Sunday, August 31, 2008

Daring Bakers- Chipotle Chocolate Éclairs

The August Daring Bakers challenge came from Tony Tahhan and MeetaK.

I would love to say that my first Daring Bakers attempt went splendidly and without a hitch….alas I cannot. First, I had to enlist the help of wonderfully generous friend on account of the busted wrist. These were not a one-handed project. So we set aside a nice Saturday and got crackin.

We started with the standard Pâte à Choux and piped out our “chubby fingers”, my still slightly swollen fingers peeking out of my cast served as an excellent example. As we piped and they cooked we quickly turned into giggling children muttering things about wieners. In the midst of a very mature conversation we probably took them out a touch to early and most of them sank and looked like this
Some maintained their puffy namesake so we forged on…. To the chocolate pastry cream! We used the provided recipe with one addition that we all really, really enjoyed; to the cooling pastry cream we added about 2-3 tablespoons of the zesty delicious goo that comes in the can of chipotles. In my humble opinion this addition really stepped up the filling, prior it was kinda just an eggy-chocolatly-unremarkable filling, after there was a bit more depth and contrast.

We opted to use a Mark Bittman recipe for dark chocolate glaze out of How to Cook Everything. This is where things got ugly…..on paper sounded like it would whip up in a jiff and be wonderful. This is what we got.
The wheels were quickly coming off this bus. We decided to assemble the few puffy shells and coat the top with simple melted bittersweet chocolate. See not so bad.
The rest met a different fate. Being virtually unfillable, the chipotle chocolate éclair cake was born!
The “shells” were split, the really ugly pieces layered on the bottom of a 9/13 pan, filling smeared on top, and then covered with the nicer éclair bits and a bit of melted chocolate. I have to admit I am really not that fond of éclairs, these however actually benefited from some time in the fridge and definitely tasted better the next day after the cake sat-up a bit.
Hopefully I will have two working hands for the September challenge!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ratatouille Style- Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Pesto Pizza

I can say with all seriousness that I look forward to August and the tomatoes it provides pretty much all year long. At our most-favorite farmers market, the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market we got our grubby mitts on some fresh and wonderful heirloom tomatoes and a hearty bunch of basil and this beauty was created.

It was nice, light, and really highlighted the simple yet amazing ingredients. This was good enough to be recreated a few days later, pretty much identically with the rest of the pesto.

Bum wing aside, I should be able to post a bit more frequently because..... drum roll please.... I have completed my masters! No more work full-time, school full-time drudgery. Now its just work full-time drudgery.

Ratatouille Style- Maki Dogs

As the wrist mends my hubbs has taken over a good portion of the cooking and other house duties. He has in the most adorable fashion, photographed a few of the meals so that I can post. We have jokingly referred to this arrangement as cooking "Ratatouille Style" where I give instruction and steps and he prepares. I also have been sending him e-mails of yummy looking blog links and recipes with the heading "I could eat this". After one such e-mail he tried his hand at the Maki Dog.....

We found this at Not Eating Out In New York and were pretty intrigued by the concept. It is a veggie dog with a bit of wasabi mayo, rolled up maki style with sushi rice and nori. All in all it was a tasty endeavor, next time I think we would split the veggie dog in half lengthwise before making the roll to better balance the textures. The winner of this meal was the delicious oven roasted blue potato chips that he made as well. We snagged these lovelies at the farmers market earlier in the day. Interesting paring, but they were delicious.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

a bum wing

Hello all. Posts may be a bit sparse for the near future... I fractured my wrist on Friday and it is really hindering my kitchen prowess. Hopefully I will get to post some guest cooks (read: the hubbs)handy work.

Friday, August 8, 2008

August Cupcake Hero Challenge- Jalapeno

I was a bit daunted by this challenge, but I trudged forward..... only to make a rather unremarkable cupcake. While this was tasty and I am sure will be gratefully accepted by all tasters, the jalapeno really didn't come across the way that I would have liked it to. I made my no-fail vegan chocolate cake that I have mentioned before but added a hearty amount of cinnamon to pair with the zesty jalapeno. The frosting is a nice tangy cream cheese frosting with about half a cup of hot-pepper and jalapeno jam tossed in at the end. This jam rules we love it on a bit of cheddar or an apple but in this situation the zing is just the slightest after burn. I hope that everyone else has better luck....

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza aka what maybe K8's last meal, if it ever comes to that...

There is very little that I can say about this pizza other than HOLY SHIT. It was so tasty. This was something that I had been wanting to make for a while and the pears from a house warming fruit basket seemed like a good opportunity. Admittedly we bought the crust. I was in the mood for super crispy thin crust pizza, and frankly I just can't ever make it happen in my kitchen. Little rub of olive oil and some dried thyme on the crust, gorgonzola crumbles, sliced pears, and a few pine nuts went on top and then tossed it in the oven on a pizza stone. Needless to say my love of stinky cheese, fruit, and pizza had an amazing illegitimate baby in my kitchen.