Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A few years ago I bought a cookbook called Mrs. Field's Best Ever Cookie Book! It was one of those books I bought on a whim as I was browsing through Barnes and Noble. (Whenever I come to visit the U.S. I let my family know that on one day, they can drop me off in the morning at B &N and pick me up at the end of the day!)
Saturday, November 21, 2009
It's Cake Slice time again. This month we made a Burnt Sugar cake from the book Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott. I really didn't know what to expect since I have never heard of a cake like this before and couldn't imagine how burnt sugar might be in a cake and frosting.
As it turns out, the burnt sugar was no problem to make and the cake itself turned out fine. My problems came with the frosting. It called for a cream cheese frosting with the burnt sugar added. I followed the recipe exactly, but the frosting came out so runny, I had to keep adding powdered sugar. I finally decided to put it in the fridge to try and solidify it a bit. Worked to some extent but not how I would have like it.
I brought it to school for a colleague's birthday, and though moany commented that it was super sweet, they seemed to enjoy it. Personally, I wouldn't repeat this one. Too many other great cakes out there!
Friday, November 20, 2009
I write this blog to keep a record of the things I bake and sometimes to just express myself to open space. I don't think more than , maybe 8 or 10 people have ever even read my blog but I'm ok with that. In any case , I decided to enter the Bon Appetit holiday baking contest just for the fun of it. I entered this great and easy recipe for the most delicious brownies ever. They were one of the many wonderful recipes I learned during the pastry chef course I took at the begining of the year.
So, if you happen to stumble onto this blog and like what you see, I'd love it if you leave a comment here and there and give me a vote over here.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Since my daughters know I love decorating cookies so much, they don't hesitate to ask me to make gifts for friends. I love doing it and it gives me the opportunity to practice. My youngest daughter is finishing a course in the army and she wanted to have a small something to give to her classmates.
"Mom, could you make some cookies for me to give to the girls?
"Sure, no problem - flowers and butterflies ok? "
"Of course, that would be great!"
So here are some pictures of my weekend project. ( I am still not close to becoming an even amateur photographer). Like I said, it's my therapy, my outlet. The only halfway creative thing I do.
Gotta get started on those Hanukah and Christmas cookies!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I told you I was going to do it. Once a week, attack my "to do" list of "things I want to make but instead just add to the list".
My daughters love pop tarts. And even though they are grown women now, they still love pop tarts. We can't get pop tarts here. So a while ago I started looking for a recipe for homemade pop tarts. Of course I immediately came across Chez Pim's recipe and it went onto the list.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
But here, the winter refuses to show it's face. Last week we had 5 days of winter- wonderful rain (we so desperately need the water here), cold "cuddle up on the couch with a blanket" weather and finally, soup! I made lentil soup which got devoured within a day and then quickly made a Middle eastern red kubbeh soup ( I will post about that in more detail soon). That got inhaled over the weekend.
So now it's Sunday (our weekend here is basically just half of Friday and Saturday- what a bummer!)and no soup. Mind you, no winter either. The rain made a showing and then decided to move on. Yesterday was 90 F, and the forecast is the same for the rest of the week! Ugh! I am so tired of the hot weather!
Country Vegetable Soup- serves 6
50 grams butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, grated
1 small celery root, cut into squares
1 red pepper, cut into squares
1 tomato, peeled and cut ( I don't bother peeling it)
1 parsely root, coarsely grated
1 cup frozen peas
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons flour
8-9 cups broth or water
1 cup of chopped parsley
120 grams grated parmesean cheese
2 tablespoons soft butter
6 slices of baguette, cut diagonally
Melt butter and olive oil in a large pot. Add all the vegetables, coverand cook 10 minutes.
Add the flour and stir for a minute. Season with salt and pepper and add the broth or water. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook 1 hour.
Add the parsley and remove from heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning
To serve: Heat oven using top heat( broiler). Mix parmesean cheese and butter, spread on the baguette slices and toast until browned. Serve on top of the soup or on the side.
Happy Winter! Wherever you are!
Friday, November 6, 2009
At the beginning of this year I took a pastry chef course. I was in seventh heaven. For four months, every Monday afternoon, the class of 20 gathered and listened to a lecture/ demonstration about the day's topic. Then we went to work completing the assignment of recipes- most of the time finishing between 12 and 1 in the morning! It was exhausting but thrilling and I loved every minute of it. I learned an incredible amount and accumulated a good number of recipes that I continue to use.
One of the recipes from the cookie lesson ( we learned different techniques of mixing, forming cookies etc.) was these energy bars. They are delicious (and rich!) "as is", straight from the recipe. But what I liked about it was the opportunity to substitute pretty much to your own tastes and if you follow the basic format, they come out fantastic, no matter what you put in them. I will give some suggestions as to possible substitutions but use your imagination and personal tastes! Here's to boosting your energy level- if these don't do it, nothing will!
( we used a square 20x20 disposable aluminum foil pan- it works great- less clean up and just so easy!)
100 grams( 1/2 cup) butter
90 grams glucose (available at specialty stores for baking supplies)
70 grams peanut butter ( you can use tehina paste, almond butter, cashew butter etc. etc.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste ( or 1 tsp. vanilla extract if you don't have)
15 grams flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
120 grams oats, lightly toasted
90 grams brown sugar
25 grams coconut flakes
25 grams sesame seeds , lightly toasted
45 grams hazelnuts( you can substitute any nut you like or eliminate if you choose)
40 grams raisins (or any dried fruit you like or omit if you don't like)
25 grams sugared orange peel , chopped (again, here you can play with it as you wish)
- Preheat oven to 170 C ( 320 F)
- Place glucose ( make sure you wet your hands well to handle the glucose or else it will stick - to your hands and anything else it touches!! not fun!) and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add peanut butter. Mix until smooth.
- In a large bowl , mix all other ingredients and form a well in the middle. Add the butter mix and stir well to coat all the ingredients.