Showing posts with label mousse and puddings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mousse and puddings. Show all posts

29 June 2014

It's Tasty, But It's Not Ice Cream

A coworker shared the bones of this recipe with me a few weeks ago when we were discussing our deep and abiding love of ice cream. She told me she makes this recipe often as a healthy ice cream substitute and it sounded interesting, but (after the first attempt) I felt a need to embellish with vanilla and sugar as it was just a little too mouth-puckering without. A drizzle of honey or agave would work just as well, if that's your thing.


The Husband suggests this would also be better made with regular yoghurt as "the Greek yoghurt flavor just gets in my mouth and sucks the raspberry flavor right out."

I made this for two, hence the small amounts, but as long as you use a 1:1 ratio of berries and yoghurt you can probably make any quantity you desire.
Instant Frozen Yoghurt
Serves 2

Ingredients
6 oz frozen unsweetened raspberries
6 oz fat-free Greek yoghurt
½ Tbsp Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
2 tsp sugar (optional but highly recommended)
Fresh berries, if desired
Fresh mint, if desired

Directions
Pop you food processor bowl and blade into the freezer for 20 minutes so everything is cold.

Pulse the berries, yoghurt, sugar (if using), and vanilla around in your food processor until it develops a smooth frozen yoghurt-ish texture and the color is an even shade of raspberry red.

Scrape out into two small dessert bowls. Garnish with fresh berries and mint, if desired. Serve.
While I agree this frozen yogurt concoction is quite yummy and refreshing, it doesn't make me want ice cream any less! If anything, I find myself craving Ben & Jerry's Greek Frozen Yogurt Raspberry Fudge Chunk!

21 December 2013

Fantastic Raspberry Mascarpone Mousse

This mousse was meant to be August's Improv Challenge recipe, but time got away from me and I ended up skipping that month. However, since I decided to play with vanilla beans for September's Eating the Alphabet Challenge, I thought I would finally give the mousse a go. It's based on a recipe for "Vanilla Mascarpone With Chocolate, Coconut and Berries" I found on the MailOnline (clearly, not a proponent of the Oxford comma), but I fear I undid any positive nutritional value the dish may have originally had!

Vanilla Mascarpone Mousse with Chocolate & Raspberries

This is, without a doubt, the very best raspberry mousse I've ever eaten and it comes together in a blink of the eye. Especially if, like me, you are the impatient sort and thaw your raspberries in the microwave. While mousse is creamy and rich, it is also very light and bright tasting. The kind of thing I could eat a lot of, before I really started thinking about the number of calories and grams of fat that went into it.

The Husband really enjoyed it, too -- he made a little moaning sound with each spoonful and when I asked if he liked it he said "Oh, yes! I could eat a lot of this! A big bowl of it and a spoon!"

I'm thinking about serving it at Christmas. Maybe using mint chocolate and with a garnish of mint leaves and raspberries?
Vanilla Mascarpone Mousse with Chocolate & Raspberries
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 oz frozen raspberries, thawed and drained
½ Tbsp sugar
1 tsp raspberry extract

8 oz mascarpone cheese
½ cup sugar
¾ cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
1 oz dark chocolate, grated
[Lake Champlain Chocolates 70% Madagascar Dark]

Directions
Combine the raspberries, sugar, and extract. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, beat the mascarpone, cream, and sugar with the vanilla scrapings until smooth. Change over to the whisk attachment and whisk until light and fluffy. Gently fold in the raspberries and chocolate.

Divide the mixture between four serving bowls. Decorate with more grated chocolate, if desired.

15 July 2012

Eating The Alphabet: K is for Kiwi / L is for Lemon

I dithered over July's recipe possibilities for too long and, suddenly, it was last weekend and I still hadn't made anything. Flipping through my newest cookbook acquisition, Weight Watchers One-Pot Cookbook (Wiley, 2012), I stumbled across the recipe for "Lush No-bake Lemon Cheesecakes" and thought that, when tarted up with kiwi, raspberries, and fresh whipped cream, I might have a winner on my hands.

