Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers Flour-less Chocolate Cake

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Note on recipe - the recipe consists of 3 simple ingredients and how you interpret them is part of the challenge. The simplicity of this recipe gives credit to the ingredients much in the same way of French baguette.

-This recipe comes together very quickly with a hand mixer.

-This is a very decadent cake that will sink a little as it cools but will still hold its shape.

-Very dense and fudgy cake that tastes divine.

-The top forms a light crust kind of like a brownie

Chocolate Valentino

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped

½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter

5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C

9. Bake for 25 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.

Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

I followed these instructions to the letter. I even used the thermometer. The instructions were quite specific in stating not to over cook it. When mine reached 143 degrees I took it out of the oven. I waited patiently for it to cool for a while before I unmolded it. Well, what a mess; there was goo all over the counter as it oozed everywhere. It was undercooked by at least 15 minutes. Help! It just flowed all over the counter. I couldn't even snap a photo, since I was afraid it would flow onto the floor. I had to hurry and salvage what I could.
I scooped up most of it and put it in a pyrex dish and re-baked it for a few more minutes.

I do admit it tasted pretty darn good. I think it could have been saved if I had chilled the molded cake solid, then un-molded it.
The hosts of this month's challenge also asked us to prepare an ice cream (sorry...too cold in Utah to do this) to go with this and to think about how to garnish it with a bit of thought.

So, I made a simply awesome Lime Mousse from my favorite cookbook, The Silver Palate, by Sheila Lukins and Julie Russo.
This recipe had lots of butter and heavy cream in it, so you know it was good.

I also took careful consideration of the garnish. I candied some lime peel. As instructed by Chef Emeril.
Yes, this was a really easy recipe. If I find some good chocolate at a good price, I might make it again; and bake it longer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Barefoot Blogger's Frilly Chantilly

Barefoot Bloggers are posting about Ina's Meringues Chantilly from the Barefoot in Paris book. Dave really liked this recipe. I found it so amazingly sweet I wanted to go take some insulin to counteract the diabetic coma I had. I did however LOVE the meringues. I had never bake a meringue before. It just didn't seem all that important to me. Thanks goes out to BMK of Reservations Not Required, for choosing this easy and fun treat.
One tip, I would cut the meringue shell recipe in half . It will make 6 shells instead of 12. Unless you have a crowd, 6 is more practical.
I have changed my tune. The meringue shell is a great little recipe to have in my back pocket. I can think of several ways to make this meringue shell my own. The use of chocolate comes to mind somehow.

I actually loved the raspberry sauce we created for this dessert too. Only I would use the raspberry sauce on cheesecake or something less sweet. Together, it was just too darn much for me. But the spouse was very happy, he even had seconds.
As you can see it was a beautiful dessert. Probably one of the prettiest I have ever seen.
The berries for this recipe were expensive. Partially because of California's lousy growing season. I settled for strawberries on top but use the raspberries as written in the sauce.

Congrats go out to Hosea; This seasons new Top Chef. still my girl. And, I still hate you Tom Colicchio, you can learn some lessons from our girl Ina.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cat Adventures

Hello, My name is Sugar. My story is rather unusual for a cat. If I were a human it would be more common. Where should I start?I was adopted when I was one year old by the Glad family nine years ago. They have loved me more than any cat could ever be loved by any human, ever. When they went overseas for an expat gig for Mr. Glad's job, they took me. The two dogs had to stay home because we moved into a 27th floor high rise condo. "Only a cat could survive that", said Mrs. G. It was so funny the way Mrs. Glad recalled the story...When the Glad's went for a house hunting trip to Penang, Malaysia, the search criteria was for 4 bedrooms and permission to have a cat. It was not easy finding a place, but Mrs. Glad held out. She said under no circumstances would we leave the cat behind or else Jordan would not come! The rental agents were so darn frustrated with Mrs. Glad, they kept asking, "Are you sure you have to bring the cat?"
Ha! Mrs. Glad had that lame-brain expat office jumping through Veterinary import hoops for weeks. Oh, my!

So Mrs. Glad spent about 50 hours trying to learn the export/import laws, we had to make trips to the state vets, I had to have certain shots and then we had to drive to New Mexico to drop of that stupid dog Pepper to Mrs. Glad's sister. I must admit. I am an awesome traveler. I got to ride in the airplane cabin to Los Angeles. My owners were even able to open my carrier and let me stretch in the airport, since I was such a good girl.

Then I had to go to cargo for the long haul ride to Chaing Kai-Shek International in Taiwan. We had to fly to Taiwan because that was the only airport where I didn't have to quarantine for several weeks or have yucky blood tests. Then we had to wait again for the long trip to Malaysia.

You should have seen the way the airport employees gawked at my luscious curves! They had never seen such a lovely cat. When we got to Malaysia, Malay security guards were snapping my photo in awe. I was even met at the airport by the Penang State Vet. we were escorted to the office where I had to quarantine for 7 days. I had a lovely tiled room with a ledge , fresh water, my bed, my toys and my special Science Diet HD food that Mrs. G. had to have special ordered from Kuala Lumpur!
* *She used to call the local vet to reorder and they knew her voice by memory!* She was the best customer in all of Malaysia! She ordered and ordered and ordered!***
Mrs. G. likes to tell everyone that she has spent thousands of dollars on me. I guess it was quite expensive to pay cargo fees for a cat. Mr. G.'s employer even gave them a stipend of 500.00 dollars for me, but that was peanuts!

