Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just sit there and look pretty

Strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, strawberry tartlets, strawberry smoothie, strawberry mousse, strawberry cream cake, strawberry muffins, strawberry, cupcakes, strawberry crepes, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry milkshake or strawberry tiramisu? So many delectable possibilities. What should I make?

Pipe down! He'll hear you...

Hey there, little guy. What?! No, I never! (deny everything) No, I wouldn't! Oh. You heard all that did you. Oh yeah? Well, your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!

Strawberry cream cake it shall be.
(To be continued)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

That's Amore!

What does Mr. Incredible (Mr. Incredible = code name for my hubby) like more than this generously sweet moniker? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Alright, maybe a good pizza or 2 ...or 8 for a person of his gargantuan size. Cartman Beefcake 4000 (South Park reference) he isn't, but more the primal bulk of Leonidas from 300, minus the skirt, computer generated abdominals and knee high man sandals.

Alright, I exaggerate about his stature, but his appetite is something to contend with. So in an attempt to satisfy his Spartan sized cravings, I'm baking some pie. Pizza pie!

Let's get to it before he hurts someone.

What you need:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/3 to 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • cornmeal for dusting

Follow directions!

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.

Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth.

Let the dough rise now. (Until doubled in size)
Punch down the dough, cut in half, and form a tight ball with each piece. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees and heat up the pizza stone. If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.

Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Here's to you Mr. Incredible!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

Good morning Sunday! Today was the last day I got to sleep in because, sadly, after a week long break, I have to go back to work tomorrow. I was in a blueberry mood and decided to whip up a batch of "To Die For Blueberry Muffins" off of the Allrecipes.com site. I had been meaning to try it for a while but hadn't gotten around to it until this morning. Better late than never.
I made a few adjustments to the recipe below. I doubled the recipe, except for the sugar. I only used 1 cup of sugar total. I added 2 teaspoons of vanilla and left off the crumb topping altogether. The end result was a tender muffin with nice texture.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chocolate and Pate Croissants

I put the leftover croissant dough in the refrigerator instead of the freezer last night and it ended up proofing a bit. I wasn't sure whether it was too late to put it in the freezer so I went ahead and baked the rest of it this morning. I looked in the pantry to see what deliciousness I could stuff into the them. Chocolate? Check! Reno liver spread? YES please! Chocolate and liver mixed together? Um. No. I was giggling at the title of this post because it sure does read that way. I wouldn't recommend mixing the two flavors unless you're in an adventurous mood or just plain nutty. Other flavors good for stuffing are ham and cheese, almond paste, and corn beef and potatoes.

These are really easy. First, roll out the dough into a rectangle and cut 3 inch wide strips of dough. Then put a spoonful or pate or chocolate chips at the top of each strip and roll the dough into a coil. Make sure the seam side is down otherwise it will puff and unravel in the oven. Brush the tops with egg wash and let rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let them cool before eating. This will give the butter enough time to set. I know it's tempting, but leave it alone! You want it to set to achieve that flaky shattering shards effect of the dough upon first bite. Drooling yet ;)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Baking with Julia: Croissants

Baking with Julia is a cookbook based from Julia Child's Master Chefs television series which aired on PBS. The book contains recipes for a variety of breads, pastries, pies, cakes and chocolate. Not only are the recipes well chosen, the photographs are simple and beautiful. I spent hours reading through the book but didn't know where to start because I wanted to try them all!

So I let my stomach decide and it demanded CROISSANTS! Everything about it was intimidating. The preparation, the process, the vocabulary, the quantity of butter in the recipe...4 and a half sticks of butter?! I put off making them for about a month, not because I was scared (I was only 48% frightened)but mainly because I needed an entire weekend to devote to this beast. So, the following is the recipe I used and my attempt at photographing the entire process. Forgive me, as this is my first blog and my first post..eeek.

Before starting, I suggest reading over the recipe thoroughly and watching this two part video from Julia Child's Lessons with Master Chefs. I work better with visuals.