I already had kiwi, raspberries, lemon, and unflavored gelatin at home so it just meant a quick trip to the market for ricotta. I ended up buying part-skim ricotta, not fat-free, as the fat-free ricotta had (imho) too much stuff in it to keep it resembling cheese. The part-skim was just milk, vinegar, and salt. Also, if you're not keen on lemon, I don't see why you couldn't use lime or orange zest.

Was my trip to the market worth it? I'd say yes. Didn't that cheesecake turn out so pretty?

No-Bake Cheesecake & Fruit

These cheesecakes were a lot of fun to make and helped me get over my fear of double boilers. I'm always afraid I'll mess up with double boilers -- the bowl will be too close to the boiling water and get too hot or too far away and not get hot enough, etc -- and ruin whatever I'm trying to make. I promised myself I'd just relax and do as well as I could. If I ruined it, I'd just start over. The glass of wine I drank while re-reading the recipe probably helped, because I was very relaxed when the milk-zest mixture exploded all over the microwave.

When a recipe says "microwave on High until it boils, about 1½-2 minutes," you want to check at 1 minute. Don't whack it in for 2 and walk away. Clumps of zest and splashes of milk all over the inside of the microwave!

So I started over again and it all went smoothly. Things turned pale and thickened at precisely the right times. The ricotta mixtures beat smoothly into the thickened, cooled custard. The gelatin set up in the fridge. After four hours of refrigeration, I had achieved deliciousness.

Would I make these again? Oh, yes. They're smooth and creamy with a light, almost flirty, lemoniness. The chopped kiwi and raspberries paired well with the cheesecakes and fresh whipped cream never goes amiss! The Husband, who can be picky about lemon and "healthy" desserts, really liked these and seems to be of the opinion I should make them every weekend this summer.




Weight Watchers One-Pot Cookbook has a number of other interesting dessert recipes, including one for "Warm Cherries with Goat Cheese & Thyme" which uses a little dark brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and fresh thyme to make a sauce for the fresh cherries! Maybe for next year's Alphabet Challenge?

21 January 2012

Indian Pudding in My Slow Cooker, Pilgrim-Style

Friday, the weather actually felt like proper January weather. There was snow on the ground and the wind had a bitter edge to it. It was the kind of day that called for a hot bowl of Indian (corn meal) pudding. I'd never made Indian pudding before, but I had molasses, corn meal, eggs, and the Internet. How hard could it be? Not hard at all!

I used the slow cooker recipe for "Indian-Meal Pudding" from Pilgrim Seasonings, a Plimoth Plantation blog, as it had lots of photos to follow along with. I like lots of photos if I'm making a dish I'm not really sure of. I want to be able to look at my pot and then the pot in the photo and see that we have arrived at the same results.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding
Gather all your ingredients!

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Bring corn (Indian) meal, milk, and salt to boil. 
 Cook, stirring, for 5 min. Cover and simmer for 10.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Remove from heat and whisk in butter.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Mix your molasses, eggs, and spices together. 
Whisk in a little cornmeal mixture to temper.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Add molasses mixture to cornmeal mixture.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Dump in hot, buttered, slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

Come back after 2 hours & check your pudding. 
Panic, because it looks burnt.

While my pudding only cooked for two hours on High, it looked overcooked. The recipe said "the finished pudding will be firm around the edges than the center" and my pudding looked uniformly firm with brown edges that had pulled away from the slow cooker insert. When I took the lid off my slow cooker at the two hour mark, I could hear the pudding sizzling. I freaked out a little bit, you know, and was quite certain I had burnt the pudding.

Happily, my pudding still tasted very good. Redolent of spices, the pudding was soft and custard-y with a strong molasses finish. I ate some of it warm with unsweetened fresh whipped cream and the leftovers were tasty reheated for breakfast with a splash of milk. I'd guess this pudding makes four generous servings or six more healthful ones.

Slow Cooker Indian Pudding

(I fed some to The Husband and he said, in very snooty British tones, that it wasn't the worst thing I'd ever fed him so ymmv, etc).

