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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fruit Tart - homemade pâte sucrée & crème patisserie

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for linhlinh's birthday i was asked to make her fave: fruit tart. lucky me, my friend Jen of Savory Simple had just blogged about these tarts and being as how i couldn't join her in culinary school, i've been learning and living vicariously thru her.

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shall we say i stressed like a mofo all week over the dough? i don't have all the tools, i don't know what the hell i'm doing, what.am.i.doing?

in the end, it worked out. i used my fingers and worked quickly. i used my new handy dandy digital food scale. i won't post the recipes here but my notes are as follows:

1. i scaled back on the sugar. for example, if the recipe called for 4oz of sugar, i used 3oz instead.

2. for the crème patisserie i used 1 cup of cream and 1 cup lactaid skim milk. i'm a rebel.

3. for the pâte sucrée, in addition to the zest, i also minced up some candied orange peels. every once in awhile, a bite would have the peel in it and it would add such a surprising freshness.

4. i ix-nayed the vanilla extract. i swear, this product is the bane of my existence. i never seem to have it on hand, i'm always out of it!

5. for the apricot glaze, i simmered a few tablespoons of apricot jam and a tablespoon of water. let it simmer and thin out a bit, strain thru a fine-mesh sieve.

6. i ended up with enough dough to make about 9 4" tart shells and 4 really small ones PLUS i made a big ass one in my 10" tart pan but it shrank so much that i couldn't use it. had i not effed up there, i would've ended up with way more mini tarts. the bake time was closer to 8-10 minutes and for the really small ones, 5-6 minutes.

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verdict: they came out well. nuria helped with slicing up the fruit and placing them artfully in the tart shells. thank goodness too cus i completed two and wanted to bang my head against the wall. the crust came out flaky, not hard, the crème was a bit soft, the tarts had travelled over an hour in a warm car... carrying the box of tarts to dinner i received compliments from strangers, which seriously, made me giggle like a fangirl. {dork} and. i've been asked to make this again for Chinese New Year. i think i'd like to make a chocolate cream.

today's song: The Swell Season, One More Word

i first heard this song while watching the hauntingly beautiful Israeli movie Strangers. have you seen it? it's breathtaking. and most of all, heartbreaking.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Crochet Scarves - 3,2,1 and Scallop Edge

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chain however long you want the scarf to be. Row 1: 3 double crochet stitches per chain until all the way across. Row 2: 2 double crochet stitches per chain until all the way across.

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Row 3: finish with 1 double crochet stitch per chain until all the way across.
slightly adapted from laughing purple goldfish. end result: not so much a warm scarf but more of a decorative accessory resembling a bit like intestines. this was gifted to my cousin linhlinh who just turned 21. i used a worsted weight yarn in white with sparkly tones to it. i figured that's what a youngin would like.

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for kim's quarter century birthday i made a scallop edge scarf. the pattern is no longer available online but i had printed it out last year. thankfully. it's such a fast and easy scarf to put together and if the yarn is thick enough, it'll keep you quite warm.

today's song: Damien Rice, Cannonball


Friday, January 22, 2010

Warm Butternut Squash Salad

i'm on a health kick but it is damn cold in january to be just eating a simple salad. so add a warm component. there.

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warm butternut squash salad

1/4 butternut squash, cut into strips, sans skin
fresh spinach
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 fennel, sliced
1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
olive oil, for the dressing and to drizzle over the squash
salt/pepper to season

cut up the squash into strips, however big you want them but make sure they're all roughly the same size. put on foiled cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt/pepper. put in pre-heated oven at 350degrees. roast until tender, about 30-45 minutes.

meanwhile, on a plate put washed spinach. arrange the fennel and onions on top. the dressing is simple, just lemon juice and the minced garlic, with some olive oil mixed in. lightly coat the spinach with the dressing. when the squash is done to preferred softness, put on top and if you want, drizzle with more of the dressing.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homemade Pho Bo - Vietnamese Noodle Soup

a friend on facebook asked me if it was true that Pho Bo is a glorified version of ramen noodles. i have to say that i reacted rather badly to the question. a simple not true would've sufficed. more than likely the person who put that thought in my friend's mind hasn't had a proper bowl of pho. sucks for him.

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i started the cooking process on a friday night. skipped saturday and chowed down sunday night. i even bought a brand new pot to make the stock. i now have the broth stored in the freezer for when i have a hankering for homemade pho bo.

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Today's Song: Charlotte Martin, Everytime It Rains

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Basketweave Stitch Coffee Mug Cozy

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kim's been wanting a coffee mug cozy since i started playing with yarn. i finally busted one out for her. in multiples of two (rather than the usual 4) i created a simple cozy with the basketweave stitch to keep her hands protected from the heat of her joe.

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added a cute pink button to keep it together.

Today's Song: Jason Mraz, Sunshine Song

Monday, January 11, 2010

Orange Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Orange Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

i made these around the holidays. i used my new food processor Eduardo. it made me happy.

Orange Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
adapted from Nigella Lawson's Shortbread cookies, How to Eat

1 stick unsweetened butter, very soft
1/3 cup of powdered sugar, plus more if desired
3/4 cup AP flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 heaping Tablespoons of chopped rosemary and candied orange peels
(i made the orange peels very similar to the way i made candied ginger)

cream butter and sugar in food processor. add the flour, cornstarch and salt, process to combine. throw in the orange rosemary and combine until dough forms. remove and knead into a cylinder shape. wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge. **i actually put mine in the freezer and baked them about 3 days later. if baking on same day, chill in fridge for about 20 minutes.

preheat oven to 325F. slice into cylinder at about 1/4" thick and put onto greased or lined baking pan, dredge with powdered sugar if you want a sweet, crunch edge and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the tops are dry and the base is now longer doughy.

Remove with a spatula and cool on a wire rack.

verdict: cookies were sweet and savory, crisp and buttery. a perfect afternoon snack with tea.

Orange Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

:: Volt :: December Dinner

Picnik collage



pate mousse, best.flipping.butternut.squash.soup.ever. (i would give up my twilight books for the recipe), 3-flavored meringue, and rabbit amuse bouche.

Picnik collage



mushroom bisque: two ways, pork belly, scallop on a bed of black lentils, and ravioli.

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steak with pea puree and that yolk? it's actually carrot. I KNOW.

Picnik collage



mini chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches and chocolate multiple ways.

final words:
i met Bryan Voltaggio, stuttered, tweeted about it, he tweeted back and i quite literally squeeled like a fangirl. the end.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Crochet Heathers Throw - Baby O Blanket

6 months late. Baby O is crawling now. and positively adorable.


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i found the most beautiful pale vanilla yarn, the last 1lb skein. when i reached the end, i went on a mad search all over the county for the same damn color. i even went on ebay. but to no avail. so i put the project down for 3 months.

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until a twitter friend recommended i stripe it. so i did. i had to unravel half of the blanket. that did not amuse me.


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however, when i presented the blanket to H yesterday, all the frustration over the yarn drama and monotony of the pattern was worth it. reactions like that are so rare and *that* is why i play with yarn and give them as gifts.

pattern.
single stitch border around the blanket.

today's song: Michael Bublé, Home