Dec. 1st, 2014 03:47 pm
telophase: (goku - chewing)
So that post I made last week asking for suggestions for semi-spectacular desserts? This is what I ended up with:

And this is what it looks like when cut open:

It's Serious Eats' Chocolate Decadence Cake, which is a triple-layer bittersweet chocolate cake with chocolate filling, buttercream frosting, and topped with chocolate ganache.

It's denser than it ought to be because it calls for cake flour, and I made it, and as I was icing it, I idly looked to my left, and as my gaze fell on the unopened cake flour box I thought "Huh. I wonder why we bought that?" and then it struck me and I thought "Oh, fuck." Everyone who ate it told me it was great anyway and that they didn't think it needed to be fluffier and I silently thought YOU ARE ALL HEATHENS IT SHOULD BE FLUFFIER and ARGH DO THEY THINK I'M FISHING FOR COMPLIMENTS but merely said "Thank you." It was good that it was flat, in a way, because that meant it fit into a 10x10x4" box, and that fit EXACTLY into the soft-side freezable picnic cooler we got, so it stayed refrigerated all the way down to Mom's, and then all the way to Toby's parents, and then the leftovers made it to my aunt and uncle's house, and the last couple of slices made it back to Mom's.

It was almost a $500 cake, as the recipe I was using for the buttercream frosting had you pour a hot sugar syrup into an egg/butter mixture as you were beating it, and said to beat for 5-10 minutes, until the bowl was no longer warm. 30 minutes of beating later I resorted to wrapping ice cubes in a dish towel and surrounding the base of the bowl on the stand mixer to get it cool. I was terrified that our 25-year-old inherited stand mixer's motor would burn out, but it powered on through, despite getting quite hot to the touch, and seems to have survived. I have to admit that I am vaguely disappointed at not having an excuse to start saving for one of the latest KitchenAid mixers and various accessories (the bowl goes up and down! there's a lid with a spout so you can pour powdered sugar into the bowl while it's mixing and not have a cloud arise and cover the room!).

But the buttercream icing was DELICIOUS, tasting like vanilla ice cream base, so there's that.

Next time: cake flour, a different buttercream that won't kill my mixer (sigh), and perhaps a different recipe with only two layers because as I get older I am finding I much prefer the cake part to the icing part, an opinion that my twelve-year-old self would find HERETICAL.

P.S. I also made whoopie pies. :D
telophase: (Default)
Toby's parents are hosting Thanksgiving this year. I volunteered to make dessert. Suggestions for something semi-spectacular, anyone? The only caveat is that it'll be made up here on Wednesday and driven across the state on Thursday and be consumed on Friday.

I am not afraid of complicated! I've made Momofuku Milk Bar-style layer cakes before! (I'll say, however, that Toby's parents tend to be a bit conservative in tastes, so something like a rhubarb and lime pavlova will probably be eyed with suspicion. Something like a chocolate blackout cake would be more recognizable/welcome to them.)
telophase: (goku - chewing)
I posted abut my lunch on the Facebooks yesterday and today, and I know that it just kills y'all not to know the minutia of my daily meals, so I'm reposting here.

Although the interesting bit is the DIY Instant Noodle recipe (via Serious Eats) that I'm experimenting with.

telophase: (Default)
So friends of our throw an enormous weekend-long party each year near Halloween, and I'm considering doing the Saturday lunch. (Last year, one of our friends made roast beef, and I did Alton Brown's Mashers, and we put together a green salad. It all went over well.)

And what I'm considering doing is enchiladas, because I can make all the components separately ahead of time, then assemble and bake in 9x13" foil pans at the party. (Corn tortillas don't want to sit in a moist environment very long without disintegrating.)

So: make a couple of different types of enchilada (I'm thinking chicken and cheese), and serve with esquites (Mexican street corn salad) and cornbread. I've got a fantastic recipe for cornbread* that bakes up nicely and, more to the point, freezes fantastically so I can make it weeks in advance, take it out of the freezer Friday night or Saturday morning, and it'll be ready to eat on Saturday.

On the side: sour cream and/or crema, cilantro, green onions, extra cheese. Jalapeños for those who want a bit more kick.

I'd need to prep chicken ahead of time, but it's easy enough to poach a bunch and shred it in a stand mixer, then mix whatever flavors I want in there. Cheese enchiladas are simple: shredded cheese, diced onion, both of which can be bought like that. Make two different sauces, one red and one green, perhaps, or one spicy and one mild. At the party, heat the sauce, dip a tortilla in the warmed-up sauce to make it pliable, fill with 1/4 cup of whatever mixture (warmed up, in the case of chicken), roll, put into pan. Top with sauce and shredded cheese, bake at 450°F-ish for 10 minutes or so, put on table.

I'm not sure we have any vegetarians in the group, but the cheese ones would give a veggie option if anyone were so inclined. I'm also not sure how many are showing up at this moment: I think we had around 30-35 for dinner last year, IIRC.

* Sorry, fellow Southerners, I gotta go Yankee on this one: it's got sugar in it. The horror!
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Toby has to work on the 26th and 27th, so holiday travel is delayed a bit. We've got a couple of friends coming over for Christmas dinner tomorrow, and I am preparing this slow-roasted pork shoulder right now, as it takes on the order of 9 hours. I'll gently re-heat it and attempt to re-crisp the skin tomorrow if the cracklins require it.

It is smelling so good. So, so, so good. It's been in the oven for 6 hours, and has 2 or so more to go. We're going to have ramen tonight* with some of it, because I can't smell this all day and not eat some of it.

So far, the recipe's highly recommended and I haven't even tasted it. And the cut was cheap, too: we saw it in Kroger last week, a couple of days later I remembered reading that recipe, and we went back and got a 10-pound pork shoulder for $12 and change. I shall have to cook this more!

* Toby is on a Serious Ramen kick right now.
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Recipe I made up last night while casting around for some sort of vegetable matter to serve with chicken without, and this is important, leaving the house to go get some.

Verdict: not bad, and needs bacon.

Cut for recipe )

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