10 July 2011

We Ate It All Up, Yum

Saturday, after a day of butterfly hunting and feeling old at ConnectiCon (seriously, I saw a girl in what looked like a raspberry-colored micro bikini bottom and I thought "Where are her pants? Did her mother let her leave the house like that?" and knew I was old) we came home for a simple supper of garlicky grilled chicken and oven-roasted corn. Alas, I cannot show you any delicious pictures of supper because we ate it all up, yum, before I thought to take a picture. However, I can show you what remained:

Supper, Remnant

Yes, nothing remained.  As, I told you, we ate it all up. Yum. Oven roasting corn is my favorite (and only) way to do corn now as it's so easy and, I swear, less messy than shucking and steaming in a pot. I don't know why (maybe it's the moisture created by steaming the corn in its husk?) but it's much easier to shuck roasted corn than shuck raw corn. The silks just slide away. Anyway, it's dead easy to roast corn. Just put unshucked corn on a tray, roast in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes, allow to cool enough to handle, butter, salt, pepper, nom.

To finish off our yummy summer supper, we had more Eton(ish) Mess. Of course. Who didn't see that coming? Used strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries this time but it was still (obviously) just as easy and delicious. I suspect we will be eating a lot of Eton(ish) Mess this summer! Certainly, we will be eating it again tomorrow ... just so the leftover berries don't go off, you know. Berries don't keep.

Hmm. I wonder if I could do this with thawed frozen raspberries? Then we could have Eton(ish) Mess in the winter, too. Oh, dear heaven, year round Eton(ish) Mess!

Eton(ish) Mess, Ingredients

Eton(ish) Mess, The Second

That way lies madness? Delicious madness.

08 July 2011

Quickie Eton(ish) Mess

A few weeks ago, during the great unblogged strawberry palooza (it was delicious), I thought about making Eton Mess but first the universe was against me. Strawberries, but no cream or meringue. Strawberries and meringue, but no cream. Strawberries and cream, but no meringue. And then, inevitably, meringue and cream but no strawberries.

Happily, raspberries are in season here and Thursday I managed to assuage my craving with a raspberry Eton(ish) Mess. It was a "shortcuts all around" kind of Mess and it was all the more delicious for being so easy. If you're freaked out by the idea of eating whipped heavy cream (oh, delicious fat), you could substitute fat free Reddi-wip or Cool Whip, but I cannot then vouch for this Mess's deliciousness.

Quickie Eton-esque Mess
Eton(ish) Mess for 2 Greedy People

Ingredients
½ pint raspberries
½ pint blackberries
1 Tbsp sugar
6 vanilla meringue cookies
Whipped heavy cream, as desired (used The Husband's iSi Whip, but a stand or hand mixer works well)

Instructions
Wash and drain berries. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and let sit for about thirty minutes.

Make whipped cream.

Break meringues into small pieces and divide between two bowls. Add berries. Squirt with cream (be generous!) and give everything a gentle stir. Devour.

23 March 2009

A Mess of Deliciousness

The Husband, he desired Eton Mess for his birthday. And proper Eton Mess at that. No bananas, lime zest, or (gasp) pomegranate juice in this mess. No, indeed. Just good old-fashioned meringue cookies, macerated strawberries, and cream. Lots and lots of cream.

KAF Angel (Meringue) Kisses

This was not my first Eton Mess – I made one for his birthday back in 2007, too. This was after we’d come back from our last trip to England and I was still drunk on the Eton Mess his uncle had served us. Not that it was alcoholic, mind you, but it was certainly ambrosial.

That first time I made Eton Mess, I followed the recipe from Joyofbaking.com and it worked out pretty well with a little interpretation. My meringues took longer to set up than expected and I ended up letting them sit overnight in the oven -- as suggested in the recipe and I had lovely meringues the next morning. The disaster befell us later when, stuffed with Eton Mess, I forgot to store the extra meringues away ... when I preheated the oven that evening, I toasted my meringues!

Eton Mess Ingredients

The kitchen smelt like toasted marshmallows, but the meringues were ruined. Poor us, we had to resort to unadulterated strawberries and cream!

