Friday, March 27, 2009

Wilton Cake Class 1 - Part 3

I was a little scared of the roses but I think they turned out not too bad. They look no where near as good as the book or the ones the instructor does - but better than I thought they would. The instructor makes it all look so easy and can whip a rose out in a few seconds. It just takes a lot of practice - I still have a bunch of icing so I need to just practice without making anymore cakes for now (you can only eat so much cake).

The class was a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone. I think I may take the fondant/gum paste class in May. You can make some really cool looking cakes with that stuff.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Brownie Pudding

I knew that since I was going to make my wife eat some broccolini that I was going to have to make up for it somehow.  This second bonus recipe was the perfect thing.  My wife is a big chocolate person so I knew I couldn't go wrong with this one.

I wish I had seen this on the TV show since I am not really sure mine turned out right.  The "pudding" part was a little runnier than I would have liked.  On the other hand, the brownie part was more crisp than I would have liked.  The brownie part kind of puffed up and became a very thin layer separated from the pudding part by air.  I also thought the pudding part was a little grainy.  It was also very rich - to be expected of a recipe with 1/3 stick of butter in a serving.

I suspect I did something wrong but I am not sure what.  Maybe the temp of the water bath or something.  I will be anxious to see what others though of this recipe.

I probably sound a little harsh.  It was good - it just did not live up to my high expectations.  It wasn't a total loss - my wife liked it a lot.

Thanks to Tia of Southern, eh? for this recipe.  I always love trying new deserts.

Brownie Pudding
Serves 6

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.
  3. When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, framboise, if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.
  4. Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.
  5. Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Barefoot Bloggers: Sautéed Broccolini

This is my first bonus recipe.  Every month the Barefoot bloggers has a bonus recipe that you are not required to make - and this month they have two bonus recipes to make up for not having on last month.  This month I am not going to be able to make the other required recipe.  Actually it is not that I am not able - it is just that I know my wife will not eat it and I am not actually sure I would even like it.  The recipe was Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts chosen by Anne of Anne Strawberry (Sorry Anne).  My wife doesn't like tomato and I am not a big fan of goat cheese.  To make up for this I will make both of the bonus recipes.  It isn't really that much of a chore since both look good to me.

The first bonus recipe I made was the Sautéed Broccolini.  There wasn't really much too the recipe.  It did call for a quick blanch which is a little different - I think it is mostly just to help the broccolini keep the nice bright color and makes the saute time very quick.  

The reviews on this were mixed.  My wife was not very thrilled with it.  I can't say I was surprised because when I make her eat broccoli, she only eats the flower part and not the stem - broccolini is pretty much all stem.  I liked the recipe.  The garlic and lemon were nice.  I did serve this at the same meal as the Chicken Piccata which might not have been the best choice since the lemon got to be a bit much.  For the tie-break my 20 month old son loved the broccolini - which is pretty impressive since he only has front teeth to chew it with - it had to be a little difficult for him to eat.

Thanks to Mary of Meet me in the kitchen for this bonus pick.  It looks like she has some good kid stuff on her blog that I will have to check out.

Sautéed Broccolini
Serves 6


  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Directions
    1. Blanch the broccolini in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water.
    2. Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the lemon zest and garlic and stir. Drain the broccolini and add it to the garlic mixture and heat for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper, and toss well before serving.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Wilton Cake Class 1 - Part 2

    Tonight we made our second cake in cake decorating class.  This week we learned how to make a few flowers (no roses yet), a new border, faces, hearts, fruit, and clowns.  It is getting a little harder but so far nothing is too difficult - I think that may change with the rose next week.  For my cake this week I made a chocolate - I was a little worried because it is obvious if you mess up frosting with chocolate since you can see the crumbs.  The flowers are just called swirl flowers since you have to twist your wrist when making it.  So what do you think - I think it came out pretty good.

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Barefoot Bloggers: Chicken Piccata

    Well here is an interesting problem.  I just got done doing my Valentines day post a little while ago and showed how I made Chicken Piccata.  This month I take a look at the Barefoot Blogger recipes and the first recipe I needed to do was Chicken Piccata.  At first I was a little disappointed but when I thought about it a little more this gives me an opportunity to compare the two while the first recipe was still fresh in my mind.  Chicken Piccata sounds fancy but it is easy and quick enough to make while in a hurry so it is a good recipe to have.

    The main difference in the two recipes is the method of coating the chicken breasts.  My first recipe used just a flour coating.  This recipe used a flour coating followed by an egg dip and finally a coating of bread crumbs.  The lemon sauces were almost the same - my first recipe did have some garlic and capers although I left the capers out since my wife does not like them.

    And the verdict is...  

    I have to say I did like the breaded chicken better - it gave it a little more flavor and some crunchiness.  I think it also looked a little nicer since it browned nice.  I do, however, think I liked the sauce better from the first recipe.  You can never go wrong with a little garlic.  I also think this recipes sauce was a little thin an the lower amount of lemon juice in the first recipe probably helped.

    Thanks to Lindsey of Noodle Nights and Muffin Mornings for this recipe.  I think I might be trying out her maple glazed apple cake this weekend.

    Chicken Piccata
    Serves 2

    • 2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 extra-large egg
    • 1/2 tablespoon water
    • 3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
    • Good olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
    • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • Sliced lemon, for serving
    • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
    2. Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
    3. Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.
    4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
    5. For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    Wilton Cake Class 1 - Part 1

    Well here is a fun one - at least for me.  I had seen a few of the other food bloggers blog about going to cake decorating class and it has always kind of been something I wanted to try.  Last year we adopted our son and I pretty much failed at his first Birthday cake - it tasted good but looked horrible.  I figured now is the time so I don't have that experience again.

    Wednesday was my second class - and the first class where I actually decorated a cake.  I have to admit I had a lot of fun - my instructor Yvonne is the best.  It was a lot of work getting everything ready.  I needed to get the cake ready and prepare seven tubes of frosting during my sons 2 1/2 hour name and I just barely made it.  I went a little overboard and actually torted and filled the cake - which we didn't have to do.  I filled the cake on the top and bottom with Polaner all fruit seedless blackberry jelly - I just heated it a little to make it easy to spread and put a fairly thin layer.  The center has a mix of the frosting and the jelly to make a sort of blackberry cream.  I think it looks pretty nice cut.

    Since I didn't want to eat the three cakes I am going to need to make by myself I got my wife to get her work to volunteer to eat it.  This first one worked out well since they were going to have a little celebration - that explains the strange writing on the cake.  I think I need a lot more practice with the writing - it is a lot easier when you are just doing it over the top of the practice letters than while writing on the cake.  

    I won't post the recipes unless I get a request or something.  The frosting is the Wilton recipe and it is very easy to work with.  I also liked the cake but will probably expirement with some other cakes in the class.