Saturday, January 20, 2007

On a roll again

Last weekend granted me three whole days to whip up some recipes I've been itching to try.

First off: peach-glazed pork chops (Thanks for the recipe Amanda!). I never knew that pork chops could be so rich, but when you have the syrup from a can of sliced peaches and peach preserves mixed with Dijion mustard, well, you get the idea. They were so good that dear husband wants me to make them again. That's what I call a hit!

To accompany the pork chops, we had sea salt and lime fries. These are by far the best, tastiest fries I've ever eaten. Did I mention they were easy too? Just slice up a pototoe into wedges (pick desired number of pototoes), coat with olive oil, season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and bake. After that, season to taste (the more pepper, the better). I put my fries in a cute square Pampered Chef dish. I wedged a lime and squeezed the juice over the top and sprinkled with parmasan cheese. I used the two remaining lime wedges as garnish. The were very sophisicated, scrummptious fries. I owe a large thank you for sharing such a treat.

Last, but most important of all: I finally made chocolate ganache. What did this rich topping top? Peanut butter-filled chocolate cupcakes of course! (You can find the recipe here, but I warn you: It's not for the faint baker heart.) I baked all day on Monday (my poor aching feet). I was determined to get these right and share with my coworkers, especially after the cake catastrophe. They turned out perfect. At least they did when I remade the entire batch because I added just a touch too much baking power to the first bit of batter. It was good practice, but I have to say, I don't think I'll be baking anytime soon this month. Next month, I'll be making dessert for my mother-in-law's birthday. Hmmm, what to make, what to make?

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Spanakopita recipe

Because I loved this recipe so much, I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

Two 10-ounce packages of spinach, thawed
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 scallions, chopped
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
14 sheets (about 1/2lb.) frozen phyllo, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
Mixed greens, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Place the spinach in a colander and squeeze out the liquid. Chop the spinach and place in a large bowl. Add the cheese, scallions, and eggs and mix until well combined.

3.Trim the phyllo to fit a 9x13 baking pan. Brush 1 sheet of dough with the melted butter. Arrange the phyllo in the bottom of the baking pan. Repeat the process with 6 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each one. Keep the remaining phyllo covered as you work.

4. Carefully pour the spinach mixture over the filling. Repeat with the remaining 6 sheets of phyllo and the remaining melted butter.

6. Bake the spanakopita 50 to 60 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Cut into squares, transfer to serving plates, and garnish with mixed greens.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

I'm not a Foodie

The cake was a bust. Actually, only the creamy mocha frosting was a bust. The cakes were you always hope your first homemade cake would be (maybe somewhat lopsided), but I think the frosting gods were pitted against me. What did I do wrong? Maybe a foodie reading this can tell me:

I heated my heavy whipping cream to a boil and added my chopped chocolate, bit by bit, letting it melt into the frothy cream. The recipe said to cover it and place in the fridge for at least two hours. After at least two hours (I'm sure it was longer because I fell asleep on the couch with baking exhaustion), I placed the mixture into my electric stand mixer. This is where I think my skills, or lack of, failed me.

The recipe said to mix it until thick. Well, I love my stand mixer. I love recipes that call for using the said appliance, so I was overjoyed thinking I'd be making frosting in it. But, I think in my overexcitement, I overmixed my creamy mocha frosting. Combine that with the fact that I think my chocolate wasn't melted enough (Nestle you be damned!), and you get a lumpy, glumpy mess.

What a letdown. But I will not give up. I will try again (maybe not creamy mocha layer cake) until I have succeeded, and I can bring it to work, where I will be heralded as the next Foodie. (Actually, I know this will happen because my work loves a cook, especially one who shares the fruit of her labor.)

In the end, though, I didn't make it to the New Year's party. I let my food frustration get the best of me, but I learned, and I think I grew. Now I want to rewind time and bring my cake to the party.