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7/11/10

New Website Location!!

Hello everyone! 

Thanks for stopping by, I've recently moved to my own domain, you can now find this blog at http://www.racerhino.com

Please update your bookmarks! 

Thanks ;)

7/1/10

June 2010 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse


















The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

I'm a little late posting my challenge this month.  I had my Meringue done on time and I was pleased with how easy making meringue can be.  The second part of this challenge was to make Mascarpone cheese, I have made that before in past challenges so that was easy for me.  And lastly to make the Mousse was really simple and really tasty.

The only beef I have with this challenge is the actual look of the desert.  I made many different size and shape Meringues and tried to present them in different ways to make them look attractive.  Don't get me wrong this dessert is really well put together and the flavor is great it's just not pretty.  The chocolate Meringue topped with the chocolate mousse seemed to much of the same color.  Next time I think I will switch this up and use different things to flavor the Meringue or the Mousse.  Any way here is the recipe and some pictures. 

Chocolate Meringue:
  • 3 large egg whites
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup confection sugar
  • ½ cocoa powder
Method:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Put the egg whites in a bowl and beat them until they form soft peaks.  Gradually add the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form.











Sift the confection sugar into the eggs along with the cocoa powder.  Fold it in slowly till the mixture comes together.












Put the Meringue in a pastry bag with a large tip.  Pipe out the meringue into the size and shape you would like your dessert to be.  This can be one great big meringue for a family style service or small individual serving sizes.  I made individual size meringues.

Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp.


 









Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse:
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • zest of one lemon
  • 9 ounces of 72% chocolate, chopped
  • 1 2/3 cups homemade mascarpone cheese
  • pinch of nutmeg *** ps say no to NutMeg***
Method:

Place ½ cup of the heavy cream and lemon zest in a sauce pan over medium heat.  As it heats up add the chocolate.  Once the chocolate starts to melt and become smooth remove the mixture from the heat and set aside till it is room temperature.

Place the mascarpone and remaining cup of cream in a mixing bowl along with the nutmeg.  Whip it till it is blended together, do not over do this part as the mascarpone  can break.

Take about 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture and add it to the chocolate.  Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated.  Fill a pastry bag with the mousse and add it to the top of your meringues. 

Serve with some fresh fruit, enjoy!

6/19/10

Macaroni Salad















This is a family recipe that I have altered a tiny tinny bit.  Basically Mom adds more mustard to hers then I do.  We have had this salad at countless family gatherings, and I know it is still a top choice for both of my Brothers.  It is really easy to make and I whipped some up this morning for small dinner party. 

Aaron and I are going over to my younger brother Kurtis's house to have dinner with his family.  We are most looking forward to this dinner and hoping that little Cameron will love the salad and he will carry the tradition on for another generation. 

I understand that most people already have a family salad whether it be potato, pasta, or macaroni.  This is one of those recipes that is a crowd pleaser.  You can make large quantity's of this for large crowds, and whenever I make it I always get requests for the recipe.  Looking for a simple side that is a crowd pleaser?  This is your dish.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1lb macaroni pasta
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4-6 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces black olives, sliced
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • Best Foods Mayonnaise to taste (1/4-1/2 cup, spoon in slowly)
  • 2-3 Tbs Yellow Mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly grated Black Pepper
  • Paprika













Method:

Boil water and cook macaroni per manufactures directions.

When macaroni is done drain in sink and rinse with cold water from the tap.

Put Macaroni in a large mixing bowl add a spoon of mayo and throughly coat the Macaroni to prevent it from sticking together.











Add celery, onions and olives. 













 Slowly add mayonnaise and a little mustard.  Mix well.  If it seems dry add more mayo (trick is not to add too much Mayo, so add it slow).

Chop two of the hard boiled eggs up and mix into Macaroni.

Generously add salt and pepper to taste.

Let Salad sit in the fridge for a few hours up to overnight, and then check it.  If it seems to dry add a spoon of mayo, test for salt and pepper.

When you are ready to serve slice the last egg and arrange on top of salad.  Add paprika, serve.

6/15/10

June 2010 - Daring Cooks Challenge : Pâté















Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

This was my first Pate and I was really impressed how easy it was to make.  The hardest part for me was working with a mini prep instead of a proper food processor.  I had to grind up my pate in several separate batches.  It was messy and I was very glad that my Sous –Chef Aaron was there to help me mop up the madness that took over my small counter top.

