Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Cookbook... New recipes to try.

One of my favorite things to receive is a new cookbook. For Christmas 2013 my parents gave me the Dorie Greenspan "Around my French Table." I have wanted this cookbook for a while so I was incredibly excited to get to really spend time looking through it. So while looking through it I decided to start at the front and cook my way through the book, first recipe was grougeres, delicious cheese puffs. I ate so many I think I may have made myself sick.

The cookbook and eggs that have come to room temp.

More ingredients, don't skimp and purchase cheap cheese, get the better stuff! 

Okay, I seriously could have eaten this whole bowl. 

Waiting for the butter, milk, water, and salt to come to a boil.

This is the dough before the addition of the first egg.

Eggs are being added here, they seem initially as if they would not incorporate, but patience is important here.

The dough is just gorgeous. 

Final egg addition, I should tell you this recipe calls for 5 eggs.

This is that wonderful cheese that I added after the dough was complete.

Now it is time to scoop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. 

I found that using a scooper to scoop helped with consistency in shape and size. 

After a round in the oven, they look perfect don't they. 

I have to have some shots before they are eaten. They look so crispy and delicate. 

Final shot right before these three were eaten. 

So, I have a few things I would change with this recipe. The original calls for sharp cheddar or Gruyere which is just a delicious french cheese, as I used cheddar I would add some spice next time by way of cayenne or mustard powder. Another thing to say is that these are rather "eggie" in their taste, which may be the reason hubs was not so fond of them. Things I might use them for in the future, these would be amazing stuffed with a roast beef of some kind, or possibly a breakfast stuffing of some kind. The more I think about stuffing them with a roast beef the more I think about coming up with a roast beef salad of some kind, think tuna or ham salad. Maybe a thin shaved roast beef mixed with a horseradish mayo, certainly something to continue to think about. I could also see these being amazing stuffed with an apply pie filling of some kind, considering they were made with cheddar, a more "upscale" version of apple pie... Anyone? 

Anyway, thanks for indulging me yet again on another cooking adventure, I have plans to try more recipes soon out of "Around my French Table," which means more blogs in the future. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What makes tree rings so amazing?

This months Daring Kitchen Challenges was one I almost did not complete and then I realized the connection, I will get there but I will ask that you indulge me a bit in a rant, ramble, grumble, which ever you would like to call it. Here of late I have been a touch frustrated with the situation at work. We have an increasingly larger number of patients coming to the hospital with psychiatric needs, and it is prohibiting the Social Workers from doing more of the support work that many of us enjoy. I obtained my Masters Degree as a way to honor my grandparents. It was a way for me to make meaning out of the loss I was feeling after my grandmother's death. Anyway I have had little things that I have found over the last month that have helped me to connect with her, something as silly as the rhinoceros animal cookies that I was nibbling on at work. So when I finally put it all together, this cake was the absolutely most perfect thing for me to make. Why you ask? Well when my mother was a teen she and her family travelled to live in New Zealand for roughly 9 months, and I enjoyed hearing the stories so often about their trip to New Zealand and then back. The thing that connects this story to a cake though happens to be that while there my grandmother took on a project studying tree rings, if the link works, you are able to read her journal posting that she wrote with my grandfather here. So in my own little way I found yet another reason to connect to my grandmother this month...

Blog-checking lines: The January 2014 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Francijn of "Koken in de Brouwerij". She challenged us all to bake layered cakes in the tradition of Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte (layered cake).

Baumkuchen is a cake that I had once seen before on a Food Network Special, I even looked to purchase it at one point for Christmas; I was thrilled to finally get to try this cake out. It is not as challenging as I initially thought it might be. I did a bit of research and decided once I was layering my cake batter in the pan that I would cook it under the broiler like so many other people had suggested on various internet searches. The cake came out great, and looked fantastic. The cake tasted great, and as always the fact that my sweet husband enjoyed it was a plus! so here are some photos..

Cake fresh out o f the pan.
Close up of the layers, after the apricot glaze has been put on top.
Enrobed in a milk chocolate glaze.

The layers were just beautiful!
Close up of the layers, looks like I got at least 9 layers.

Delicious Slice waiting for a fork.  

And another close up of the layers.

Well this was yet another successful challenge. I ended up leaving a forth of the cake at the house for us to enjoy, and took the remaining to work, and as always the crew at work enjoyed it. This is certainly a cake I would make again!

On a completely different note, as we get closer to the end of January, almost 4 months later we are almost completely done with the repairs following the flood of our kitchen. I am beyond ready for the process to be completed. Once things are back to normal in the kitchen I will be a much happier camper when it comes to spending time in there. Having the kitchen turned upside down has helped me to purge a bit of the unnecessary kitchen tools; which has made Ashley thrilled, I have gotten rid of utensils, baking tools, and mugs thus far. There are many more things I could get rid of, but I am taking this slow.

Looking forward to the next Daring Kitchen Challenge, thanks for reading!