Monday, November 26, 2007

Fresh pumpkin, frozen blueberries

Over the summer we grew a small patch of pumpkins and what better time to reap the seeds we've sown. I made a little pumpkin pie with one of our fresh pumpkins. It began with the making of a crust:

The pie still survived even though I accidentally put the oven on broil for half the bake time. It was good! Sweetened with honey and full of eggs.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

So simple and so good.

2 cups half and half (maybe I'll try some heavy cream next time)
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup cane sugar
3 oz cream cheese softened

Throw all ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth. Pour into ice cream maker and churn.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Contemporary Squash

I wanted to call it Pomo cause I think that's a cool word but it doesn't really apply and I don't want to drag in all the philosophy. The squash later turned into a Butternut Soup with Pinenuts. Very yummy with a dollop of yogurt swirled in.

Butternut Soup with Pinenuts

1 med butternut, peeled and cubed
2 T olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 cup broth
1/3 cup pinenuts toasted
2 pinches nutmeg

In a big pot add oil on med heat and sweat onions and garlic until translucent. Add
butternut, 1 pinch nutmeg and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent browning. Add stock and simmer for 20 minutes, covered. Add pinenuts and nutmeg. Pour in blender and whizz until smooth. Remember to not fill the blender cup too full of hot liquid. Serve with a spoonful of yogurt or cream and a few pinenuts as garnish.

Tiramisu Layer Cake

My friends has a potluck (yay) and I made a tiramisu layer cake. Next time I would add even more liquid to the sponge to make it a truly moist cake. The whipped cream frosting was delicious and kept really well in the cold freshness of late fall. I felt a little dirty using box cake but I actually already had a box in my cupboard that I had bought a while ago because of some ridiculous sale and also because I intuited way back then that it would come in handy in a pinch.

Tiramisu Layer Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package moist white cake mix
2 teaspoon instant coffee powder

1 cup coffee
3 tablespoon coffee flavored liqueur

1 (8 ounce) container mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur

Cocoa powder and chocolate curls for Garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Grease and flour 3 (9 inch) pans.
Prepare the cake mix according to package directions. Measure out one third of batter and pour into a pan. Stir instant coffee into remaining batter and divide into remaining pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. In a measuring cup, combine brewed coffee and 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur; set aside.

Filling: In a small bowl, using an electric mixer set on low speed, combine mascarpone, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur; beat just until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Frosting: In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the cream, 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur until stiff. Fold 1/2 cup of cream mixture into filling mixture.

To assemble the cake: Cut domes off of cake layers. Place one coffee flavored cake layer on a serving plate. Using a thin skewer, poke holes in cake, about 1 inch apart. Pour one third of reserved coffee mixture over cake, then spread with half of the filling mixture. Top with plain cake layer; poke holes in cake. Pour another third of the coffee mixture over the second layer and spread with the remaining filling. Top with remaining cake layer; poke holes in cake. Pour remaining coffee mixture on top. Spread sides and top of cake with frosting. Place cocoa in a sieve and lightly dust top of cake. Garnish with chocolate curls. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Breads and apprenticing

I suppose it is a little dubious to be apprenticing from a book but I'm doing my darnedest to from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart and "Amy's Bread" by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree. The two bread that I have been working on are Amy's Walnut Scallion Bread (delicious) and Peter's Ciabatta (hard to work with such a wet dough). The breads get a little better every time but I've still got to play around to get the right crust and coolness of the crumb. Anyways, here are some loaves I've baked.

Walnut Scallion:

Lots of bread (the left two are the ciabattas and the rest are walnut scallion (my roommate really loves walnut scallion bread so we bake lots of it).
Close up of the ciabattas

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pepita Fettucini with Spinach and Cranberries from VeganYumYum

Tonight for dinner I tried this dish from VeganYumYum's blog. This pasta is amazing. There only eight ingredients but mixed together they become a bonafide taste explosion dish. You should give it a go too.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Catch up

Whoops, work took over for a while. It was good though, making progress towards that paper that'll proclaim me PhD and set me free to finally become the cheesemaker I always wanted to be.

Anyways, I've also been making some stuff in the meantime. I took pictures and am finally posting them.

First off:

Honey Lavender Ice Cream (adapted from epicurious)

1 1/2 c. cream
1 1/2 c. half and half
1/2 c. honey (light clover is probably good. I used dark wildflower honey and it was a bit much)
2 T. lavender flowers
2 large eggs
1 t. salt

Put cream, half and half and honey in a pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and add lavender flowers. Cover and let steep for an hour. Strain lavender flowers from cream. Reheat cream to hot but not boiling. Turn off heat. In a bowl, whisk egg and salt in a bowl. Sloooowly add 1 cup of hot cream, whisking all the while. Then pour egg-cream mixture back into saucepan full of cream. Heat over med-low heat and stir with a spoon until the cream coats the back of the spoon. Cool your custard either in the fridge or by carefully dunking the pot in a big bowl full of icy water. Then break out your ice cream maker.

It was yummy and one of those ice creams that stay creamy when you freeze it.

I also tried the Caramel ice cream that was posted on the Amateur Gourmet. Instead of using all cream, I accidentally used all half and half. Plus I burnt the caramel a little. Did you know that taking a pan of boiling sugar off the burner does nothing? The sugar just keeps boiling and turning darker and darker as you watch frozen with horror. I finally collected myself and put out the boiling sugar with the half and half. Then I chopped up some fine 65% chocolate and the toasted pecans. The ice cream, with all its mishaps, was still divine.

This is all I wanted to eat for about three days straight.