Baking, Esq.

13th April 2014

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Red Soup

My husband and I have been passing a cold back and forth.  We are good shares.  Well actually he is.  I had a cold and kept it to myself.  Then last week he brought one home and shared it with me.  Sigh.  

So I made soup.  Yes it is warm out, and springy for now.  But when you have a cold none of that matters.  Soup is good.


This soup smells like my house in my childhood.  It is my grandmother’s recipe and was one of my father’s favorite things to make.  My favorite way is with little meatballs but my father would often make the soup with steak and then serve the meat on the side.  I called this greasy meat and didn’t eat it.  But I will include both options.  I probably should try the “greasy meat” again now that I am older.  It is probably delicious. 

Red Soup

From my Grandmother

6 oz tomato paste

salt/pepper

3-4 beef bullion cubes

small chopped onion (or onion powder; I tend to use onion powder)

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1 tablespoon sugar (taste your soup, you may need a little more)

parsley (about 3 tablespoons) 

Put tomato paste and desired water (Yes, this is what my father wrote.  He was a wonderful man… just not that good with recipe measurements. A dab of this, a dash of that.  Some of that other thing.) into large pot. For my smallish pot and two people I put about 6 cups.  I would probably say 8 cups if your pot is big enough. 

Add meatballs, soup bone, or good beef to the pot.  (See below for your protein instructions and options.)

Add all remaining ingredients. 

Simmer for 2-3 hours. 

Just before serving, prepare 8-10 oz. of small pasta. I like ditalini best but as you can see from the pictures, elbow macaroni works just fine too. 

Add the pasta to the soup and bring it back up to a boil. 

Serve with a little grated parmesan cheese.  

Red Soup Meatballs

1/4 lb. ground beef

1 egg

bread crumbs

salt, pepper, parsley

Mix all the ingredients together (it is best if you use your hands, but I know a lot of people use a fork).  The meatballs should be about the size of a dime or maybe a nickel.  That is the goal.  And when I start rolling them I make them that size, but by the end mine are more the size of a quarter.  It just happens. Physics, I think.

Plop the meatballs into the soup as you roll and let them cook in the soup.  Deliciously simmering away.  Mmmmm.

Red Soup Meat

Steak or other good cut of beef

olive oil

red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

garlic powder

grated parmesan cheese

Cook steak or other good beef cut in the red soup broth.

Just before serving (and before you add in the pasta), remove from the soup and cut into small pieces. Cover the meat with equal parts olive oil and red-wine

vinegar.  Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, grated parmesan

cheese to taste. Serve on the side.

Tagged: red souptomatomeatballssoup for dinnersee I told you it would be easier this weekanything is easier than last week

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6th April 2014

Post with 6 notes

Courtesan au Chocolat

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My husband and I recently went to see The Grand Budapest Hotel.  It is definitely my favorite Wes Anderson movie. It isn’t really a spoiler to say that one of the elements of the movie is a very pretty pastry.  They made a video of the recipe and FoxSearchlight posted it to Youtube.  I took this as a challenge.  

And I made the Courtesan au Chocolat.  

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It is surprisingly difficult to bake from a Youtube video. Lots of trying to pause and rewind the video while your hands are messy.  So, even though I highly encourage you to watch the video, I’ll write out what I did here as well.

And I promise, next week will be something nice and easy to make!

Courtesan au Chocolat

From The Grand Budapest Hotel movie 

Makes about 10 three tiered pastries

For the pastry

1 cup flour

1 cup water

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

4 eggs, beaten

a pinch of salt

a large pinch of sugar (I used about 1/2 tsp)

For the custard

1 1/2 cups whole milk

Several large pieces of semi-sweet chocolate (That is what their recipe says.  Not helpful.  I used 1/4 lb of Trader Joes dark chocolate, which was 8 small squares.) 

3 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp flour

Cornstarch  (They don’t specify how much.  I used about a tablespoon.)

Simple glaze

powdered sugar

vanilla

milk

food coloring

butter cream (Shhhh I bought store bought.) 

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In a medium sauce pan, heat the butter, water, salt, and sugar until boiling.

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Take off the heat and add the flour.  

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Stir until you get a very soft dough.

