Monday, December 21, 2009

Text

So it's like this. I am attempting to begin my holiday cooking and I have had butter sitting on my counter for 36 hours and it feels just as hard as it was when I took it out of the fridge. What the hell? My house feels like a friggin' refrigerator. It is so damn humid here in South Florida and has been for the past 2 days. We need the rain, (as everyone always says) but for Christmas? I have no central heating because, well, it simply isn't necessary here but come on, this bloody humidity is really cramping my cooking schedule! I have great plans but I am worried...to be continued.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Macadamia Nut Pie


This came out fantastic! I followed a standard pecan pie recipe but substituted macadamia nuts for pecans. I also used white sugar and clear corn syrup. It makes for a more light and buttery flavor and this only enhances the rich macadamia nuts. I will try with 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 dark syrup for the next pie, but trust me, this is fantastic! I also zigzagged dark and white chocolate over the top. It is so good that no one wanted to wait and I had to take a pic when it was already cut! I highly recommend this and will surely make it again. You can tell from the picture that the inside is very light and clear. The crust is a standard butter flakey crust. The secret to sturdy, flakey crust, is to freeze it thoroughly and then blind bake before you add your chess pie ingredients. Also brush it with egg yolk to seal it from the moisture and don't forget to use pie weights to hold it down. I just use some dry beans that I only use for baking. A one pound bag of beans will last forever and they are way cheaper than pie weights. Bake on!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Crusty Season

Well it's crust season. For me anyway. It is time for me to bake pies. I have started making crusts for the pies I will make this Thanksgiving. Pumpkin, apple, pecan and sweet potato are the flavors for this coming Thursday. After several experiments and a couple of crusty failures. I have finally achieved the perfect ratio of butter and shortening. The best crusts are made with 3/4 cups shortening and 1/4 cup butter. The butter has been on sale for the past 2 weeks and I have been buying it up for my crusts. But butter is NOT the ingredient to use on it's own in this heat and humidity. It is way too hot and humid here in South Florida to make a crust out of butter. The shortening needs to be there because it will hold up and create a light and flakey crust. My sources say that the best is lard but I just haven't used it this holiday. I will try to post a picture of my apple pie later! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blueberry Pie




This summer was great for blueberries. There were sales all over the place. So I purchased a lot and froze them. I forgot all about them (of course) so in my quest for a lost veggie burger for lunch I came upon my lovely blueberries. I usually make a blueberry coffee cake but my friend has been hounding me for a pie. So I obliged. And here it is. I really need to work on my appearance. I decided to make a wide lattice for the top but my crust needs help. I am going to practice this weekend. But here is the finished product. The crust is made entirely of butter which is not always the best choice. But butter was on sale so there.

The other pie is a sandwich pie. It is a very rich and sweet (not too sweet) crust like a pate brisee. This is made only with butter the addition of an egg and some white wine (or vodka because the alcohol adds texture) and a more crumbly-butter-cookie-texture (only softer) and filled with slices of sweet ham, roast pork, cheese, pickles mayo, and mustard. Baked until golden and a really great lunch menu item. I think I will make some mini ones for the holidays. I have the whole and then sliced pic. Great stuff and what a crazy description of the crust but it's as accurate as I can get. You can contact for recipe.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Tragic End To A Cake

This is the tragic story of a red velvet cake. M is the baker and I am running the camera. This poor cake never made it to a table in once piece. This poor Frankenstein was destroyed by its mad doctor before it could make it to the table. It was consumed by others because it was believed that something like that should not be wasted. This "others" did not include me.
I would have eaten that fabby cream cheese icing. This is one of my earlier (first attempts) at film so I had not yet mastered the Ken Burns effect, in fact I hadn't even figured it out. But I was already experimenting with the soundtrack. So please enjoy Blue Velvet, some music from the FOTL commercials and I'll Be Seeing You.

