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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chocolate Eclairs-A Daring Baker Challenge

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Tony and MeetaK, hosts for the August Daring Bakers' challenge picked a most elegant pastry that most everyone loves, but probably won't make at home because not only does the choux pastry looks intimidating, but the pastry cream has to be prepared in advance as well as the chocolate glaze. All these steps can be done in stages and the eclairs can be assembled when ready to serve with little effort.


I joined the Daring Bakers' group to broaden my knowledge of all things baked, fancy and plain. The chocolate eclairs is a dessert that I saw prepared years ago when I took a French cooking class in Dieppe, a city in the Normandy region of France. My husband was in the US Air Force Medical Corps and was stationed at RAF Lakenheath near Cambridge, England. A few friends and I took the ferry over from England to France and stayed in a hotel where the classes were being given. It was my first cooking class, but was mostly demonstration and not hands-on. However, it fostered my love for the French cooking techniques and was wonderful travel experience



Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
boil.

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Notes:
1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

Notes
1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Notes:
1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)


• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Notes:
1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

Assembly

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Notes:
1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

Notes:
1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
bubbles.

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

See ya next post!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Beach Week and Beach Bags

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No post today on Tuesdays with Dorie, but check out the TWD blogroll for all the luscious Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte photos with some exciting variations on this recipe chosen by Amy of Food, Family and Fun.

On vacations: We hit the sunny beaches where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies, and the sand out of our belongings.”
Erma Bombeck quotes (U.S. humorist, 1927-1996)


Back from the Tybee Island, Georgia where half the week gave us great beach weather, but all the while keeping a watchful eye on Tropical Storm Fay who couldn't make up her mind which way she was going. Typical woman to sit and stew, some would say. Heavy rain began to fall on Wednesday in the Savannah area. Pushed by the wind and high tide, water covered many areas of the road coming into Tybee. To amuse ourselves, we played Wii , walked the beach during breaks in the weather and read books, and of course, ate well. Being by the ocean always stimulates my appetite. By Saturday, the rain had cleared, but still windy with very high tides which made sitting on the beach impossible. A memorable beach week!

Shown below are two beach bags that my sister, Martha, of crossingstitches made for my beach trip to Tybee Island. The tropical print tote bag has outside pockets, a D-ring for keys and has grommets to thread a cord through. The tote will hold a small beach towel along with other items for your day in the sun or shopping.


The large black and red-flowered beach bag will hold a larger beach towel and other personal items. The handle is bamboo.
Also, the last photo shown below is a padded laptop computer bag that she also made for me. It is designed for the larger laptops, but will accommodate smaller ones and other computer related items. There are two inner pockets for accessories.

If you are interested in any of these speciality bags or have an idea of what you want made, just email her at marthaDOTspiveyATgmailDOTcom for prices and styles.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blueberry Corn Custard

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I mentioned in a recent post that with the abundance of locally grown blueberries that I had been given, I hoped to make a blueberry corn custard, a unusual dessert made with fresh blueberries and corn that I had seen in "Luscious Berry Desserts" by Lori Longbotham. I wasn't sure how a mix of a fruit and a vegetable would taste as a dessert, but I was feeling brave so decided to make it, even though I got some funny looks from some members of my family. I have had blueberries in corn muffins and I think there's a special affinity between the two foods. As it turned out, the blueberry corn custard was a lovely delicate custard with a sweet corn taste and the luscious blueberries added color, plus an intense fruit flavor to contrast with the corn. I would definitely use fresh white corn kernels and ripe blueberries from the produce section or a local farmers' market in this dish.

Lemon verbena, my favorite herb, is added to the whole milk and steeped along with lemon zest. Roughly pureeing the fresh corn kernels distributes more of the corn flavor throughout the custard. The custard is baked in a bain marie, to keep a crust from forming on the custard before it's cooked throughout. A bain marie is basically a water bath and doesn't require fancy equipment, just a deep pan for the water and a smaller casserole or pot for the custard. Cheesecakes are often cooked in a bain marie to keep the interior of the cake from forming deep cracks while baking.


