Monday, July 28, 2008

TWD: Summer Fruit Galette

Michelle from Michelle in Colorado Springs  did me a big favor this week.  See, I've been doing a lot of baking.  A lot of baking = a lot of dishes = a slightly grumpy husband.  (Hi honey!)  So when I saw this, I breathed a sigh of relief.  Pssst.  Over here.  Don't tell.  I made this a few weeks ago and took pictures!  Wasn't that lucky!

When we made the blueberry pie, I discovered that I had a lot of dough left over.  Viola!  I made a galette.  I didn't strictly make the galette as Dorie had it written.  Let's just call it being creative.  It had nothing to do with lazy.

The crust was already made and had been in the fridge overnight.  I rolled it out on my Silpat, and then transferred it to a baking sheet.  I layered on some ginger rhubarb jam, some cookie crumbs, and then some strawberries.  I sprinkled on a little coarse sugar.

Here it is all pleated and ready to go into the oven.

And here it is, done, golden brown and delicious.  I ate it for dessert that night.  And then I'm pretty sure it was breakfast the next morning.

This is such a great way to use up extra dough and/or fruit.  Since it's free form, it's very forgiving.  I'd make it again in a heartbeat.  One of these days I'll try the official version with the custard.

Coming next week:  Ashlee of A Year in the Kitchen chose the Black and White Banana Loaf.  Again, really good timing!  I have bananas that are begging to be baked.

David Lebovitz is a genius

I had plenty of left over cherries from last week's Dorie recipe.  And while I have been eating a lot of them, I needed to find a recipe for the rest.  As stated last week, I don't like baked cherries.  So, what to do?  Enter David Lebovitz and his No-Recipe Cherry Jam  This stuff is amazing!  I followed the no recipe, and it actually turned out!  I had to test it four different times until it was done.  Now I know what it looks like, so I'm set if I want to make it again.  My only question is, can I do this with other fruit?  I have no pictures because I was busy stirring, but if you go to David's website and check out the recipe, mine looks exactly like that.  Exactly.

The big bag 'o veggies for the week is pretty much gone!  I made home made coleslaw yesterday using a recipe from America's Test Kitchen.  It was meh.  It wasn't nearly creamy enough, so I ended up dumping some ranch dressing that I had made into it.  Still meh but with a ranch taste.  The chard was cooked with bacon, so, that was good.  According to Jim Gaffigan bacon is the BEST FOOD EVER.  I tend to agree.

I'm ready to post all about my galette.  See you tomorrow!

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm behind. It's two week's worth of big bag 'o veggies.

I realize that I never talked about last week's veggies.  That's because I didn't really end up using them.  I didn't cook a lot this past week.  And these veggies didn't hold a lot of appeal for me.  Last week's offerings:  arugula, beets, chard, saute mix, fennel, and Korean zucchini.  I'm actually getting around to the zucchini tonight.  I think I'll toss a little fennel into our salad as well.  The rest of them, I think, are a little wilty and meant for compost.  Sorry.

This week was much more useful to me.  We got broccoli, cucumber, cabbage, basil, chard, and blueberries.  The broccoli and cucumber are going to be part of tonight's dinner.  The blueberries gave their little blue lives to make blueberry sour cream ice cream.  I'm growing basil, so we are long on basil.  I may toss a little into tonight's salad and then make pesto with the rest.  It freezes nicely.  I'm also growing tomatoes this summer.  Now all I need is a little mozzarella, and I'm set.  Can I grow that?   The chard and cabbage look to be on the menu Sunday.  Maybe I'll try some home made cole slaw.  I've never done that before. 

Tonight I'm hosting my friends for scrapbooking.  It seems that I only scrap anymore when people come to me.  Someone in my house might say that that's because I have too much scrap crap.  Of course, I don't agree.  There's no such thing as too much.  So what if I'm two years behind...

On another crafty note, I recently finished a sweater that I started in May.  I'll take pictures soon and show you all my handiwork.

Have a lovely weekend.  

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cookie Carnival: Blackberry Almond Bars

I couldn't help it.  I saw this beautiful ferris wheel of cookies on another blog, and I just had to have it for my own.  So I joined another group.  This time it's Cookie Carnival.  We make a new cookie every month.  Mmmmm.  More baking!  And more dishes!

