Archive for ‘Amusements’

June 26, 2013

Lemon Head

Summer’s sultry sunbeams have arrived! And with them, the delightful delirium you fall into while trying to keep yourself cool by standing in front of an open fridge with a washcloth plastered to your forehead. In this case, it was a perfectly pleasant way to fight off the fever and keep a cloyingly close eye on my Lemon Basil tarts chilling to completion.

What!? I have strayed away from my beloved Frozen Key Lime pie to abate the humid hot pocket my apartment has become?

Yes, it must have been the heat that bamboozled me into doing some edible experimentation. I’d say it was a scientific sensation!

 

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Something about how June makes everything blossom with vibrance and the beginning of another sweltering season, made me want to make something bright and crisp. Lemon and Basil are two ingredients that, when married together, become a most refreshing flavor fusion, very appropriate.

Something else about June, it makes me want to put Jim Beam in my coffee, sit on the fire escape and take it real easy-like. You win, June!

 

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The recipe I used was, well, let’s just call it minimalistic, so it was a fly by the seat of your pants kind of thing. I added some helpful tips and confidence boosters (drink whiskey while baking) to get you through this tasty task.

First, make the graham cracker crust, which you can find in the post for Frozen Key Lime Pie below. Simple, bake in tart shell for 10 minutes and set aside for later assembly.

 

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Lemon Basil Custard

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 Cup heavy cream

2 Eggs

2 Egg Yolks

3/4 Cup fresh lemon juice, strained

3/4 Cup granulated sugar

1 Cup whole fresh basil leaves, cleaned

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a double boiler (I use a regular medium sized pot of simmering water and fit a large bowl on top to create the same effect.) Combine all ingredients into the large bowl, sounds weird but it is just fine. Take a shot of whiskey and whisk mixture continuously until mixture is heated through to prevent eggs from curdling. Continue to cook over double boiler, whisking every few minutes. Cook until mixture reaches a custard like consistency (coats the back of a spoon), for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer, this will catch the basil leaves, into a clean bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.

Phew! You did it! Take another shot you master chef!

Place cooled tart shell on a baking sheet and fill with custard. Bake until custard sets, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before handling. Place them into Fridge and let those lemon babies cool down, eat, and enjoy!

The recipe I used was adapted from:

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/lemon-basil-tart/recipe.html?dishId=4500

Damn Canadians!

Happy Baking!

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December 20, 2011

The Tipsiest of Kitchens

Everyone knows that the holiday season brings everyone together to celebrate health, happiness, and life. We find ourselves gathering with friends, dressing in our most festive fashions, and dancing to Bing Crosby Christmas classics. We fill our kitchens with nostalgic aromas and indulge in extra delectable fare, all the while sipping on bubbling champagne and cocktails.

This was NOT one of those times. Phewww!

True, I had an apartment full of friends, my kitchen smelled like warm cookies and there was something sparkling to drink…

Too bad it was Four Loko.

It has the caffeine!


All of these factors put together and all of the ingredients in the pantry led to the tipsiest of kitchens! Luckily, I had a great assistant and featured baker, Alex. As an apron wearing superforce we made sure to add all the precise ingredients, bake the cookies at the exact amounted time, and decorate with impeccable taste.

However, just like this photo, things did get a bit blurry.

Tipsiest

To be honest we kind of threw a bunch of ingredients into a bowl, adding anything we came across during the process, and put them into the oven until one of us remembered they were still in there. To our serious surprise, they were curiously commendable.

Maybe it just was the Four Loko.

Tipsiest Kitchen-Sink Cookies

2 Sticks Unsalted Butter (softened)

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup White Sugar

2 1/4 Cup AP Flour

1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tbsp. Vanilla

2 Large Eggs

WE ADDED (OPTIONAL):

Big handful of chopped chocolate, slivered almonds, crumbled bacon that was hanging around the stove.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl beat together the butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time to the mixture. Add the vanilla (we may have added a little extra.) Beat until combined.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, cocoa, and baking soda. Take this mixture and add in small batches to the wet ingredients. Beat just until dough has formed. With a wooden spoon stir in any ingredients you see lying in arms length of you. We had some great options. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

We even toasted some almonds to make this cookies even flashier.

But really, be careful when you drink and bake.

December 3, 2011

Molto Elegante!

Well, ’tis the season for cookies!

What a wonderful wintry welcome to this mild December. It is as cool as a cucumber out there! However, though they are not required, it is the appropriate time to wear your over-sized knit sweaters and indulge in sumptuous sweets. Pairing this mind set with another indulgence, I allowed myself the expensive baking supply SILPAT, non-stick rubber mat-thing, and I made the rather fussy Florentine.

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It is very important to maintain a voluptuous figure during the later months because it is also very important to keep warm and you need a little extra butter and chocolate to fill in the gaps. Plus, how can a treat this lovingly luminous be so terrible?

