Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Cream

Our snow is already melting, so it is a good thing I followed through on making snow cream last night. It was light, crunchy and sweet with lots of vanilla flavor. Eating snow cream is like eating a snow cone with superfine ice. Yum.

Snow Cream
5ish cups of clean Snow
1.5 Tsp Vanilla
5 Tbsp Skim Milk
3 Tbsp Sugar

Collect the snow in a large bowl. Drizzle the other components over the top and mix everything together. Taste and add more of anything you'd like to add. Then eat it, quickly before it melts!
All the ingredients lined up in a row.
What I decided the texture of finished snow cream should be.

Mom's improvised cobbler a la mode

Sunday, December 26, 2010

December 2010 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Christmas Stollen

Merry (Belated) Christmas! It is a peaceful snowy day here in Virginia and I am taking advantage of it to organize, read, watch movies and maybe venture over to see the Osipenko household. Usually I would bake too but I'm content snacking on the leftover Stollen from Christmas Eve. At least until I make snow cream this evening; my bowl has been collecting flakes since last night for that delicacy. :)

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration. You can find all the details and the recipe here.

When Mom heard about the challenge she enthusiastically started reminiscing about her great-grandmother making it on rainy days during her childhood. I was less excited as Stollen's comparison to fruitcake concerned me, but I followed the provided recipe using homemade candied orange peel, dates and cranberries for the fruit and substituting orange for all the lemon. Also! I skipped the rum as we have underage family members. I have to tell you the end result was a pleasant surprise. It looked and tasted great - very moist and tender with a fruity flavor.

This recipe is worth the time and numerous dirty dishes! I will be making it again in loaves. Thank you for a great challenge, Penny.

 The yeast was out of control! I had to get a bowl for the overflow. 

 I love candied citrus peel, so it was shame to have this all go into the bread. Candied 
grapefruit and lime peel and ginger will be next and they will be eaten on their own.

 This was 24" x 17" i.e. HUGE.

Clearly, I am delighted to be cutting the finished product.

You can see the swirled layers and yet it doesn't fall apart when you eat it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

December 2010 Daring Cooks' Challenge: Poached Eggs

I completed the Daring Cooks' challenge on time, but my heart wasn't in creating a post. Clearly. Since  deciding to draw my time in NYC to a close by January 1 and finding myself in control of seemingly nothing, I have been racing around trying to see people, taste things and get myself together for the transition. But I am alive and once I'm settled back in Virginia I suspect I'll get back to eating in my usual manner, exercising and dabbling with this again. In the meantime, happy holidays!

Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num. A PDF with all their info and the recipes can be found here.

I opted to focus on the required egg poaching and assemble a simple, healthy meal of roasted Kabocha squash, almost caramelized leeks and a poached egg. It was a nice, savory mix with the yolk to sauce things up. My egg poaching certainly has improved since the debacle where the whole thing turned into foam but it still needs refining. My first eggs spun out of control as I had brought this too far past room temperature but the later one (pictured) was a pretty solid (and tasty) attempt.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Black Bean Salad with Fuyu Persimmon, Avocado, and Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette

If you can find persimmons you have to make Kayln of Kayln's Kitchen's Black Bean Salad with Fuyu Persimmon, Avocado, and Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette. My Mom's in love with it and I'm rather fond of it too. It is sweet and smooth yet it has a nice bite from the green onions, lime and salt. I followed her recipe exactly, but next time will decrease the oil as the result was a bit slick for my palate.

I wish I had remembered it earlier this year as I'm not sure persimmon's will be readily available at this point and I would love to eat the salad again before next year. We had a it a few times last Fall and tried to make it with mango, which was not quite as good, so if I can't find them I will have to wait.

FYI, Fuyu persimmons can be peeled and eaten while firm or soft...either way they are sweet. You'll want to use firm Fuyu's not Hachiya persimmons as they aren't tasty until they feel like jelly and therefore wouldn't hold up in this salad once ripe.