Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daring Bakers: How do you Tuile?

Let me just say that I may have breathed the BIGGEST sigh of relief the day I saw the post for this month's challenge.
This is not to say I didn't enjoy last month. I DID, immensely. I think I just needed to not read 12 pages of ingredients and recipes again for a while.

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

We had so many choices this month on what we could make. Everything was left up to our imaginations. So here we are. I made simple tulies with vanilla and almond. I paired 1 with a chocolate coconut soy ice cream and the other with a store bought vanilla ice cream.

Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)

1/4 c softened butter (not melted but soft)
1/2 c sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
1/2 c sifted all purpose flour
1 Tbsp cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet

Oven: 350F

Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the baking sheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.

Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from baking sheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a baking sheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to make a quick post today to say Happy New Year to all those celebrating this past weekend.
This weekend was great. We had "Hot Pot", which obviously was amazing and my son raked in enough red envelopes to start a College fund thanks to grandparents.
Tonight I made a quick soup for supper. My mom snuck a duck into my bag yesterday....don't ask me how she did it because I still don't know how I missed that.
BBQ duck soup with noodles and bok choy. It's so cold here (-23 Celsius), soup is the only thing I want to eat.
Also this soup is like comfort for me and my family.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Good, I Promise...

When I was surfing blogs one day I happened across a blog called "Shaved Ice Sundays". Now I've haven't been blogging that long so this was a whole new world to me. The concept of blogs focusing on specific international cuisines. More specifically it focused on Chinese cooking. Good ol' Chinese home cooking you know the kind my Puo used to make, still does actually.
The 1 ingredient that I was super shocked to find was thousand year old egg or century egg. I was so thrilled to see someone actually put that up, since it's not one of those everyday foods.

Century egg actually reminds me of this 1 episode of "Fear Factor" that I saw. Where the contestants had to eat 1 to win 100,000.
P.S. - I would have totally rocked that challenge.

See, even though it might not look super appealing, I promise this dish I am about to give you is TASTY, in fact super tasty.

You want to WOW your friends with a truly authentic Chinese dish then this is eat, plus it has the scary challenge factor to it. Like the first time you eat an Oyster or try Foie Gras.

In the words of my significant other, "I want to hate it, I do. But I can't. It's so good".
He is not Chinese.

Thousand Year Old Egg and Tofu Salad:

2 Century eggs, diced
1/2 package of regular tofu, diced
1 green onion, chopped
2 Tbsp coriander, chopped
2 - 4 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp Sesame oil
small pinch of sugar

Mix all ingrediants in a bowl and leave for about 20 mins. Serves 4 as a side.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Did someone say Blood Orange?

Ahh.. the season of citrus. This time of year is definitely one of my favourites. I love citrus of all kinds. Limes, Lemons, Oranges, Grapefruit, Clementines and Blood Orange.

Living where I live I know that citrus has to travel a long way. Last time I checked outside orange trees don't grow in 3 -4 feet of snow, sadly.

So when I was picking up some navels the other day, my eyes wandered to the right catching that gorgeous blushing red and ornage skin.
Let me just preface this story with saying that I was shopping with a friend of mine. She hates grocery shopping. I absolutely adore it!

"OOOHHH!", I squealed. "Look Susan, blood oranges!"
"WTF is a blood orange?", she asked. ( I edited the profanity, because I'm sure the 20 people that turned to listen to our conversation heard enough for all of you.)

I tried to explain, but alas the description was lost on her. Oh well her loss.
I wanted to make marmalade, but after feeling not so motivated last weekend I went for a classic southern dessert with a twist. My BF had his boys over. "Perfect", I thought to myself. Guinea Pigs.

So here it is. My take on key lime pie but with blood oranges. Let me just say that this filling actually looks a bit pink, which makes me excited because there are so rare naturally pink foods. I can't actually think of any.

The boys loved it, but I'm sure you can feed 3 20-something men anything after a few...

"Blood Orange" Key lime Pie

- 1/2 c blood orange juice
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 can of condensed milk
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 9 in. graham cracker crust, pre-made or homemade
- 1 c 35% cream (whipping), whipped to soft peaks

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix the first 4 ingrdients in a bowl till smooth and pour into pie shell.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Cool completely, refrigerate for 1 hour and then top with whipped cream.