Monday, January 25, 2021

Chocolate Pear Galette des Rois

Someone in the neighborhood was selling homemade galette des rois, which I'd never heard of. They looked so beautiful I wanted to try it myself. Plus there was the fun aspect of finding out who would be king for a day. I misread the instructions and missed 1/3 of the nuts in the mixture and the filling oozed out of the crust and came out boiling in butter. However, despite the ugly appearance it tasted delicious and I would make it again with adjustments (following the right ratio as well as changing the baking temperature). It was very fun to see who would be king of the day - it came down to the 11th slice out of 11 to find out! XBD and DBD each made a crown for the winner, who proudly wore it on the 3rd and 4th days.

I used 2 different recipes - 1 for the puff pastry and 1 for the filling. They each had different baking temperatures - next time I would follow the higher temperature as advised by the pastry recipe. The higher temperature is supposed to help the butter steam and make it puff up. The lower temperature just melts the butter slowly and doesn't puff up.

Puff Pastry

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1.25 c butter (2.5 sticks) - cold
  • 1/2 c - 3/4 c cold water

Filling

  • 2 pears, peeled
  • tiny amount of coconut oil
  • 60 g of dark chocolate (70%+)
  • 150 g of almond flour or cashew meal
  • 150g butter (or replace up to 100 g applesauce)
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg for topping
  1. Prepare the pastry: 
    1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.
    2. Slice in the butter in 1/4" chunks, coating with flour.
    3. Stir in the water minimally until a thick dough forms. Do not overmix - just until the flour comes together. The butter should still be in chunks.
    4. Shape into a ball and flatten. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour in the fridge (or 30 min in the freezer).
  2. Form layers in the pastry:
    1. Place dough on floured surface. Roll into rectangle shape.
    2. Fold in thirds. Turn 90 degrees, roll and fold in thirds again.
    3. Repeat 4 times.
    4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill overnight (or at minimum 2 hours)
  3. Make the filling:
    1. Slice each pear into 8-12 pieces.
    2. Heat the coconut oil in a pan and saute the pear for several minutes.
    3. Add a small amount of sugar to caramelise them, cooking additional minutes.
    4. Set aside.
    5. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and butter (and optional applesauce).
    6. Add the almond/cashew meal and 2 eggs, mixing until combined.
  4. Assemble the galette:
    1. Divide the pastry into 2 pieces (slightly uneven is ok). Put one back in the fridge.
    2. Roll one piece into a circle. Place on parchment paper on baking sheet.
    3. Spread the filling in the middle, leaving 1.5 inches clear around the edge.
    4. Place a whole almond near the filling edge.
    5. Place pears on top.
    6. Sprinkle with the chocolate chunks. Place in fridge.
    7. Take out the other half of the pastry and roll into a circle.
    8. take out the bottom and water the edge lightly to help the pastry stick. Place the second half on top and seal the edges, to close it up firmly. Press down on the edges with a fork to ensure it's fully closed.
    9. Beat the last egg and brush on top. Use a sharp knife to score a decorative pattern in the pastry. Place in fridge.
  5. Bake the galette:
    1. Original recipe calls for baking 20-30 min at 350F. However, I would instead try:
    2. Preheat oven to 400F. 
    3. Take the prepared tray straight from the fridge and into the preheated oven. Bake for 10 min at 400 and then reduce heat to 375 until done.
    4. Cool on wire rack. 
    5. Serve immediately and save leftovers on the counter for a day, or in the fridge for a couple days. Whoever gets the almond is king for a day!


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Gingerbread House

I've bought a kit the past few times we've put together gingerbread houses but with so much extra time at home I figured I'd try making them from scratch. This is a multi-day project. Day 1 make the dough. Day 2 bake the shapes. Day 3+ build and decorate. This was enough to make 4 small houses and 3 cookie people.

  • 6.5-7 c flour
  • 1 heaping T ginger
  • 1 heaping T cinnamon
  • 2 dashes of allspice
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temp (1 cup = 227 g)
  • 1.25 c dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c molasses
  • 1 lemon's zest
  • Icing: egg whites, confectioner's sugar
  • Decorations: candy, sprinkles, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, nuts
  1. In a side bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, soda, powder and salt.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar (at least 5 min).
  3. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Add molasses.
  4. Add half the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add half the remaining and combine again. Add the remainder. Sprinkle zest in and stir, adding more flour to reduce stickiness until the right consistency.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Day 2
  1. Cut the dough into thirds (or halves or quarters, depending on the size of your house). Roll each piece to 1/4" thick (no more than 1/3" thick), between 2 pieces of parchment (or parchment and the plastic wrap). 
  2. Use a template and cut out two of each: sides, front, roof. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheet. [I explored several templates and decided to try a medium-small size]
  3. Bake at 350 for 17-20 min until done.
  4. Transfer the parchment paper to a cooling rack. If the shapes have spread or have uneven sides, slice them right away while still soft. Continue to cool on rack. 
  5. Repeat with remaining pieces for each house. Roll out any remaining dough into cookies and bake for slightly less (house pieces bake for longer to ensure they are nice and sturdy). 
  6. Store on flat surface, separated by parchment paper to continue to dry out overnight.
Day 3 (or 4, 5, 6)
  1. Make the mortar icing.
  2. If you don't have a tray that isn't needed for a week+, then wrap a piece of cardboard in aluminum foil as a base.
  3. Brace yourself and then assemble the pieces using the icing on the tray/base.
  4. Decorate with candy and sprinkles (or do this on a later day).   

