Browsing Category "Food"
29 Oct
2015
Posted in: Food
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The Perfect Fall Meal

I know most of the internet loves fall but it’s one of my least favorite seasons. It’s a reminder that winter is coming, that the days are growing shorter, and soon I’ll be trapped inside trying to avoid the cold. There are some nice things about fall: I can convince my husband that I should buy new clothes, I can stock up on seasonal teas and coffees, I can read lots of books curled up under blankets, and it’s the perfect hiking season.

To help me survive the transition, I’m always looking for meals that are warm, filling, and full of comfort. This meal does just that. The Beef Bourguignon doesn’t take as much time as Julia Child’s and dare I say, it tastes just as good if not better.

A good beef meal for me pairs well with mashed potatoes and these get that nice sweet and savory flavor you can only get from roasting the garlic first. I followed an Alton Brown recipe and you can’t go wrong with that. Try his potatoes with Beef Bourguignon or on Thanksgiving and you’ll be a happy camper.

The recipe itself calls for a red wine and you should be sure to drink some too. I opted for a Pinot Noir (Line 39, 2013) and it was perfect with the dish and still under $10.

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

Prep Time: 8 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pounds boneless beef (I used a mix of shoulder chuck and beef stew meat)
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. roughly ground black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups pearl frozen onions
  • 2 cups mushrooms, quartered (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Take a large bowl and fill with the red wine, olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, garlic clove, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and peppercorns. Stir to combine.
  2. Cut your beef into 2-inch cubes. Add in the beef to the red wine marinade. Cover beef completely with red wine marinade and marinate from 1 to 24 hours tightly covered in the fridge. Rotate the meat every 6-8 hours.
  3. After marinading, remove the beef to a plate and pat thoroughly dry.
  4. Strain the marinade into a bowl, separating the liquid and vegetables but reserving both.
  5. Heat a large dutch oven to medium high heat. Brown the bacon and remove, leaving the fat behind (about 2 tbsp).
  6. Brown the beef in batches in the bacon fat, transfer the browned pieces back to the plate.
  7. Cook the vegetables in the bacon fat and fond until softened and browned, about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the flour to the vegetable mix and cook another minute until browning. Stir in the reserved marinade. Add the beef and bacon to the dutch oven and pour the pearl onions on top. Bring the dish to a boil.
  9. After boiling for a minute, reduce the heat to low and cook covered for about an hour or until beef is fork tender.
  10. After an hour, add the mushrooms if using. Cook an additional 20 minutes, covered.
  11. Skim any fat on the surface and remove the bay leaf. Add chopped parsley and additional salt or pepper to taste.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2015/10/the-perfect-fall-meal/

 

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15 Jul
2015
Posted in: Food
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Life of the Paella Party

I set my 30before30 goal of making paella because I’d recently been to Spain and enjoyed paella the best of all. I had my paella in Barcelona so it was more seafood heavy than some of the Valencian paellas that are known for their use of rabbit. Paella was the very first meal I ate in Spain so to me paella has a special place in my heart.

paella2

For my paella, I wanted to make a paella mixta. I remembered my paella having seafood and chicken in it with rice and a deep rich taste. The recipe I used was from Chow and it came out perfectly. You’ll want to consider buying a paella pan that can be grilled, used on the stovetop, or in the oven so your rice can cook evenly. I was able to find a deal on a paella pan at World Market. I also grabbed some Spanish chorizo while I was there. Make sure it is Spanish and not Mexican for the right flavorings. I bought all my seafood at Whole Foods since I wanted clams and mussels and you can’t always guarantee that will be available at my local grocers. For me, the biggest surprise was how hard it was to find the rice. You need a special short-grained rice known bomba rice and despite checking nearly every grocer in St. Louis, I had to go online. It goes by a couple different names but this is the one I bought.

paella1

The paella itself was fantastic. It makes a complete meal and then some. If you are eating it solo you can eat on it for a few days and if you plan to serve it to a crowd consider making some tapas to start with so there’s enough to go around. I chose a Spanish red wine, a Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva, with ours but with a paella mixtas you can go red, white, or even rosé/rosado.