This month was a recipe from Williams-Sonoma.  It looked to be a standard shortbread bar with a fruit topping a la lemon squares.  Those I've made a zillion times.  I thought this wouldn't be much different.

The crust.  I can't stop talking about the crust.  It had just a touch of almonds, and the buttery taste was outstanding.  I really liked it with the blackberry curd.  I think this is my new go-to crust recipe.

I will say that the curd was a little fussy.  I used frozen berries because they are very reasonable at Trader Joe's.  They needed to pureed, strained, cooked (for 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly), and strained again.  The flavor was delicious.  I think, however, that I won't be making the blackberry curd again any time soon.  The crust, though, I have been dreaming about.  There are so many choices for toppings spinning through my head.

My food photography, as always, leaves a little something to be desired.  

Here's a yummy cross section.  There's that golden delicious crust.

Here's the finished product.  A little confectioners sugar made it look all pretty.

Until next month!

Monday, July 21, 2008

TWD: Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

I love rhubarb.  I think my love of rhubarb has been well documented on this blog.  Thank you Amanda from Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake for choosing something with rhubarb in it.  I like raw cherries.  I enjoy popping them in my mouth and spitting out a denuded pit.  I do not, however, really enjoy baked cherries.  Still, I love rhubarb, so I was hopeful that I would love this cobbler.  While it's not bad, I didn't love it.

Cherry carnage.  My cutting board looked like a crime scene.

Mmmmm.  Rhubarb.  And cherries.  Mmmmm.

It was, certainly, simple to make.  You mix up some fruit, dump it in a pan, mix up some dough, distribute it over the fruit, and bake.  Easy!    I did not roll the dough into 20 little balls and lay them in a 4 x 5 grid.  I crumbled.

I will note, though, easy as it was, I still managed to screw it up a little.  I took it out after the recommended baking time.  It was golden and delicious looking.  I snuck a little bite of the crust and fruit.  The crust under the golden brown and delicious was still slightly raw, and the fruit had not cooked all the way.  Here's where I did something crazy.  Something I know never works.  Hours after I had originally taken it out of the oven, I put it back in and baked it some more.  You know what?  It worked.  The crust was baked through.  The juices had thickened.  It was ok.  It was even better with the caramel toffee ice cream, but that's another post.

See, golden brown and delicious.

Up close, golden brown and delicious. 

Here it is finished and looking pretty.  It's still raw.  More of my famous trick photography!

I don't have "after" photos from the second baking.  It was a much deeper brown and the juices were very syrupy.  It was still slightly bland tasting.  I still go with my contention that the dough is meant to act as sort of a sponge for the juices and is, therefore, meant to be bland.  But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

This recipe isn't going to be added to my "go to" list.  I enjoyed the other cobbler that we made much more than this one.  And I still have my favorite baked fruit recipe, which I will one day bake, show you all, and share the recipe.

Next week is a sort of a rewind for me.  Michelle from Michelle in Colorado Springs has chosen the Summer Fruit Galette, which I baked up a couple of weeks ago.  I may just re-post my pictures.  Shhhhh.  Don't tell.  

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's a great day!

Today is national ice cream day.  You have my permission to eat as much of the stuff as you'd like.  I'll even throw in the chocolate sauce and brownie for free.

You're welcome.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Just some food notes from the week

Here's some food stuff.  See!  I said I'd get back to food writing!

1)  Red kale isn't as good as green kale.  Or, at the least the way I made it this time wasn't as good as last time.  It was too chewy.

2)  4 cups of half & half + 1 can of dulce de leche + 2 teaspoons of vanilla + a dash of salt + half a bag of toffee bits = the most amazing ice cream.  Just mix, chill overnight, and churn.  YUM!  Caramel ice cream was the boy's choice for this week.  It's a good one!

3)  I finally am starting to like salmon.  Specifically, salmon on the grill.  I am not a fish eater, so this is a breakthrough.

4)  Mashed sweet potatoes with a little butter, salt, pepper and maple sugar is really tasty.

