Sunday, November 29, 2009

Yo..It's Foofa!!

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"It's a party in my tummy!" For those of you that don't know. This is Foofa. She is part of 5 characters on the hit pre-school show, "Yo Gabba Gabba." Foofa loves daises and is always picking them. My daughter loves this show. Its really quite strange if you ask me as all the characters are. But the songs are very catchy. I get happy when they play the reggae rhythm ones.

Foofa was a bit larger then I intended her to be. But I worked it out. She is made from fondant and the daises are 50/50 fondant and gumpaste. The cake is Luscious Sour Cream Chocolate Cake which can be found here on my blog.  My favorite chocolate cake E.V.E.R.

Foofa was my first fondant molding. This was my first stacked cake as well. It was a little stressing but fun. I learned a lot from Foofa. So it was worth it. And how could I forget who made it really worth it. My daughter ...a little newly 3 year old birthday girl was delighted when she woke up and saw Foofa on the table getting ready for her birthday party.  "Mommy? You made that for meeeeeee?"  

Happy Birthday my Princess.

 

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Cannoli ~ November's Daring Bakers Challenge

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The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.


So we didn't bake this month. It was great. I love love love baking but to have a challenge that involved deep frying was great. I don't mind to deep fry but do not do it as much because I am trying to adapt a healthier lifestyle for my family. Giggle...yes, I bake to offset the desire of frying!


So I was however, a bit intimidated because I have never fried dough. I have delayed making doughnuts because of that. This challenge showed me that it is way easier than I thought. Doughnuts are in the forecast!!


Cannoli usually are filled with a ricotta or marscapone cheese mixture. But I feel that ricotta cheese should only be in lasagne or manicotti. So I filled mine with a great whipped cream and a Chocolate Cream Patissiere. Also I didn't have Cannoli tubes, which you need to form and fry the dough to get the tube shape. Those tubes are 10 bucks at Cake Art Supply store and that was not in my budget. We had great leniency when it came to this recipe...that is why we was able to fill it with what we pleased. If we did not have the tubes, we could make them with oiled wooden sticks. Or as some did, with foil pans molded into tube shapes. I opted to do the easier choice...stack em. I present my Cannolipoleans!! (Ahem....aka stacked cannoli.)


I used a cookie cutter my Mother-in-Law had given me. I have yet to makes cookies from them...but they certainly came in handy with this challenge!


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As they were frying the some would swell up like a blow fish. My 10 year old thought it was hilarious.


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Finished!!


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I use a chocolate ganache to dip the points of the Cannoli in and I decorated them with sprinkles and red decorators sugar.


They tasted good. Not sure if I would go out of my way to make them again but who knows...it provides a great dinner party dessert because Cannoli can be dressed up so pretty. And being able to fill it with what you want makes it very likable. I only did half a recipe and manage to get 6 servings.


INGREDIENTS


CANNOLI SHELLS


2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar Approximately 1/2 cup sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand 1 large egg white Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts


Optional :~


1/2 cup toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish Confectioners' sugar


DIRECTIONS


In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.


Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.


Heat 2-inches of oil in a saucepan or deep sauté pan to 350-375°F (176 - 190°C).


Cut out desired shapes with cutters or a sharp knife. Deep fry until golden brown and blistered on each side, about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from oil with wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, then place on paper towels or bags until dry and grease free. If they balloon up in the hot oil, dock them lightly prior to frying. Place on cooling rack until ready to stack with filling.


Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough.



You can find out more about Cannoli and find the traditional filling recipe from Lisa Michele who hosted the DB Challenge this month! Hers look great!! Thanks for choosing this wonderful challenge!! It was my second one and my first success!


Recipe for Chocolate Creme Patissiere can be found on Joy of Baking website! I love this recipe and will be using it again and again and again!!


My Whipped Cream Recipe :~


1 cup whipping cream


1/4 cup confectioner's sugar


1 tsp vanilla


2 tsp cornstarch


~Whip Cream at high speed in chilled bowl. add sugar, vanilla and cornstarch after cream forms. Whip until stiff~


Please note that I do not have the source of this recipe :(

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jeraz Make~It~Rain Peanut Butter Cookies

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The What's Cooking Challenge Ingredient this week is Peanut Butter. I decided to grab yet another recipe from the Cookin' with Coolio cookbook! The first recipe I used from his book was apart of a Cookin' with Coolio challenge. Read about how his Cool~a~cado delighted my tastebuds.


