Friday, December 28, 2007

Orange curd and an overcooked cake

In an attempt to use up left over egg yolks I made a custard, or a curd to be exact, and then an orange curd to be even more exact. But this stuff is like jam on steroids (it is used in jam like situations) and I coulden't decide what to use it for...I closed my eyes and though really hard and settled on cake.
One of the worst things in this world is an over cooked cake. Who wants to overindulge in the empty calories of a dry cake? I was fooled by a pale crust and ...*gulp* over cooked my cake *sobs*. Never trust the color of the cake! Always test your cake with a toothpick or sharp knife (it should come out clean when cooked) or your finger by pressing lightly on the cake (it should spring back and not leave a dent when done) I suppose you could test by temperature as well, but these methods are better suited for cake.

Custards and custardy pies should be shaken to see if they ripple in the middle. If it is still liquid in the center then it needs more time, it should be firm when done (except where Carryover Cooking is accounted for).
Speaking of custards, a curd is a thick pudding-like type of custard that is made with eggs (or sometimes just egg yolks), butter, sugar, citrus juice, and citrus zest. Lemon curd is most common and is easier to find then the lime, or in my case, orange curd. Curds can be found in the jelly or spreads section of your grocery store. But I highly discourage you from buying it when you can so easily make your own. I used Alton Browns recipe (of course) found in his sequel book I'm Just Here For More Food.

Orange Curd
by Alton Brown
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice from 1 fresh squeezed orange (add water or additional OJ if short of a 1/3 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest, from the orange, do not forget this!
  • 1 stick butter

whisk eggs and sugar together for at least 4 minutes, combine juice and zest and then whisk in to egg/sugar mixture, over a double boiler whisk the mixture for 8-12 minutes, when thickened remove from heat and add butter a tablespoon at a time, and finally chill for 4 hours before serving. This keeps for 2 weeks in the fridge.

The cake was (or should I say 'would have been') excellent. Yogurt Cake is a staple in French households and is so easy to make, it compliments this orange curd (or lime or lemon curd for that matter) perfectly.

With the cake I wanted something to balance out the over sweetness, richness, and artery clogging goodness of the curd. Here you go!

G√Ęteau au Yaourt (Yogurt Cake) first pubished on Chocolate and Zucchini provided by
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • plain unsweetened yogurt
  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 TBSP light rum (goes even better with lime curd)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a round ten-inch cake pan. In a large mixing-bowl, gently combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, and flour. Add in the oil, baking powder, rum and vanilla and mix again. The batter may not quite absorb all the liquid, but that's okay -- don't overwork it. Pour the batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let stand for ten minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

    chocolate or chocolate-yogurt cake would also work great for the orange curd.

Here: I found a great lime curd cake which uses sour cream insted of yogurt. Some rum would be great with this too. :)

I also found a great recipe here; This recipe is unlike most curd cakes...curd cakes *laugh*...anyway, this recipe is unlike most curd cakes in that the curd is not layered between the cakes but incorperated into the batter.Yum.

Anyway once you know how to make one curd you've virtually made them all... so get going!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

Today has been a blast! I got many goodies for Christmas, I am so blessed to have such amazing parents and other fabulously new material items. I got...hmmm..a new kicks $&% in so many ways and it kicks my old camera out of the stratosphere. It has ten times better focus, picture quality, battery life, video, and other features. I also got shoes, clothes, money, gift cards, and two kitchen accessories; a new rice cooker and waffle iron!!! YES! I swear I have been dieing for a new rice cooker. I broke mine in a previous accident trying to make the rice cooker. Also I was a little surprised when I got the waffle iron, because I wasn't expecting it but I sure was happy when the waffles came out so much better than store bought brand waffles. I made a really large batch (at least 32 waffles) and froze half of it for toasting later. Riding my sweet potato wave (veiw last post for other sweet potato recipes) I made sweet potato waffles with orange zest and shredded carrot, to complete the beta carotene overdose.


Sweet Potato Waffles
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Good Eats
Potato, My Sweet

1 1/2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes 2 cups all purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 6 egg whites, at room temperature 1 cup milk 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1/4 cup butter, melted 1 tablespoon grated orange rind Vegetable spray, for waffle iron
Special equipment: steamer basket and waffle iron
Put cubed sweet potatoes in a steamer basket. Place the basket in a large pot of simmering water that is no closer than 2 inches from the bottom of steamer. Allow potatoes to steam for 20 minutes of until fork tender. Mash cooked potatoes and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In another bowl combine the sweet potatoes, milk, brown sugar, butter, and grated orange rind. Stir the sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture and thoroughly combine. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold egg whites into batter 1/3 at a time. The batter will be thick. Using a No. 20 disher (scoop), place 2 scoops of batter onto a preheated, oiled waffle iron, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry CHRISTmas!


