Saturday, June 25, 2011

#49 - Roasted Garlic Hummus

Like we said yesterday, today was Liz's Happy Hour Shower. And besides little desserts, Emily made sure to bring a happy hour snacky - hummus and vegetables.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

From My Open Kitchen
We're not the only people we know who have a food blog, so when we found out via Facebook that Billy Flanagan (a classmate of Mikey at Gonzaga) had his own cooking blog, we started following it and started looking for ideas. He posted this recipe for homemade hummus, and we knew we had to try it for ourselves.
The first exciting thing about this recipe was that we had to split open and roast whole heads of garlic, which we'd never done before.
After the garlic's done roasting, we mix together the classic hummus ingredients - chickpeas and tahini along with the appropriate spices - in a food processor.
This turned out really great! Who knew that hummus was so easy to make? You could definitely taste the garlic and tahini, but the lemon juice was really interesting too and added a freshness that you normally don't get in store-bought hummus.

It was perfect for the shower with all of our fresh vegetables from Farmer Randy, but when we make it next time just for ourselves, we're definitely going to need to cut the recipe in half or something because it makes a lot of hummus.
Now you can swap out hummus for tahini and chickpeas on your grocery list thanks to Billy.
  • 2 16 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup tahini paste
  • 2 whole heads garlic, split through the equator
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Place the garlic cut-side up on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Wrap the garlic completely with the foil.
  4. Roast for 45 minute to 1 hour, until soft and browned.
  5. Open the foil, let the garlic cool, and then discard the peel.
  6. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, tahini paste, lemon juice, roasted garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. With the food processor running, drizzle in olive oil until the hummus thickens evenly.

Friday, June 24, 2011

#48 - Strawberry-Angel Verrine

Tomorrow is Elizabeth's bridal shower, and there's going to be a happy hour theme to it. That means there are going to be some tasty appetizers you might find at a classy bar, there's going to be a lot of beverages to be had, and most importantly, the desserts are going to be served in little glasses.

Strawberry-Angel Verrine

From the 2010 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Cookbook and The Villa Cookbook
Nori gave us the idea to make this dessert after tasting them at the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot last fall, and so we thought we'd give it a shot for this shower. The recipe originally called for any store-bought vanilla pudding, but we decided to supe it up a skosh and use the crema pasticcera from the Villa cookbook. Hence, lots of ingredients for this one.
There are a lot of components to this dessert, and at the end, they're all gonna be layered on top of each other in a little glass. Here's some work being done on the pastry cream.
Here's the finished Angel food cake.
And to make the strawberry sauce, you puree strawberries and mix in some strawberry jam.
Once all those components are all ready to go, you chop up the cake and start layering.
We had a nice workstation set up so that we could pump these things out. We did have to make a whole bunch of them for the shower.
Oh my goodness. These things were T to the A to the S-T-E-Y. The creama pasticcera was a little more lemon-y than we had planned, but when it was combined with the strawberries and the cake, it was just delicious. Hopefully there'll be some leftovers after the festivities tomorrow.
There are a lot of steps, and a lot of mini-recipes along the way, but it's well-worth it:

Angel Food Cake
  • 12 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer, and set aside until at room temperature.
  3. Beat egg whites at medium speed until frothy.
  4. Add cream of tartar and whisk at medium speed until medium peaks form.
  5. Sift confectioners' sugar and flour in a large bowl.
  6. When egg whites are beaten, sprinkle 1/4 of the flour mixture over the top of the egg whites. Gently fold to incorporate.
  7. Fold in remaining flour mixture, working in 3 batches, until combined.
  8. Pour mixture into an ungreased tube pan, and smooth the top.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown and top springs back when lightly touched.
  10. Turn pan upside down to cool.
  11. When cake is cool, cute into 1/2-inch cubes.

Strawberry Sauce
  • 6 large strawberries
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 3 Tbs strawberry jam
  1. Combine strawberries and water in a blender and puree.
  2. Put puree in a medium bowl and whisk in the strawberry jam.

Crema Pasticcera
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 6 Tbs sugar
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups hot milk
  1. In a large saucepan, whisk yolks, sugar, flour, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt together.
  2. Whisk in hot milk and heat over medium heat stirring constantly until just coming to a boil.
  3. Cook completely.