This time, I made my meringues following King Arthur Flour’s recipe for "Angel Kisses" and made my cream in The Husband’s iSi Dessert Whip. The strawberry mixture and basic assembly instructions are still pretty much straight from Joyofbaking.com, though:
    Meringues: The night before The Husband’s birthday, I made my "Angel Kisses" and let them sit in the oven overnight. In the morning, I had thirty-two perfect meringues. Light, crisp, airy ... perfect, I tell you. And, this time I remembered to take them out of the oven!
    Purée & Berries: I made strawberry purée by running ten ounces of thawed frozen organic strawberries and a few tablespoons of sugar through my food processor. I then let the purée strain through a sieve while I chopped a punnet of really beautiful fresh (Whole Foods) strawberries into bite-size pieces.
    Cream: I made sweetened whipped cream in The Husband’s iSi cream whipper using one pint of heavy organic cream and one tablespoon of sugar.
    Assembly: I splodged a bit of cream in the bottom of two big wine glasses and then folded in a few crumbled-up meringue cookies, a handful of chopped strawberries, and a drizzle of purée. You could, of course, make it in a big bowl if you were serving a crowd.
How was it? My Eton Mess looks like something the cat threw up, I know, but it was pure deliciousness in a cup. You must go make some -- it will make the world seem like a better place and those you share it with will think you a marvellous cook when all you did was bosh together some meringues, strawberries, and cream.

How many will this Mess serve? Twenty-seven meringues, two pounds of strawberries, one-and-a-half pints of cream, and all the strawberry purée made ten servings of Eton Mess. We had it twice on The Husband's birthday, once with my parents on Saturday, and once again on Sunday. There are five meringues, another punnet of strawberries, and much cream left -- enough for us both to have some tonight if The Husband doesn't have it for lunch!

25 May 2008

A Surfeit of Snackage

One of the library staff was talking about how she likes to carry little bags goldfish crackers when she goes out, because she doesn't usually like bar snacks that much. She said it made her feel quite juvenile, but they were delicious and went well with beer (experimentation on my part supports this). Then, Healthy Recipe Doctor did a Frugal Friday post on making your own snack bags and, well, I may be taking this cost-saving snackage-making enterprise a bit too far ...

Here's hoping this pile of deliciousness will keep me sufficiently in snackage that I ought not resort to the Evil Vending Machine which is stocked with deadly delicious unfoods such as Cheddar & Bacon Potato Skins and Pizza Combos.

  • Sugar-free black cherry Jell-o made with water and Knudsen Simply Nutritious Morning Blend and chunked tinned peaches.
  • Homemade low fat tapioca pudding with cinnamon.
  • Strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, and cantaloupe.
  • Generic animal crackers bought in bulk at the warehouse store.

16 May 2008

What's a Little Freezer Burn Between Friends?

When I made tapioca pudding last week, I made it following the recipe on the back of the box. Now, apparently, Kraft has redone the box design since I bought my box several years ago and the current box design features a different recipe on the back. Different and, I think, better. The old recipe went like this:
Beat one egg in a saucepan. Mix 1/3 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons minute tapioca, and 2 3/4 cups milk in with the beaten egg. Let set 5 minutes. Cook on medium, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Let set 20 minutes. Stir and serve or refrigerate.
The results? Reminiscent of vanilla pudding. The tapioca pearls provided no texture at all. That said, I do not know what the shelf life is for minute tapioca. I am pretty sure that the box I used was at least three years old.

The "new" recipe seems more promising (much like this recipe from Kraft). You seperate the egg and whip it until foamy -- which, I'm guessing, should give you a lighter, less pudding-ish tapioca. I don't know if the texture of tapioca pearls will more apparent in this recipe or not. I will have to try it one day. After1 we have moved as the pressure is on to jettison or consume as much as possible before the great migration.

The basement freezer is almost empty -- if we can eat some stuff in the upstairs freezer then I can condense it all down to one and we can finally freecycle the freezer.

In a bid to make room in the upstairs freezer, I finally got around to cooking the frozen pierogi we had bought from Salem Prime Cuts many months ago. The pierogi, which we bought in two flavors ("potato and cheese" & "sauerkraut and mushroom") where made by European Delight Delicatessen in Colchester and looked a lot more like my grandmother's pierogi than anything I'd seen at the mega mart.

