Month: November 2009

Yolks & Whites

Posted on

I hate recipes that call for extra egg yolks or whites & usually avoid them.  I never know what to do with them and would hate to waste them.  I guess you could make egg white omelet/scramble but I don’t know how yolk omelet would be like. 

I was stuck with this dilemma when I was requested (more like given the ingredients) to make some Tiramisu, leaving me with 6 egg whites.  I’ve been meaning to make some Angel Food Cake and searched for a recipe that called for 6 whites.  Just before giving up, I found a 6-egg-white-angel-f00d-cake-recipe.

Tiramisu is a popular Italian Cake that requires the use of lady fingers, a light and sweet génoise cake that is roughly shaped as a finger. A génoise is cake that doesn’t use any leaving agents (baking soda/powder) to help the cake rise, but rely on the air that is incorporated when whipping the eggs in the mixture.   They are seen in many French desserts and often in trifles, charlottes, and of course, tiramisu, soaked in a liqueur, sugar syrup, or coffee. 

Lady Fingers originate in the 15th century at the Duchy Savoy to mark the visit of the King of France.  They were then labeled as the official court biscuit and given to visitors to the land to represent the local cuisine. 

Later on, they became a common Passover over staple for Orthodox Jews who don’t use any leaving agents during Passover. 

Tiramisu

6 egg yolks

1 c white sugar

10 oz marscapone, room temperature 

1/2 c whipping cream

2 tbs powdered sugar

2 tsp instant coffee

1/3 c hot water

2 packages of lady fingers

coco, optional for dusting garnish

Combine the yolks and the white sugar by whipping for a minute.  Place over a double-boiler and heat for 8-10 min, constantly stirring.  Take off heat and let it come to room temperature.  While the mixture is cooling, whip the whipping cream with powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. 

Mix together the egg mixture and marscapone.  Fold in the whipped cream and set aside.  Combine the hot water and instant coffee in a small bowl and set aside.  In a 3 qt deep dish, layer the lady finger halves on the bottom and sides of the dish using one package.  Brush over the coffee mixture over the lady fingers, using about half.  Carefully, pour over half of the egg/marscapone mixture.  Layer the next package of lady fingers, brush with coffee, and pour rest of egg/marscapone mixture.  Dust over with cocoa and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before serving. 

 

Angel Food cake is a very light cake that is commonly eaten with strawberries and whipped cream.  Another rendition of the cake that is commonly seen is chocolate angel food cake.  Beware of this cake, you might finish it in one day due to its light-air like texture and contains no fat!

Angel Food Cake (from here)

6 egg whites or 3/4 c

1/2 c + 2 tbs powdered sugar

1/2 c AP flour

3/4 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 tsp vanilla extracts

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 c white sugar

Take out the egg whites out of the fridge and leave out till they reach room temperature.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Meanwhile, sift the AP flour and powdered sugar together three times (yes, all 3 times, this helps incorporate air into the mixture and helps to make a lighter cake).  In a separate bowl, combine egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt.  Whip until foamy.  Once it gets foamy, add in the white sugar and whip till stiff peaks.  Fold in the flour in 4ths into the egg whites until incorporated.  Gently spoon into a tube or bunt cake pan, do not grease.  Place in oven and bake for about 25 min, until the cake springs back when you touch it.  Invert the pan on something stable to balance the pan and let it cool for an hour inverted (No your cake shouldn’t fall out, this is so when the cake cools, it doesn’t cave in).  Cut with a serrated knife for a clean-cut.

Edward’s Orchard

Posted on Updated on

PB070410

Fresh food is the best, and you can’t get any “fresher” than picking it right off the stems.  I love going to orchards to pick fruits, walking down the isles of trees, plucking off produce to fill my basket while snacking on the fruits, with juices running down my hands.  It always motivates me start my own little garden but I haven’t gotten there yet. 

I had the pleasure of going down to Edward’s Orchard in Poplar Grove this weekend to go apple picking.  This place is well-known in the region and many families visit each fall as a family tradition. 

When we got there, we were taken to the orchards on a tractor that dropped us off in front of the Fuji apples with baskets lined up at each lane of trees.  We strolled through the trees, picking apples and enjoying them at the same time.  I finished off two easily, they were so sweet and crisp. 

PB070371

PB070382

When we were done with the fuji, the tractor took us down to the Granny Smith where I picked just enough to make my apple pie.  When we were all done with picking, the basket was weighed and we payed about $1.49/lb. 

PB070377

PB070398

We made our way up the hill after dropping the apples off in the car, where we passed the petting zoo, pony ride, and a liberty bell and up to the shop.  The shop contained jams, fresh fudge, candies, caramels, fresh pressed cider, and fresh apple donuts.  After picking up a few items, we headed down to the restaurant to enjoy the donuts with some hot spiced cider. 

PB070425
Hot Cider

And the cider, beats all apple juices.  Cider is like drinking apples without all the chewing.  To read more about the difference between apple juice and apple cider visit this link->http://www.allaboutapples.com/cider/

Lazy Weekend Breakfast

Posted on

Can you think of a dish that can be used as breakfast, lunch or dinner, and be either sweet or savory?  It sounds too good to be true but it’s none other than crêpes. 

