Posts Tagged 'garden'

Pipe Dream #218: To Be Verbally Redeemed – Frosty Fresh Mint Brownies

fresh brownies 4

Pop culture words get me sometimes. Like, I stop reading classic novels for a while and my whole vocab goes down the drain, and I start giving in to saying “brb” out loud. And my food blog descriptions get lazy because I can’t be bothered to think of a more creative way to describe how something tastes and smells and experiences.

fresh brownies 5

For example, right now, all I can think about these brownies is:

Giyyyyssss, the cricklllly cristtttttt.

Translation: Guyyyyyyzzzzzz, the crackly cruuuuust.

Translation Secondo: Guys, the crackly top of this brownie is everything I ever dreamed of on a brownie. Like box mix, but homemade.

fresh brownies 6

So you see? Not only do I give a bad description (even after two translations, no one would call that inspired), but my description is peppered with extra letters that are really just a product of society’s devaluation of the English language.

The only redeeming quality about the above sentence is that it conveys how dang excited I am that these brownies have a crackly top. Will you forgive me? I’m redeemed, but my language is not. Thanks.

fresh brownies 2

Apparently, the crackly crust phenom is something to do with the ratio of fat to saturated fat (butter to oil) in the recipe. The blog post I linked to below explains these finnicky science baking things.

fresh brownies 3

One change: I would double the fresh mint  I used in this. A whole 1/4 cup, because the mint in this was not evident. I’m a bit of a mint fiend, so maybe other people with less sugar-wasted palates could discern it, but I would err on the side of mintier. I mean, unless you just want a regular perfect crackly top fudge brownie.

fresh brownies 1

Sidenote: One of the most useful things I learned in this whole year is that 1/4 cup is 4 tablespoons. I am not kidding. I use that conversion at least twice weekly. Oh, food.

BRB,

L

Frosty Fresh Mint Brownies

Adapted heavily from Baking Illustrated via Brown-Eyed Baker

1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1/2 teaspoons instant espresso
1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint (chocolate mint, if you can get it)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, fresh mint and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add the bittersweet chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Whisk the in melted butter and oil. Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous, then whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix with a rubber spatula until combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted halfway in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool for 30 minutes, then lift the brownies and parchment out of the pan. Let cool fully, about 1 hour.

Once cool, remove the brownie layer from the parchment and stick it back in the pan. You may need to cut the brownie into four large squares to transfer it without breaking the layer. Mine broke. Learn from me.

Frost with chocolate boiled buttercream (recipe below) and fresh mint leaves.

Chocolate Boiled Buttercream

Prepare the buttercream using this recipe. I halved the recipe because the pan of brownies was small. Heat 3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until everything is melted. Let cool slightly, then beat the chocolate into the buttercream.

Favorite Shots: Civilization

herbs

One of the best parts of living in civilization is the fact that I can get non-civilization items in plastic packages in THA DEAD of winter so I can feel like I’m living in non-civilization.

Love herbage, miss English,

L

Favorite Shots: Depth of Film

 

I discovered the film grain filter in CS4. Maybe I should just buy a film camera. What’s the best one?

L

Pipe Dream #133: To Give A Last Hurrah – Grilled Pizza Crust

Sometimes when I meet new people, I tell them I love pizza. I like to be as real as possible lest anyone should assume that I was someone who didn’t like pizza, and therefore, would never invite me to eat pizza with them, and therefore, my life would be awful forever.

Not quite sure about the punctuation in that run-on sentence, but whatever. I really like pizza. However, I have never attempted to make it myself until today. Or shall I say, until yesterday, because apparently, the secret to a really complex crust flavor is to let the dough rest from 10-48 hours before baking it. Who knew?

I consider this near-authentic pizza to be a sort of last hurrah for summer. It’s fresh and grilled and uses up all those tomatoes that are overrunning your garden right now. I didn’t even bother making a real sauce for this. Just chucked some tomatoes, garlic, spices and olive oil in the food processor and slopped it on raw. Excellent choice.

We topped the pizzas with everything from chicken andouille sausage to avocado, but you can really use anything you have on hand. There are some fab ideas for unusual pizza toppings over here, with step-by-step instructions on grilling up the pizzas. If you don’t feel like reading the instructions, I will give you a summary:

Oil the grill. Cook crusts for two minutes until bubbly and beginning to brown. Loosen the crusts with a metal spatula and cook for an additional minute.

Flip crusts and cook for two more minutes. Pile on your toppings of choice. This time, return to the grill with the pizzas on a metal cookie sheet or pizza stone. Close the grill and heat until cheese is melted and toppings are warm.

And then gaze at your colorfully delightful creation. And then devour. And then wonder why you don’t just move to Italy. Wouldn’t life be happy?