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Let the dough cool just enough that, when you add in the eggs, they don’t scramble.  

Stir like crazy with a wooden spoon to get the beaten eggs mixed in. 

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I found it much easier to do this by first putting in a small bit of the eggs and stirring in all in, then adding the rest.  

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Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

If you have a pastry bag, that will make your life easier.  I did not.  (Funny story: we thought we were buying one from Amazon but actually only got a bunch of disposable bags.  Ooops.  Oh well, I do it all for you, so I can give you directions without fancy gadgets!) 

If you have a pastry bag, pipe out the dough onto the lined baking sheets in three sizes.  On one tray pipe 10 tablespoon-sized blobs and 10 teaspoon-sized blobs.  On the other sheet, pipe ten walnut-sized blobs.  You need to do this on a separate sheet because the small ones will bake faster than the larger pastries.  

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If you don’t have a pastry bag, it is actually pretty easy to do this just with different sized spoons.  Just use a large spoon for the tablespoon pastries and a smaller spoon for the other two sizes.  Easy.

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Bake the pastries for 25- 30 minutes.  I used the full 30 minutes but did take my small pastries out at the 20 minute mark.

You want your pastries to be risen and brown.

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While the pastries are baking, make your creme patissiere of chocolate. (Doesn’t that sound impressive?  Make your chocolate pastry cream. Less impressive. Just as true.)

Melt your chocolate in the whole milk.  Take your time and be careful not to let the milk boil. 

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Bring the melted chocolate/milk off the heat and set aside.  In a separate bowl mix together the egg yolks, sugar, cocoa powder, flour, and cornstarch into a thick paste.  

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Pour about half the milk/chocolate mixture into the egg yolk paste.  Stir.  

Pour the egg yolk/milk/chocolate mixture into the rest of the milk/chocolate mixture.  

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Cook on medium low heat until it thickens.  Again, you have to be patient but it will get quite thick.

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Chill the chocolate pastry cream.

When your pastries come out of the oven you need to cut a small hole in the bottom of each to let the steam escape.  Then let them cool.

You are now ready for assembly. 

Here is where it would be most useful for a pastry bag.  Even if you hate to use yours… I would break it out now.  If you are like me and don’t have one, you can use a few plastic sandwich bags, and just cut off the tip for a makeshift pastry bag.

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Put the chilled chocolate cream into your pastry bag or sandwich bag and, using the small hole you made to allow steam to escape, fill the two larger-sized pastry puffs. Let the chocolate set up again inside the pastry.  I did not do this; a lot of the chocolate ran out during the next step.

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Meanwhile make a simple glaze out of milk, confectioner’s sugar, and a dash of vanilla. 

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If you like, you can then divide into three small bowls and color however you want.  You want to divide the glaze unevenly with the color for the bottom puffs having the most icing and the least for the top puffs.  I went with the colors from the movie, but don’t feel you have to.  I also dyed some buttercream light blue to match the movie; again don’t feel bound by this pallet. 

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Once your chocolate has set, dip each puff halfway into the glaze and allow it to dry.

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Again using a pastry bag if you have it or a plastic bag if you don’t, get some buttercream to act as your glue.  Place a dollop of the butter cream in the center of the large pastry puffs.  Then top with the medium ones. Then, another dollop, and top the medium pastry with your small puff. 

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If you would like further decoration, put a dollop of blue icing on the very top and add a small chocolate.  I used a dark chocolate covered cocoa nib.  The movie recommends a single cocoa bean. You can also use melted white chocolate or white glaze to add some more decoration.  The movie used white chocolate to make filigrees  I used glaze and wished for a pastry bag. 

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And that is it.  I was really pleased with how heavenly my house smelled and how delicious these pastries were.  Impressive and super tasty.

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Tagged: courtesan au chocolatthe grand budapest hotelchocolatecinematic bakingworth itImpressive no?fussy french food

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28th March 2014

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Chocolate Nougat

It’s Daring Bakers time again!  And despite the snow I still see outside my window, and the fact that I am sitting all cozy beside my fire as I write this, that means it’s almost April!  And April is really spring!  Right?  Please?

The March 2014 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Rebecca of BakeNQuilt. She challenged us to learn to make classic nougat and to make it our own with our choice of flavors and add-ins.

