Saturday, November 29, 2008

AGAIN with the caramel! Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

This month the Daring Bakers have careened back into the sweet lane in a big way. Our project this month was a Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting. AIEEEE! Caramel again. Caramel frustrates me. And I'll admit that in this recipe (which I will link to at the end of the post) the caramel scared me a little too. Not only making caramel, but making a dark caramel (there is a fine line between dark caramel and burned caramel, trust me!) and then adding water to it? Yikes.

I made the cake over 2 days. The first day in the morning I made the caramel. The recipe calls for you to use a small pot with tall sides. I used my largest pot, to try to prevent any spattering when the water was added. On the Daring Baker private blog, someone mentioned that they covered their pot with foil and poured the water thru a small hole in the top. Because I was already nervous I decided to try that too.

Thank you to whomever suggested that!

20 seconds after I took that picture, our camera died.

I cooked the sugar and water over medium heat until it was a dark(ish) color. I cooked it without stirring, which I believe is the correct way. When we were happy (and getting worried about burning it) with the color, the foil lid went on, and we slowly poured in the water. Holy cow. Again, thanks to the person who suggested the foil. It sounded pretty vicious under there. We continued to cook the caramel until it felt sticky. Then it came off the heat and was set aside to cool.

I had originally planned to only make the caramel on the first day, so I could get some other chores and errands done. But after the caramel had cooled for a while, I noticed that it was getting thick. Really, really thick, to the point where it was not pourable. Did we cook it too long? I don't know, but I knew that if I didn't make the cake then, and if that caramel got any harder it would be unusable, and I wouldn't have another chance to make the cake before the posting date. So I changed my plans and made the cake. The caramel was very stiff, and I was pretty sure I had ruined the cake. I had to cook the cake, covered with foil, for an extra 15 minutes to get it cooked through. The edges got a little crisp, but mmmmmmm, it tasted good.

I let the cake cool overnight, and made the frosting the next day. The frosting is a brown butter frosting, with powdered sugar and salt and thinned with cream or caramel. I was right in my caramel assumption, it was hard as a rock. So I used milk in my frosting. This frosting may be the best frosting I've ever had! I made only a half batch of it, which I found was more than enough for the cake. If there had been any more of it, I would have sat down with a spoon and eaten it all. But that would be wrong.

When I had taken the cake out of the oven the day before I had cut off a little corner of the cake to make sure it hadn't over baked and that I hadn't wrecked it with the firm caramel, I'd made the cake uneven. So before frosting Scott trimmed off one side of the cake. While I was watching him frost the cake, I broke off a little piece, added a dollop of frosting and wow. One of the best cakes I've ever made. I frosted a little piece for Scott and he stopped work on the cake so we could sit down and share the rest of the trimmings. The smoky sweetness of the caramel in the cake with the sweet-salty frosting is truly delicious.

I had planned to take some photos of the cake sliced up, but after we'd gobbled down the scraps in 2 seconds, I knew that would be a bad idea. The cake was left whole until the next day when it was divided up into containers to dole out to my tasters.

November 2008 Daring Bakers project: Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting.
Recipe by Shuna Fish Lydon
Hosts: Dolores, Alex, Jenny, and Natalie.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge 34 Round up and theme for December (35)

Gingerbread Waffles from Je Mange la Ville!

A large hug and thank you to Ani of Foodie Chickie for hosting Weekend Cookbook Challenge for November. Her Diner Food round up is here.

This time of the year is so busy, I thought about putting WCC on hiatus for December. But what the heck, let's go for it! I hope that the theme I've chosen for December you'll be able to fit into your busy schedule - Appetizers.

So whip up any appetizer you'd like, from any source you'd like - book, magazine, newspaper, internet, etc. Take a photo, write about it, and send me a link by December 30. So that gives you lots of time, and I pledge right now that I will share at least 3 appy recipes for you before WCC 35 is over!

My email be iliketocook AT shaw DOT ca.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bread Baking Babes - Rosendal Crisp Bread

This month our Bread Baking Babe kitchen hostess is Gorel. Gorel lives in Sweden (lucky!) and chose a recipe for us from Cafe Rosendal in Stockholm. Gorel has chosen a knäckebröd, also known as a crisp bread. This crisp bread is made with Rye flour, and also has a rye sourdough starter in it.

Thank goodness for Mary, who helped us revive our sourdough starters and turn them into rye sourdough starters, although Gorel did provide us with a rye starter recipe. Good ole Craterface was nice and perky which sort of surprised me as I have paid him no attention since June.

Once you have made your rye sourdough starter, or turned part of your own starter to a rye starter, your finished dough only needs one 30 minute rise before you are ready to roll out the dough and get baking.

The most fun part of this recipe is topping the dough. The recipe suggests sprinkling the crispbreads with caraway seed and salt. We tried all sorts of things including
Roasted Grains of Paradise and Salt
Cayenne Pepper
Montreal Chicken Seasoning
Cinnamon and Sugar
and I know there were more, but I can't think of them now. Sorry.

The Roasted Grains of Paradise and Salt and the Spike were my favorite. The flavor of the breads themselves were milder than I had expected, and we really enjoyed them. How thick you roll your dough of course depends on if your breads were chewy or crisp. We got some of both, but the chewy ones were definitely the ones I preferred.

