Monday, July 22, 2013

French bread pudding

I got this recipe from my good friend Dawn who says it is a combination of ones she found in The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Desserts and one from a Better Homes & Gardens recipe.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bread Pudding recipe needed

I had some fantastic bread pudding last night. If you have a recipe that you like for bread pudding that you are willing to share, please do so in the comments. It seems like there is a tremendous variety of approaches to bread pudding so I am interested in doing some exploring of the space of possibilities. So even if you don't have a favorite recipe, what do you think makes a good bread pudding?

The one I had last night tasted like a combination of boiled custard and french toast and was really delightful, light, moist, and comforting. Seemed like an excellent summer desert or decadent breakfast. I suspect that later in the year when things turn cold again, it would be nice to have something a little more substantial. Maybe with some dried cranberries and more spices and a little denser.

Some recipes on line I may explore:

Any thoughts welcome ...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bacon Butter FAIL

I was camping with a buddy of mine and he pulled out some bacon butter. Wow. Just wow. So I sought out the recipe and here is my first attempt.

I made a couple of tweaks from the original ingredient list.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blueberry Salmon Avocado green salad

An ample salad for a crowd to get a taste. This is a scaled up and tossed version of a composed salad I did last year.

First allow me to review my Master Salad Schema:

  • Fresh greens
  • Vegetable(s)
  • A fruit
  • A meat
  • A nut, toasted
  • A soft to medium cheese
  • Grated Hard cheese(s)
  • A small amount of dressing
  • Fresh Ground Coriander
Depending on what is in season and what is on hand I vary the details and try to fill out the other choices to balance. In this case I used:

  • One head each of red leaf, green leaf, romaine lettuce
  • Two carrots, scrubbed, chopped, soaked in white balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh blueberries, and sliced avocado
  • Smoked Salmon (skinned, flaked, no bones)
  • Toasted pecans coarsely chopped
  • Fresh lemon curdled cheese
  • Grated Parmesan and Hirten Hard cheeses
  • A couple tablespoons of dressing (rice wine vinegar, a splash of apple cider vinegar, a little water, orange juice, 4 drops of orange essence, micro-planned ginger, roasting salt, hazelnut oil, walnut oil, olive oil, a little sesame oil)
  • Fresh Ground Coriander
Toss everything but the hard cheese and coriander with the dressing. Then put in presentation bowl and top with grated cheese and coriander. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Site assembled brick oven

Wouldn't camping with a thousand of your closest friends be more fun with an on-site assembled oven? Of course it would, as I found out last weekend.

The design is based off directions for a backyard pizza oven found on You Tube, with added angle iron structure for more stability. Wonderboard is placed on saw horses for the base. Then one layer of 12 fire bricks make up the bed of the oven. Then courses of ordinary red clay bricks, not cement brick , are built up with angle irons to hold everything in place.

Courses across the top are supported by angle irons. Extra pieces of wonderboard serve as wind screens, a top, and a door.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lemon curdled cheese over the fire

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I had two opportunities to make cheese over the fire. In the first attempt I used whole milk (pictured here).

In the second I used half half and half and half whole (or 1/4 cream, 3/4 whole milk). This produced a very creamy cheese. In both cases I used lemon juice to curdle the cheese.
Start with cold milk in a cold pipkin.
Cover and set in the fire pit without too much direct heat. Ease the heat in as the pot becomes warm to the touch. 

Meanwhile set up a colander in a bowl to catch the whey. Have your curdling agent on hand. My favorite is lemon juice. 

Once the milk reaches 190 degrees add enough curdling agent to get a "clean break". Give it a stir. Then pour through a lint free tea towel (what they call "Cheese Cloth" is way to loose a weave).

Twist up the towel or put a weight on it and let the whey continue to drain out for as long as you can stand to wait.
Flavor as desired, perhaps add a pinch of salt and serve. It goes great on salad. Use the whey in baked goods, or I hear you can add a little rose water and it makes a nice beverage. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hazelnut Almond Cookies

I had rather a lot of egg whites to turn into almond cookies. Rather more in fact than I had almond meal on hand in the fridge. So I experimented with replacing 1/3 of the almond meal with hazelnut meal. I like the look and texture that resulted. Gave the cookies a little more depth.
For 3 egg whites, use 1 1/3 cups almond meal 2/3 cup hazelnut meal, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and a pinch of salt.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees -- low and slow.

Whip the egg whites with a little cream of tartar to stiff peaks. Whip in sugar and vanilla. Fold in nut meals.

Scoop batter onto lined baking sheets. I like to use an scoop. You could spoon them on for a more irregular surface.

Bake at 300 degrees until set and just starting to brown. About 30 minutes, but times vary.

I have noticed a lot of variation from batch to batch depending on the ratios of eggs to meal to sugar. You can get something more like a meringue or more like a cookie.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fruit juice gelatin from scratch

There's always room for jello, or in this case, fruit juice gelatin.

Bloom  2 packets of gelatin (I use Knox) in 1/2 cup cold water.
Heat 3-4 cups juice to near boiling.
Add bloomed gelatin and 1-2 Tbs lemon juice.
Cool to near room temperature (could put over ice or cool water to speed it along).
Add fruit.
Refrigerate until set.

I use 3 cups of juice for a firm gelatin. More juice would result in a softer set.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pan Fried Cod with Lime sauce and Lemon

I have been trying to eat more fish. Cod seemed like a good place to start. I started with a recipe from I have since tried it again without the brining step. The brining did add something. But in a pinch, better to get dinner to the table and it can be skipped.

Brine the fish for 1 hour in 6 cups iced water and 1/4 cup coarse salt.

Rinse and dry.

Dredge the brined then dried fish with seasoned flour about 1/4 cup.

Set the oven to 200 degrees to uses as a warming drawer. Place serving platter in the oven.
Fry the fish presentation side down in a pan with olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. It will take less than two minute in to get some nice browning. 
Flip the fish and insert an instant read probe thermometer. Place this lemon slices on top.

I love having a probe thermometer with a temperature alarm. Make sure the probe goes sideways into the middle of the fish and not up and down (harder to get an accurate measurement).
Pull from the heat when it hits 118 degrees (it will continue to cook with the carryover heat). Place the fish in the warming drawer. Reserve the pan drippings and fond for a sauce.
I used half a bottle of Mike's Hard Limeade to deglaze the pan over high heat, scrapping all the lovely cooked bits off the bottom of the pan. Reduce the sauce then take off the heat and add a Tbs of butter and swirl in.

What to do with the half a bottle of limeade that's left over? 
Sauce the fish with the lemon slices and serve.

Definitely an approach I will use again and again.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer fruit salad

Summertime and the living is easy...

With all this amazing fruit what could be better than a nice fruit salad. Here in Portland, when I don't make it by one of our many farmer's markets, I like to get my fruit at the Kruger's Farm Market on Hawthorn.

I like to get one of each kind of fruit that looks delightful. Wash, pare, mix with a little lemon juice.
Chill the bowl too.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Making fresh cheese

After several experiments with making fresh cheese I am hooked.

I like to use the cheese in salads, artichoke dip, anywhere you might use a soft cheese really.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Strawberry shortcake

A friend gave me a copy of Alton Browns cookbook: Good Eats, The Early Years. I have been working my way through it. And since I had some strawberries on hand that needed to be eaten, what better than to try my hand at strawberry shortcake.