paella3

Paella Mixta

Ingredients

  • 2 medium, ripe tomatoes (about 12 ounces)
  • 16 large shrimp (about 12 ounces), peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, as needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large pinch saffron threads
  • 2 cups paella rice (about 1 pound), sometimes labeled bomba or Valencia
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the shrimp and chicken
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 16 mussels, Manila clams, or a combination, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 medium lemons, cut into 8 wedges each, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Core and halve the tomatoes. Grate the flesh side of each half on the large holes of a box grater set over a medium bowl, stopping when you get to the skin. Discard the skins. You should have about 3/4 cup of tomato pulp and juice; set aside.
  3. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon of the paprika, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and refrigerate.
  4. Place the chicken in a medium bowl and season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.
  5. Place a 15-inch paella pan across two burners and heat over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add the chorizo to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has started to brown and the fat has rendered, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a large bowl; set aside.
  6. There should be a thin layer of rendered fat in the pan. If there’s not enough, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the seasoned chicken to the pan in a single layer and sear, stirring occasionally, until both sides are golden brown, about 6 minutes total. (You will need to rotate the pan occasionally over the burners to evenly distribute the heat.) Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the bowl with the chorizo; set aside.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, remaining 3/4 teaspoon paprika, and saffron, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  8. Add the reserved tomato pulp and juice and cook until the mixture has slightly darkened in color, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and measured salt and stir to coat in the tomato mixture.
  9. Increase the heat to medium high. Add the broth and stir to combine. Arrange the rice mixture in an even layer. Distribute the reserved chorizo and chicken over the rice, adding any accumulated juices from the bowl. (Do not stir the rice from this point on.)
  10. Bring to a lively simmer and continue to simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary and rotating the pan 90 degrees every few minutes, until the rice grains have swelled, most of the liquid has been absorbed, and the rice starts to make a crackling sound, about 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  11. Arrange the reserved shrimp and the shellfish (hinge-side down) in the rice, nestling them slightly. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the shellfish have opened, the shrimp are just cooked through, and the rice is tender but still al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  12. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cover with foil and let stand for 5 minutes. Before serving the paella, discard any unopened shellfish and sprinkle the dish with the parsley. Serve with the lemon wedges.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2015/07/life-of-the-paella-party/

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3 Jun
2015
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Splendid Ice Cream

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has finally come to St. Louis! Wednesday night I was part of a preview event thanks to an invite from Yelp. The night before the big launch we got to sample some free ice cream.

jenis-storefront

My love for Jeni’s started when some friends in Ohio wouldn’t stop posting about it. Then one day at the mall I spied the cookbook and it was fate. I made salted caramel ice cream and milkiest chocolate ice cream and I was hooked. When Aaron, our lovely Yelp community manager, sent out a call for people to attend the big launch I had to jump.

jenis flavors

The store is located right in the Central West End and per Jeni is one of their biggest storefronts. It’s so clean and open and soon it will be filled with people experiencing some of the best ice cream ever.

jenis store

Jeni was on hand for the preview tonight and she is just as amazing in person. I was trying so hard not to fangirl too much but I got to hear some of her plans to bring St. Louis locally sourced ingredients to the ice cream. She is so warm and passionate about her food and she can just name off her chocolate supplier from memory because every product comes from a person, not just some corporate no name.

jeni and aaron

Speaking of, the flavors are amazing. There’s ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and so many toppings too. You can even have a sundae or a float. The staff there were so welcoming. If they even saw you eye a flavor they’d have a sample ready to go. When I tried the mango lassi and liked it they immediately told me I had to try the lemon frozen yogurt. The flavor tasted just like when you are a kid and at an amusement park in the summer and eating that fair food but in a wholesome way. Fantastic.

jenis-flavors

I picked up a lemon frozen yogurt + red raspberry sorbet for my husband. For myself, I went with a pistachio and honey + brown butter almond brittle with the salty caramel sauce. It was probably the best thing ever. St. Louis gets hot this summer and I will need a lot of Jeni’s to survive it.

both flavors

Thursday night from 7 – 11 PM Jeni will be hosting the grand opening. Ice cream is free for those four hours. Get down there early and enjoy!

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11 May
2015
Posted in: Food, Life
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Food Truck Friday

I finally made it to my first Food Truck Friday here at Tower Grove Park in St. Louis. I’ve had this on my STL Bucket List forever but in my past life it would have taken me so long to drive here that all the food would have sold out. Luckily, the wait was worth it. This month Sauce Magazine had 25 total trucks, up from the years before so no one should go hungry.