This was very special challenge for me.  My Grandmother and Aunt Karen were visiting from Chicago, and this was the first time they got to taste some of my food.  I have cooked for them in the past but it was so long ago and I have learned so much since the last time they had anything I cooked or baked.  My mother hosted a nice sized party at her house and I decided to bring the pate and the homemade sourdough bread along.

When I unveiled the foil from the small loaf tins everyone gasped at the beautiful strips of bacon that seemed to invite everyone to want to try a little.  Leave it to bacon to get even the pickiest eaters to try something new.  I peeled one piece of bacon away and asked my Grandmother to smell it; she said “that smells Bohemian”.  We all laughed, and I smiled; it truly was a very special day.

You can find my sourdough bread recipe here; it comes in so handy to have a sourdough starter living on your kitchen counter.  I served my Pate with Dijon Mustard, Watercress, Radishes, and Cornichons.  I served my Grandmother and my Aunt some Pate first and they just loved it.  I made one round with all the toppings and then told everyone they were on their own.  My Dad loved the Cornichons, but he added that he would love to add some onions.
 











I plan on learning how to make other versions of Pate and upgrading my food processor so making an appetizer mid week for a weekend party should be a snap.  Not only will it be easy but it will be a cheap way to entertain.  I think I spent 6 dollars total on everything for this challenge.  I love this challenge because it can be made in advance, and it is actually better if you make it days in advance.  It is cheap, easy, and delectable!

Lastly I would like to clear a few things up about The Daring Kitchen.  I had some questions from some family and friends regarding the challenges, and one person even said do you challenger yourself??  Any way I was put off because these people must not read my blog.  If you would like to learn more about The Daring Kitchen please visit this link.  Daring Bakers’ and Cooks are a very large group of cooks and bakers that blog and every month we receive a challenge that usually is out of most of our cooking comfort zones.  It’s a great group and I was introduced to it by Sarah Belaire.  Thank you Sarah, you and your hubby rock.
   
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb pork liver (or beef or combination) – I used only beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb pork belly, or pork fat back
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp coriander (ground or crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbps coarse freshly cracked peppercorns
  • 2 Tbps cabernet sauvignon
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 pound of bacon












Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Chop up the pork fat, liver, shallots and garlic.  If you are lucky enough to have a real food processor add the ground pork, pork fat, liver shallots, garlic, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper blend till it is smooth.

Transfer liver mixture to a bowl and combine with the eggs and wine.  Line a loaf pan with bacon; I used two small loaf pans for a more petite presentation.

 











Place one bay leaf at the bottom of each loaf pan and then distribute the liver mixture evenly into pans.














Top each loaf with a bay leave and seal it with the over lapping bacon.












Place loaf pans in a large baking dish, fill the dish with water till the water covers two thirds of the pan.  Bake for an hour and half.  After they are done baking let them rest on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes.














After they have rested for 15 minutes cover them in foil. You are going to see a lot of grease and fat around the pate loafs, they will actually be floating in it.  The goal is to get the loafs submerged in the fat so the pate can soak it back up.  I stacked one loaf pan on top of the other and then placed a weight on top.  This seemed to work well.  I left them like that in my refrigerator for 2 days before serving.

To server remove the pate from the loaf pan.  I removed the bacon; however, you can leave the bacon on if you prefer.  Plate on a nice dish and serve with some nice sourdough bread and your favorite pate condiments.  Enjoy!

6/9/10

Easy Mode Cheesy Scallion Drop Biscuits














Yeah so I used self rising flour, mhm I did.  Don’t you be judging me!

It was in my pantry going to waste.  I really don’t have any recipes in my repertoire that call for self rising flour.  In fact I think this is the second time I have ever used it.  First time was for a daring bakers’ challenge of British style pudding.   

Basically if you have self rising flour this recipe is pretty darn tasty and easy to make to boot.  You could substitute milk for the cream or buttermilk or do a mixture like I did.

This recipe was inspired by Miss Andy Pants.  I mocked her one day for trying to make biscuits out of self rising flour; I told her it was a bad idea.  I am wrong, I was really wrong, and little Miss Andy was right.

These biscuits are a great way to start out a Sunday morning, or a fabulous way to rescue some leftovers.  Give them a try you won’t be disappointed.

PS Grandma that is one of your plates, oh and also if you would like to make rolled biscuits follow the recipe and add about 1/4 less liquid. 

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups self rising flour
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, cubed












Method:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In mixing bowl combine the salt, pepper, and flour.  Using a pastry blender, blend in the butter till the butter is smaller than a pea size in shape.  Slowly add the milk and cream and stir till it is just combined.  Add in the cheese and scallions and give it one more stir.