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I think not my friends, have 6.

Anyhow, the Italian Florentine is a love child between a cookie and a candy so, it is particularly perfect for this time of year. It seems a tad bit daunting, but you will be a stronger person after the anxiety allows absolute appeasement. As per usual, it also seems like a very careless, yet carefully curated recipe after a Prosecco or two. It seemed only right to keep in the Italian family. Capishe?

Almond Floretines

2 Cups sliced, almonds (after chopping, about 6 oz. before)

3 Tbsp. AP flour

Zest of 1 medium sized orange

1/2 Tsp. table salt

3/4 Cup white sugar

2 Tbsp. heavy cream

2 Tbsp. light corn syrup

1/2 Stick unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (or almond if you are a devout lover)

Don’t worry about Pre-heating your oven, there’s a wait time!

First, chop, (or if you are a real person with appliances, pulse almonds in food processor until fine, be careful not to go too far, you are looking for particles not butter!).  In a medium sized bowl combine almonds, flour, zest, and salt. Create a little dip in the center.

In a small saucepan combine butter, sugar,corn syrup, and cream and set at medium heat. Let this mixture come to a boil and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. This is the daunting part because it seems as if at any second it will burn, but you will be just fine. Next, remove from heat and add the vanilla. Then, add this molten sugar to the center of your dry ingredients. Stir to combine and let set for 30 minutes while you drink another Prosecco and watch the Pomegranate seeds float around in there.

Now, Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

After you have waited this eternity, take half Tbsp. scoops, roll in your hands and set on PARCHMENT PAPER PREPARED BAKING SHEETS OR SILPAT. THIS RECIPE WILL DISAPPOINT AND BRUISE THE BAKER WITHIN. Bake for 11 minutes, rotating the pan at the 5 minute half point. Let rest about 2 minutes and then easily slip the beauts onto a cooling rack.

I made a simple chocolate sauce by melting some semi-sweet baking squares to splash on top. Then, some optional Florentine and chocolate sandwiches happened which were absurd, but mostly I just drizzled the sauce to add a little bit of a softer texture.

Buono Appetito!

The recipe is from Food Network, although I’ve made them a few times and made a few changes.

September 7, 2011

Sometimes It Just Happens

Full Fridge

Especially if you live in a supposed “Hurricane Zone” and they expected you to batten down the hatches and be cooped up in your apartment for days with no contact to the outside world!

Well, Irene really made a fool of us this time! She just breezed right on by Brooklyn and left fridges full of beer!

Can’t blame a girl for tryin’. Cheers Irene!

May 8, 2011

Little Life Lesson #2

Mango is in season! I have been getting  a terrific deal on these champagne mangoes from my fruit market all week. They are a smaller, kidney-shaped variety; a little sweeter with a velvety texture. They are sensational, but I have to slow down because too many make my mouth slightly itchy!

This is a tiny trick to make your mango experience a tad more special. All you have to do is cut the fruit in half, long ways, then score the flesh into squares.

Like this:Mango before

Then give the fruit an inside out flip, and behold the transformation!

Mango After

A wonderful, and impressive, surprise unfolds!

This is a great addition to any fruit or cheese plate to entice your guests.

Enjoy!

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May 6, 2011

Oh Schlitz!

Schlitz

I know this is a little terrible, but I think it is absolutely fabulous.

Oh to be a 1950’s housewife…

May 1, 2011

Little Life Lesson #1

There are many useless things that people should know and keep in their back pockets because you never know when they will come in handy. Today, I will share with you a bit of frivolous information that has helped me out a few times.

This is something that I had been taught but I couldn’t quite get the hang of until my roommate Jon taught me the step that I kept missing.  This simple trick will aid you at any outdoor gatherings or on your rooftop, or any situation where there is just no bottle opener in sight.

The classic lighter method!

Lighter Trick

Disregard the bottle cap and improvise!

First, grip the top of the bottle with one hand, making sure that your thumb is placed below the cap and the rest of your hand is covering about half on the cap. Next, position the bottom of any trusted lighter under the metal lip of the cap, and firmly against your thumb. Now, the trick is to let the fingers on top of the cap do all the work. It’s not so much about the force behind the lighter, but the leverage created. If you remember this, the cap should fly right off, allowing you to enjoy the contents within.

Hope this tip will help you in any unfortunate absence of a bottle opener!

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April 13, 2011

Perfect dough…everytime!

So! Finally! The secret to making the perfect dough!

I always thought there was something else going on in that dark mysterious oven…

April 8, 2011

Stackables

A scaled tribute to Colt 45 and Measuring cups cleverly disguised as Nesting Dolls.

Stacking TIme

March 24, 2011

The champagne of beer

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