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Megans Cookin: February 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Chocolate Valentino

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's" blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

It was suppose to be served on Valentines Day. We were going to have a aged beef tenderloin with blue cheese cream on top, a nice bottle of wine that we were saving, and a magnificent dessert. The Daring Bakers challenge was the perfect thing, for just this occasion.
Then Friday I started feeling not so good. I went to bed at four o'clock and slept till eight the next morning. Yes, you read that right. Four in the afternoon till eight the next morning. 16 hours of sleep! It was sweat pants and hot tea all weekend. No tempting tenderloin, no wonderful wine, and no daring dessert. In fact, it was a scrambled egg kind of valentines dinner. O.K. I threw in a little cheese to celebrate the night. Romantic huh? NOT!

So the next weekend I made the planned dinner. Complete with the Daring Bakers challenge which was a flourless chocolate cake and homemade ice cream. Dinner was glorious and the wine was perfect. I made individual little cakes in my rose shaped pan. There were beautiful little black specs in my vanilla bean ice cream. I lovingly plated my masterpiece of a dessert with one little rose cake, tiny little scoops of ice cream, a big ripe strawberry. A sweet swirl of chocolate sauce graced each perfect plate.

I draped a table with a satin red tablecloth. I adjusted my light to get that perfect picture and I loving did my photo shoot. It was a perfect evening, a tantalizing dinner, a wonderful wine, and a sweet ending. All was excellent and I was set to do my Daring Baker challenge post.


The next week, as I was playing on Facebook, one of my favorite things to do, my computer froze. I tried rebooting, I did a couple of scans that popped up. I had the Hubby play around with it. The conclusion?

It crashed.

Then my Hubby found me curled up in the fetal position on the bed, sucking my thumb, crying WHY? WHY? I lost it all. My photos, my feeds, my bookmarks, My Daring Baker Challenge photos! It was all gone. The Hubby knew he had better call our computer guru.

So my beloved laptop is now at the computer hospital in what I pray is capable hands. We are hoping he can save a limb or a byte or a picture. I was hoping to know by the DB reveal day, but I haven't heard anything yet. I have been sitting on pins and needles for days now. It seems like weeks. I miss my laptop. I miss my friends on Facebook. I've barely Tweeted since the crash. Everything is not alright in my world. When did I become so addicted?

So my friends, I have nothing for you but a recipe to the fabulous dessert. No rosy cakes, no screaming ice cream, no little swirl of chocolate sauce. I did think about redoing the challenge, but, do you know how many calories I would have to consume again? I was going to take a hit for the team but my pants are just starting to fit better and that trumped the redo. But there are a thousand flourless chocolate cakes and ice cream to be had out there this week in the blogosphere. Go check out all the other Daring Bakers and get ready to drool. I had a preview of the showing and it was all delicious.

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Chocolate Valentino

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C

9. Bake for 25 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.

Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Wendy's Ice Cream Recipe
Vanilla Philadelphia Style Recipe
Preparation Time: 5 minutes

2 cups (473 ml) of half and half (1 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of whole, full fat milk)
1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
2/3 (128 grams) cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 (12 grams) tablespoon of vanilla(I used a vanilla bean, scraped, and the extract)

Mix all ingredients together
Mix in your ice cream maker as directed.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chocolate Silk (Tofu) Pie!

Trying to keep with the healthy theme I have going on in my life, I bring to you this amazing chocolate pie. Please, PLEASE, don't let the tofu scare you. You wont even taste it. Just silky smooth chocolate that wont make you fall off the wagon. That is...if your on a wagon! A little piece of heaven it is. Pure bliss, I assure you!

The Blond Duck is having Pie Week over at the pond and I'm submitting this pie to her. A decadent silky smooth chocolate pie that wont bust a gut. Inless you eat the whole the pie. Well then, my little buddy..., your on your own!

Moo-Less Chocolate Pie
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

2 cups chocolate chips,
1/3 cup coffee liqueur

1 block silken tofu

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey

1 prepared chocolate wafer crust
Place a small metal bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. Melt the chocolate and coffee liqueur in the bowl. Stir in vanilla.
Combine the tofu, chocolate mixture, and honey in the blender jar. Liquefy until smooth.
Pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until the filling is set.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Uncle Jim's Kalua Pork

My nephew recently shared a recipe with me that he and a few friends came up with. Kalua Pork. Most people think it is Kahlua (the liqueur) Pork. This is false. Kalua is a Hawaiian word meaning "to cook in an underground oven" My nephew has used this recipe for many parties and wedding receptions. After losing a coin toss, it's named after his friend and co-creator, Jim. But to me, it will always be known as My Nephew Mike's Favorite Pork.
In his own words words, I give you his recipe!

