Saturday, April 5, 2008

Cake of Coco~Nuttiness: A Visual Feast in Sequential Pictures

Poking holes in the cake...Good Times (borrowed from The Jennings, I think they have "good times" copyrighted)

Sour cream, coconut milk, sugar, coconut mixture

Double decker that uneven bad boy

7 minute frosting, although mine was done in 5 minutes

Phuck, whilst frosting my cake I realize that I forgot to add my vanilla and almond extract due to 4 year old pestering me throughout the process.....oh well, trudge on and trudge forth soldier the blood bath awaits.

Topped w/toasted slivered almonds w/the skin on, toasted coconut and small amount of grated Scharffenberger Bittersweet 70% Cacao

From my lips to your hips..........enjoy

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hawt Dawg Apologies

A hot dog is a type of fully-cooked, cured and/or smoked moist sausage of soft, even, texture and flavor. It is usually placed hot in a soft, sliced bun of approximately the same length as the sausage, and optionally garnished with condiments and toppings. Also called frankfurters, frank, weenie, wienie, wiener, dog, and red hot.Every year, Americans consume on average 60 hot dogs.
Today I was preparing to run to Fresh Market to pick up a couple of items. Before I was to leave the house, my 4 year old son looks at me with eyes as wide as saucepans and says "Can you buy me some hawt dawgs"? I looked at him a bit surprised and said "Come again"...."did you say hawt dawgs"?. He said "yes". I reply with "Where did you hear of hawt dawgs"?

Now mind you....I am not a hawt dawg hater. We just don't eat them. I mean, maybe twice a year on the grill. I remember cooking them one time last summer and it was only because Tyler Florence did THE ULTIMATE CHILI DOG. And oh it was. It was fantastic. I also love a Portillo's Hot Dog from Chicago. I am not a dog snob, I swear. I kick myself in the ass everyday for never going to Pink's in L.A. when I lived there for 1 1/2 years.

A Hawt Dawg can also be: Someone who likes to show-off or standout. Can be used as a synonym for douche bag.

Anyway, back to the boy. I reply with "Where did you hear of hawt dawgs"? He states "In the movie Transformers". (yeah I let my kid watch Transformers, so sue me). So I say "Sure, I will see if they have some hawt dawgs"....knowing full well that Fresh Market probably doesn't have hawt dawgs but if they do, they will be Hebrew National. Hebrew National Kosher are the only dawgs I will buy. I guess I feel safe knowing the sodium erthobate (ie:worms) are blessed by the Rabbi. I mean, if you are going to eat creepy crawlies you might as well get the ones that have been prayed over, right???

I go through the checkout.......pineapple, POM, red grapefruit, herbed goat cheese, olive oil, dried black beans, sundried tomatoes, tortellini, ricotta, peppers, KAF AP flour, White Lilly Self rising flour, coconut, yo baby yogurt, coconut get the point. The check out lady says "wow, someone must be quite the home chef"......just then the HOT DOGS AND BUNS get scanned. I start fidgeting nervously and trying not to look at the guy behind me...judging me for buying hot dogs. I then strike up a conversation with checkout lady telling her the hot dog story with my son and laughing nervously and having rapid eye movement....feeling like I have to apologize for buying hot dogs.....or for giving my kid hot dogs. WHO FEEDS THEIR KIDS HOT DOGS???? I mean on July 4th it is ok......a bbq at the beach is ok.....the annual block party is ok, but you don't let your kid dine on hawt dawgs regularly.

The Dachshund is notorious for looking like a hot dog (the most likely reason that hot dogs got their name was their likeness to the dachshund).

I dash home and I don't even get in the door.....the little scrawny fellow was waiting for me with baited breath. Did you get hot dogs....did they have hot dogs?? Yes, I say but you are going to have to wait until I get this unpacked. Every 5 seconds....I want a hot dog....can I have a hot dog. I finally pull the dawgs out and he gives me a blank look, a quizzical look, very puzzled and says "Those aren't hawt dawgs". WHAT???????????????? I plop the dawg in boiling water and turn the heat off and let the dawg sit for 5 minutes, Pull the dawg out, throw it in a bun, ketchup, mustard...........present it to him........he takes one bite, fidgets with it for 4 minutes and says "I want some carrots". He proceeds to eat a half bag of baby carrots and that was the end of the hawt dog and my sanity!!

According to the a Hot Dog is also:
When you are standing or walking someplace with your dik hanging out of your zipper.

