Archive for July, 2009

Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream

Too soft first thing in the morning...

Too soft first thing in the morning...

This week’s TWD delight, Vanilla Ice Cream, was chosen by Lynne of Café LynnyLu. Visit Lynne to see how creamy good her Vanilla Ice Cream turned out and to check out her ‘vintage’ ice cream maker – cool! She has the cutest, colorful ice cream bowls and containers too! I could go on and on… Oh, yeah, you can also get the recipe there if you haven’t bought The Book yet.

Ice Cream has been my Achilles’ Heel. I’m not sure if that’s the correct comparison but the first time I made ice cream was Dorie’s Honey Peach Ice Cream. Sure it looked fantastic, but the taste. Bleah. It ended up having a filmy feel to it. When I washed the spoon I tasted it with, it felt like washing butter off the spoon. Is homemade ice cream supposed to taste like that? I don’t think so. So when I saw the Vanilla Ice Cream pick, I approached it very cautiously. I even thought of skipping it this week. I procrastinated until the last minute and finally made the custard last night. I woke up early this morning to put the custard in the ice cream maker. (I hope I didn’t wake the neighbors – who knew the ice cream machine maker would be noisy? I didn’t remember that part…sorry neighbors!) And look, my post is late in the day because I feel soo ambivalent about it.

Everything went according to plan. I even used the Playing Around section for once and decided to make Cinnamon Ice Cream, being that I love everything cinnamon and all. 1 T of cinnamon is a LOT of cinnamon, even for a cinnamon lover like me! The egg mixture was pretty brown and I was wondering if my cinnamon/vanilla ice cream would end up looking like mud.

Of course I had problems with the custard. I overcooked it. Sheesh. I totally forgot to get a new instant read thermometer so had to rely on my eyes to see when the custard would coat the spoon. Did I tell you that I have very bad eyesight? Even with my contacts in, I couldn’t spot it soon enough so I ended up with lumpy custard. I was hoping the ice cream maker would make it nice and lumpless…

Well, it looked like ice cream when the maker was done with it. But so did the Honey Peach Ice Cream and look how that turned out! I took a small taste because Cinnamon Ice Cream early in the morning is too much even for me. And I could swear that there was a filmy taste to it. I’ll find out for sure later tonight but I’m not hopeful. What am I doing WRONG?? I know it must be my lack of custard making skills, but PLEASE, isn’t there an ice cream recipe that doesn’t require a custard base? PLEASE? So far I’m 0 for 2 and soo sad because I LOVE ice cream! I haven’t purchased The Perfect Scoop because I don’t want to keep making throw-away ice cream! HELP!

UPDATE: I tried the Cinnamon Ice Cream for dessert last night. And there was a little film left on the spoon but there wasn’t a filmy taste left in my mouth! Amazing. So it appears that I did improve a little with this ice cream, but not enough! I don’t want any film period! =) There’s hope yet!
Last Week: Raspberry Blanc-Manger
Next Week: Classic Banana Bundt Cake


Raspberry Blanc-Manger

Hee hee - I thought I'd be able to 'pipe' the Raspberry Coulis!  HAH!

Hee hee - I thought I'd be able to 'pipe' the Raspberry Coulis! HAH!

This week Susan of sticky, gooey, creamy, chewy chose Raspberry Blanc-Manger for the TWD bakers to create. Go ahead and checkout Susan’s blog, she just revamped it and it looks awesome!
Since I joined TWD on Saint Patrick’s Day, I’ve baked many new goodies and quite a few that I wasn’t able to even pronounce before. Here’s another one to add to the list. Raspberry Blanc-Manger is pronounced as Raspberry “blah-mahn-jhay”.
Another first for me, first time to use gelatin. I wish I had taken a picture of the gelatin after I added the cold water. After putting them together, it’s suppose to look soft and spongy. I was wondering if I should mix it together but the instructions didn’t say so. After I checked on my milk/almond mixture I looked back at the gelatin and can you believe it – it really was soft and spongy without my having to mix them together! Amazing. After 15 seconds in the microwave it was liquified and ready to be added to the milk/almond mixture.
Another first was using ground almonds. I didn’t have enough almonds to finely ground enough for 3/4 cup so I went to Trader Joes (Thanks to Nancy’s of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs tip in the P&Qs) and bought a bag. Not exactly sure what I’ll do with the rest of the bag – any suggestions?
This was a really easy recipe considering that it was the first time I used gelatin and was a little frazzled about the instruction to boil the milk/almond mixture and ‘Meanwhile, do the gelatin’. I’m not very good at doing things at the same time and tend to stress myself out in the meantime. But this recipe must be very forgiving because I was able to do it without any problems (well, except for forgetting to turn the burner off and wondering why the bottom of my saucepan looked all brown and burnt…).
You very gently fold in the whipped cream with the cooled milk/almond mixture. Well there was nothing gently about my folding. It started out gently enough but it wasn’t getting all mixed up so I ended up man-handling it quite a bit. Same thing when I added the raspberry bits. Speaking of those bits, I was worried that adding the raspberry bits would turn the blanc-manger into a pink-manger instead since the raspberries were so juicy. But it seemed to hold its creamy color. Here’s a picture of it before going into the refrigerator to set:

The blanc-manger with the raspberry bits... and almond flecks I think...

