Questions

First, is someone playing around with the template/format? I notice the comments are missing.

Second; tomorrow it will be March: how is everyone doing with their recipes?

Asian Persuasion

When shall we create our next chef d'oeuvre? I'm low on grocery-money funds, so would the week of February 28 - March 6 work for everyone? Or I guess anytime in March would probably be fine. I'll probably be making mine next weekend. I'm still trying to find a recipe!

Here are some ideas for future themes:
  • 6 ingredients or less (hmm, can you tell I haven't gone to the store in a while?)

  • picnic fare

  • midnight snacks

  • recipes involving fruit

  • cowgirl theme

  • cocktails / drinks


Hope everyone has a good week! I know I'll need all the chocolate cake I can handle to get me through...

Mmmm Beer

Ok, so I'm not a big fan of beer. But I thought I'd share this cake my friend Mora and I made this weekend!

Chocolate Guinness Cake



recipe to follow...my friend owns the Nigella Lawson Feast cookbook

We really enjoyed making this one. I'm not sure about most cakes, but this one required melting butter in a saucepan with the beer, then adding all the ingredients. I had never done that before. The result is this really moist, dense cake, with almost an earthy taste. But earthy in a good way, not in an "eating grass" way.

Also, we used cream cheese icing out of the plastic tub. Don't you like the "foam" look it has? Just like a giant glass of Guinness!

I highly recommend! So far I've been impressed with all the Nigella Lawson recipes I've tried.

Can you see the real me?

Ok, for those who haven't already seen this: pictures of me.

File under 'Chicken' and 'Easy to Prepare'

Since we've tossed about the idea of a Getting Fat Together cookbook, here's my first contribution.

Neither Dessert Nor Asian

Update: Here's a picture of Nicole and Me. (She's the one with the veil). Though almost 2 years old, it's an appropriate picture because we have chocolate all over our mouths.

Mmmm. Chocolate

Tomorrow night I go to my gourmet club here in Toledo. The theme is a fondue party.

In this club, we have one host, and a co-host. They decide the recipes and pass them out so each person brings one dish (appetizer, salad, dessert, entree...) The host and hostess are always in charge of the drinks and entrees. Mmmm. Drinks.

We meet the third Thursday of every month at 7 and normally stay until midnight and it is so much fun. I don't get much done on the following Friday, but it's worth it. I highly suggest to get a group of friends and start your own physical one...not that I don't love this one! This one is wonderful as well!

My recipe that was assigned is Mushroom Rolls. I'm a bit apprehensive of making this one because it sounds gross. But regardless, I'll post the recipe and pictures tomorrow or Friday and we can someday file this recipe under a random category.

Until then...

Pot stickers are my favorite, so I think I'll be looking for a dish to make those. Or something with noodles. I just love noodles! But I love jasmine rice too. And lettuce wraps. Nicole, that's what you should make since you have that great recipe. I also love a good curry. Yum. Great. I'm starving.

Better late than...

Ok. Here it is. Only one day late!


Chocolate Layer Cake with Peppermint Ganache Frosting




Alex examines the cake with a critical eye.


Alex tastes the cake.


Yummy cake!

The only difference between this recipe and my cake is the decoration; apparently, someone has been pilfering ingredients from my baking cupboard...in addition to being almost entirely out of bittersweet chocolate, I hadn't any nonpariels!
Matt stopped at a lovely little baking goods store near our house on the way home, but they were out. So instead, I used silver dusting sugar. Very sparkly.


Chocolate Layer Cake with Peppermint Ganache Frosting

* MAKE-AHEAD

ACTIVE TIME: 40 MIN
TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 30 MIN
MAKES ONE 9-INCH LAYER CAKE
If peppermint isn't your favorite, there are many different flavored extracts that would be equally delicious in the frosting on this cake. Besides hazelnut and coffee, orange, raspberry or even maple extract can transform the recipe into something different each time you make it. Look for extracts (we like Boyajian brand) in supermarkets and specialty food shops.
ingredients
CAKE

* Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
* 1/2 pound unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 6 large egg yolks
* 3 cups sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 2 3/4 cups milk
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