1. Before I went home on my last day of work, I hot dogged Juanita in her cubicle.

2. I was hot dogging for a half hour at the concert before the bouncer told me to put it away!

3. I dare you to hot dog the clerk while asking where the banana hammock's are.
(my purrrrrsonal favorite)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Culinary 3 Way= The Yeast Virgin,Mr. Artie Choke and Popeye

This is a yeast virgin. Historically, virgin referred to a young woman with no sexual experience (this is definately not a problem in her case, shhhh don't tell her husband), but in modern usage, the term can apply regardless of age or gender. Both historical and modern definitions vary in regard to what kind of sexual activity or experience determines virginity, and whether it is a physical, psychological, or spiritual state.

The term is also applied informally to non-sexual matters. The first journey of a ship might be called its maiden or virgin voyage. It is commonly used in reference to purity; olive oil is called virgin or extra-virgin if it comes from the first pressing and contains no refined oil. A similar connotation is moral purity due to inexperience; cocktails might be described as virgin when prepared without alcohol.

In this case....she is a yeast virgin. Someone who has not made a yeast raised bread. We now, however, can call her a Carb-Ho! Whilst visiting my house she got to reading Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day. Can we make some bread, I am afraid of yeast, she says. So, we made.......................................................

Pump-Her-Nickel (pumpernickel) is a type of German bread traditionally made with rye meal. It is now often made with a combination of rye flour and whole rye berries.

She became affectionately known as the Carb-Ho when she went from yeast virgin to churning out 4 loaves of pump-her-nickel. Impressive for any beginner.

What better to go with pumpernickel than hot artie-choke and spinach (popeye)dip.

Did you know: At normal strength, Popeye appears capable of lifting or pressing approximately 4,000lb, when invigorated by spinach, he can lift or press about 36 tons.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Jib Jab w/KAF

My email to KAF:

I am having a problem w/cinnamon bread collapsing. It rises while baking and comes out great and as it cools or perhaps even before cooling...the inside of the bread collapses away from the top crust. I ALWAYS have a hollow 2 inches from where my actual bread swirl starts and my top crust when I cut. I had called your hotline yesterday and the woman told me to put some slashes in my bread (fairly deep ones) to let the steam escape. I did this w/the last 2 loaves in my bunch and it baked up great and almost thought it solved the problem but again.....right after coming out of the oven w/in minutes the bottom layers had sunk considerably away from my top crust. What am I doing wrong??? This has happened w/every recipe I have used....I have used frozen bread dough, fresh bread dough, babka dough and I am using the King Arthur Baker's Cinnamon filling. I can send pictures if you need them but I can't seem to get an answer anywhere to what is happening. I am baking in a loaf pan, le creuset variety. I have calibrated my oven and use a thermometer EVERYTIME I bake. I am not using a convection setting, just a normal bake setting. Help me please. Thanks for any input you can give me. I have also made several other batches of bread....pita, rye, pumpernickel, ciabatta and I am not having any problems cooking those. It is just the cinnamon bread that you roll like a jelly roll.

KAF response:I hope this information will be helpful. Please email again if we can be of further assistance.

My reply: What information?? You didn't send me anything.

Their reply: Hello,I'm sorry you are having problems getting Joan's message. I think we talked on the phone. What I like to do is roll the loaf up loosely into a log after I have spread it with the filling. Then I cut the log in half the long way except for about 2" at the top. It ends up lookinglike a pair of trousers. I turn the cut sides (the legs) up and twistthem loosely together. Then place the loaf in the pan and let it rise as usual, and bake as usual. This seems to stop or at least decrease thetendency to have that big gap between the top and the rest of theloaf.If you don't like the swirl effect and prefer the spiral, just try to roll the dough up very loosely. Sometimes that works better than trying to roll it really tight, to prevent the gap. I hope these tips help.
Mary Customer Care King Arthur Flour

So, basically I took my babka dough....rolled it like a jelly roll, folded it under and cut it like a pair of assless chaps in a gay pride parade.....braided it like a naked pretzel twister tournament and laid it back in my loaf pan and it is rising as we speak. We'll see what happens................................................... Who says "trousers"??? The only time I ever hear that word is when my husband says "Trouser Trout" and laughs like a 13 year old puberty stricken child.

Babka=It is a spongy yeast cake that is traditionally baked for Easter Sunday. Darra Goldstein, professor of Russian at Williams College says "babka comes from baba, a very tall, delicate yet rich yeast-risen cake eaten in Western Russia and Eastern Poland."[1] Traditional babka has some type of fruit filling, especially raisins, and is glazed with a fruit-flavored icing, sometimes with rum added. Modern babka may be chocolate or have a cheese filling.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It All Started With 16 Egg Yolks

This is the beginning of my Cinnamon and Chocolate Babka.....16 egg yolks, count'em 16

This dough is extremely wet due to all the yolks and butter and you must refrigerate before using. I ended up cleaning runaway dough twice during this process. My dough rises really fast here. I turned around and looked at my container and my dough was up to the rim. I turned back around a few minutes later and my dough had bubbled over my container and all over my gas cooktop. I would have had pictures but multitasking while pissed is not one of my strong suits.