The blanc-manger with the raspberry bits... and almond flecks I think...

And who knew that something so sweet tasting as Raspberry Coulis would be soo simple to make? Just puree some raspberries with some sugar and there you have it. I halved the recipe because I didn’t think we’d use all of the coulis and it was more than enough. The only difficult part is straining the seeds out. Bleah, they look soo creepy when they’re strained.
So the picture in Dorie’s book looks really beautiful. I knew I wouldn’t be able to duplicate it so I had the brilliant idea of piping the coulis so that the raspberries would be centers of flowers. HAH! Um, I guess I should have figured out it’s impossible to pipe liquid. I did the best I could and actually rather like the outcome. I think it would have looked nicer with some of the coulis draping the side but it looked very not pretty (it’s on the side of the picture that you can’t see in the top photo).
Serving it for dessert, I added more coulis – coloring in the circles so that it looks like I intentionally glazed it. It looks so pretty with the red of the raspberry and the creamy color of the blanc-manger sitting on a pretty blue dish.
Looks like a 4th of July dessert!

Looks like a 4th of July dessert!

If you don’t have Dorie’s book, Baking From My Home to Yours, go and buy it now! You too can have this light, flavorful dessert after dinner tonight! Or if you just want to preview one of her recipes, visit Susan at sticky, gooey, creamy, chewy for the recipe. It’s a great treat on a hot summer day!


Last Week: Brioche Plum Tart
Next Week: Vanilla Ice Cream

Roasted Halibut with Garlic Sauce

Dinner - the fried rice was my favorite part...

Dinner - the fried rice was my favorite part...

We went to Costco on Saturday and came home with a halibut fillet as well as an ahi steak. For dinner on Saturday, we decided upon the halibut. I looked on for an easy recipe – preferably one where the ingredients were already in the pantry. We found Roasted Halibut with Garlic Sauce which only needed olive oil, garlic, and mayo.

The result was a hit with the beau, not as much for me. I’m not a fan of mayo although it did keep the halibut moist. I added some lemon juice to the mayo mixture since it suggested using lemon wedges as a garnish and I liked that little hint of lemon. I love lemon, I even used lemon pepper on my broccoli. The beau made fried rice with our left over rice pilaf and I liked that the best – I love fried rice!
So if you happen to have halibut, olive oil, garlic gloves, and mayo, go ahead and give this a try! All you do is whisk the olive oil with the garlic and whisk the mayo in afterwards then spread it over the fillet and bake for about 10-15 minutes. So easy, even a Caveman can do it.

Brioche Plum Tart

Looks a little brown at the edges, but plummy goodness in the middle!

Looks a little brown at the edges, but plummy goodness in the middle!

This week Denise of Chez Us selected Dorie’s Brioche Plum Tart recipe for our TWD adventure. Please visit Denise at Chez Us to see how beautiful her Brioche Plum Tart turned out and to get the recipe . Better yet, buy Dorie’s book – it’s a definite keeper with soo many fantastic recipes!

Brioche Plum Tart was quite the challenge for me. It was the first time for me to bake with yeast and to bake a brioche. In fact, I’ve never tasted brioche before either!

I found pluots at the market. I’ve never tried those either but they looked more ripe than the regular plums so I bought 3 larger pluots (Black Cherry) and 3 smaller pluots (Crimson something or other).

Making the dough was quite an experience. The first step was to mix the milk and yeast together until the yeast dissolved. Well, when I started mixing the two together what I got was not dissolved yeast but a clump of yeast. Yipes. I kept stirring and smushing the yeast to help it dissolve until it finally did. (Does it make a difference if it was forcibly dissolved?)

I’m in the minority; I prefer to use my hand mixer vs. my Kitchen Aid. But since I needed the dough hook and my hand mixer doesn’t come supplied with one I turned to my Kitchen Aid. It was neat seeing the dough come together with the dough hook. This dough would not stop rising though! I slapped it down with a rubber spatula every 30 minutes for 2 hours per the instructions. It looked like it had settled down a bit. I left it in the refrigerator overnight and the next morning I had to slap it down a bit more then shaped it into my ceramic pie dish. I can’t imagine using my tart pan; the dough would have spilt over all over.

