Texas and then some

I went to La Grange, TX last week to visit my dad:

My dad is a man who knows how to enjoy a cookie!

(a man who knows how to enjoy a cookie!)

I brought him Rose‘s Chocolate Chip cookies, as he was cheated out of his birthday cookies. Can you see any of the cookie under the ice cream and syrup? No? They were good, and I especially liked her use of  browned butter, a technique I plan to steal for my own chocolate chip cookies!

I had a wonderful visit with my dad, had lunch with one of my favorite people, went to Yarnorama (spoiled thing that I am, wait ’til you see what I was gifted there from my generous father! But that’s another post), and even found some weaving time:

(Have Hokett loom, will travel)

Since my return, there’s been some other baking:

Triple Layer Brownies

Triple Layer Brownies

Rose calls these “the perfect expression of chocolate.” Well, I’m not so sure about that claim, but these dense brownies with nuts (pecans instead of walnuts for mine), topped with white chocolate buttercream and finished with a dark chocolate ganache were very, very good. My apologies for the awful picture.

And for anyone who was concerned about my son having one cold foot:

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Ravelry link 

 

Baking

There’s been some baking going on, of course from The Book.

Back in April, we enjoyed the brilliantly modeled (by sons #2 & 4, how handsome are they?) Polish Princess:

The Polish Princess

The bottom layer is sponge cake, brushed with Tea Vodka syrup. The middle layer is a cocoa pastry buttercream (omitted the walnuts), the final layer is vanilla pastry buttercream (skipped the raisins), topped with grated bittersweet chocolate. What’s not to like? Nothing, it was amazing and very pretty!

Then in May, the fabulously named Double Damage Oblivion:

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Double Damage Oblivion

Rose describes this as “my ultimate flourless chocolate cake sandwiched between layers of my ultimate deep chocolate passion layer cake.” We opted for the jam instead of ganache to hold the layers together, seemed like there was enough chocolate already. Not that you can really have enough chocolate, can you? It doesn’t have the visual impact of the Princess, but was very, very good.

And finally, earlier this month, Chocolate Pavorati with Wicked Good Ganache (RLB is nothing, if not modest. See quote above… But she’s also right. No one bakes or writes recipes that come anywhere near hers!)

Chocolate Pavorati with Wicked Good Ganache

Chocolate Pavorati with Wicked Good Ganache

Now, what to bake for our upcoming visit from Woman of Letters (and her Mr., I’m sure she’ll share). The summery Perfect Peach Galette or the decadently chocolate Posh Pie?

Catching Up

Catching up a bit here, let’s start with baking. I haven’t abandoned The Baking Bible project, though it would have been a far better idea when I had all four boys living at home! Now, I have to figure out who I’m going to feed, I can’t very well expect my husband to eat an entire cake. Note to self: Get to know the group of dudes who live next door in B’more…

Mango Bango-less Cheesecake

Mango Bango-less Cheesecake

This is the Mango Bango Cheesecake, minus the mango topping (long, boring story of my own stupidity there). Following Rose‘s instructions, I ordered the mango pulp from Amazon (what don’t they have?).

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This was possibly the creamiest cheesecake I’ve ever had, much less made. I swapped the sponge cake crust for a crunchier vanilla cookie crust from another recipe in the book. Even without the topping, there was plenty of mango flavor, though I think the extra would have been better.

Has anyone ever taken any courses from Roubxe.com? One of my favorite food bloggers, Olives For Dinner, is in their Plant-Based Professional Certification Course. They also have a boatload of courses designed for the home cook. You can get a free 7-day trial, so of course, I did. Despite a slight wheat allergy, I started with the Wheat & Gluten course. (On top of the Baking Bible Project. Perhaps not my smartest move). We were forced to eat pancakes (best ever) and pizza (four different ways) in one day.

