Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Challah for Thanksgiving Shabbat

I saw this turkey challah on a blog and I knew I just had to try it.  It seems like the perfect challah for Shabbat of Thanksgiving, and it is super adorable.  All you do is make a batch of your favorite challah dough (we used this one) and after it rises, cut it into 4 pieces.  Shape one piece into an oval to use for the body.  Cut one piece in half to use for the head and cut the remaining pieces into small balls to use for the feathers.  Roll the small pieces into balls and place them around the head and body to create feathers.  You can use any leftovers to make the turkey's nose and feet.  We used two chocolate chips for the eyes.  This was really fun to make and super easy.  Thanks to Ariella of Sweet Happy Life for the great idea.  She makes lots of really cool shaped challahs that I can't wait to try now that I know how easy it is.

Here's a shot of my little one working on the egg wash (apologies for the photos, they were taken on my phone)...

Happy Thanksgiving and Shabbat Shalom!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Adventures with the Ice Cream Maker: Pear Caramel Ice Cream

I know I should be posting something more Thanksgiving-like, such as pumpkin pie (but we all know I hate pumpkin) or something to do with turkey.  However, once thing I have noticed over the last few years of living in California is that Thanksgiving can kind of sneak up on you, since the weather doesn't really change.  That is why I think it is ok to post this ice cream --  it has lots of good fall flavors, but it is appropriate for a place where it is going to be 70 degrees on Thanksgiving day.

This is Pear Caramel Ice Cream from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop.  Once again, David knocks it out of the park with this flavor combination.  You might think it would be too sweet, but the caramel cooks long enough to get a strong, complex and not to sweet flavor.  When you eat this ice cream, you can really taste both the pear and the caramel and they hit you at slightly different times, making the flavor of this ice cream really interesting and the color of the ice cream a gorgeous pale color.  This would be a fine thing to eat on Thanksgiving weekend (although not after turkey if you are kosher -- maybe a midnight snack?).  Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Here is the recipe:
Pear-Caramel Ice Cream

  • 3 medium-sized ripe pears, peeled and cored
  • 3/4 c. + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspooon coarse salt
  • a few drops of fresh lemon juice
  1. Dice the pears into 1/4-inch pieces.
  2. Spread the sugar in a large, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, carefully watching and stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula until melted. 
  3. When the sugar is a deep amber, stir in the pears. The caramel will seize, that's ok. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally (again with a heat-proof spatula – caramel will burn heck out of you) for ten minutes. The sugar will have dissolved.
  4. Remove from the ehhat and stir in 1/2 cup of the cream, then mix in the rest of the cream, salt, and lemon juice.
  5. Cool to room temp, puree until smooth, press through a strainer.
  6. Chill according to your ice-cream maker manufacturer's instructions. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Adventures with the Ice Cream Maker: Have You Milked A Goat Today?

Here's one from the Baking Sisters' dad! Take it away, Dad!

It’s time for another guest blog by the Baking Sisters’ dad. This incredibly delicious recipe is adapted from the signature dessert of Eden Village Camp, the first (and only) Jewish environmental residential camp, located in Putnam Valley, New York. EVC is a wonderful place (you can see for yourself at ) that has what may be the best camp food in America – some of which is grown by the campers themselves!

Enough with the commercial – let’s get right to the recipe:

2-1/4 cups goat’s milk

2/3 cup sugar

scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

3/4 cup half & half

3/8 tablespoon vanilla extract

Pour 1-1/2 cups of goat’s milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the sugar and salt, stirring until the mixture is completely dissolved. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator. Puree the blueberries in a blender until almost completely smooth. When the mixture is thoroughly chilled, add the remaining goat’s milk, the half & half, and the blueberry puree. Stir to mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the prepared bowl of an ice-cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions.

As I said, EVC is an environmental camp, so the original recipe calls for milking the goats (I got my goat’s milk in the organic/specialty dairy case at Fairway) and pureeing the blueberries in a bicycle-powered blender (mine is electric). I don’t think either variation affected the taste.

NOTE: I would consider substituting heavy cream for the half & half. And I would add a couple of tablespoons of alcohol (vodka or a fruit-based liqueur) to give the ice cream a smoother consistency.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

National Bundt Day: Chocolate Chip Marble Cake

Today is National Bundt Day!  Do you know how I know that?  Mary, of the blog The Food Librarian, is obsessed with bundts (in the best way, of course) and, for the third time, has decided to make 30 bundts in 30 days, leading up to today -- National Bundt Day.  Mary's blog is a really great read.  She is smart and funny and she always has lots of fantastic recipes (especially if you are a fan of jello, check this out).  I am always glad to see her pop up in my blog reader.

Mary has encouraged her blog readers to make a bundt to celebrate this momentous day and since all I have to do is make one cake, it seemed the least I could do.  This was the first cake that Mary made in her countdown this year, and it caught my eye right away.  I mean, what could be bad about chocolate and vanilla batter with chocolate chips, swirled together in a big, delicious bundt? 

This recipe is actually based on the marble cake from Buttercake Bakery here in LA.  I've never had their bundt cake (only their cupcakes) but now I am eager to try it.  You can find the recipe here, on Mary's blog.  The recipe calls for dusting with powdered sugar, but I added some ganache as a glaze, since I had some left over from making something else.  I figure, what isn't better with a big spoonful of chocolate over it?  Happy National Bundt Cake!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Review: New York Chocolate Show

Sarah here! I just got back from the New York Chocolate Show, and MAN am I hyper! Hyper and happy! And probably about 10 pounds heavier than when I walked in. The Chocolate Show is basically a trade expo for chocolate, and the New York one is the only one in America. My mom had found an ad for the chocolate show in the New York Times Magazine and cut it out for me, and since then it haunted my dreams. My friend Rocio was coming into town from D.C. and I suggested that we buy tickets. But $30 was pretty steep for a couple of poors like us. Luckily, her friend contacted her that very day and said she had two free tickets because she was volunteering there! So we wended our merry way to the show, and after waiting on a line that went down the block (a line sweetened by the occasional free sample!), we confronted the beautiful scene. Soooooo much chocolate! Everyone was there: Valhrona, Jacques Torres, Guittard, not to mention a bunch of chocolatiers I had never heard of but was sure glad to make the acquaintance of: Antidote, Divine Chocolate and the Grenada Chocolate Company were some of my favorites. Every kind of chocolate you can imagine was there. Melted chocolate, chocolate made from an 18th-century recipe, salted chocolate caramels, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate fondue, chocolate cakes, chocolate bars and boxes...

Beautiful, impressive chocolate art...

Some extremely strange chocolate fashion that would have made Lady Gaga envious...

And the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffles I have ever eaten, courtesy of Traditional French Truffles. I bought a box because they were too delicious to pass up!

A huge shout-out to Rocio's friend Ashley and the amazing Divine Chocolate she was selling. Thanks for a fantastic(ally caloric) afternoon!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

French Lemon Cream Tart

This is a Dorie Greenspan classic that we have made many times and it is hard to believe it has never made it onto this blog.  Dorie calls this the Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart and she is right -- and not just because there is an extraordinary amount of butter in this tart.  You really don't want to know how much.

On account of the butter, this is not a tart that you might make on a whim for a regular night, but for a special occasion and for someone who loves lemon, this is definitely something I would turn to.  I made this for a lemon-lover in my office for her birthday and it was a big hit.  The filling is not a curd, it is most definitely a cream, like you would find in a chocolate cream pie, but lemon flavored.  It is delicious, soft and silky and much lighter than you might imagine given the ingredients.  Make this for a special lemon occasion.  You can find the recipe here, on Dorie Greenspan's website.
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