OK. OK. I know you are saying, "What the heck is that title?" Well, me too. First of all, I don't even know HOW to pronounce it. Second of all, it took me a loooooooooooong to time to actually make it. And third of all, I'm considering resigning my Daring Bakers membership all because of this one dessert! No really. I wouldn't do that. But it did cross my mind when my second attempt at a Biscuit Joconde failed, failed, failed.
Anyway, let me start at the beginning. Our host for this month, Astheroshe, from the blog, accro, challenged us to make a Biscuit Joconde which is a fancy name for a decorated sponge cake. See, you make a colored paste and doodle on your Silpat lined baking pan. While this fancy doodled pan sits in the freezer, you whip up an almond sponge cake. You smear this batter on top of your frozen doodle. Bake it. Cool it. Turn it upside and down and tah-dah!
Yup. That's what happened to my first try. Broken cake.
So, I tried again. I baked it on parchment paper instead of a Silpat. This time it didn't stick buuuuut when I cut it and tried to line my mold with it . . . Yup. Broken cake.
At this point I screamed and cursed a bit. My 7-year-old witnessed my rage and my vow not to try it again. But he got down on his knees, literally, got down on his knees and prayed to God that if I did it again it would be successful. How can you say no to that?
Dutifully (and half-heartedly) I doodled on my parchment-lined pan AGAIN. Froze it. Smeared it with sponge batter. And stuck it in the oven (using my convection option this time). Meanwhile, prayers continued to ascend to God from my 7-year-old.
Let me tell you. Prayer works. Along with the convection feature. Because it baked into a cake strong enough to NOT stick and to NOT break. I lined my mold with it. Wah-lah!
I filled it and topped it and took a picture of it.
Isn't it beautiful? Well, it was tasty too.
I used Julia Child's almond filling from her Charlotte Malakoff for it. Whole strawberries were surrounded by the filling and then, on top, I used a strawberry gelee. Yum! I can't imagine that anyone reading this would want to make it after my distastrous experience. But should you want to give it a go check out the Daring Kitchen to get the recipes. You can experiment with your own fillings and flavors.
Oh, and don't forget to pray!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
This Monday's challenge was easy and delicious. I threw it together in a matter of minutes and was impressed with these Artichoke Parmesan Crostini. Martha tells you to rinse and drain some marinated artichoke hearts but I hardly saw the point of dirtying more dishes. If you have superbly marinated artichokes just leave the marinade on them! Chop them up finely and stir in some parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper. Serve on toasted bread. Yum! Thanks to Megan's Cookin' for a great pick.
at 11:38 AM
Friday, January 14, 2011
I can't believe I haven't shared my hummus recipe with you!
I make hummus once a week until I get tired of it. It usually takes a long time for me to get tired of it. It's really great with anything. Cut up veggies. Crackers. Pita. But my favorite thing to put it on is naan. This naan, to be exact. But often I'm lazy and just use something pre-made.
Don't, however, use pre-made hummus. This is such an easy recipe and it is soooooooooo much better than those plastic tubs for sale in the produce aisle.
The secret is the food processor. And the amount of tahini you should put in it. So, follow this recipe exactly and you'll be able to snack on something delectable all week long!
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons water
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 very small clove of garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
pinch of cayenne
6 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon freshly minced parsley
1. In a glass measuring cup combine lemon juice and water.
2. Put chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne in the food processor. Process until well ground, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. With machine running, add lemon juice mixture slowly through the feed tube. Scrape down bowl. Process again for at least a minute or two.
3. Combine tahini and 2 tablespoons olive oil in the glass measuring cup (there is no need to clean it out). Now, slowly pour tahini mixture into food processor through the feed tube. This is when you'll see magic happen. The hummus becomes lighter in color and creamy in texture. Scrape down bowl. Process one more time for about 30 seconds.
4. Pour hummus into a bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with extra olive oil. Enjoy.
at 10:49 AM
Monday, January 10, 2011
My husband HATES onions. HATES them. He has a story that he likes to tell about our first days of wedded bliss. I was making a stew and, while I chopped the requisite three cups of onions, he questioned me. "Are you going to put all THAT in the stew?" I told him to trust me. Hours later, when we finally sat at the table, we slurped our soup and he began giggling. Never being one to keep secrets for long, he confessed that he had scooped up and flushed half my onions down the toilet without my knowing it! Needless to say, that night was not one of bliss on my part. I was so mad at him for not trusting me.
Well, he says he's never done it again but, were I to have fed him THIS particular soup, it might have ended up flushed down the toilet.
I, on the other hand, liked it.
Martha requires a slew of pots and pans to cook a simple, hearty onion soup but I simplified the process. It really is a filling soup and very tasty too. Check out some other opinions by following the link to Martha Mondays with Brette Sember. She organizes this whole thing. You can play along too, whether you blog or not.
Oh, and here's the recipe.
Hearty Onion Soup Gratin
Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups beef broth
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
2 turnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large bay leaf
4 sliced stale bread
Cheese (I used shredded mozzarella and Parmesan but you can use whatever you like.)
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions until softened, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add thyme and cook for 35 more minutes until onions are a deep golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add beef broth to onions along with carrots and turnips. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.
3. Arrange slices of bread on a baking sheet and top with cheese. Broil in the oven until bubbly. Remove from oven.
4. Ladle soup into bowls and top with bread and cheese. Serves 4.
at 11:00 AM
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
It's always snack time in our house especially with a six-year-old coming home from school all the time. Popcorn is a thing we make a lot. The old-fashioned way, of course. In fact, my son's friends request my popcorn because it tastes so much better than their mom's. (She uses the microwave stuff.) But I certainly understand that popping popcorn in a big pot on a the stove is not everyone's thing.
Regardless of how you pop your corn, here's a great way to jazz it up. It's fantastic! Better than caramel corn! Better than Cracker Jack! Better than Kettle Corn! And so easy to make. Just follow these directions.
Maple Nut Popcorn
Adapted from Cooking Light
6 cups popped popcorn
1/4 cup of your favorite nut, dry-roasted (I used cashews but might try almonds next time)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup real maple syrup (preferably grade B because it has more maple-y goodness)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine the six cups popcorn and the nuts.
2. In a small saucepan combine the sugar, maple syrup, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat. Once it boils, cook for one minute. Remove from heat and let stand for one minute.
3. Pour syrup mixture over popcorn and nuts. Toss to coat. Immediately spread popcorn mixture on lined jelly-roll pan. Bake in preheated oven for ten minutes, stirring the popcorn twice during baking. Cool on the pan for ten minutes. Transfer popcorn to a bowl and enjoy.
at 5:54 PM