Sunday, December 28, 2008

Daring Bakers, December: A French Yule Log

DBlogo2

Here we go again! At the beginning of the month, the Daring Bakers (DBers) are assigned a secret recipe by that month's host(s). At the end of the month, the DBers reveal their results!

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.
They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

You can find the recipe on Hilda's and Marin's blogs.

Basically, from top to bottom, you've got an dacqoise biscuit (almond cake), dark chocolate mousse, creme brulee, more chocolate mousse, praline layer, more chocolate mousse, a layer of dark chocolate ganache, and another layer of dacquoise biscuit, all covered in dark chocolate glaze. Yup.
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I had a little hiccup with the creme brulee; I lined my baking pan with parchment, but some of the mixture seeped under it, setting up around the parchment. I had to scrape it off the parchment after it had set a little, clumsily reform it, then freeze it so it would set completely. Thus, my creme brulee looks a little disgruntled, sort of like Cartman from South Park. >< DSC05194

Carving away servings revealed a gentler, kinder yule log. The so-called perfect bite comprises each element of the log. The perfect bite is sorta big. Just like the yule-time spirit!
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Mellow log. Cool log. Much more content. Also, room temperature, so I didn't have to use a power tool to slice. Mmm.
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Here's a closeup of all the components. The top layer of biscuit dacquoise is just hidden under the glacage (fancy French for icing or glazing). The praline was a big favorite. I made almond praline, crumbled it up, then crumbled up some European wafer cookies, similar to Italian pirhouettes, but sturdier so that they maintained their crunch once stirred into the lovely melted dark chocolate.
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There's gelatin in the mousse and icing recipes, and I'm not fond of the consistency agar agar produces, so for my vegetarian dinner guest, I made a mini dessert using the elements that were not made with ground-up animal parts.
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She warmed it in the microwave a bit because I'd almost forgotten it until my boyfriend reminded me. It was pretty frozen even after sitting out for a bit, but it melted beautifully in the microwave.
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In conclusion: this log was almost as good as last year's coffee buttercream traditional log, and in some ways, better!
yule log

http://daringbakersblogroll.blogspot.com/">Check out the other DBers' French yule logs. Make one of your own, even--it's a fun challenge. Or buy one from AJ's in the frozen food section (no, I didn't, but I did wonder if other DBers were considering it!). Whatever you do, have a safe, happy, and satisfying holidays!
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Every year, The Winter Festival of Pie (TWFoP) gets bigger and better! For me, the holiday spirit manifests most in sharing, especially food, with friends, family, and strangers, spreading good cheer and making new memories. It's all of the festivities with none of the religion (unless you worship pie, and as Nikki says, she has more faith in pie than she does in Jesus--thus, the holiday she made for it!). For a pictorial archive of this year's pies, browse on through and enjoy!

I made a candy apple cream pie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008


Robert's cheesy sausage quiche with green bell peppers.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Iain and Ginger's spicy and not-spicy hamburger pies were virtual twins.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

TWFoP Hostess Nikki's tamale pie is a hit every year.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Jesse's baked potato pie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

TWFoP Host Al's green tomato salsa went well with Nikki's tamale pie, and with a lot of other pies, too!
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Patrick H manifested his wit through food when he showed up with Frito pies.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Homemade chicken pot pie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Fruit tart/pizza on a gianormous sugar cookie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Vegetarian black bean pie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Chocolate pecan pie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Enchilada pie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Pumpkin pie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

A lovely mountain of fruit.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

A vegetarian broccoli quiche.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Chicken pot pie, I think from Costco--they make great pies.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

A beautiful Linzer tart.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

A vegetable quiche.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Mini quiches.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Czarina and Patrick's Dixie pie--like a pecan pie with a layer of chocolate chips melted under the pecan top crust.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Another Costco chicken pot pie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Teresa's raisin cream pie, which I'd never seen before. It was like a pecan pie, but with raisins instead of pecans, and with meringue topping.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Spinach and tomato quiche.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Quiche with breakfast sausage.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Sue's chili pizza on a cornbread crust.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Tabor's seafood pizza.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Chris W's eggnog pie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Sarah's apple pie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Wendy's vegetarian lasagna pie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Wendy's vegetarian hand pies.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

