Tag Archives: overnight

Reaching for the ‘clouds’ for the New Year!

Well hello to everyone… yes I realize it has been quite a while since my last posting, but there were many obstacles that prevented me from having the time to focus. Hopefully this will be a new blogging beginning for the New Year!
With 2015 finally upon us and an annual Holiday get-together with our friends approaching tonight, I felt this would be the best time to kickstart everything into motion.
Starting with ‘what can I bring’ to our amazing hostess, the words ‘how about dessert’ was music to my ears! After thinking about something out of the norm, I settled on a triple layered hazelnut mocha pavlova, with a hazelnut liquor cream filling…
It all started yesterday by roasting hazelnuts [the amount is your choice, but I went with six ounces] in the oven and also melting milk and dark chocolates [another six ounces] over simmering water. Both were set aside to cool…
While the nuts and melted chocolates cooled, six egg whites were whipped with a pinch of kosher salt until soft peaks formed, from there the sugar began to slowly get added until the whites became glossy and stiff. Once stiff peaks were evident, vanilla and almond extracts were added and the mixer then turned off. The chopped hazelnuts and a cup of chocolate chips were gently folded into the shiny pillowy mixture, as well as the cooled, melted chocolate to create a lovely marbled wonder.
Poured onto three parchment drawn discs and spread out, it was then into the 225*F oven for two and a half hours. Once cooked, the door was opened and the pavlova’s left to cool completely.
For the whipped filling, I beat cream and some hazelnut liquor until firm. This boozy filling was spread on each layer and stacked. The pavlova tier was popped into the refrigerator to ‘set-up’ overnight and then this edible beauty was dressed with some shaved dark chocolate on top before packing up and heading to the party!
The end result… crisp exterior with a slightly chewy center and a creamy delight to hold everything together… a total favorite!
What will I bake next???

-R

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crispy, juicy and HOT!!!

Sunday suppers seem to creep upon us quicker than ever, almost as quick as summer has passed by…
Tonight, an incredible classic dish needed to make an appearance on our table… classic fried chicken! This dish was a do-ahead however.
After breaking down the chicken into manageable pieces, they were brined overnight. Today they were dipped into a buttermilk concoction and then dusted in a flavorful, spicy flour mixture.
Cooked in a fragrant herb and garlic infused oil, these previously boring beauties turned into sultry goddesses.
Once golden and crisp [and of course cooked through], a tower of divine luxury was built on a plate then decorated and spritzed with wedges of lemon.
Each crunchy bite brought back memories of childhood when my mother would spend hours in the kitchen preparing the ultimate and perhaps most intoxicating fried chicken… she taught me well!

at a low simmer…
-R

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who you calling honey!!

So after an evening of rising away, this morning was the bake-off of my gorgeous lavender honey and toasted almond sourdough!
This is not a bread that you suddenly think… ‘I think I’ll whip up a loaf of sourdough bread’, since this is a plan-ahead idea! Actually at least a week since you have to prep up a starter for the sourdough. I have a starter that I made months ago slumbering away in the fridge, however that is made using wholemeal flour, while for this loaf, I made a new starter of white bread flour.
Once my newest starter was fragrant and active, it was time to get baking! The recipe I used was that of Paul Hollywood and like most of his recipes, this one did not disappoint!!
It started with strong bread flour mixed with my starter and salt, along with some tepid water to bring everything all together. Once combined, a good kneading was necessary to activate this bad boy and give it that rise it so desperately needs. After its first rise [five hours], the dough is formed out into a square, spread with lavender honey [see my earlier post on this] and scattered with toasted sliced almonds. The square dough is rolled into a cylindrical form and rolled into a ‘crust’ of more toasted sliced almonds… After the loaves are covered with the almonds, they are off to rest for an additional nine hours [this was the overnight part] to rise again!
Once morning arrived, it was off to bake in a 375 degree oven for thirty-five minutes until golden and when tapped… hollow!
A slight cool down, a beautiful tear and it was time to devour with a luxurious cup of lady grey tea…

**if you are interested in the recipe, you can find it in the Paul Hollywood cookbook, ‘How to Bake’. I highly recommend the book**

at a low simmer…
-R

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Sunday bake-off!!

So this Sunday turned into a baking marathon! Two fresh loaves of bread were being created; one sourdough loaf made using a sourdough culture that I started a little over a week ago [thanks to the constant guidance of a very close friend in the UK], a white loaf of bread that is rising as this post is typed and a rhubarb grunt which just came out of the oven…
The sourdough loaf will not be baked until tomorrow as it requires an overnight resting/rising period, but already is looking amazing! As for the white loaf, it requires a slow rise and then an additional rise before being baked. The ‘grunt’ takes practically no time to prep and a little over forty-minutes to bake-off! Full of wonderfully tart rhubarb, it’s just what we needed to end this amazing weekend…
What will be conjured up next!

at a low simmer…
-R

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this little piggy went right into my belly…

Realizing it has been such a long time since I’ve enjoyed that fatty, porky goodness of pork belly, a trip to the market and an overnight bath in a fragrant marinade yielded one hell of a dinner!
I seasoned up this beautiful slab with hefty handfuls of salt. While letting the salt permeate into the belly, I prepped a marinade full of healthy veggies and yummy seasonings… and of course wine was invited to this party!
Once the marinade was ready it was poured into a baking dish. The belly was then cozily tucked into the baking dish and surrounded by its luxurious bathing liquid… After a long nights sleep, it was time for a five hour bath until completely tender and a quick tan under the broiler to darken and crisp that fatty skin!
To enjoy this meal, the belly was nestled on a bed of nutty farro that I cooked with sautéed onions and garlic in some chicken stock until fully absorbed… the farro was swirled together with some chopped parsley to finish the story…
Fatty, crisp, sweet, sour, nutty and tender… I can go on and on!

at a low simmer…
-R

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The waiting game…

So even though the kitchen is closed tonight, there is no way that some kind of magic couldn’t happen! I decided to prepare one of my all time favorite desserts… tiramisu. Super simple, super creamy and SUPER delicious. The only downside [not really a downside] is this a definite plan ahead dessert! You can’t make it after work and expect it to set the way it does overnight. This dessert recipe should come with a label stating… RESTRAINT required!
The ingredients: eggs [I only use extra large], sugar, mascarpone, a good strong pot of espresso mixed with some boozy stuff [I play around and bounce back and forth with different liquors], lady fingers [not the wimpy little ones you get in the bakery section, but the hearty kind] and this time I incorporated mini chocolate chips [got this idea from a recipe on saw on food network].
So I started by whisking the eggs and sugar till combined, then onto a double boiler to gently cook the egg mixture till light and fluffy! Once cooked through, the egg mixture is whipped till very creamy and thick using a standing mixer, mascarpone and chocolate chips get added and whisked in till just blended. Into the refrigerator to chill for an hour or so, then the fun begins! I take the lady fingers and start to dunk them into the espresso mixture [I recommend letting it cool so you don’t burn yourself] and start to layer them into a baking dish. Once all layered, a healthy addition of the egg mixture [cream] is spread across the top, then another layer of dunked lady fingers, another layer of the ‘cream’ and the one last layer of lady fingers and final layer of ‘cream’! Lightly covered with plastic wrap and into the fridge to take a nap and get all snug.
Now the waiting begins and the anticipation for dessert culminates… Ok ok maybe, just maybe I licked the bowl of the ‘cream’ clean… [of course that was just to make sure everything was going in the right tasty direction].
Stay tuned for pics tomorrow night after the tiramisu gets its shaving of dark chocolate and gets plated!

at a low simmer…
-R

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