Kalua Pork

Place 5 to 10 pounds (or more...depending on your guest count!) of pork butt or pork shoulder into a large, deep roasting pan...'fatty' side up.

Pour 3/4 of a can of pineapple juice over the pork.
Pour 3 ounces of any type liquid smoke over the pork.

Cover the entire top of the pork with a thin, but still generous, layer of sea salt. (I used Himalayan Pink Sea Salt)

Cover the roasting pan with 3 layers of heavy duty aluminum foil, crimping it tight around the edges for a good seal. I use a roasting pan with a 'lip' on it, to ensure I can crimp the foil tight.

Bake the pork for 5 more, no 350 degrees. Don't touch it....don't check it...don't look at it....set the timer...and forget about it! Take it out of the oven and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then peel back the foil and shred the pork with a large kitchen fork.

It will, literally, fall right apart for you...into the remaining juices! Serve it with white rice and cabbage, if you like...Island Style!

This last step is very important....please read carefully! As your guests ooooh and ahhh over the delicious smell and taste of the Kalua tell them a 'Big Whopper' of a lie! Yes...that's LIE!

You tell them that you and your honey (if ya got one!) went out and hunted the wild pig yesterday...risking 'life and limb' as it charged you! You threw the on....and nailed that sucker right between the eyes! You then came home....gutted, skinned and cleaned the beast....after went out in the back yard....dug an IMU PIT 4 feet deep into the ground....covered the pig with ti leaves...put red hot lava rocks over the covered pig....buried it back into the dirt....and roasted the durn thing overnight....ESPECIALLY FOR THEM! You then explain're completely exhausted from all that hard work...BUT, also....that NOTHING is too good for YOUR family and friends! You'll be the HERO and everyone will marvel at your talent, tenacity and, most of all.....your love for them! Works every!
Aloha Nui Loa!


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Monday, February 16, 2009

Chevre Cheesecake with Biscotti Crust

This recipe comes to us straight from the Sonoma wine country. The Russian River Wine Road travels through the wine producing region spanning from the Redwoods and Pacific Ocean to the hillsides of the Alexander Valley, through the Russian River and Dry Creek Valleys. The winerieshold several enticing events throughout the year but one in particular is called A Wine And Food Affair. Tasting Along The Wine Road. Wineries open their tasting rooms and their kitchens to visiting participants in the premier Sonoma County event.

Each winery has their chef prepare a very special dish just for this event. The pairing enhances both the wine and the luscious local Sonoma County Produce.

This recipe was served at the Kendall Jackson Winery with a Kendall-Jackson Camelot Vineyards Chardonnay. Showcasing Chevre cheese and rosemary, It has a sweet biscotti crust and makes the perfect appetizer.

I fell in love this cheesecake many years ago at an event my sister-in-law catered. She has used this recipe at many of her catering events and sometimes (when were lucky) at our family holiday gatherings. My daughter fell in love with it last October when she helped out at her first catering job. She has been begging for it ever since.

To her delight, I made it for a pot luck we recently attended. Without surprise, it was a big hit. You could half this recipe if it's a smaller gathering. For me, the recipe made a tart pan size and 12 mini cheesecakes. We tucked a few away for our Valentine dinner. A perfect beginning!

Chevre Cheesecake with Biscotti Crust

Recipe found at Wine Country News Letter
(Printable Recipe)
6 ounces soft butter
1-1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup biscotti crumbs
1/2 cup ground walnuts

2 cups cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup goat cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat over to 225 degrees. Place butter, confectioner's sugar, flour, walnuts and biscotti crumbs in a 5-quart mixing bowl with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until ingredients are incorporated. Do not cover mix.

Press the dough into pan, being careful to press the dough evenly on the bottom and sides of pan. Place pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the dough to set. Place cream cheese and goat cheese in a 5-quart mixing bowl with paddle attachment and beat on low speed until incorporated. Add eggs one at time until incorporated. Add sugar, rosemary, and salt. Mix for one minute.

