Low and Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Low and Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake - TWD
Low and Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake

For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe,The Tea Lady of Tea and Scones selected Low and Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake on page 243 of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Low and Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake - TWD Low and Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake - TWD
Low and Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake - TWD Low and Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake - TWD
This cheesecake was really easy to throw together and didn't even need a water bath! I made 1/4 of the recipe and used my new Cuisinart Elite Collection 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder. I got this as part of the swag bag at BlogHerFood (yes, the swag was awesome!). It is easy to use and perfect for just a little hummus or cream cheese. Luckily, it comes with a little spatula and that made scraping down the sides easier.

Low and Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake - TWD
Chocolate and Cheesecake...a pretty easy and delicious combo, no?

Low and Luscious Chocolate Cheesecake - TWD
Be sure to check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers to see their creations! Happy end of December!

Low and Lush Chocolate Cheesecake on Tea and Scones blog
or page 243 of
Baking: From My Home to Yours.

FTC disclosure: I received the Cuisinart Mini free from Cuisinart as part of the gift/swag bag at BlogHerFood09. I was not paid to review or endorse this product, and the opinions expressed are my own.
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Hello Kitty Wishes you a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hello Kitty Christmas Lawn Decorations
This is my lawn.

Funny what a little plywood, exterior house paint, acrylic paints, clear protective spray paint, wood stick and a tracer/enlarger can make!

Hello Kitty Christmas Lawn Decoration
Special thanks to Mrs. J for lending me her tracer/enlarger. Hello Kitty is basically a line drawing that has made billions of dollars.

Hello Kitty Christmas Lawn Decoration
I wanted to make some unique holiday decorations so I decided to spread the Hello Kitty love. I hope to make a whole Sanrio themed lawn display someday... Pandapple, Little Twin Star, that rabbit friend, tulips and all that is cute.

I'm going to invite my friend Diane down to LA for an "artists retreat" this summer and make her paint them with me (she painted the pink on HK with candy cane over Thanksgiving!) It's important to give your friends a creative outlet, no?! ;)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Food Librarian and her Hello Kitty friends!
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New School of Cooking - Pro Baking 1 - Class 3: Soufflés, Pate a Choux Eclairs and Pastry Cream

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eclairs - New School of Cooking
I'm taking the Pro Baking 1 series at the New School of Cooking in Culver City (Los Angeles) this fall/winter. For Class 3, it was all about the Soufflés, Pate a Choux and Pastry Cream.

Eclairs - New School of Cooking Eclairs - New School of Cooking
I just love how a relatively easy dough, the Pate a Choix, can magically becomes eclairs and cream puffs. Awesome! Here, I made the dough, put it in a pastry bag (the toughest part! :), and piped out several logs. They baked in the oven until brown from the top to bottom and cooled.

Eclairs - New School of Cooking
We filled our eclairs with vanilla pastry cream (be sure to wipe off any excess). We made Chocolate Pudding last week, and it was a similar process. Thou shall not be afraid of the pastry cream anymore! :)

Eclairs - New School of Cooking
Half the eclairs were covered with a SHINY (think Earl Scheib car paint!) chocolate glaze (includes corn syrup and cocoa), and the other half with a chocolate ganache. I like the ganache, but the shiny glaze would also be good on a donut.

Eclairs - New School of Cooking
Left: Chocolate ganache; Right: Chocolate glaze

Eclairs - New School of Cooking
These were pretty filled...some of my other ones were "lightly" filled. Need to work on squirting enough filling in each one!

Chocolate Souffle - New School of Cooking
We also made a chocolate souffle. I completely messed up the "sandy roux" the first time...I had to make it again! I also learned that I probably completely overbeat my eggs! We beat 3 egg whites by hand (for two ramekins). When the instructor said, "most people overbeat their eggs..." and showed us how much to whip them during the demo. My classmate Jennie and I looked and each other and said, OMG. I overbeat!