Blueberry Corn Custard

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
8 lemon verbena leaves, washed and dried
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup fresh white corn kernels
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1 cup ripe blueberries, preferably smaller ones, washed and picked over

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Put a kettle on to boil for the water bath and have ready an 8x12 baking pan.

Bring milk, lemon zest and lemon verbena to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let steep 5 minutes.Strain mixture through a sieve into a large bowl. Let cool, then add heavy cream. Set aside.

Pulse the corn in a food processor until roughly chopped. Set aside.

With an electric mixer set on medium in a medium bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar, flour and salt, scraping bowl down occasionally, until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add the milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Gently stir in corn and blueberries.

Transfer mixture to baking dish and place in 8x12 baking pan. Place the pans in the oven and add boiling water into the large baking pan until liquid comes about halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

Bake 50-60 minutes until top is lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to rack to cool. Serve slightly warm, not hot. I prefer my custards on the cold side. If the custard is too warm, it tends to look messy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Granola Grabbers-Tuesdays with Dorie

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My granola grabbers went to the beach with me this week! An opportune time for Michelle of Bad Girl Baking to choose these little nibbles, perfect to have at the beach when the ocean air makes everyone ravenous. At the moment you are reading this, I will be stretched out in my beach chair, my racy novel in one hand and a cold drink in the other, soaking up the the sunshine. See ya next Tuesday! In the meantime, check out the TWD blogroll to see all the posts on the Granola Grabbers.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Click:August 2008 (Citrus)

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I feel very honored to have been chosen as one of the judges for the August edition of Click. It doesn't matter whether you are in the Northern or Southern hemisphere in this month of August, whether the weather is hot or cold; citrus plays a big role in what you cook, drink and eat.. Click was created by Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi, aided by the expertise of Meeta of What's For Lunch Honey, and Jaden of Steamy Kitchen in September of 2007 This theme based contest has been wildly popular with bloggers and non bloggers alike. A recipe is welcomed, but not a prerequisite, as with other food photography contests, just a photo expressing the selected theme.
If you haven't clicked this month, what are you waiting for? Contest ends midnight, August 30.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lemon Verbena Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream-Tuesdays with Dorie

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What a perfect Tuesday to make Dorie's Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream. A few days ago, my sister Martha, of crossingstitches gave me a gallon Ziploc bag packed with the most beautiful blueberries I've seen this summer. Since then, I have made blueberry pancakes, a blueberry rhubarb crisp and this lovely magenta blueberry ice cream. With the few cups I have left, I plan on making a blueberry corn custard. If it looks good, maybe I will post it in a few days. I'll be at the beach next week without an Internet connection which is probably a good thing. I need a break from cooking and writing. All I want to do is lounge on the beach and catch up on reading the stack of books on my nightstand. Last summer at the beach, my friends and I took the boat in the little creeks around Savannah to do some crabbing. The crab cakes I made from our mess of crabs were the best I've ever had. But on to the Lemon Verbena Sour Cream Blueberry Ice Cream.


A pint of ice cream doesn't last very long in this family of ice cream aficionados, so I doubled the recipe without any problems. I considered using lime and lime zest instead of the lemon, but I have a very prolific lemon verbena plant whose leaves I used to infuse the cream instead of the mint as suggested as an alternative. Next time I make the ice cream, I will use the lime zest and juice.

Thanks to Delores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity for choosing such an appropriate recipe to beat the heat of August. You will also be able to see the recipe on Delores' blog.For other variations of the Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream, head over to the TWD blog roll.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Summer Picnic

Print Friendly and PDF "Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors."
Alice Walker



Having lived in England briefly and visit friends there quite frequently, I can say that the English have the picnic down to a fine science. My best picnic memories are of beautiful and rare sunny days with a blanket spread out on the grounds of a stately home with a hamper filled with sandwiches, crisps and small cakes or in my friend's back garden having a barbecue. I've had lovely wine picnics at wineries in Napa, Sonoma and in the mountains of North Carolina. At college football games in the Fall, we call a picnic, a tailgate party. A picnic can be anywhere you choose, even indoors disguised as a tea.

