Wednesday, November 25, 2009

[recipe] Breadz!!!!

This weekend we are going to my roommate's mom's house for Thanksgiving (the real one) and I made breadz. Four of them! I am using my lovely Jamie Oliver's basic bread recipe, with a few minor extras ^_^
(mainly a ton of butter spray)

The original recipe is enough for two, 1 lb loaves. I mixed up two batches separately, and then divided into four. The first portion was very well buttered and dropped into it's pan.

Roll out the dough and cover with a couple of cups of cheese. Roll up, cut in 1" slices and toss into a well buttered pan.

Ok, not really, but close enough. Melt half a cup of butter (1 stick) in 1 cup light brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon. Ball up the dough and toss liberally with butter spray and sugar mixture.

One thing to make sure of, though, is to keep the butter and sugar from spilling over and burning. (ask me how I know!) An aluminum wall is helpful. Or a big enough pan.

This was an easy one. Before kneading the dough between proves, add a handful of rosemary, garlic and salt to taste. Yet again, place in well buttered mold.

Once the breads are formed, it is necessary to let them prove again and double in size (about half an hour). In the meantime, set the oven to 425 (if your oven can actually set itself at a desired temperature). Bake for about 20 minutes. Cool in pans for about five minutes and remove whenever possible to cool on racks (except for the monkey bread).

Monday, November 23, 2009

[recipe] Car Bomb Cupcakes

This weekend I decided to get properly liquored up (and failed) to watch Twilight: New Moon.

But at least I got to use this recipe and make some really nifty yummies. They were amazingly moist, and even though the alcohol gets boiled out, you can make them substituting soda, and not pouring Baleys into the ganache. I copy/pasted the recipe, and modified it to what I actually did in parenthesis, due to being lazy. All quantities used were slightly less than exact.

Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes

Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup stout - Guinness
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (I always use salted!)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process (dark Hershey's)
2 cups all purpose flour (bread flower)
2 cups sugar (light brown)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (probably only used 1/2 or less)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (tollhouse semisweet morsels)
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (or like a shot or two)

Baileys Frosting (too lazy to make)
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag. (What I actually used was a melon baller and pyrex measuring cup with spout.)

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend (psh). Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend (kitchen aid mixer with whisk). Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. (switch to paddle

attachment) Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined (or just to push down the sides). Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes (since my oven is way less than calibrated, and every time I open the door, the thermometer gives me a different reading, I start checking around minute 15 and then every couple of minutes). Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl (2 c pyrex measuring cup). Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate (or stick chocolate, cream and butter in microwave for 30-60 seconds). Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can renuke it a couple of times for 15 seconds each). Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (or barely poured). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer (small melon baller), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

[This is a fantastic trick I picked up while working on the cupcakes article for Martha Stewart Living; the test kitchen chefs had found that when they added the sugar slowly, quick buttercream frostings got less grainy, and tended to require less sugar to thicken them up.]

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.

Ice and decorate the cupcakes. [I used a star tip and made little "poofs" everywhere and sprinkled it with various colors of sanding sugar to keep it looking festive for New Years. I bet shaved dark and white chocolates would look gorgeous as well.]

Do ahead: You can bake the cupcakes a week or two in advance and store them, well wrapped, in the freezer. You can also fill them before you freeze them. They also keep filled — or filled and frosted — in the fridge for a day. (Longer, they will start to get stale.)


The original recipe says that readers wanted extra filling, but I had more than half leftover. I ended up spooning it on top when served instead of making more icing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

[recipe] Fakesgiving the Third Turkey

Last sunday was our annual Fakesgiving dinner, where we invite the kids over to the house and force feed them before they are kicked out of the dorms. This year was quite an impressive feat, in which I cooked a 23 lb turkey (to perfection, IMO) that got devoured!

This recipe takes the guidelines from Martha Stewart's Turkey 101 and some ideas I found in a Jamie Oliver cookbook.