Next week: Pies. Oh dear. Now that I'm older, I don't think monsters are under my bed. I think pie crusts are down there. They frighten me terribly. I have a lot of learn in this class! I'll let you know how it goes! ;)

I'm going to try to make cream puffs tonight for a party with vanilla and green tea pastry cream. Wish me luck! I'll post about it later!

Have a great weekend! To my East Coast friends...sorry you are being pelted by a snow storm. Um, it's going to be close to 80 degrees today in Los Angeles...if I didn't have to go to work, I'd walk to the beach. (Dear Racheal, Come back!!!)

Recaps of the New School of Cooking, Pro Baking 1 course:
Baking Therapy
Class 1: Quick Breads
Class 2: Custards
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TWD Not. Tuesdays with Pneumonia instead

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection, Macduff of The Lonely Sidecar selected Cafe Volcano Cookies on page 153 of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

I planned to come from work on Tuesdays and make them. They look easy.

But when I got to work on Tuesday, my brother calls to tell me my mom is in the hospital with pneumonia. What?! And it took you EIGHT hours to tell me mom was going to the emergency room? (An emergency room about 5 miles from my house...but 20 miles from my work?!) #siblingannoyance

Anyways, I spent the day/night/day in the hospital and my mom is finally home tonight. She is doing much better. Thanks for the support from my twitter friends. As my friend says, "
Down with that oppressive pneumonia." Thus, no cookies. However, if you want to make them, find the recipe on Macduff's blog (it is such a great, funnnnnny blog). Be sure to check out other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers as well!

Macduff of The Lonely Sidecar- Cafe Volcano Cookies
Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours, page 153
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Gingerbread Cupcakes - MS Cupcake Club

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gingerbread Cupcakes - MS Cupcake Club

MS Cupcakes Club

For this month's Martha Stewart's Cupcake Club, Kayte from Grandma's Kitchen Table chose Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cookie Cutouts on page 246 of Martha's fantastic book: Martha Stewart's Cupcake Book

Gingerbread Cupcakes - MS Cupcake Club
You were supposed to top these with Royal Icing, but I couldn't find my meringue powder...and thus you get a quick powdered sugar glaze instead! Where could that meringue powder be...

Gingerbread Cupcakes - MS Cupcake Club
Thank goodness the Gingerbread cutouts were optional. I'm just not a cut-out cookie kinda gal right now. So, using Flickr's holiday collection (click on Edit Photo and Create), I put this gingerbread man on my cupcake. Honestly, I haven't been feeling the holiday spirit. It is more like, as a friend says, holiday panic.

Gingerbread Cupcakes - MS Cupcake Club
When these came out of the oven, I thought the spices were kinda weak, and the flavor more butter than molasses. I tried them this morning and still aren't that crazy about them. But aren't these cupcake wrappers cute? Little snowmen! :)

Martha Stewart's Cupcake Book: Gingerbread Cupcakes, page 246

The Martha Stewart Cupcake Club doesn't post the recipe. You can use WorldCat to see if your library has it in their collection (I need to put the Librarian in the Food Librarian sometimes! :)

Be sure to check out the other Martha Stewart Cupcake Club members and their version of the recipe! I'm sure better bakers made the Gingerbread people!
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Winner of My Birthday Giveaway and Rainy Disneyland

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thanks for entering My Birthday Giveaway!

Hum, that's how to get the lurkers out from the shadows! :) Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes! And to all the other December Birthdayists...you rock and I wish YOU a great birthday!

The Winner of a subscription to Everyday Food (10 issues, one year) and a Mystery Culinary Gift is....Comment #76 - Jenn of Made with Love! Congrats. (I used Random.org to pick a random number). Jenn, your email isn't on your blog, so please email me ASAP with your name and address.

Disneyland - Birthday 12/7/2009
As you can see, it was wall-to-wall people at Disneyland on my birthday.

I went to Disneyland on my birthday. In. The. Rain.

