Monday, August 31, 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie

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"Ain't no river high enough..ain't no valley low enough..to keep me from yooooowhooo..." Okay well, when I look at these pictures of my first and failed attempt of baking a lemon meringue that song pops in my head.modifiedpie3


Why?..you maybe asking. I ask myself too. Cause these valleys and hills certainly aren't any too keep you away from your love. Pretty weak if you ask me.


But I tried.


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It wasn't that bad...right? ...right?


Okay, so I know my errors. I don't think I beat the egg whites long enough in the first stage of the meringue. I was nervous as heck making the filling and really the meringue stressed me the most. My poor sunbeam was heating up something fierce trying to create some peaks! In the end I settle for what I got. The deflated meringue won the battle. It is all good though. My husband enjoyed it! I baked it for him anyway. He requested it and I was up for the challenge. And you know, I am going to try it again. Because I am stubborn like that. I must not let meringue win. I will not be defeated...or deflated in this case.


While beating the crap out of the sugar and egg whites my filling had started to cool. That is a no no. This caused condensation thus making my filling and meringue do the slide. Next time I won't pour the filling until the meringue is completed because then I can heat up the filling again. Doing this will cause the meringue to cook as soon as it hits the filling and adhere. Then we can leave the slide where it belongs...on the dance floor.


I loved the crust despite it being a tad to thick. It was flaky as can be. I adapted it from http://www.allrecipes.com/. I doubled the amount of sugar as I wanted it to be a bit sweeter.


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Hee hee. Meringue ~ you and me...outside. Let the battle begin.



The recipe was taken of the side of a generic brand Corn Starch box (gasp..could this be the reason why?). It is as follows...


Lemon Meringue Pie Filling


1/4 cup Corn Starch


1 cup sugar


1/4 cup lemon juice


3 egg yolks


1 1/4 cup water


1 tsp grated lemon rind (this is optional and I opted not to use)


1 tbsp margarine or butter


1 - 9" regular pre-baked pie shell ( I baked my own as mentioned above)



Meringue


3 egg whites


6 tbsp sugar



In a medium saucepan, combine corn starch, sugar and lemon juice; mix well. Beat egg yolks; add to corn starch mixture. Add water. Bring mixture just to boiling over medium high heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add margarine and grated lemon rind to thickened mixture and stir until thoroughly blended. Pour into baked pie shell. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


To prepare meringue beat egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat on high speed to form stiff glossy peaks. Spread meringue over filling, carefully sealing entire edge of crust to prevent shrinking. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. cook on cake rack away from draft for 2 hours. Refrigerate and serve cold. Serves:8

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Parmesan~Crusted Tilapia

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Up for the WC Challenge??! I decided to join the "What's Cooking" ladies in this challenge. My first!! Yea! Them ladies there have taught me a lot. We voted and Parmesan won. I love parmesan...but I was rooting for rum in the vote. shhhhh...


I decided to use a recipe that my family loves. It is quick and easy and so delish. Yo, I just said delish. Is that a sign of a foodie?


Anyway, I found the recipe while googling for different tilapia recipes. This has become a staple in my house. Yes, it earned its way into being positioned behind the clear sticky paper in my cookbook and not just a computer printed loosed leaf recipe stuffed behind the cover, hanging on for dear life.


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Okay, the best part about making this recipe is basically chucking all the ingredients in a shallow dish or bowl and having your fillet frolic in the seasoned cheesy goodness.


Where's Waldo..oh I mean the fillet? Can you see it?


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Thanks Rachel Ray. This is probably the only one of your recipes I have made and it sold me.


here! is the recipe online.



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So colorful...dig in!



Parmesan Crusted Tilapia


Ingredients


¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


2 teaspoons paprika


1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley


4 tilapia fillets (about 1 pound total)


1 lemon, cut into wedges



Directions


Preheat the oven to 400°. In a shallow dish, combine the cheese with the paprika and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the fish with olive oil and dredge in the cheese mixture. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until the fish is opaque in the thickest part, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve the fish with the lemon wedges.


    Ginger Chiffon Cake with Key Lime Curd and Lime Buttercream

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    August 23rd was my birthday. I had to decided to bake this cake to celebrate...along with drinking at the club the night before. This cake was a challenge. Major. I never did a chiffon cake and honestly was anxious to see how the texture was going to be. Unfortunately, I have never tasted a chiffon cake either. Therefore, I have no clue as to whether my cake successfully falls into this category.


    So my birthday cake came from my book Sky High. Yes, I do intend to make most of the cakes in this delightful book. No matter how much work they take or how many days it takes me to do one cake. So far both cakes made have taken me two days each. I start some of the steps the night before and I usually do the frosting and assemble the next day.


    My dilemma ~ I only had two 8 inch pans. I needed three. I had to use one out of my four 9 inch pans. So I am sure this affected the size drastically. But I was still quite pleased that it look somewhat symmetrical.


    Okay don't look to close to the decorating. This was my first attempt with piping. And I don't even have proper piping equipment. In two lovely weeks I will be starting a decorating course! Yippee!! I am syked about it as I have put it off too long now. I found a great person who does wedding and specialty cakes to teach me for a great fee. I will blog about my experience and you will get to see my progress if there is any. Anyway, I didn't want to discuss this now..lets get back to the cake.


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    My hubby lighting the celebration cake before he broke out in song. It was a romantic moment.



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    If a chiffon cake is supposed to be sponging then I guess I got it. It is hard to describe the texture but it was not dry. The lime curd was good. I had issues with making the curd and have had issues in the past. Curd is something I need more practice with. The name curd doesn't turn me on in no way so I guess subconsciously when I am making it I am not loving it. But it did taste really good...surprise! the Lime Buttercream was limey, but no sweet or too tart. The ginger was grated but next time I will think I will mince it. Overall the flavors were good together.


    Recipe can be found here ~ Amazon books online~

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

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    This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan and I have found on many of a blog and being I love chocolate, oatmeal and well peanut butter, I couldn't resist. So I pulled up blog and used the recipe to create these lovely non-stop nibbling cookies.

    As many bloggers stated...the friggin cookie dough is AWESOME! Lets just say the mixer attachments to my Sunbeam were well cleaned before they hit the sink. Never tasted a better cookie dough and seriously think that Ben and Jerry's need to re-invent their cookie dough ice cream.

    The blog I used to follow the recipe is here with Proceed with Caution, who had her pick from Tuesdays with Dorie. Excellent pick!

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    I don't know how many in total I made because it was so hard not to take from a fresh batch. I can tell you that the recipe recommends putting in the refrigerator for better shape cookies. If you can do not skip this step. I left some of the batter overnight and when I baked the next day they had a much better shape. I didn't take pictures because they didn't make it in transit from the cooling rack. That good.

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    That oh so cookie goodness. Next time I will used chunky peanut butter. I choose creamy. And I also think I will use a tad bit more peanut butter as the taste of it was subtle. I tend to love peanut butter cookies and would like for that flavor to pop more!

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    Yeah. I had to get closer.

    Thank you Dorie. Thank you Proceed with Caution. I look forward to trying more of your good good goodies.

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Super Quick Whole Wheat Buns

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    I bought some King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour on closeout the other day. I guess it was on close out because I hear the King Arthur Brand has come out with an unbleached Whole Wheat Flour (finally). Today I decided to use it and make some rolls. I have never made rolls before. And believe it or not..never worked with Whole Wheat Flour. I chose a quick and easy recipe because I didn't want to be in the kitchen too long. This recipe from http://www.recipezaar.com/ was perfect. The recipe is a great addition to any meal or if you want to make your own hamburger buns. Or even just have some whole wheat roll with butter or jam. Either way, I will make these again. I have a whole bag of flour to use up!!


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    I love the characteristic dimple of the one in the back. Imperfection at its best.



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    Next time I may brush them with an egg white wash. Give em some sheen!


    This bun is so soft. I need to go make some stew or something. Serious dunkability. The recipe makes 10 to 12 buns.


    You should try them. Find the recipe here!!

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Pina Colada Cake

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    So here we go...I have been baking for a while but just not sure about it. Some things work..some don't. My husband, Omar is my taste tester. He sure doesn't mind that. I work with limited equipment and an oven that is on a slant. With the equipment I try to buy myself a needed piece every month. I can keep you all posted on that. As for the oven, well living in an apartment you gotta live with what ya got.