Crêpes are a very thin pancake that originate in Brittany, a region in France, where they are traditionally served with cider.  They are considered as a national dish and are very prominent in their culture.  They are served on Candlemas, which was originally Virgin Mary’s Blessing Days but then came to be known as ‘avec Crêpe Day, symbolizing the tradition of offering crêpes.  It is thought that if you catch a crêpe in the frying pan after flipping it in the air with your left hand, while your right hand has a gold coin, then you will be rich the following year. 

If you ever get a chance to stroll down the streets of France, you will most likely run into a crêperie, a stand that sells crêpes right on the streets. 

Crêpes’ cousin can be seen in different cultures such as the Spanish tortilla, African injera, Indian dosa, the Mexican sope or the Norwegian pannekake. 

Crêpes (by Beth Hensperger)

3 eggs
1 cup milk
⅓ cup water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Mix all the ingredients together by slowly adding the dry to the liquid and making sure there are no lumps.  Let the batter sit for an hour or overnight.  This allows the starches to mix properly. 

In a frying pan/skillet, spray with cooking spray and put on medium heat.  Depending upon how big your pan is, you want to pour just enough batter in to coat the pan.  I used about 1/4 cup and swirled the batter around so the bottom of the pan was covered in batter.  Cook the first side for 1-2 min and flip to cook the other side for 30 sec.  Place in a plate and put a paper towel on top to keep it warm.  You can stalk them on top of each other as they come out, they won’t stick. 

PB070362

After making all the crêpes, you can fill them with whatever fillings your heart desires.  It can be savory or sweet.  Simply lay the crêpe flat on your plate, lay the filling in the middle and bring the sides to the middle. 

For breakfast this past weekend, I had a few fillings:

-Scrambeled eggs that had onions, cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper, paprika, and sharp cheddar. 

-Sliced and peeled apples sautéed in butter and cinnamon. 

-Equal parts of sour cream and cream cheese mixed with strawberry preserves.  Then layered on some fresh strawberries and banana.  Topped with local syrup. 

Be creative with the fillings, you can do just about anything.  You can easily use whatever you’ve got sitting in the fridge.  I know many people enjoy it with Nutella. 

An Old Time Tradition

Posted on Updated on

PA310318

I’m typically a health conscious person but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy my sweets.  Give me a chocolate-chip cookie and I’ll be your best friend.  I do, though, alter my recipes so they aren’t as caloric as they should be.  And the best part is, no one knows the difference except for me (insert evil smile).  But some things just cannot be altered, like pie crust that needs all that butter to make a nice fluffy crust.  

Just like pie crust, my childhood favorite sweet, Ande ki Mithai, cannot be altered.  You might have a heart attack by just reading how bad it is for you, and for the people who know me, shocked that I would even make something like this.   The thing is, I love foods that bring me back to my childhood.  It brings me back to the days where the only responsibility you had was to go out and play.  

I remember my grandmother standing over the stove endlessly making Ande ki Mithai, mixing and mixing.  There would be a box of it on top of the fridge so that the kids wouldn’t eat it all up in a day. 

Ande ki Mithai, which roughly translates to Egg Sweets, is a Pakistani/Indian sweet that is made from eggs, sugar, and clarified butter, ghee.  It was a traditional dessert served at weddings back-in-the-day.   There are several different types of mithai/sweets which has God knows how much butter and sugar but this mithai will give you a rough estimate.  It doesn’t taste like eggs, so egg-haters give it a chance. 

Ande ki Mithai (from my Grandmother)

 1 tsp ground cardamom

 a pinch of saffron

 equal ratios of egg, sugar, and butter

 crushed pistachios for garnish

Last night I made this out of 2 dozen eggs, but I’ve made it with 1 dozen before.  2 dozen eggs came out to 5 2/3 cups, so 5 2/3 cups of sugar and 5 2/3 cups of clarified butter went in (you can substitute some clarified butter, about a cup with shortening so it isn’t as heavy).Place all ingredients in a large pot and put it on medium heat on the stove. 

Continuously stir the mixture around.  The key to this is to never stop stirring.  This process takes a long time, about an hour and half with 1 dozen and 2-2.5 hrs with 2 dozen eggs.  Have a few people around you to take turns stirring.  If you stop stirring, the eggs will cook into a sweet scrambled eggs and your efforts will be wasted. 

PA310329
Slightly Curdled Stage

After some time, it will go from a liquid mixture to a slightly curdled-looking mixture.  Near the end, the mixture will be come a crumbly mixture.  At this time, take it off the heat and put into a glass dish.  Garnish with the pistachios and press them in so they stick.  After 5-10 min, take a large sharp knife and cut the mithai into squares.  Let it cool from few hours or overnight before eating so the mithai can come together and stay in squares, instead of crumbling all over the place. 

PA310337

I think I’m not allowed to make this again for at least another year, probably until everyone forgets how long this took. 

 On another note, I found this interesting article, The Carnivore’s Dilemma which talks about the different ways meat, dairy, and soy production affect the environment.   

 

 

PB010338
Afternoon Snack: Ambrosia apples (left) Jazz apples (right) peanut butter & raisins