I haven't participated in WTSIM-There's Something--- in awhile, but when I saw that my favorite activity, the picnic, was the theme for the summer edition, I knew I couldn't miss it. WTSIM rotates among Andy of Spittoon Extra, Jeanne of Cook Sister and this edition's host, Joanna of The Passionate Cook.

In my picnic basket, I have empanadas, a seasoned meat- filled pastry which is baked, a green chile crema to top it, a salad of marinated black beans, pasta salad, seasoned corn, romaine lettuce with shredded cheese and tortilla chips ,all layered in a jar and a watermelon-grapefruit agua fresca to wash it all down with. All can be made in advance. The empanadas can be made days ahead and frozen, then thawed and served at room temperature or warmed and wrapped in foil to take on the picnic. The layered salad can be assembled up to 6 hours ahead and the watermelon-grapefruit agua fresca several hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to pack the basket.

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Ingredients

2 cups seedless ripe watermelon chunks
1 1/2 cups ruby red grapefruit sections, white pith and seeds excluded
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Triple sec

Combine first four ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pass through a sieve to remove pulp. Add the two tablespoons of Triple Sec. Taste and add more caster sugar if desired. Makes about 4 glasses.



Southwestern Layered Salad

Adapted from "Picnic in the Glass", Gourmet Magazine, August 2008

Ingredients

3/4 cup shell pasta or other small pasta
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked corn
1/2 hot pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 tsp lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup coarsely crumbled tortilla chips

4 (16 oz.) wide mouth jars with screw tops or clamps

Cook pasta according to directions on box. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside until cool. Toss black beans with chopped tomato, ground cumin, red wine vinegar cilantro, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. In another bowl,mix together corn and jalapeno pepper, add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, toss together pasta shells, 1 tablespoon oil, red onion, black olives, lime zest and juice, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide black bean mixture and juices among the jars, Layer pasta salad, corn, and romaine. Top with cheddar cheese and serve with crumbled tortilla chips.

Chill assemble jars up to 6 hours. Serve at room temperature.


I have taken these empanadas on many picnics with my family. I thought I had lost the recipe, but it miraculously turned up stuck between the pages of Craig Claiborne's "The New York Times Cookbook" which is probably out of print now.

Empanadas

Filling

1 pound ground round
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons butter
4 large onions, chopped
2 tablespoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Ground red pepper to taste

Simmer meat in broth 10-15 minutes, In separate skillet, melt butter and saute onion over medium heat until golden. Stir in paprika, salt, ground cumin and red pepper to taste. Add to beef and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes. Let cool. Chill thoroughly.

Dough

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup butter
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks, beaten

1 egg, beaten, to brush tops of empanadas

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Scald milk, add butter and let melt over low heat. Cool. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, add egg yolks and cooled milk. Blend well. Knead on a floured surface until smooth. Cover and let rest 20 minutes.

Divide dough into four pieces. Roll each piece into a 10x15 rectangle. Cut into 6-5" squares. Place filling on dough, moisten edges with water and fold letter style. Brush with egg wash. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Cover until ready to bake.
Bake 30 minutes or until browned, turning pan around once during baking. Makes 24 empanadas. Serve with Green Chile Crema.

Empanadas can be assembled and frozen on a baking sheet, then popped into ziplock bag and frozen until ready to bake. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the frozen empanadas on baking sheet. Bake about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Green Chile Crema

1 can chopped green chiles, drained
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan,bring cream to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium and simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, saute until softened, stirring occasionally. Place the onion mixture,chopped green chiles and 2 tablespoons water in a blender and puree. Stir into the reduced cream and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Makes about 1 cup.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Grilled Spareribs with Oriental Plum Sauce

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"Grilling, broiling, barbecuing - whatever you want to call it - is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach.”
James Beard, 'Beard on Food' (1974)


These Grilled Spareribs with Oriental Plum Sauce was originally included in previous posts here and here on wild plums that I found in a local farmers' market. I had a great time making jam, fruit jellies, sauces and ice cream with the plums. However, In retrospect, I believe the grilled ribs were buried deep in the post and not visible to those who read my blogs. I decided to revive the post to include it in Meeta's Monthly Mingle hosted this month by Sig of Live To Eat.