I cooked them, frozen, in boiling water for about 5 minutes (when they bob to the top, they are ready to go). While they were cooking, I sauted some onion in butter and olive oil until the onion was translucent. Then I drained the pierogi and tossed them into the onion pan. Cooked them until they were golden brown on both sides and the onion had gone crispy (3-5 minutes per side). We ate them with fat free greek yoghurt.

The potato-cheese pierogi were definitely our favorites. The texture of the dough was exactly right and the potato-cheese filling was extremely reminiscent of my grandmother's pierogi. We would buy the potato-cheese ones again.

The sauerkraut-mushroom pierogi were, alas, a bit of a let down. We found no mushroom particles in the filling -- only sauerkraut mixed with mashed potato. The sauerkraut was also much tarter than anticipated. Whenever I've cooked with sauerkraut before, heating the kraut seems to reduce its tartness, but this sauerkraut was almost mouth puckeringly tart. I usually enjoy tart flavors, but this was extreme.

Tomorrow, I will make a stir fry using the pork loin, baby corn, and asparagus out of the upstairs freezer with some fresh carrots, mushrooms, onion, and red bell pepper. That should free up enough space to move what's downstairs up and then we can drag the basement freezer out the hatch and let it defrost all over the lawn.


1 There are many things I've promised to do after we move ... buy a yoghurt machine and PS3, finish a million and one different quilting projects, learn to make my own bread, &etc.

20 April 2008

A Tasty Mouthful of Apathy

Tomorrow begins my third week of overtime and, sad to say, cooking has dropped to the very bottom of my priority list. I have been eating a lot of convenience foods like canned low sodium soup, prepared sandwiches, and pasta/vegetable combinations which involve me nuking random pasta packet and random frozen vegetable medley1, mixing them together, and then portioning them out into bowls to take to work along with gelatin cups, pudding cups, and bags of Quaker Oatmeal Squares. This is not the way I want to be eating or living and (hopefully) will not have to much longer.

Heaven only knows what The Husband has been eating. Indeed, I’m quite sure the cats are the only ones getting regular nutritious meals.

They hate that.

I did make a pasta salad based on a recipe I found squirreled away in my Giant File of Random Pieces of Paper I Don't Know What to do With and Dare Not Throw Out for Fear They Are Important. It was not a great pasta salad, but neither was it a terrible one -- if it were possible for my mouth to shrug, it would certainly shrug at the taste-memory of this dish.
Sweet & Sour Ham Salad

6 oz uncooked orzo
16 oz frozen stir fry vegetables (the kind with baby corn, broccoli, peppers, etc)
1 cups cubed cooked ham
3/4 cup sweet and sour sauce

Empty vegetable blend into a colander. Cook pasta as directed. Pour hot pasta over frozen vegetables and allow to drain until vegetables are thawed. Toss pasta/vegetable combination in a large bowl with chopped ham and sauce.
While the recipe didn’t indicate whether I was to eat this cold or at room temperature, I found I preferred it on the warmish side. It wasn't bad cold, but was better warm -- and that is not saying much.

I have made up a batch of gelatin cups to take to work for the coming week -- every time I throw an empty snack cup into the recycling bin, I think to myself how easy and cheap it would be to make my own.

And it is. I just made up a box of sugar-free orange gelatin as directed on the box (substituting citrus Fresca for the cold water) and divided it up among little storage cups I had already partially filled with canned pears.

Now, if I start making my own rice pudding and yoghurt cups as well ... my kitchen will be quite the economical little snack factory.

--

1 Not that these combinations haven't been tasty. Osem "Chinese Style Rice & Noodles with Vegetables" mixed with Green Giant "Simply Steam" Asparagus was nothing to sneeze at. Osem "Israeli Toasted Couscous & Vegetables" mixed with Green Giant "Simply Steam" broccoli and carrots was also pretty good. I'm sure I'll end up combining the last packet of Osem "Chinese Style Rice & Noodles with Vegetables" with Green Giant "No Sauce Spinach" later this week and will eat that with relish, too.




