Last Wednesday was Laurens 21st Birthday.
We did have a drink with her at midnight at a bar downtown on her birthday, but we didn't get to properly celebrate until Sunday night. We ended up going for a french theme, mainly because I wanted to watch Amelie, drink champagne and eat creme brulee. So we ran with that idea.
Lauren has been celebrating for a good, oh, 6 nights, but did not have a birthday cake! Although I was determined to make creme brulee I knew I had to make a cake too. It's not a birthday without a cake. We planned for two appetizers, two desserts, croque monsieurs and ratatouille.
The party started at 6pm, and I wasn't home from the gorcery store until 3:30pm. Somehow I managed to make a coffee chocolate cake with a mascarpone whipped ceam filling, a homemade buttercream ganache, 6 ramekins of creme brulee, one plate of watermelon/sweet tomato skewers, a bowl full of ratatouille, and six large croque monsieurs (inlcuding the cream sauce), in about 2 1/2 hours. Not to mention halfway through Thomas' dad dropped in. Was it not for my trusty helpers, it would've never gotten pulled together so quickly.
It was lovely, we feasted on good food, managed to drink 3 bottles of lovely french wine, and watched my favorite movie of all time. Thomas had turned the tv room into an Amelie wonderland. Stars hung from a red tulle'd ceiling and candles were strewn about the room everywhere. It was magical.
I will be posting recipes and pictures from the fete here shortly.
Happy Birthday (again) Lauren!
asher you're on my shit list.
I can't believe you haven't even touched the mess in the kitchen.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
So damn delicious.
So cool and refreshing.
I promise I will post this recipe, and the Absorption Pasta recipe tomorrow. Promise.
This Martini is soooo easy to make, all you really need is some ice cold vodka, and some ice cold seedless watermelon. The watermelon does a nice job of soaking the vodka up. This drink is not only delicious, but nice and refreshing too. Much like a Cucumber Martini.
Makes 2 Martinis
4 shots of good vodka
1/4 of a large watermelon pink flesh scooped out
dash of cranberry juice
a few ice cubes (optional)
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend well.
Pour into a martini glass.
You'll get a nice, sweet, airy light pink foam atop your sweet, cool juice.
I love matcha. I stuck my nose deep into the tin this green powder of goodness comes in and took it in. I swear, matcha could be drugs. I love the smell. It makes me feel good inside just to take it in.
I'm going to be quick here, we're heading out to The Beaver for Laurens 21st at midnight. Woot woot.
I'm so tired. . . I'm usually in bed by 11. Ah!
Green tea milkshake:
A few scoops ice cream
2 TBLS matcha
Splash of milk
Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Delicious!
Friday, July 20, 2007
Let me set the scene for you as I sit here on my little yellow stool, in my now fairly dirty kitchen, typing away. The window to my left is open, and the breeze is blowing in ever so slightly. It's been raining and the air smells sweet. I'm facing my kitchen table, which is glowing due to the 3 massive candle sticks that sit atop little "mercury" holders. Empty plates, strewn about. I sit here listening to Yann Tierssenns compostitions reflecting on quite possibly the best meal in a long time.
The rain affords a certain kind of meal, I think. A hearty, warm, belly filling comfort food. As Lauren put it, it's the kind of meal that warms you from the inside. In her case, not only did this dinner warm her from the inside, but it sent shivers through her, twice.
And while I'd like to give you the particulars now, I am going to wait. I've got a very fancy bottle of chocolate sitting here to my right, and I'm itching to make a spiced hot chocolate with it. After I do that, we are all going to snuggle into the TV room and watch a delightful movie. Check back in the next few days for a better explaination and the recipe. It's worth the wait, I promise.
Alright, here's the recipe. I suggest making this dish when the sky is grey and the air is cool. Snuggle up and enjoy.
Serves 4 (with enough left over for one persons lunch, if you're guests don't eat seconds that is)
2 pork chops cubed
One onion diced
4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
2 TBL balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1 jar of good red sauce
1 lb of shell pasta
2 TBL butter and olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Heat the olive oil and saute pork browning evenly. Season with S&P.
2. Add butter and the onion. Allow butter to melt and cook for a few minutes.
3. Add the wine. Reduce to a medium heat. When the wine is almost gone, add the balsamic.
4. Reduce heat to the lowest setting. Let it bubble like this for about 15 minutes, until the onions are completely caramelized.
(Add a splash of wine or balsamic if you need to)
5. Add the dried pasta to the mixture and coat pasta evenly in the mixture.
6. Add the pasta sauce and stir. Pour in a mixture of enough wine and water to just cover the pasta. Return to a gentle simmering heat and cover.
7. Cook pasta about 15 to 20 minutes, testing now and again.
8. When the pasta is nearly done, or a little past al dente, remove the lid, and bring up the heat. Most of the liquid should evaporate after a few minutes of brisk, uncovered bubbling leaving a thick sauce and tender pasta. Top with some fresh basil and any good parmesan you have lying about.
