Sunday, December 03, 2006

sunday sunday sunday

last night i went off the rails and ordered popeye's fried chicken (3 pieces, dark meat, spicy, with fries, and a side of mashed po' and gravy). i did a LOT of cooking during the day and i was exhausted and didn't want so much as to see another pan. here's what i made:
- raisin studded hermit bars to sell at the cafe
- almond coconut toffee bars to sell at the cafe
- coconut banana bread to sell at the cafe
- finished the dessert for my family's christmas.
which is a pretty labour-intensive undertaking i had to spread out over three weekends. it involves peeling forelli pears, and then using a melon baller to tunnel up from the butt end and take out the seeds, leaving a little space for stuffing. then i peel them and poach them in sweetened white wine flavoured with aromatics. then i make puff pastry. then i make frangipane. i take the pears, stuff the space with frangipane, then enclose each one in a little square of puff pastry, pulling them up and pinching along the seams so you have little pear pockets. the good thing about the dessert is that while it is intensive to make, it's easy to serve. they can be frozen, and then they get pre-baked (glazed with egg wash and demerrera sugar first) and reheated. i'm serving it with a bourbon toffee sauce and whipped cream.

i also made last night's dessert, which was a complete turnaround from the original plan for the cookies. i made a s'mores pie (from november's gourmet magazine). so i make a graham cracker crust, and par-bake it briefly. then i made a bittersweet chocolate ganache, using 70% chocolate from sharffen berger chocolate, my favorite brand available retail. my sister lovingly hauls it up from the states for me, because i can get it here, but they're usually $20.00/bar. each bar is 9 oz. and you have to search them out from speciality shops. anyway, i enriched the ganache with an egg, and you bake it in the oven. then you make homemade marshmallow topping, which is gooey and soft. spread that on the pie, throw it in the fridge. before serving, i torched it with my blowtorch so that it got all crackly and crispy on top. the gourmet recipe recommends putting it under the broiler, but their's emerged almost blackened, so the torch was the way to go. plus you have a lot more control with the torch so you don't have to worry about your crust burning. those are my extremely amateurish food photography shots of the finished (but partially consumed) product for your edification. it was overall, very nice. using a high percentage bittersweet chocolate cuts the sweetness of the dish (it isn't too sweet at all), and there's a lot of textural interest, plus the chocolate is very prominent, so it's better to use a high quality one. i think i might tinker with the ganache filling though. to make it a little less firm and pudding-like, and more fudgy and dense. i don't know how i'd do it (maybe flour? ) but it's definitely worth pursuing.

we had a visit from the boy's friend who lives in the 'hood, and the roomie came back from her bender (she's off call until the end of december...take THAT pagers and pregnant women!) and we watched battlestar galactica. so nice!

have i mentioned yet that i can't wait for term to be over??? cuz i can't. i really really can't.

for dinner tonight i'm tempted to make kraft dinner and hot dogs (we have these knackers in the freezer from the mennonites, and my bbq isn't buried under snow quite yet) or some of the elk burgers i have in the freezer. we still have to clean out the freezer backlog.

dessert will be more of the s'mores pie. and for breakfast i'm meeting some former work friends at mel's montreal delicatessen. i'm going to eat the big baby, which consists of three eggs, two kinds of meat, toast, hashbrowns (i love the way they do their hashbrowns because they make them like latkes...shredded and then crisped on a flattop), with a pancake. it's huge, but very filling and yummy. they also have montreal smoked meat as one of your breakfast side options. which is very nice. however, i dock them "authentic deli" points because they never ask how you want your meat (lean, medium-fatty, fatty fatty), which is one of the signposts of real-deal deli bizness. pms makes me crave meat like a mofo. as does the prospect of not caring about school anymore and just wanting shiz to be ovah.


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