I found Knott’s Plum Jam at Stater Brothers so spread that over the bottom of the dough. I sliced the pluots which were soo juicy, the juice was running all over the cutting board. They weren’t overripe, just really juicy. I ended up using all 3 of the larger pluots and only 1 of the smaller ones. Next time I plan to slice them into smaller pieces instead of quartering them, maybe I’ll be able to fit more in or maybe not since the end result was rather soupy with the juices.

You mix 3 T of sugar with 2 T of chopped walnuts. I thought 3 T of sugar was a small amount and the same with the chopped walnuts. I ended up with 3 T of sugar and almost 3 T of chopped walnuts. It looked like a small amount but it blanketed the plum tart really well as you can see here:

And I thought 3 T of sugar wouldn't amount to much...

And I thought 3 T of sugar wouldn't amount to much...

From the P&Qs, it looked like the tart needed to be tented a little earlier than the 20 minutes suggested so I kept an eye on it and tented it after 10 minutes. This might have been my problem because I took it out after 30 minutes total and the brioche sounded hollow when tapped. But I noticed that the inner sides of the brioche and the middle looked a little under baked. It went back in the oven and the brioche ended up getting a bit too brown after all. O, well.

The beau took this treat to work and informed me later that morning that it was a bit soupy! I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t look soupy out of the oven. I didn’t get a taste of it so I fully intend to try this again because it looked and smelled so delicious. The beau especially liked the addition of the chopped walnuts. He’s a nut fan, me – not so much.

Be sure to check out the other TWD bakers to see what type of Brioche Fruit Tart they came up with. I know some of them used blueberries, strawberries, and apricots!

Last Week: Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies
Next Week: Raspberry Blanc-Manger

Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies

Holy Cow!  Does that look like fudgy brownies or what?

Holy Cow! Does that look like fudgy brownies or what?

A while ago there was a contest for the new TWD logo and the winner would be able to go to the front of the line and pick the next recipe for us to follow. The winner was Lisa of Surviving Oz. The logo is just fantastic and I can’t wait to add it to my blog! (Does anyone know how to do that with wordpress?)

Please visit Lisa at Surviving Oz for the recipe for this week’s TWD assignment Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies. (It’s the first time I realized that Miss Hepburn spelled her first name Katharine vs Katherine) Lisa posted step by step instructions, pictures included, on how to make these oh-so-fudgy brownies! You really have to visit Lisa’s blog because she is super entertaining (you’ll also see how cute Australian eggs are sold!), so go ahead and browse around!

I went to Shaver Lake for the holiday weekend and the beau wanted me to make these brownies for the trip. Well, I didn’t have time to bake it before we left on Thursday and I didn’t want to figure out how to bake it at Shaver lake taking into consideration the elevation problem so no brownies for the weekend. What we actually did have some time for was home made ice cream! Can you believe it – we made it with one of those ice cream ball makers! I was HIGHLY skeptical this thing would work but not only did it work – it worked too well! Or actually, I shook it for much too long and we had to wait for the ice cream to soften before we could actually eat it… If you remember, I am quite the wimp so it actually hurt a little to make ice cream this way. However, if you’re not a wimp and would like to have ice cream in 20 minutes or so, give it a whirl! You’ll be totally surprised!

Back to the brownies… I finally got around to baking them around 10pm last night. I told the beau he could take these to work if he wanted to or keep them for him. When I read the ingredients included cinnamon, I was really looking forward to this because I love cinnamon! I ended up using the instant espresso because I didn’t want to bother grinding the instant coffee. HAH! It smells soooo good while it’s baking in the oven!

Look at how much bittersweet chocolate there is!!  =)

Look at how much bittersweet chocolate there is!! =)

This turned out to be a really easy brownie recipe. The only problem I had was trying to turn the brownies out onto the rack. They weren’t budging from the pan at all. I thought I had made a huge mistake somewhere, but eventually after some prodding, the brownies were turned out onto the rack and then flipped onto the cutting board. These are super gooey and fudgy brownies. The beau really wanted to try a piece, plus it was getting late so I didn’t exactly wait long enough before we cut into it. It was a bit sticky trying to cut them but WOW! LOVE IT! Um, unfortunately the beau took one bite of his piece and found a nut shell. I bought a half cup bag of chopped walnuts and a half cup bag of chopped pecans so I’m not sure which bag had the shell in it… Oops. But after finishing that first piece, he asked for another piece! Well, I’m pretty sure the brownies stayed put, sorry beau’s co-workers!

You can see the melting chocolate and the butter stain no the cutting board...

You can see the melting chocolate and the butter stain no the cutting board...

I definitely plan on making these again! You should try making this yourself! If you don’t already have the book, go out and get it! I’ve made soo many delicious treats from this book and I’m always looking forward to baking the next one!

Last Week: Perfect Party Cake
Next Week: Brioche Plum Tart