I’m not gonna lie to you all.  I am not a candy maker and this was hard.  But oh my it came out delicious.  And addictive.  And I eat a piece every time I pass the tupperware where they are stored.  Went to the gym this morning and I think I need to go back because I keep walking past the blasted tupperware!  

I made mine with dried cherries and salted almonds (I am a sucker for salty sweet combos) but you can add a whole variety of dried fruits and roasted nuts, plain nuts, salted nuts, whatever you desire.

Though I really do recommend the tart dried cherries and salty almonds.

Chocolate Nougat

From BakeNQuilt for the Daring Bakers’ challenge

For the sugar syrup:

2 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup light corn syrup

For the honey syrup:

3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp light corn syrup

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

My add-ins:

10 oz dark chocolate finely chopped (I used a mixture of 75% chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate morsels)

6 oz dried tart cherries

10 oz salted almonds

Line a 9x9 in baking pan with parchment paper and then spray it throughly with vegetable spray.  Seriously spray the heck out of it! Set aside.

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees and put the nuts in to warm up.  This makes it easier for them to be incorporated into the egg white mixture later. 

Combine the sugar syrup ingredients in a large sauce pan and set aside.  Timing is gonna be important and a little tricky later on so this really is necessary.

Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whip attachment. Don’t start to whip them yet. I am sure you can do this with a hand mixer, but you will just have to be very careful of the sugars on the stove and your temperatures.  

Combine the honey and corn syrup in a medium sauce pan for your honey syrup.  It will look like the pan is way too big but the mixture will grow to about 3 times the starting size as it cooks and you don’t want this sticky mess to overflow! 

Place over medium to medium-high heat and attach a candy thermometer.

 

Start whipping your egg whites on a low setting.

When the honey mixture reaches 240 degrees, turn the mixer with the egg whites to high and beat to stiff peaks.  Be sure to keep a close eye on the honey mixture while you are doing this because as soon as it reaches 248 degrees you want to take it off the heat, and move the sugar syrup sauce pan on the heat.  Don’t forget to transfer the candy thermometer to the sugar syrup pan.

(As you can probably tell from these directions it was impossible to take pictures of this while I was doing it as I was the only one home.  Sorry about that.)

While beating the egg whites on high, slowly stream the hot honey mixture down the inside of the mixing bowl and into the whites.  I used a soup ladle for this as my kitchen is small and the kitchen aid is in a tight corner.  It is important though because if you just dump the hot liquid into the whites they have a very high probability of collapsing.

Once all of the honey syrup is in the bowl keep beating the egg whites on medium-high speed.

Go back to your sugar syrup.  I like my nougat a little bit on the soft side.  Because of this I took my sugar syrup off at 300 degrees.  If you prefer a firmer nougat wait till 310 or even 320 degrees before removing the sugar syrup.

When your sugar syrup has reached the desired temperature, turn the mixer back up to high and, again not pouring directly on the egg whites, slowly incorporate in the sugar syrup. The nougat will turn white and greatly expand at this stage.  It’s really kinda cool

Once the sugar syrup is in incorporated, continue to beat the mixture for another 3-5 minutes.  This will cool off the egg whites some and aerate the nougat.

Add the chocolate to the bowl and beat on high until the chocolate is melted.

With a spatula fold in the dried fruit and warm nuts.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it into as even a layer as you can get.

And… unfortunately… let it sit for 24 hours at room temperature, uncovered.  But don’t worry, you  can at least lick the bowl and whisk attachment clean!

Invert the nougat onto a cutting board, remove the parchment paper, and cut into bite sized pieces.

And marvel at the amazing deliciousness you have created.

It will keep for up to 2 weeks in a tupperware stored in a cool, dry place.  But I know mine is not gonna survive that long uneaten. 

 

Tagged: daring bakersChocolate nougatsweet and saltychocolatedeliciousamazingdiffcult but so worth itlike a homemade candy bar but betterI love my kitchen aid

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22nd March 2014

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Nutella Swirled Banana Bread

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread

I have been working as a temp attorney for the past five months.  The case went into settlement yesterday so I get some time to relax and bake and sleep.  And what do I promptly do instead?  I get a cold.  Sigh.  So I need something comforting and delicious.  

