Archive for September, 2009

TWD: Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

September 29, 2009

I love tarts.  My first Dorie recipe after joining the group was the French Pear Tart, which I adored and have made three or four times since then.   (Now that I think about it, I really want to make it AGAIN, SOON.)     Carla of Chocolate Moosey chose this tart recipe.

I decided I would vary this recipe slightly because I don’t like peanuts.   I don’t hate them, I just prefer other nuts.  (huhuh, I said “nuts”)   I decided to use pecans (hazelnuts were too expensive) and toasted them in my toaster oven.   Burnt the first batch.  Burnt the second batch.   Darn.   I decided to change my method and toasted them in the skillet I would later use to make the caramel.   I also sprinkled the pecans with a little sea salt.

I used part of the pecans in the tart crust, which I made Saturday night while my daughter was at her homecoming dance.    Reagan and Ryan

Gratuitous homecoming picture.

Sunday I made the caramel and the ganache.   The caramel was easy, melted sugar, a bit of corn syrup, butter and heavy cream.   The ganache was even easier, just chopped chocolate, heavy cream and butter.  Assembly was also a breeze.   I made the tart to take to my book club and it was refrigerated longer than the thirty minute max specified in the recipe, yet it was still delicious and not soggy.   I also sent the leftovers to work with my husband the next day and they were still fine.

I must say I preferred this tart served with whipped cream.  It really speaks to the richness of the ganache that whipped heavy cream actually seems to lighten it up!  I could easily see making this for dessert after a holiday meal.   Or for a pms-y random Tuesday night when I’m craving CHOCOLATE and the little four aisle grocery store down the block doesn’t carry “New York Super Fudge Chunk.”    

Don’t forget, the recipe can be found at Chocolate Moosey, or in the book, “Baking From My Home to Yours” by Dorie Greenspan.      

CCT4 (3)  


Homecoming 2009

September 28, 2009

Reagan and Ryan

I’ve decided that homecoming is a lot like Christmas.  Lots of money, tons of prep and then it’s over way too fast!   This was my first homecoming experience as a mother (rather than as a teenager) because my son didn’t attend last year (or this year.) 

Reagan, however, was determined to go.   She was asked by a boy from her school, a junior (she’s only a freshman), who, in an effort to impress her, told her an anecdote about throwing a flaming gopher at a passing car.    Fearing he would make a vest out of her skin, she said “No, thanks,” and asked a boy, Ryan, that is her “facebook friend” and attends a different school.

We shopped for a dress, shoes, jewelry.  She got her nails done and her hair curled.   Being concerned about skin cancer “mean,” I wouldn’t let her tan.    

Finally it was the day of homecoming.   That morning I met friends for breakfast.  Karma and Jim were in town for their twenty year high school reunion. 

Me, Karma and Jim 2009It was great to see them.  Plus, Karma solved a mystery for me.





But, back to homecoming.  While I visited with Karma and Jim, Rea got her hair done.  Then we headed home, she did her make-up, put on her dress and heels and we ran over to our neighbor’s house to take photos.

Reagan HC 1

(Meanwhile her brother was still in his pajamas, playing video games.)

Then we headed to the riverfront to meet her date, Ryan, and his mother.   He put on Reagan’s corsage: Corsage    And then she attempted to pin on his boutenniere:  What the hell

Rea looked at the pin, looked at the flower, looked at the pin, looked at the flower,  then turned to me and said,
“What the hell?”   So ladylike.  I was so proud.    



They seemed a little awkward posing for pictures.   Ryan’s mom said “put your arm around her!”  But this was as close as they got:   Reagan HC laughing

Then we headed back to Princeville and took MORE photos at Rea’s friend’s Ethan’s house.  

Pretty girls, HC Pretty Girls!

After many, many photos, they headed out to dinner at a local Japanese steakhouse.  (The kind where they cook at your table.)   Taylor and I also went out to eat enchiladas at his favorite restaurant.   Glum Taylor     Honestly, he’s not that glum!  He just doesn’t like being photographed.

It was too dark to get any good pictures at the dance.  But the kids had fun.  Most of the girls took off their heels and they did all kinds of crazy theme dances, like the cha cha slide and the macarena.     Once the dance was done, Rea and her date went to a bonfire til around 1:00, then we had to drive Ryan home.   A 45 minute drive in extremely foggy conditions.

What not to say to your daughter and her date on the ride home:  “Are you guys getting hot back there?”            

During the late-night drive Reagan fell asleep with her head on Ryan’s shoulder.    When he arrived home, he said goodbye but she didn’t walk him to the door.  No good night kiss!  (The whole “teenage boys want to have sex with teenage girls, and vice-versa, it’s a natural thing, but not something you are at all ready for at fourteen” discussion may have been unwarranted.)   I’m not sure if she was relieved or disappointed about the lack of kissing.  Nevertheless, she had a great time and it was a lovely first date.

TWD: Cottage Cheese Pufflets

September 22, 2009

Or, as they are called in my house of cottage-cheese-haters “jam-filled non-puffies.”

I’ve wanted to make this recipe for a long time and actually bought cottage cheese to make it once, got busy, and threw away the cottage cheese a month or so later when it had expired, I hadn’t made the recipe, and no one had eaten it.  I’m thankful that Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes picked it as her TWD recipe and brought it back to my attention.  I love recipes that picque curiosity, that make me wonder “What would the texture, taste, etc.. be like?”  

I made the dough on Saturday, and I must say, I love dough that can be prepared in the food processor.   It’s amazing how smooth and silky the whirred up cottage cheese (with a good dose of butter) became;  I added the dry ingredients, pulsed briefly, then wrapped the mixture in plastic wrap and refrigerated it until last night.  

After grocery shopping, dinner and taking my daughter for a haircut and eyebrow waxing (I’m too wimpy have mine done!), I pulled the dough out of the fridge.  It rolled out easily on a silpat mat coated in flour.  

Unfortunately, it didn’t come off so easily!  After cutting the shapes, I really should have re-chilled the dough, but I was in a hurry, it was after 9:00 and I still had studying to do.  So I scraped them up with a flat spatula, filled them with strawberry preserves and popped them in the oven.   Not pretty.   And they didn’t puff. 

But they did taste good and the texture, despite not puffing, was soft and silky.  I’m having a weird food memory, deja vu-esque feeling about these but I can’t quite put my finger on it.  They just seem “familiar.”    Any ideas of a (likely midwestern) baked good that would be similar?   It’s really driving me crazy.

I still have half the dough in the fridge and, if I have time tonight, I plan on experimenting with some different fillings; a mixture of cinnamon and toasted pecans would likely be really good.  I also plan on reading TWD posts and seeing what worked well for others.    

(Oh, and I do have  photos of these, but left my camera at home.  I’ll upload those later, assuming any turned out. )

Two Truths and a Lie

September 14, 2009

1.  I’ve been making the TWD recipes but not posting (most of them, anyway!) due to being extremely busy.  Like busy enough that I’m already sacrificing sleep.

2.  I stole a “Lost Dog” sign from my local post office bulletin board.

3.  I’ve never seen ‘Top Gun.”

Okay, I lied.  Those are ALL truths.   

(I’ll be back soon, with a more substantive post.   I’m travelling today and tomorrow for work, so won’t be making this week’s TWD recipe, at least not on time.)