd to prevent skin forming
This makes about ¾ a cup

I think that it is a little to loose to use in the cookie roll – stuffed in a doughnut is fine or put in the cup shaped cookie for a one bite of yummmm but otherwise I think rolled would be better with whipped cream or dipping the ends in chocolate and allowing it to harden. I hope you like mine and I can’t wait to see what everybody else has done!

Is it just me or does this look like an egg to you too?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WOW, a year of blogging!

I am so surprised that I have had a blog for a year. It seems like just yesterday I walked into a Whole Foods for the first time and my eyes opened wide with the potential I saw there. I was not a person who cooked when I first got married, I was a orderer. We lived in St Louis back then (greatest place on earth beside FL) and you could get anything delivered. I mean anything - steak, organic vegetarian pizza with whole wheat crust, greatest Chinese place EVER and even a burger place beside the usual dominoes type place. Then we had kid's and I stopped working and wanted the best for the kid's diet so I began to explore cooking. I love to find new foods that the kids like.

I have gone thru many phases in my cooking. I went gluten free to see if that helped my son's autism. He hated it and it didn't help so I stopped that. I went vegetarian because I watched WAYY to many peta videos and they made me cry. Now I but from a local butcher using local farmers meat and I know that the animals had a good life and my guilt is slightly less. I also use meat less as the main and more as a side dish. I went the prepackaged route as I was learning and learned OH DEAR GOD that is a lot of salt and preservatives so I started making all our own food from scratch as much as possible. I went organic for a while but it was very expensive so now I still buy organic as much as I can but not everything we eat is organic. Thanks for putting up with the changes and a special thanks to my sister, the one I call lawyer sis, for putting up with my whining about the guilt I feel for eating meat - I know I am annoying- thanks for loving me anyway!

I have grown and changed a lot since I first started cooking. This month is my one year blogiversary and my 13th year wedding anniversary! Thanks for being there random strangers and fellow daring baker's. I feel like I have a voice and that someone hears it. I love to see comments or get emails about something that you like.!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Did you know today is squirrel appreciation day? I was thinking perhaps of posting a recipe using squirrels but then I thought that might not be the nicest thing so I will just say Go Nuts! Hope you are having a wonderful month and II will be back soon.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Challah - An eggy bread braid

I have always wanted to try to make the lovely braided eggy bread Challah but as my best friend of 33 yrs will tell you I am a dreadful braider. I have no idea how many hours were spent with her attempting and failing trying to teach me to braid hair. Thankfully this is much, much easier.
I am exhausted and lazy so instead of typing out all the instructions as I followed them precisely I will lead you here it is the glorious King Arthur Flour website and it shows you perfectly how to braid the bread besides the careful instruction.
My favorite part is they use a bread machine to mix and rise it!!Just dump all but the glaze in and set to dough. On my machine it is an hr and half till you can take it out and start rolling out, resting, braiding and baking.
The picture above is my completed bread that I must confess I am proud of. I think next time I will cut the baking time down. It bakes for a total of 45 min and I did cut 10 min off so this loaf baked a total of 35 min but next time I might try just baking for 25 min as it looks dark to me and is a little more crispy then I care for.

Arthur Flour Basic Challah
1/2 cup lukewarm water
6 tablespoons vegetable oil or if you don’t need to follow Jewish guidelines I would go half butter
1/4 cup honey next time I will use 1/3 cup
2 large eggs
4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast

Glaze for later
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water -Here it is glazed ready for baking

Monday, January 5, 2009

English Muffins

I LOVE I mean truly LOVE my bread machine. I am always looking for new ways to use it and this week it is english muffins. I went to my beloved looking around and found a recipe that really needed nothing as it sounded perfect as it was written. The most surprising thing was that you don't bake them you cook them in a pan and it only takes 5 minutes after the dough is ready! I compared about 15 different recipes and most seem similar to this one I used;

1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour (or more)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast

Put ingredients in the machine in the order listed. EXCEPT cornmeal

Start the dough cycle.

When the cycle is finished.

Sprinkle corn meal over your work area. I used a large cookie sheet with sides and it made a super easy clean up
Use your hands to pat the dough into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle.
Turn the dough so that each side gets lightly coated with cornmeal.
Cut into 8 to 14 rounds, depending on how big you like them. I used a cup I had that looked the a nice size to hold an egg at breakfast later
An empty large tuna can works well When you run out of dough gather up the trimmings and cut more rounds.
Place the rounds on a baking sheet, cover and let rise for 20- 30 minutes--until not quite double.
Heat a dry cast iron skillet or griddle over a low flame.
LIGHTLY oil I used a rag as pam gets to hot in cast iron
Cook the muffins about 2 to 4 minutes on each side.
They should be golden brown when you turn them.
Split the muffins with a fork or serrated knife and serve warm.
These freeze well and can be reheated in the microwave or toasted.

They are super tasty and yummy just plain with butter or great with an egg on top.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I have been dying to try marshmallows as it is all over the blogesphere but I was a little worried as it seemed like it would be fiddly. I WAS WRONG! It was super easy and came together with no problems. I heavily powdered sugar and then just kinda brushed it off after I cut it as it made it cut really nice. I was going to do pretty shapes but felt lazy as I had a huge day of cooking and *ugh*cleaning already under my belt.

As this was my first batch I decided not to use fancy pretty sugar or colors/flavors and just used
Martha Stewart as I love her. I am not so much in love with her new everywoman persona as I think that she works best playing up her better then me-ness, maybe that is just me. so here is what I used;

2 envelopes (each 1 scant tablespoon) unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cup light corn syrup

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Vegetable-oil cooking spray ( I didn't use)

Coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; line with parchment paper. Spray parchment; set aside. Pour 1/3 cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer. Sprinkle with gelatin; let mixture soften, about 5 minutes.
Place sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/3 cup water in a medium saucepan. Cover; bring to a boil. Remove lid; cook, swirling pan occasionally, until syrup reaches 238 degrees (soft-ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes.
With mixer on low speed, whisk gelatin mixture, and slowly pour the syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl (to avoid splattering). Gradually raise speed to high; beat until mixture is thick, white, and has almost tripled in volume, about 12 minutes. Add vanilla, and beat 30 seconds to combine.
Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet;My sheet used non stick foil heavily covered in confectioner's sugar. smooth with an offset spatula. I used a lightly wet hand and it did great Let stand at room temperature, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
Coat a 1- or 2-inch snowflake-shaped cookie cutter with cooking spray to prevent it from sticking.I used a pizza cutter - fast and easy! Cut out as many individual marshmallows as possible; coat cutter with more spray as needed. Use marshmallows immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

I am so pleased I did this and don't think I can ever buy marshmallows again! It is amazing how simple and flavorful these were! In the winter I am thinking of making tiny snowflakes as Martha recommends for in hot cocoa.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

ohh Spam?

Wow I am so excited! I got my first spam ie click her for... instead of telling me they like me:). So I set up to moderate comments but I can't get rid of that one pc of spam. I am pleased because it means someone is reading this and annoyed because really in today's world of viruses do they REALLY think we are gonna click it? Please ignore any odd comments like that as I have NO clue what it will do. On the other hand please note that most people who's names are links are awesome people with amazing sites. I have really broadened who I read by being a clicker of real names.

Friday, January 2, 2009

No recipe today

winter rose
Myspace Glitter Graphics

Well it has been 70 degrees this week?????? What in gravy? I have a hard time being creative as I have the flu :( so I made you a pretty picture instead. I hope you like it. The rose pic is from yahoo but I made it snow.