Remember last month and World Nutella Day, Mmmm World Nutella Day, and I mentioned making banana bread.  Well… I did and ta da! here it is!

And it was delicious.  And it was amazing.  And it was moist and chocolately and fragrant and… alas, it was gone all too soon.  But it was also really easy!

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread

From A Cup of Jo 

Makes 1 loaf; her original recipe made two… I only had enough bananas for one.

2 medium bananas, ripe

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup milk

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tbsp rum (optional)

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup Nutella, a heaping 1/4 cup 

roasted hazelnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.

Mash up your bananas with a potato masher and set aside.  Yes, this may be my favorite part of banana bread.

In a large bowl combine the sugar, melted butter, milk, eggs, vanilla, and rum if you are using it.  

Add in your flour and give it a few good stirs.  Then add in your baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir just until smooth.

Dump in the mushed bananas and nuts and stir just until combined.

Scoop your 1/4 cup Nutella into a microwave-safe bowl and zap it for about 20 seconds to soften it.  

(So maybe my heaping 1/4 a cup looks a little more like a scant 1/2 a cup)

Drizzle about 2/3 of the Nutella over the batter and gently fold.  You don’t want to over-mix here.  You want to be able to see the swirls when it’s baked.

Carefully pour the batter into your greased pan.  

Add the rest of the Nutella to the top and swirl it around a bit.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow the bread to cool for about 10 minutes.  It will be hard.  The bread will smell delicious. Will power, people!

Then try not to eat the whole loaf while it is still all warm and gooey. 

Tagged: NutellaNutella banana breadquick breadsfor when you just can't wait for the whole yeast thingbananas make it healthyright?Kelsey you should make this!

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16th March 2014

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Guacamole

My sister is visiting this weekend.  I don’t get to see her as much as I would like so it has been great having her here.  She is one of the funniest people I know… though she is, as a friend in Ireland said, “an acquired taste”. 

It’s been a great weekend, though we have been cooking so much.  Way too many calories than a person who just got off a cruise should be eating! Luckily, and full disclosure here, I don’t like guacamole.  I haven’t really been able to do the whole avocado thing since I got way too many of them in California.  But my sister and husband do.  And they tell me this is a really good recipe.  And I’d trust them.  They know about good food.

Guacamole

From Alton Brown (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/guacamo

le-recipe.html)

2 avocados

1 lime (juiced)

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp cayenne

½  small onion, diced

½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

1 tomato, seeded and diced

1 tbsp chopped cilantro (we used a little less here)

1 clove garlic, minced

Scoop the avocado pulp into a bowl.  This was a little hard for us; ours was not quite perfect late summer ripe.  Ah well, March is a hard month for produce. We won’t even talk about the sad, not-that-red winter tomato.

Add your lime juice and toss to coat.  Add in the salt, cumin and cayenne.

Mash the heck out of the avocado with a potato masher.  Because of the aforementioned avocado problems we gave up and put ours in a food processor to get that creamy smooth texture. 

Fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic.  If it seems a little dry add in a little more lime juice. 

And that’s it.  Let it sit at room temperature for an hour before serving.  Or pop it in the fridge and bring back to room temperature for an hour before serving later.

Tagged: Guacamolegreen foodif you don't like it blame my sisteravacado

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7th March 2014

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Simple Bruschetta

I am not really here this week.  I’m sad to say that while you all, at least on the east coast, are enjoying the return of the polar vortex, and sleet, and rain, and snow… I am on a cruise to the Bahamas.  I know… you can hate me now… I am jealous of myself for you and feel shame.  And I have too much vacation guilt to leave you all hanging for a week.  So…

I love Bruschetta.  But the sad truth is that I often can’t eat it.  Balsamic vinegar and I just do not get along.  Sulfites are not my friends.  

So I have worked out my own quick, easy, delicious, sulfite-free version.  Perfect for nice summer tomatoes or winter freeze-dried ones when you just really want to taste summer.

Easy Bruschetta

1 large or 2 medium ripe tomatoes

a handful of fresh basil

1/2 chopped small onion

1 garlic clove minced

olive oil

salt

pepper

oregano

Chop up your tomato and try to take out a good bit of the seeds and juice.  