Food Truck Friday - May 2015

There are so many food options from so many city neighborhoods. You have pasta, pizza and sandwiches from The Hill, healthy eats from Cherokee Street, Pie from Maplewood, vegan and Filipino from Grand, even the county is represented. There are beer trucks, smoothie and coffee trucks, dessert trucks, and of course food trucks.

Food Truck Friday

Here’s some good tips if you’re going to your first Food Truck Friday

  1. Get there early. The lines get long and it’s totally worth it to sneak out early and get ahead of the crowds, especially if you want Seoul Taco or Gorilla Street Food. Consider splitting up with your group and sending someone to each line to grab food or break into smaller groups. You can all share dishes and have a regular food supply.
  2. Have cash on hand. Most places accept credit or square and some even have an ATM on board but always come prepared.
  3. Bring some gear with you. There were times I wish I had some extra napkins or plasticware to make splitting a dish easier. And while there was plenty of beer and soda to be had, I’m glad I brought some water bottles. If I had a picnic blanket and some wine I bet I would have had an even better time.
  4. Dress for the weather. It had just finished raining and I get that everyone wanted to look cute but you don’t want to wear heels in the mud and this is STL, not Coachella.
  5. Be smart with your car. Look at the map and avoid the thought that you can park right next to a truck. Ain’t gonna happen and you’ll spend more time in your car watching people eat than actually eating. There’s plenty of room along Magnola and Arsenal. If you’re local, why not walk? I usually walk 4 or so miles on Friday and I’m more than willing to do that for food. (And hey, if the organizers could arrange for more bike racks I’d love that too!)

Food Truck Friday 2

This time I kept it easy since I spent more time absorbing the atmosphere than planning a strategy. Next time I’ll be ready. Friday I tried Steak Louie and Sarah’s Cake Stop.

Food Truck Friday 3

Food Truck Friday 4

Steak Louie had this amazing Philly Cheesesteak with strip steak and cheese and peppers. It was a great choice and worth the wait. I hesitated on the fries but decided to limit my stops tonight by grabbing more food at the first stop. The east coast seasoning and cheese sauce were amazing.

Food Truck Friday 5

And then there’s the cupcakes.

Food Truck Friday 7

I of course had to try the red velvet and it was pretty good. But the night’s surprise winner was the 4 Hands Chocolate Milkshake cupcake. It’s made with 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout and has the taste of malted milk balls.

Food Truck Friday 8

There’s just something wonderful about seeing people come together. My husband remarked that it all reminded him of our rural church picnic and I realized he was right; with people, food, pets, strollers, young and old, it felt like a community.

Food Truck Friday 10

Food Truck Friday 9

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17 Feb
2014
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The Best Pizza

For my sixth wedding anniversary, my husband and I each got the gift of iron. We did some research on how to use our new cast iron pans since neither of us had a history of cooking with them. I’ve found so many new recipes I can’t wait to try or have tried since. One recipe stood out to me: cast iron pizza.

The recipe I tried is from Serious Eats. I’ve made it maybe 5 times now and each time I am still amazed at how much like a Pizza Hut personal pan pizza it tastes like. Did anyone else do the Book It program in school where reading earned you pizza? This recipe brings back all my Pizza Hut days. I was always a reader but I’ll be bribed to read more any day for a slice of pizza. I am so impressed at how close this is recipe is to the real thing and I am also so impressed there was once a program that combines my two loves of reading and pizza.

bookit

This recipe starts by making the dough the day before. You don’t need a kitchenaid mixer, just a bowl, a spoon, and 5 ingredients- flour, kosher salt, yeast, water, and olive oil. I do suggest a scale for measuring but it is up to you.

pizza dough

You can top your pizza however you want. This pizza begs for traditional toppings but you can go creative if you want. The crust is so good so you will want to feature that.

making pizza

Seriously, look at the crust and the cheesey goodness. This is the best pizza in the world and you could be making it right now.

pan pizza

Don’t forget the best part: This recipe makes two crusts. If you love it as much as I do, you can make yourself another one the next day and relive the experience. Who wouldn’t want that?

