Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gluten-Free: Chocolate Pot du Creme Brûlée

Chocolate Pot du Creme Brûlée with Butterscotch Topping
Sometimes, I need a sweet treat.

The days seemed to be running together and the only thing that set them apart were my hubby’s split pants, the furnace malfunction, and listening to him hungrily sample a tin of sardines the cats got from my Mom for Christmas – I’m not going to forget that anytime soon.

Farmers?  We work too hard for too long in marathon stretches. 

Days off are rare, vacations few and far between – so I need to get the happy on when and where I can.

I love doggie kisses (currently living cat-full and pup-less); watching tiny Internet ponies while the mail loads; having old black-and-white Godzilla movies play in the background while I work.  Simple things.

I also enjoy the anticipation of trying something new, and I recently purchased a kitchen blowtorch. *

This recipe looked just right for the task.  It turned pantry ingredients into something decadent and extraordinary, and didn’t take long.

It’s a dessert to be remembered - a silky smooth, chocolaty custard that brought out just the right amount of smile.


* (Next new things: making cotton candy, using a cowboy-style Dutch oven, and trying pressure cooking for the third time.   Times #1 and #2?  It’s too soon to share the failures.)
 
Creme Brûlée with Kitchen Torch 
 Sometimes, I need a sweet treat.

The days seemed to be running together and the only thing that set them apart were my hubby’s split pants, the furnace malfunction, and listening to him hungrily sample a tin of sardines the cats got from my Mom for Christmas – I’m not going to forget that anytime soon.

Farmers?  We work too hard for too long in marathon stretches. 

Days off are rare, vacations few and far between – so I need to get the happy on when and where I can.

I love doggie kisses (currently living cat-full and pup-less); watching tiny Internet ponies while the mail loads; having old black-and-white Godzilla movies play in the background while I work.  Simple things.

I also enjoy the anticipation of trying something new, and I recently purchased a kitchen blowtorch. *

This recipe looked just right for the task.  It turned pantry ingredients into something decadent and extraordinary, and didn’t take long.

It’s a dessert to be remembered - a silky smooth, chocolaty custard that brought out just the right amount of smile. 

* (Next new things: making cotton candy, using a cowboy-style Dutch oven, and trying pressure cooking for the third time.   Times #1 and #2?  It’s too soon to share the failures.)

Chocolate Pot de Creme
 Chocolate Pot de Crème Brulee
Adapted from a recipe by Anne Thornton (Food Network)
Makes 4-6 servings

2.5 oz. Bittersweet or Milk Chocolate Chips (I used both)
1 1/8 Cups Heavy Cream
3 Egg Yolks
1/8 Cup Liquid Honey
2 TBS Cointreau (or ½ TB fresh orange zest)

Optional: 6-8 Butterscotch Hard Candies (or white sugar)
Special Equipment: Kitchen Blowtorch

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325f.

Arrange 4-6 ramekins in a roasting pan.

Place cream and chocolate In microwave, power on high 30-45 seconds, until chocolate begins to melt.

Whisk until smooth. Cool to just warm.

Whisk yolks and honey in a large bowl.

Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture and stir until the ingredients are incorporated.

Divide the custard equally between the ramekins.  Place in oven.

Add water to the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake until just set around the edges, but still soft in the center (35-40 minutes).

Remove ramekins from water.  Refrigerate until cold.

Optional, for serving – crush candies and sprinkle over the custards. Heat with torch until melted.  (White sugar may be used instead of candy.)



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Homemade Mayonnaise

Farm Eggs and Homemade Mayonnaise
Fifteen years ago, our cheese plant was spanking new and I personally delivered cellar-aged wheels of Boucher Blue throughout Chittenden County.

One of my stops was Cheese Outlet/Fresh Market on Pine Street in Burlington – even when they didn’t make an order.

I joked that I barely broke even on those trips, because in addition to any foodstuffs I’d never tried before, I would purchase two different types of sandwiches and pick up 7Days, which wasn’t available in the St. Albans area at the time.

Why two ‘wiches?  Because I would split them with my husband Dan and enjoy eating both while reading the paper upside down – he can only read right side up.

I really miss those sandwich days.  The driving?  Not so much.

This time of year, I find myself with a lot of ingredients in the pantry and ample time to buff some rusty kitchen skills.

Homemade mayonnaise is THE secret sauce of the season. In bread spreads, dressings, dips, and tartar sauce - it’s worth the extra effort.

If you can whip cream or make butter, you can do it, too.

Five minutes to make.  Three hours to wait.  Remember Cheese Outlet with some great sandwiches, and enjoy!
Homemade Mayonnaise

Homemade Mayonnaise
Adapted from Food in Jars
Makes about 1 Cup

3 Egg Yolks (room temperature)
½ TB Dijon Mustard
1 – 1 1/2 Cup Sunflower Oil (EVOO or Peanut Oil)
1 - 2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 Pinch of Salt
Pepper

Optional: Pinch of Sugar


Place yolks in a blender or food processor fitted with a blade.

Pulse for a few seconds, then add mustard and pulse again.

Begin incorporating oil drop by drop while the blender runs.

At the halfway mark, begin adding oil in a steady stream, until you reach desired thickness.*

Incorporate salt, pepper, and/or a pinch of sugar to taste.

Cover dish and leave at room temperature for two hours.

Refrigerate for one hour.
 
Homemade Mayonnaise
Your mayonnaise is ready.

*If your mayonnaise “breaks” into an oily mess, start the process over with another yolk, adding the broken mixture drop by drop.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cured Meat: Venison Bresaola

Venison Bresaola
Venison Bresaola
Adapted from DENTIST CHEF

1 1/2 lbs. Venison Tenderloin 
20 gr Smoked Sea Salt (about 2-3 percent of meat wt.)
1/4 tsp. of Pink Salt (optional, but keeps color of meat)
30 gr Brown Sugar
Spices: Nutmeg, Black-White-Green Peppercorns, Fennel Seed, Cardamon, Juniper Berries, Cloves
Herbs: Tarragon, Bay Leaf, Thyme, Oregano, and Rosemary
2-3 dried Chipotle or Jalapeno Peppers with seeds

Trim silverskin and fat from the tenderloin, weigh for calculating salt.

Rub Mixture 
Process salt, sugar, spices, herbs and peppers until powdery, set aside.

Venison Bresaola
Rub half of the spice mix into the meat; place in a covered container or zip lock bag and flip every 12 hours. 

Refrigerate 7-10 days until firm.

Discard liquid.  Coat with remaining spice mix, place in a clean container.

Refrigerate, flip every 12 hours for 1-2 days.

Wash gently in cool water, pat dry.
 
Attach Notations to Meat
Double-wrap in cheese cloth and secure, note both date and weight.  It should be about 30% less than at the start.

Hang in the coolest part of the basement in a moist area (not wet, just humid).

After two weeks, weigh.  If it did not lose another 30%, put it back and check in a few more days.
 
Venison Bresaola (note how dark the meat is, that is because I did not use pink salt cure)
Such complex flavor from a deer taken by Dan on our property!