Finely chop a little onion and mix the two together.  

Mince your garlic.  I really don’t like biting into a piece of raw garlic so I try to really mince it here.

Rough chop your basil, and you do want a good bit of basil.  Throw that in.  

Sprinkle a small amount of oregano and pepper.  Then a good bit of salt.  

Drizzle the whole this with a very liberal coating of olive oil.  Mix well.  Wrap with plastic wrap and let it stand for at least an hour.  Refrigerating for several hours to overnight is best.

When you are ready to eat, toast up some bread.

Stir the bruschetta and scoop on.

The hardest part is not losing some when you go in for the bite, but I would certainly never tell if you make a mess!

Tagged: Bruschettammmmm tomatoesso delciouswho cares if you get garlic breathSee you next weekhopefully not too sunburned

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1st March 2014

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Daring Bakers’ Beautiful Bread

It’s the end of the month again… which is crazy!  This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge was quite possibly, my favorite.  We had a couple of snow days.  I had time and tea and this was the perfect way to wile away a snowy afternoon.  

The bread was so delicious and impressive I am sure I will be making it on sunny mornings as well.  And it really isn’t as hard as it looks!

Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise (http://chefindisguise.com), challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as good as they taste?

Beautiful Bread

From Sawsan (http://chefindisguise.com) for The Daring Bakers (http://thedaringkitchen.com)

1/4 cup warm water

3/4 cup warm milk

1 egg

1/4 cup butter softened

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp yeast

1/4 tsp cardamom 

Between the layers

1/2 stick (4 tbsp) butter, melted

4 tbsp cinnamon (roughly)

1 tbsp sugar

also 1/4 additional cup of milk to brush on the top.

In a bowl whisk the egg with the milk and water.  

Add in the sugar and yeast, stirring well.

Kinda mush in your softened butter.  This part is a little gross-looking I know but also kinda fun.

Add in your dry ingredients and mix well.

Turn the dough out, adding more flour as necessary, and knead until you get a silky smooth and fragrant dough.  This is a really nice dough to work with.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl and allow it to rise, covered, until doubled.  About an hour and a half.

Now the real fun begins.  

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into four equal parts and one small part. 

Roll each of the four large parts into as best a circle as you can.  You are aiming for a roughly 8in diameter.  This is not the easiest dough to roll out.  Be persistent and you will get it.

Brush the first layer with melted butter and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

I am gonna now say something that you will most likely never hear me say again.  You need to be careful not to put too much cinnamon and sugar down here.  I know, I know!  Gasp!  Am I not the person always saying more cinnamon and sugar and such is good?  Well… for reasons that will soon become clear, you want to have restraint here.

After you have the circle all covered in butter and cinnamon and sugar deliciousness, then place the next circle carefully on top of the first and repeat.  You want to make a nice neat little stack of cinnamon and sugar and butter.  

Once you put on the top circle, the fourth, only brush it with butter.  

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into eight triangles.  Like a pizza.

Next make cuts, longways, in the center of each triangle.  You want to be careful not to cut through the base or the tip.

Take each triangle and fold the tip up and push it through the cut in the middle.

(I’m a vine! How cool!  How techy! How you know her husband was home for a snow day too!)

Pull the end back through the other side.  

Next pinch the ends of the wide part of the triangle together.  

(Ooo another vine!)

Arrange the slices back in a circle in either a cake pan or pie pan.  

Now, finally, take the last little piece of dough you had saved and roll it into a long snake.  Make a coil and place it in the middle of the triangles. 

This will neatly cover up any overlap or wacky places from the triangles coming together.  

Brush the dough with milk and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile heat your oven to 460 degrees

Bake the bread for 5 minutes at this very hot temperature, then turn it down to 400 degrees and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes.  If your bread is getting too brown on top you can cover it with aluminum foil.  

It is done when the bottom is a nice golden brown.  

Allow the bread to cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.  

If you like you can top with a simple confectioners sugar and milk glaze or sweetened condensed milk.

We, however, just tore into it and ate it as it was.  Warm and delicious with tea.

