Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Beatty's Chocolate Cake

The second recipe for the month was Beatty's Chocolate Cake. This is a really dark chocolate cake.

OK ready for baking/decorating tip from me? Try to contain your laughter. This is how I do most of my cakes if I am going to take them out of the house, which I almost always do. Bake it in the pan you are going to carry it in. Line the pan with foil and grease it or whatever. Take the cake out with the foil to cool. Then return the cake to the pan to be frosted and transported. This makes sure the cake doesn't stick to the pan and it fits perfectly. I have 4 pyrex pans with lids. 2 9x13's, a 9x9 and a 8x10. I do it with brownies and lots of other stuff too.

Mary of Passionate Perseverance chose this recipe. Thanks Mary!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Vols au Vent

So this month's recipe was Vols au Vent. This is pretty much a puff pastry cup for assorted fillings. The real thing for this challenge was the puff pastry.

The way puff pastry works is you have a dough with thin layers of butter in between. The dough needs to stay cool so that the butter stays solid. You start with a layer of dough surrounding a thick layer of butter. Then you roll it out and fold it over so the layers of dough/butter get progressively thinner. Each time you fold it into 3rds. With 6 turns, you get 3^6 or 729 layers of butter. Then when you bake it, the moisture in the butter (butter is about 20% water) evaporates and forms steam, which causes the dough to puff.

I was a little worried how it would come out when I made the dough. I guess I added way too much water so the dough was really sticky. As in almost batter type sticky. So then I had to add flour.

Then the recipe said very cold butter so I took the butter from the freezer. That was a bad idea. When I went to roll it out, the dough was soft and the butter was hard so then the butter tore right through the dough. So I let it warm up a bit to let the butter soften and tried to fold the dough around it.

I managed to get it together but between the wet dough and the over kneading, the dough ended up getting overworked. My puff pastry actually had some chewiness to it. I am not sure how I feel about this. The flavor was decent.

I am not convinced it was worth the effort and all the cleaning of flour off every surface of my kitchen. Oh well. Maybe I will make it again just to say I can do it right.

These were the toppings I chose:
Caramelized Mushrooms and Onions
Smoked salmon cream cheese
caramelized apples

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.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I looked at my front lawn today. I know, I don't do it very often. I just drive past it. Only reason I looked was because as I was pulling out of the driveway, I noticed something at the edge. I thought it was trash. So I decided to go take a look and found it was these mushrooms. They are growing all along the the edge of the driveway.

Anyone know what kind of mushrooms these are, or more importantly, are they edible?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Birthday Sheet Cake

I don't know how it got to the end of the month without me posting either recipe. I was checking some other blogs and I saw some posts for the second cake and I thought, 'I wonder why everyone is posting early'. And then I realized. It's the end of the month. Oops.

So here's the first one.

I know I'm late. I was on vacation. And now I'm back.

Susy of Everyday Gourmet chose this recipe. Happy birthday Susy.

I didn't love this cake. It wasn't bad but it was a little dry and nondescript. But most stuff I make is nondescript. Oh well. Probably won't make this one again. Maybe the next one will be better.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cha Siu Bou Filling

So Kate sent me The Shangri-La Cookbook because she is so cool. I was excited. I knew it was coming so I was checking my mail more often than normal. Because that's real tough, with my once a week or so check. Ha! When it came in the mail the package was relatively nondescript. But I knew what it was. And I wanted to check it out. So I opened it while I was walking back to the house from my mailbox. Despite the fact that it was raining. I never claimed to be smart. Fortunately it wasn't raining very hard and the book only got a couple drops on it.

So the table of contents has 5 sections, openers, the principles, the supporting cast, forbidden sweets, and the epilogue. obviously I went straight to forbidden sweets. If you even paused to think about that one then you don't know me at all. Sadly, nothing there really inspired me.

Fortunately I flipped through the rest of the book and a number of other things did! This is the first one I am making, though there will be plenty more to come. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to make anything before I went on vacation. I was here, can you blame me? Which is, by the way, why I haven't posted anything in a while.

Anyway, back to this book. It touches on a lot of different ethnic foods, chinese, korean, japanese, indian, etc. Initially I wanted to make samosas. But just coming back from vacation and wanting to make other stuff, I didn't feel like dealing with deep frying. It will be saved for a later date.

The first recipe I decided to make was for Cha Siu Bou. These are steamed breads with a sweet salty meaty filling. I didn't make the bread because I had a lot of other starches in the works. I made the filling and put it on top of a pastry crust.

I have always wondered about asian flavors. I have tried a number of times but the flavors never came out quite right. Now I have come to realize it is the sugar. I never knew to add sugar to savory asian recipes. At least not that much sugar. I had added a touch of honey here and there but never this much sugar relative to the other ingredients. Woohoo I know how to make something now.

This recipe is so easy. At least the filling is. And the flavor is right. I had some cooked chicken in the fridge so I just chopped that up for this. This is the filling. I ate half of it before putting it on anything.

Everybody say thank you Kate!

Cha Siu Bou
from Shangri-La Cookbook by Helen Dorsey

1 1/2 cup cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Fill each bread with about 1 tbsp of filling

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cheesy crescent rolls

Bad things happen when my sleep schedule gets disrupted. I can't quite explain how it happened but somehow I ended up awake and sitting in my kitchen at 4AM and hungry but not wanting anything that was in my fridge. I was craving junk food, plain and simple.

I had some cans of crescent dough and pizza dough in the fridge. These were from when I decided to enter the Pillsbury Bake Off. That I never actually entered. Even though I went and wrote up several recipes and even tested them a bit. And sadly I have done this with more than one recipe contest.

The best part of these is definitely the edges where the cheese leaked out and browned on the pan. crispy browned cheese. yum.

Cheesy crescent rolls

1 can crescent roll dough
several sticks of cheese sticks (I used Colby jack but a chunk of any cheese you find in your fridge will work)

Unroll the can of crescent dough.
At the fat end of the dough lay a piece of cheese, just the width of the dough.
Roll up the crescent around the cheese.
Bake per the instructions on the can.