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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tall and Creamy Cheesecake Topped with Fresh Blueberries and Raspberries-Tuesdays with Dorie

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I would have loved to play around with this yummy cheesecake if I had more time. With my family visiting, I knew if I was going to get this cheesecake made, I'd have to get up early to prepare it so it will have time to bake for the hour and a half, plus "luxuriate" in the water bath, cool to room temperature and refrigerate before we all went out for the day. However, I misjudged just exactly how long this process would take and our plans had to be altered so I almost regret making it. Apparently, I didn't read Dorie's caveat"Never rush a cheesecake to the table". Despite my breakneck speed in making the cheesecake, it made it to the refrigerator and we were able to enjoy a nice picnic and trail walk at Skidaway State Park near Savannah.

Anne over at AnneStrawberry choice was a good one for a crowd during the holidays. You can find the recipe with some creative twists on her blog and as always, check out the TWD blogroll for other variations of this decadently rich cheesecake.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Real Butterscotch Pudding-Tuesdays with Dorie

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This butterscotch pudding is the real deal, no fake flavors like the boxed version. Do they even make the boxed one anymore? I don't know since I don't buy them. Dorie's Real Butterscotch Pudding chosen by Donna of Spatulas, Corkscrews and Suitcases is rich, smooth with a slight kick by adding a few tablespoons of a 12 year old Glenlivet Scotch whiskey. I was able to buy a small airplane size bottle instead of having to put out the big bucks for a full bottle.

The pudding is a little pale for my eyes so will use dark brown sugar next time I make it. I don't think it would make too much difference in the flavor, maybe even a little deeper butterscotch flavor than with the light brown sugar. After all, one of the definitions of butterscotch is "having a golden or tawny brown" color. According to Wikipedia, "Food historians have several theories regarding the name and origin of this confectionery, but none are conclusive. One explanation is the meaning "to cut or score" for the word "scotch", as the confection must be cut into pieces, or "scotched", before hardening. It is also possible that the "scotch" part of its name was derived from the word "scorch"."

Enjoy other posts on Dorie's Real Butterscotch Pudding from the TWD blogroll. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program-Cowgirl Chocolates

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Foodbuzz' Tastemaker program gives those who have signed up an opportunity to sample products from different companies. A wide variety of products can be chosen upon sign-up. If there is a product available in one of the categories checked, Foodbuzz sends an email asking you if you want the product sent to you. It's on a first come basis. A few weeks ago,I chose to participate in the Tastemaker's program excited about getting food and food related products to try. When I got the email from Foodbuzz asking if I would like this product, I replied "yes" promptly.

Yesterday, I received a beautifully wrapped box of chocolates from Cowgirl Chocolates, a Foodbuzz featured publisher. When I saw that the chocolate flavors comprised of not only dark and light chocolate with nuts and fruity flavors, but with some spicy chilies such as the habanero, I was hooked. I like chocolates, but don't have a passion for it as some people do, but put some heat from chiles in the chocolate and my passion for chocolate index fires up.
Marilyn Lysohir, founder of Cowgirl Chocolates, mixed a notable career as a ceramics sculptor with a knowledge of chocolate making learned from her first job in a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania. Her chocolates have won many awards and has been featured on various programs on the Food Network.
Cowgirl Chocolates make great gifts for chocolate lovers everywhere.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Buttery Jam Cookies-Tuesdays with Dorie

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I had to adorn my buttery jam cookies with Christmas finery because they looked a little "plain Jane" to me. However, with the tangy apricot flavor and the added chopped crystallized ginger, the cookies were anything but plain. A bit like a biscuit as Dorie pointed out in her introduction to the recipe, the cookies were delicate and crumbly like a shortbread. I had mine with a cup of hot cocoa and thought it a perfect pairing.

I was out of apricot jam, but had some apricot paste I had bought this past week. The flavor is quite intense which is what I wanted to achieve. If you decide to use a fruit paste in the cookies, you will need to microwave it some to get the consistency of jam. Each little bite of cookie had some of the apricot flavor and the crystallized ginger flavor. The dough was difficult to work with, but found that if I wet my hands, I could form a smooth ball, then could flatten them some so they would look more like a cookie. They would be great rolled in confectioners' sugar like Mexican wedding cookies.

Heather from Randomosity and the Girl made a good choice for a not-too-sweet treat for the Holidays. You can find the recipe on her blog or on page 80 of "Baking From My Home to Yours".