5)  Chocolate pudding that doesn't set makes for a nice ice cream when you put it in the freezer to decide what to do with it later and then pull it out and just start spooning it into your mouth.  And then your kids come along and decide they want some too and everyone is putting spoons in at the same time and it turns into a spoon war.  Which Mom will always win.  A little chocolate carnage later, we were all happy.

6)  Our big bag 'o veggies is going up $3 a week starting in August.  We decided to keep it because it's been a fun exploration.

7)  Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This just cracks me up

Ok, so mostly my posts are about food.  But this video, actually there are now two, made me laugh out loud.  The writing is hysterical.  The cast is magnificent.  There's even singing and dancing.  What more could you ask for.

If you have a little time to kill, you must go watch this.  

I'll get back to food writing soon.  Because food is important.  Very very important.

Monday, July 14, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Pudding

Mmmmm.  Chocolate.  Mmmmmm.  Pudding.  How can you miss with creamy, chocolatey goodness?  Well, let me tell you how.  

You take wonderful premium ingredients.  You use your mega food processor.  You stir and stir and stir.  You put it in the fridge.  And then, you serve chocolate soup.

I'm not sure what happened.  I tweaked a tad, but I can't figure how my one ingredient change would have stopped it from setting up.  I used Lindt Excellence Intense Orange.  (not endorsing the website, just using them for an example).  It was only a 3.5 ounce bar, so I finished out the rest of the five ounces with chocolate chips.  The other change I made was out of laziness.  I just dumped the finished pudding into one big bowl instead of individual ramekins.  It was chilled overnight, so it did have plenty of time to set up.  I followed the directions on the stir time just before the last whirl in the processor, but perhaps I could have gone longer.  See how it actually looks pudding-like.  Trick photography.  And yes, that is Cool Whip on top.  Or Cool wHip if you are Stewie.

On the plus side, soupy though it was, it tasted amazing.  The boy wasn't so fond of the orange/chocolate combo, but the rest of us loved it.  The girl and I finished the boy's dessert.  The girl even asked for it after dinner tonight.  The husband and I brainstormed some other options which included pouring it over pound or angel food cake, dipping fresh fruit into it, or just eating it with a spoon.  We're still debating.  

I will try this again using plain chocolate, ramekins, and a longer stirring time.  We'll see how it goes.  Thanks Melissa for choosing this recipe.  Oh!  And Dorie actually has this one online so you can try it out for yourself.  

Coming up next week:  Amanda from Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake chose Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler.  Yeah!  Rhubarb!  I love rhubarb!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Back to our big bag 'o veggies

And some other stuff.  Of course, all without pictures.  I gotta get on that.

And this week we have:  cherries, red kale, zucchini, lettuce, and parsley.  Other than the red kale, it's all easy and familiar.  The recipe that was included in the bag for the kale is, of course, with bacon.  Maybe I'll give it a try tonight.  The cherries are going to be eaten out of hand.  I can't resist.  The zucchini will be part of a Martha pasta dish that I love.  It calls for asparagus, but I'll use the zuchs.  Also on the menu, the chocolate pudding from TWD.  I'll let you know all about it on, you know, Tuesday.

Last week's ice cream, picked by the husband, was Dorie's Honey Peach Ice Cream.  It was divine.  I changed it up a bit and used buttermilk instead of whole milk.  I thought that with the sugar, honey, and peaches it might be too sweet.  Plus, I didn't have any more whole milk and didn't want to go to the store.  I liked the tang.  The husband thought it was a little too much like yogurt.  Maybe half buttermilk half whole milk next time.  

We've been enjoying some glorious summer days here.  That is, when it's not raining.  The kids want to go to the pool pretty much every day.  The boy plays tennis two afternoons a week, so the girl and I hang out at the park while he runs around.  We've been biking and scootering.  I planted some tomatoes, rhubarb, and strawberries.  We have tomatoes!  The rhubarb will hopefully make it through, and we'll have it for next summer.  The strawberries, well, RIP.  Today is the Lego Lady at the library.  I get to go to an art fair in the park while the husband hangs out at the library and reads.  Then tonight, it's a Jane Austen movie fest with some girlfriends.  Aaaaah, summer.