Pan Pizza

Prep Time: 24 hours

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 6 slices

Serving Size: 1 slice

Ingredients

  • 400 grams (14 ounces, about 2 1/2 cups) bread flour
  • 10 grams (.35 ounces, about 2 teaspoons) kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 4 grams (.15 ounces, about 1/2 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 275 grams (9.5 ounces, about 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) water
  • 8 grams (.25 ounces, about 2 teaspoons) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to coat pans and drizzle

Instructions

  1. Stir together your five ingredients until all the flour is moistened and combined, adding more water if necessary.
  2. Place in a bowl 5 times the size and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest 8-24 hours on a counter.
  3. Sprinkle dough with flour and separate into two balls. Freeze or chill second ball if making only a single pizza.
  4. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Place 1 ball of dough in each pan and turn to coat evenly with oil. With palm of hand, flatten the ball slightly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough sit at room temperature for two hours.
  5. After 80 minutes, preheat the oven to 550°F. While oven preheats, prepare 3/4 cup of your favorite sauce and shred 4 oz of a dry mozzarella as well as any toppings.
  6. Once the oven has preheated (about 2 hours after covering pan in plastic wrap), use your fingertips to press it around until it fills in every corner, popping any large bubbles that appear. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings.
  7. Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes. When finished, check bottom for doneness with a spatula. Remove pizza by sliding to a cutting board and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Notes

Recipe from Serious Eats

http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2014/02/the-best-pizza/

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21 Nov
2013
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I Made What!?

My coworker Rachel believes in me. I know this because she supported me when I was just an intern, she supported me when I wanted to come back to work for the place I’m at now and she supported this blog. She gets me and she knew I needed a push to start posting again and sharing my loves. She submitted today’s recipe to me in an effort to help me get my butt in gear and post. I needed this push. This past year has been full of changes: my husband and I each started new jobs, I took up weightlifting, and apparently I became the kind of person who tries insane recipes for the internet’s enjoyment. Let me tell you internet, when Rachel supports you it might mean making something horrifying just to see her reaction.

stuffing cookies

Today, I became the kind of person who makes stuffing cookies.

The cookies start off kind of normal. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add your dry ingredients. I stared down the stuffing. “It’s just like oatmeal,” I told myself.

stuffing cookies

It was only as I poured in the hard dried chunks of stuffing ingredients that I began to really wonder if Rachel was angry about all those meetings where I brought up mundane issues I doubt she cared about. Or maybe she wants tomorrow’s potluck to be one of those events where you don’t know if someone’s food has poisoned you. Life is never boring at our workplace.

stuffing cookies

Once I got the dried cranberries in there it seemed more like oatmeal cookies would be right on target. The recipe says it makes about 15 but it easily made 2 dozen for me.

Stuffing cookies

Alright, so moment of truth- how did they taste?

I have no clue. I was too afraid to try the cookie dough and now that they are baked I plan to enjoy them with all my lovely coworkers in the spirit of sharing and teamwork, just like Rachel taught me. I’ll update you when I know if they are “complex, subtle and completely surprising (in a great way)” like HuffPo says or if I need to update my resume soon.

Update: They taste good! Everyone who tried them liked them. I’d compare them to an oatmeal raisin cookie. The only troubling part was that I couldn’t tell there was stuffing in them.

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12 Aug
2013
Posted in: Food, Life
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Put an Egg on it

I’ve talked just a little bit on here about how last year I went on a trip to Europe. My husband and I started our trip in Barcelona before embarking on a week long cruise. The entire trip was a blast and I still am reminded of it daily. I’ve been trying to incorporate some of the foods I enjoyed on our trip into our meals here at home. Today’s meal is inspired by one I had in Barcelona. It’s not paella (this time) but it was a twist on a classic.

La Perla Nera

My husband and I each had a pizza while we were there. Mine was covered in seafood while my husband’s was topped with an egg and prosciutto. He loved his pizza and I wanted to try to make it when we got home. I started with my usual pizza dough and prebaked it for 15 full minutes. When I pulled it out of the oven, I topped it with about 1/3 cup of pizza sauce and some cheese. Then I sprinkled on a heaping amount of prosciutto. Right before I put it back into the oven, I cracked 3 eggs over the top.

egg pizza

I put the pie back into the oven and baked it for another 12 minutes. You’ll want to wait until the egg just barely jiggles upon moving the pan. The egg will keep cooking for a minute or so after you pull it from the oven so don’t keep it in too long.

egg pizza

You might be a little afraid of an egg on a pizza but you can think of it as just one delicious breakfast pizza. We ate ours for dinner but no one has to know.

