Sunday, November 27, 2011

My First Ever Daring Baker's Challenge!:Sans Rival Cake

Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog. This is my first time doing a challenge from the Daring Kitchen and it has been really fun!
The Sans Rival cake is a dacquoise with a custard-y frosting. It was really tasty! I made mine chocolate with cashews and my French Buttercream was vanilla. You're supposed to decorate the cake with crushed nuts, but my lovely father ate my remaining cashews, so I hope it's not a problem that I substituted some sprinkles (:

I decorated the edges with buttercream and made the design on the top using a warm fork.

You can really see the chunks of cashew inside the dacquoise layers.

The Bibingka were light, fluffy cupcake-like confections. They got a little green from the banana leaves and this gave the cakes a delicious, green-tea kind of flavor. Really yummy!
Jordan helping me butter the banana leaves with a pastry brush. Serious work!

Little ramekins.
Against a banana-leaf background. It got a little dark, so I took new pictures the next day.

You can see the green layer inside the ramekin, stained by the banana leaves.

Take two on the photoshoot, the next morning.


I had so much fun doing this challenge and look forward to many more!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Busy Day: Building,Breaking Dawn and Macarons!

Today, Jordan helped my dad fix an old chicken coop. He was so cute all bundled up! Amani helped too!


I took an AWESOME macaron class. We made creme de cassis macarons with blueberry buttercream, coconut macarons with rum creme, mint macarons with dark chocolate ganache and sesame macarons with white chocolate ganache!

I made sweet treats for my friends and we went and saw Breaking Dawn! I made lion and lamb gingerbread cookies, cherry thimble meringues,mini caramel bread puddings and Jacob's cinnamon brownies.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Vegetarian Stuffing from Scratch

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Thimble Gingerbread Spice Meringues

These little treats gave me a lot of trouble, it took me a few tries to get them right, but I learned a lot about meringues! Here's a great link for any questions you might have, even though this site seems to be intended for meringue pie topping.
I learned to add 1/4 cup of sugar per egg white, to add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and to bake the meringues for a long time at a low temperature to get them to dry out properly.

Thimble Gingerbread Spice Meringues
2 room-temperature egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A small ziploc bag

Preheat your oven to 200F.
Prepare two cookie sheets by buttering and covering with parchment. Any loose ends may fold over your meringues in the oven and damage them.  Thoroughly clean and dry your egg beaters, a spatula and a glass or metal bowl. Any fat or grease will break down your meringues.
Start whipping the whites in the bowl until foamy and bubbly. Sprinkle the cream of tartar and continue to blend until you have reached the soft peak stage. Start adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time. Add the spices with the last few tablespoons of sugar. Whip until you have stiff peaks.
Carefully scrape the meringue into the ziploc. Seal the bag and cut a small hole in the corner. Pipe small, thimble-sized meringues onto the parchment. You don't need to leave much space between them because they don't expand much, so you can really fit a lot on each sheet.

You can fit a lot of meringues on each pan!
Bake for at least one hour. You can check on them periodically, but don't jostle them. They are ready when they feel like they have a kind of firm skin on them. If you want to test them for doneness, you can pull one off of the pan and it should instantly cool and become crispy. The edges and tips may also be a light golden brown. Be careful not to burn them or take them out too early! Take them out and let them cool. They should cool quickly and it will become clear almost at once if they dried enough, because they will be crisp and hard. I realized from my failed batches that the smaller they are, the quicker they dry so these thimble-sized meringues should be an easy first experience with meringues. I know they were much easier for me!
Enjoy! <3

Happy Thanksgiving on Tiramipursuit!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
Here are some pictures from what I made yesterday and today. I worked all yesterday and today and then got to go to two family gatherings. Now we're all home and I'm watching Elf with my siblings and parents.
I wanted to share my pictures from today and I'll share the recipes over the next few days! I hope everyone had a chance to spend time with loved ones today!

Vegetarian stuffing from scratch! Turned out pretty good!

Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake with whipped cream.

Find the recipe for this Chocolate Truffle Cake here.
Gingerbread cake squares.

Thimble gingerbread spice meringues.

Little guys. They're so cute (:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pies

Today is my dad's birthday in addition to my sister's. Last year, I asked him what his favorite dessert was and he told me when he was a kid, he had these whoopie pies with crushed peppermint candies in them and that those were his favorite. I tried making them and experimented with different mints. I tried those soft, butter mints because I thought regular mints would be to crunchy, but he didn't like them as much. He said they're best with the crunchy kind. I also learned that when these mints sit on liquid, for example mixed with marshmallow whoopie pie filling, they tend to "melt" and become sticky. So, if you plan to add peppermints, which I highly recommend, don't stir them into the filling or roll the pies in them until right before serving them.

