Martha Stewart's Key Lime Bars

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My local ethnic market had a crazy sale on key limes the other day...I got about 25 limes for under a $1! (Or, about a quarter tank of gas - everything is now calculated in gasoline).

I made Martha Stewart's Key Lime Bars (Cookies book).

A very easy graham cracker crust is baked off, and a filling of sweetened condensed milk, eggs, zest, juice and sugar is whipped up. It was a very easy recipe!

Key Lime Bars

Key Lime Bars Key Lime Bars
Basic graham cracker crust...and the finished bars after chilling in the fridge overnight

Key Lime Bars Key Lime Bars
What seemed like a zillion little limes. I think I used about 25 limes.

Key Lime Bars
I had to warn everyone not to eat the lime garnish. I could have candied some peel...but that didn't happen! Next time!
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Dim Sum and Then Sum

On Sunday, one of the hottest days of the year, I went closer to the sun.

First, my friend Barbara and I went to The Kitchen for dim sum in Alhambra. It was a first visit for both of us, and it was tasty. Armed with Jonathan Gold's review in the LA Weekly, we were sure to order the Salt-and-Pepper Tofu and Green Tea Balls. The rest of the dim sum was pretty typical. It was Hong Kong-style so we ordered off a menu - it wasn't a room filled with carts.

Next, we went to see the newly opened Chinese Gardens at The Huntington in San Marino. The kid's garden was lovely because they had "rainbow makers" AKA misters! And, although I think it is the most beautiful garden in the place, we avoided the Desert Garden because it was sooooo hot.

Here are some photos!

The Kitchen (Alhambra) Dim Sum The Kitchen (Alhambra) Dim Sum
The Kitchen (Alhambra) Dim Sum The Kitchen (Alhambra) Dim Sum
Fried Green Tea Balls filled with sesame bean paste, dumplings, salt-and-pepper tofu at The Kitchen in Alhambra

Huntington Library & Gardens
The Huntington's newest garden

Huntington Library & Gardens Huntington Library & Gardens
Huntington Library & Gardens Huntington Library & Gardens
Huntington Library & Gardens
There was a large lake in the center of the Chinese garden

Huntington Library & Gardens Huntington Library & Gardens
The Rose Levy Botanical Conservatory is filled with wonderful plants and different environments

Huntington Library & Gardens
Japanese Garden at The Huntington
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Twitter

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm trying to learn more tech stuff so I'm now on Twitter.

(Twitter is filled with small updates - updated on the web or txt message)

You should try it too! Let me know and I'll become your follower.

You can also see the feed on the right side of this blog.

http://twitter.com/foodlibrarian
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Cheesecake Pops!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cheesecake Pops
Cheesecake Pops!

This is the April 2008 Daring Bakers challenge - Cheesecake Pops from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. A favorite website Rosa's Yummy Yums has posted the recipe.

It was a lot of fun to create, and were a total hit at work. You should totally make these for a party!!

Cheesecake Pops

The basic idea - bake a cheesecake without the crust in a water bath, chill out, roll into balls, freeze and coat in melted chocolate. I read that a lot of Daring Bakers were having difficulties baking the full recipe...the recipe says 35-45 minutes, and some people had to bake it for over an hour. I ended up making 1/2 the recipe and using a 9-inch cake pan.

This was my first time making a cheesecake with a water bath. Because I made 1/2 the recipe and I used a tall 9x3 pan, the batter only came up 1/3 of the pan. The recipe says to put the pan in a turkey roaster (or similar pan) and fill with boiling water 1/2 way up the side of the pan.

Um. I created a new island. The Cheesecake Island. I added too much water and my poor pan started to float in the vastness of boiling water.

What did I do? Did I mention it was BOILING water? I wasn't about to risk a burn (which I would soooo do to myself), so I just popped my new Hawaiian island into the stove.

In 35 minutes, I had a firm but not brown cheesecake! I can't imagine how long it would have baked if I used all 40 ounces of cream cheese to make the full recipe.