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I also did part of a couple of other courses before running out of time. Might join this in the future…

A bit of art,  mid-March, son #2 and I went to the National Gallery. We visited the Vermeer’s, always my first priority, so lovely, and got lost in the maze that is the Main Floor galleries. I took a few very bad photos, only this is worth sharing:

Oddly, if you follow the link, the picture on the website is reversed.

It was interesting to see so many tapestries and modern mixed-media textile pieces now, after doing so much research for the OCA course. I feel I have a deeper understanding of influences and techniques, as well as a better appreciation for the skill involved. It is a bit intimidating, however.

After, Dan took me out for a belated birthday/Mother’s Day lunch at Oyamel. The Col de bruselas estilo San Quintín (Crispy brussels sprouts with a chile de árbol sauce, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and lime), Papas al Mole, and Ceviche con citricos (Striped bass in a pineapple-habanero marinade with citrus, jicama and fresno chiles) were especially good. And, of course, a cold Dos Equis in a frozen glass. Good food, even better company, it doesn’t get much better than that!

And last, but certainly not least, thanks to everyone for their kind words about my beloved big dog, I miss him so much.

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BlueRhu Pie

Luckily, bad lattice work does not affect taste!

Obviously need to work on my lattice skills. Luckily, it does not affect taste!

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Looks much prettier cut…

I used frozen blueberries and rhubarb, more than called for just to use up the whole bags. Worked out fine. The Perfect and Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust lives up to its (rather long) name!

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And just for fun, my RLB collection. The top one is The Cake Bible, my first Rose cookbook and brave dog-attack survivor. It’s still in use over 25 years later!

Super Bowl Baking

We did not have a Super Bowl party, but #2 son was over (hi Dan! This is a test to see if you’re reading my blog…), so it seemed like a good excuse to bake two recipes from The Book.

For the main course, Pizza Rustica:

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

It called for a lattice-top crust, but I ran out of flour and so used 1/4 c. corn flour, which made my dough a bit crumbly and hard to work with.

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The filling is made of eggs, ricotta, mozzarella, pecorino and dried sausage (I used sopressata). It’s kind of a cross between a quiche and a calzone, maybe? The crust is a bit too sweet for my taste, even if it weren’t a savory filling. I am glad I went to the Italian market for the higher quality meat and cheese, as that’s what makes the dish!

For dessert, Luxury Oatmeal Cookies:

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In typical Rose fashion, first you make homemade granola, instead of just using oats. I love her attention to detail, and think that step was absolutely worth it. These granola/raisin/chocolate chip filled cookies are very, very tasty!

Babka

Last weekend, I made Babka, and it is very addicting! I had to instantly freeze what wasn’t eaten immediately, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop grabbing a slice every time I walked through the kitchen.

Of course, I forgot to take a picture before cutting...

Of course, I forgot to take a picture before cutting…

Couldn’t find my Bundt pan, so had to rig one:

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Springform pan, with ramekin in center

Worked fine, though since it wasn’t rounded at the bottom, I should have put the dough in seam-side down, as I didn’t flip it over after it was cooked. Purely aesthetics, though, it tasted wonderful! The dough starts with a biga, and I love any recipe that involves multiple days, so I followed all the overnight rising options, for the biga and the dough. It’s a lovely, sweet dough, that baked up very tender. It could be used in so many forms. I loved the almond filling, and would like to try it again with both the Chocolate-Almond and Apricot-Cream Cheese options!

Hungry now?

Hungry now?

More Baking

Made two more recipes these last weeks. The quite tasty, but sadly un-photographed Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins, and the Marble White and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake.

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Not a great picture, but a wonderful cheesecake! You know how your basic cheesecake has a graham cracker crumb crust? In typical Rose fashion, this one has a chocolate sponge sheet cake that you bake, and then cut to line the pan. And the filling with both white and dark chocolate, very nice!

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I was wary of scooping too far down and gouging the sponge cake when swirling, so it’s more layered than marbled. Did not seem to bother my guys who ate it, though!