Placed in a mug or tea cup with some hot chocolate mix or a favorite blend of tea,the cookies would make a perfect food gift for the Holidays. Next weeks pick, Real Butterscotch Pudding comes from Donna of Spatulas, Corkscrews & Suitcases.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Beautiful Orchid for Barbara and a Bowl of Mango Coconut Ice Cream

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Among other meanings, the orchid signifies refinement, elegance and strength.My refreshing tangy bowl of mango coconut ice cream goes to Barbara, who possesses all these attributes.

We in the food blogging world are saddened that Barbara is having to deal with more chemotheraphy for cancer. Bron and Ilva have organized an event to send Barbara virtual hugs with soothing food to let her know that we are all cheering for her as she goes through this difficult time.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Barbara. Hope you enjoy this flavorful and soothing mango coconut ice cream.



Mango Coconut Ice Cream

1 1/4 cups canned or fresh mango purée
3/4 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup or sugar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup half and half
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar

Toasted coconut for garnish

Combine mango puree, coconut milk, heavy cream, corn syrup or sugar, orange juice,zest and vanilla. Stir well.

Whisk egg yolks, sugar and a large pinch of salt together in a medium bowl.In a heavy saucepan, bring half and half just to a boil. Temper the whisked egg sugar mixture by whisking in a little of the hot cream mixture. Repeat one or two times, then pour egg mixture into the saucepan with the hot cream. Whisk constantly over low heat until mixture reaches 170°-175°F. Strain custard through sieve and cool before placing in refrigerator. Chill overnight.

Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Freeze in a covered container for at least two hours before serving. If frozen hard, let stand on counter until softened enough to scoop. Garnish with toasted coconut. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Smoky Chile Roasted Pumpkin (Pepitas) Seeds

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Pepitas are hulled seeds from the calabaza family, better known as the pumpkin, a winter squash. The seeds are used extensively in Yucatecan dishes such pipian verde, an ancient Mexican dish where the pepitas are browned in oil along with garlic, chiles, spices, ground into a paste and made into a sauce which can be served over roast chicken or enchiladas. The Yucatan region of Mexico produces a large number of commercial pumpkin seeds. A few years ago, you could only find pepitas in health food stores or markets in the Southwestern part of the United States, but they are readily available in specialty food stores and Mexican groceries.

Pepitas are not only a rich source of magnesium, which helps build and strengthen bones and keeps the circulatory system running smoothly, but are packed with protein Vitamin B and Iron as well as monounsaturated and omega6 polyunsaturated fats. To boost the protein in salads or bread, add a few tablespoons of pepitas. Just recently, I made a maple nut granola which includes pepitas along with other healthful seeds and nuts.

As you probably know from a previous post that I am a great fan of Mexican and Southwestern foods. In a cookbook featuring chipotle peppers, I found a recipe for chili-roasted pepitas using a homemade smoky chili powder. They were an instant hit with my family as a snack and the leftover roasted seeds were sprinkled over a pork chile verde we had for dinner that night.

Smoky Chili Powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chipotle-chili powder
1 tablespoon ancho-chili powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano, crumbled
2 tablespoons garlic powder

Makes 1/2 cup.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, transfer to an airtight container. Keeps for about a month.

Chili-Roasted Pepitas


1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds(pepitas)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Smoky Chili Powder (above)
Salt to taste

Over medium heat, preheat a 10" cast iron skillet or a heavy skillet. In a bowl, combine the seeds, oil, smoky chili powder and salt to taste. Add the mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.

Makes 1 cup.

Recipe from "Chipotle, Smoky Hot Recipes for All Occasions" by Leda Scheintaub.

This is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Chriesi of Almond Corner.

One year ago on Cafe Lynnylu-Cinnamon Beef Noodles

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Grandma's All Occasion Sugar Cookies-Tuesdays with Dorie

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I was in the windy and cold city of Chicago the week after Thanksgiving so missed two weeks of Tuesdays with Dorie. Chicago is one of my favorite food cities and many of my favorite restaurants are just a block or two from our hotel. Good thing, too, as it was freezing cold there. Now to these crisp, buttery little beauties-Grandma's All Occasion Sugar Cookies, chosen at a perfect time for the Holidays by Ulrike of Küchenlatein.

Such a perfect all-around cookie, the sugar cookies are basically a blank canvas. You can bake and decorate them in any way, shape or form. However, due to my being "cookie decorating challenged", I just flavored them with orange zest, made slice and bake cookies, sprinkled them with sparkling sugar and tied a big bow around them. I'm looking forward to seeing what other TWD bakers have done with their sugar cookies. Maybe I can get some tips on decorating.

