Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dragon Fruit Curd & February's Funny Food Blogger Posts

We had a photo shoot at work that involved exotic fruits furtively purchased in Chinatown. The staff gobbled everything up afterwards. Guavas, kumquats, illegal purple mangosteens and starfruit were greedily inhaled.

I did have to convince them to try the mangosteens, a favorite of mine since a trip to Bali years ago. However, when it came down to the dragon fruit they just circled around it. Not quite knowing what to do with it,  no one dared  be the first to try it.  There was a great deal of speculation on how it would taste and most likely they distrusted it's electric pink color.

As a result, at the end of last week, it was sitting all by its lonesome in the fridge so I rescued/absconded with it and added it to my weekend baking list.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Double Chocolate Brownie Bites with Allspice Chocolate Ganache

I haven't made brownies in what seems like a lifetime so I especially wanted to add something a little extra to them this time.

I just love allspice and always am a bit sad to relegate it to the back of the spice cabinet towards the end of winter.

It was time to have one last allspice fling before spring and what a good idea it was to add these to dark chocolate ganache. It added another layer of flavor that had people guessing what that extra something was in the brownies.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Silver Screen Sugar Popcorn with Golden Stars for Oscar Night

It's that time of the year again. The denouement of red carpet season. In case you've been living under a rock, Sunday marks the 85th Academy Awards in tinseltown.

Those of us without a ticket will be huddled around our televisions. Some of us with friends  and fake ballots. Some alone or with our special someone.  

Inevitably the sideshow will take center stage. Living rooms and social media will explode with activity. Dresses will be oohed and ahhed over or ripped apart by the seams. Plastic surgery will be cattily speculated upon, hair will be heralded and hated, jewelry, shoes and makeup will be appraised, appreciated and abhorred. Speeches and presenters will be dissed and lauded. 


That doesn't happen at your place? 

Yeah right.

However or with whomever you watch the Oscars, there are sure to be lots of snacks. Popcorn is of course a movie classic. I can only guess how many different versons will be consumed across the country Sunday evening.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Salt & Pepper Oatmeal Cookies

One day I will do a post on my storage house filled with endless amounts of collectible glassware. I could seriously open a store or prop style at least a dozen food blogs monthly.

When we bought our country house, two storage spaces, in LA and NYC respectively were emptied and brought to Pennsylvania. One of the house's most appealing features for me was the stand alone extra garage/storage house lined with shelves. The previous owner had a store in town and kept her inventory there. The salt and pepper shakers in the photos are part of a collection of umpteen. 

The truth is, when it comes to photographing food, I am usually too rushed or in the wrong place (I am in NYC during the week) to put together a beautifully propped photo. I also still have yet to go through all my boxes and organize everything.  We're only here on the weekends, so it's been a slow process. Up until now, I've been pulling out a random dish here and there to use for photos. Hoping that will change once I get everything in order.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Turmeric Macarons with Chocolate Espresso Buttercream Filling

I am dangerous when I clean out my spice cabinet. Add in the other leftover bits in my fridge and here's another crazy macaron flavor creation I came up with. 

Like the gorgeous color of the smoked paprika shells, the lovely yellow on these shells comes from just the spice itself.

Pairing these with a filling took some thought. I had leftover chocolate buttercream in the fridge and about 1/4 cup of espresso syrup left over from my Root Beer Fudge Ripple Ice Cream. I combined the two for a fantastic filling.

These tasted almost smokey in flavor. The turmeric taste is slight but present in a pleasant way mitigating the strength of the chocolate espresso buttercream. The shells and filling together present a powerful overall flavor.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pistachio, White Chocolate Chip Banana Ice Cream

I love making Valentine's Day treats but enough already with the red and pink. Here's some bright yellow to break things up a bit.

In yet another of what seem to be endless attempts to use up egg yolks from my ever increasing macaron making, here is some really good banana ice cream. It's better than I deserve it to be because of the not very well thought out last ditch attempt to use up those yolks.

I hope to get points for adding in some bright green pistachios and lovely Ghirardelli sweet white chocolate chips.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mini Chocolate Poundcake Love Letters for Valentine's Day

Hard to believe the fondant leftover from the Gingerbread Exploded Meth Lab was repurposed into these pretty Valentine love letters.  Talk about extremes.

After they were finished, I realized I had created only the backs of envelopes and I should have made a few fronts with cute postage stamps and addresses. Oh well, bake and learn.

To make these, first I searched for a good chocolate pound cake recipe. I got lucky with this Glazed Triple Chocolate Pound Cake recipe from Real Simple. Even though I left off the glaze, this cake was so wonderfully rich and chocolatey, it was hardly recognizable as a pound cake, more like a fluffy brownie. I highly recommend this recipe.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Raspberry Vanilla Marble Heart Sugar Cookies

These were the result of a fail. Not in taste but in shapes. My first idea was to make a tricolored rolled heart cookie in slice and bake form using the basic recipe from my Vanilla & Chocolate Cookies Four Ways.

It just didn't work. Although I like the artsiness of the free form look (a bit Salvador Dali), I was a bit disappointed with the result and didn't want to post them as they were.

While trying to fix the problem, or more specifically wondering what to do with the dough, I was eying the mounting pile of multi colored scraps and switched gears,  Mushing the colored dough together to create a marble effect, I rolled and cut out heart shapes.

I was surprisingly pleased with the result.

The flavors were wonderful. The raspberry and vanilla flavors blended perfectly to make a bright flavored cookie that was as happy as these cookies look.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Valentine's Day Pearl Studded Cherry Heart Marshmallows

Marshmallows are something I never dreamed I could make myself. Once I learned a few years ago, I made batch after batch.

It seems like I  haven't made marshmallows in forever  (actually it's been about a year) so I guess the romance was over. What better time to ignite marshmallow passion than for Valentine's Day?

The first idea was to swirl these with Valentine's colors, red, lavender and pinks, just like I did for Easter themed marshmallows a few years ago to create a tie dyed effect.  However, once these pearls caught my eye, I was a goner and decided to stud them with candy jewels. I'm so glad I did.

The cherry flavor added a tint of pink to the marshmallow batter so I left it naked not add ing any additional coloring. Up close and personal, these are very pale pink.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Box of Chocolate French Macarons

There are so many cute baked good variations on Valentine's Day boxes of chocolate, I had to throw my version into the big heart shaped ring.

These were a bit more work than making regular French macarons but the shell decorating is fun and creative.

To start with, I made a batch of chocolate macarons and piped them into round, square, rectangle and oval shapes. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Red Velvet Cashew Brittle for Valentine's Day

Brittle has been on my list for waaaay too many months. It was time to do something about it and Valentine's Day made the perfect opportunity for switching up the flavor and colors.

I admit, I was a bit intimidated to make brittle. My grandmother loved peanut brittle. It was one of her favorite things in life. When I was a kid  it was a huge treat when we used to eat it together so it reminds me of my childhood and of her.

I was inspired to finally take the brittle plunge when I saw Stresscakes's Spicy Peanut Brittle post, it started me thinking about other flavors.A bottle red velvet flavoring has been sitting in my cabinet unopened for a while now.  It was time to take it for a test drive.