FROSTING

* 1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped
* 2 cups heavy cream
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch slices
* 1 tablespoon pure peppermint extract
* 3 ounces mini nonpareil candies


directions

1. MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper, butter the paper and dust the pans with cocoa, tapping out any excess.
2. In a small saucepan, melt the coarsely chopped chocolate with the butter over low heat; let cool.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with 1 cup of the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the cooled chocolate and the vanilla and beat until blended. Gradually beat in half of the milk. In a bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the remaining milk; add this to the chocolate batter along with the remaining 2 cups of sugar and beat at medium speed until combined. Beat in the dry ingredients at moderately low speed.
4. Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pans. Bake the cakes on the lower and middle racks of the oven for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Run the tip of a knife around the inside rim of the pans and invert the cakes onto wire racks. Peel off the parchment paper, then invert the cakes again and let them cool completely.
5. MAKE THE FROSTING: Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter and peppermint extract. Transfer half of the ganache to a large bowl and refrigerate it for 15 minutes, or until barely set and slightly cool. Using an electric mixer, whip the chilled ganache at medium speed until thick, creamy and pale, about 3 minutes.
6. Place 1 cake layer upside down on a cake plate. Spread the top of the cake with half of the whipped chilled ganache. Top with another cake layer and spread with the remaining whipped ganache. Set the third cake layer on top. Spread most of the reserved unwhipped ganache on the top and side of the cake and refrigerate until just set, about 10 minutes. Spread the remaining unwhipped ganache all over the cake. Press the nonpareils around the bottom edge of the cake and press more nonpareils onto the top in a snowflake pattern. Refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes before serving.

MAKE AHEAD The cake layers can be wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen for up to 1 month. The finished cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Recipe by Claudia Fleming
From Chocolate Layer Cake with Peppermint Ganache Frosting
This recipe originally appeared in December, 2003.

Change of Plans

Darn it all!

Due to a non-functioning ice cream maker (I ran it for two hours last night, and the custard never solidified), I will be scrapping the original recipe. Instead, and tomorrow afternoon, I'll be making a chocolate cake with peppermint ganache.

Sigh

Recipe and pictures to follow...soon.

Hostess with the Mostess

Though I should be devoting my evenings to getting the Moxie Cinema open and cleaning the house, I feel my priority is to get my head in the right frame of mind. Meaning, I like to do crafty projects to make me feel creative. One of the things I've been working on is making aprons.

I would love to sew each of you an apron to wear while making your own food creations! If you are ok with that, email me your mailing address to nicole at moxiecinema dot com.

Have a good week everyone!

My Creme Brulee

It was awesome! It really turned out more like custard than creme brulee, but it still tasted really good. The brown sugar on top was supposed to caramalize, but it didn't really and I didn't want to burn the top, so it didn't have that shell, like most creme brulees do (does that remind you of Amelie?). Anyway, I couldn't find 10 ounce custard dishes, so I just split the custard into 2 16 ounce containers. Austin and I split one for our Valentine's day dessert (I'm so full now!). I was also hoping he would split this bottle of wine with me, but I might have to take care of it myself. No biggie. So here is a photo.

my strawbaby tart

all in all i think it was a success. my apartment smells like warm strawberries and cinnamon. even if i thought the recipe bombed, it would have been worth if for the aroma alone.

so. let's start with the pictures. i had to buy a spring form pan. the last one i owned was when i was in high school (i used to eat a lot of cheesecake.)



that puppy cost me 40 bucks from williams sonoma, but it did a fantastic job. next, i went to central market for the freshest strawberries i could find in all of h-town. these long stemmed beauties taste great, but aren't the best shape when sliced.





next was the crust. the cinnamon was my favorite...oh, and the using my hands part too.



before it heads off to the oven...



and the final piece. the crust was good, but not very moist. other than that, i loved it!

I love...cake.

Last night I created my chocolate cheesecake recipe.

cake

Before I share the recipe, here are some tips that I learned after I made it.
1. Cook for a full hour instead of 50-55 minutes.
2. If using a kitchen-aide mixer, use the whisk. I used the paddle and it didn't mix as well as it should have.
3. Chill for overnight or freeze for an hour or two and then chill.

1 3/4 C graham cracker crumbs
2 T sugar
1/3 C sugar
8 oz. Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate
2 eggs
2/3 C light or dark corn syrup
1/3 C heavy cream
1 1/2 t vanilla
16 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes (I used fat free cream cheese)

Heat oven to 325 degrees

Combine crumbs, sugar and butter until well mixed. Press into bottom of a 9" springform pan and press about 1 1/4" up the side of pan.