One great thing about living in Los Angeles is proximity to Disneyland. It's worth it to get an annual pass if you go just a few times a years. I usually go once a month - sometimes for just a few rides and a nice stroll around the parks....the stress of having to stay 14 hours to make the best of the $80 admission isn't there. Sweet.

So, Disneyland is having a special - get in free on your birthday. But what if you already get in free on your birthday with your annual pass? You get a $72 merchandise gift card. You can only get it ON your birthday, so even though Los Angeles was washing away in a big rain storm, I was going.

It was crazy raining and there was no one at the park. It was awesome! And, I was surrounded by MY PEEPS. No, not a bus of Japanese tourists...but December 7th Birthday people! You get a special button to wear on your b-day - and the park was filled with my Birthday friends. Cool.

Umbrella, ponchos and people dressed as the Gordon Fisherman abound. However, my friend and I are native Angelenos so we don't have anything close to proper rain clothes. We left when my friend said her feet were squishy with so much water. Hey, what are good rain shoes that I can wear to walk around Disneyland for three hours? Not just run from the car to the office...but walk around in. Any suggestions would be great. Please help a weather wuss. ;) I'll trade you for the advice on the best sunscreens! :)

Disneyland - Birthday 12/7/2009
Disneyland is nicely decked out for the holidays! I can't wait to go back for the holiday fireworks.

Disneyland - Birthday 12/7/2009 Disneyland - Birthday 12/7/2009
We got drenched on It's A Small World...most of the ride is inside, but you get on and off outside. Fun, fun. And this crazy family decided to ride the water ride in the rain. I guess if you are already drenched...

Disneyland - Birthday 12/7/2009
It's a Small World is holiday-fied. They play a mash-up of It's a Small World and holiday songs. (Yes, I do find myself using terms from Glee)

Again, thanks for the awesome Birthday wishes. I pretty much celebrate all month! ;)

And huge thanks to Susie of The Computery for her tutorial on How to Number your Comments in Blogger. Saved the day! If you use Blogger and want to have numbers next to your comments, check out her tutorial here!
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New School of Cooking - Pro Baking 1 - Class 2: Custards

Bread Pudding - New School of Cooking

I'm taking the Pro Baking 1 series at the New School of Cooking in Culver City (Los Angeles) this fall/winter.

During Class #2, we made three custards as well as learn about dairy. As a lactose-intolerant person, it was an interesting and yet sad lecture...all that stuff I shouldn't eat. Sigh.

Did you know? Heavy cream is 37-40% fat, but there isn't standard percentage. Manufactured cream is 40% butter fat (that is what we use in class).

Since I've never worked in a bakery or restaurant, I really like the aspects of the lecture when the instructor lets us know how "it is done" in bakeries and restaurants.

I also learned that it is less about the recipe...and more about the technique and ingredients. The difference between using excellent butter (she suggests Plugra butter) and just regular butter is great. Now, when I taste something delicious, I'm going to ask not just for the recipe, but for a listing of what brands of ingredients are used. You can use the Toll House recipe to make chocolate chip cookies, but the result will be different if you use Plugra butter or high quality chips.

As I mentioned before, in this class, we make each recipe individually! I'm a hands-on learner so this is fantastic. It is also soooo much fun; reminds me of art class in elementary school. Here is a recap of two items we made; first up, Bread Pudding!

Bread Pudding - New School of Cooking Bread Pudding - New School of Cooking
Bread Pudding - New School of Cooking Bread Pudding - New School of Cooking
We made "restaurant style" bread pudding. Home cooks might have a nice casserole dish served family style, but restaurants need an easy way to divide things. This was baked in a 9" cake pan and you could serve it with a separate creme anglaise, whipped cream, or berry sauce.

We used challah bread (I soooo love challah bread!!) and a crazy amount of dairy: 2 cups manufactured cream and 1 cup whole milk. A bit of orange zest, pecans and rum soaked raisins were also added.

