Monday, February 15, 2010

i had to make something from the book

Today I read a tweet that said, "making boeuf bourguinon for senior citizens."
Well, as you all know, I bought Mastering the Art of French Cooking monthes ago. I haven't made 1 thing from it.
This little tweet told me I had to make something. So like a copy cat I decided to make the Boeuf Bouguinon also. But, before I made it, me being me, I did some research on it first. I watched no less than 8 videos with different chefs making it. (of course, not one of them was Julia Child. You have to pay for that video!) I watched them hoping that they would make it easier for me. It did not. Most of the videos were made by men, and men being themselves, always try to make shortcuts and do things their way. Watching them just frustrated the hell out of me. So I turned off the computer, got out Julia's book and began her famous recipe.
The recipe turned out to be beautifically written, each step explaining how to go on to the next step. It was truly effortless. I did have to turn to a couple of different chapters on how to braise onions and cook the mushrooms, (in the French way) but the recipe gave the page numbers in the instructions.
The Boeuf is almost done, I smell and hear it slowly simmering in the oven.
Notes to self: I didn't add enough wine at the beginning because it seemed like too much (and I didn't want a watery stew) but it would have been exactly right. I have had to add a little more at the end of cooking.
Best note to self: Do not watch anymore videos of people trying to imitate the recipe. Julia really does it best.
It is an extrordinary dish, and my husband will be so happy when he eats it.
He called me from the road about an hour ago and asked what was for supper. I said, "Julia" and he knew immediately what he was having tonight.
If you do decide to cook this dish, do it on your day off, it takes about 5 hours with prep time. Read all the directions thoroughly, even the part of where to put the racks in the oven.
Shop for the ingredients the day before,(this is where having an herb garden is a distinct advantage) and don't buy the cheap wine.
The Beaujolais I bought was pricey, but so worth it!
Besides, we are gonna have the rest of the wine with the meal.
This was so much fun. If you love to cook, you have to try this classic dish. You will feel like you really accomplished something.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine jelly

I wanted to make a red jelly for Valentine's day this year, to put in between shortbread cookies. I love rosehips and I love the idea that jelly can be healthy.
This rosehip, pineapple sage, hibiscus jelly will get vitamin C into your children in a delightful way!

1/2 cup of dried and cut rosehips
1/2 cup of dried pineapple sage blossoms and leaves
4-5 dried hibiscus petals (be sure that it is hibiscus saff and not your garden variety hibiscus)
4 and 1/2 cups of water
strained juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
5 cups of sugar
1 package of sure jell, powder
3 or 4 drops of red food coloring. (the juice by itself is a brown reddish color)
To make the juice:
Put 4 and 1/2 cups of water in a med saucepan and add herbs. Bring to a boil then turn heat off. Let herbs infuse with cover on pan. When cooled store overnight in a covered bowl. The next day, strain herbs from liquid and measure liquid to equal 4 cups.
Put herb infusion, lemon juice and pectin in pot. Bring to a boil. When juice is boiling add sugar and food coloring, all at once. Bring back to a rolling boil, then time for 1 minute. Remove from heat.Skim foam and put into 8oz jars that have been sterilized and kept warm in a 200 oven. It should make 4. Seal with lids that have been kept warm in a small saucepan of hot water. Follow guidelines of safe canning.
Do not move jars until morning, to let the jelly set.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Triple dark chocolate cake w/ chipotle chocolate frosting

I can't help myself, when valentine's day is near- I go into a chocolate baking frenzy.
Here is the latest frenzy:

If using a Wilton baking pan use shortening to grease the pans. After greasing, sift quality cocoa powder into pans, covering sides and bottom. Tap out excess. Preheat oven to 350, and put baking rack in the middle of oven.
1 and 3/4 cup flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup cream (or use 1 cup of buttermilk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra large eggs, at room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup of fresh coffee, or 1 tsp expresso powder with 1 cup of water
Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl combine the buttermilk and cream, oil, eggs and vanilla. Put mixer on low speed and slowly add the wet to the dry. Add the coffee and stir to combine. Make sure you turn the batter over from the bottom. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 mins.
Start checking the cake with a tester at about 35 mins, if it comes out dry, remove from oven. Cool in pans for 30 mins. then turn out onto racks.
When its time to frost, cut a little off the top of the bottom layer to make cake level for top layer.
8 ounces of finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (I like to put 7 oz of bittersweet and 1 ounce of unsweetened in mine.)
3 TBS of really good cocoa powder
2 TBS of boiling water
12 TBS of unsalted butter, room temp
1 and 1/2 cups of confection sugar
1 tsp of chipotle pepper powder
1 pinch of salt
Melt your chocolate in the microwave very slowly, a minute at a time, stirring in between. (or you can do it the traditional way, double boiler.)
Remove chocolate and set aside to cool, 30 mins (or in fridge it takes about 10 mins if you stir a couple of times)
In a small bowl, stir together cocoa and boiling TBS of water. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, confectioners sugar, chipotle powder and salt until creamy. Beat in melted chocolate until well combined. Mix in cocoa mix until smooth.
This will frost a 2 layer cake or 12 cupcakes.
Now a shortcut if you don't really like to bake:
Get triple fudge cake mix from duncan hines, and add expresso powder to it. Works just as well. Its really the frosting that makes the cake taste heavenly!

Open a bottle of a dark merlot and have cake with your husband!