Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Forty-Seven: The Modern Café

by Francisco J. Migoya/The Culinary Institute of America

                            Lemon Cupcakes

I seem to be on a quest for the perfect lemon cupcake; and by that I mean an intense lemon flavor that wows the taste buds.

I'm not sure what the purpose is of greasing the tin before placing the paper-liners in the mold, for this makes the wrappers unpleasant to handle and not what you want when you are presenting these as a gift (or otherwise). This is one step I will skip in the future.

These cupcakes have the zest of 4 lemons added to the batter and after baking, and to my surprise, they did not have a very intense flavor. To kick it up a notch I opted to fill the cupcakes with lemon curd; unfortunately I was short on time and had to use store bought rather than making my own which I like so much more. Then I topped them with a lemon buttercream frosting.

Well... my quest in finding the perfect lemon cupcake is in reach! These are pretty good. Next time I will bake them a little less for I thought they were a tad dry. As for the buttercream frosting I really liked that it did not have that greasy feeling on the tongue that you get with so many frostings today, though I think I can cut back on the sugar for it was just a bit too sweet.

The birthday girl and her hubby approved! Such wonderful comments from two cupcake connoisseurs- now I know for sure the ultimate lemon cupcake is at my fingertips! Thanks again for your kind words and encouragement!

Success meter (1-3): 3

Great tip that I learned from a friend:
grease your pan with the butter wrapper -
 usually there is just the right amount.

Frosting ingredients
Happy Birthday Dorothy!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Book Forty-Six: The Trellis Cookbook ~ expanded edition

by Marcel DeSaulniers

               Marinated Chopped Tomatoes

I have three other books by Mr. De Saulniers (all on the baking spectrum) so when a friend asked if I wanted this book I jumped at the offer. I love how he has the book divided by course (salads, entrées, desserts, etc) and then each course by season.

I started making this at dinner time, and I cannot stress enough for you to read your recipe thoroughly before proceeding. I failed to read the last sentence: Cover with film and wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours! I'm sure this will be even better tomorrow.

The salsa has good flavor; however I would skip the skinning of the tomatoes, for submerging them in boiling water for the short 45 seconds seemed to diminish the firmness of the tomato and the overall look of the salsa. I do not mind the skin on personally and prefer fresh, raw tomatoes in my salsa.

Success meter (1-3): 2

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Bowl Full of Cherries

                             Cherry Clafouti

I should not be blogging, let alone cooking a dessert from Bon Appétit magazine when I'm not even halfway through my books of which the majority is in the baking genre. But last month's article on cherries, the photo of cherry clafouti, and a storage bin full of fresh cherries from Mangini Farms beckoned me to make this. I did attempt to find another clafouti recipe out of one of my books, but this one sounded the best.

It is my understanding some clafoutis have a cakelike batter or a custard/pudding batter, which this recipe falls under the latter. I found this to be rather bland - maybe I'm just not a big custard fan, for creme brulee always sounds so good and I'm always a bit disappointed that it too does not have more flavor; then again I do love flan... must be all that tasty caramel sauce! Perhaps this would be better with a little dash of nutmeg or cardamom.

I was ready to give this recipe a 2 rating until I received a text from a friend (who was the recipient of this dessert) saying "OMG Tres YUM"

Maybe she would like to gain a few extra pounds (which would do her no harm) and be a taste-tester for me; for food always tastes better when someone else makes it.

Success meter (1-3): 3

Pastry tool turned cherry pitter!

My springform pan is leaking!!!

Back into the bowl.
Must use cake pan instead.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Forty-Five: The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces

by Diane Seed

                    [Farfalle] alla Carrettiere

I received a wonderful box of farfalle from a friend whose family has gone into the pasta business. The recipe calls for spaghetti or tagliatelle but I was anxious to try this and it worked out perfect.

This sauce has really good flavor; then again how could it not when there is bacon included! While I was taste-testing along the way, I thought this would taste just as great if not better without the addition of the tuna for it seemed to mask the taste of the bacon somewhat. So if you are not looking to add extra protein to your diet, I would omit this.

Success meter (1-3): 3

The sauce at this point was quite dry - 
just add a bit of pasta water to moisten it