tasty nom nom an exception to the daily meal

30Apr/101

Too much of a good thing…

...  = scrambled egg. Oh, Hi J!

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Happy Cake Day to N!

Last few times I made pastry cream (custard, creme anglaise, etc), the recipes call for and I used whole milk. This time, "I wonder if there is a really good recipe for an exceptional custard". So, I tried the Bostini recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum. The recipe calls for heavy cream. Twice, the mixture [at the last step] turned from liquid to scramble egg in a nano second. I went back to a whole milk recipe for the custard for this Boston Cream Pie.

I did make the orange chiffon cake from the Bostini recipe,  and a whipped ganache to crumb coat the cake (from a tip in the Nick Malgieri Chocolate book).  Then I used another Nick Malgieri chocolate glaze recipe of heavy cream and chocolate.  One day, I will have a perfect smooth cake, with shinny glaze (without the corn syrup)...

Whoops, back from the cake-dream. I almost forgot the Chevy's Fresh Mex Sweet Corn Tomalito. Mmm Ymm ... Chevy's Tex Mex. When N said fajitas was on the menu, I couldn't help myself and had to make the corn pudding. Sadly, I did not produce any stale cactus to decorate the pudding. I am a slacker!

I also tried my hand at marinated mushrooms, recipe from chow.com. We added more salt and more balsamic vinegar and it was passable. I guess we like salt and balsamic, a lot.

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N's mom is always a lot of fun. I love how she told you that since I like avocados, I must be from California! Thanks for inviting us!

Filed under: sweets 1 Comment
29Apr/101

Four Plus One

Dear E --

I am recovering from mass quantities of guacamole and corn pudding! I hope you share the corn pudding recipe.

N's mom was in town this past weekend and it was nice to cook for her for once!

table set

Saturday morning, N went out to Sutter Home and Hearth to pick up some more charcoal. While there, he picked up yet another Big Green Egg Eggcessory -- this time the Cast Iron Griddle. The griddle is really cool -- it's how he did the peppers and onions and then the shrimp.

grillin'

N marinated the flank steak overnight in orange juice to break down the tendon and other chewy bits, and then added seasoning and garlic to the OJ and marinated it for another 12 hours or so. The shrimp and vegetables were also seasoned before cooking.

N also made his pepper salsa at my urging. I picked up the peppers but sadly I couldn't find habañeros anywhere!

pepper salsa

Lots of jalapeños, serranos, anaheims, pasillas, a couple of bell peppers (for color), red onion, a tomato or two, cilantro, and lime juice. Salt to taste. I don't think he put any garlic in it [??!].

I made a massive amount of guacamole!

guac

9 (small) avocadoes, half a (large) diced red onion, 1.5 bunches of cilantro, juice of 4[?] limes, two diced tomatoes, a whole head of minced garlic, salt (and more salt).

Add in some margaritas -- Patrón Silver, Tarantula Azul, Cointreau and Stirrings Margarita Mix -- and your corn pudding and it was a nice meal!

[not to mention dessert! mm]

N's mom crashed and avoided our furious games of Uno. Smart move!

Filed under: dinner review, games 1 Comment
21Apr/101

Sandwiched cookies

Dear J -

Here is the link to the recipe for the sandwiched cookies we had after Lamb Dopiaza.

I was on a citrus kick. I wanted to make orange curd ... (after making blood orange and meyer lemon marmalade). You came up with a great idea to serve it with shortbread. So I found this Dark Chocolate Shortbread recipe from Epicurious. I followed the reviewer's recommendation and added additional flour and corn starch. Next, I wanted a more stable and thicker filling to make sandwich cookies. I did not want any oozing. I found Lemon filling recipe from Joy of Cooking (p 998). I used all orange juice. It turned out to be this unreal orange color.

The cookies turned out chocolaty and looks awfully unattractive. The filling has not really set as expected. It was gooey and runny. But citrus makes me happy! I hoped this sunny cookie chased away some blues.

Filed under: sweets 1 Comment
13Apr/100

Lamb Dopiaza

Word Up, E!

I think sometimes it's good for us to do day-before planning and see what happens. Ha! I asked N what he would like to have and he suggested Indian, which just happened to be the same idea I had. N really wanted to get some goat meat but instead I pulled a lamb shoulder out of the freezer and he was tasked with preparing it.

N made lamb dopiaza, using parts of this recipe from Terry's Kitchen and this recipe from Curry Frenzy.

dinner

N trimmed the meat and cubed it, then tossed it in seasoned flour. He fried it up to try to help seal in the juices and avoid the "boiled meat" taste and texture later on. I don't think he was quite happy with how this worked -- he thought it still tasted too much like boiled meat.

I made curried cauliflower on the fly, though my method was similar to this recipe. I added two serrano peppers and that spiked the spice level up a bit higher than I intended! Whoops! Sorry. Glad we had some rice to tone that down.

My naan was a bit of a failure this time! I've made this recipe (from 1000 Indian Recipes, a good Indian cookbook) many times, but never in this oven. The rack was a little close to the broiler and I kept catching the bread on fire. Crap! Thankfully we had plenty of rice!

chocolate shortbread

You brought tasty chocolate shortbread with orange curd and whipped cream. Maybe you'll share a recipe later?

We played one rounds of Straw followed by two games of Carcassonne with the first Rivers expansion. You kicked butt in Carcassonne and won both games! I used to hate Carcassonne but now I am liking it a lot more.

12Apr/100

Does cake make everything better?

Dear J -

Happy Birthday Week! I borrowed the Birthday Week concept from G - celebrate birthday for a week, and cake on the closest weekend to birthday. Your birthday posed a challenge for me, since well... two days later, is someone else's birthday. Speaking of that someone ...

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... only cake(s) eaten on birthdays can be called Birthday Cakes. So, this cake is just cake, for you. I hope you liked it. It is the Chocolate Charlotte from Alice Medrich's book Cocolat. I followed the recipe, with the exception of piping tips malfunctions.

For dinner, G requested Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Breast stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella & Basil. I did not realize I so zealously stabbed the chicken with toothpicks. Whoops. Five toothpicks in N's chicken! G is a little rusty on his grilling too. Double whoops dinner. Good thing the salad of romaine and arugula (thanks!), pears and bleu cheese, with pistachios in mustard vinaigrette was safe to eat.

photo.jpg(I don't know about you, but the Hipstamatic pic of the food does not look appetizing to me!)

What do you think of the card game, Euchre, G suggested? I feel like I got the hang of the rules by the end of the night. It is a fun and fast game. We will get real playing cards next time. N's positive re-enforcement helped me let go of some of the baggage I accumulated playing cards with G and his family. Ahem.