Monday, July 07, 2008

TWD: Double Crusted Blueberry Pie -- and a bonus!,

I have to admit that I was never a big fan of blueberry pie.  Apple?  Delicious.  Key lime?  Love it.  Banana Cream?  Heavenly.  Blueberry?  Meh.

Boy o boy am I singing a different tune!  I loved this pie.  Amy of South In Your Mouth, thank you!  

The crust came together very easily.  I made it the night before our Independence Day barbecue.  I had all the ingredients on hand for the crust, which made it that much easier.  The tiny bit of prep that I did early in the day was to cut the butter and shortening and put it in the freezer.  I did mine in the food processor.  I always leave it a tiny bit crumbly.  I figure that I can add more water if I need it.  The disks went into the fridge for the actual pie day.

I did have a little adventure with the crust.  I bought one of those "rolling bags" that Dorie talks about.  It's a zippered clear plastic bag that is about 11" in diameter.  It was a learning experience.  At 11" with the amount of dough that I had, it was pretty thick.  It's an easy fix for next time.  Don't use as much dough.  I also like a little more overhang, but for a standard 9" pie pan it would have been fine.  Did I mention that I had a little extra dough?  The crust went into the fridge, and I made the filling.

The filling posed no problems.  Though, next time, I would do the steps a little differently.  I would rub the lemon zest and sugar together and toss the berries with the lemon juice.  I dumped in the lemon components with the sugar and flour per the instructions.  There was an occasional pocket of lemon sugar.  Live and learn.  I also forgot to use the bread crumbs, but it didn't seem to make a difference.

I filled the crust, put on the top crust, and sealed the edges with a fork.  Then I got creative.  Instead of a hole in the center, I would do a star!  It is the 4th after all!

Ok, star, scottie dog, whatever.  

Here's the finished version.  Yum!  The crust baked up golden and flaky.  The blueberry filling was nicely jelled without being gummy.  

I have no photos of a sliced pie because it disappeared so quickly.  Once it landed on the dessert table at the party, it was like there was a locust invasion.  I grabbed a piece for myself and got out of the way.  Yes, I'm bragging.  It was that good!

Here's the bonus:  Remember when I said there was leftover dough?  It was enough for a strawberry galette.  I took a couple of Dorie's recipes and combined them.  I rolled out the dough, spread it with rhubarb ginger jam, and then layered on strawberries that I had tossed with brown sugar.  I folded up the dough into pleats and popped it into the oven.  It was amazing as well.  I'll be sure to make the full dough recipe next time I make a pie so that I will have leftovers.

Not sure of next week's recipe.  I'm making peach honey ice cream from the book for my husband's ice cream choice.  Check back soon, and I'll have the update!

Edited to add:  Melissa from It's Melissa's Kitchen has chosen chocolate pudding.  Mmmmm.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What I've cooked and what's coming up

I never think about photos of my food until I head to write a blog entry.  So this will be a photo-less entry.  Use your imagination.  Please.

This past weekend was my anniversary, so there was lots of eating out.  I finally cooked again on Monday.  I reached into my big bag 'o veggies and pulled out the garlic scapes, lettuce,  and the collard greens.  I put some chicken sausage on the grill.  I made a salad.  I sauteed a little bacon (remember, it's the law) and put in the scapes and the collards.  Now, while I wouldn't have purchased the collards on my own, we decided that it was pretty good.  I'll amend that to say the adults thought it was pretty good.

Tonight's dinner was courtesy of Robin from Made With Love.  She's a TWD blogger.  I found this recipe when I was trolling for Dorie entries.  I will agree that it was quite good.  I ended up broiling because there was another monsoon in Chicago.  I rounded out the meal with zucchini pancakes and corn on the cob.  Very summery.  Dessert was the girl's pick for ice cream.  It was from the Ben and Jerry cookbook.  Chocolate ice cream with gingersnaps.  Mmmmmm.  It was delicious.  The husband chose peach for the next round.  I'm on the hunt.  Anyone have a good recipe? 

I'll be eating plenty of treyf this weekend.  Friday is the pulled pork shoulder, and Sunday is rib fest in Naperville.  

Happy Fourth to one and all.  I'll be back with berry pie on Tuesday.