Thursday, June 30, 2011

A few food rants and an update

I'll start with the update. As you've probably noticed my blogging has stalled. I'm currently working two jobs and trying to enjoy my summer. I haven't had much of an interest in blogging. Recently when I would bake or cook I would do it for the blog not for myself. I want to go back to cooking at my own speed and making food that I care about not food that I think will impress. So I'm not even going to call this a hiatus I'm just going to call it retirement. I might be back I might not. We'll see. I've decided to make my final entry a food rant. There are several things I've been meaning to get off my chest.

1. I think KitchenAids are over rated. My family owns one and it's great for making a batch of cookies but when it comes to making bread dough or whipping egg whites I tend to turn else where. I'm not going to fall down and worship at the alter of the Kitchenaid because I think any old stand mixer can do the exact same job.

2. I think that Momofuku milk bar is highly over rated. Any one that pays $40 for a pie should be slapped. I don't see why everyone flips out over chocolate chip cookies with coffee grounds and potato chip crumbs in them. It's not like you couldn't go into your kitchen and crank out a batch yourself.

3. Chocomize is also highly over rated. Why is it so amazing that they take a chocolate bar melt it pour it out and then put stuff on top of it. Any one can do that at home for cheaper. Again anyone that pays for something like that should be slapped.

4. There is no such thing a French vanilla. I don't know why this bothers me so much but I'm irritate whenever I see something that's "French vanilla" flavored. There's Madagascar vanilla, There's Tahitian vanilla and there's Mexican vanilla that is it. French vanilla is a myth.

5. Why does any one like cake pops? They're sickly sweet and have the texture of cake that some one has already chewed and then spit out. Sure they can be cute but who wants to eat ABC textured cake on a stick?

I feel a lot better now that I've ranted. Thank you to everyone who supported me and my blogging. I really appreciate it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

strawberry short cakes with lemon curd

I come from an area that was historically known for growing strawberries. Up until the time I was around 8 or so my great uncle even had a strawberry patch in his backyard. I would spend my Sunday afternoons picking strawberries with my mother. Those were the best dang berries ever, nothing like what comes from the grocery store. These were real strawberries with real flavor. They were just the right balance of sweet and tart. To tell you the truth I think that anything grown in the garden tastes better than store bought. Just like home cooked food will always taste better than anything that comes from the store. I wish more people would learn that. Any way here is my strawberry inspired dessert.

Strawberry short cakes with lemon curd

lemon curd
3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

Short cakes

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup half and half
Melted butter to brush shortcakes
Ice cream or whipped cream
Heat oven 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in butter and shortening. Mix in half-and-half. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown.

To assemble the short cakes just hull and slice about one pound of strawberries and sprinkle them with some sugar. Cut each short cake in half and drizzle with lemon curd and then top with berries and whipped cream.

Friday, June 3, 2011

chai and a busy two weeks

Sorry about the lack of an up date. I've been working five days a week and running around like crazy. I'll try and get on top of things. In any case I made this for a group of friends last week and it went over really well. It was also super easy. I can see my self easily keeping a pitcher of this in the fridge at all times. I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

2 organic English Breakfast tea bags
3 cups milk
3 cups water
6 cardamom pods
6 whole cloves
4 whole star anise
4-6 small cinnamon sticks
4-6 slices fresh ginger about 1/4 inch each
*1/4 cup sugar

Heat water and milk to the point just before boiling.
Add the tea bags and all of the herbs/spices and turn off the heat.
Allow to infuse for 20-30 minutes, then add the sweetener. Either reheat before serving or chill until serving.
4. Pour chai through a fine mesh strainer into mugs or a pitcher.