Tagged: Beautiful breaddaring bakersCinnamondeliciousfancybreadThanks andrew for the vinesSo impressed I made this!

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23rd February 2014

Post with 1 note

Barbecued Shrimp

Mardi Gras is March 4th and so you know that Carnival is in full swing down in New Orleans.  And I miss it!  Like whoa I miss it! But another year is gonna pass and all I can do is cook the food and curse the cold and snow and slush here.  Sigh.  Maybe next year…

But I did pull out a copy of New Orleans style Barbecued Shrimp I got when my family visited a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (started in New Orleans, of course!  Did you ever wonder why it was called Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse?  It seems like the apostrophe is in the wrong place, but you see, there was a Chris Steakhouse in New Orleans and it was pretty well known.  So when the Ruth’s people bought it they wanted to keep the name… and wanted everyone to know they were the new owners.  Thus, tada!  Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse was born and has been confusing people all over the country ever since.)

Note, this version did not come out anything like the barbecued shrimp we had at Ruth’s Chris… but did taste more like the barbecued shrimp found at other New Orleans restaurants. It was still really really delicious.  And I will totally make this again, though I would cut down on the butter.

Ruth’s Barbecued Shrimp

1/4 tsp paprika

1 tbsp chopped green onion

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Shrimp (how much really depends.  If you can get the nice big gulf shrimp, then you need like 15 – 20, Devein those suckers good. If you get a bag of frozen shrimp from the grocery store, cry a little at how much more expensive shrimp is here than in New Orleans or along the coast, and use the whole bag)

8 oz salted butter (I am gonna cut this in half to 4 oz the next time I make it)

1 - 2 tsp canola oil

1 1/2 oz dry white wine

1 tsp fresh chopped garlic 

3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

3/4 Tabasco sauce or other Louisiana style hot sauce (Crystals is good, I hear!)

Place a large saucepan, cast-iron if you’ve got it,  over medium-high heat.  Cook the shrimp until they are just done.  You will cook them a little more in the sauce, so you want to be careful to not over-cook them here.  Just done.

Remove the shrimp and set aside.

Add in your onion and cook for just a minute.  (Ok, I didn’t have green onions.  I used a regular onion and cooked till translucent.  It was still delicious.)

Pour in the white wine and reduce volume by half.  It will be super quick.  Like two minutes, tops.

Next, add in your chopped garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco.

Give it a stir and sprinkle in the paprika and cayenne.  Cook for one minute.

Cut the butter into small pieces and slowly add piece by piece to the pan.  Shake or stir the pan quickly to melt the butter.  

When all the butter is incorporated, add the shrimp back to the pan and toss well.  You want to coat the shrimp and heat them through.

Pour the shrimp and sauce into bowls and serve with good crusty french bread.

Rich and delicious.  Close your eyes and pretend you can hear the parade rolling by!

Tagged: Barbecued ShrimpNew OrleansdeliciousshrimpHappy Mardi GrasI wish I was in New OrleansRight Jamie?Throw me something mister

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14th February 2014

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Pork Chops with Wine and Garlic

Staying in for Valentine’s Day?  What better to have than a beautiful thick-cut pork chop in a red wine reduction studded with whole garlic cloves.  It’s beautiful, impressive, delicious, and well… who cares about garlic breath if you are both eating it, right?

We had it with Creamy Cheesy Risotto and I was in heaven.  Best part is you can easily make this after work.

Pork Chops with Wine and Garlic

From The Pioneer Woman Cooks 

2 pork chops

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup red wine

scant 1/2 cup beef broth

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp sugar

8 - 10 whole peeled garlic cloves

1 (additional) tbsp of butter

Heat the oil and butter together over high heat. If you’ve got a cast iron skillet, now would be a good time to break that baby out; if not, a heavy skillet is a must.  Not a non-stick.  

Salt and pepper both sides of your pork chops and sear them until they are a nice golden brown.  Its ok if they aren’t completely cooked yet, you will finish them off later.  

Remove the pork chops and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and throw in the whole garlic cloves.  Cook them, while stirring constantly, until they are nice and golden.  About 3 minutes for me.  

Pour in the wine and add the bay leaf.  Let it reduce, stirring occasionally, until it is fairly thick.

