Friday, January 22, 2010

WOW! My Blurb Blog Book Already Arrived!

Yesterday my book from Blurb arrived --- in only 5 days!  I can't believe that I pushed the button to have it printed on Saturday night and it was on my doorstep by Thursday afternoon.  I am amazed.

And the book looks pretty darn good, I must say.  I am so glad I did it.  Tom wants to give one to his mother for her birthday next week.  And I am going to order copies for those of you who were guest bloggers -- as my thank you. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, I started Feast Everyday. What started out as a tonic for the winter blues has turned into one of my favorite things to do. 

Blogging is fun.  Blogging about food is even more fun!  Blogging about food with family and friends is -- well --the best! 

Thank you to everyone who has been following the blog!

To celebrate -- and to try something new which I have been wanting to do --I am making a book (yes, a book -- I only had to order just one) using one of the online, on-demand book services. I am using Blurb. 

Blurb has a program where you can download your blog and create your own design.  You then upload it to their server and they have it printed for you somewhere in the world, and then have it mailed directly to you in 7 to 10 days. It's all digital.  Amazing, eh? 

It will arrive in early Feb.  We'll see how it looks.  I just thought it would be nice to have a record.  You never know, the blog might disappear into cyberspace. 

It has been fun to look back on the year.  I had forgotten about the Kahlua Cake (what a disaster!), for example.     

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the blog -- by sending me comments from time to time -- or for providing entries and recipes.

One of my favorite parts of blogging has been taking the photos.  But I wore out my little camera --- from the steam and the wear and tear of it being a kitchen camera.  My supportive husband has given me a new one. Same version, newer edition.  Love the Lumix.

So, I am starting a new year with a new camera and a clean slate.

And a clean kitchen.  (I have spent the last few weeks -- with Tom's help --cleaning out one drawer or closet a day -- and the tops of the cabinets where icky things live.   It was an awful job, but I am glad it is done now.)

FYI - This year's theme may be "Food Adventures" versus "Recipes & Techniques."  Gives me a little more free rein.

At any rate, I am looking forward to blogging for a second year of Feast Everyday.   

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Treat

Sometimes the simple things are the best.  For me, one of them is an orange this time of year.   Especially when it is snowing and bitter cold outside.  They are so juicy that I make a mess everytime.  As I write, I am wondering about the condition of the citrus crops in the South. I hear that it is in the 30's in Miami. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chris's Amazing Triple Chocolate Confection

Yesterday was Chris's birthday, and I thought it only fitting that I would finally get around to posting the amazing chocolate confection she made for us during the cooking fest last Fall.  Chris is known for her fantastic desserts, just one of many talents.  She is fearless when making desserts --- she doesn't let the pages of instructions and tricky steps phase her.  But watch out --- when she starts cooking, she needs lots of space and intensely focussed on her mission.  I tried to capture most of the steps while staying out her way.  It was crazy!!  Three chocolates with three different temperaments had to be coaxed into this delicious dessert.

It was made even more delicious with the addition of a red raspberry sauce.

Here's what I learned from observing Chris at work: 

1.  Plan your attack. Once you start, there is no turning back.  And have lots of bowls on hand. 

2.  Know how to fold.   Fluffy egg whites are folded into the chocolates, and you don't want to lose the air and therefore, the lightness to the dessert.

 3. Talk to yourself.  Somehow, that makes you a better pastry chef. 

If you ever want to make this dessert yourself, then you will need to buy Bo Freiberg's The Professional Pastry Chef, and look on pages 569 -  573 under Charlottes and Baravois, Custards, Mousses, and Souffles, for the Triple Chocolate Terrine.

And you need one of these terrine pans, with sides that fold down. 

And lots of good chocolate -- dark, milk and white.

And lots of eggs.

And parchment paper, a cookie sheet and lots of room to work.  Chris has made an outline for the cake on the paper.

Lots of egg whites are whipped.

The egg yolks are used for the mousses. 

The chocolate is melted.

Then, the egg whites are folded in.

And the batter is poured out on to the prepared parchment on the cookie sheet.

And baked.  And cooled.

More eggs come out. 

More sugar.  Now we are going to make the three mousse fillings.

Milk chocolate is measured out.

White chocolate chips are used --- but Chris is annoyed with them because they don't cooperate.

And dark chocolate.

Then things start getting crazy.  Chris starts beating the eggs and sugar over the heat to make the base for all the mousses.

Three of everything is done.

The white chocolate is the hardest. 

Cream is whipped.

But eventually it all comes together and we get ready to assemble.

The cake is cut into four strips.

The first one is the bottom layer.

The bottom mousse is mixed.

And poured in.

The same is done for the white chocolate mousse.  A cake layer goes in between.

And the dark chocolate mousse.

 The final layer of cake goes on top.

And the terrine is wrapped and placed in the freezer.

Meanwhile, the red raspberries are washed.

And strained.

And turned into a delicious sauce.

Once completely frozen and we are nearing time for dinner, it is unwrapped.

The pan is unhinged.

And we all watch and ooh and aah as the parchment paper is removed.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pot Roast - Wegman's Way

Tom loves pot roast.  And now that he is retired, he is even willing to make it.  It's easy when Wegman's provides the bag of prepared stew vegetables, and a very good recipe on the back of the bag. Loved how many veggies were in this version.  And the silkiness of the sauce.  The meat was delicious, and very tender.  I don't know why we don't use more of Wegman's recipes.  Lots of our friends do.
Pot Roast with Vegetables
from the back of a Wegman's bag of stew vegetables
2-3 pound beef chuck roast
2 T. pepper
6 T. flour, divided
2 T. olive oil
2 lb. (10 cups) assorted potatoes, carrots, onions and celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
10 oz. baby bella mushrooms
1 cup red wine
1 can (28 oz.) whole Roma tomatoes, including the juice
14 oz. beef stock
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
1 t. chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season roast with pepper, dust with about 3 T. flour, pat off excess. Heat oil in large braising pan on medium-high until oil faintly smokes. Add roast; brown, turning to brown both sides, 10 -15 minutes.

Remove from pan; set aside. Discard all but 1 T. drippings from pan. Reduce heat to medium.

Add stew vegetables; cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; cook 4-5 minutes, until lightly browned.

Add thyme and rosemary. Stir in wine. Simmer until reduced to syrupy consistency, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to loosen browned bits on bottom of pan.

Add tomatoes; cook 5 minutes. Add broth; heat to simmering.

Return roast to braising pan; cover.

Braise for 2 - 2.5 hours, until fork-tender. Remove pan from oven; skim fat from surface of sauce and discard. Transfer roast to platter, season to taste with salt and pepper; let rest 10 minutes. Add remaining 3 T. flour into pan liquid. Heat to simmering, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice roast and serve with vegetables and sauce.
Serves 8. Active time 30+ minutes. Total time: 3 - 3.5 hours.