Microwave 6 oz. chocolate in bowl for 2 minutes, stirring halfway through heating time. Stir completely until melted. Place eggs, corn syrup, cream and vanilla in mixer and beat until smooth. With mixer running, gradually add cream cheese, blending until smooth. Mix in melted chocolate. Pour into crust.

Bake 50-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack. Cover; refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Before serving, melt remaining chocolate and drizzle over top.

Project No. 1 Results - Tiramisu

I think I found a keeper!

The tiramisu was a fun dessert to make, and I have to say I'm impressed with the results. I altered the recipe slightly. For example:
  • Instead of using 1 cup of espresso, I used about 6 oz of Starbucks Double Shot Espresso (Espresso and Cream).

  • I didn't put the eggs over a double boiler, which I realize I probably should have for two reasons: no chance for salmonella poisoning, and by cooking the eggs it would have given the tiramisu a thicker custard-like texture.

  • I used 8 oz of mascarpone cheese and 2 packages of lady fingers.

  • Instead of using a 9 x 13 dish, I used an 8 x 8.


The end result, after an hour of refrigerating, was a little runny. So I froze it over night and it now has an ice-cream consistency and looks more like restaurant-quality tiramisu. Yum! I highly recommend!

Here are a couple pictures:



These were the lady fingers I used. I had a really difficult time trying to find them, but eventually found them at a Dillon's Superstore.




The end result. Like I said, a little runny, but otherwise pretty tasty! And yes, I did eat that entire HUGE portion. I'm the only one in the house who will eat it!

Happy Valentine's Weekend everyone.

White Chocolate Creme Brulee

(I don't know how to put all of the little accent thingies on the letters)

5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 cups whipping cream
3 ounces imported white chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons brown sugar

Whisk egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar. Bring whipping cream and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar to simmer in heavy saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Gradually add chocolate to cream mixture; whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk hot chocolate mixture into yolk mixture. Stir in vanilla. Mix well.

Pour custard into 4 (10-ounce) custard cups. Place cups in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour or until custards are set in center. Cool and refrigerate.

Preheat broiler. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar over each custard. Broil until sugar carmelizes, watching carefully (about 2 minutes). Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Serves 4

In case anyone's interested

I get a weekly newsletter from the Tribune (many cities), and in this week's I saw the following recipe.

From the Chicago Tribune
Recipe of the week
Chicago Tribune

All Heart, bittersweet style

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 24 hours plus 3 hours
Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 Tbsps. coffee
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
2 tsps. vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
2 tsps. confectioners' sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
Small flowers, candied violets or hearts (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place chocolate and coffee in small bowl. Melt in microwave on 10 percent power, about 1 minute, 20 seconds, stirring once midway. Stir until smooth. Cream sugar and butter in bowl of electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. With mixer running, slowly add warm chocolate mixture, vanilla and salt. Mix until smooth. Pour into 5-cup-capacity heart-shaped pan (or 8-inch layer cake pan) lined with heavy-duty foil. Leave about 2-inch foil overhang.

Bake on baking sheet until puffy with a thick cracked crust but still jiggly in center, about 30 minutes. Cool at room temperature. Refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month, covered airtight.

Lightly press down on edges to make surface as even as possible. Invert heart on platter; carefully remove parchment. Whip together heavy cream, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until stiff. Spread whipped cream over heart. Pipe remaining cream in decorative pattern using pastry bag fitted with a rosette tip. Refrigerate up to 3 hours. To serve, garnish with flowers, violets or candy hearts, if using. Serve chilled, cut into wedges.

Nutritional information per serving:
304 calories; 67percent of calories from fat; 23 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 105 mg. cholesterol; 22 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 48 mg. sodium; 1 gram fiber.


Thought I'd share!

so...

obviously i did some tweaking. what do you guys think? i decided to stick with the orange/peach theme (the blogger icon is orange and so are the titles of every post - why change it?)

well, is the flash annoying? what about the stripe background - is it making it hard for you guys to read the text?

Tiramisu

Earlier this week I had the best tiramisu of my life at a restaurant in Springfield called Bruno's. I've always wanted to make this dessert, but most of the recipes I've found intimidated me. Well, I think I found one! And I know Dan will have a small bite, and my Dad will eat a lot, so I thought I'd give it a try.

