Archive | August, 2012

Chocolate and vanilla: it’s not so black and white

29 Aug

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It’s my birthday y’all! And I didn’t have time to make myself a cake.
Yet! I dare say I’ll fete myself with something sweet and homemade when I’m not fretting over 7 pages of sides for an audition that by the time you read this I hopefully will have dominated.
In the meantime you get to see a birthday cake I made earlier this month for the fantastically talented Suilma.

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I need to try this recipe again when I haven’t been karaoke-ing and champagne sipping for a couple of hours inhibiting my critical tasting abilities.
That was a good party, I’m looking forward to seeing how things play out when my various worlds collide at my most favorite-est wine bar in LA tonight.

So about this cake:
Vanilla is underrated. Why is it an insult to call something “vanilla”? Vanilla is so not vanilla. Chocolate gets all the glory while vanilla hangs out, chill and sophisticated, knowing it is awesome without needing to claim to be the devil, an angel, or life-threatening. Giving you the stink-eye, death by chocolate.

But chocolate is magical. So put them together and you get a fantastic shade of gray. Tan.

Chocolate Vanilla Cake(adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

1/3 vanilla bean, ends trimmed and finely minced
1/4 c. Boiling h2o
1/2 c. Flour
6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, separated
10 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. Applesauce
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Heat over to 350. Line a nine-inch cake pan with nonstick foil and spray. Put bean in big bowl and cover with boiling agua. Let it sit there.
In another bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
Beat egg white until stiff in another bowl.
Add yolks, sugar, applesauce and vanilla extract to vanilla water. Beat until good and creamy. Mix in dry stuff. Fold in the whites. Spoon into Pam and allow to settle. Bake until it passes the toothpick test, around 20 minutes.

The frosting was from Mr. Bittman too, I’ll give you that recipe when I try again with the cake.

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It’s a gift

22 Aug

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Wrapping things prettily. I lack this gift. I am not gifted in the gift department.

This was an effort to make less gruel-ish gruel: a delicate savory custard wrapped in greens. An attempt to make things that are tidy and delightful and pretty.

Like when I try to be a girl. Which being an actor in LA has taught me more about.
For better or worse my bookings increased at a rate directly proportional to my mascara usage.

So maybe my blog readership will be inversely proportionate to how gruelish my pix are.

And now, mascara-wearing pretty-ish but tidy only in housekeeping girl that I am, I went to my love, Mark Bittman for a recipe.

Unfortunately, my custard did not stay within its romaine leaf confines. It needed sturdier greens. And defter fingers than mine to assemble them.

The taste was exquisite though, particularly with a twist if freshly ground bay sea salt.
Proof that gruel rules. So does skipping make-up. Cause I do enjoy saying fuck you to Hollywood from time to time.
Just as an unmade-up face can be more beautiful, so can an unwrapped Custard:

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So I shall dine in un-made up glory. As should you.

Wrapped Savory Egg Custard(slightly adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)
Greens of choice
1 egg
1 yolk
1 cup almond milk
Thyme
Time
Cayenne
1/4 tsp. salt
Dunk greens in boiling salted water for several seconds to soften then cruelly thrust into ice cold water. Dry. Line two nonstick sprayed dishes with ends o greens sticking out at the top. Or if you want to be able to keep an eye on your custard (though my failure at wrapping proved my worry unnecessary)line only one.
Put almond milk and a bit of dried thyme in a small pot and cook until it steams. Whisk egg, yolk, a pinch of cayenne and salt in a separate bowl. Take milk off heat. Turn off burner, please remember to turn it off. Preheat oven. 300 F. Put water in your kettle and start heating to boil. Add the milk mix gradually to eggs, whisking all the while. Pour into the lined(or not!) dishes, fold overhanging greens over and put in a larger dish. Pour water that by now should be boiling within an inch of the top of the custard.
Bake until it sets, which is tough to tell under the greens, hence the one unlined baker I admit but it will be around a half hour.

Stupid simple

15 Aug

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Simple as in every summer shalt have a stupid simple recipe.
This one uses more of that half n half you bought for the Colorado Bulldog and probably did not use for the Frostbite. Because I said it sucked.

This salad is best accompanied by last summer’s stupid simple: the stupid-simple-summer-sippable taught to me by Sheila.

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It looks like wine, tastes like ginger heaven.
Incidentally, a splash of the ginger juice to an iced coffee with a dash of cinnamon and a bit of sweetener is wicked delicious.

When it comes to a simple salad, everyone has preferences that are different so this is barely a recipe because I keep saying “whatever you prefer”. I do tell you what I like so you can make me a salad properly. Someday. Some summer. Suddenly?

The salad snob may want to wield a pepper grinder over this, but taste the dressing first, it packs quite the pepper punch.

My, but I’m into alliteration aujourd’hui.

I tried this salad several ways: one time constructed with slices cheese, one time tossed with Romaine with the cheese shredded. I think like the sliced better, but shredding and blending the cheese certainly made for a more creamy situation. That sounds weird.
But it looks better.

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I got all inspired one night and did a poached egg/shredded cheese rendition.

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The almost-winning combo, seen at the top of this post was verging on not so simple. Arugula for the greens. Half the cheese shredded and tossed with some dressing and the greens. The remainder sliced. Egg poached. Extra dressing on the side.
And only almost a winner because I missed the refreshing crunch of romaine.

I’ve no pictorial evidence but I put an eggs-in-a-nest on it once.

So shred, slice, poach, boil, hell, scramble if you must. But try the dressing. Make yourself a simple salad.
It’s gosh-durned good eating.

Oh, and for a little while I’m only posting once a week, unless major things happen and I feel the need to put up another post. And I may go back to twice a week at some point. But otherwise it’s going to be Wednesdays. Carry on.