Cheers!

video

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chocolat

Here they are the best chocolate, chocolate chip cookies in the world. I got the recipe from Food2 and they are quite outstanding. My technique is great, if I do say so myself and the weather must have been cooperating! I am working the camera, director, producer and cinematographer (except at the end, I only have 2 hands).
Please be patient and kind with any critiques. video
Please enjoy the music (Amas Veritas, Barcelona, and Battle Without Honor or Humanity) and my experimentation with new techniques such as the Ken Burns.
Cheerio!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The cookies definitely passed the "day old" test. They are like delicious fudge-y brownies encased in a tender-crisp shell. If you know what I mean. This recipe is a keeper. I am going to attempt to post one of my films now. I will try a shorter older one and then maybe the brownie-cookies being created since its about 7 mins. long. video The fabulous music playing throughout is, Fascination by Maya Barsony and Les Champs-Elysees by Champs-Elysees. Some French music for some french pastry cream. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chocolat


I knew I would bake this weekend. I just wasn't sure what I'd bake. It turned out to be, for today anyway, chocolate, chocolate chip cookies. Delicious brownie-like cookies loaded with heavy chocolate flavor. I have always wanted to find a recipe with that intense chocolate punch that did not use cocoa to do it. Most chocolate recipes use cocoa because they claim it imparts a more intense flavor. But I have never found that to be true. All those recipes came up short. So I finally found it. It is on the Food2 website. They are rich, delicious and VERY chocolate-y. The main ingredient is melted bittersweet chocolate into the dough with little flour and no white sugar. The butter is melted and that is basically it. They are not complicated or difficult. The only thing is that the dough (batter-like really) needs to be refrigerated for a couple of hours before baking. The result is a marvelously good cookie. I made a video out of this but I can never upload them. Here are some pics. Wowzers! As good as the delicious roast and mashed potatoes! Cheers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Photos



Hey! Putting up some photos that I like. No baking going on yet. I think I will hit the kitchen this weekend. Here is one of my favorite pics. My shot of the green bananas got shot down because the pic was too green! Well I say tough. I like green! I am still having trouble uploading my videos. I must admit but my films have been compared to those of Ed Wood. I take that as a compliment, so there. Cheers peeps I shall definitely return for this weekend. I just need to make it through this week.....(crying and sobbing). Yoga helps.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Botany




It is a hot day today. Went out to Fairchild Gardens and took some pictures with my class. Very nice because there are no crowds. We all met at 9:30 at the entrance and took the tram ride around the entire 83 acres. Then we were on our own to take our pics. There aren't too many flowers this time of year, even here in FL. But there are some great tropical fruits just hanging above ready for the pickin'. Yummy! There are bananas, papayas and some other stuff I can't remember. Also a cute little resident just hanging around and relaxing. But I think my favorite is the colorful eucalyptus tree. My photo teacher says green is boring but I love it. I think the leaves are interesting and dynamic and have beautiful patterns and textures. It's also my favorite color ;-). Became a member and will be returning when it is cooler!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

FEELING THE TURNING OF THE SEASON

What a day! Yes, it's hot but it is a nice day. It isn't as stifling as it has been in the last few days. There is definitely a change in the air and the afternoon light is soft and golden. Yahoo! I can't wait to get into some autumn cooking. I think today calls for pasta. It is versatile and easy to adapt to the seasons. There are lovely cool salads to make for the spring and summer and hot rich soups for winter. I think today with it's autumn (for South Florida anyway) cast it is definitely a pasta day. I am leaning towards a pink sauce? maybe...or just straight tomato. I am on the fence and will decide as I go. Maybe meatballs? or maybe I will just jump into some meatloaf? Let's see what happens in the kitchen. Just a couple of weeks ago I was going for some full Asian recipes that I associate with summer and spring. And here I am dreaming of apple pies, festivals ( I associate festivals with autumn), snake bites being attended to by famous men (I can't explain), Halloween (my favorite holiday) and rich pasta. AND THERE IS A FULL MOON! Whopeee! Can't wait to break out my camera this weekend. Dreaming of a better camera but I may invest in that in the future. Cheers!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Autumn is here and it is about 90 degrees with an overcast sky. Miami is quite lovely....in January. Ah well, it isn't exactly a great day to have a raging oven on for about 5 hours, but that is exactly what I did. First up, a lovely Nutella pound cake. I must say, this is absolutely delicious. A rich tender and very moist crumb with a lovely swirl of rich chocolatey hazelnut spread. Just go with your favorite pound cake recipe and after you prepare your pan pour about 1/3 of the batter in then half a jar of very smooth, pourable Nutella and then the next third of the bater and the other half of the 13 oz jar of Nutella and then the final third of the pound cake batter. You may need to nuke the Nutella for about 15 seconds or in my case I just let it sit near a window and well...in this heat, that was it. The result is a rich and delicious pound cake. If you really feel you must add something else I suppose a ganache topping isn't out of the question but..I wouldn't. This is going to go great with a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream.