This is a picture of my Christmas tree...Cool huh?

Do I have to say it? "Its about Christ and the spirit of giving!" There you go. Now on to the food. This years Christmas was (I shouldn't say was, as its still Christmas Eve...pathetic woman blogging on Christmas Eve) sort of like a wannabe Thanksgiving. We did Turkey instead of Ham and had all the works; stuffing, nasty cranberry jelly, mashed potatoes, and I was a little disappointed that I was once again pushed to the side while cooking dinner (I was very "ornery" about it and I made it very clear to my mother...sorry mom). I mean come on! First Thanksgiving then Christmas?? Oh well, my aunt and all of my other relatives are slowly realizing my cooking genius (kidding) so next year I will probably on top of everything.

My small addition to the Christmas menu was pleasantly appreciated though. I made "Alton Brown" Chipoltle sweet potatoes (they were really yams). I have found if you can get passed the heat, peppers have really amazing flavors. I'm an avid fan of peppers now and what better time for spicy foods then winter right? (Be expecting a pepper post soon!) Here is the recipe!

Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Good Eats
Potato, My Sweet

2 large sweet potatoes (I used yams), peeled and cubed 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 whole canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can of peppers 1/2 teaspoon salt
Put cubed potatoes into steamer basket and place steamer into a large pot of simmering water that is no closer than 2 inches from the bottom of basket. Allow to steam for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Add butter to potatoes and mash with potato masher. Add peppers, sauce, and salt and continue mashing to combine. Serve immediately.

(Just so you know orange peel or juice might also go well with sweet potato/yams)

Any way I can't believe its Christmas! I keep having to remind myself its here! I should probably go to bed.....*Squeal* Santeee Clause! Also I'm getting behind on my blog. My ideas are coming to fast to keep up with. Look forward to these themes for new posts!

  • Chowder (TV show)
  • Peppers (Spicy!)
  • Kraut (the sour kind "har har")
  • Sushi (I've got to do it sometime!)
  • More Bento
  • More XMAS!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Blues or..The Attempt to Reestablish My Diet

Christmas kills. It kills my thighs, it kill my arms, and worst of all it kills my middle. I have least 3 cookies today, plus cake, and 2 dinners. I am not happy. There is too much food that circulates during the holidays. The seasons are a great metaphor for how in the spring we are fresh and free and diet minded and slim and how we very much like to keep that for the summer. Then its all good in the fall...BUT WAIT! Thanksgiving creeps up behind you and literally stuffs you with stuffing. From then on its a snowball down hill right through Christmas. I haven't even finalized my Christmas dinner plans! I have got one week to grasp the reigns of my diet or I'm never going to keep new years resolutions. That's right people, it's time for some diet KNOWLEDGE!!!

We have all heard these tips before and it pretty much common knowledge but it bears repeating. (I'm not a dietitian just so you know, this is as I have said, common knowledge)

  1. Most people are judged of their weight around the middle. Problem areas for women are where "Christmas Kills" (see above) as in the thighs, arms, and belly. So if you want to look slim and trim go do some Pilate's and work those abs!
  2. The sad fact is working the target areas can only only do so much. The key is to get general exercise such as walking, running, swimming, and so on.
  3. Then there is eating right. This includes watching fats (see below) and portion control. There is nothing wrong with reading the nutrition facts (though I can't promise you that you won't look obsesed if you do it in public) it is good to see what the portion sizes are and so you can easily keep track of calories.
  4. Know how much you should be eating. I found a cute mathmatical equation for seeing how many calories you would need to comsume to maintain your weight. Just times your weight by 11. Its very simple just add or subtract calories by how much you exercise or how much weight you want to loose. For exsample if I weigh 130 pounds (I wish) I could eat 1430 calories to maintain that but depending on how much exercise (or how amazing my metabolism is)I get I could easily eat an average 1500-2000 calories a day.
  5. Know your fats. Good fats are unsaturated; Mono- and poly-. Bad are saturated and trans-. Good fats include oils in fish and nuts as well as conola and olive oils (most good fats are liquids). Bad would include the solid fats like butter.

