Tuesday, September 29, 2009

TWD - Make Up Monday - Savory Corn and Pepper Muffins

The second make-up recipe was actually a savory recipe rather than a dessert. So, I paired it with dinner (pan-fried tilapia and roasted broccolini). It was a great compliment to both the fish and the vegetable. The only complaint was that the muffins were too crumbly.

My actual Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is coming up!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TWD - Black Raspberry Pufflets

I have officially renamed these. These should not be called Cottage Cheese Pufflets. I mean, really. Look at that picture above. Does that look like it has cottage cheese in it? No.

When I think about cottage cheese (which I love), I think about my paternal grandmother. You see, both of my grandmothers were good cooks. My maternal grandmother was a good cook like in the Mastering the Art of French Cooking way of being a good cook. On the other hand, my paternal grandmother was a good cook like in the Betty Crocker way of being a good cook. Basic, good food. She grew up on a farm. She could kill a chicken and fry it. And she served cottage cheese topped with Western Dressing and half a canned pear. Yum.

Anyway, you can't even tell there is cottage cheese in these yummy little pufflets. And they were soooooo easy. I feel bad for saying that because I have been reading all of the horror stories over at Tuesdays with Dorie. The dough was a dream for me - it worked really, really well. But, I gave in to a lot of its demands. I let it chill for two days after making it. I rolled a third at a time on floured wax paper with lots and lots of flour on the rolling pin. Yeah, it was a demanding diva of a dough, but when I followed it's rules, it was perfect.

So, first I floured a rectangle of wax paper and floured my rolling pin. And rolled out the dough. Then I cut it with a pizza cutter.

Then I tried to peel it off of the wax paper. Nope. But after putting in the freezer for 15 minutes, it was perfect again. Then I flipped it over onto the silpat and peeled off the wax paper.

Then I dolloped on some wonderful Black Raspberry jam from the Farmer's Market. It needed a few moments to thaw a little before folding it over. And yes, I completely suck at making squares free-form. I decided random trapezoids were much more interesting anyway.

Here you can see the variety of wonderful shapes I came up with - just to make things interesting.

But I have one question - why did mine have all these little spots on them??

And they taste even better than they look.

Monday, September 21, 2009

TWD - Make-up Monday - Orange Blueberry Muffins

I have decided that I am going to try to make up some of the Tuesdays with Dorie recipes I missed because I didn't join until June of 2009. Or, at least that is what I'm saying this week because I have been uber-motivated to bake all of a sudden. I think it is because fall is upon us and I always want to bake more in the fall.

This weekend, I decided to make Orange Berry Muffins. I was in the mood for muffins and these were very good and very easy. I like buttermilk in muffins because it gives the batter that little tang and makes them very fluffy. My live-in taste tester said he didn't like the batter because it wasn't as good as cake batter. I'm assuming he actually knows that muffins and cakes are two different things. . . .

I was a bit disappointed because the muffins, while very blueberry-y, did not taste orange-y at all. I added the entire zested rind and all of the juice I could squeeze out of the poor orange but got little in flavor-return. After loving orange flavoring in other TWD recipes, I was sad.

But now I know what the problem was . . . bad oranges. I ate one of them at lunch today and it had almost no flavor. So, my hopes are restored that I can have very orange-y muffins using this recipe.
As a side note, you may notice I used silicone muffin cups to make these muffins. I know Dorie often mentions using silicone bakeware and usually says that you do not have to prep silicone bakeware. I would like to know if other people have found this to be true? In my experience (limited to these muffin cups), they only work if they are sprayed with Pam with Flour for Baking. After that prep, they work very well and are much easier to clean than regular muffin tins. These are fairly high-quality silicone muffin cups - I believe my mother bought them for me either at Williams-Sonoma or Crate and Barrel.

Any other silicone experiences?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TWD - Flaky Apple Turnovers, Michelle Obama's Arms, Chocolate Souffle, How to Talk to Bears, and Assaulting Sarah Palin

"Honey, no pressure but I just told everyone in my office you were making apple turnovers tonight. They are so excited to taste them tomorrow." Greeeeaaattt.

Anyway, this week's Tuesdays with Dorie was Flaky Apple Turnovers. I was very excited because I love a good turnover. (Hell, I love a bad turnover too . . . he he.) However, in the end, it was more like pie than a turnover. But very good. I had no problems with the dough-making. I blended everything with my fingers, as I do for most doughs like this. It was still a little crumbly when I divided it and pressed it into a rectangle, but it came together nicely.