Cheesecake Pops Cheesecake Pops
Cheesecake without the crust is chilled and rolled into little ball

Cheesecake Pops Cheesecake Pops
After freezing, balls are covered in chocolate and dipped in toppings

Cheesecake Pops
Topping choices include: colored sprinkles, UCLA blue and gold sprinkles, and food processed gingersnap cookies

Cheesecake Pops
Cheesecake sitting in a bowl of rice! (I needed something to hold them up)

Cheesecake Pops

Cheesecake Pops
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Martha Stewart Banana - Walnut Chocolate Chunk [Chip] Cookies

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Martha Stewart Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk [Chip] Cookies

Didn’t use walnuts (no nuts for my co-worker) or whole wheat flour (used all AP flour) or chunked chocolate (used chocolate chips)...but, other than that, it is exactly the same as the recipe!

The recipe is in Martha Stewart's Cookie book, and is online here.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

After a series of unfortunate (baking) events, I finally created a product worthy of sharing with others!

By the way, my road to disasters includes AN ACTUAL ROAD.

1. Passover Apple Cake
This was from the Martha Stewart show – Arthur Schwartz’s Passover Apple Cake made with Golden Delicious apples and matzo cake meal. Looked delicious on the show...and came together well…but just didn’t taste very good. I think my apples weren’t very good, and I didn’t put enough batter in the base so the filling just congealed on the bottom.

The failed Passover Apple Cake

2. Vanilla Cupcakes for the Mexican Chocolate-Pudding Cupcakes
Remember Martha's Cupcake Week? I was trying to make these cupcakes. Miss Jessica helped me purchase the deliciouso Ibarra Mexican Chocolate discs. I made the pudding (cooked a bit too much) but was going to pump them into cupcakes. I tried to make the cupcakes on Sunday night and it was a train wreck. The recipe says it yields 18 cupcakes, and I had 20 cupcakes going into the oven. In less than 20 minutes, a crazy explosion of dough in an oven...determining what'll be on my chore list this weekend. Dude, I hate cleaning the oven in a non-self-cleaning oven. These cupcakes look seriously good so it is back on the "things to make" roster.

The failed cupcakes

3. Hitchhiker on the 405
I'm cruising to Long Beach on the 405 freeway, and in addition to the cute little Botts' Dots, there is a shredded tire. And, of course, I run over it. When I arrived at my brother's house, my niece and nephew yell out, "Auntie Food Librarian :), you have a tire under your car!" My car had to be jacked up to remove the huge tire piece!

2008_04FoodLibrarian 614b
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BakeFlix - Sending Goodies to Friends

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter & Ginger Chocolate Cookies

Why was I baking all weekend? I wanted to send some cookies to three librarian friends (across the land - I'll explain that in a second).

Recently, I made the cookie dough for Dorie Greenspan's Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters and Chocolate Ginger Cookies...and froze them in little balls. (Freeze them on a cookie sheet for a few hours first, then transfer to Ziplock bags)

Then, I simply baked them after they sat out a little bit (I had to roll the Chocolate Ginger ones in the sugar-ground ginger mixture). This is really a great technique. You should have emergency cookie dough available at all times! :)

I wanted to test out what baked goods traveled well so I enlisted several librarians to conduct some "research." Brian P is in the Bay Area, Sunshine is in Duluth and Diane B is in Maryland. I wanted a West Coast, Mid-West and East Coast "researcher." I filled a plastic container with food and bubble wrap and then placed this in a priority mail flat-rate box.

I mailed them on Monday and Brian P reported that he got his today (Wednesday). I'll let you know which item traveled the best and worst...

Mailing Cookies to Friends
Citrus Pound Cake Mini-Loaf, Double Chocolate Brownies, Chocolate Chip/Oatmeal/Peanut Butter Chipsters...

Mailing Cookies to Friends
Ginger Chocolate Cookies, and Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Citrus Pound Cake Mini-Loaves

Citrus Pound Cake

I made some mini-loaves of pound cake from the Baking Illustrated cookbook (page 330). I added some lemon and orange zest to the pound cake recipe.