The recipe, from The Dinner Party Cookbook by Karen Brown, is as follows:

5 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Grand Marnier or Frangelico liqueur
1 pound mascarpone cheese
1 pound ladyfingers
1 cup brewed espresso coffee, cooled
1/2 cup brandy or cognac
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar



  1. Whip egg yolks, then cooke them with sugar in top of a double broiler until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth. Stir in liqueur and continue cooking for 10 to 20 minutes, until the mixture thickens into a custard. Remove from heat and cool.

  2. In a separate bowl, whip mascarpone cheese until smooth; add to custard.

  3. Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks; gently fold them into the custard/cheese mixture.

  4. In a 9-by-13 baking dish or trifle bowl, make a single layer of ladyfingers.

  5. Mix together coffee and brandy or cognact; drizzle half of the mixture over the ladyfingers, thn spread half of the custard/cheese mixture on top.

  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5, making another layer of remaining ladyfingers, coffee/liqueur, and custard.

  7. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Slice and serve chilled.


Tip: Eggs are easier to separate when they're cold, but egg whites should be beaten at room temperature for maximum volume.

As a side note: Anybody know where to get ladyfingers?

Idea!?

Ok, here's what I'm thinking about this website...

1. We cook once a month.
2. The first week, the host of the month chooses the theme.
3. The second week each guest of the month (the one's not hosting) finds a recipe that goes hand in hand with the theme. It can be any form of dish...dessert, appetizer, soup, entree, ect. Of course the host picks a recipe as well. We post the recipe under that theme the second week.
4. The third week we each create our recipe, take pictures of it, make notes. Decided whether you liked it or not.
5. The fourth week we decide on who's hosting next and the cycle continues. During that fourth week, we can also post articles, websites, etc on food topics to inspire the person for the next theme.
6. Anyone can join in at any time. We just let Sania know so they can be added for contributors, right?

I don't know how to set the blog up so we can have the different themes as sidebar content and all of our posts relating to it, but I think that would be a good idea.

If this works for everyone, then this month can be trial and we cook next weekend, post pictures, etc and decide who hosts next month and then wait until March 1st. That gives time to set up an appropriate template.

What do you think?

Sweets for my Sweet

Ok, girls...this is what I'm going to make for Matt. And anyone else I can convince to eat it...because I'm not touching it!

Milk Chocolate Dome with Caramel Cream, Fleur de Sel And Pistachio
Crunch Ice Cream
Recipe courtesy Nicole Kaplan

Yield: 24 when assembled

Chocolate Mousse:
16 ounces heavy cream, plus 4 1/2 ounces cream
4 1/2 ounces milk
.75 ounce sugar
3 egg yolks
16 ounces milk chocolate

Caramel Cream:
1/2 pound sugar
4 ounces water
1 quart cream
1 vanilla bean split and scraped

Chocolate Biscuit, recipe follows
Chocolate Sable, recipe follows
Chocolate Glaze, recipe follows
Pistachio Nougatine, recipe follows
Vanilla Ice Cream, recipe follows
Chocolate disk, recipe follows

Mousse:
Whip the 16 ounces heavy cream to soft peaks. Bring the milk and
remaining 4 1/2 ounces of cream to a boil. Beat the sugar and egg
yolks until smooth. While whisking egg yolk mixture, add a small ladle
of the hot cream and whisk well to temper. Add the yolk mixture to the
cream mixture and cook over low heat, while whisking, until thick
enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat. Strain and
pour over the chocolate. Mix to incorporate. Gently fold in the
whipped cream.

Caramel Cream:
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat,
stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. Once mixture boils, don't
stir anymore. Boil until the mixture turns a dark caramel color. Once
a dark caramel color is achieved, remove from the heat and carefully
add half quart cream and the vanilla bean. Be careful as the mixture
may sputter a bit when you add the cream. Bring back to a boil and
cook until a uniform consistency is achieved. Strain and let cool
overnight. Whip the remaining half quart of cream to soft peaks. Fold
in the caramel.

Assembly:
While the ice cream is still soft stir in 1 cup of pistachio
nougatine. Place in freezer until ready to serve.

