Friday, June 22, 2012
I have no idea how I made it almost to adulthood before I ever had nutella, but when I did I was in heaven. Chocolate and hazelnuts were meant to be together. Though this pudding has no nutella in it, it has a very similar flavor. A few months ago when I was making my nutella buttercream frosting, I was looking for hazelnut flavoring to add to the cake batter. I called multiple grocery stores and specialty stores. Hazelnut flavoring was no where to be found. Saddened I just made regular chocolate cupcakes. I was surprised and elated when a few weeks ago I found hazelnut extract at Winco of all places. I didn't want to turn on the oven to make cupcakes and I had some milk that needed to be used up, so I decided to try some hazelnut pudding. I have a great easy chocolate pudding recipe that is made in the microwave. One teaspoon of hazelnut extract was enough to make it something to crave.
Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding
Made in the Microwave
Adapted from allrecipes.
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon hazelnut extract
2 Tablespoon butter (optional)
Combine sugar cocoa powder and cornstarch in a large microwave safe bowl (I use my large 4 cup measure). Sift the cocoa powder to get out all the clumps. Whisk in milk slowly and make sure there are no clumps. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
Stir well and continue to microwave at one minute intervals until thick and shiny, about 2-4 minutes. Keep an eye on it to be sure it doesn't over flow.
Remove from microwave and add optional butter hazelnut extract and vanilla. Stir and refrigerate with plastic wrap on top touching the pudding.
Notes: Of course more fat (whole milk and butter) makes it taste better (richer, smoother). But I've made this with 2 % milk and no butter and it's still great. So if you so desire you can cut back the fat that way. Also, the pudding in the picture looks pretty dark. That's because this time when I made it I used Hershey's special Dark Cocoa Powder. I did not include that in the recipe because I decided I like it made with regular cocoa powder best. If you are prefer dark chocolate go ahead and use it.
Sweet Tooth Friday
Sweets for Saturday
Show and Tell Saturday
Posted by Allison D. at 4:24 PM
Monday, June 18, 2012
On Mother's Day my sweet husband who would rather do dishes than cook (and he doesn't like to do dishes), made me breakfast. He wanted to whip some cream to serve with our pancakes. He poured the cream into our bosch and whipped it on high until it was stiff. After it was already stiff he added sugar and whipped on high again. "Um, Allison? I think you need to come in here. The sugar ruined the cream somehow." I came in and started laughing. The sugar wasn't the culprit but over whipping was. My husband had made butter. I enjoyed being able to tease my husband about it. We all had a good laugh and used our (sweet) butter in cookies that we made that night.
Fast forward to Fathers Day. I made the French Strawberry Cake for dessert and as I whipped the cream for the frosting I had to grab something from the next room. I had only planned on being gone 20 seconds so I let the mixer go. Of course I end up taking longer and when I got back sure enough I made butter too. I think whipped cream will now be banned on Mother's/Fathers's Day in our house.
I was excited to try making genoise. I don't think I have ever even eaten genoise let alone make it. Genoise has no chemical leavening and it's airiness comes completely from whipped eggs. It was completely new to me and that is something I love about cooking. I love trying something new and being able to say "I made that." Just follow the recipe and you can do just about anything. Bonus is while you are chatting on the phone you can mention in passing "Oh I'm just making some genoise." It sounds great.
The French Strawberry Cake is really quite delicious. I was worried about the genoise being dry but since there are two layers of strawberries and whipped cream it turns out perfect. If you were to use a moist American cake it probably would end up mushy and overly sweet. I made the recipe twice. The second time I did not have cake flour and used all purpose flour with a tablespoon of cornstarch instead. I can't see that it made any difference. Also, the second time I did not sift the flour mixture onto wax paper but instead mixed them in a bowl with a whisk. This also seemed to be fine. The only change I would make to the recipe is to increase the amount of whip cream frosting that you make. The first time I did not have enough frosting to pipe rosettes on the top.