Creamy Swiss Salad(adapted from the Betty Crocker published…I’m not sure when. It’s old)

A big bowl o’ salad greens, whichever you prefer. For this salad I like butter lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula…
2 ounces cubed or sliced reduced fat Swiss cheese
1 hard-boiled egg, cut however you prefer, hopefully not sieved. I despise when they crumble the egg
OR poach that sucker
4 Tbsp. reduced fat vegan mayo
1 Tbsp. half n half
1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Put yet greens in a bowl or big plate. Whichever you prefer. I like a big plate.
Either toss eggs and cheese with greens or arrange them on top. I prefer on top. Whisk together mayo, half n half, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Add dressing to taste. If you are me realized you wanted to mix in some dressing first and then arrange the cheese and egg on top so you may have to take them off, toss, then rearrange.
It’s a pain in the ass to be a finicky food separatist.

Don’t

11 Aug

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Don’t drink, kids.
This was to use up the half n half from the Colorado Bulldog.
I put this off cause it seemed caloric, but all the drinking I’ve done has been in ye spirit of fuck calories so I made it. Yep.
And it’s summer and Frostbite sounded just about right.
What’s in a name?
Everything.
What’s in the taste?
Even more.
I will have to give you another recipe to use your leftover half n half on, because you probably should not make this.

If you are into smurf-y looking weird tasting overly tequila-esque drinks, go for it, make this.

If not, stay away. After toasting with myself in the mirror for your viewing pleasure I dumped this. So much for the caloric worry. But I refilled with a chilled zin. The red kind, duh.

You will actually be getting a food recipe that uses half n half on Wednesday. Now here is what you probably will not make:
Frostbite(from the Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich)
1 1/2 oz. tequila(I used Sauza blanco)
3/4 oz. blue curaçao(the pretty maker)
1/2 oz. creme de cacao
1/4 oz. creme de menthe(again with the pretty)
2 oz. half n half
Shake all over ice. With vigor. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Mittie doesn’t specify to strain by I’m betting that is the case.

Wake em upper

8 Aug

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Firstly, my latest review for Blackboard Eats was published. Read about some stellar pizza pie here.

Lest you not know what to do with leftover coke from your Kalimotxo, I give you the Colorado bulldog.

The notion of Coke and dairy is not so novel. There is the venerable ice cream float.

Then there is the time I saw a man pour himself a diet coke and add a splash of skim.
I said “ew”.
He said “taste”
And so I did. Coke float. In a diet way. Which is not what I need right now.

So Colorado Bulldog it is. I know not the origins of the name and heat has rendered me unable to think clearly enough to google.

Incidentally, in my family we called coke wake-em-upper, but only when enjoyed in the afternoon as a post-nap beverage.
Preferably with a chocolate chip cookie from the best recipe.

Finally, if you are in Colorado and have a bulldog please tell me about it in the comments, or heck, email me a picture if you like, I will try to see if there is any resemblance to the beverage… scrumptiousgruel.ellen@gmail.com

Colorado Bulldog, just barely adapted from the Bartender’s Companion by Mittie Hellmich
Ice
1 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. half n half
Coke
Fill the glass you want to use with ice. Pour that ice as well as the vodka, Kahlua and half n half into a shake and shake.
Pour that, ice and all back into the cup and top it up with coke.

Kalimotxo

4 Aug

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Settle in, folks and get ready for a string of drink recipes, each using up whatever ingredient I had to buy for the previous one. And because it is summer and awfully hot to cook. And because alcohol makes me worry less about calories and I am doing what I have to to silence some of the demons in my head that have been badgering me.
That was a lot. Let’s just have a cocktail.

Red wine(cheap)

coke(cold)

ice(skull and cross bones shaped)

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It’s what the kool kids drink in the summer.
If they are Basque.

And yeah, if I were really kapital K kool, I’d have used the Mexican cane sugar coke.

I’m a Hollywood actress though. With demons. Although demons can be sexy. Coca-cola zero for moi.

Got this recipe from the Spoon Fork Bacon girls.

It is a pudding

1 Aug

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I figured I had better give you a non-British-sense-of-the-word pudding. I’d baited you with my two non-pudding puddings.
And then I thought of making a more jello-mold type pudding. My experiments substituting agar for gelatin in fruit jello molds are pretty:

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Pretty, but not yet perfected. You’ll note I didn’t unmold that molded agar-jello. There’s a good reason for that.

Then I remembered this recipe I tried from that vixen Katie and combined both my agar n fruit experiments to create a recipe I am going to call more or less: My own.

My own pudding.

Sort of. It is thick, anyway. And sweet. But it is nothing like that gelatinous goop spooned forth from the Jello packs.

That color is all-natural y’all! And it’s hard to see but there are voluptuous cherries in this:

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Voluptuous fruit. Yah.

My own chocolate cherry pudding(inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie, any old jello recipe, and a desire to have a healthy-ish and less sickeningly sweet form of these because I am the only one who likes the cordial filling anyway)
1 1/3 cups unsweetened chocolate almond milk
1 heaping Tbsp. agar
1 heaping cup of frozen sweet pitted cherries
Five-ish drops of cocoa stevia( thanks Averie!) plus any more sweetener of choice
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Mix agar and milk in a small saucepan and let sit for about five minutes. Then bring to a boil, reduce heat and let it simmer until the agar is dissolved. That is more or less the same instructions on the package of agar flakes, and about the same as listed in this post by mzzzz Katie.
Let that shiz-nit cool in the fridge and don’t worry about it separating.
Add all but 8-10 cherries, plus remaining ingredients and use an immersion blender to blend the heck out of it. Divide cherries between a couple of ramekins then add pudding.
Admire the purple hue. Devour voluptuously, whatever that means to you.