Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lemon-Cream Sandwich Cookies

Yesterday was my friend's baby shower so I made these cookies to celebrate! Both the filling and cookie are lemon flavored:

Recipe from Bon Appetit magazine (Jan 2009)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt ( I used 1/4)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

1 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
dash salt
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar

Boil lemon juice and zest in saucepan till reduced to 2 Tbsp. Let cool. Beat butter till fluffly, add sugar and mix well. Beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Add lemon juice. In another bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Then add the dry to the wet mixture and blend. Cover and chill dough till firm, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out 1/3 dough to 3/8 thickness. Using 2 inch round cutter, cut out cookies. Bake 10-12 min. (I used a 1 inch round and made them thinner and ended up with almost 100, so you may need to adjust depending how many you want, and the size of your cutter). Repeat with remaining dough.

Mash zest and salt into a paste. Add butter. Beat with electric mixer till fluffly. Add sugar in 4 batches, beating after each till blended.
(Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temp before using).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Edible Garden

This year, with the pigeon netting in place, we can actually sit outside and enjoy the balcony. I can also grow a lot more edible plants without being worried they'll be contaminated.

I bought 2 big tubs of basil, 2 tomato plants (one yellow cherry tomato and another medium sized red tomato) and a lettuce mix.

I learned from previous years that buying only one basil plant prevented me from plucking enough leaves, to make pesto. So I went a little overboard..... My calamondin/calamansi plant is still going strong making tiny sour oranges that I use to season seafood with.

And lastly, I learned that wrought iron furniture isn't comfortable for more than a half hour at a time, so I invested in some nice thick cushions. Time to spend some quality reading time with my plants.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Whole Wheat Biscuits

We went up to Vermont a few weeks ago and brought back a brick of Grafton Village Sage cheese. With no crackers, or baguettes on hand, I made the quickest bread-like food I could think of: BISCUITS!! My whole wheat flour doesn't get much use, so I found this recipe. Super tasty, super easy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blueberry Pie

Instead of a traditional lattice, I decided to have some fun with my tiny cookie cutters. The pie shell and top layer were 2 different pre-made doughs, so unfortunately I over-baked the shell a bit.

I also had a bizarre incident when making the filling, which I've made plenty of times in the past. Some recipes tell you to use a "non-reactive" bowl or pan. I must have used a "reactive" pan because when cooking the sugar and blueberries, the sugar started to crystalize into these really hard white chunks and they wouldn't dissolve. I ended up sieving them out and losing a few blueberries in the process.

This filling recipe is from my pastry course packet, by Nick Malgieri. What's great about this particular method is that you end up with 2 different textures in the fruit: A super soft, well-cooked portion, which is used to develop the syrup and a firmer batch, which is added right before baking.

2 pints blueberries (measure out 1 cup for cooking)
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp water
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I prefer 1/4 tsp)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg beaten (for the wash on top)

Preheat oven to 375

Combine 1 cup of blueberries with the sugar in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stir till sugar is melted and the mixture is very liquid (5 min). In a separate bowl, mix the water and cornstarch and whisk into blueberry/sugar mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly till it boils, thickens and "becomes clear" (loses the murkiness). Pour into a large bowl and stir in the seasonings and lastly the blueberries.

Pour into pie shell. Cover with lattice or top crust, brush with egg wash. Optional: Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 40 min.

Monday, June 7, 2010

World's Largest Burger

The Australians have set a new record for the world's largest burger, weighing in at 95.5 kg (roughly 210 lbs).

The burger required 81kg of mince, 120 eggs, 16 tomatoes, 120 cheese slices, 2kg of lettuce, 21kg of bread and half a kilo of barbecue sauce.

(via The Daily Telegraph)