26 January 2008

Grandma's Lokshun Pudding (Lukshen Kugel)

Lukshen Kugel This time of year always brings on a powerful craving for my grandma's noodle pudding. The cold and the dark and the constant grindgrindgrind of life make me hunger for dishes rich in dairy, eggs, and noodles. If not grandma's noodle pudding, then my cheese lasagna. And if not lasagna, then my mom's meatball stroganoff over egg noodles.

(Mind you, since my grandma discovered sugar and egg substitutes as well as fat-free everything, her noodle pudding is nothing like what it used to be. Edible, yes. Go-to January comfort food, no).

Of course, I don't even have my grandmother's recipe, because there doesn't appear to be one. She learned to make "Lokshun Pudding" from her mother who learned it from her "nice Jewish" landlady many decades ago back in Brooklyn. When my grandmother talks about it, her recipe seems very "Oh, some of this" and "some of that" with no real measurements or even, sometimes it seems, set ingredients.

This works for my grandma, but it doesn't work for me. Happily, when I brought home Gil Marks's Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World (Wiley, 2004), I found it contained a recipe for "Ashkenazi Sweet Noodle Pudding" (Luskhen Kugel) which sounded close enough to my grandma's pudding to be worth making.

Marks's recipe has five variations (and variations within those variations, even). Eventually, I'd like to try them all (especially the more savory "Galician Salt-and-Pepper Noodle Pudding"), but I stuck with "Sweet Noodle-Cheese Kugel (Zeesih Lukshen un Kaese Kugel)" for my first attempt as it seemed like it would be most like my grandma's. This meant:
  • I added 1 pound of Friendship brand farmer cheese, and 16 oz of reduced fat Breakstone brand sour cream to the standard recipe.
  • I used medium egg noodles rather than fine, because medium looked like the one's grandma used.
  • Given the choice between cinnamon and orange marmalade, I went with cinnamon.
  • I used (optional) ¾ cup golden raisins rather than (optional) chopped apricots.
  • I used 2/3 cup sugar (the least amount called for).
Even though it was not traditional, I also threw in an (optional) ¾ cup of chopped pecans.

Because my 13x9 baking dish was already in use, I split the recipe between two 8x8 pans. This meant that the number of servings had to change when I calculated out the nutritional values. Rather than getting 9 servings, I anticipated 12 (6 from each 8x8). Regardless of how you cut it, this is not an everyday dish. Eating it everyday could probably kill you. Weight Watchers-wise, this lovely kugel works out to 9 points per serving.

Is it worth it? Yes. Oh, yes. It may not quite be grandma's noodle pudding, but it is definitely tasty -- all creamy, cinnamon-y, and egg-y with plumped-up raisin-y goodness. Yum.

02 November 2007

Apple-licious Applesauce

I made black currant gelatin. Yes, I know, that sounds lame. I followed the recipe for "Fruit Juice Knox Blox" on the back of the Knox Gelatin box. Not a bad first attempt, but the black currant flavor was very much in the background. Weird, as black currant juice has a pretty strong flavor. I don't really eat Jell-o so I'm not sure what inspired me to do this beyond, "because I could."

Which is pretty much the same reason I made apple sauce, come to think of it. At least the apple sauce tasted good -- really good -- and made the house smell fantastic. We'd gone to the farm stand last weekend to pick up more pumpkins and, of course, some apples. The Husband didn't seem to be eating them, because "they smell like pee" (don't ask) and I can't eat that many apples at once and didn't feel like pie (!) so ... slow cooker applesauce to the rescue.

The apple sauce was dead easy to make:


Six cups cored, peeled, and chunked apples in a slow cooker with half a cup water, half a cup sugar and cinnamon and ginger to taste. Cooked on High about five hours and then gave it a good stir until the bigger chunks fell apart. The end product was, yes, a bit darker brown than the applesauce you buy in the store, but it also tasted a damn sight better hot or cold. It tasted a lot like apple pie, actually.


Grr. Now I want pie.