Strawberry-Angel Verrine
  • Angel food cake, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups crema pasticcera
  • Strawberry sauce
  • 6 to 12 strawberries, diced
  1. Spoon 1 Tbs of strawberry sauce in the bottom of a small dessert glass.
  2. Add a layer of angel food cake cubes.
  3. Add 2 Tbs crema pasticcera, spreading to form an even layer.
  4. Top with 1 to 2 chopped strawberries and any remaining strawberry sauce.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

#47 - No-Sugar-Added Cheesecake

Emily's headed to New Jersey tomorrow to celebrate Father's Day with Papa Beck. To commemorate the occasion, while keeping in mind certain dietary restrictions, we decided to got with a tasty dessert that keeps the excess to a minimum.

No-Sugar-Added Cheesecake

From Delicious Disney
As you can tell by the ingredients, this is not your standard cheesecake. There's reduced fat cookies, fat free cream cheese, light sour cream, and Splenda. We're lucky that butter even made it on the counter with this one.
To start off this recipe, you have to make the cookie crust. And all that takes is a good KA-BONG!
Then you mix together all the reduced-something ingredients.
Add three eggs, and one yolk-free egg.
And then once it's all mixed together, it's just pour and bake.
When it was all finished, this cheesecake came out better than it sounded, and a lot better than it looked. We don't know what went wrong, but our cake had a lot of cracks that we don't think were meant to be there.

But taste-wise this cake was pretty good. It probably could have used one of those reduced-something ingredients to be swapped out with the original (we're thinking the cream cheese) but it was still a nice dessert as-is and it probably would be extra tasty with some fruit on top. We only had a little sample tonight since the cake is for everyone's favorite Linus, but hopefully the Becks will enjoy it tomorrow.
As long as you aren't planning on crashing the Becks' Father's Day celebration, go ahead and try your hand at this recipe:
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar-free vanilla wafer cookies, crushed
  • 4 Tbs butter, melted
  • 4 Tbs sugar-free sweetener
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 24 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch round springfoam pan.
  3. Bake for 7 minutes, then allow to cool completely.
  4. Reduce oven to 325.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the sweetener and cornstarch.
  6. Add cream cheese, then beat at a low speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  7. Add eggs, egg whites, and sour cream and beat at low speed for 1 minute.
  8. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  9. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract, beating for 1 more minute.
  10. Pour into prepared crust. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until firm and golden around the edges but still slightly moist in the center.
  11. Let cool thoroughly, and serve.

Friday, June 17, 2011

#46 - Chocolate Bouchons

Tonight, we had some people over to play games and hang out, and it was kind of a last-minute decision, so we had to whip up something for everybody. We thought we'd go with dessert, so we whipped up these brownie-esque snacks courtesy a friendly culinary rodent.

Chocolate Bouchons

From What's Cooking?
We can't remember how/why we got it, but we have a Ratatouille cookbook for kids, and that's where we found this recipe. But just because the book was written for children doesn't mean it was a simple recipe - this one had 3 stars, meaning "Master Chef" difficulty. So there.

Since these bouchons are a lot like brownies, you can probably guess the main ingredients: chocolate, eggs, butter, flour, and sugar.
It's just those ingredients don't always get along when they're on the counter.
This recipe's got a lot of mixing and stirring, but the hardest part was sifting all the cocoa powder with our less-than-stellar sifter.
Once you've got the batter all set, you scoop it into baking cups like you're making cupcakes, and pop them in the oven. And what makes this a "Master Chef" recipe is the little sprinkle of powdered sugar at the end.
These were a very good dessert. They were super chocolatey and fudgy and dense, and that means they'd be extra good with some vanilla ice cream. Or you can leave them as is if you're a chocoholic; we don't judge.

Also, they were probably a little bit too big since they were so rich, so maybe use mini-muffin tins if you have them.
Act like a rat, and do this:
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter melted and just slightly warmed
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • Confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tray with 12 baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar with a handheld mixer on medium speed until very pale in color, for about 3 minutes.
  4. Mix in the vanilla.
  5. On low speed, add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/3 of the butter, and continue alternating with the remaining flour and butter.
  6. Add the chocolate and mix to combine.
  7. Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean but not dry; the tops should look shiny and set.
  9. Transfer the bouchons in their liners to a cooling rack.
  10. Wait several minutes, then invert the bouchons and let them cool upside down in their liners.
  11. Lift off the liners.
  12. Invert the bouchons and dust them with confectioners' sugar.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

#45 - Trout Meunière with Pecan Sauce

We haven't made a new fish in a while, so we opened up some of our cookbooks, found this trout recipe, and decided to give it a go.