I'm getting tired catching up with my blog entries tonight (while watching Top Chef)...so I'll just say that I made them! :)

Citrus Pound Cake
Although there is crazy lighting in this photo...this mini-loaf was cute. I love mini-things.
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Martha Stewart's Double Chocolate Brownies

Double Chocolate Brownies
Double Chocolate Brownies.
No explanation needed.
Chocolate and Chocolate in brownie form.
Yum.

From Martha Stewart's Cookie cookbook (page 287). I didn't find it online - this one uses Dutch-processed cocoa, semi-sweet chocolate, and no nuts.
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Martha Stewart's Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Finally, a recipe that worked out!

This is Martha Stewart's Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I think they might benefit from more chocolate chips...but they were soft and tasty.

This is recipe #3 I tried from the Martha Stewart Cookies book..and here is the recipe online.

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Martha Stewart Dried Cranberry Shortbread

Dried Cranberry Shortbread

Here is another recipe I tried this during my weekend o' baking in a heatwave.

And, this one didn't work out either!

Again from the Martha Stewart Cookies book...here is the recipe online.

The recipe calls for you to cut them into little hearts...but I couldn't find that cutter so I cut them into little circles.

I haven't had fresh shortbread...when I hear shortbread, I think Girl Scout Trefoils! :) These turned out a little weird. Strange texture and not as buttery as I "think" it should be...I'll try these again at a later date...perhaps when it isn't 100 degrees outside.

Dried Cranberry Shortbread
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Martha's Chocolate (Rock Hard) Pretzels

Chocolate Pretzel

This past weekend, Los Angeles started going to hell. Well, not literally...but we went through a huge heatwave. Records were broken all over town. Long Beach hit 95 degrees (35 C)!

So, of course, I turned on the oven and baked all weekend.

Chocolate Pretzel

Recently, I heard Border's Bookstores is going through some tough times (read: trying to prevent filing for bankruptcy protection), so I headed off to cash in my holiday gift card! I picked up the new Martha Stewart's Cookies book. Although you can get many of the recipes online through her website, this book captures all the classics and has some really wonderful photography.

I tried to make the Chocolate Pretzel cookies. First, they look so darn cute! I love me the Super Pretzel, so I wanted to make these cookies as soon as I saw the photo. And, I have a whole jar of sanding sugar I picked up at Surfas that I would get to use!

Unfortunately, I ended up with a rock hard, dry, and yucky mess. I actually spit it out. Now, I love Martha so I must have done something grossly wrong - and will try again later. Or, why don't you try and report back to me? Here is the recipe.

Chocolate Pretzel
Pre-sanding sugar. I don't know that I'm headed for disaster in 35 short minutes.

Chocolate Pretzel
Although these were inedible, I did enjoy taking some photos of them!
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Blueberry Crumb Cake

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Blueberry Crumb Cake
Ina Garten's Blueberry Crumb Cake

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Did I tell you how much I love my new DVR?! I'm taping Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa each day...and recently she made a Blueberry Crumb Cake! My co-worker and I love Ina. We want to move in with her, eat her food, and have jazzy music accompany us.

I don't have any photos of the "making of..." as my camera batteries were charging last night. Although this is a lovely breakfast food, it cooks for an hour so I wasn't going to get up that early.

Blueberry Crumb Cake
The reviews on the Food Network website said the cake takes longer than 40-50 minutes to cook, and that some cakes rose higher than the 9" cake pan. So, I decided to make mine in a 9" springform (they usually have 3" sides), and I didn't want to attempt to get the cake out of a regular pan with all that topping. My cake ended up cooking for 63 minutes. But it was worth it!

Blueberry Crumb Cake
The streusel topping is lovely - just enough crunch and butter!

I used fresh Chilean blueberries. I folded in 3/4 of the blueberries in the batter, and threw the rest on top of the batter before topping with the streusel - insuring that all the fruit wouldn't fall to the bottom.
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