Quite possibly the best meal I've had in months.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
I promise, cross my heart, hope to die, that I will post the recipe tomorrow.
A word to the wise: good but not great. I think I was craving a sweet scone like baked good, not this. Oh well. Didn't turn out bad though! Will be delightful in the morning with a cup of tea!
Alright, like I promised I'm posting the recipe. I've never had brioche but my own, so I couldn't tell you if it turned out right or not. It was fairly tasty, but not sweet, and I think it's supposed to be sweeter than it is. So I was also a little bummed about that.
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour - extra for rolling and kneading
2.5 TBLS butter softened
2 eggs at room temperature
1 TBL yeast
2 TBLS sugar or honey (I'd use more of either)
1/3 cup warm milk
1 dash salt
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 TBLS honey to glaze
TO MAKE RASPBERRY ROLLS YOU'LL NEED:
1 cup raspberries (next time I'd sprinkle them with a little sugar)
1. In a bowl, mix the flour with the yeast then make a hole in the middle.
2.Add the warm milk mixing with the hook attachement on your mixer.
3. Add the sugar and a dash of salt
4. Add the softened butter, in pieces, waiting until each piece has incorporated until adding the next.
5. Add the eggs, mixing well between each.
4. Work the dough until it is elastic-y and begins to detach from the sides of the bowl (about 10 minutes +)
5. Cover and let rest in a warm place for two hours (I put it in my oven, off of course) until it doubles in size.
6. Work the dough again for 10 min and divide it in three large balls (or into small balls the size of your hand for raspberry rolls).
FOR RASPBERRY ROLLS:
Roll each peice out to about 1/2 inch thickness and about 5 by 5 inches. Sprinkle each piece with fresh whole raspberries and place into greased muffin pan.
7.Place them in a greased round mold and cover. Let rise for an hour again (same with raspberry rolls in muffin pan).
8. Preheat the oven at 350 F.
9.Brush the brioche with the egg yolk mixed with honey.
10. Place in oven for 20-30 minutes. Until lightly golden.
11. Remove and let cool on a rack.
They were okay. Not great. I probably won't be making them again.
Maybe my luck will change?
These babies are rising in the oven as I type.
Then they'll be glazed with egg yolk and honey and baked.
Let's keep our fingers crossed they come out beautiful, flaky, and delicious!
I know it's been a while since I really updated the blog or added any of the recipes I promised.
The last few weeks have been very hot and muggy. I'm generally not inspired to do much of anything in this weather. I may be motivated to slip into a cold bath, or sit under the sprinkler in the backyard. But slaving over a hot stove? Not so much. Plus, we were out of town for about a week for Kelli and Nicks wedding. So I haven't been cooking/baking much recently.
Last night while sipping on cocktails at my mothers I decided I wanted to try to make brioche. Let me re-phrase that, I've made brioche before, in small roll form, but I've never made a loaf, nor have I ever made a brioche I was really very happy with. You see, bread and I don't get along very well. I long to make amazing breads, and pastry doughs, but I'm a tad intimidated by the thought. I've tried both dry and fresh yeast, but nothing seems to like me very much.
So today, I bought some yeast, and prepared the dough in my mixer (I've never tried to make dough in my mixer before) and I think I may have actually gotten it right. I'll post the dough, and the baked brioche, unless it comes out flat and dry.
I cleaned my sweet little kitchen, and set to baking. As you can see the jam came out beautifully. We have many bushes out in the backyard, that yeild the most perfect raspberry you will ever try. I swear. It also makes the best raspberry jam I've ever tasted. My grandmother originallly taught me to make raspberry jam. We use no pectin, just sugar and fresh fruit. I plan to smother the warm brioche in the fresh raspberry jam. Yum yum!
To make your own fresh jam (with any flavor really):
Equal parts sugar and fruit.
So 2 cups raspberries, and 2 cups sugar
I also added lemon zest, probably about 1 TBL.
Cook for about half an hour to an hour until sugar thickens the fruit.
It's oh-so easy. I don't know why you wouldn't make your own jam. It's so much better than store bought, and it takes no time at all. Plus it fills your house with the most amazing aroma. It makes me feel all bright on the inside.
Oh, my brioche is beeping. Time to knead and let it rise again.
See you soon!
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Lemon Zest Cheesecake with (homemade of course) Amaretti Cookie Crust and a Raspberry Sauce. Served with a gorgeous Rose Champagne brought by the always lovely Sarina and her fabulous Ben.
Same cupcakes as below.
Ready to go the Center For Senior Health, at St. Josephs Hospital for Eileens 65th Birthday.
Lemon, Raspberry, Almond, Ricotta Cupcakes with a Lemond Curd Meringue Buttercream. . . I may post recipe later.
Monday July 2nd we celebrated Thomas' 22nd Birthday!
It was low key. A picnic on the beach, wine and cheese for dinner, and a candlelight cheesecake fest in the backyard. Fire glowing, music playing, champagne flowing. . . and most of all wonderful friends to celebrate with.