Friday, May 30, 2008
They are so engrossed in their Nintendo DS games. Look at all three of them. You can tell its the weekend. Their brains go off learning mode and goes into gamer mode. I really don't let them play all day although they would if they could. This summer they will forgo the Nintendo games and spend a good part of there day "fishing" for crawdads in the creek behind our home. Or they will pretend they have to defend their fort they made by the creek and fight imaginary battles. Considering we live in sort of a big city, they really do get to enjoy the outdoors a lot. Swimming, fishing, biking, running around and playing kick the can. Yes, I did say kick the can. My kids and the neighborhood kids really enjoy playing this "new" game. We have only two more weeks of school and then they will be free to explore and have fun. Oh! its good to be a kid!
Ignore how dirty the table is please!
After I wrote all this, they broke out into a fight. Brotherly bliss did not last long. Sigh!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
So trying to figure out my flavor profile was interesting. At first I thought I might try something more challenging like a fruit base perhaps in mango or even strawberry. I discarded that idea and decided to keep it simple since I had so many components to this cake that I had not tried. I finally decided on what I had on hand which was orange. I flavored the syrup with orange flower water that I use for my baklava. It gave the syrup a very floral note and had a beautiful orange finish to it. For the butter cream I used orange extract and for the ganache I used Triple Sec to flavor it. I liked the orange flavor with the white chocolate glaze. In general, I think it turned out well. I made a few mistakes, the first being I did not use all my syrup to soak the cake layers. I was afraid it would turn out to soggy, but in fact the cake seemed a little on the dry side to me. I also tried to cut back on cost a little and used white chocolate chunk chips instead of block white chocolate. I think that affected the consistency of the glaze. I am not a white chocolate fan and didn’t want to break the bank with this challenge. I think mine didn't turn out as pretty as some, but the taste was great and I had fun with the challenge. What more could you ask for! The recipe is on Yvonne's blog link if you want to give it a try. Bon Appetit!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Flank steak is big in our house. Hubby's family grew up with the stuff. So when I married into their brood, I learned to cook this flat but flavorful meat. Two of our boys love steak so it is a semi-regular in our home. I like to grill the steak with just some kosher salt and pepper or sometimes I will use some Santa Maria seasoning on the steak. What I love about the flank steak besides the taste, is I can usually get 2 to 3 meals off one steak. As our sons grow I know that will not happen, but for right now I can really make it stretch. Our second meal from the flank steak is always steak tacos. This is hubby's favorite! I slice the steak against the grain and add a little of canola oil to a pan. I pan fry the meat until it is heated through and then I rough chop the steak up. We serve it Guadalajara style, which is with corn tortillas, chopped cilantro, chopped onion, crumbled queso or shredded cheddar/jack cheese mix and lime wedges. I will serve this with homemade Mexican rice. Delicious! If I am able to get another meal from the steak, I usually make french dip sandwiches. I got the Au jus recipe here. I warmed up the meat in a pan and then assembled the sandwich. It's a really good, rib sticking, man/woman loving sandwich!
The beautiful salad with the steak was extra yummy! Notice the green dressing. It's a great dressing from Mariel Hemingway. What I like about it is it is made from spinach and basil. So not only are you eating your veggies in your salad but your dressing is also veggies. In my book its win win! The salad was filled with romaine lettuce, radicchio, prosciutto that I baked in the oven until crisp, a crumbled Spanish blue cheese and roasted baby beets. Whats not to love!
Amazing Dressing (adapted from Mariel Hemingway)
4 cups fresh organic spinach, washed and dried
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of sun dried tomato bruschetta ( I found mine at Trader Joe's. The original recipe uses 10 kalamata olives and some juice from the olives. I liked the taste of the dressing with the sun dried tomato better)
Combine all ingredients into food processor or blender and mix until smooth.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been"
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
There is something about the smell of pumpkin cooking. Maybe it reminds me of fall and all the wonderful autumn smells. I was excited to see in Ellie Krieger's new cookbook, The Food You Crave, a recipe for pumpkin pie muffins. The recipe looked delicious, packed with all that wonderful pumpkin pie spices. I liked that it also used half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour. The recipe was good and had all the smells I was looking for. The flavor I thought could use a little more jazzing up. I think the next time I bake these, I will add some crystallized ginger to the recipe. I think I needed more ginger in the recipe. I also omitted the Pepita's on top of the muffins ( I am not a fan of Pepita's). Instead I added some sunflower seeds on half of the muffins and a little sanding sugar on the other half. Overall, a good recipe that I would make again. J loved the muffins and promptly ate two of them this morning. Good endorsement from a 9 year old.
Pumpkin Pie Muffins (adapted from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave.)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour ( I used King Arthur's white whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray or use paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking soda, salt and the spices. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, molasses, oil and one of the eggs until combined. Add the other egg and whisk well. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk, just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each about two-thirds full. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
So, do you think I overdid it? I was supposed to bring in some cookies to J's class for his birthday celebration, but I couldn't just bring in one kind of cookie, I had to make three different kinds of cookies! His class is on the large side, so my snicker doodle recipe (actually, its Martha Stewart's recipe) didn't quite make enough. So, I thought I would make another recipe, but this time I did my chocolate chip cookie (also Martha's) recipe. I like this chocolate chip recipe because the cookies are on the cakey side. They also are not too sweet, which I tend to find most chocolate chip cookie are like. Since I was baking, I might as well make another cookie batch, so I made the surprise cookies. These were fun cookies with a marshmallow hidden inside. They are a dense cake like chocolate drop cookie. Very cookie-rific!