Saturday, June 29, 2013

Chocolate Mousse by Colleen

Have I sent you the recipe for chocolate Mousse? This is what I made for Buddy for her birthday.

Chocolate Mousse

12 ounces milk chocolate ( 1 bag of chips or use milk chocolate bars which are better for melting)
8 Tablespoons water
2 cups heavy cream.

Melt the chocolate with the water over a double boiler or in the microwave on low until smooth.

Whip the cream in a large bowl until BARELY holding a shape - it should still be pourable. It should look like a mistake. You should have to STOP yourself from beating the cream further.

When the chocolate is cooled (dab on top lip feels cool to your body temp) fold the chocolate into the barely-whipped cream and fold and gently stir until incorporated.

Pour into large serving dish or individual dishes. Chill for several hours in the fridge. (Obviously, if you use one big dish it will take a bit longer to chill/set. Righto. You already knew that.) Serve with whipped cream, berries, wafer cookies, etc.

This is all about the technique. Which is to say, knowing when to stop beating the cream and making sure your chocolate is smooth. (Although if there are a few lumps, you might say that this is WELCOME texture in the mousse, like you incorporated chocolate jimmies on purpose and tell complainers to bugger off. Said with a smile.)

That's it. End of recipe. From Bittersweet by Medrich. If you haven't guessed, this is my version of the recipe from memory. Not the printed version in her very lovely cookbook. She never says "bugger off" to my knowledge.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting by Colleen

Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting
Hi Barb --

So one of the issues of making Steve's German Chocolate Cake is I usually end up with extra buttermilk if I can't find the small 1 cup size container. So today I found a really easy recipe for chocolate buttermilk cake and it turned out well enough that I thought I would share:

Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting
( Cake recipe is from

1 cup butter softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup cocoa (regular, NOT dutched)*
3 cups flour, sifted
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

* if you only have dutched cocoa, you should use baking powder instead.

Cream the butter and gradually beat in sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the butter mixture alternating with the buttermilk. Mix until well blended. Divide batter equally into three 9 inch pans (prep with baking spray or butter/flour). Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edge of each pan. After 5-8 minutes, turn out of pans and let cool on baking racks.

You can frost with any icing you like. I used a butter-marshmallow frosting the girls like:

Marshallow Frosting

1 cup butter softened
1 jar marshmallow fluff
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the butter and marshmallow fluff together. Add in the sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in the vanilla. Spread between layers. (I don't cover the sides. If you want to cover the sides, you should probably double the frosting recipe or 1 1/2 at least). Then I sprinkled top with jimmies.

   --- Colleen

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chocolate Cheesecake by Colleen

I think this appeared in the rub a dub dub cookbook Christine made for the family years ago. It was adapted from a source I’ve long since lost track of. The original recipe had a graham cracker crust, and was more “Mexican” inspired in that it had cinnamon instead of vanilla and rum instead of coffee as the flavorings. It also had a layer of sour cream mixed with sugar on the top which just seemed completely excessive, although whipped cream with my version and some fresh raspberries works very well.

This is very dense and a little goes a long way. So you can serve quite a few folks with one cheesecake. Unless William is around. Then about 8 servings.

Chocolate Cheesecake

1 package “Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies
1 stick butter, softened
3 tablespoons sugar

Process cookies in food processor or blender (or crush in bag with rolling pin) until fine crumbs. Put in bowl and mix with sugar and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9-10 inch springform pan. Use a potato masher to flatten the crust. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Put springform on cookie sheet while baking so the butter doesn’t drip onto the oven floor.

1 ½ pounds of soft cream cheese (3 packages)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
½ pound semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup strong coffee, cooled (decaf okay)

Melt the chocolate with the heavy cream in small saucepan or in the micro. Set aside to cool.

Process the cream cheese in a food processor until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the eggs and sugar. Process until smooth. Add the sour cream and continue processing. Add the coffee and vanilla and process. Add the cooled chocolate/cream mixture slowly. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure the filling is well mixed. Process again if necessary to get a smooth mixture.