The reason so many people are diet depressed during the holidays is because as I stated earlier there is so much food, and most of it is not that great for you. Also as the temperature drops people are less likey to exercise as they are hauled up in their houses. I encourage you to get a jump start on that New Years resolution by eating well and exercising.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

That Melting Feeling; The Sweet Stench of Defeat

Life sunk my battle ship in 2 ways exactly (I may change my mind). First my class lost Penny Wars (It was RIGGED!) and my ice cream failed...its not easy making ice cream. Lets start from the beginning. Meet my ice cream maker.
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Say hello to the people!...well...anyway its got a bowl with "liquid whatever" in it that hardens in the freezer so there is no need for salt to keep the ice cream cold. Very Handy. But the small size is prone to overflowing and the bowl never seems cold enough at the end of a 25 minute churning cycle. Alas it doesn't always produce amazing consistency but I did find my last to batches come out rather smooth.

I desided to go for White Chocolate Peppermint and German Chocolate. I ran into some obstacles though. I got over the first hump well enough, as this was the first time I used eggs in my ice cream. Blessed am I that my eggs didn't curdle. Both batches came together smoothly and they spent time in the fridge to chill.

First batch to hit the ice cream maker was the Peppermint. All went well and when put into the freezer results were a positive. All was not so dandy for the German Chocolate. It was a larger batch so it overflowed making a huge mess which is probably why it didn't freeze as well as the Peppermint (the outside of the tub froze first and was fine but the inner icecream was too icey).

after 2 days I got to scooping.

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This was messy as the first try was not cold and the ice cream melted quick but I remembered to put the second tray in the freezer so as you can see my second batch was fine. The most difficult part was the mochi. It be really handy if I could stop time because then the ice cream wouldn't melt as I tryed and failed to get it into the sticky mochi. I ended up with mochi and a lot of ice cream that was supposed to be pretty and in my classmates bellies. Oh well.

Bento Mission Complete!

Boy was I decieved by the big Asian food store downtown! I was convinced I coulden't get a cute bento box for AT LEAST less than 10 bucks. I have been proven wrong multiple times now. Twice at the HT market and once at Daiso (the Japanese dollar store).

My first real bento (I'm prone to having faux japanese experiences) was from the HT Mart, a pink three tierd beauty that has been mentioned before (I think) in a previous post. It only cost me 8 dollars but isn't used too often's huge so its good for days when you are going to share with your friends. I've used it also for when I was doing a cooking project for class and I needed a cute container ( it held little mini spanakopitas [Greek]). Its not fancy but definatly gets noticed because of its size. Its sort of annoying to assemble though.

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My second bento box was from Daiso and it cost me 4 dollars. I really like that it has latches on its sides as many bentos fall apart REALLY easy and have no way to stay closed, this of course equals an easy mess. Some have a funky elastic band you can put around them but I LUVE the latches.

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I really loved this bento! It was just onigiri with furikage, pickled daikon, and some granny smith apples with caraway seeds. This bento is two layered but the top layer is just a little compartment for chopsticks which it came with (yay!) but I didn't need to use for this lunch.

My third bento is new and unused so I have no nummy picture for you but I do have this one...Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This is possibly the cutest bento box ever! Its a bowel shape for soups/currys/whatever and comes with an adorable little spoon! It covered head to tow with angelic and bunny inspired cuteness! This was $3.50.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Penny Wars and an Ice cream Party

So my school is doing a fund raiser called penny wars where each class puts in penny's and the winner is the one who has the most...or the least negative, for you see that if one class is too far ahead you can put in silver coins that subtract how ever many penny's the coin is I thought my classmates wouldn't care and wouldn't waste their money on this but wow, was the game successful. The coins were just counted today so we don't have a definite winner, but the winning class was promised an ice cream party as so I told my classmates if we lost I would make them all ice cream that's a way to waste money!

Anyway I have been brainstorming and I thought to myself what would be a clean way to go about it??? Then it hit me, Ice cream Daifuku (I've also heard it called ice cream mochi so I'm not sure which one is right)! In other words I would serve the ice cream in perfectly shaped little balls surrounded in a carb fest of mochi (rice cake mixture of glutinous rice flour, sugar, and water). Daifuku is usually mochi filled with an (red bean paste) but I have had really great ice cream daifuku from the HT mart and it's also really trendy at sushi restaurants like Blue C sushi ( a conveyor belt sushi shop in Seattle).

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I asked what flavors I should make and I got a really positive responce about Peppermint (it is the season!). I'm thinking about doing a poll or just posting up ideas on the bullitan board and seeing what my class thinks.

Some Ideas;

  • Banana and walnut
  • Peppermint (festively colored of course) or eggnog
  • Mango cardamom cheesecake
  • Rose or lavender
  • Pineapple coconut
  • German chocolate (with pecans and coconut)
  • Black sesame (traditional for ice cream daifuku)
  • Black walnut (I have lots of walnuts)
  • Pear and pecan (Hagan Dazs makes the most best greatest awsomest pear ice cream)