    So..my first entry :~ (by the way ~ I love to use these thingys ~ alot.)



    Sky High: Irresistible Triple~Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne.


    I bought this incredible book at Tuesday Mornings for $9.99. The cakes are too die for and the recipes are so thorough and easy to follow. Mind you..these cakes take work. Having 3 kids around me while baking these 3 layer decadent hip huggers is not an easy task. I manage.


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    Oh, before I continue I need to say that I am learning baking techniques, not photography. I need not say anymore on that topic.



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    I must say that I learned to have patience with this cake. I have never successfully scored a layer cake and got it too stand almost perfect. As a matter of fact I always rush the job and my cakes have a trademark lean. I am working on a new trademark.


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    The filling was the fun part. It wasn't stressful to make. Okay, just a little cause it took longer for the crushed pineapple to break down to a jam consistency then I thought it would. However, I was very pleased with the results.


    I used an Appleton Jamacian Rum that is a medium rum with a bold flavor. I did notice that the first bite of the cake the rum was very much the dominating flavor. However, after a day that strong rummy taste mellowed out and was more enjoyable. Not to say that rum is never enjoyed.


    I was too proud of my first attempt with Italian Meringue Buttercream. Actually I had to google to figure out that is what it was. The book says Coconut Buttercream...but that is because of the addition of coconut milk. This frosting scared the beegeegees out of me. I have never boiled sugar and water to a syrup and I didn't not have a candy thermomether. Ha...I didn't even use the recommended soft-ball test. Didn't know what the heck it meant. (I know now). While mixing it I thought it was a disaster, but it actually came together quite nicely. Took about 10 good ole minutes in the Sunbeam but she handles the work well. The taste is delightfully light with just a hint of sweetness. The coconut is mild but you know it is there. I toasted sweetned coconut flakes and this really topped it off great with flavor. It was described to me as "moist as a coffee cake."


    So, as said. I really had fun with this. I made a great 10 buck investment. Being as the book sells on amazon.com for 23 bucks :)


    Recipe


    Brown Sugar Cake 3¾ cups cake flour 1¾ tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt 2¼ cups packed light brown sugar 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1¾ cups buttermilk 5 eggs 2 tsp vanilla extract Cake method Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line the base of three 9inch cake pans. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk gently to combine. Add the brown sugar, butter and 1½ cups of the buttermilk to the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low blend to incorporate. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk the eggs with the remaining ¼ cup buttermilk and the vanilla and add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and beating only long enough to incorporate between additions. Divide the batter between the 3 pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper and allow to cool completely. For the filling 1 can (20 ounce) crushed pineapple in juice (no added sugar) 1 cup sugar ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice 1 x one inch piece of vanilla bean split in half Filling method Combine the pineapple, sugar and lime juice in a pan. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the pan too. Warm over a medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, 2 to 3 minutes. Raise the het to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the juices have almost completely evaporated and its turned jam-like in consistency. Let the filling cool completely before using. (Can be made a day in advance and refrigerated) Coconut Buttercream 3 eggs whites 1 cup sugar ¼ cup water 2½ sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk 1½ tsp coconut extract Buttercream method Put the eggs whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whip attachment so they are ready to go. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring until the syrup reaches the sold boil stage, 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Beat the egg whites briefly at medium speed. Slowly add the hot syrup in a thin stream, being careful to avoid the beaters. Continue to whip until the meringue has cooled to body temperature. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the butter, several tablespoons at a time and continue to beat until a smooth fluffy frosting forms. Add the coconut milk in several additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well after each addition. Add the coconut extract and mix until smooth. To assemble 9 tbsp rum – light, amber or dark Coconut flakes and thin slices of pineapple To assemble Place one layer flat side up on a cake stand. Sprinkle a generous 3 tbsp rum over the cake. Spread half of the pineapple filling over the layer, leaving a small gap around the edge. Add the second layer, sprinkle with more rum and cover with the remaining pineapple filling. Top with the third layer and sprinkle with the remaining rum. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the coconut buttercream. Decorate with some thin shreds of coconut and slices of pineapple if wished. Makes one 9inch triple layer cake