Poor filling into cooled crust. Bake in 300 degree oven for 90 minutes. Insert a tester into the center of the cheesecake. If tester comes out clean, turn off the oven. I often put a shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven while baking the cheesecake to help prevent cracking.

Once the filling is set, allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for about an hour. Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Then finish cooling on a rack. You can remove the ring now or when you decide to serve it. Either way, the cheesecake needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 ½ hours prior to serving. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the sides before removing the ring. To cut the cake, insert sharp knife into hot water before each slice. Garnish with whipped cream and fruit.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hazelnut Meringues by Colleen

Hazelnut Meringues by Colleen
Hey there!  

I have made the chocolate cream pie twice in the past week; once for William coming home and again for Steve for Father's Day.  It calls for 4 eggs yolks which leaves me with egg whites.  Often if I'm really busy I just throw them away.  But today I decided to make meringues.  Here is the recipe adapted from a Tante Marie recipe:
Hazelnut Meringues*
(adapted from a Tante Marie recipe)

4 oz toasted hazelnuts
1 cup egg whites at room temp
2 cups sugar, divided in half.

Toast the hazelnuts at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and rub in dishtowel to remove the skins.  When cool, grind in a hand nut grinder.  Or you can grind in a food processor with a little bit of sugar to keep the nuts from releasing too much oil and clumping.

In large bowl whip egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Add in 1 cup of sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time while whipping.  When first cup of sugar is added, add remaining cup sugar and ground hazelnuts and fold into the egg whites.

Line some cookie sheets with parchment paper.  You can make two large meringues if you want to make a sort of cake later (sandwich baked meringue circles  with whipped cream and berries and dust with powdered sugar) or you can make smaller individual meringues.    
The smaller meringues can be served with berries, whipped cream and chocolate sauce, or can be used to top a mousse, or crumble up to use as a crunchy topping.    
Either way, you will want to spread the egg whites to about 3 to 4 inches tall and bake at 250 for 60-90 minutes.  You  want the meringues to be dry on the interior, although some people prefer them a bit chewy.  If so, bake for the shorter amount of time.  
Turn off the oven and let them cool in the oven.  You can store the baked meringues for several months in a tightly sealed container.

*You can also use ground almonds. Perhaps toasted pine nuts.  I¹m not sure how well other nuts would work.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Indoor BBQ Beef Brisket

 Father's Day Request:  BBQ Beef, Corn, and Green Beans

When I asked Tom what he wanted as a special meal for Father's Day, he asked for BBQ Beef Brisket. 

I have been using an indoor method which I found in New Tastes of Texas, which slow cooks in a 275 degree oven and  relies on Liquid Smoke for it smokiness. 

Liquid Smoke is one of those products that I don't want to know what is in it because it might be bad for us.*  But it is crucial for this recipe or it won't taste like you smoked your beef. 

One of the benefits of this recipe is the house smells great all day long!

To  make the BBQ, buy a large brisket, bring it to room temperature, and preheat the oven to 275 degrees.  You will need a large roasting pan, too.

It will take 1 hour for every pound, and another hour after you apply the BBQ sauce.  We had a 5 lb. brisket so it took 6 hours total. 

Dry the beef brisket with paper towels, and cut off any of the weird or excess fat.  Then sprinkle it heavily with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. 

Drizzle about 1 T. of Worcestershire sauce and 1 T. of Liquid Smoke on the beef.  (Don't use too much Liquid Smoke.  A little goes a long way.  )
Then, wrap it securely in two layers of aluminum foil or place it in a baking bag and be sure that it is well sealed.

Place it in a slow over (275 degrees) for an hour per pound. 

Unwrap it and apply your favorite BBQ sauce --- we used Dinosaur BBQ Slathering Sauce.  The more sugar in the BBQ sauce the more likely it is to burn, so watch it and add water as needed. 