Drop the biscuits on a parchment lined sheet pan; try to make them uniform in size.  This is something I really don’t ever get right, but I always aim to get the same size cookie or biscuit.   Bake the biscuits for about 15 minutes till they are golden brown.  Slide them off the sheet pan onto a cooling rack.  Cool for as long as you can resist them and enjoy!  Makes about 12-16

6/2/10

Scallop and Shrimp Spaghetti













Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the photo.  Gosh she is pretty.  Some of my dishes photo really well; and then there is this pasta.  This dish steals all the thunder of any of my other posts (well maybe bacon looks better, but you get the point).  Rarely do I get a photo that demonstrates how truly wonderful my food taste, well that up in till now.  This is one of those moments, let’s just stop and take in the beauty of this pasta.  The colors and textures are so vivid; I bet you could almost smell it. . .  Can’t you?

This recipe does not need to be made with both scallops and shrimp, it does not need to be made with jumbo sized shrimp and large scallops.  The cooking time just needs to be adjusted depending on the size of the seafood you choose.  So if all you have is shrimp, use shrimp.  Use what you have.

A few key things to keep in mind, if you choose to use scallops, make sure they are dried completely before putting them in the pan.  The same goes for the shrimp, but I am more diligent about it when it comes to scallops.  Wet scallops will equal no crust.  Every loves crust right?  Something else to keep in mind is you really need to have everything prepped before you start cooking.  You totally need to get your Mes en plas on.  This dish cooks fast, so basically it takes 8 minutes for the pasta too cook.  This dish takes about 10 minute’s grand total to make.  So make sure the pasta water is boiling before you start the seafood.

Ingredients:
  • 2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded, and diced
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade at the last minute right before serving
  • ¼ lemon, juiced
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 11 ounces spaghetti noodles
  • ½ lb large shrimp, cleaned, tail on
  • 2-3 scallops per person
  • kosher salt
  • freshly grated black pepper
  • olive oil












Please note photo was taken after I seared the scallops and shrimp.

Method:

Bring a large pot of water to boil to cook the pasta.  Wait for the water to boil, heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat.  You need to make sure that sauce pan is hot before you start searing the scallops.  

Add 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil in the sauce pan.  Sprinkle the tops of the dried scallops with kosher salt and pepper.  Place the scallops’ salt and pepper side down in the sauce pan.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over the other side of the scallops.  The trick to scallops is not to overcook them.  I did mine just under 2 minutes per side.   So after about a minute and a half use a nice spatula and flip the scallops.  Try not to lose the pretty crust that has built up on the scallop.  That’s the tasty part!  Right after you flip the scallops add the spaghetti to the boiling water and set your timer.  After the scallops are done remove them from the sauce pan, loosely tent them.

Keep the sauce pan on, add more olive oil if it is needed and do the same process with the shrimp.  They need to be dried, salt and peppered and cooked for about a minute a side.  After they are done place them on a plate and tent.

Working quickly add a splash of olive oil to the pan and sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes.   Sprinkle them with a little kosher salt to help them cook down faster.  Once there is less than 4 minutes left on the spaghetti add the diced tomatoes to the pan.  Add the wine and reduce down by half.  At this point the spaghetti should be done, drain it and toss it in the tomato sauce.  Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the pasta, and add two basil leaves that have been cut chiffonade style.

Plate the pasta and then add the scallops and shrimp on top and garnish with the fresh basil.  Sit back and enjoy with some wine. . . trust me you will love this recipe. 

Serves 4

5/27/10

May 2010 - Daring Bakers' Challenge : Piece Montée (Croquembouche)













The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

After making Pâte à choux for the first time I feel pretty impressed with myself.  Learning how to work with the dough and cook the flour prior to adding the eggs is truely the hard part of making Pâte à choux.  If you don't cook the dough long enough in the sauce pan you will end up with round jelly dounut looking Pâte à choux rather then big puffy clouds that are begging to be filled with tasty delights.

For this challenge I made the Pâte à choux, the pastry filling, and the Chocolate dipping sauce from scratch.  The hardest part I had with this challenge was making my mounted piece look pretty.  The second hardest part was really have no one to share this yummy desert with.  Aaron and I ate it, don't get me wrong.. I just would of liked to serve it to family and friends.  Here are my photos, if you would like to see the recipe please go to this link.  I did not have time to include my method of making the recipe, I started back to work this week and things have been busy.
































































































on nom nom nom