I made the dough Monday night, let it rest overnight, rolled it the first time Tuesday morning, let it rest, and then rolled it last after dinner. Let me tell you . . . if I rolled dough like this daily, I would have arms twice-as-nice as Michelle Obama's arms. Good grief, it was hard work. But that's the problem with butter-rich dough. It firms up intensely when chilled but won't roll unless chilled, which makes it harder to roll. It's a vicious cycle.

For both the first and second roll-outs, I rolled it between two pieces of wax paper, which worked fairly well and kept the mess to a minimum. Whenever I roll dough with flour, I get as much flour on myself and the floor as I do on the counter and the dough. So, wax paper works well for me. I also use a handleless, uncontoured rolling pin, which I think works much better than a pin with handles. (You can see it in the apple peel picture above, just to the left of the apples. It is one of my favorite kitchen things.)

Speaking of the apple peel picture (pay no attention to the green beans on the right - they were for dinner . . . but green bean turnovers sound interesting, no?), I took that picture for two reasons. First, I love peeling apples and I'm always sad to throw away the peels. Isn't there some recipe that uses apple peels as the main ingredient? Second, I was convinced at this point that four Fuji apples was wayyyyyy too many apples. And it was. I probably could have been fine with just two apples.

After rolling out the dough, I cut it with my four inch tartlett pans. They have scalloped edges which I thought would make the turnovers extra pretty. Well . . . sort of. I put too many apples in and that kind of stretched the dough too far, so "pretty" was relative. Here they are after forming but before the egg wash:

I didn't dot the apples with butter (mostly because I forgot) but, seriously. Did this recipe need MORE than the three sticks of butter in the dough? I don't think so.

Mine baked for less than the 20 minutes called for, but my oven runs hot so I count on less baking time in general. They got a huge vote of approval from myself, my fiance, and his office mates. They were very pretty in the end:

I still have dough and apples left over. I can't handle another arm work out, though, so I think I'm going to put the apples in a pie plate, make loosely formed circles with the dough and put them on top and then bake it.

Oh, by the way, I did make the Chocolate Souffle last week, but was so busy I forgot to post about it. Here is the picture:

It turned out pretty well, despite the fact that I beat the eggs a smidge too long. But, in my defense, I was distracted by talking to my dad on the phone. He called right in the middle of the egg beating. Ordinarily, I would have not answered the phone, but they just got back from 10 days in Alaska, during which time they stayed in a Bear Lodge. And by Bear Lodge, I mean a place that you have to fly a bush plane to get to that is designed to put you right in the middle of bear country.

I was distracted by my dad telling me how they had to take a class in "How to Talk to a Bear." Apparently, if you meet a bear on the path, you are supposed to avoid eye contact and sweet talk them. "Nice bear, pretty bear, good bear."

I think anyone would have been distracted from egg beating while hearing that story.

Also, they went to Wasilla but didn't meet Sarah Palin, which is a good thing since I would have had to fly to Alaska to bail both my parents out of jail for assault if they had met her.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

TWD - Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe was delightfully simple - brownies topped with espresso cheesecake topped with sweet sour cream. Frankly, my favorite part of the recipe was the sweet sour cream. It reminded me of a good friend who served fresh strawberries with sour cream swirled with brown sugar. I've never eaten strawberries with regular cream and sugar again.

The picture above was taken after the brownies/cheesecake had cooled, just before I put the sour cream on top. It seemed a shame to cover up such a pretty swirl, but the sour cream layer really made this dessert, so I was glad I did.

The brownie layer was very similar to the Brownie Buttons recipe we made a few weeks ago. The cheesecake layer was so easy, I felt bad for making people clear out of the kitchen while I made it.

I'll just be having the one small piece, though. The primary reason is that I don't like cheesecake. I can understand why people like cheesecake, I just don't. It is too thick for my taste. The secondary reason is that my fiance has been bugging me to let him bring one of my TWD desserts to his office. This is the perfect one - it travels well and I don't have a desire to hide in my closet and eat the whole thing because I can't stop eating it.

Maybe I should join a weekly cheesecake making club . . . then I wouldn't have to worry about eating everything I made.