According to the recipe I was supposed to re-wrap it before putting it back in the oven, but I didn't and I may have lost a little juice doing this, so next time I will faithfully wrap it back up.  Nonetheless it was great. 

Pull it out of the oven and remove it to a carving board--- carefully--- with two large spatulas, and then let it rest  for at least 15 minutes.  If you don't let it rest, you won't be able to carve it and you will lose your meat juices.

Slice it across the grain and serve with extra BBQ sauce, if desired. 

*To minimize the negative impact of smoke, food expert Harold McGee suggests letting the sediment settle to the bottom of the bottle and using only the liquid or water extract above it.  Liquid Smoke is condensed smoke vapor.  Ours is condensed from green hickory but you can get various kinds of wood flavors.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Double Cinnamon Scones by Tom

Tasty, albeit not as King Arthur intended -
Double Cinnamon Scones

These taste much, much better than they look!

A Sunday or two ago, we decided to reprise the scones recipe that we had made at our King Arthur Flour Baking School last January.  The ones we made then were simple but quite good.   I decided however to look at their other recipes to see if there might be one that sounded even better.  And there it was - Triple Cinnamon Scones.  Reading the recipe it looked like it was going to be too sweet, if such a thing is possible.  So I eliminated the sugar glaze and just went with the cinnamon filled scones.  This ended up being a good decision as these scones are plenty sweet.

My batter may have been a tad too wet as they spread out much more than planned during baking.  As a result the consistency of the end product was a little more like a cinnamon roll than an actual scone.  However that did not deter their consumption.

This recipe was not hard to make and was a nice treat for a Sunday morning while reading the Sunday papers.  I will try them again!


Double Cinnamon Scones
(from King Arthur's website -- they called them Triple Cinnamon Scones)

Makes anywhere from 12-54 depending on the size

3/4 cup half and half or evaporated milk
1 cup cinnamon Flav-R-Bites or cinnamon chips*
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*If you are using the cinnamon chips, skip the soaking step and reduce the half-and-half or evaporated milk to 1/2 - 2/3 cup.  I did not do this and this is why the scone batter came out to moist.

5 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

With your hands mix in the butter to the flour mixture, squeezing the butter between your thumb and index finger making flat flakes of butter to incorporate it into the mixture.

If using Flav-R-Bites, combine them with the half-and-half or evaporated milk and soak for about 20 minutes in a separate small bowl.  If using cinnamon chips, skip the soaking step and just add the half-and-half or evaporated milk in a small bowl.

Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the liquid mixture, and then combine this with the flour mixture in the large bowl.
Gently stir the batter until it is well moistened and holds together.

Really add a lot of flour to your work surface.  You'll need it.

Turn out the dough from the bowl and pat it until its approximately 9" square and about 3/4" thick.  With a dough blade or large spatula work underneath the dough to make sure it is not sticking to the board.  If necessary, add more flour under the dough.

Next spread the filling mixture over the entire top of the patted out dough.

Fold one edge of the dough to the center as if you were folding a letter.  Do the same to the other side and pat and roll it to both seal the edges where they come together as well as to stretch the dough out to fit into a 3" by 18" rectangle.

Cut the dough rectangle into six 3" squares.  Place the squares onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  This is where you determine how many pieces you want.  I cut each of the six squares on the diagonal to make 12 scones.  You can cut them into any configuration that you would like to have more or less.  Separate them by at least 1/2".

Place the scone-filled baking sheet in your refrigerator or freezer for 30-45 minutes.  While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Bake in the oven for 16-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

Because my batter was a bit too wet, my "carefully formed and spaced" scones flowed together during baking.  However if you look closely, you can see my original diagonal cuts.  Let the scones cool right on the pan. 
Once cooled, they are ready to eat.  I cut and lifted them from the baking sheet with a plastic spatula.  Worked great.  Tasted even better.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grilled Asparagus with Harissa

Grilled Asparagus with Harissa

If you are looking for a new way to make asparagus, you might want to try grilling asparagus in a foil packet, then dressing it with harissa when it comes off the grill.

