The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.
My version is simply a stacked profiterole, filled with coffee custard. I chose not to include the caramel because my oldest daughter just got orthodontics. So not only would I be torturing her to include the stuff, but I would assured even more bills from the crafty orthodontist.
I'd like to start a new running thread about food finds in Ann Arbor. For those locals who read, some of these will not be new to you even though they are to me. I often find that I've come upon a small treasure that I would love to share. The Last Bite provides me an excellent platform to do just that. I will try to include a picture in order to entice you. But as this week's post will show, that's not always possible if my camera is left at home. Or if someone in my house eats it first.
Found in A2 #1 Who are you Sweet Caroline? Your faux-reos haunt me. Sweet, old fashioned and even gritty (I mean this in a good way) icing in between two fabulously chocolatey wafers. If you have any left after a couple days, I think they even improved with time. This is how oreos tasted back in the 80s before they took the trans fat out.
Check them out at the counter of Sparrow Market in Kerrytown. Buy twice as many as you think you want. Just leave one for me.
It's such a simple thing really, a stromboli. Make yourself some pizza dough, or buy it, doesn't matter to me. Let it rise, stretch out a pizza's worth, fill it with dry toppings, in this case, mozzarella, parmesan (not ricotta or then it would be called a calzone), salami and chopped green olives. Roll it in on itself as you would a burrito. Place on a baking sheet seam side down, brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 25 minutes at 450degrees. Or until it looks like this...
Wait for them to cool before you tear into them. We usually serve these with a side of warmed up marinara and a simple salad.
Salami and green olives are just one of one million possible combinations. Look in your fridge & pantry and go crazy!
Have you noticed at your friendly local supermarket that Yoplait now does a greek version of their fabulous yogurt? Yoplait, through a program called Blog Spark, provided me with a free sample of their new product (in addition to a lovely prize pack designed to "nourish my inner greek goddess").
Look at this gorgeous stuff. It's a very typical greek yogurt, smooth, creamy and tangy, but thick enough to hold it's texture on a spoon. I chose the plain version to test. Yoplait also makes strawberry, blueberry, and honey vanilla, all which would compliment the natural flavor of the yogurt wonderfully.
Around here we're sprouting asparagus everywhere, and I'm not sick of it yet. No sir, I am not. Check back in a few weeks. But I've been looking for ways to use the locally picked hand-snapped stuff from my garden and the farmer's market.
Here's one great example, an afternoon snack or pre-dinner nibbler. Steam one pound of them in one cup of salted water and juice from half of a lemon. After 2-3 minutes, drain and shock them in ice water. Dry well before serving along side curry dip.
Curry dip (or sandwich spread)
ingredients :: one 6 oz container Yoplait greek yogurt two teaspoons curry powder one half teaspoon turmeric one teaspoon fine sea salt three or four drops hot sauce (or more to taste)
directions :: Combine ingredients. Allow to sit in refrigerator for one hour before serving.
Dip steamed veggies or tandori beef kabob. For a different application, spread on sandwich of sliced roasted chicken breast, sliced mango and sprouts.
** Yoplait & BlogSpark would love one of you to try this yogurt too. If you are interested in the free trial, let me know in a comment below which flavor Yoplait greek yogurt you would most like to try.
After a vacation I typically have so much pent up culinary creativity from eating all of these amazing things but not making any myself. Often I can't help but come home and cook up a storm despite the piles of things that *really* need to be done.
Homemade tortillas, not so necessary, but fun, yes.
This is the chaos in my kitchen, not often pictured on this blog, yet often photographed. My ten year old commented tonight that she loved "this atmosphere." And yes, my darling, I do too. All six of us bouncing around in there making food, making family ... love. Well, you know what I mean.
Listening to one of our favorite Latin albums (open in a new tab for simultaneous music), we made homemade corn tortillas in honor of Cinco de Mayo. We have not a single drop of Mexican blood in us, but we had a blast. Dad, the mixologist, cranked out a few homemade margaritas for us parents, and the kids and I worked on the tortillas and fillings for fajitas.
These hand pressed tortillas were smaller than a traditional store bought number. Perfect for a two bite fajita.
Tortilla two cups fine masa (yellow corn flour) 1 1/4 cups water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon Adobo powder
Combine in mixer for two minutes. Split into 16 even balls.