The recipe comes from Baking with Julia and the contributing baker to this recipe is Flo Braker. Check out my co-host this week Sophia of Sophia's Sweets. She is fifteen years old and is baking up a storm. Check out her blog, I'm sure you will be impressed. To see other's opinions and posts on the cake go here.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 pints fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
1/4-1/3 cup sugar (to taste)
1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
2 Tablespoons sour cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large strawberries (with hulls)
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease and flour a 8 inch cake pan and fit the bottom of the pan with an 8 inch circle of parchment paper (I just used the baking spray with flour in it-no paper).
Pour the melted butter into a 1 quart bowl and set aside.
Sift the flour, salt and one tablespoon of the sugar together onto wax paper and set aside.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the remaining sugar. Using the whisk attachment (or handheld mixer) mix on medium (I actually found high to work better for me) until it is "airy, pale, and tripled in volume like softly whipped cream." If you drop some of the batter back into the bowl it should retain it's shape and sit on top for about 10 seconds. If yours does not, whip some more. Add vanilla extract during the last moments of whipping.
Sprinkle about 1/3 of the flour mixture onto the batter and very gently fold it in (scoop up some of the batter and fold it over on top of the flour) with a rubber spatula. Fold in the rest of the flour in 2 more additions. DO NOT OVER MIX! The batter will deflate slightly and that's OK. I was afraid of over mixing and still had a few dry spots and it turned out fine.
Take about one cup of the batter and fold it into the bowl with the melted butter then fold that mixture in with the rest of the batter.
Pour into your prepared 8 inch cake pan and bake for 25 to 27 minutes. The recipe states that before baking you should use a spatula to move batter from the center to the outside to make slightly raised edges. I just give the pan a little spin on my counter top and like a little centrifuge it makes the outside part of the cake slightly higher.
The cake is done when it springs back slightly when touched. Let it cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes only (I am impatient and only waited about 2). Then carefully invert it and remove the cake. Remove the paper (if you used it) turn it right side up (I left it upside down because when it is covered with frosting you can't tell which side is up anyway).
Prepare the berries by tossing them with sugar and letting them sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Then give them a light mashing and let it sit for another hour.
For the cream, whip all the ingredients in a mixer with whisk attachment (don't leave the room and make butter). You want a soft whip cream not stiff. Tracks made my the whisk should close slowly and almost disappear.
To assemble the cake slice the cake into three layers. A turn table is helpful for this. Take a serrated knife and slice into it a third of the way down. Turn the table and slice a little more until you get all around the cake. Then slice a little deeper until you get through the middle. Repeat with the next layer. (I have not tried it but others reported that the cake was easier to slice when slightly frozen.)
Between each of the layers spread half the strawberries strained from their syrup, and a small layer of whipped cream. Ice the top and the sides of the cake with the whipped cream saving about a half cup for decorating. Spoon the remaining whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe 10 rosettes around the top of the cake leaving about an inch between the rosettes.
Slice each berry in half from tip to stem leaving some of the green on each half. Place each berry half on a rosette. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.
Posted by Allison D. at 10:51 PM
Thursday, June 14, 2012
|My Mom and I|
About a month before the wedding I came home after work to find my mom had two pasta salads in the fridge for me to taste. I have no recollection of one, but the other I completely fell in love with. This pasta salad will never get confused with one that originated from a box. Fresh basil, olives, and roasted corn give this salad bold flavor. She made this one for my wedding and I have been enjoying the recipe ever since.
My thoughtful Mother packed up some leftovers and put them into an ice chest and sent them with us as we left on a road trip for our honeymoon. We had planned on eating out on our honeymoon (actually I am pretty sure we didn't "plan" anything for food), and we ate at some great restaurants that week. But when driving through the middle of nowhere eating pasta salad and other wedding food was much preferred to the fast food joints that were our only other option. Thanks Mom!
I always try to post the source for my recipes but I don't know for sure where this one came form. It is strikingly similar to this one on Epicurious. I think my mom just made a few additions to make it more flavorful.
Saute corn in fry pan about 3 minutes.
