Saturday, May 26, 2012
To serve the spread, since this wasn't going to be for a party with cheese and crackers I thought it may be interesting to put a dollop on the pizza we had for dinner. I made two pizzas - one with sauce and one without. Both had prosciutto, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. We had a bag of arugula from the CSA that I mixed with some wonderful strawberry balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. I don't think the pizza was enhanced by the cheese spread but I wouldn't call it bad. We'll see how it tastes tomorrow.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Cupcake Bakeshop. They're great because you can do a whole cookie sheet in one batch. They stand up on their own, look nice, and aren't too hard to pop the cakes out.
Pictures and my nieces recap of Cupcake Camp on her blog, Easting Places, will come soon. She wrote about many other foodie events she's been going to. Have to say that I'm a bit envious of her freedom and connections that allow her to go to these. I'm also really happy for her!
Friday, May 18, 2012
Interesting that this week's choice just happens to be the same flavor combinations I'm using for cupcakes I'm bringing to Cupcake Camp Boston this coming week. Maybe not so interesting - because I keep wondering if I read the recipe first, then got the brilliant idea for the chocolate nutella cupcakes w/ banana buttercream or if the nutella tartine was the inspiration. Either way, the tart -
I made a chocolate crust and put it in a springform pan, since I didn't have a tart pan. The rest of the recipe seemed like it was going to be very complex but I was happily surprised that it was pretty simple. As usual, I didn't want to use heavy cream so went in search of a new substitute. This time I tried Almond Milk. It turned out to be a wonderful compromise. It added no sweetness and it was thicker than regular milk. As for the taste, I have to confess I forgot to try some, but my daughter did and she remarked it was like ice cream. Hmm, I'll have to give it a try soon. I also used up some semisweet chocolate chips I had around along with the 60% cocoa chips. Again, it was not very sweet at all, which is good when adding in the caramelized bananas. I was hoping the bananas would stay crispy, but they didn't. Maybe I didn't put in enough sugar? I'll have to see what happened with other FFWD people.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Thought making the double chocolate banana tart in a springform pan would be appropriate today. Most of the time I use a springform is to make my dad's favorite cheesecake. He passed away today, so this is in his honor. Too bad he probably wouldn't be very fond of this tart though. Certainly not if I add the nutella layer.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
I set Shara up with the big chef's knife and the olives. We first had to figure out which had she held the knife in because she goes back and forth still. She seemed more comfortable holding it right handed but it worked out best for us to do it together. Later she commented that if you're just starting out learning to use a knife, it would be easier if the things you're cutting aren't round. Agreed. But they got chopped just fine. Next was zesting the orange. She did a great job but zesting isn't the easiest job either and everything takes practice so she did about 1/2 and I finished up.
Making the dough was fairly straightforward. It needed to be kneaded (ha ha) for 10 minutes, even using the Kitchen Aid. The dough was soft and silky and very similar to a pizza dough. In fact, other than the flavors, I'm not sure of the real difference. I have to look at my pizza dough recipe and really compare. We were supposed to let the dough rise at room temperature for at least two hours. I was on my way to the bus stop, so I put it in the refrigerator and did the rising backward. First you should rise at room temp, then put it in the refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours and even up to three days. I did the cold rest first, then had it out at room temp for about an hour or so. When I got home from work, I took 1/2 the dough and shaped it, let it rise for about 15 min. then baked it in a high oven. It smelled and tasted wonderful. It was like a flat bread - crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. It wasn't very thick, much more like a pizza or flat bread.
The next evening I shaped and baked the 2nd half. This one was much thicker, though I tried to stretch it out to be just as flat as the night before. The difference is that this time it rose much higher. The flavor was slightly more developed, but not very noticeable. I like to find a way to have the dough available for using multiple days, but still keep that original texture.
Sunday, May 06, 2012
|chicken w/ mashed potatoes, sauteed zucchini, asparagus and shallot/bacon topping|
Friday, May 04, 2012
I was out the door in perfect time to get to the conference room early enough to get prepared. The AV person set things up, we found my Powerpoint, all was well. I started looking over the slides and heard an alarm coming from the laptop. I didn't realize that meant the power would shut off in a few minutes, but when it did, I was able to find the power and plug it in. I did need to confirm the plug I was using was ok because it looked fairly industrial and I didn't want to short anything out. I got powered up, rebooted, brought up the show and people started coming in. It went really well, I thought. People asked questions and I had time to answer them all and show some things live.
Through it all, I was relaxed. I moved on through the day, not worrying about where I would sit at lunch, if I would make it to the next session on time, what I was going to say at a meeting, and all was fine. My dinner date cancelled but I had already planned on going back to the room to call home and put away my laptop. Not knowing what the plan was, I headed out the door and took a look at who was around. Found someone and was going to join him and others at Wolfgang Puck's but then ran into another group who were on their way to Cat Cora's Kousina. This was the one of two places I wanted to go at Disney so I asked if I could join them. They said they were just going to ask me because their fourth person on the reservation cancelled. Checked back with 1st person and they said, "no problem" and off we went. We waited 2 minutes to get the cab, walked into the restaurant 40 min. early, yet 5 min. later our buzzer was lighting up and we were being seated.
The waitress was great. She wanted to explain the common questions about the menu because it would save time later. I love efficiency. We ordered drinks - I was going to get the Ouzo-tini and she asked if I liked Ouzo and I asked how strong of a flavor it had and she said it was heavy licorice. That's the only flavor I really don't like but I wanted to try something different so I gave it a go. By the time she finished describing all the items on the menu I chickened out and decided to go with the anti-oxidant sangria. It was very good. Fruity but not at all sweet. For dinner we split the "spread". Kouzzina Spreads – Greek Olive Tapenade, Chickpea Hummus, Eggplant Spread, Taramosalata, Whipped Feta with Peppers, and Tzatziki, served with Pita. I took the picture a little late, but all of it was wonderful - she's not afraid of flavor!
This was wonderful and we each (even my almost eight year old) had a huge fillet of Tilapia encrusted with the lovely ground almond crust, sauteed in lots (it seemed to me) butter. I had made a hollandaise earlier in the week and thought it would be interesting to use that as the "glue" for the crumbs, rather than the egg yolk. I think this worked fine, but didn't try it so have nothing to compare it with. The fish was rather thick and we needed to put it back in the pan to cook more thoroughly - covered worked well. I think the fish was so thick it didn't lend itself well to sauteing. The flavor was so good though and was even better with some sliced almonds sauteed in the pan with the leftover butter. I don't know if anyone else had this happen, but when I squeezed on some lemon juice, it made a great sizzle. It was quite exciting. I may excite easily though!
|happy fillets, slathered with hollandaise|