Harissa is one of those trendy condiments at the moment.  I kept seeing it in the food magazines and on TV, so I decided to track it down.  Wegman's had it in the International aisle.

What is harissa?  It is a spicy Moroccan mix of red chili peppers, garlic, olive oil and spices, mostly cumin. 

To me, it tastes like olive tapenade --- if you have ever had that ---but with a kick.

It is used in making traditional tagines (Moroccan stews), but tastes good with chicken, lamb or vegetables. 

To make grilled asparagus with harissa dressing --- it is very easy:

To prepare, spread washed and prepped asparagus out in a single layer in thick foil or make two layers.  Oil it and add salt and pepper, then fold all the edges around the outside until it is completely enclosed and sealed.

Our asparagus was quite fresh, so it cooked faster than expected.  That's the only drawback about grilling in a foil packet.  You can't see inside to tell when it is done.

Tom cooked ours for 10 minutes. A couple minutes less would have been better. And be sure to open up soon after you take it off the grill to slow down the cooking.

Carefully slide the packet off the grill and on to a platter.  Carefully open the packet. 

Add harissa, which has been thinned a little with some olive oil, and serve. 


Monday, June 3, 2013

Sesame Shrimp Salad with Miso Dressing

Sesame Shrimp Salad with Miso Dressing

We had our first heatwave last week; hence, the first salad for dinner this year.  Tom likes previously posted Roasted Veggies with Miso Dressing, so I thought I would adapt it to a salad dressing.  Plus I still have some red miso in the fridge.

We tend to have a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer, so all we had to do was buy some fresh greens for the salad, and look for something to add some crunch and texture.  We chose a bag of broccoli and carrot slaw and some fresh radishes. 

Then it is just a matter of thawing the shrimp, assembling the salad, then quick sauteing the shrimp to put on top.

A quick, tasty meal for a hot summer night.   Or any night.  We are having it again tonight for dinner.

Sesame Shrimp Salad with Miso Dressing

Makes 2 dinner portions

Salad Dressing:
1.5 t. sesame oil
1/2-1 t. finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 t. minced garlic (not too much)
1 t. red miso paste
1 -1.5 T rice wine vinegar
1 - 1.5 T. neutral tasting oil like Canola
salt and pepper to taste (doesn't need much)

Fresh Spring Lettuce Mix
Broccoli and Carrot Slaw Mix (or other crunchy veggies)
Freshly sliced radishes (2 to 4 depending on size)

Sesame Shrimp:
8-12 (depending on size) shrimp, cleaned and de-veined -- suggest removing tails too
toasted sesame seeds  (you can buy them already toasted or toast them in a dry pan or toaster oven)
oil for sauteing
cayenne pepper and salt

In a large salad bowl, place all of the ingredients in the bottom and whisk until emulsified, i.e., opaque versus transparent -- you are whisking to get the molecules to collide and merge.

Add a layer of mixed spring greens. 
Add broccoli slaw or whatever crunchy matchstick size veggies you prefer.
Add sliced radishes or something pungent like scallions.

Defrost the shrimp.  Pat dry.  Season well with salt and cayenne pepper.

In a heavy skillet, heat oil until shimmering.  Add shrimp and don't move until edges begin to turn pink. (1-3 min.) then flip -- and saute until perfectly pink and cooked through -- another 2-3 mins.  Don't overcook. 

Remove with slotted spoon when the shrimp are ready, and toss with toasted sesame seeds while still hot.

Toss salad, divide among plates.

Top with shrimp.

If you have extra shrimp, refrigerate and save them to snack on or use on another salad.  They are also good cold.

The Asian flavors of this salad are similar to the popular Ahi Tuna Salad that Gaffer Grille here in Corning used to serve.