My next endeavor is the slow braising of a lovely piece of pork. I let the pork slowly braise in the oven for about 3 and 1/2 hours in lemongrass, green onions, garlic, and 5 spice powder; then threw together a lovely glaze of rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, tamari sauce, ketchup and honey. It is sitting in the oven now and will be removed shortly and shredded to go in some buns. Delicious! A pan-asian fusion sandwich is what I am aiming for. I hope to post a picture if i get a chance.

Will be posting up some pictures soon of experimental photography. I am on a quest and am in the process of practicing with my Canon Powershot but hope to get another one if my picture taking improves. I am also dabbling in making my little films that are waaaaaaay better than my pictures. Wish me luck or you if you plan on seeing them!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Le Sandwich



Now this is the way to get your veggies! Sun dried tomato ciabatta filled with roasted eggplant, tomato, onion, garlic, zucchini, red peppers and yellow squash. Use any combination of vegetables you prefer, just slice your veggies to fit your bread, sprinkle with olive oil, herbs de provence, or your favorite combination, and your favorite vinegar. I used white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, herbs de provence with some extra thyme and fresh basil from my garden. Then roast in a 350 degree oven until they are suited to your taste. I personally roast them until caramelized and soft. You can do this the day before and keep them moist with some olive oil in the fridge.

Spread some of the olive oil from the veggies on your bread and put under the broiler until it suits you, I love it lightly toasted and brown. Layer on your veggies and sprinkle one side with goat cheese and the other side with a slice of your favorite cheese. I used muenster. Place under the broiler one more time to melt the cheese. Add some balsamic vinegar and fresh basil to some good quality mayo and spread to your liking, if at all, and you have a fantastic sandwich. You can also grill it if you have a pannini grill. I don't so I use my oven. I have had a great lunch and am looking forward to a real southern bbq dinner.

Ribs (bee and pork), sweet coleslaw and baked beans dinner. The ribs have a very spicy dry rub that consists of dark brown sugar, cumin, salt, pepper, pinch of cayenne, chili powder, paprika, coriander and vinegar. Make it a nice thick paste and rub your ribs. The desert for today is a thick and creamy rice pudding. Very simple! Just boil some short grain rice in water with a pinch of salt, a cinnamon stick and a lemon rind. When the rice is dry just add milk (any kind will do, non-fat, whole, 2%, half and half, cream....) and cook down until the mixture is amalgamated but do not overcook or upon cooling it will become a whole mass. I can't give you time, I just know when it's done. Then I like to add raisins and spoon them into bowls and cover them with powdered cinnamon. This is really good cold!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Great afternoon



Day started wonderful. Spotted some flours on a potted plant, Indian Hoya, that I have had for about two years and I finally saw the most beautiful flowers on it. They are perfect and have a strange waxy texture to them. As you can see from one of the pics I knocked down a bunch moving the pot to take the picture, but the other bunch looks like a beautiful pink parasol. Yipeeeee. Spent the afternoon shopping and catching up with a friend. Some good buys at mall and picked up some needed stuff at Ikea. Terrific Saturday.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Eating in the South