Bread Pudding - New School of Cooking
The bread pudding was pulled out of the oven with 15 minutes left, and brushed with more cream and sprinkled with sugar.

Bread Pudding - New School of Cooking
Bread Pudding is so versatile - you can add other dried fruit, use different bread, and bake it in all different containers. I didn't have any....but my friend said it was really delicious!

Creme Brulee - New School of Cooking
We also made creme brulee in class. We heated 1/2 a vanilla bean and manufactured cream in a saucepan. The mixture was tempered into a whisked combination of sugar and egg yolk. So few ingredients and such a soft and lovely dessert.

Because our class is only 4 hours and it is best to refrigerate these for 6 hour minimum, they weren't perfectly cold, but my very small bite was yummy. I just love the burnt sugar on top too.

Creme Brulee - New School of Cooking Creme Brulee - New School of Cooking
I love torching food. It is the best. The room smells like toasted marshmallows! :) Make sure you cover the ENTIRE custard with a thin layer of granulated sugar so you don't burn the custard. Creme Brulees are best torched to order so the topping doesn't start to weep.

We also made Chocolate Pudding but I didn't get any photos of that. According to my friend who was the recipient of this dairy dessert...it was delicious.

Next week - Cream puffs! Whoo hoo!

P.S. I'm a little behind...will announce the winner of my birthday giveaway later today or tomorrow! - mary

Baking Therapy
Class 1
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Lemon Sablés - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lemon Sable Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie
Lemon Sablés

Excuse the typos. I'm writing this at 8:50pm (always the procrastinator) wearing fingerless gloves. I'm also wearing Cuddle Dud leggings, flannel pajamas, an extra flannel PJ top, that 1980's looking Hanes sweatshirt in some awful color that was on clearance at Target, and a wool hat that makes me look soooo like a sherpa in Nepal. Seriously....I can get you up that mountain in this hat.

Where am I? Some outdoor cafe on the beach of Southern California?

No, I'm INSIDE THE HOUSE! The heater isn't working and So Cal is going through a major cold spell (for us). And we don't build our houses like you guys in places where you get snow...we don't have R999999 installation and stuff. And, truth be told, we are huge weather wimps. And I'm raising my hand on that one.

Seriously, it is 49 degrees F outside, and I think it is about 50 degrees inside. I have had so much tea tonight that I might float away.

So, here are my Lemon Sable cookies for Tuesdays with Dorie. For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection, Barbara of Bungalow Barbara selected Sablés on pages 131-133 of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

I added lemon zest. They are easy to make and easy to eat. And go great with the gallons of tea I'm drinking!

Lemon Sable Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie
Aren't these the cutest flowers? My DC friends Racheal, Lee, Caden and their three cute cats sent me these cupcake flowers for my birthday!! And thank you so much for your birthday wishes. I went to Disneyland and got drenched. I'll post about that later...after I warm up and my shoes dry out!

Don't forget to enter My Birthday Giveaway for a subscription to Everyday Food and mystery culinary gift (read: I haven't purchased it yet :) Click here. Deadline Friday!

Lemon Sable Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie
Gotta go. I've been heating up my bed with an electric blanket that might dessicate my ovaries, but I don't care at this point (no worries, I turn it off before going to bed...)

Be sure to check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers!

Bungalow Barbara's blog
Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours, Sablés, pages 131-133.
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My Birthday Giveaway!

Monday, December 7, 2009

After National Bundt Day (November 15th), December 7th ranks super high on my favorite days! It's my birthday today! Whoo hoo! I'm going to Disneyland (in the rain! what? rain in Southern Cal?! Well, the lines will be very short!)