Barcelona as a whole was such a wonderful city. I’m just sad to say I only really spent about 2 1/4 days there. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

barcelona

The architecture is beautiful, there are mountains and beaches, forts and concerts, parks and markets. You get the beauty of a coastal city and the excitement of a city that never sleeps (except during a siesta).

You can read about my Barcelona experiences on my travel blog.

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6 Jun
2013
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Lavender Lemonade

After a top-secret project, I had about a dozen lemons leftover in my kitchen. What to do?

lemons

Enter Taylor Swift and my love of a local spice shop. Olde Town Spice Shoppe in St. Charles, Missouri always has your basic spices and some blends of its own.  They also have local Missouri products. Sadly they do not pay me to pitch for them but I used them for wedding favors and for today’s secret ingredient- lavender. They had edible lavender (meaning not chemically treated) that I just couldn’t leave the store without. Fate set in and shortly after a Vanity Fair article about Taylor Swift mentioned she sipped on lavender lemonade during the interview. At first I rolled my eyes but then I realized I wanted to know what it tasted like and I had all the ingredients. Fate, right?

Start by squeezing about 10-12 lemons into a measuring cup. Your goal is to have about 1 1/2 cups (more if you like a tarter lemonade). Set that aside and start working on your simple syrup. You want to soak your lavender in some hot water with some sugar. Between this and all the lemon squeezing, your kitchen will smell amazing.

lavender simple syrup

Next up you’ll want to strain all that lavender off. I used a strainer first and then passed it through a cheesecloth the second time for perfection. Now add that lemon juice from before. My simple syrup was a bit cloudy looking and my lemon juice was yellow but when I blended them together, magic happened.

lavandlem

Beautiful. Now add water to taste. I split my lemon mixture evenly between two pitchers and added 2 cups of water to each pitcher for 4 cups total. After chilling I finally had a drink. It tasted like flowers, in a way I think that is probably why Taylor Swift drinks it and why I will have to keep on drinking it. It’s refreshing, sweet, and feels like a spring day upon drinking.

lavender lemonade

Lavender Lemonade

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons lavender
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups cold water

Instructions

  1. Combine sugar and lavender in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the mixture and steep for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Strain the lavender mixture with a strainer. You may want to run the mixture through a cheesecloth if pieces remain.
  3. Combine the lavender simple syrup with the lemon juice. The mixture will turn a beautiful rose hue.
  4. Pour the mix and cold water into a large pitcher and stir. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2013/06/lavender-lemonade/

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28 May
2013
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Time for Fun

This past weekend was a relaxing time. It started with a soccer game at Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis. We got to watch Manchester City beat Chelsea. We aren’t the biggest soccer people living in a town without a pro team but it was great seeing everyone enjoying a game together.

st. louis soccer

I took Friday off work. It was nice since I haven’t missed work this year with the exception of being sick and that’s never a fun reason. It turned out to be the sunniest day of the weekend so I’m glad I did it. While I waited for my husband to get home, I took advantage of Ancestry.com’s bonus war records. Does anyone else do geneology? I like doing it on a weekend like Memorial Day when I can see all the past relatives who fought bravely. I feel like it can bring me closer to my family, even if I’m not with them all.

Thankfully I do have a great family. Nova, Daniel and I had fun taking a walk in the park. My little doggie was thrilled to finally have nice weather to take a nice walk. She’s used to running 5Ks but if the rain comes she will trot right back inside.

Nova-pooped

Speaking of reasons to trot back inside…

snapping turtle

This guy showed up in our yard this weekend. We’re used to squirrels, rabbits, opossums, racoons and a deer or turkey now and then but this weekend we saw a coyote and a snapping turtle. We live next to some underdeveloped park land that got a little makeover this week so I’m wondering if we’ll get more visitors.

