Monday, April 21, 2008

All sorts of goodness

I picked up my car new car on Saturday. It's pretty. They had everything ready... lots of forms, the car was cleaned, had all my stuff put in and looked good and they had it right out front. They had a sign on the car with my name on it and everything.

Sunday was Debbie's birthday. We decided on friday that she was going to have a party at her house.... she laughed at that. So Sunday comes around and we decide we'll show up around 4. At 3:15 I call her house, just to make sure she is home. No answer. Crap. Call again a couple minutes later. Still no answer. More crap. So I called Cheryl and got her to call Debbie to inconspicuously find out where she was and when she would be home. She went to see a movie and it was about to start. So I looked up the movie listing and found out it would run until 6:30. I figured 15-20 mins to get home. So we decided to go to her house before she got home. When she got home my new shiny car was in her driveway and we were sitting on her porch with a box and bags of food and beverages.

I had been wanting to try this recipe from Tartelette, or at least some sort of spin on it. What I had in the fridge was resulted in my blackberry lemon mousse cake. But Debbie has a thing for brownies, so I had to make brownies too. I couldn't not make brownies; it would be like not celebrating her birthday. Then I figured we should probably have some real food first so I made garlic bread. There was this pasta thing too but I was ready to move on to dessert so we never actually ate any of it.

Anyway, so Debbie gets home and wonders why there is a random car in her driveway. She is still on the phone with Cheryl. Then she pulls in her driveway and notices us on her porch. I decided we should bring everything up to the porch and wait there because it was pouring when we left my apt and we should take advantage of the dry moment to get everything up to her house relatively dry. So she looks over and thinks oh god. She opens her garage door and drives in. Now, I'm not stupid so we figure we better get in there before she closes the door and leaves us sitting on her porch. That would be sad. So we race up to her car before she can get the garage door shut. We managed to convince her to let us in (the mention of bringing food and drinks helped, I think) So we walk into her house and I immediately walk straight into her kitchen and turn on the oven. Then I get out cups and start making drinks. Drinks make everything better. Well we hung around in the kitchen while stuff cooked up and then moved to the living room and watched TV. Eventually I went home. It was good.

Here are the recipes:

Garlic bread

Split a baguette in half and cut into decent size eating pieces. I suppose you could cut off rounds too but eh. 'Pan roast' most of a head of garlic. I don't know if pan roasting is really the best term for it but I don't know what else to call it. Cook the cloves in a pan with a bunch of olive oil until they are brown and soft and mushy. Mush up the garlic cloves and mix with about a stick of softened butter and some olive oil. I used the garlicy oil to cook up the veggies in my pasta mess but it could be used for the spread too. Get the butter, garlic and oil nicely mixed. Spread on the bread. Sprinkle with Parmesan. I actually meant to sprinkle with mozzerella too but I forgot to get any so that didn't work out. Bake in the oven at 350 until GBD (golden brown and delicious) Eat. Eat more. Eat even more. Then stop so you have room for dessert.

Pasta Mess

Take a pan, heat it up on high with some oil and brown up a whole bunch of veggies, in batches so they form a single layer in the pan. Season everything with salt and pepper as you go. As everything cooks throw it in a big bowl so you can toss it all together. I used asparagus, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower. I added a few cloves of the garlic cooked up for the garlic bread. Brown up some ground turkey, I had a little over a pound. Toss in the bowl with the veggies. Boil up about a half a pound of pasta, I used elbows but any little pasta will do. Add to veggies. Pour some EVOO and balsamic vinegar over everything and toss. Eat. Or don't eat because you want dessert instead.

Brownies - I just used a box of double chocolate Ghirardheli brownies. I mixed everything up and poured it into the pan beforehand and baked it off at her house so they were fresh and warm. We had it with vanilla bean ice cream.

Blackberry Lemon Mousse Cake
Based on this recipe from Tartelette

1 half size angel food cake
Lemon Mousse
1 quart fresh blackberries
Strawberry sauce

Angel Food Cake:
based on Alton Brown's Angel Food Cake

5 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer until medium peaks. Standard meringue technique so keep everything clean.
Sift flour and salt into the egg white foam and fold in until incorporated.
Pour into a tube pan, you know the one, everyone has one for angel food cake
Bake for 20 mins or until the top is golden brown.
Remove from oven and immediately invert on a cooling rack.
Let it sit there until it is completely cooled. You can make everything else while this is going on. I put the rack on the window ledge to speed up the process.
Invert and remove from pan. I used a switchit to loosen it from the sides and popped it out and off of the pan
Slice in half, horizontally, like you would for a layer cake.

Take the bottom layer of cake and center it on your serving platter (aka plate)
Cut strips of parchement paper about 2 inches taller than the cake and wrap around the outside and inside of the cake. I probably should have done this step. I didn't. I was going for the rustic look.
Lay out a single layer of blackberries over the cake.

Lemon Mousse

1 egg, separated
2 TB sugar
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. powdered gelatin (1/2 sheet) + 1 Tb water
zest and juice of one lemon

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, stir and let sit to bloom. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cream cheese with the sugar, add 1 egg yolk and whisk until well incorporated. I did this in my stand mixer though it's probably easier to do it in a bowl with a whisk because it is such a small amount, the whisk in my mixer had some trouble reaching the stuff.
Heat the gelatin for about 10 seconds in the microwave and quickly whisk it in the mascarpone batter. I didn't do this step so well, I ended up with some lumps of gelatin. Oh well.
Add the lemon juice and zest.
Whip the egg white until stiff, fold into the mascarpone mixture. I did that with my hot chocolate mixer thing I got from Pampered Chef. Woohoo, I used it! See, not a random impulse buy I am never gonna use!
Whip the heavy cream to medium stiff peaks, and fold into the mixture.

Pour over the blackberries.
Put the top layer of cake on.
Let sit in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
Carefully remove the parchment.
Pour some strawberry sauce over the top and let it run down the sides.

Strawberry Sauce

Slice up strawberries in a pan.
Add just enough water to have a thin layer over the bottom of the pan and start breaking down the strawberries.
Add sugar to taste. Don't burn your mouth when tasting.
Cook until everything softens up. You can mush the strawberries with a spatula to break things up.
Pour the strawberries into a blender and puree.
Pour through a strainer to get rid of the chunkies and any seeds that didn't get pulverized and some of the pulp.
Add a bit of red food coloring if you want to brighten up the color. I added a few drops. The wooden spoon I used is now pink.
Let the sauce cool before topping the cake.

.... Sorry, no pics of anything. But trust me, they would be hot pics if I had any. Use your imagination.

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