Happy Golden Birthday!!!

January 26th, 2010

Happy Birthday, L! Have a wonderful day!  Since I can’t be there, I baked you some cupcakes… Vanilla with Cajeta Icing… golden colored for your golden birthday…

I made Cajeta this weekend… overcooked it a little bit but it was still delicious.  I halved the recipe and did not use any cinnamon sticks.  For the cake, I made the dinette cake, baked for 25 minutes for a dozen cupcakes.  Watch them so they don’t burn- mine came out a bit brown.  I found a recipe for icing here and had to add a little milk to make it a little thinner… very sweet but quite delicious!

Happy New Year!

January 8th, 2010

Last year I made some culinary resolutions… I accomplished three with sushi, empanadas and souffles… and this year… mmm…

At New Years Eve dinner, Juan’s dad asked me what I was planning on doing with my blog…PANIC!  all I could think of at the moment was to make sure I continue to cook and post even with the stress of school… yep, that is how boring my life has become…

However, I have a couple other little goals… First, I want to continue regularly dining with my fellow Chicago Food Bloggers (those of you reading this… dinner in the next couple weeks?).

Second, I want to continue to work my way through the Omnivore’s 100 list. It has been a fun way for me to try some new things… of course, the carob chip experience of last week was quite gross… I’m sorry to anyone who likes them but wow… Juan’s sister’s reaction was the best “Oh, it gets worse!” and she was in the process of making a tofu cheese-less cheesecake so if she didn’t liked them…

(NOTE:  the tofu cheese-less cheesecake was not as bad as it sounds, even though we made fun of her the entire time.  The texture and taste reminded me of panna cotta.  She served it with a blackberry sauce-see background of photo below.  Perhaps it will be posted soon, as I tried to convince her to guest post!).

Third, I want to continue to stretch myself out of my culinary comfort zone, as with the above Seckel Pear Tart with Poire William Cream.

I saw this recipe on epicurious and then over at Kitchn.  I became a bit obsessed with the idea of making this tart.  I bought some pear brandy, picked up some vanilla beans but could not find the Seckel Pears anywhere.  At this point, I considered making a cake with a Poire William Cream and putting some poached pears on top…  but then Juan and I walked into the grocery store near an amazing Chinese dumpling place and right there were Seckel Pears!  I was so excited about my cute baby pears!  The next day, I got to work on the tart…  My notes:

1. The crust: I did not actually like it.  I do not like to use egg in my pastry crust.  I think a simple butter, flour, and water crust would have been perfect such as Tartine’s.

2. The poached pears: I did not use the wine because I did not want it to be too overpowering with alcohol taste.  I boiled the pear juice, water and sugar together with half a vanilla bean scrapped into the mixture.

3. The pastry cream:  It was delicious.  The pear brandy was a really subtle and delicious addition.

4: The glaze: I did not make it.  The tart does not need more sugar and brandy.

5. Assembly:  I did not have a tart shell so I just put it in a pie pan.  It works fine if you are not super concerned about aesthetics.  The tart was delicious!  I’m really glad I made it.

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year!

The Thanksgiving Feast!

November 27th, 2009

My friends and I served up quite the thanksgiving feast…

We made sure to cover all our traditional favorites…

Chicken (or Turkey) and Dressing Casserole

My Mom’s Stuffing

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Green Bean Casserole

Sweet Potatoes (recipe coming)

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Cranberry Sauce

Pumpkin Crunch

Pecan Pie

Chocolate Chess Pie

My Mom’s Stuffing
Melt about 1/2 stick margarine or butter in frying pan. Chop one large onion and about 4 to five large stalks of celery. Saute. Sprinkle with leaf thyme (Mom does this until it smells right- I used about 2 teaspoons). now the fun part: Using about 8 slices of white bread (wonder type) Put it in the colander and run tap water over it and squish it up with your hands. Then add to the frying pan and stir it around to mix the onions/celery. Now I stuff the turkey but you could do as I said above. Probably use about a cup of broth and then bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. You probably should cover it loosely with foil so it doesn’t dry out.