Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm Moving....

Monday, August 30, 2010
I'm switching over to my own domain at but the site is currently under construction. The new and improved version should be up in the next few days!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Handy New Tool

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I got this excellent dough mat this weekend and highly recommend that you own one too if you make a lot of pastry. It's nonstick, has a weight and measure conversion chart, and clearly marks your goal size for rolling out everything from a wee six inch tart to a giant 11 inch pie.

I also treated myself to a new book, Pastry Cook by Catherine Atkinson. It was a cheap treat and has pretty much already paid for itself with its many technique focused photos and its recipe for raspberry creme brulee tart, which I made for my brother's wedding. It got eaten before I could take a picture but it was something like this:
(Picture from

Super rich and sturdy enough to survive 2.5 hours in the car, this tart was pretty easy to put together and could easily work with a variety of fruits.

Raspberry Creme Brulee Tart from Pastry Cook - serves 10 to 12 in a 9 inch tart pan
For the crust
2 cups all purpose flour
1 pinch coarse kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk (reserve egg white)
Zest of a large orange

For the filling
1 1/2 cups whole fresh raspberries
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or one whole vanilla bean, scraped
2 Tbsp. caster sugar
1 whole egg
3 large egg yolks
6 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Blend in a food processor or with a pastry blender, the flour salt and butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolk and orange zest, add to flour mixture and knead until a soft dough forms. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 400 and put a baking sheet in the oven while pre-heating. Bring heavy cream and vanilla to warm in a small heavy saucepan. Whisk egg yolks, whole egg, and sugar together in a small jug until light. Pour warmed cream into the egg and sugar combination and whisk to make a custard.

Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface (or dough mat!) and roll out to fit a 9 inch tart pan with releasable bottom. Prick the bottom of the tart shell and place on hot baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush shell with reserved egg white. Return shell to oven for another 3-4 minutes. Remove pre-baked shell and reduce heat to 325.

Scatter fresh raspberries evenly over the bottom of the pre-baked shell. Slowly pour custard over top and bake on the baking sheet for 15-17 minutes or until very lightly set. Cool completely and then chill for four hours or overnight.

To form bruleed crust before serving, sprinkle cold surface of tart with powdered sugar and place under broiler on low for just under five minutes. Obviously, a brulee torch works too. That will be my next handy new tool purchase.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Swede Approved, Probs

Friday, July 30, 2010

This is alternately giving me that pre-barf feeling in my throat and intriguing me to come up with some savory cocktail options, garnished with dill. It probably would be good in a bloody mary which is, apparently, the idea behind this refreshing bacon vodka.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cinnamon-Cumin Pork Chops and Orzo Salad with Eggplant, Mint, & Feta

Friday, July 23, 2010

All day yesterday I knew I wanted to make a peach and blackberry cobbler for dessert but was at a loss as to what to have for dinner. My co-worker Jessie then solved that problem for me by saying that she had never really had a good, juicy pork chop. I took that as a challenge and made these pork chops glazed with cinnamon, cumin, lemon juice, and olive oil seared in a hot, dry pan.

But the clincher of the meal was this orzo salad which is super adaptable (could use Israeli cous cous, substitute different cheeses, veggies, and herbs) and can be served hot or cold.

Orzo Salad with Eggplant, Mint, & Feta - serves 6
Olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
Sea salt mix (sea salt with rosemary, tarragon, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes)
1 large eggplant, diced with skin on
1 medium zucchini, diced with skin on
1 box orzo
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 large red onion (or one small), finely diced
2/3 cup zante currants
1 large bunch chopped fresh mint
Generous handful of crumbled feta cheese

Toss diced eggplant with the sea salt mixture and a good amount of olive oil. Roast in a 375 oven for about 25 minutes. Cook orzo just shy of al dente as it will absorb more cooking liquids when the salad comes together. As the orzo is cooking, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter to a large, deep saute pan. Add diced zucchini and cool for about 5 minutes then add currants and broth, allowing the currants to plump a bit. Drain pasta and rinse well with cold water to stop the cooking process. Add pasta, raw onion, and eggplant to the saute pan and mix well. Transfer to serving dish and allow to cool a bit before finishing with the feta and mint.

Thanks friends!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"It's Like Upton Sinclair Nightmare Bratwurst"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The LAS-andwich. [Photo: News of the World]

In this week alone I've been made aware of the Candwich, the footlong cheeseburger, and this lasandwich. But of all the disturbing pre-fab foods I have learned of lately, this German-made hamburger in a can is top drawer. Everything about it is best summed up in the taste-test experience conducted by the Onion AV clubbers. Just be aware that the German company that makes these does not ship to the US.

Sad Keanu.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Challenge: Jacket Lunch Box

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Challenge...not accepted. I am not even artistic enough to trace this image onto a sheet of paper, let alone transfer its likeness in Marmite onto white bread.

I also really like this one using bits of fruit, rice, and nori but it is not quite as nuanced...or something.

I can't understand anything on the Jacket Lunch Box website of course but I found it via the Food Network Humor site which boasts this gem of a series: Unnecessarily Censoring the Food Network.

Get Kids to Eat Their Cereal, Jello, Peanuts, and BRAINS

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