23 lb turkey
1 bottle white wine (dry and un/lightly oaked like a chardonet)
1 lb apples
1 lb onions
1 lb bacon
2 heads good garlic, or 6 from the supermarket
1 stick salted butter
Rosemary sprigs for stabbing
Thyme, rosemary salt and pepper to taste

Big ass roasting pan, with rack
Meat thermometer
Turkey button (just in case)
Basting brush or, well, a turkey baster
Wood toothpicks
Cooking twine, or enough completely natural fiber string/yarn to tie legs together (you can test if it burns in the oven before cooking)

Prep time: 1 hr
Cooking time: 6.5 hrs

1) Quarter all apples but one and all of the onions and let marinate in the wine with 2/3 of the garlic over night.
2) Take giblets out of the thawed turkey and rinse out the cavity.
3) Mince 1/3 of your garlic and mix with butter, herbs, salt and pepper.
4) Chop up half of the packet of bacon.
5) Carefully separate the skin off of the breast, leaving it intact. Tack down the neck flap and fill in the skin/breast pocket with the butter mixture and bacon pieces.
6) Make 12 rolls out of a couple of inches of rosemary staking a chunk of garlic and wrapping it in a two inch piece of bacon.
7) Fill the cavity with the apple, onion and the rest of the garlic pieces, and save the wine for basting. Use leftover apple to plug cavity and tie the legs around it.
8) Puncture each thigh 6 times with a sharp knife and stick a rosemary roll in each.
9) Tent with a sheet of aluminium.

The turkey is now ready to go into the oven, at 325 F. You will need to pull it out every 30 minutes to baste with the wine.

10) Around the middle of your cooking time, or when skin starts to get crispy, cover breast with a layer of the remaining bacon.

Use the weight of the stuffed turkey to calculate the cooking time (about 20 minutes per 500g/1lb 2oz). This 25 lb monstrosity took about 6.5 hrs. Turkey is ready when button pops, or when you stick the instant read thermometer in the meatiest part of the turkey it reads 180.

In the meantime, use the giblets and neck to make gravy. You can boil them in some stock for the whole time the turkey is roasting. Season towards the end, and use flour or corn starch to thicken. These should both be incorporated by mixing in a separate bowl with not-boiling liquid to avoid clumps, and then adding little by little to the sauce pan.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

[review] Knitivism

So I went to a club meeting on thursday for a group called Knitivism. Activism through knitting.
I love knitting, I have a strong hippie bend, I've always wanted to be more active. Sure, I'll give it a try.

Now, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Knitivism? What could they possibly be doing?
- knit blankets and scarves for the shelters
- knit cardigans for the battered women, to help them feel better and get the drive to work through it and get their lives back in order
- knit something for the old folks, let them know people still care
- how about those boobs they need for teaching nursing?

I don't know, I figured it would be using knitting for good. What I actually found was a bunch of dirty, 5th year sophmore hippies that are all about Darfur and Thon, who sit around and pretend to move their needles which they just bought at walmart.

The guy running the meeting was all "I want to be, like, umm, a vegetarian, because like, umm, the environment... and... ummm... like, yeah, umm, it's healthy... did I say the environment? Oh, but I don't think I'll keep it up for Thanksgiving. I might try to pick it up again after the holidays, because like, I like turkey, and umm... like the food is good... did I mention the environment?"

Dude, srsly. Have you ever heard of a thing called a conviction? I have met many, many vegetarians since moving to the US; only a couple of them were actually serious and did research deeper than that horrible PETA Whale Watching campaign from this summer.

I'm still on their listserve, and I plan on keeping an eye on them. Maybe they will decide to actually -knit- for something, rather than just be "activists" who pretend to move their needles.

Friday, November 13, 2009

[wip] Water Diamonds Headband

I've been reprimanded for being a bad blogger. Apparently I am supposed to update more frequently, and not just when I have works completed!

So this week I've been working on a new headband, since I've been using the quant so much. I wanted something pumpkiny and autumny, so I found this pattern on Ravelry, by Kristi Holaas. It' originally for a worsted weight scarf or cowl, but I liked the pattern, and it's working up nicely in Knitpicks Pallet - Massala, on I think #2 needles.

The edges are curling in a lot, so I'm going to have to block it when I'm done. I haven't blocked anything because I'm big on the L, but meh, it's only yarn. I was also informed last week by Phiala that I do my SSK and K2Togs backwards and that I should just exchange them when I read patterns, but I was three inches in to the headband when I realized that meh, maybe it would make a difference and look better if I did. I'll keep that in mind for my next project.

Oh yeah, I was also noted that the diamonds look like snatches. Meh.