Costco cherry pie.
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

And just when we thought no one would bring a storebought pizza for the first time in TWFoP history, someone did!
The Winter Festival of Pie 2008

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pacific Rim, Weeks 12 and 14: Filipino, and a post-final hot pot

School's out for winter! Actually, completing Pacific Rim and the Nutrition class I'd signed up for meant I qualified for my Certificates of Completion in Commercial Food Prep and Commercial Baking. Woot!

So here, I present to you the photos from my last two weeks of class, with notes at the bottom. Of course, Week 12 was near and dear to my heart because we focused on traditional Filipino dishes. Clockwise from pancit canton at top: Philippine Shrimp and Pork Lumpia, Adobong Isda sea bass, then catfish, white rice, Philipino Pork Adobo, Philippine Style Fried Rice Longanisa
Pacific Rim, Week 12: Filipino


Adobong Isda, Catfish and Sea Bass in Tangy Sauce
Pacific Rim, Week 12: Filipino

Pancit Canton
Pacific Rim, Week 12: Filipino

Philippine Shrimp and Pork Lumpia
Pacific Rim, Week 12: Filipino

Hot and Sour Shrimp with Watercress and Walnuts
Pacific Rim, Week 12: Filipino

Chicken Adobo
Pacific Rim, Week 12: Filipino

Philippine Style Fried Rice Longanisa
Pacific Rim, Week 12: Filipino

Pacific Rim, Week 12: Filipino


Hot pot veggies.
Pacific Rim, Week 13: Hot Pot and Final

Hot pot meats (chicken, NY Strip, and shrimp in chicken stock).
Pacific Rim, Week 13: Hot Pot and Final

Sweet potato slices.
Pacific Rim, Week 13: Hot Pot and Final

Notes:

-If you don't have a nonstick pan, fish can stick pretty easily unless you use enough oil and enough heat. Sear it hot and fast, and when it's ready to flip, it will go right on over.

-Adobo dishes are distinguished by their generous inclusion of vinegar. My mom, along with millions of other old school Filipino moms, stick with the fail-safe white vinegar, but wine vinegars, cider vinegars, and even balsamics add a more complex depth of flavor. It's also a good way to add that acid that pro chefs are always talking about to make dishes brighter--you don't have to be stuck with citrus, especially if you just don't have any on hand.

-Our fried rice, woefully, was mush because we used fresh rice instead of rice that had been chilled first and it's starchy outsides to solidify to protect it from dissolving into mush while cooking. The flavor was fine, but the texture was a bummer.

-Woks are wonderful for deep frying, especially lumpia! Just make sure you get your oil good and hot, or your food will just soak the oil up while it slowly, slowly fries.

-This hot pot was awkward for me, dipping what was supposed to be one skewered item at a time into the simmering stock to let it cook, then eating it fondue style. Anyone who eats fondu with me laughs--I skewer bunches of stuff (like those skinny sweet potato slices) at once and dunk it all in. Otherwise, eating takes forever. Maybe that's why fondue places charge so much money--a single dining event can take hours. Eventually, I have multiple items on multiple skewers going, and my table in class that night had to untangle a slew of skewers to figure out what was what and whether or not it was done. It was also hard to monitor how much we were eating. I wish I'd done it differently: Last New Year's Eve, I had the pleasure of "doing hot pot" with my Hun and his parents in the traditional Taiwanese style. When we got to his parents' house, the broth was already on and the veggies were cooking away, rounding out the broth. We added all sorts of meats, from chicken to fish balls to shrimp, adding more flavor to the broth. At the end, we dumped a lovely load of cellophane noodles into the broth so they could soak up all that awesome flavor. It was as good as dessert! Anyway, after our meal, as we were all cleaning up, we found out that a couple of our classmates had wised up and just dumped all their fixings into the stock to make soup, then used a strainer to fish it all out. Smart!

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