I do have a favorite Peanut Butter Cookie recipe but have misplaced it. It was one of those recipes that a friend had and shared with me by writing it on a yellow legal pad. The paper was so dingy and stained but I never transferred the recipe to anything else. She moved from Bermuda and we lost contact so that yellow vintage looking recipe paper meant so much too me. The recipe was really good.


But on to Coolio's Peanut Butter Cookies. Did they stand up to the test. Not quite. I wasn't 100 percent pleased. I will say that the picture in his cookbook showed a much lighter cookie. He did recommend natural peanut butter but I went ole' cheapo. I didn't think it would make a difference. My cookie is a lot darker, smaller and the texture is light...but crisp. Still hard to describe. If your are interested in trying it yourself let me know how yours turn out. Here's the recipe: ~


INGREDIENTS


1 cup peanut butter( all natural is recommended)


1 cup brown sugar


1 large egg


2 tbsp ground cinnamon


1 tbsp pure vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS


Preheat oven to 350 degrees


Combine all ingredients in large bowl (I used a stand mixer..this is probably where I went wrong)


Drop 1 tsp of dough on greased up cookie sheet. (I sprinkled granulated sugar on top of each one)


Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool~A~Cado

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They say big things come in small packages. Well, I believe the same can go for food. Avocado is my least favorite food. Life is about taking risk. Wow, I am full of it now...


Okay, the point. I tried Coolio's "Cool~A~Cado" and I was blown away. I chose avocado only because I had one here and no one was touching it. Also, I wanted to see if I could actually eat it without grimacing. This recipe was simple and simply delicious. It punches you while you're eating and keeps on punching way after your finished. The balsamic vinegar must have a lot to do with it. The onion provide a great crunch and the tomato is refreshing. This little number is a great cool appetizer or a snack on a hot summer day. Not to say that you should only enjoy it during the summer.


I received Coolio's cookbook because I decided to participate in the "Cookin' with Coolio Challenge." The book bases itself on 5 star meals at a 1 star price!


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Most of the recipes in the book are pretty straight forward. But judging of this one I am sure they all are really good.


Recipe ~


INGREDIENTS


1 ripe avocado


1 ripe tomato, chopped


1 small white onion


Balsamic vinegar


Olive Oil


Salt (I used kosher)


Pepper


DIRECTIONS


Split avocado down the middle and remove seed


Cute avocado in little cubes by slicing vertically and horizontally while it is still in skin.


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Fill hole with freshly chopped tomato the sprinkle chopped onion all over it.


Drizzle avocado with Balsamic Vinegar and olive oil.


Sprinkle salt and pepper to your taste.


Stab avocado with a knife to let the oil and vinegar seep in.


Enjoy!



Please note: I adapted the words of the recipe to suit my blog. I didn't have the heart to repeat how Coolio worded this in his cookbook...not that it is that bad...it is just not for my blog.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lentil Patties

"Patty Cake!! Patty Cake!! Baker Man!"...or woman. I have found a great substitute for a burger. That is if you feel that you can substitute burger.


Lentils are great as a substitution for meat in just about anything you would use ground beef, turkey, pork. On occasion I have bought the frozen veggie patty and heated it up for hubby and upon grabbing a bite of them myself, I realized...uh no. I can't feed hubby this!! I would load up the condiments to hide the no taste of whatever non meat item was in this so called patty. It was then I decided to be on the quest for a great veggie burger. I found it within the first recipe I tried.


As you may have noticed...or may have not, I use a lot of recipes from allrecipes.com. I used to frequent this site prior to me looking at blogs. I love a site where I can read reviews and make changes as per someone's suggestion if I felt the need too. So, you guessed it, this recipe can be located on my favorite recipe website!


Now I alter the recipe a lot. I don't use the barley cereal but I add oatmeal. I have also left out the soup mix and chopped onions and added salt and pepper. Sometimes I add cheese, mushrooms, cajun seasoning etc...


This recipe is a hit all the time.


My mistakes...well I have done it too dry. I have undercooked the lentils before preventing them from not mashing enough and the patty falls apart. I have also overcooked them and made them too soft and the patty falls apart. I prefer a half mashed lentil mixture. Now if you over~mash or overcook them add less egg and/or milk. Also add some of the breadcrumbs to the mixture instead of just coating with them. You really have to play with this one.