Press in tortilla press (available at a local latin market, or Amazon). In an ungreased pan, fry them until dark patches appear. Flip. Fillings
breakfast :: still full from the night before. fruit and a coffee suffices
Patois This might be my restaurant heaven. I suppose there's no such thing as a perfect restaurant, but all around this was a fabulous place. I adored the ambiance in this out of the way gem. A subdued jazz guitar strummed in the background, gentle lighting, friendly staff, idyllic menu graced our Sunday brunch. It was certainly a far cry from the chaos of the Jazz Fest. We might have been the only tourists in the place. It's on Laurel Street, out past the Garden district, almost bordered by the Audobon Park, & close to Tulane.
mussels swimming in a tomato wine broth topped with duck fat fries and Crystal aoli With these as apps, we didn't really need entrees but hey, that's what vacation is for.
house cured pork belly, fried tomato, poached egg, cheddar on brioche
pulled pork, on a southern biscuit, topped with poached egg and crystal hollandaise. Served with the best collards I've had in a long time. Think there might have been some bacon in there.
dinner :: Emeril's Still full from lunch (at home we would have skipped dinner), but pushing forward... This was all great, but coming from Patois I was not over-whelmed.
bacon salad. hah. three slices of emeril's bacon. sitting on top of pickled cabbage, topped with radish and daikon
barbeque shrimp with a rosemary biscuit
ribeye topped with cherry tomatoes and maytag blue, accompanied by three stellar onion rings
** banana cream pie and chocolate peanut butter mousse pie - best desserts we had in town.
breakfast:: cafe beignet cafe au lait and (lesser, but not bad) beignet
lunch:: Deanie's (sent here by recommendation from my dear old dad) barbequed shrimp sauced and crawfish po'boy
A non-eating food experience that is a don't miss :: The Southern Food and Beverage Museum. This is a phenomenal collection of narratives, photos, collectibles, and food/cocktail related antiques. The curator told me that after Katrina they took the abandoned Limited storefront at the end of the Riverwalk mall and converted it into this museum. After being on our feet all day, walking the city, hopelessly trying to walk some of our food into digestion, we were tired after being in this museum for an hour. But the information in here was very interesting, and I would definitely suggest starting out a day of sightseeing when they open one day. Don't miss the Spoiled exhibit by Tom Varisco about post-Katrina refrigerators left on the curb.
dinner :: Cochon **best dinner by far Chef Donald Link has won awards for his creole restaurant Herbsaint, a few blocks from Cochon. In the introduction of his cookbook, Real Cajun, (that won the James Beard award last night for an American Cooking category, btw) he speaks to opening Cochon as an outlet to make and sell the real food that he grew up with. And this is what he has successfully done, present a menu full of creative versions of southern comfort food.
fried alligator tossed in a spicy garlic aoili with mint leaves. an awesome combination. you'd think the mint would be weird, but it wasn't. it was perfect.
fried cauliflower with spicy vinegar. never have to sell me on cauliflower, but if you are not a fan, this is the way to go.
appetizer order of spicy grilled pork ribs with a watermelon pickle (*amazing**)
smoked beef brisket with horseradish potato salad (perfectly seasoned with a strong creole mustard kick)
After being so impressed by the sauces of Donald Link , I was looking for a way to bring some of him home with me. I noticed that his shop, Butcher, was still open around the corner. Actually we were informed when we entered that they had just closed, but I begged them to sell me four different sauces that they had in the shop, BBQ, creole mustard, housemade hot sauce, and grapefruit marmalade. I was happy that they agreed, not properly thinking ahead to my airport trip the next day. It did cross my mind this morning, as a matter of reducing carry-on weight, to put the jars in the suitcase, but I had brought some pretty fabulous dresses for the evenings out and was visualizing BBQ sauce down the front. So I opted to carry the suckers on, until later, when my dream was crushed by the surly TSA agent who informed me that the rule of no liquids also applied to me. Honestly I thought of opening them and offering her a taste, in order that she would let me through, but then I really didn't want to see handcuffs in my future. So valuable were these sauces, way more than their monetary value, that I decided to go back out of security, purchase a check-able suitcase, and a fleece blanket to absorb the bumps at 30,000 ft. I waited in the bag check line, AGAIN, and through security AGAIN, both which had lines 5 times longer and slower than the first time through. This says a lot if you know how much I detest the entire airport process. Honestly I just barely made it in time. With my kids along, I would have thrown them away. I've thrown other forgotten liquids before, but these I was not willing to part with. It is a modern spice trade tale, not too unlike the drama of Ferdinand Magellan, just wanting to bring flavor back home with him.
I think it goes without saying that this will be a week of salads and fruit and grapefruit juice and yogurt, except for Thursday's perpetual 29th birthday. I'll break the fast for that.
Wished I had a chance to taste Boucherie, Green Goddess and Crescent Pie and Sausage Co., but they'll remain an excuse for another visit to the Big Easy.