My boyfriend ;) George Clooney with Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air (Dale Robinette Photo)

This weekend I started my celebrations with dinner for my friend Helen's birthday (I surround myself with December birthdayists!). And on Saturday I saw George Clooney in Up in the Air. [official website opens with music]. Oh dear. You have to see this film. It is very very well done, been getting great reviews, acting is Oscar worthy...and George Clooney is in a suit for 90% of the movie. Really. Enough said. And he dances at a wedding. And smiles a lot. Yeah, I'm going to see it again. I hope you catch it when it goes into wide release.

To celebrate turning 39... I'm having a give away. It is a One for You, One for Me birthday celebration!

I decided on a subscription to Everyday Food from the Martha empire. I read this magazine full of recipes at the library, and really like it. So, I thought I would treat myself to a sub, and buy one for you. I just went out to get a copy of it...and pulled out the subscription card inside. It is a Buy one, Get one free subscription deal!! Hee hee!

So, in addition to the Everyday Food subscription (one year, 10 issues), I'm going to send the winner a Mystery Culinary Gift. :)

To enter, simply leave a comment below (one entry per person) and I'll pick a random winner. Deadline: Friday, Dec 11, 2009 at midnight PDT. If your comment isn't linked to a blog where I can find you, please leave your email. Shipping to U.S. addresses only.

And to follow-up on the Eat My Blog Charity Bake Sale from my last post, it was a smashing success!! Over $3,000 was raised for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank! Awesome.

I stopped by in the afternoon and 99% of the goodies were sold out! Read about the Eat My Blog Bake sale here on Gastronomy's Blog....and her Flickr account here.

Dear Bloggers the world over...I hope you get together and have a bake sale in your community!!
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Eat My Blog Charity Bake Sale - Tomorrow!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Los Angeles Peeps!
Come on out to Eat My Blog Charity Bake Sale on Saturday, December 5th! That's tomorrow!!

It is from 10 am - 4 pm at Zeke's Smokehouse in West Hollywood. More info here and a menu on LA Weekly here...there are sooo many treats I want!

All to benefit the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank - what a great cause!

I'm contributing the following two items. I woke up at 2 AM this morning to make them. All for you. Please, please come by and buy some! :)

Eat My Blog - Charity Bake Sale - Muddy Buddies
Muddy Buddies
Gluten-free legal crack. Sure, it has just a few ingredients, but you'll get hooked. Recipe here.

Eat My Blog - Charity Bake Sale - Cinnamon Chocolate Bundt
Cinnamon Chocolate Mini Bundts with Valrhona Crunchies
My favorite bundt is all yours! Recipe here.

And don't forget to head to Unique LA in Downtown LA to do your shopping!
Unique L.A.
Saturday and Sunday, December 5-6
11 am - 6 pm at the California Market Center in Downtown Los Angeles

Have a great weekend-before-my-birthday-on-Monday! :)
Cheers, Mary the Food Librarian

P.S. Happy Birthday Helen!!! 50!! You rock!
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Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Muffins

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Muffins
Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Muffins

Muffin quest continues.

I had some leftover pumpkin from my Thanksgiving baking with my friend Diane. We made Joy the Baker's Vegan Pumpkin Bread. I forgot to photograph it, but believe me that is was tasty.

Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Muffins
Very Culinary Blog made Pumpkin Muffins with Cranberries and Pecans (adapted from Betty Crocker) and I switched it up with walnuts. Two days before Thanksgiving and Trader Joe's was completely sold out of pecans!

Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Muffins
These muffins were super easy, moist and not too sweet. I want to try them with halved fresh cranberries and some added crystallized ginger pieces.

Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Muffins

Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Muffins
Adapted from Very Culinary Blog who adapted it from Betty Crocker
Printable recipe - click here

In large bowl, mix together:
2 c all purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t salt

Combine the following in a small bowl. Then quickly fold into dry mixture with a spatula until just moistened. Do not overmix!!!
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 c canola or vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 c dried cranberries
1/2 c chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Scoop into muffin tray greased with cooking spray or lined with muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop). Top with sanding sugar or sugar in the raw (turbinado). Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
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