So our maid Khanti bathed me and brushed me, cleaned my butt, my litter box, talked to me, and treated me so good that I gained, like 6 pounds! (When Khanti went to visit her mother, Mrs. G. used to call a really great maid, Siti from the 15th floor, to come a take care of me) Apparently that is a lot of weight for a cat to gain. But I must say I have maintained it for several years. At least I have not gained more weight. The Elders used to shake my can of food and watch me run to it. It must have been really funny because they did it over and over and over. Looking back that was the only exercise I ever got.
But I must admit, wherever the family is, is where you will find me. Here I was helping Tiny work on her Personal Progress!All that fancy living has caused me to grow somewhat spoiled. Mrs. G. took me to the vet yesterday. That stupid vet was certain I had diabetes. Mrs. G. tried to tell him it was just all in his mind. He was pretty insistent that we take blood tests. He even tried to get me to pee. But he couldn't find my bladder through all my lusciousness. The blood work was normal, just like Mrs. G. thought it would be. *the dumb vet was shocked* So, Mrs. G. has put a special turkey roaster with some sort of charcoal down to mimic a litter box. She thinks she is going to capture my pee-pee and get it tested just to make sure I am ok. I hope my large sized bottom will fit in it and not tip it over!

I will keep you posted on the results, but I have many more years ahead I am sure. The Glad's have no desire to get another pet anytime soon! But Miss Tiny (that is what they called her at the markets in Penang), wants a dog. Sorry Miss Tiny, no dogs allowed! Most of them like to eat cat poop from the litterbox. Then they get shit breath. Sorry for the bad word, but there is no other expression to capture my meaning....
Well, Mrs. G is coming to get me to put me in the bed, so I guess I'll be signing off. 'Ta everyone.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mexican Chicken and Corn Chowder

So how memorable is this recipe?

Dave recently requested this chowder twice in one week he loved it so much.
It really is easy to make with ingredients that are usually found around the house. I have added to it throughout the years only very minimally, by adding one can of whole kernel corn in addition to the can of creamed corn. This is a soupier chowder, un-thickened with flour.

Mexican Chicken and Corn Chowder
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup water
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups milk (I used a can of skim evaporated milk and part 1/2 and 1/2)
1 can each cream style corn, whole kernel corn
1 small can chopped green chilies ( I use fresh- frozen Hatch, N.M. chile and lots of it)
Optional Ingredients: Monterey Jack cheese, tomatoes, green onion, cilantro, corn chips etc.
(I do not think this chowder needs ANY of the optional ingredients)

In a large saucepan brown the chicken over medium high heat, add the onion and garlic, a bit of salt and pepper, saute a few minutes more. Add the water, bouillon, and cumin; bring to boil. Reduce heat and cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add milk, cans of corn, chilies and bring to a simmer and serve.

The inspiriation for this recipe comes from the USU Extension, Utah County Office, Newsletter Jan- February 2001. During the Malaysia/USA moving around I lost this recipe. Last year I went into the office and told them I needed to see every single blue newsletter for the past 10 years and they really helped me find it. Now the recipes are on line.

You can also check out what some other Weekend Cook Book Challenge bloggers love by clicking here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Good Luck!


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Momi's last day at PHS will be next Tuesday. Good luck at Timpview Momi, we will miss you.

Thanks to this lady.

Worlds best school Counselor.

Momi has helped Christina in numerous ways. She cares, worries, is pro-active, and she is approachable. When we came back from Malaysia, she took Christina under her wing, and has always been cheerful and happy to see her. Christina is really sick with the flu, she will probably miss the entire week of school. All I had to do was send an email to Momi, and she is arranging to get some homework together for her today.

Our public schools take a hit from several directions from people who are unhappy with the system in some form. I agree with several of their arguments. I admire those who choose to home school, or those who can afford private school. I offered Christina the choice several times, to home school. I gave her numerous examples of successes through homeschooling. Her response was negative. She likes school. She wants the sports options, she loves team sports, she likes most of her teachers, and she said she did not want to loose the social aspect of school. She likes seeing her boyfriend at lunch and holding his hand in the halls, she loves having classes with her friends, and being silly. I know, I know, ...these are all probably reasons why some choose to home school..
I guess I am just happy I have a good school in my city, for my child to attend.

I don't want to pick sides, or knit pick either choice, I just wanted to give a shout out to Momi and her warm motherly caring.

Momi's last day at PHS will be next Tuesday. Good luck at Timpview Momi, we will miss you.

