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Monday, April 30, 2007

"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!"

"Let them eat rich, expensive, funny-shaped, yellow, eggy buns." This is supposed to be what Marie Antoinette actually said way back when. Kirsten Dunst said cake.

Either way, brioche is some good stuff. My family has made it for my entire life every Christmas morning. My mom and aunt decided some 30+ years ago that it would be fun, so a tradition was born!

This past Christmas I tried my hand at my own brioche, and it turned out fin
e. This has always been nothing more than a Christmas treat for me, but R recently suggested that I make it for a spring brunch...glad I did. The picture below shows the holiday version with Santa Clause face, but I left out the facial parts to make a sun for the brunch.Recipe:
1 package
yeast, active dry or compressed
1/4 cup warm water (lukewarm for compressed yeast)
1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) soft butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup milk, scalded and cooled

About 5 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
Beaten egg white

Mix yeast with warm water and set aside to soften. With a mixer (Thanks, Aunt Pam!), cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, orange peel, and salt until fluffy. Beat in eggs and yolks, a few at a time, blending well. Then add yeast and milk and gradually mix in 4 1/2 cups of the flour. Turn the dough onto a heavily floured (about 3/4 cup) board and knead until smooth and quite elastic, about 15 minutes. Add more flour to board if necessary.

Butter a large bowl; turn dough over in it to coat surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. I've also let it rise overnight in the refrigerator before letting it warm to room temperature in the morning.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead into a smooth ball.

Pinch off a lump of dough to use for decorating (this is for the Santa face) and reshape both pieces into smooth balls. Flatten large ball with hands to a 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick cake on a buttered sheet of foil or a 14-inch pizza pan, depending upon the shape you want to make.

Clip dough with floured kitchen scissors with scissors pointed to the middle. Twist these strips of dough together to make the whiskers/sun rays. Then you can be creative and sha
pe the remaining dough into eyes, cheeks, and mustache how you see fit. Of course the sun design comes out fine as well. My bread (pictured above) didn't exactly look like a Santa.

Let dough rise, uncovered, in a warm place until well puffed, 30 to 45 minutes. Brush surface with beaten egg white - don't beat too much. Bake in a 325 oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until richly browned. Serve hot or let cool on a wire rack and wrap airtight. The loaf keeps well for a week at room temperature, but I usually keep it in the fridge. To can figure that out. Pull apart - do not cut - to serve.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

First Post

I tried to get on this blog a while back but was unable to do so. Here was my first attempt a few months back. Thanks A for inviting me. I'll be sure to keep up with the demand...

Digital Vittles

Digital Vittles is the brainchild of our friend J. He and a few other Columbus, OH foodies have put together some great recipes and insider info on great eats.

I planned on joining the fun, but have yet to hear from J. It seems that they are a little slow to allowing others to join or even to put up their own posts.

Instead of waiting around any longer, I'm going to blog here about my first entry for DV...

Each year, my partner, R, wants a cake for her b-day. Now, we're not talking some Betty Crocker crap from the box. Oh no. I made her a cherry-nut cake. You can see what's left of it below and even make your own.

Cherry-Nut Cake
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup Maraschino cherries
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
2 tsp vanilla or almond extract

1. Mix sugar, shortening, salt.
2. Add eggs, one at a time.
3. Mix and sift flour and baking soda in separate bowl.
4. Alterante sour cream and flour mix to first two ingredients.
5. Add vanilla.
6. Fold in cherries and nuts.
7. Divide into three pans.
8. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Butter Cream Frosting
1. Cream 2/3 cup shortening and 1 cup butter.
2. Add 1 cup white sugar and BEAT.
3. Add two egg whites and 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract.
4. BEAT. BEAT. BEAT. BEAT...(You get the idea.) until fluffy.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

This dessert is soooo Web 2.0!

We had a couple friends over for dinner on Friday and - being a weekday and all - I really didn't have much time for food prep. So I ordered some outstanding take 'n bake pizza and made a tiramisu the night before.

Never having made tiramisu before, and being all geeky, I naturally turned to the internets to guide me. I made a few changes to the recipe, which I've reproduced below. It really is unbelievably delicious, and so easy it almost seems criminal. As with most of my favorite recipes, it's not extremely authentic, but it is much easier than the original, which means that I'll actually make it more than once.

Don't think about caloric content for this one. That would be a bit of a downer.

Original recipe here, on

Easy tiramisu

  • (2) 8 oz. containers marscapone cheese
  • (1) 8 oz. container whipped cream cheese
  • 1 C sugar
  • 4 t. vanilla extract
  • 4 T Kahlua (one mini bottle)
  • 4 T grated dark (70%) chocolate

  • 1 C whipped cream (not sweetened)
  • 1 package ladyfingers (sorry, I threw the wrapper away, but I used one Whole Foods 365 brand package ... probably around 30 cookies)
  • 1 freshly brewed shot of espresso
  • 4 T dutch process cocoa powder
Whisk the first 6 ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. Line the bottom of an 8 X 8 cake pan with 1/2 package of ladyfingers and brush with about 1/2 of the espresso. Spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture in the pan. Add the remaining ladyfingers in a single layer and brush with remaining espresso. Top with the rest of the cheese mixture and sift the cocoa powder over the top. Cover well and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Serves 10.

Friday, April 13, 2007

abby recommends: fressen in toronto


we had:
organic white wine from argentina.
freshly squeezed apple & ginger juice, mixed with rum.
fresh lemony spinach pesto mixed with hand rolled barley and potato gnocchi (gluten free) tossed with asparagus and olives.
homemade basil fettucine.
steamed bundled asparagus on a warm bed of tahini creamed quinoa (wheat and gluten free) with miso hemp butter.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

foodie::public education

11 April 2007.
New York Times:
The Teacher Ate My Homework

About a culinary high school in New York. Love it; love it.