Pipe the mousse into 4-ounce dome molds and gently spoon up the sides
to create a shell. Place in the freezer until set. Pipe in about 2
tablespoons of the caramel cream into each dome mold. Top with a
chocolate disk and a round of chocolate biscuit. Place in the freezer
until set and then unmold and store in the refrigerator until ready to
serve.

Warm the chocolate glaze. Place a sable round on a plate. Glaze the
dome and place it on top of the cookie. Top with a dot of gold leaf.
Serve with the pistachio ice cream and chocolate garnishes.

Chocolate Biscuit:
12 egg whites
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, plus 2 cups sugar
8 yolks
11 ounces canola oil
8 ounces water
1 1/2 cups cake flour
6 ounces cocoa
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the egg whites in a mixer and whisk until frothy. While
whisking, slowly add the 1 cup and 1 tablespoon of sugar and whisk to
soft peaks. Meanwhile whisk together the yolks, oil and water until
frothy. Stir in the remaining 2 cups sugar. Sift the remaining dry
ingredients and whisk into the yolk mixture.

Gently fold in the meringue. Spread between 3 full sheet pans lined
with parchment and bake until the cake springs back in the center,
about 10 minutes. Let cool. Cut with a round cutter to fit directly at
the base of the dome mold.

Chocolate Sable:
7 ounces butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
1 yolk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 ounces cocoa
Pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and yolk, 1 at a
time, just to combine.

Sift all dry ingredients and add a little at a time until just mixed
together. Roll out very thin, about 1/8-inch. Cut out with a 1
1/2-inch round cutter. Sprinkle disks with sugar and bake off until
dry to the touch, about 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool.

Chocolate Glaze:
3 1/2 ounces water
1/2 cup sugar
9 ounces cream
2 ounces corn syrup
3 1/2 ounces 58 percent chocolate
2 cups pate a glacer brune

Bring the water, sugar, cream and corn syrup to a boil. Pour over the
chocolates and mix together. Let cool.

Pistachio Nougatine:
6 ounces butter
2 1/2 ounces corn syrup
6 1/2 ounces confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon pectin
1/2 pound chopped pistachios

Preheat oven to 325 degree F.

In a large pot, melt the butter and corn syrup. Stir in the
confectioners' sugar and pectin and cook, stirring until you have
reached a full boil. Continue to cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the
pistachios. Spread onto parchment lined sheet pan and bake in the oven
until golden brown. Let cool. Grind in a food processor into small
chunks.

Vanilla Ice Cream:
1 quart milk
1/2 quart cream
1 vanilla beans, split and scraped
2 cups sugar
10 egg yolks

Bring the milk, cream, vanilla beans and half the sugar to a boil.
Whisk together the remaining sugar and yolks. While whisking, add a
ladle of the hot cream mixture to the yolks. Stir the yolk mixture
into the cream mixture and cook over low heat until the mixture
thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and
strain. Let cool and process in an ice cream machine.

Chocolate disk:
72 percent chocolate
Fleur de sel

Temper chocolate and spread a thin layer out onto parchment. Sprinkle
lightly with fleur de sel before it sets. Cut out with a 3/4-inch
circle cutter.

Chocolate Cheesecake

All right folks, I'm going to make a chocolate cheesecake. I'll add the recipe later as well as pictures when I've made it.

As far as the template, I can't do anything about it since it's not located on my dashboard thing.

This is exciting!

my valentine's day pick

alright people. this is what i'm hoping to make. i got it from my current favorite cookbook. unfortunately, there was no picture (i'm such a sucker for the pictures.) this means we'll have to use our imagination. or better yet, maybe this will prevent your significant other from saying "hey, that doesn't look like the picture."

right. thanks ahsen.

Italian Strawberry Tart
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 pint strawberries, hulled and cut in half, plus extra whole strawberries for garnish (optional)
fresh whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a spring-form pan.
Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter with the sugar. Add eggs and milk. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir by hand until just moistened. Do not overmix.
Spread mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Press strawberry halves deeply into dough in a circular pattern of 2 or 3 rings. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream and strawberries, if desired.

Yo!

Hey guys! So, what do we do here? I want to tell y'all ahead of time that I'm not much of a cook, so maybe I can learn some stuff this way. Umm... by the way, getting is spelled wrong. Oops!

getting started

hey guys! this template will be temporary. hopefully we can do a little something-something to make this look more "foodie."

is anyone having any problems with setting up?