Thank you to Gorel for another great BBB recipe! Please visit her blog to see this months recipe.
You can find links to all the babes blogs over to the right.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

That Cookbook Thing II - Tournedos Sautés Chasseur

We're back again for another installment of That Cookbook Thing II. To recap so far our little group has collectively cooked the following Julia Child et al recipes:
Soupe a l'Oignon Gratinee
Sauce au Cari
Rapee Morvandelle
Poulet au Porto

Tonight I'm sharing with you Julia's (et al) recipe for Tournedos Sautés Chasseur, also known as Filet Steaks with Mushroom and Madeira Sauce. I must have missed an email along the way, suddenly this week 3 of our group posted their thoughts on the recipe, and I hadn't given it a second of thought since mid-October!

I went out at lunch and bought the necessary ingredients today. I almost didn't go through with it as today was an a$$ kicking day at work, but mushrooms? steak? booze? butter? Who can say no?

Before we go Further, here's the recipe, over at Mikes: here!

Didja take a look? I made a couple of changes along the way:
1. I did not saute the bread rounds in butter. I toasted them in the toaster. I had planned on buttering them before plating, but I forgot. Which is probably a good thing for my butt.
2. I did not use a tournedo cut of beef. I was under a time constraint so I bought 2 nice looking tenderloin steaks, which is our favorite anyway.
3. I did not wrap the meat in fat. My body is already wrapped in fat. Enough said.
4. I used Sherry instead of Maderia. Because I had Sherry and I didn't have Maderia.
5. I forgot the parsley. I chopped it, but forgot to garnish. Ooops.

Here's a picture of the final plate:

ooooh, yeah! This was good, better than I expected. I hate, hate, HATE panfried steak, but in this case (perhaps because of the sauce?) you couldn't tell it was panfried. The sauce was completely delicious; I can imagine it would make almost anything taste yummy. Not only that, but it was actually a fairly quick dish. Once you've got everything ready to go (mise en place, baby!) dinner is only a few minutes away.

Please check out the rest of the groups efforts: Mike, and Ruth, Mary, Deborah, Mary, Shaun, Elle and Kittie.

And wish them luck in tackling the last recipe of our joint effort, as I'll be sitting it out. I'll be posting links to all their glorious posts though, so stay tuned!

Happy Friday!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge - Stuffed Giganto Burger

Diner Food is the theme of this months Weekend Cookbook Challenge as chosen by our hostess Ani from Foodie Chickie. I instantly knew what I was going to make - a burger. Many many many years ago when I worked at a restaurant in Calgary, my co-workers and I would visit a small diner in our neighborhood a couple of times a month. The place was small and served the most amazing burgers. They did them old school, served open face on a piece of toast instead of bread. So, so good.

I found the inspiration for my WCC recipe this month in a cookbook from the 70's that I bought at a book sale last month - Better Homes and Gardens All Time Favorite Barbecue Recipes.

You can just tell that there are going to be some gems in there, can't you.

I was instantly drawn to their recipe for Giant Stuffed Grillburger - 2 huge hamburger patties surrounding a savory filling. A jumbo burger to serve 8 people? Why not? Well, there's only 2 of us, but we're not afraid of leftovers.

I've switched around the recipe from the book, omitting, adding, adjusting. Here's what you need to make my version:

Stuffed Giganto Burger

850 g lean or extra lean ground beef
4 shallots thinly sliced
1 tsp oil
1 egg
1 cup stuffing mix (dry)
1/4 cup water
2 tb bbq sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
4 green onions sliced
handful italian parsley, chopped
2 cheese slices
extra bbq sauce for basting
ketchup, mustard and relish for serving

Heat the oil in a small pan and saute the shallots until soft and slightly brown. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg. Add the dry stuffing mix and the water and stir to combine. Mix in the cooked shallots, bbq sauce, lemon juice, sliced onions and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper (light on the salt as the stuffing mix is seasoned). Set aside.

In another bowl, place your meat and some salt and pepper. Mix well and divide the meat in half. Place two large pieces of parchment paper or foil on the counter and place one piece of meat in each one. Press and form the meat into 2 large patties, approximately 8 inches in diameter.

Place the stuffing mixture on one of the patties, leaving a 1/2 inch or so border.

Rip the 2 cheese slices into pieces and place on top of the stuffing.

Carefully place the other patty on top. Press, squeeze and pat the edges together. Try to seal any holes.

Preheat your grill to medium. Carefully place your big ole burger on the grill. I read afterward (of course) that the book suggests you use a grill basket. This would make it easier, but is not necessary. Brush some bbq sauce on the burger, and cook, covered for 12 minutes.

Use a couple of big flippers and carefully turn the patty over. Brush the other side with sauce, and cook, lid down for another 10 minutes.

If you like, give the patty a little cut and poke to make sure the beef is cooked through. Then carefully remove from the grill to a large platter. I put my spatula next to it so you can see how big it is. It's huge!

Look at that inside. Lovely and soft and gooey. Thanks cheese!

Cut into wedges and serve with ketchup, mustard and relish. You could put it in a bun, but you've got bread on the inside already. But hey, it's your dinner.

This was crazy good! It really isn't any more work than "regular" burgers and tasted terrific. Definitely going on my make again list.

Get your Diner themed posts for Weekend Cookbook Challenge to Ani by November 24. Her email is foodiechickie AT yahoo DOT com.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge 33 Roundup and Theme for 34

Many thanks to Lisa at Confesstions of an Apron Queen for hosting Weekend Cookbook Challenge in October. Our theme was Fall Vegetables, and you can check out the delicious round up right here.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup from Kitchen Bliss.

November's WCC (#34!) will be hosted by the lovely Ani from Foodie Chickie. Ani has chosen
My Favorite Diner Meal as our theme.

So get your diner related dishes to Ani by November 24. Her email is foodiechickie AT yahoo DOT com.