It wasn’t just a yard full of animals though. We had a nice grilling session each night. Just us, the dog, some burgers and some beers. Oh, and of course some dessert.

burger bar

How do you dress up your burgers? We set up some fun burger creations for ourselves this weekend. Here were our top three:

Chicken Parm Burger

  • Ground chicken mixed with breadcrumbs and some seasonings, grilled
  • Top with provolone cheese and marinara

Pizza Burger

  • Ground beef mixed with Italian breadcrumbs, onion powder and Italian seasonings
  • Top with pepperoni, provolone cheese, marinara and some white cheddar

Western Burger (pictured above right)

  • Ground beef mixed with BBQ sauce, Monterrey cheddar cheese mix, seasoning salt, ground black pepper
  • Top with American cheese, BBQ sauce, pickle, mustard, and french fried onions

The fabulous strawberry pie pictured below came from The Country Cook. I wasn’t sure if I liked strawberry pie but I ended up loving it so I’m glad I tried some. I’m going to go eat some right now in fact.

strawberry pie

Before I run off for the night, I want to give you a tease about a project I started this weekend but will have to wait a couple months till it is ready. Don’t worry, I won’t hold you off that long!

citrus

(And no, those aren’t potatoes. They smell much nicer than that, they’re just a little naked right now)

I hope you all had a great weekend!

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12 May
2013
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Sharing the Love of Chocolate

My littlest brother is 17 and getting ready to finish his junior year in high school. He’s in the jazz band and wind ensemble where he plays the sax. 13 years ago when I was a freshman in high school the band started a tradition of having a cake auction at the last concert of the year to help raise money for the next year’s band. Every year of high school I made a cake that was auctioned off. This year I helped my own brother make a cake. I chose a recipe from Heather at Sprinkle Bakes because 1) it was full of chocolate and 2) it had basic techniques I thought my brother should know. The recipe sounds complicated, it’s a Chocolate Mousse Cookie Dough Bombe, but if my brother can do it I assure you that you can too.

brownie layer

We started by assembling the brownie layer. We wanted to make sure it had time to cool before we packed it away to rest overnight before we assembled it the evening of the concert. While making this layer my brother started sharing what he called “Legit bro tips” or what he thought were helpful tips about baking and cooking. I’ll share them just as I promised. His first legit bro tip- “oh year we made brownies, I made them when I was 8. I think I know what I’m doing” which I’m sure is his way of saying easy enough.

cookie dough dome

Next we assembled the cookie dough layer. This layer is made by stirring up the ingredients in a mixer, then pressing the mix into a plastic-wrap-lined bowl. This prepwork will make it easier at the end. You don’t want to leave gaps because this will become your dome when you flip the cake over. My brother’s legit bro tip- “real easy, can’t mess this up.” This layer also leaves some leftover cookie dough which is wonderful because there are no eggs and no baking in this step so it’s safe to munch on.

chocolate mousse

Next up was making the mousse. This was the most educational portion of our day in the kitchen. I taught my brother how to separate eggs (legit bro tip- Make sure to break that in half) and how to temper eggs. He didn’t believe that the mixture had thickened enough to cover the back of the spoon as instructed so he learned another legit bro tip- don’t be afraid to pull out a spoon and test. Then he was introduced to the Kitchenaid mixer and its ability to whip cream. He saw most of the stages and learned the difference between soft and stiff peaks (legit bro tip- those are the hard ones). We mixed the chocolate and cream together and then the dish started coming together. We poured the mousse into the cookie dough, then covered it in plastic wrap and froze it overnight.

assembly

The next day we took off the plastic wrap, placed the brownie layer on top of the mousse, and trimmed the remaining cookie dough. Then we flipped it. It was the moment of truth- would all our hard work pay off?

flipped bombe

Now this is where the cake gets its death by chocolate reputation, you cover this massive treat with a chocolate ganache. We quickly whipped that up and my brother poured it on.

poured chocolate ganache

We sent the cake off to the cake auction and a lovely buyer bought it (aka our mom- do you think she would let her son’s first homemade cake go to someone else?). She was kind enough to share it with us on Mother’s Day though there was very little left the way the family had devoured it.

chocolate mousse cookie dough bombe

Doesn’t that look amazing? It somehow tasted even better than it looked. We’ve come to our final legit bro tip- “It’s bombastic.”

If you’re looking for the recipe, make sure to check Sprinkle Bakes. It’s absolutely worth it.

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