Sunday, December 27, 2009

Belated Birthday Retry

Due to popular demand (or my incessant demand), Lisa was convinced to remake the wonderful Bûche de Noël (Yule log) she made for my birthday (link), this time with pictures for all to enjoy. If you end up making it and liking it, or liking it and wanting it made, comment below (no guarantees, though). There are a lot of steps, but it's well worth the wait. Anyway, here it goes.

Bûche de Noël

Along with the other ingredients, make sure you have:
Wax/parchment paper
Cocoa powder
Powdered sugar

Cake ingredients:
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites (save the 2 extra egg yolks for the frosting)
8 T sugar (6 for the yolks, 2 for the whites)
1 T vanilla
1/8 t salt
1/4 t cream of tartar
1/2 C flour
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Grease a jelly roll pan, cover it with wax paper, then grease and flour the wax paper.
  3. Separate the egg whites and yolks.
  4. Beat the egg yolks until creamy, adding 6 T sugar gradually, then add 1 T vanilla.
  5. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with 1/8 t salt until frothy, then add cream of tartar. Continue to beat until they hold soft peaks. Add 2 T sugar and beat until they hold stiff peaks.
  6. Fold two mixtures together with 1/2 C flour and 1/4 C cocoa powder until smooth.
  7. Pour mixture into jelly roll pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula.
  8. Bake it for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick test comes clean.
  9. Dust the cake lightly with cocoa powder, cover with wax paper, and let it cool until warm.
  10. Flip the cake, and peel off the wax paper that was originally on the bottom. Dust it with cocoa powder, cover with a new sheet of wax paper, and roll it up.
  11. Set the cake aside and let it cool.

Frosting ingredients:
6 egg yolks
2/3 C sugar
1/4 C water
3 sticks (1 1/2 C) butter, softened
6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1 T vanilla
  1. Beat egg yolks until creamy. Have this and a mixer ready for step 3.
  2. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and boil until it reaches softball stage (238°F).
  3. Immediately pour the water/sugar mixture into the egg mixture with the mixer running, and beat until cool.
  4. Mix the butter, chocolate, and vanilla with the egg mixture.

Assembling the yule log:
  1. Unroll cooled cake and remove the top sheet of wax paper.
  2. Spread half of the frosting on the top of the cake.
  3. Reroll the cake, removing the outer sheet of wax paper.
  4. Cut a small diagonal piece off one of the ends of the roll (to be the branch).
  5. Put the main cake on a plate and frost its outside.
  6. Place the small diagonal piece perpendicular to the main cake and frost it as well.
  7. Scrape the cake with the prongs of a fork to make it look like bark.
  8. Dust the entire cake with powdered sugar.

Cake Pictures

(Thomas cracking. Eggs, that is.)

(Mixing cake egg portions)

(Adding cocoa powder)

(Lisa spreading the batter onto the jelly roll pan)

(Baked cake with wax paper on top)

(Cake flipped, removing wax paper)

(Cake rolled)

Frosting Pictures

(Lots of butter)

(Butter/chocolate mixture)

(Sugar/water mixture boiling)

(Adding sugar/water mixture to eggs)

(Adding butter/chocolate mixture to eggs)

Assembly Pictures

(Branch removed from log)

(Frosting the cake)

(Almost done...)

(There you go at last!)


Monday, November 30, 2009

Two for One!

A special end-of-November treat for our readers: recipes for TWO delicious foods! We like to have breakfast for dinner fairly often since Thomas doesn't eat breakfast (but he does eat cereal for lunch/dinner....). Tonight was one of those nights! Please enjoy our cooking instructions (and pictures) for Banana Pancakes & Cheese Omelettes:

Banana Pancakes
2 over-ripe bananas
pancake mix and water (for our mix, 1 c mix with 1/2 c water) (or your own recipe for pancake batter)

To start, peel your bananas and place them in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Using a fork or other weapon of your choice, mash the bananas until they are the consistency of baby food or a well-mashed banana.