Indian journey

Join me for a trip down memory lane.
I just love Indian God art. It is very symbolic. It also makes me want to go out and eat something really hot and spicy and amazingly wonderful. This picture is Shiva, his consort Parvati and, their child Ganesha the wonderful elephant god. And below is my funny guy with a huge sculpture of Ganesha taken in Hampi, India a few years ago.Did you know that nobody really knows how many Indian deities there are? Some say it is over 330,000! Here is an amazing place. This is an ancient ruin in Hampi where each thin column in the whole building has a different musical pitch. So when you play them in concert, there is a magical sound of vibrational music. No one but tourists who pay the guards a "special fee" may touch the posts at any time now. Wow it was hot that day.Shopper's Alley in Bangalore
You can see my head at the very bottom left of this photo.This was Bangalore during the Festival of Lights "Depavali"

This is Sandra doing an amazing henna art job on Tiny.
Typically brides have this done before the wedding.
I love the colors~~

This is our host's son Manan one of the beautiful children of India.

More beautiful children of India.
Any way you look at it India is Incredible!
And, as little as I like to travel, I would go there again in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Were you at the inauguration? click on the above link and see if you can find yourself!

Dark Fudge Bundt Cake

So I soaked in a few compliments for this chocolate cake last week. Remember I posted about taking a cake to a funeral? We had so many nice ladies bring so much food in for the family dinner after the funeral that we had lots of extra food.

Here is the recipe. I took it from one of the best all time baking books I have ever owned, seen or baked from: a Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman

Dark Fudge Bundt Cake
This moist, tall cake is perfect when you want a deep, dark chocolate cake that is free of fuss and doesn't require icing or glaze, just a dusting of confectioners' sugar. This is a pass-this-recipe-down-and -around -keeper.
page 235
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups warm coffee or flat cola

Finishing touches:
3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease a 12-cup Bundt pan or 9- or 10-inch fluted tube pan with shortening and dust it with flour. Place pan on a parchment lined baking sheet.

In a mixer bowl, by hand or in a food processor, combine white sugar, brown sugar, and butter. Add eggs and vanilla; beat 1 minute until smooth. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir briefly and then drizzle in coffee, or cola, stirring at the same time to make a smooth batter.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake, 60 to 72 minutes or until top springs back when pressed with fingertips. (Bundt cakes often take longer to bake than tube-pan cakes do.)

To finish cake, sprinkle chocolate chips on top of cake as soon as it comes out of oven and allow to sit on cake to melt. Use a butter knife to swirl melted chocolate in a decorative fashion. As cake comes to room temperature, give it a gentle shake to loosen it from bottom of pan--but do not remove it from pan. Place cake in fridge to firm up chocolate. Once chocolate is well set, place a plate on top of pan and invert cake onto plate. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Thong Strap That Was Heard Around the World

So while we were on Skype with Malaina, who is about 6,500 miles away in South America, we got a tiny bit silly. Wouldn't it be funny to see how sensitive our video and audio feed is via Skype, by testing the quality with Jordan's thong underwear strap?Well I am happy to let you know the quality via Skype is very good. You can rest easily this day knowing that all is well with the sound and video quality.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Fab-Friday Night Concert

I spent another wonderful evening with one of my daughters. We went to the King's Singers concert at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City. I had seen them a few years ago with Malaina. They are probably the best harmonic men's vocal group I have EVER seen or heard. They recently won a Grammy for their album Simple Gifts.

We started off by eating an Elk Burger at Fudruckers at Southtown Mall. I figure, my figure could use the low fat meat, and since my husband is an outdoor's man, and he put in for an elk tag, I would give it a try. OMHEAVENS, it was really good; it was much less gamier than I thought it would be! I have to figure (get the pun?) out a way to mimic the salt they put on their fries, and the recipe for the baked beans. I also need to make the toffee recipe from Rocky Mountain Chocolates. Umm good.
We hopped on TraxI just love the way Trax let's you off at the front door of Abravanel Hall
If there is a prettier Symphony Hall, I ain't' seen it yet.
Tomorrow I blog about the Valentine's Day Gift I bought for myself at the Gateway.

It truly was a spectacular evening; Thanks for inviting me Jordan! Oh, and I bought another cookbook at Barnes and Noble. I went to Sur la Table, but was sort of disappointed, I could not find one single item that I had to buy. I have everything! I left empty handed!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers do Meatballs and Spaghetti

I really was looking forward to this post!!! Yes these were terrific meatballs. They came together in a snap and they were so moist and tasty. I have made hundreds and hundreds of meatballs of various sizes and recipes and I have learned that they can be cooked in the oven with great success. So when Ina called for 1/4 inch of oil in a pan and to fry them; I totally ignored that part. I also just used ground beef from the ranch in California that has the sustainable thing going on, I didn't want to use veal or pork like Ina recommended.

The Ragu' was so easy and tasty. I made this recipe after church on Sunday, it took me about an hour. My family loved it.
You can link to the recipe here Ina's Real Spaghetti and Meatballs or click on Ina's picture to order the book.

I added my own mix of Herbs 'd Provance, and I made my own Boule' bread for the bread crumbs.
Check out what the other Barefoot Bloggers did by clicking on the button below!! And thanks to Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake , for choosing this fine recipe this month.