Second best thing,

L

Best-Ever Pizza Dough

Adapted from Rachael Ray

makes enough dough for four 9-inch pizzas or sixteen 3-to-4 inch pizzas

1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp. honey
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
3 cups (or more) all-purpose or bread flour
1 3/4 tsp. coarse salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

Mix 1 cup warm water and 1 tsp. honey in a liquid measuring cup until the honey dissolves. Sprinkle with 2 1/4 tsp. of active dry yeast and let the mixture stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (This is proofing. Remember proofing?) Meanwhile, using a food processor, pulse 3 cups flour and 1 3/4 tsp. salt to mix.

Pour the yeast mixture and 2 tbsp. olive oil over the flour mixture. Process until the dough comes together in a sticky ball, about 20 to 30 seconds.

Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead, using the heel of your hand, until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl; add the dough, turning to coat. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough stand in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down, then turn out onto a cutting board. Using a knife, quarter the dough.

Shape 1 dough wedge roughly into a ball. Place the dough ball on the work surface and cup your hand lightly over it. Rotate your hand counterclockwise, letting the dough roll on the work surface. Continue until the surface of the dough is smooth. Repeat with the remaining dough wedges.

Place each dough ball in a large resealable plastic bag or plastic container with a lid. Refrigerate for 10 to 48 hours (the dough will continue to rise). Let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping, or freeze for up to 2 weeks. Let the frozen dough sit at room temperature for 2 hours before shaping.

Turn out 1 ball of dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Press it out on the work surface into a 9-inch round, a long rectangle or an oval. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. To make 3- to 4-inch mini pizzas, cut each dough ball into 4 pieces, then press or stretch into shape.

 

Pipe Dream #111: To Have A Green Thumb – Olive Oil, Almond & Polenta Cupcakes

I’ve never liked gardening very much. Don’t get me wrong–I have tried to like gardening. I mean, it seems like a pretty cool and trendy and hipster thing to like, growing your own heirloom tomatoes and having an herb garden.
My excuses are that I never have time to do it, that I don’t have my own garden, and that I’m too busy, but what it really comes down to is the work of it. I don’t like the idea of standing out in the beating sun, breaking my back picking weeds and getting dirt under my fingernails. It’s supposed to be this extremely satisfying, relaxing thing, and I haven’t got the maturity to get it yet.
I might try it this year. The heirloom tomatoes, I mean. And to try and gear myself up for it, I am posting these flowery cupcakes I made. They are made with polenta and olive oil, which makes them feel even more garden-y. :] They were very light and eggy and almondy, since I substituted the vanilla for almond extract.
If I could do this recipe again, I would bake them in a regular oven, rather than the convection oven. There was a certain amount of crunch from the polenta which may or may not have been normal. I think if they were baked slower and longer, the polenta would have softened up a bit more.
I piped a swirl starting in the center of the cupcake, which made a flat surface upon which to arrange the flowers. Some of them featured a single bloom…
…while others were mini gardens unto themselves.
This is probably the best garden you’ll ever see out of me.
Someday I’ll grow up,
L
Olive Oil, Almond & Polenta Cupcakes
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready For Dessert
For the cakes:
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup polenta
or stone-ground corn meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon almond extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

  2. Smear 1 tablespoon butter all over the inside of a 10-cup (2.5-liter) Bundt cake or tube pan, or line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners.. Sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of rosemary evenly into the pan, then dust with the 2 tablespoons (20 g) of polenta, tilting the pan to coat the sides.

  3. To make the cake, in a small bowl, sift together the flour, 3/4 cup (130 g) polenta, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, eggs, egg yolks, and almond or vanilla extract.

  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl by hand), beat together 1/2 cup (4 ounces/115 g) butter and the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly dribble in the egg mixture, a little at a time, until completely incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture along with the 4 teaspoons of rosemary until just incorporated. Don’t over mix.

  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate.

For the buttercream:
2 sticks (226 grams) butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,944 other followers

Lane Cake

Chocolate Clementine Marquise

Spicy Chai Biscotti

Red Wine Pear Trifles

Coconut Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peach Cobbler

Clementine Ginger Tequila Sunrise

S’mores Cake with Malted PB Frosting

Lemon Mousse Crepe Cake

Strawberry Shortcake

Nectarine Brown Butter Upside Down Cake

Raspberry Espresso Fudge Cake

Cherry Clafoutis

Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

Banoffee Pie

Blueberry Bourbon Bread Pudding

Pink Sprinkle Cupcakes

Grapefruit Yogurt Loaf

No-Bake Nests

Butter Pecan Shortbread

Black Garlic Herb Bread

Pumpkin Chiffon Torte

Maple Pecan Brown Butter Cupcakes