Next, stir together the appropriate amounts of pancake mix and water as detailed in the instructions on the package, or mix your own pancake batter, with the mashed bananas.

Turn on one burner on your stove. Place a large-sized frying pan on the corresponding burner and pour about a tablespoon of oil into it (or use cooking spray). Pour some batter into the pan once it is heated up enough. A good size for a pancake is between 3 and 5 inches in diameter.

Once the first side is adequately browned, use a spatula to flip your pancake.

After your pancakes are cooked, spot some butter on one side and enjoy with a topping of your choice.

Cheese Omelette
2 eggs
about 2 T milk
1/4 c shredded cheese of your choice

Start by cracking the eggs into a water-tight container of your choice, making sure to discard any shell pieces. Using a fork or whisk, beat the whites and yolks together. Add milk and beat some more until fully mixed.

Place a medium-sized frying pan onto a burner and turn the burner on. Pour in some oil or use cooking spray to coat the inside of the pan. Once the pan is hot, pour in your egg mixture. Ideally, you will hear the egg begin to cook as you pour it into the pan. See that the egg coats the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat to a low setting and cover the pan.

After a few minutes (be sure to check often) your egg will be mostly cooked through. There may be a bit of runny egg on the top side of what's in the pan, but that is alright. Using a spatula, VERY carefully loosen the sides of your round cooked egg mixture and flip the entire thing over in the pan. It's not the end of the world if it breaks or folds in on itself, although it will make the next step more challenging.

After flipping your cooked egg, sprinkle your shredded cheese onto one half of it. Use your spatula to fold the empty side over the cheesy side, and then cover once more. Once the cheese is melted, remove the now-finished omelette from the pan and place on a plate.

Our delicious meal: (Note: we did not eat the plant pictured on the table)

Always remember to clean up right away!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tonight's Supper

Today we add another entry to our arsenal, along with pictures.

Tuna and Cheese on Bread

Tho' difficult, this recipe results in culinary delight (to those that like it). Ingredients needed are as follows:

1 9x13 Pyrex® pan
6 slices of bread
3 5-ounce cans of tuna
5/16 C mayonnaise (approximately)
Cheddar cheese, sliced (enough to cover all the bread)

Note: It also helps to have an oven.

1. Combine tuna (after draining the water) with mayonnaise.
2. Lay slices of bread in 9x13 pan.
3. Spread tuna/mayo mixture over bread.
4. Lay slices of cheese over the tuna/mayo mixture.
5. Put in the oven at broil for about 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is slightly browned.
6. Take out of the oven.
7. Dish, using a spatula, onto a plate or into a bowl.
8. Best eaten with a fork (not on the side, but to shovel it into your mouth).

For photos of the process, see below:

(Ingredients, excluding pan)

(Bread in 9x13 Pyrex® pan)

(Sliced cheese, with knife)

(Tuna/mayo mixture)

(Final product prior to being broiled)

(Final product after being fried: DO NOT try this at home)

(Final product after being broiled)


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

First Recipe Post!

The following is a scrumptious cookie recipe that we got from Thomas' family (thanks Liz!). Thomas sent it to me over the summer while I was home in California, where I made these cookies for the first time.

They're not as sweet as "normal" chocolate chip cookies, and they've got a softer, spongier texture, but I think I'd choose them over the "normal" ones any day! Also, I thought I had some pictures of the ones I made over the summer, but unfortunately I can't find any on my computer. (**UPDATE 9/5/2010 : photos added from 8/28/2010**)

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 C shortening
1/2 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
3 C raw grated zucchini
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
3 1/4 C flour
1 C choc chips

Mix all together and bake at 350°F.

Now, Thomas is the baking expert, and he'll tell you that the amount of flour and the baking temperature can vary. He likes to bake one to three cookies as a trial run at the beginning to determine whether the dough needs more flour. Also, it is very important to watch these ones in the oven.... you don't want to overcook! I don't remember exactly how long they should bake, but shoot for about 9-10 minutes. This recipe will yield about 5 dozen cookies.

we mixed our batter with an electric hand mixer

yummy cookies on our table! with banana bread on right.