Friday, January 1, 2021

Garlic Lemon Shrimp

I had a giant lemon and used the juice from all of it - and so this came out super lemony. I think it would have been nice with just a tablespoon of lemon juice instead of what probably amounted to 1/3 of a cup or so. 

  • 454 g (1 lb) of deveined shrimp (or up to 1.5 pounds)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 stick of butter (half a cup, divided)
  • salt + pepper
  • 1/4 c chicken broth
  • some fresh lemon juice (1/2-1 small lemon)
  1. Thaw the shrimp and peel, leaving tail on (optional, for extra flavor). 
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in pan. Add shrimp. Salt and pepper. Cook for 2-2.5 min until pink, flipping after 1 min. Remove to bowl.
  3. Add 1 more tablespoon of butter and saute the garlic until aromatic. Add the lemon juice and broth. Bring to boil then simmer until reduced. Add remaining butter 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until incorporated.
  4. Add shrimp back to pan and stir. Garnish with fresh or dried parsley.
  5. Serve with pasta and vegetables.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Flower Bread

This was a fun new shape to experiment with. However it results in a GIANT bread - which due to a pandemic lockdown, I had no one outside our household to share it with. I would not recommend making it for a single family. I also wanted to make a plain or savory bread, having baked many sweets the previous days. However, I had a small amount of cinnamon-sugar mixture leftover from the swirl cookies, so sprinkled this on the very outer edge. This ended up being my favorite part - which maybe speaks more to my sweet tooth than actually being a better option.

  • the recipe is from: https://www.talesfromthekitchenshed.com/2015/08/flower-bread/
  • but I used olive oil instead of rapeseed oil, and butter instead of spray. I also topped with black pepper, coarse salt, and thyme instead of sunflower seeds (but still had sesame seeds in the middle), as well as a cinnamon-sugar mixture on the very outer edge.
  • Shaping was challenging - perhaps due to the wetness of my dough or the butter instead of spray, the dough layers tended to stick to each other when I flipped them over. Some of them I was able to separate, and some I left as a clump. I think if you can separate them, you can make a nicer layout. 
  • I baked it on a 13" round pizza stone (covered in foil) - which was JUST big enough to fit this bread, considering that it gets bigger after rising. A larger pan would have been ok too.
This was fun to make once but I would probably not make again. Cinnamon Star Bread is still a favorite, and there are some other fun shapes I'd like to try first.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Roasted Turkey Drumsticks

I scored a good price post-thanksgiving on turkey drumsticks, so bought a few to make this lunch. Delicious and easy with a meat thermometer.

  • 4-8 turkey drumsticks (about 10 oz each)
  • high heat oil (avocado oil, but otherwise canola in a pinch)
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1 t thyme
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1 t paprika
  • vegetables: carrots (3-5), mushrooms
  1. Line a roasting pan with foil (to make cleanup easier). Use the high heat oil to coat the roasting rack, allowing it to drip in the roasting pan.
  2. Pat the drumsticks dry with paper towels.
  3. In a bowl, mix the spices.
  4. Melt the butter. Spread it on the drumsticks.
  5. Dip in the spice bowl. Press remaining over meat.
  6. Place on roasting rack. Drizzle any remaining butter over the meat.
  7.  Set meat thermometer in thickest part of meat, not touching the bone.
  8. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes.
  9. Add the chopped carrots and sliced mushrooms in the bottom of the pan.
  10. Cover loosely with foil to prevent burning and bake an additional 10-30 minutes until thermometer reads 165.
  11. Let rest for 10 minutes, still covered in foil.
  12. Serve meat over rice with vegetables.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Cornbread

 I made a big tray for a bbq at the park. It disappeared quickly.

  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 T baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 2/3 c canola oil
  • 1/3 c butter, melted
  • 2 T honey
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2.5 c lactose-free milk
  1. Butter a 9x13 baking dish/tray.
  2. In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients.
  3. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir until moistened.
  4. Pour into baking dish and bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes, or until cracks appear and golden in color.
  5. Let cool. Serve warm, cooled, with butter, or as a side.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Fruit Salad

Nothing better to eat on a hot day than a chilled, colorful fruit salad. Use a variety of fruits - in both colors and textures. Do not use watermelon (too watery). I would also avoid cantaloupe and honeydew, just because they're not as exciting.
  • strawberries, raspberries
  • oranges
  • peaches, nectarines
  • mango
  • banana - ripe but still firm
  • pineapple
  • kiwi, green grapes
  • blueberries
  • passion fruit
  • red grapes
  • cherries
  • blackberries
  • dragonfruit
  • apples, pears
  1. Wash, peel, pit fruit as necessary. 
  2. Cut each into bite size pieces.
  3. Place in large bowl. Mix with juice from orange and/or lemon/lime juice (to prevent browning).
  4. Optional: Include orange zest OR mint.
  5. Chill for several hours or overnight.