Anyway, here are my lentil patties in a total veggie meal.


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I have them on top of a spaghetti squash that I baked then sautéed with onions, red and green peppers and tomato and herb and garlic seasoning. In the background there is Sweet potato and sautéed Green Beans in garlic and soy sauce. Hubby likes a gravy sometimes with his meal so I made one consisting of chopped tomatoes, ketchup, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and Outerbridges' Sherry Peppers.


Sherry Pepper


Sherry Peppers is a sauce made in Bermuda. My mom brings up a bottle or two when she comes to visit. It adds a great flavor to stews and gravy's, alcoholic beverages and just about anything and everything. It is a Bermudian favorite. Especially in Fish Chowder. Oh I can't wait until I make me and hubby some Bermuda Fish Chowder! Add some Bermuda Black rum and some Outerbridges' Sherry Peppers and the night starts right!!


I am not getting paid for this ad. But maybe I should.


Try the lentil patties my way or yours and please tell me how you enjoyed them. I am always looking for ideas!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

The best pancakes I have ever tasted in my life!! I am not a big got to have pancakes person. But every now and then, I got to have pancakes. I was tired of my Buttermilk recipe and decided to try pumpkin since I still had plenty of it left.


I did these pancakes at 1 am in the morning. I asked hubby if he wanted some. He said "Nah." He then saw the stack of 10 and was like, "Um, why not? I will take one!"...I thought he just might change his mind when he saw them.


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Yeah.


You can find the recipe on allrecipes.com. I followed it as it was written. No changes necessary.


I don't have to say anything else...but...I like them brown with crispy edges...so I got to get through the top to the best below...pass the syrup please.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Banana~Cranberry Bread

recipe adapted from Joy the Baker.



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Beautiful..


...taste as good as she looks.


So I had leftover cranberries and was so excited baking with them that I thought I would bake some more!!


I was going to make some banana bread and figured I add some cranberries too. Never had this before and it is delicious!


Recipe ~


INGREDIENTS


3 to 4 ripe bananas, mashed (I left mine a little chunky due to personal preference)


1/3 cup melted salted butter


1 cup light brown sugar


1 egg, beaten


1 tsp vanilla


1 tbsp bourbon( I didn't have bourbon so I used an extra tsp vanilla and 2 tsp water)


1 tsp baking soda


pinch of salt


1 tsp cinnamon


1/2 tsp nutmeg


pinch of ground cloves


1 1/2 cup of flour


1 cup fresh cranberries


DIRECTIONS


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Mix melted butter into mashed bananas in large bowl with a wooden spoon.


Mix in sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon.


Then add the spices and mix.


Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.


Add the flour and mix.


Add the cranberries. ( I coated them with flour to prevent them from sinking) and stir until just incorporated.


Pour mixture into buttered loaf pan.


Bake for 1 hour.


Cool on rack then remove from pan and slice to serve.


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Okay, I have to end this post now. There is a slice with my name on it waiting for me......

Cranberry~Pumpkin Cookies

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This week's WC Ingredient Challenge ingredient was "cranberries." I have never cooked with a cranberry. I have never even bought a cranberry! I was so close to picking up the cranberry sauce and draining the buggers for this recipe until I saw fresh cranberries in the produce section of Publix. Cranberries are a lot harder then I thought they would be and I didn't expect them to be so white inside. A very interesting little berry!


Anyway, the little berry packs a serious sweet punch. I chose a pumpkin cookie because I have so much pumpkin use up. This recipe comes from allrecipes.com and has a 4.5 star rating from 179 people. I thought I would check that for myself. Normally I would scan the reviews and make some of the suggested changes that others noted but I didn't. I stuck to the recipe word for word. They were good...they were not great. I guess I should have guessed that because they were described as a cake like cookie. I don't care for cookies that have a cake texture. If I wanted cake I would eat cake. Anyway, my family loved them...all except for my baby boy...he takes after me. He proceeded to crumble it up and leave trails of it on the carpet. Needless to say, I probably won't be making them again.


Please note...my daughters princess crown was in the background...I decided to bake after trick or treating. Like we didn't have enough sweets in the house right? Cranberries are a healthy treat though...