Trout Meunière with Pecan Sauce

From Delicious Disney
So apparently, Meunière means "miller's wife", and if there are two things a miller's wife should have plenty of, it's flour and wine. And silly hats.
The other thing this recipe calls for is clarified butter. We didn't get any good pictures of making that, but basically, you cook unsalted butter over low heat until it separates. When you're done with that, you feel like you're ready to start cooking up something tasty at Wisey's.

So outside of clarifying that butter, the first thing you have to do is to dredge the trout in milk and a flour / spice mixture.
Once the dredging is done, it's time to saute the fish, and then make the pecan sauce.

One word of advice - make sure to check the temperature because we left the sauce on a little too high of heat, and we actually had to give it a 2nd try before we got it just right.
How did it come out? Well, we think it was pretty good, but more of a once-in-a-while kinda meal, instead of an oh-my-gosh-this-is-so-good-we-need-to-have-this-as-much-as-possible-and-use-as-many-hyphens-as-it-takes kind of a meal.
If you want a fish dinner suited for a miller, here's what you've got to do:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/8 Tbs salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 cup clarified butter, divided
  • 2 8-ounce trout fillets
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 Tbs shallots, minced
  • 3/8 cup pecans, chopped
  • Pinch of flour
  • 1/8 cup white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Tbs parsley, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Slowly melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat, never stirring.
  2. When the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan the golden liquid on top is the clarified butter.
  3. Skim off any foam and put the clarified butter in a small bowl.
  4. In a shallow dish, mix the flour, salt, white pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  5. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat, and add the clarified butter, reserving 1/2 Tbs.
  6. Dredge trout in milk, then in the flour mixture, and add to the hot pan.
  7. Cook each fillet for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
  8. Remove to a serving platter, and keep warm.
  9. Wipe out the pan and return to heat, adding the last 1/2 Tbs of clarified butter.
  10. Add shallots and saute about 10 seconds.
  11. Add pecans and saute for 1 minute.
  12. Add a pinch of flour, then whisk in wine and lemon juice, whisking about 30 seconds until smooth and shiny.
  13. Remove sauce from heat and add butter and parsley, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  14. Spoon sauce over fish and serve right away.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

#44 - Stracciatella Gelato

Remember how we told you our Villa friends came over tonight? Well, we had to feed them dessert, and those cookie bars would be perfect if they had something creamy to go with them.

Homemade gelato anyone?

Stracciatella Gelato

From Bon Appetit
Stracciatella is kind of the Italian version of chocolate chip ice cream, so in the ingredients, we needed bittersweet chocolate to get those swirly chunks. Also, we decided to break the bank with this recipe and use real vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract.
Making the gelato is similar to making ice cream, where you start off making a custard that will need to be chilled before churning. The main difference is the fat content as gelato has more milk than heavy cream.
While the custard is chilling, we had time to get the chocolate ready. We melted the bittersweet chocolate chips down and made this super delicious looking sauce.
Then while churning the gelato, we poured that stuff in in little batches, and watched as it froze into thin strips of chocolate.
Back in the freezer for a bit, and we're done!
This gelato was pretty tasty, and it went perfectly with those pecan cookie bars. The chocolate swirl was pretty neat, and we think we might have to steal that technique for a creamier ice cream in the future.
If you made the cookie bars, make this to go with it:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  1. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean to the milk, and add the bean.
  3. Bring milk to a simmer, whisking often.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, yolks, and salt for 1 minute, until well-blended.
  5. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the yolk mixture.
  6. Return to saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until the custard thickens, about 5 minutes.
  7. Strain custard into a medium bowl.
  8. Stir in the chilled cream and cover.
  9. Chill custard until cold, at least 2 hours.
  10. Stir chocolate and oil in a small saucepan over low heat until melted, and let cool.
  11. Prepare your ice cream maker for use.
  12. Pour chilled mixture into your ice cream maker and stir for 15 minutes (on Speed 1 of your KitchenAid).
  13. During the last 30 seconds of churning, slowly add all but 1 tsp melted chocolate to the ice cream.
  14. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle the remaining chocolate over gelato in zigzag lines.
  15. Return ice cream to freezer for several hours before serving.