Jun 30, 2012

"French" Martini

"French Martini"
I'm feeling a bit nostalgic.

I used to manage a large region for a staffing company. If you know anything about the staffing business, let's just say it's pretty high stress and cut throat. And getting new business is brutal. Your prospects hate (hate with a capital H) you. Don't get me started on how many buildings I've been thrown out of. Fortunately, as hard won as they are, your clients love you (until their purchasing departments find someone cheaper, regardless of the quality, but I'm not bitter).

So... my message is... celebrations were important. Thus.. the legend of the French martini.

One of the offices I "managed" (those are real air quotes)  was in Beverly Hills. The original crew was J, J, R, and S. And then we added C and A. They were sooooo good. I would hire each and every one of them again if I could.

Anyway, these people liked being rewarded with nights out at martini bars or dinners at The Palm. Oh yeah. Cone of silence on all of that.

I think it began with a foray to Nic's Beverly Hills... 

And then somehow we ended up at Encounter at LAX... And we were trying to teach the bartender how to make the "French Martini." Naturally, he was quite condescending.

The rest of the group ended up flying to Las Vegas on a whim. Seriously... I wanted to go.... DAMN! I can still visualize them as they took off in J's car.

Jun 29, 2012

Jalapeño Cheese Bread with Corn

Jalapeño Cheese Bread with Corn
How do you feel about burnt cheese? The kind that gets all melty and then forms a crust of goodness. If you're with me on this, you must make this bread.

I had made a version of this bread before from a recipe on King Arthur Flour's website. Here is a link to great step-by-step photos from the King Arthur Flour blog. KAF credits the French Pastry School in Chicago for their recipe. Just be sure to follow the recipe below if you want this version.... or try them both. That's what I did. Either way, you get burnt cheese awesomeness (and it's so good toasted).

Jun 24, 2012

Corn and Jalapeño Rolls

Corn and Jalapeño Rolls
Like magic...  serendipity.... I stumbled upon this blog post about a new blogging group, the Bread Baking Society. This group was started by the authors of Foodwanderings, Cake Duchess, and Cooking with Books, three talented bloggers. I immediately invited myself to the party.

Each month they introduce a bread recipe, and then encourage fellow bloggers to make it theirs. This is the second month of the Society.

I decided to follow the Food Wanderings recipe because I had just brought home a bunch of jalapeños.

I made my rolls hamburger bun-sized and used them for sandwiches. These rolls are somewhat on the sweet side. While they are a yeast bread, they taste a lot like corn bread. I think they would be great in a smaller size served with chili. Go here to see the many variations of this recipe and find out how to join "the Society." And there is no secret handshake!

Jun 19, 2012

No Knead Bread

No Knead Bread

One of my favorite ways to blow off steam is to bake bread. In fact, last weekend, after a long five weeks of creating an on line class in the evenings for my teaching job, I cranked out three bread recipes over the two days, and it didn't feel like work at all. It felt creative. There is something about it... you just have to try it to understand. Peter Reinhart, Nancy Silverton, Rose Levy Beranbaum, Jim Lahey, Amy Scherber, Chad Robertson, and countless others say it best in their books.

If you have never baked bread, this is the perfect way to start. This bread is perfect. When you take it out of the oven, you can actually hear the crust sing! Seriously. The crust is thin but crispy, and the crumb (interior) is full of holes and just begs to be buttered. This will get you into bread baking.

I promise.

Jun 16, 2012

Tangelo Sorbet

Tangelo Sorbet
This is a very refreshing sorbet. While I made it with fruit from our tangelo tree, any citrus will do. It's not too sweet, and the wine keeps it from over freezing.

You will need an ice cream maker. I use this one. To squeeze the fruit, I use this juicer for a large amount, but you'll need a Kitchen Aid mixer to use it. I am particularly fond of this gadget for squeezing individual lemons, limes, or small oranges.

Tangelo sorbet adapted from Annie's Eats

1 C tangelo juice, divided
1/4 C sugar
3 T cava, prosecco, or some other wine wine. You can also use vodka or white vermouth. I used a cava.
Mix 1/4 C of the juice with the sugar. Heat in a saucepan just until the sugar has melted. Turn off the heat and add in the rest of the juice. add the wine.
Place the mixture in the fridge until it gets really cold. Three to four hours.
Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker for about 30 minutes (time will depend on your ice cream maker)
Place in a shallow container, cover, and place in the freezer until fully frozen.

It's so good.

Jun 8, 2012

Blue Curacao Margarita

Happy Friday. I took the day off today and took a certain four year old to Pretend City.  He had a wonderful time. I must add though that I have never had such a vocal back seat driver. Although he's never been to our destination, he definitely had strong opinions on the directions. Fortunately, we made it to our destination just the same.

Blue curacao is a citrus liqueur, but with an added blue color. I think it makes a pretty cocktail.

Blue Curacao Margarita

1 to 2 oz tequila blanco
1/2 to 3/4 oz blue curacao
1 T. limeade concentrate
Juice of a good sized lime

Can be served straight up or on the rocks.

Jun 1, 2012

Tangelo Ricotta Cake

This is a cake that you can (and should) bake ahead, because it is actually better and more moist on the second or third day. I'm not sure why... maybe it's the ricotta... maybe it's the glaze.

I found this recipe for orange-ricotta pound cake in Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman which was recommended in Fine Cooking magazine, my absolute favorite cooking magazine. If you like "snacking" or bundt type cakes, you should check out this book.

I switched out the orange juice and zest with tangelo. I would imagine any sweet citrus fruit would work here.  The glaze is made with orange marmalade to which I added tangelo juice.