Add in the beef broth and the pork chops.  Arrange the chops so they are swimming in the sauce and allow them to cook another 3-4 minutes. 

Add in your vinegar and sugar, stirring to get well incorporated and cook until your pork chops are done through.  Turn them over to make sure both sides get in the delicious sauce.

Remove the pork chops and keep warm.  Turn the heat back up on your sauce and let it reduce until it is very thick and rich and the garlics are all soft.

In the final moments melt in the last tablespoon of butter and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Pour the sauce, including the garlic, over the pork chops and serve.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tagged: Pork chops with wine and garlicpork chopsgarlichappy valentines dayso good who cares if you stinkmmmmmm

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9th February 2014

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Nutella Hazelnut Candies

Wednesday was World Nutella Day.  As you may remember I love World Nutella Day! Well… I love Nutella.  I would love a World Pizza Day just as much too.   I think we should start that.  Today, February 9th, is National Pizza Day (at least according to Wikipedia) and apparently November 12 is also National Pizza Day (National Pizza Day with the Works except Anchovies). And, September 5 is National Cheese Pizza Day.  We need to end this confusion and just declare one final World Pizza Day!  

But I am digressing; we are not here to talk about pizza, we are here to talk about Nutella.  And I am not gonna lie, this is one of those recipes I kinda made up as I went along.  But they were delicious. 

Long live World Nutella Day!

Nutella Hazelnut Candies

1/2 - 1 cup hazelnuts

3 tbsp baking soda

bag of dark chocolate chocolate chips

1 jar of Nutella (you won’t use it all but hey, who doesn’t want a jar of Nutella lying around?)

mini cup-cake liners (or candy molds if you have them)

If you think back to last October I made an amazing hazelnut cake from the Hairy Bikers.  In it I described how to peel your hazelnuts… well… unless you were lucky enough to find already peeled ones, we are doing that again.

Fill a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan half full with water.  Add in the baking soda and bring to a boil. 

When it is boiling add in your hazelnuts.  Watch it because it will foam and bubble up.  And turn a dark red/black.

Boil the nuts for five minutes.  Meanwhile fill a bowl with ice water.

As soon as your five minutes are up, use a slotted spoon to remove the nuts from the boiling water and dunk them into the ice bath.  

The skins should now easily rub right off.  

Lay the hazelnuts out to dry for ten min. and pre-heat your oven to 390 degrees.  

Roast the hazelnuts for 15 minutes, stirring every 5.  They should be a nice golden nutty brown when they are done.

Set the hazelnuts aside to cool.  I made a ton of hazelnuts but have plans for a Nutella hazelnut banana bread. 

Line a mini muffin tray with the cupcake liners (or use your candy molds if you got them.  I don’t, mini muffins it is!)

Using a double boiler (or a bowl set on top of a pan of boiling water) melt a heaping 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips.  

Carefully put a thin layer of chocolate in the bottom of each mini muffin liner. 

While the chocolate is still warm, gently press a hazelnut in the center of each one.  You want to make sure the hazelnut sticks in the chocolate but not that it pushes all the way through to the bottom.

Pop those into the freezer for about 4 minutes to set.

If you have any extra hazelnuts, feel free to chop them up for decoration and a little added crunch later on.  If you don’t, no worries - they will still be tasty. 

Once your chocolate is all set, carefully cover the hazelnut with a daub of Nutella.  Do your best not to touch the sides so the Nutella can be completely encased in chocolate.  Some of mine do have the layer look where I failed to do this.

Back into the freezer for another few minutes just to firm up the Nutella a little bit.  It won’t set but it will be slower to melt when you get to the last step… pouring more melted chocolate on top!

Melt another 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips back on the double boiler.

Spoon the chocolate over the whole Nutella hazelnut goodness in the muffin tins.  I found it helpful to give the pan a good shake after all this to make sure the chocolate settles into all the cracks and crannies.  

Before putting them back into the freezer to set, I sprinkled a few bits of chopped hazelnut on top.  Fancy!

Let them cool another 5 minutes and then bring back to room temperature and enjoy!

Tagged: World Nutella DaynutellaChocolate and hazelnutAdie makes candya little late but better than never

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