Scharffenberger Bittersweet Chocolate for one Babka and Baker's Cinnamon Filling from King Arthur Flour for the other Babka.

3/4 cup of bittersweet chocolate

Ready to take a 1 hr 40 min nap before my bake

After 35 minutes in the sun

a monkey on someone's back = a serious problem that will not go away

I have a serious Culinary Monkey on my back that is rearing it's ugly head. This monkey keeps throwing a wrench in all my cinnamon breads. EVERYTIME I make a cinnamon bread the minute it comes out and starts to cool my bread separates from my top crust. Never fails. This has happened w/fresh dough, frozen dough and now babka dough. I called the KAF Baker's Hotline today for some advice and they told me to slash my dough before baking to let steam escape. I did that with the 2nd batch of loaves and the same thing happened. UGH! I now have a lengthy email into their bake professional hotline and am awaiting an answer. The bread tastes incredible but I always end up with a gaping 2 inch whole from my top crust to my inside swirly layers. HELP........has anyone else had this problem???? I am sick of this monkey flinging pooh at my cinnamon bread. I know I could just always make rolls and I love rolls, but I want to conquer cinnamon bread. I have not made a loaf yet that this hasn't happened. Everytime I think I have this quandry figured out.......I don't!

And now I have a mess to clean up.......I am outta here!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Cheesecake Part Deux~Its Savory Kissing Cousin.... Roasted Red Pepper

Part Deux:A superfacial, unnecessary, or overly bad sequel to a classic film. Usually the second film in the series though not always. Adding the phrase to a movies title is similar to adding the "electric boogaloo."

This is the beginnings of a Roasted Red Pepper Savory Cheesecake. This recipe is posted on

These are made in the mini springform pans and cooked in a water bath. The water bath will keep your cheesecake from cracking.

I am tearing up just looking at these. They are scrumpdidallyumptious! Can someone get me a kleenex please???

Okay, you caught me....I borrowed this last picture from the food network (thanks guys). Whilst preparing this savory appetizer for my guests from Ohio (the flatlanders), I got a little carried away and forgot to take a picture of the final presentation just before chow down......we went straight to chow down. How ghetto of us. I don't think Giada would mind that I BORROWED her she just had a baby today so she will be too busy to even miss it. Congrats on the baby me. Anyway, this savory cheesecake is absolutely to die for. You can make them and put them in the fridge and I have also froze them. They are great with crackers, toasted baguette, and carrots and celery. I could eat a whole one by myself and probably have, but shhhhh don't tell anyone. 3 of us devoured 2 of these cheesecakes before my hubby got home....he didn't even know we ate them *evil laugh*.

Go to recipesschmecipes NOW and get this recipe and make it pronto beotch!!! You won't be sorry!

Stay tuned for this week........drrrrrum rrrrroll puhleaze...brrrrrrrrrrum. I MAKE CINNAMON AND CHOCOLATE BABKA!!!!!!!!!!!!! In honor of this luscious eggy velvety bread I have posted one of my favorite Seinfeld clips....the Cinnamon Babka. Please take a look see and come back this week to find out how my Babka turned out! I am beyond excited to make this....I feel a rude NY accent coming on!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pocket Bread and Hummus

One of my favorite appetizers at California Pizza Kitchen is their Pita Bread and Hummus. Pita (also called and more commonly known as pitta or pita bread and pronounced "pitta" in Greek[1]) is an often round, brown, wheat flatbread made with yeast.Hummus (also variously spelled hamos, houmous, hommos, hommus, hummos, hummous or humus) is a dip or spread which in modern recipes is made from blended chickpeas, sesame tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Hummus has been a dietary staple in various local forms throughout the Middle Eastern world for thousands of years.[1] The dish is served in a variety of cultures.

Wrap in cotton kitchen towels after baking and your pita will deflate as it cools. I made family style pita's....meaning they were pizza size since we were cutting them into wedges for dipping into humus instead of filling the pocket like a sandwhich.
PITA is also the acronym for PAIN IN THE ASS
example: "Wow, that girl Sandy is a real pita".

Yes, that is my thumb in the picture. I work on a tight budget here....I don't have any oompa loompas to hold open my pita's while I take a shot. Cut me some slack, this isn't Wonka World people....this is real life and thumbs sometimes get in the way.

Tahini is a paste of ground sesame seeds used in cooking.

I really love this recipe because it uses cannellini beans instead of chickpeas. Cannellini's are known as the white kidney bean. They are very popular in Italy, especially in Tuscany and also in the Swanson house.

End Result......Hummus topped w/roasted red peppers w/Pita dippers.

Last but not least........I MADE FRICKIN PITA BREAD. Who the hell makes pita bread???? ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!