I love the contrast of the bright whites and red, I thought it was really stunning.

My mom and sister got me the cutest whoopie pie book last Christmas by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell called "Whoopie Pies: Dozens of Mix'em, Match'em, Eat'em Up Recipes". They have both sweet and savory recipes for the cakes and fillings that make it easy to mix and match flavors, not to mention great tips to have them come out perfectly every time. I'll add this fun little book to my books list for your convenience.
If you are a vegetarian, you are probably thinking "Marshmallows? Wait a second..." If you're not, you should know that marshmallows usually have gelatin in them and are therefore not vegetarian. However, much to my delight, marshmallow fluff does not contain gelatin, so you can enjoy these little sandwich cakes to you're heart's content.

Classic Whoopie Pies
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbs unsalted butter at room temperature
4 tbs vegetable shortening
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder,baking soda and salt. In a bowl (either with a mixer with the paddle attachment or with a hand-held mixer), beat together the butter, shortening and brown sugar on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
Add half the flour and half the milk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour and milk and beat until completely combined.
Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart (they really do spread and puff up). Bake one sheet at a time for ten minutes each, or until the pies spring back when pressed gently. Remove from oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
Makes about 48, 2" cakes.
1 1/2 cups Marshmallow Fluff
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
1 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
In the work bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat together the marshmallow fluff and the vegetable shortening, starting on low and increasing to medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, add the confectioner's sugar and the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about three minutes more.

To assemble: You can pipe the filling between the cakes if you want or spoon it on. This is the stage where I add the crushed peppermint candies. I also like to break a few mints more finely and roll the edges of the whoopie pies in it when they are filled. This makes them very sparkly and glamorous (:
Happy birthday, Dad! <3

Olivia's Giant Birthday Cookie

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why Vegetarian?

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Vanilla Cake Vegan Shake

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chinese Cooking, Photography and Thumbprint Cookies

I have been spending my Saturdays doing an all-day Chinese cooking class at the JC. It's been really fun, but we're all perpetually stuffed during this class (:
Today, we worked with stir-fry.

It has been raining like crazy this afternoon, it almost seemed like it was dark at 3 pm, it's been so overcast. I was a few streets down from my house when I noticed these lamp-posts shining on the wet streets. They were really pretty, but my lens kept getting wet. The affect was pretty cool, it was an interesting experiment!

Finally, I tried doing an indoor shoot when I got home. It was dark out, so I was using completely artificial light. Just trying new things and trying to improve!
These are shortbread thumbprint cookies that I've been making since forever, taught to me by grandmother. I'll post the recipe another time! <3

Stay cozy tonight! I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Risotto alla Milanese on a cool, fall day...

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Capellini Pomodoro with a Poached Egg

For some reason, I was craving capellini with a poached egg even though I have never eaten such a thing before. I googled it and apparently people put poached eggs on pasta all the time, so I didn't feel so weird. I also cooked up some chard from the garden. I did some 'scissor-cooking' tonight and chopped all the greens with kitchen scissors. So easy!
Max and I got Italian food last week and on top of the pasta was freshly chopped parsley. For some reason, it totally changed the dish and tasted fantastic! Olivia kindly picked some basil and I cut that up with some parsley from my aunt and uncle's garden. So delicious. And the egg really was just what I was craving (:
And Olivia found the camera! But I really haven't gotten the hang of indoor pictures yet, thanks for your patience with the funky photos.

Capellini Pomodoro with a Poached Egg
you will need:
capellini, cooked
your favorite tomato sauce
two eggs
chopped parsley
salt and pepper

I poach eggs in a pasta strainer, you know the ones with a handle? I think that's called a, it's called a spider! My mistake (: I set the spider into the boiling water and crack the egg into it. That way the egg doesn't get everywhere and when it's done, you just lift the egg out and tip it upside down onto a dish.
So, warm the sauce in a pan and add the cooked pasta. Stir to ensure an even coating of all the pasta.
Plate the pasta, then set the egg on top. Crack fresh pepper over the top and add a little salt over the eggs. Sprinkle with parsley et voila!
Bon Appetit

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dinner and the Camera Goes Missing!

I slaved over dinner tonight and made mushroom spiedini with piquant parsley sauce, stuffed tomatoes and Moroccan carrot salad. I was so excited to photograph it, but everyone was hungry and the camera has sadly gone missing somewhere in the house. So, apologies for the crummy photo quality from my phone and I'll get around to redoing the spiedini another day, because the family really liked them (: