This cake is scary good, and those who cannot handle serious chocolate desserts should only consume this confection with extreme caution.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
This cake is scary good, and those who cannot handle serious chocolate desserts should only consume this confection with extreme caution.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
-Frank Sinatra, as sung by CAKE
I don't know if we are talking as ancient as the dinosaurs here, but lately things here have become like the land before time. I don't seem to be able to finish anything within the confines of a deadline anymore. Wasn't it Douglas Adams that said: "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by" ?
This month's culinary adventure brought to you by the Daring Bakers is Lavash Crackers and Toppings. I have had very few experiences with making crackers, so this recipe intrigued me. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined it to be, and it is a recipe that I may try again in the future.
Frank and Ethel were very useful when it came to rolling out the dough. I used diamond shaped cookie cutters to make the crackers into pieces, but I think if I try this again, I may move the sheet of dough over to the pan, and then cut it there. Once I had my diamonds cut out, I ended up having to move them individually as they kept separating from the pack.
Here is the finished product. I topped mine with pizza seasoning, salt and pepper. They smelled wonderful while they were baking!
Frank and Ethel agree that it's all good! They couldn't keep out of the dip!
Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers*
1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)*
1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt*
1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast*
1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar*
1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil*
1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature*
Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings
1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.
2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … ong-Enough for a description of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.or
2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).
4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors. or
4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).
6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.
Chunky Veggie Dip
Dice one tomato, 1/2 yellow pepper, 1/2 onion, 3 cloves of garlic and add to bowl. Stir in 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon pizza seasoning, dash of salt and pepper. Mix well. Allow to sit in refrigerator for a couple of hours for flavors to blend.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Rigby: The recipe looked so ideal, so perfect. Mix a few ingredients here, add a few ingredients there. Perfect.
Dimply Plum Cake: Yes, but you were distracted. You never listen.
R: I do enjoy CAKE...
DPC: At my expense.
R: Honestly, I was sure that everything was included in the batter. I did wonder why the batter was so thick when I poured it into the pan though...
R: At least I realized my mistake before you had been in the oven too long...I tried to make it right.
DPC: Imagine being all warm and cozy, tucked into your 350 degree paradise, when you are wrenched back into the loud frenzy of the kitchen and ripped apart.
R: You needed oil.
This week's recipe was the Dimply Plum Cake, and was chosen by Michelle of Bake-En. As I am sure you have gathered by now, what should have been a fairly simple cake to throw together ended up being a panic moment (please refer to my stressed assistant above). I had the full cake assembled and in the toaster oven when I happened to glance over the recipe and realized that I had not added any oil. I had a moment of furious internal debate: should I leave the poor thing alone and hope for the best or try to correct the mistake? I opted for the latter choice, and had a mess on my hands as I removed plum halves from fudge-like cake batter. The oil didn't mix in as well as I hoped, but at least it was there. Back into the oven...fingers crossed, breath baited. The only excuse that I can offer is that my brain was so frazzled from running/walking a 10K race today, that there wasn't anything left for cognitive clarity.
"And there was much rejoicing."
The timer went off, and cautious jubilation! It appeared that I had a cake! Of course, there was a taste test involved, and the cake did indeed pass inspection. There was much rejoicing. Perhaps the next time I make this cake, I will follow the directions a little more closely.
* * * *
Here is the cake the next day as part of my breakfast with a good strong cup of coffee. I think the cake was even better for sitting overnight, and it was perfectly complimented by my coffee.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Well, Frodo gives these cookies 2 thumbs up, and considering he is very limited in both movement and facial expression, that's saying something.
This week's recipe was chose by Claudia of Fool for Food and is the absolutely decadent cookie Chocolate Chunkers. What can one say about a cookie recipe that used 2 giant Hershey bars, 1-1/2 cups of peanuts and 1 cup of cranberries? The cookies are like candy loosely held together by cookie dough, and they make me very, very happy. It's the kind of happiness that makes me glad that I still have my membership at the YMCA, because I keep eating cookies.... If Frodo had packed chocolate chunkers along with his lembas bread for his epic journey across Mordor, he would have had little difficulty with his passage. How could anybody be cross with hobbit carrying pure gold in cookie form? Really, I want to know.
Monday, September 15, 2008
1) Bold those you have read.
2) Put an asterisk next to those you started but didn't finish.
3) Italicize those you intend to read (or have started and intend to finish).
4) Red the books you LOVE
5) Reprint this list in your own blog.
* * * * *
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible *
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger *
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald *
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky *
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marque
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Jon and MacDuff in Boston -- this blog is always an interesting read. I love both Jon and MacDuff's sense of humor and perspective on what they write about.
She's Becoming DoughMessTic--a good sense of humor, wonderful recipes and pictures that make me want to cook everything on the blog!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I don't know if this is anything anyone would be interested in doing....if so, let me know and I will structure it as a monthly or bi-monthly blogging challenge. I hope to make soups and continue to blog about my adventures.
Red Lentil Soup
Adapted from Today's Diet and Nutrition September/October 2008
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 Tablespoon cumin, ground
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup red lentils
4 cups water or vegetable stock
2 red onion, finely sliced
Put 1 Tablespoon of olive oil into a large saucepan and add the onion, ginger, and cumin. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft and transparent. Add the carrot, lentils and stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the lentils have completely disintegrated.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the red onions. Cook until the onions are caramelized. Cool, cover or refrigerate to reheat and serve later. Top with a spoonful of caramelized onions.
Note: Any lentils can be substituted for red lentils.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I was saved by a recipe I found on mix, mix...stir, stir. The author of this blog found herself in the same quandry...and solved the problem by creating a hot chocolate delight.
Here is her recipe:
Spicy Malted Hot Cocoa Mix
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1-1/2 teaspoons allspice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine all the ingredients together and mix well. Store in an airtight container. To make a spicy hot beverage, heat one cup of milk and whisk in 3 Tablespoons of Spicy Malted Hot Cocoa Mix. Relax and enjoy.
I did not add the ancho chile powder and cayenne pepper. Instead I added 1/2 teaspoon of regular chile pepper. I found that it added a nice heat to the hot chocolate. I also found when I made this that it was a little rich with just the 1 cup of milk, so I think the next time I make it I will try doubling the milk portion, or back off a little on the mix. It was delicious though.
I have lots of mix to play with :)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I am looking forward to passing this along to some of my favorite blogs...hopefully when I get back from work today :)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Let me break the cookie experience down into simple terms: chocolate, whoppers, chocolate, simple, delicious, wonderful. These cookies were wonderful warm out of the oven, and wonderful cooled. The dough was cake like and puffy, and the whoppers made for a nice chewiness. There is not a bad cookie recipe in the book! I am looking forward to eating what few cookies that remain with a nice hot cup of coffee and a good book. Hurray for chocolate! Hurray for whoppers! Hurray for cookies!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
8 ounces light vanilla soymilk
2 Tablespoons canned pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar
Combine all ingredients in a pot. Stir well with a whisk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture begins to froth, continue to boil for a minute. Remove from heat and pour into a mug. Allow to cool slightly, and enjoy!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Why so last minute? Well, school has started, cold season is alive and well, and I tried my hand at water skiing over the holiday weekend. Unfortunately I didn't find the time to actually stop and make cookies. I had my mind set on completing the recipe this evening, and had just finished mixing the dough when I was invited to have dinner with friends. Fortunately the dough chills well, and now I am enjoying a warm, melty dessert. :) I think that cookies help cure muscle soreness and sunburn.
Be sure to check out all the other fab cookies at Tuesdays with Dorie!