Monday, April 30, 2012

Baking with Julia: Hungarian Shortbread

Was this a good recipe? Well, it called for a pound of butter, so let's just say the odds were stacked in it's favor. ;) After all, something this pretty wouldn't be possible without butter:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Ah Ha! Moment: Turning failure into ice cream

So I couldn't bring myself to throw out the failed chocolate mousse mentioned in my last post, but the only way I could serve it as is would be with a straw. So... what to do? Hmm, what about ice cream? It had cream, chocolate and sugar in it already... as well as a little bit of brandy ;) Eh, it was worth a try... it's not like I could ruin it more :P

So I tried this method to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. I threw the failed mousse in a medium freezer bag and chucked that into a large freezer bag filled with ice cubes and salt, closed everything tightly and wrapped it in a towel and agitated it gently for about 10 minutes. The end result? Some seriously tasty chocolate soft serve ice cream! It was so good, B finished it off in one sitting, and I didn't manage to grab a picture of it ;)

If you want to try making your own ice cream, a few tips:

  • While certainly not required, adding a bit of alcohol will help keep your ice cream soft and smooth. You can use something flavorless like vodka purely for it's ability to keep the ice cream scoopable, or you can use it as a flavoring, like Irish cream or a fruit liqueur. You can also rely on vanilla extract, which is usually alcohol-based. 
  • You can also make ice cream that is lactose-free by using lactose-free cream/milk or even soy milk. Things like the Vanilla Chai Tea protein shake from Bolthouse Farms can be turned into dairy-free ice cream right out of the bottle, as it contains sugar and flavoring already. I have not yet tried almond milk, but it's also worth a try. 
  • Experiment with flavors. Since this technique allows you to make a small batch, you can experiment without fear of being stuck with a gallon of licorice-tomato ice cream that turns out wasn't such a good idea after all. ;) So don't be afraid to play around... fresh fruit, candy, tea, jam, yogurt, cookies, chocolate, etc.
You can serve it directly out of the bag, or you can scoop it into an air-tight container and store in the freezer, which will allow it to firm up a bit more. And that's it! With summer around the corner, this is a great little trick to keep in your back pocket for cooling off on those warm summer evenings!

Monday, April 23, 2012

F is for: Failure!

Failure is the word for the week around here... tasty, tasty failure. I've made two different desserts that have been complete flops, which inevitably makes me grumpy. I hate wasting food.

The boyfriend and I don't have cable, so there aren't a lot of tv shows that we watch regularly. Recently we started watching Dexter on Netflix, and the episode where his co-worker is searching for the perfect key lime pie got me thinking. I have a bunch of limes in the fridge and nothing to make with them, why not key lime pie?! So I looked through my cookbooks and found... nothing. Not a single key lime pie recipe. Hrm. The closest I found was a recipe for Citrus Chiffon Pie in my mom's 1961 Betty Crocker cookbook, so figured I would give it a whirl... and here is what I got:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Baking with Julia: Lemon Loaf

Lots of lemon in this week's Baking with Julia recipe. Copious amounts of lemon, and you won't hear me complaining, not one bit! Well, ok, maybe a little bit. See, I grew up in California and in our backyard we had a lemon tree that practically dripped citrus... now that I'm in Montreal, I find it offensive difficult to have to pay a dollar or more a piece for the yellow little beasts. Sigh.

But! What can a girl do but cough up a few loonies in order to make this magnificent stuff:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pizza my heart...

Actually, that was the name of one of our favorite pizza places in college... ahh, memories. Anyway! In the wake of the unsatisfying Pizza Rustica, I wanted to post something good. And man, is this ever good. 

If you're like me, making pizza at home is always a little anti-climactic. You have grand aspirations of making the most fantastical pizza ever created by man, only to have it come out lack luster and rather disappointing. For me, it always boiled down to the crust... store bought ones didn't quite cut it, usually tasting like plastic and/or cardboard, and my homemade attempts weren't much better. 

That is, until I met this no-knead pizza dough recipe... 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Baking with Julia: Pizza Rustica

Man, is it that time again? Seems like these BwJ recipe due dates keep sneaking up on me! Well, this week we did Pizza Rustica and since I'd never made anything like it before, I pretty much stuck to the recipe, which is unusual for me :)