Here are some pics from the food we picked up on our southern trip. I am missing a bunch. I forgot to take pics at the chicken n' waffles place and the BBQ in North Carolina. But I will post what I've got and I yelped about them. The pics are the hamburgers from Flipz in Atlanta. A BBQ, blue cheese, and chorizo burger. The burger from my previous post is from the Vortex where the mouse fell on me! The double bypass burger or something like that. The mouse was very cute though!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Appalachia






I have returned. My journey started on Friday July 3rd. We left Miami and got to Gainesville for a quick overnight stop and proceeded to Atlanta on Saturday July 4th. Atlanta is a typical big city. Got to eat at Flip. Very good burgers with some great combinations. Blue cheese burger is always a winner! The Spanish chorizo burger is a little to thick for such a spicy rich sausage. Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles is a MUST! I never thought I'd enjoy the combination but WOW! The best waffles I have had in a long time. Soft and mildly crisp on the outside combined with perfectly cooked fried chicken. Not overly spiced but crisp and tender at the same time. I didn't have mustard for it which really sucked as I have heard that is the way to have them. Chicken and waffles with mustard on top. Some highlights are the World of Coke and the Atlanta Aquarium. The World of Coke is definitely the place to see. It's like a Coke-themed Disney World. There are wonderful exhibits with vintage coke posters, bottles, clothing, jewelry, and art work. My favorite were the life sized decorated Coke bottles lining the building. But the best part is that you get to drink EVERY SINGLE COKE PRODUCT ever!! Wahooooo! I thought I was going to explode! Diet Coke, Coke, Sprite, Fanta, Mellow Yellow and a bunch of other stuff they sell all over the world. The Asian drinks are super sweet. The European drinks are very Euro-trash tasting. The bitter lemon drink called Kinley from England tastes like a mixer for gin. But the worst had to be Beverly from Italy. Absolutely repulsive. EVERYONE who drank Beverly left with a bad taste in their mouths. That stuff is rank. The African beverages had a lot of ginger in them. Krest from Mozambique was super-powered ginger ale. Some of those African ones had strange fruit flavors that were unidentifiable. The Latin America drinks aren't that different except that the Nestea is flavored with Mango and Inca Cola from Peru is actually for sale here in Miami. I can't imagine why as I can't even think of one Peruvian here in Miami. The most eventful portion of the trip occurred in Atlanta. We went to the Vortex for lunch. This place has very delicious, outrageous burgers. After we sat down I ordered my double bypass burger. Two grilled cheese sandwiches are the "bread" for a 1/3 lb. burger covered with 3 more slices of cheese, 5 slices of bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles and 3 fried eggs! Yummmmmmmieeeeee. Well as you can imagine you need to wait a while to receive your lunch so as we waited we were just chatting. When I suddenly felt a cold "plop" on my chest. I immediately looked down and there he was. A lovely little mouse just sitting on my arm slightly stunned from his fall off of all the junk hanging from the ceiling. I let out a terrifying scream and whipped my arm out which sent the poor little fellow flying to the floor. One guy a few tables down screamed right after I screamed. He didn't even know why he was screaming. When the little mouse fell to the ground two girls sitting at another table started screaming and another table full of people started screaming. They didn't charge us for our Cokes.
The next leg of the tour led us to North Carolina. The people are wonderfully friendly, warm and inviting. What a pleasure! All these great people surrounded by beautiful, winding mountain roads, rich red soil and emerald green trees. We stayed in a moderately small town only a stones throw from all the great national parks. Grandfather Mountain, Linville Caverns, Linville Falls only to mention a few! Incredible hiking trails and a pleasant temperature for July. I am used to scorching sun and baking temps here in Miami. The BBQ in North Carolina was spicy and tangy. I really should have bought some of that sauce damn it! The hush puppies were not what I am used to but they are delicious.
The next stop was Savannah, GA. A lovely town. The historic district is filled with important American history. You can feel the ghosts in that town. Which reminds me. We went to a ghost walking tour at the Sorrel-Weed house. It's one of those the master-is-screwing -the-slave-and-the-lady-of-the-house-kills-herself-and-now-they-all-haunt-the-mansion thing. Anybody ever read King's Rose Red? Similar story. There is the house where the owner was the subject of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the Kehoe House is now an inn. The last stop was at Gainesville and then home. Great stuff. I haven't been on vacation in years and really needed this. I want to visit North Carolina again. Don't need to see Atlanta and Savannah is a good place to return.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies








Here they are. The best cookies ever.  Cooks Illustrated uses some subtle techniques to tweak the traditional ingredients that go into a chocolate chip cookie recipe.  For example: a large portion of the butter is melted first then removed from the saucepan into a bowl with the rest of the butter to be mixed into it.  Then you add 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk, vanilla and sugars.  This is mixed. And mixed. And mixed.  And then mixed some more until ALL of the sugar is COMPLETELY dissolved. Whisk it folks. Whisk it good with resting of about 2 mins between about 30 seconds of whisking. ALL sugar MUST be dissolved.  Add your dry and chips and you are ready to bake. Use about 3 tablespoons of dough and bake for about 8 to 12 mins. depending on your oven.  Set to 350 F.  Lovely chewy cookies every time. Even if they are over baked.  ENJOY!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Stuff

The weekend is almost here and I think it will be a pound cake recipe this time.  I actually have a lot to do this weekend but I hope to be able to squeeze in some baking. Now that I think about it I don't think there are enough hours in one day for everything I have planned. I will attempt the baking on Sunday but I promise nothing!  Cheers and luck!

Sunday, June 14, 2009




The red velvet cake was a bust.  They were supposed to be alternating layers of red velvet cake and chocolate cake with cherry filling, chocolate ganache and cream cheese icing.  This did not work because the fillings were so heavy it made the layers of cake collapse.  It finally became a sort of trifle.  Everything was piled into a trifle bowl. It didn't look bad but it was too sloppy for me.  The whole trifle thing reminded me of a pile of cake chunks, which is what trifle is but still. It wasn't appealing enough to consume. I have a film of it being put together and I will try to post it but for now here are some pics.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Red Velvet Cake Day

Today is the Red Velvet cake day. I filmed some video but I am having a lot of trouble posting it.  I will make another attempt to post the video later today.  The recipe is from some guy who was on tv on a showdown.  This cake is blood red and Marisela was concerned about the unbleached flour. I have faith in the addition of the entire bottle of red food coloring! Pretty scary but I do believe they are tasteless and odorless. 

BTW I am looking for a 1,2,3,4 golden cake. Anybody have any good recipes?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The final product.





This is it. The final product. The cake was assembled and delicious!

Cake




This is the cake portion of the Boston Cream Pie. The first one is obviously the pastry cream. 

Boston Cream Pie




Now I am going to try to post my June 7th Boston Cream Pie.  Here are my pictures again.

Third Time's the Charm

This is my third attempt at getting this blog started. First I lost my sticky buns then my Boston Cream Cake.  I will make this one stick and update my stuff all over again.  

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Finished Cake







The Boston Cream Pie is finished. The recipes are from Joy of Cooking. Marisela used their suggestion of the Gold Cake, Pastry Cream and Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze.  Their recommendations are Hot-Milk Sponge Cake, or 1-2-3-4 Yellow Cake or Gold Cake. After the layers were assembled some more pastry cream was spread around the cake to press some more cake crumbs around it.  Very pretty and I will twitter on the taste later!

La Creme






Here it is the creme patisserie in the process. Marisela is actually making a Boston Cream Pie. This recipe is from the Joy of Cooking. Not the most recent. I find the one before the current to be my favorite.  First the pics that I believe is the mis en place (is that how you spell it?)  The egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and flour. First whisk this stuff and then warm up some milk and beat it in. I added video because the mixture curdles and looks disastrously ruined until you keep whisking and it comes together like magic. It turned out quite well.