Saturday, August 29, 2009

Treasure Chest Cake

This cake was a fun one! Well they all are fun but this one let out the little kid in me. It is a chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream and fondant decorations. Oh and of course candy jewels and coins.

Here is a close up of the butter cream woodgrain. It took a bit to figure out the right look but it was so worth it and best of all I know how to approach it next time.

The party was complete with a sword fight between Captain Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones.

Aww look, they made up :)

What a great party it was. The lucky boy's Mom and Dad are going to a hard time topping this one!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dobos Torte - Daring Bakers

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: ExquisiteDesserts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Everything I have been making lately has been chocolate so I chose to do a lemon variety with lemon butter cream and lemon curd between the layers. I have had back to back cakes and totally rushed this..not recommended!!

The flavor was great and the sponge reminded me of a fluffier version of a tuile cookie. I made 3 small tortes and one was sacrificed to the quality control tester and immediately approved.

I will definitely make again but not using the butter cream in the recipe given. The butter cream was too finicky, especially in the stormy humid night we had tonight. It was also a tad greasy for my taste. Believe me, I love butter but this seemed more like a bowl of whipped butter with a little sugar and egg thrown in. Honey butter on cake maybe? Hmm, no that is an interesting idea LOL!

The caramel on top was fun and the next time I make it I will take my time and play with the sugar top more.

Check out Angela's site for the recipe.

Overall, this is a great cake that lends itself to a multitude of possibilities!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Paella - Bakespace Coast to Coast Recipe 2

First of all, those of you who haven't checked out Bakespace, get on over and check it out! Over the last couple of weeks a group of us have been giving Paella our own personal touch.

My version is loosely based on this Epicurious recipe. I say loosely because I just kept throwing in things that I found in my fridge and freezer.

One thing I couldn't find was decent squid, clams, or mussels. The squid I found in town was packaged in a box with nothing to keep people out. You could literally flip the top of the box open and touch the squid. EWWWW!! I couldn't help but wonder how many people had poked at it before it reached me.

I did find a bag of "seafood mix". It had little bits of squid, clams, octopus, you name it. It being only a few bucks a bag had me worried. To try to remedy any terrible fishy taste I rinsed the mix well and let it soak in milk and cayenne for a few hours.

See? Soaking the mix.

Next, I made a fresh herb paste out of thyme, oregano, cilantro, cayenne, coriander, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Most was rubbed on the chicken thighs. A small portion was reserved for the onions. I grilled the thighs and set them aside.

Up next were the veggies. Onions, squash, red, green, and yellow bell peppers were grilled.

In a cast iron skillet I tossed in rough cut chunks of onion, thick cut bacon, salt pork, and the remaining herb paste. After the bacon was cooked but still soft I removed it from the pan to set with the chicken thighs.

Only Mexican chorizo existed in the local stores so I used andouille instead. This was sauteed with crumbled Italian pork sausage until both were well browned.

The sausage was added to the container with the chicken, bacon, and onions and left to rest.

Next in the skillet was the arborio rice. I didn't drain the grease and toasted it until golden and speckled.

In a large stock pot I poured in clam juice, chicken stock, a pinch of saffron, the rice and set to boil.

While the rice was boiling I deglazed the cast iron skillet with a splash of Guinness.

To the boiling rice and broth I added halibut cheeks, snapper from a fisherman friend, and shrimp. The seafood mixture was drained, rinsed, and added at this time as well. I forgot to take pictures of the fish but trust me, the cheeks were lovely!

After the rice had softened the resting meats and veggies were added. So was the contents of the deglazed pan and the rest of the Guinness. I threw in a few diced tomatoes and a can of Italian diced tomatoes for good measure.

I set this all to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Now that all said, I would LOVE to have a Paella pan as I think it would keep the quantity from growing on me. It was delicious but I ended up with a huge stock pot of paella. Thank goodness for a foodsaver!!

BTW, the leftovers are delicious rolled up in a tortilla with a little cheese and fresh tomatoes :)

Click the links below to check out the rest of the beeps:

And her guest blogger!

Scroll down this page to see Martha's paella

Go ahead, give it a try! As you can see there are so many ways to make this dish.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Grilled Veggie Night - Meat free!

Tonight was clean out the fridge/ grill what ever we can night. I think it was the first time Matt's grill has ever been used for a veggie only meal. I am surprised it didn't go belly up just out of shear principle!

Here is the tray with prepped veggies.

Seasoned corn
Green bell peppers - later sprinkled with basalmic
Onion halves
Diced potatoes with seasoning and garlic cloves
And last but certainly not least, one large onion cut onion blossom style with butter. Notice lots and lots of Kerrygold.

I said it was meat free.. butter free - no!

Everything was rubbed with olive oil and seasoned, then placed on the grill.

Wave hi to Matt's hand!

Look at that onion half. Oh it was so good!

For dessert, grilled stone fruit with blueberries and strawberries from our garden. Topped with a splash of heavy cream and a drizzle of agave syrup.