Saturday, July 3, 2010

I'm moving !

Not too far, just around the corner to .

Apparently there are multiple combinations of eatlovetravel,eatlovewrite,eattravellov and on and on.  So I'm going with what I know and what I started with many moons ago.....please come along ... My goal is to leave this blog up for a bit so I don't miss any of you wonderful people.  I hope that I am following the blogger directions correctly..I'm holding my breath that I don't lose anything or anyone !

Sunday, June 27, 2010

June 2010 Daring Bakers' Challenge

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard

Here is the link for the printable PDF file

The beginnings of my meringue

Recipe 1: Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):

3 large egg whites
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
¼ cup (30 grams) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder

1.Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F (95º C) degrees. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside.
2.Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)
3.Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.)
4.Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon. (Class made rounds, hearts, diamonds and an attempt at a clover was made!)
5.Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Folding the chocolate into the meringue

Recipe 2: Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base):
1 ½ cups (355 mls) heavy cream (cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent)
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone (see the recipe below for home made mascarpone)
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)

1.Put ½ cup (120 mls) of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.
2.Place the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT AS THE MASCARPONE WILL BREAK.)
3.Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse. Again, you could just free form mousse on top of the pavlova.

Beginnings of my Pavlovas

Recipe 3: Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):
1 recipe crème anglaise
½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional)
½ cup (120 mls) heavy cream

1.Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca and let the mixture cool. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Recipe 4: Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream above):
1 cup (235 mls) whole milk
1 cup (235 mls) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp (75 grams) sugar

1.In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
2.Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.
3.Pour about ½ cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from making scrambled eggs. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put the heat back on medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
4.Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight.

I made these the diameter of a medium muffin

Homemade Mascarpone courtesy of Vera at Baking Obession
Much easier to make than it might seem, homemade mascarpone is a tastier and less expensive alternative to a store-bought cheese. It’s marvelous with ripe summer berries, finally appeared at our farmer’s markets.

Makes about 12 oz
•500 ml whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream
•1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours. And according to Vera it will firm up beautifully in the fridge-don't worry about the custard like texture when you place it in the fridge.

Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired.

Additional Information:
Wikipedia’s definition of Pavlova
The history of Pavlova
Great video from Epicurious

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yotam Ottolenghi and Watermelon

First of all if you haven't stumbled upon Yotam Ottolenghi by now google him and go to his website. How can you not love and want to be around a group of people who embrace this philosophy :
We take our food extremely seriously. We make everything – be it marshmallow, an elaborate upside down pear cake or a French bean salad - right from scratch. We don’t buy anything other than raw ingredients, and we only produce things that we would want to eat ourselves. We don’t use colouring or preservatives, we don’t freeze and we don’t refrigerate for long periods. We buy mostly local produce (that is, British and European), very often organic, and we cook to feed and to share, applying the same instincts as a home cook. But we are also perfectionists; testing and re-testing each dish until we get it just right; creating and maintaining beautiful and serene dining environments.
I just bought his cookbook "Plenty" and it is one of the most gorgeous cookbooks I have ever seen.  It's a vegetarian cookbook and the photos alone make me want to cook every dish-and those of you who know me know that I am not a vegan.  I'm not a huge fan of beef but I love chicken, fish and pork-and occasionally lamb.  But with this cookbook I may be eating nothing but vegetables all summer long. 

 I was searching for a cookbook with an emphasis on vegetables since we have expanded our garden this summer.  Even more tomatoes, more eggplant, cucumbers, peppers,broccoli,lettuce,mustard,sugar snap peas,onions,garlic and lots of fresh herbs.  And we also started  biweekly delivery from  New Roots Organics out of Ballard.  Carolyn Boyle started New Roots back in 1999 and supports local organic farmers.  We got our first bin delivered last Thursday and it was perfection.  Juicy nectarines,huge blueberries and some of the sweetest cantaloupe I have tasted in a long time.  Snap green beans that tasted like they just came from my garden.  I love this service.  I try to get to the local farmer's markets but with my schedule I can't always make it so this is a nice fall back plan.  I can't wait to see the next delivery-it's like getting Christmas presents every other week.

I love fresh veggies and fruit from the garden.  I grew up in Duquesne , PA and my grandfather had a huge garden that my mom and dad would tend along with my sister,brother and myself.  We had a cherry tree,several peach trees, a nectarine tree, and 2 plum trees.  I was spoiled at  young age, roaming through the garden with a salt shaker and having a dinner of fresh tomatoes with a little salt sprinkled on them.  Or at lunchtime I would gorge myself on plums and peaches so juicy I would be covered with peach drippings and my fingers would be purple from the plums.  When my grandfather became bedridden he would sit in the upstairs window and yell  down at me "Yenta-pick up those peaches, bring me those with some tomatoes" He would place them on his nightstand or windowsill and usually by the next day they were gone. He taught me how to smell a peach and know if it was ready-how to pick off those huge caterpillars that would eat our tomato plants, how to set onions in so they would grow straight and have huge white bulbs by fall.  I miss my grandfather the most during the summer when the sight of the garden takes me back to him and his window overlooking his garden.  I like to think that my love of gardening comes directly from him.

Anyway I have gotten way off track here.  Back to Yotam.  One of the last recipes in the book has some of my absolute favorite ingredients in it basil, watermelon,feta cheese,olive oil and red onions.  Now if you would have told me I'm going to make you a salad from those ingredients and season it with a little salt and pepper I would have said okay and then I would be making a mental note of where I could stop for good take out on the way home after the "salad".  But the picture of this salad looked so incredible I had to try it and now I am  addicted to this salad-it's going to be my go to salad for the entire summer.  If I didn't tell you before, I love watermelon! My mother used to tell me she ate it all summer long while she was pregnant with me and that's where my addiction comes from !  The sweetness of the melon, the tartness of the feta, the crunch of the red onion and the slight grassy flavor of the olive oil-try it you won't be disappointed . And check out the cookbook-I'm certain you will love it as much as I do !