The ribs are cut into bite-size pieces and would be great as part of an appetizer buffet, but can also be served as a main dish. They are first baked to render some of the fat and to insure that they will be tender. This recipe uses spareribs which have a little more fat than baby back ribs and are less expensive, but some say are more flavorful. I remove the tough membrane that adheres to the back side of the rack of ribs. This membrane keeps the flavors from penetrating the meat. More here about how to remove the membrane. The ribs only need salt, pepper, thinly sliced onions and lemons for seasoning while baking. The intense flavor comes from basting the ribs with the Oriental plum sauce when grilling as the last step. The ribs can be baked earlier in the day, the fat drained off, covered and refrigerated until time to grill. Original recipe here




Grilled Spareribs with Oriental Plum Sauce

Ribs

6 lbs spareribs, membrane removed and cut into serving pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350° F.Place ribs in large baking pan deep enough to accommodate ribs Scatter lemon and onion slices over the top. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check to see if ribs are tender, if not, bake about 10 more minutes. Drain off fat and set aside while making sauce. Ribs can be cooled, covered and refrigerated to this point.

The Oriental Plum Sauce is very simple to make and can be used for a dipping sauce for kebabs, wontons and other Oriental dishes.

Oriental Plum Sauce

Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
!/2 cup finely minced onion
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 cups wild plum jam or purchased plum jam
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in medium saucepan, add onion and garlic; saute over medium-low heat until translucent. Add wild plum jam, honey, red wine vinegar, ground ginger and freshly ground pepper. Simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes. Set aside half of the sauce for basting and half for a dipping sauce.

Preheat a gas grill on medium heat for 10 minutes. Place ribs on grill, basting with sauce. Turn frequently, basting with more sauce for 15 minutes or until ribs are browned and crisp. Heat remaining sauce and serve with the ribs.

Grilled Ribs with Oriental Plum Sauce

A great appetizer or main course dish

See Grilled Ribs with Oriental Plum Sauce on Key Ingredient.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie-Black and White Banana Loaf

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Monday is the busiest day of the week for me as it is usually catch-up day after a full weekend and why I choose to do my baking for TWD on that day is beyond me. Usually, I have last minute ingredients to buy, especially if I need something fresh for what I am baking. So I drag out and go to exercise class, then do my shopping for the day, then rush home, prepare my dish and then work on the photography. By the time all that is done, I have no time to upload the photos and write the post. So here I am, Tuesday morning at 7:30 am writing when I know everyone else in the group has already posted their entries.

I haven't marbled a cake in a long time. I think the first time was with a cake mix with individual packets for the light and dark batter and was baked in a bundt pan. I don't remember having any difficulties doing the marbling. I do remember the cake was dry and tasteless as many cake mixes are. This Black and White Banana Loaf chosen by Ashlee of A Year in the Kitchen was a very moist cake with a flavorful combination of bananas, chocolate, rum, nutmeg and lemon zest. Trying so hard not to overdo the marbling, I didn't get quite the effect I was hoping for. I spooned the batter in the pan in a light, dark light pattern, but should have done a few more "zigs" to better distribute the chocolate. Nevertheless, my technique of marbling certainly didn't affect the flavor of the loaf.

While great with a cup of hot coffee, I served the loaf with an iced cafe au lait perfect for a humid 98° day in Georgia. Next TWD is Dorie's Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream chosen by Delores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity. Ice cream is my favorite dessert to make so I'm excited about making this lovely colored frozen concoction. Head over to Ashlee's blog for the recipe for Black and White Banana Loaf and to the TWD site for other posts on this loaf.
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