Mix the corn , dressing, and the rest of the ingredients and serve. This can be made the day before, but add a little more oil & vinegar before serving. Serves 6-8
Posted by Allison D. at 8:27 PM
Monday, June 11, 2012
my husband told them that they each had food goggles that represents the food that they've tried and that they like. Since I have a slightly exotic palate John explained that my goggles were huge where the kids goggles were very narrow. If they wanted bigger goggles they would need to try more foods.
My older son didn't buy it, but my younger one ate it up and ever since has been asking "how big are my goggles now?"
I still have the largest goggles in the family but I do have a few large blind spots. There are two foods that I hated growing up and that I still do not like. Eggs and mayonnaise. If a recipe calls for mayonnaise I usually either leave it out or I sub yogurt or sour cream for it. The stuff is just nasty. And my preferred way to eat eggs is mixed with flour, butter and sugar and baked into cookies or cake. They only way I eat scrambled eggs is in a breakfast burrito that has so much sausage, peppers, potatoes, cheese, and salsa that the eggs become nothing more than a garnish and I can't even taste them.
My dislike for eggs and mayo can be a bit of a problem for the summer barbecue. Every barbecue comes with potato salad and every potato salad comes with eggs and mayonnaise. Well, almost every potato salad because this one has none of that. Instead it has caramelized onions, fresh cilantro, toasted cumin and coriander seeds, and don't forget the bacon. It is a flavor explosion in every bite.
Now I can love potato salad. Try this recipe and you will too. Open your goggles to try a potato salad without eggs and mayo and you won't regret it.
(Ironically the dish that my mother in law is famous in her family for is her potato salad. Since John loves it I have occasionally condescended to make a traditional potato salad. I'm not sure why I bother though because apparently mine never turns out as good as his Mom's. My mother in law adds olives to her potato salad and apparently, it's really good. If you are in to that whole mayo and egg thing, try adding olives, you might like it.)
Texas Potato Salad
3 pounds small red potatoes
1 red onion, cut into thick slices
1 tablespoon Coriander Seed
8 Cumin Seed
1 tablespoon Oregano Leaves, Mexican
2 serrano or jalapeño pepper, minced
3 slices bacon, crisply cooked and coarsely chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, thick stems discarded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
Fill a pot with boiling water. Cook clean potatoes in boiling water 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Don't over cook or you'll end up with mashed potato salad. Drain and cool to room temperature. Quarter the potatoes; set aside.
Heat a skillet (I like to use my cast iron skillet) over high heat and cook onions until lightly caramelized.
Toast coriander and cumin seeds in small dry skillet on medium heat 1 minute or until fragrant. Add oregano; lightly toast for only about 20 seconds, you don't want it to burn. Immediately remove spices from skillet.
Whisk oil, vinegar, toasted spices, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add potatoes, onions, serrano pepper, bacon and cilantro. Toss to coat and enjoy.
Posted by Allison D. at 8:28 AM
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I LOVE naan and was really looking forward to this recipe. However I got my dates mixed up and I thought I still had another week for this recipe. So I made this at the very last minute and I am barely going to get this posted on Tuesday.
I have made naan before so I was curious as to how different this recipe would be. I will have to make both and do a side by side taste test because as it ends up I liked them both. I just can't tell which I like better. I do like the toppings for the Oasis Naan. The Oasis Naan was topped with thinly sliced scallions, salt, and cumin seeds. I will definitely be cooking it with that combination again. I will also try pricking the center with a fork. I think it was just to keep the center flat and let the edges raise.
I only made a few small changes to the recipe based on my past experience with making naan. I baked them on a hot pizza stone as directed but I turned my broiler on which helped get some blackened portions like tandori naan. Doing it this way the naan only needed to be baked for about 3 minutes instead of the 5-6.
Overall it was a great recipe. I will make it again and play with it along with my usual naan recipe, and try to perfect naan. You can get the recipe for Oasis Naan at Always add more Butter, and Of Cabbages & King Cakes. Or of course you can go straight to the source and get it from Baking with Julia.
Be sure to check back here in two weeks when I get to host the TWD challenge of making French Strawberry Cake. I've already made it and it was delicious (I'm so glad I didn't end up hosting for a recipe I didn't like). I'll be making the strawberry cake again this week.
Posted by Allison D. at 10:04 PM