Monday, September 28, 2009

Daring Bakers - Vols-au-Vent

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

You can find the recipe here. The recipe is lengthy but not difficult. It is simple and only takes a little bit of planning. I have made puff pastry before and this recipe did not disappoint! As the recipe states, be sure to use good quality butter, use and oven thermometer, and chill the pastry shapes before baking.

This time I filled my pastry cups with Goat Cheese, quince paste, and fresh mint from a co-worker's garden.

And I since it is almost October, I couldn't help but play around. Below is a pick of some batty puff pastry.

Go ahead, try it. It is simpler than you think and you will never want the store bought stuff again!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Alaskan Wedding Cake

This wedding cake was for and Alaskan Bride and Groom that work at the Alaska SeaLife Center. It was a vanilla cake with strawberry and white chocolate ganache filling, white chocolate ganache layer over the cake, and then topped with fondant.

I was trilled to be able to make a truly Alaskan wedding cake topper! Thanks for the opportunity guys. I really appreciate it.

Here is a close up of the Bride and Groom.

Complete with a just married sign.

And finally a link to another xtra tuf post of mine.

Best wishes to the Bride and Groom!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Saltimbocca - BakeSpace Coast to Coast Challenge

The BakeSpace Coast to Coast dish this round was saltimbocca. Here is my take:

Pork Saltimbocca On Grilled Polenta Squares With Grilled Green Pepper Puree.

Items needed:

Course cornmeal/Polenta
Water or broth
Olive oil for grilling

Boneless porkchops
Prosciutto or ham
Herbs/seasonings of your choice
Sour Cream
Shredded mozzarella
Fresh Parmesan
Sage - didn't have so used rosemary
Olive oil

Green Pepper Puree-
Green Bell Peppers, whole
Olive oil
Fresh Parmesan Cheese, grated

Prepare your polenta using your favorite recipe or as directed on package. My basic recipe is as follows:

Bring 6 cups salted water or broth to boil. Add 2 cups polenta once the water starts to boil. Turn down to a simmer and simmer covered until it is thick and the grain is soft. Add a couple of tablespoons butter to taste. Be sure to use a deep pot and a long handled spoon because it spits as it simmers and trust me, those spit ups burn!

To make squares simply spread into a 9 x 13 pan. Use the bottom of another 9 x 13 pan to push down and compress the polenta so that you get solid and durable squares. Allow to cool in fridge for at least 30 min. I prefer a couple of hours.

On to the MEAT!

Pound chops until thin. I had a big package of Costco mile thick chops so I cut them in half horizontally. My meat mallet was no where to be found. I know I had one before I moved in with Matt but had a feeling it was outside in the storage building with all this his and her junk. Since it was cool and raining I decided to stay inside. While oinking on tummy warming polenta I found a citrus juicer to use instead.

To cheese or not to cheese. I elected to add cheese. The mixture spread below is a paste made with salt, pepper, fresh thyme, fresh oregano, garlic, olive oil, sour cream, crumbled mozzarella, and freshly grated Parmesan.

Place prosciutto or ham on top of the cheese.

Lay down sage, if you have it. There was no fresh sage to be found in town so I used some organic Rosemary that I received in my CSA box. In hindsight this was A LOT of rosemary. I am used to the half/mostly dead fresh rosemary that we get in the store here. Next time I will add a bit less!

Roll up and wrap with plastic. Place in the fridge for at least 30 min. I prefer to do this so that I don't have to use toothpicks later on.

While the meat is chilling brush olive oil on a few bell peppers and grill until blackened. Set the grilled peppers to the side to rest.

Prep the polenta for grilling. Remove the polenta slab from the fridge and cut into squares.

Preheat the oven to 350. Pull the pork out of the fridge. Remove the plastic. Roll a very thin layer of panko and flour. I wanted a thin crisp layer, not a breading. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on a skillet and cook the pork until browned but not done in the center. Place the browned pork in oven to cook the rest of the way. Continue with remaining rolls if needed.

While the pork finishes in the oven grill the polenta. Brush one side of the polenta and also the grill with olive oil. Grill until crisp and grill marks appear.

Puree the bell peppers. Add olive oil and Parmesan to taste. Set aside.

Pull the pork out of the oven and let rest.

Brush the other side of the polenta with oil and flip to grill the other side. Remove from the grill.

Plate and enjoy!

Check out the other bakespace bloggers. Thanks to DDpie we have a clickable map of all the participants. How awesome is that!

And here is the BakeSpace link if you want to join in on the fun!