After chilling the roll of dough for 2 hours, I popped them in the freezer for about 30 minutes and was pleased that they were easy to slice and didn't crumble. My final verdict on the sugar cookies is that they are a definite keeper. I froze what I didn't eat so the grandchildren can enjoy them over the Holidays. For December 16, Heather from Randomosityandthegirl has chosen Buttery Jam Cookies on page 80 of Baking From My Home to Yours. For this recipe, head over to Ulrike's awesome blog.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Brioche

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"La Brioche" (Cake),1763 by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Musee du Lourve, Paris

This beautiful still life by Chardin was painted in the late seventeen hundreds, but brioche had it's beginnings in the 14th century, possibly in the Normandy region of France where butter was exceptional. Brioche,from the French word, "broyer" which means "to pound", is a yeast bread enriched with butter and eggs, a cross between bread and cake. The dough has a slow rise in the refrigerator and then shaped in the traditional brioche a tete, one piece of dough which fills the fluted pan and topped with smaller round piece of dough. Brioche can be sweet and served as a dessert or savory. Day old brioche can be toasted and served with butter and jam or slices can be dipped in beaten egg and fried in a pan for a delicious French toast.

Just recently, I bought Alice Medrich's book "Pure Dessert", a great book with a wide variety of desserts. I plan to work my way through the book making all of her luscious delights, but I couldn't decide which one to start with. I would just let the book fall open and whatever came up, I would make. Lucky for me, the book fell open to "Desire's Brioche". A trip to the grocery store was not necessary as I had all the ingredients on hand.

When making brioche, all of the ingredients should be very cold and the dough must rest overnight in the refrigerator. If you don't have the individual brioche pans, you can use standard muffin tins, but the effect won't be the same. Achieving the traditional top knot may take a little practice, but don't despair, the brioches are tasty no matter what their shape.


Desire's Brioche

Ingredients

3 cups (15 ounces) bread flour
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115° F.)
5 large cold eggs
1 tablespoon sour cream or yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg plus 1 teaspoon water for wash

10 4-inch individual brioche pans

Place the flour in a shallow pan, cover and freeze for 30 minutes. Put the cold butter in the mixer bowl and use the paddle attachment to beat it only until it is creamy and smooth; there should be no small hard lumps when you pinch it between your fingers. Scrape the butter into a mound on a piece of wax paper and refrigerate. You must proceed with the recipe right away as a long delay will reharden the butter.

In a clean mixer bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in the warm water just until dissolved. Attach the dough hook. Add the remaining 1/3 sugar, the eggs, sour cream or yogurt, salt and flour and mix on low speed until the ingredients are blended, scraping the bowl as necessary. Knead the dough on medium speed for 5 minutes. At the end of the kneading period, the dough will be very soft, moist and sticky, and very elastic; it will be wrapped around the dough hook.

Add the cold creamed butter in several pieces, pushing it into the dough and beating thoroughly until it is incorporated. This will require stopping several times to scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl and off the hook. Scrape the dough into a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight, or for as long as 24 hours.

Generously butter the brioche pans.Scrape the dough out onto a floured surface and deflate it with your hands. Divide into 10 equal pieces.

To form the traditional brioches with the topknot, first round each piece as follows: Place a piece of dough cut side down on a lightly floured counter. Flour hands, then cup hand over dough in a loose cage over the dough. Press the dough down gently as you rotate your hand counterclockwise in a small circle. Your hand should stay dry while the counter becomes slightly tacky from contact with the cut side of the dough. A tight ball should be forming. This takes practice. Set each ball of dough aside seam side down as you repeat the process on each piece of dough.

Form each round into a fat snowman shape: Cup you hands around the top third of a dough
ball and squeeze gently with the sides of your hands while you shimmy the back and forth to form a narrow neck with a little head on top. Place the snowman in a buttered brioche pan. Grasp the head from the top with your fingertips at the neck, and simultaneously pinch and twist the neck, then jam it deep into the dough in the pan. To secure the topknot and prevent it from from popping out during the proofing and baking, flour your index finger and poke your floured finger two or three more times around the seam of the topknot to secure it. Repeat until all of the brioches are formed.

Place the pans on a baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until almost double, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Thoroughly whisk the egg with 1 teaspoon water and strain it to remove any large bits of white. Brush the egg wash gently over the surface of each brioche, taking care not to get it on the pans, Bake until the tops are deeply browned and the bottom of the pans sound hollow when tapped, or an instant read thermometer registers 200°F when inserted in the center of the bread, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on rack.
Serve warm, or at room temperature.


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