16 July 2006

The Dog's Breakfast

Because I am insane, I baked the second installment in my father's year long birthday cake extravaganza a scant three days after returning from England. Was I prepared to be baking? No. Should I have been baking? No. Did it even seem like a good idea at the time? Not very. But, I was full of this weird nervous energy. Kept feeling like I ought to be doing something or going somewhere. And baking a cake seemed like a good way to take the edge off.

Surprisingly, the cake was not a disaster. I don't think the cake was as good as it should have been -- the layers didn't rise as much as I had expected and the frosting was a bit too sweet -- but my dad seemed perfectly happy with it and he and The Husband made serious inroads when I brought it over. I used the "White Cake" and "No-Cook Fudge Frosting" from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book (Meredith Books, 1998). I'm really starting to like my BHG cookbooks as the recipes are all pretty straightforward and tend to yield good results. My mother knew what she was doing when she gave me the red and white standby for my twenty-first birthday.


Dad's leaving August's cake up to me, but Mom specified something light and non-chocolate. It's not her present, but I do think two chocolate-y cakes in a row is enough for this time of year. Actually, I'd like to try my hand at Eton Mess, but I'm not sure I could call that a cake. Somehow, I don't think Dad would complain ...

At the end of our stay with The Father-in-Law, we went down to Birmingham and visited The Husband's Auntie and other sundry relations. Auntie's Husband is quite a capable cook and one of the things he served us was Harry Blumenthal's Eton Mess with bananas and lime. It looked like the dog's breakfast, but the lime-banana-meringue combination was truly delicious and I've been thinking about it on and off ever since I ate it. I found a recipe at joyofbaking.com for the traditional strawberry version ("Strawberry with Cream and Meringue Bits") and I think my dad would it eat. He'd eat the banana version, of course, but Mom is allergic to bananas and while it's his present, she'll be eating it, too.

Mmm! Fairy cakes! Get in my belly!

Earlier this week I also made fairy cakes using the "Vanilla Cupcakes" recipe I also found at joyofbaking.com. I substituted lemon for the vanilla in the batter and frosting and they came out well. A nice taste of lemon, but not "Wow! Lemon!" I don't usually frost things I make just for us as The Husband is not too keen on frosting, but he quite liked this butter cream frosting. Well, of course he would. It's nothing but butter and sugar with a bit of cream and flavorings. How could you not like butter and sugar whipped together?

20 June 2006

Croquet Envy & Strawberry Mousse

We had my parents over for Father's Day dinner and more croquet. Croquet has always been a big warm weather activity in my family and, dear god, I played an awful lot of it as a child. You'd think, really, with all the practice I've had that I would possess teh l33t skillz, but I do not. Indeed, you could safely say I suck at croquet. Those video games that are supposed to be so good for hand-eye coordination? They're not helping here. Bust-a-move with it's cracktastic bubble flinging has not blessed me with any croquet foo.

O, woe. O, waly, waly.

Anyway, it was Father's Day and I was probably supposed to let my father win. Yes. That sounds good. I don't suck ... I just let him win.

And my mother. And The Husband. And ... who am I kidding?

Anyway, my croquet skills may not be so good, but my mad cookery skillz are coming right along. Since I seem to have some kind of sad foodie crush on Simply Recipes I went a little overboard preparing recipes from that site. My dad likes carrot and four bean salads, so I knew I wanted to make them for him, but I didn't want creamy carrots or tinny beans. Happily, my foodie crush came through with perfect recipes. I made the Grated Carrot and Three Bean salads and dad seemed to like them quite a lot. He even took some of the carrot salad home with him. I knew my mother and The Husband wouldn't be so keen on those sides, so I also made "American Potato Salad" (Joy of Cooking: All About Salads and Dressings, Scribner: 2001) and this Scandinavian cucumber salad (added minced red onion and omitted the celery). They also went over quite well. (Obviously, we didn't just eat salad -- The Husband grilled up some nice marinated steaks and all was omnivorous yumminess).

For dessert, we had Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse served in crystal whiskey glasses with a little extra puree on top. The mousse did take a fair amount of time to prepare, but it was pretty fun and easy to make so I didn't mind spending the extra time on it. It tasted delicious and we'd all eat it again.

I quite want to try my hand at the Strawberry Mousse Cake, now.