Remove pan with crust from the refrigerator and pour the batter into the pan. Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester. The toothpick will be clean and the cheesecake will not be fluid. If the batter is still runny, turn the oven off and allow cake to remain in the oven until firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Serve with Kendall-Jackson Camelot Vineyards Chardonnay

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

What a lovely package I received in the mail today.
Stephanie from steph chows sent me a surprise package.
It's a "Rochester treat" called sponge candy.
She sent me both milk chocolate and dark chocolate versions.

And perfect timing. It arrived on Valentines Day. Thank you so much Stephanie. These melt in your mouth treats were a fabulous surprise. The little family all gathered around as opened my package. When I asked if they wanted a taste, they were all over it. Vultures!
Not to fret, I hid the rest!!!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

BBQ Hawaiian Chicken

I must tell you about my dinner we had the other night. I made this fabulous chicken dinner. I used the same recipe that I used for that Island Pork Tenderloin that I told you about, and turned it into an exotic BBQ chicken dish. I mixed up the spice mix, rubbed it all over the chicken, and then put it on the BBQ. It cooked up quickly and then
I glazed it with the brown sugar sauce.
And again, I used the brown sugar Splenda.

Look how juicy it is.
I used both chicken breast and chicken thigh meat.
The Hubby prefers breast,
but I'm a thigh kind of girl! ;-)

I served it up with my fresh Mango Salsa because, well... because I think everything goes better with my fresh Mango Salsa. Fresh asparagus (it's a bargan right now) and shrimp cocktails rounded out this meal which I will say again,... was spectacular!!!

BBQ Hawaiian Chicken
adapted from RecipeZarr

16 ounces chicken

Spice Mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
1/2 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, and coat the chicken pieces with the spice rub.
BBQ over medium heat till almost done.
Stir together brown sugar , garlic, and Tabasco. Brush on chicken and finish off on the BBQ.


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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Baked French Toast with Pecan Praline Topping

This was the breakfast casserole that I made for New Years Day breakfast. It was so good that I'm thinking that it should make an appearance on the Valentines brunch menu. A sweet way to start the day, it was very easy and not time consuming at all. In fact, you start the night before.

Instead of lining up my bread slices all in a row, I broke the bread into little pieces. I thought it would soak up more of that spiced custard just a little bit better. Topped with a decadent pecan praline layer, this recipe definitely says, "Will you be mine?"

Baked French Toast with Pecan Praline Topping
Recipe by: Paula Dean
First seen on Sweet Cheeks in the Kitchen
Serves 6-8

1 loaf French Bread
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch thick each. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 45 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.
Praline Topping:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.
Spread over bread as directed above.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Amano Chocolate

Awhile back I was one of the lucky people who got to try out some Amano chocolate . The Hubby and I did a chocolate tasting using their three different chocolate bars. That was some of the best chocolate I have ever tasted. I was thrilled when they sent me their newest bar, The Jembrana.

High quality chocolate wrapped in golden foil, you know your getting something special! The beans for this bar come from the Jembrana area in Bali, Indonesia. Using single origin beans, made in small batches using vintage machinery, this chocolate is a clear winner.

70% cocoa yet its smooth and not bitter like some chocolates I have tasted. Bitterness is The Hubby's #1 complaint of dark chocolate. If you would like to try some Amano chocolate, you can order it on line. I recommend one bar of each kind so you can do a tasting using this chocolate tasting guide. With Valentines right around the corner, this would make the perfect gift. The gift of perfect chocolate.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Island Pork Tenderloin

We have had some gorgeous days here lately with highs in the 80. It's hard to believe that it's the first days of February. With the unseasonable warm days upon us, I found this tropical recipe that is sure to please.

Seasoned with cinnamon and chili, the flavors were right on. You add a glaze that forms a sweet crust on top. I used Splenda brown sugar in my glaze and you couldn't tell the difference. I served it coconut rice and crushed pineapple but the mango salsa would have been fantastic with it. I just didn't have all the ingredients. Next time I'll plan that out better.

Island Pork Tenderloin
found at RecipeZarr

16 ounces pork tenderloins, lean
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
1/2 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, and coat the pork with the spice rub.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12 inch skillet, over relatively high heat, and brown pork, turning every 30 seconds for 4 minutes.
Stir together brown sugar , garlic, and tabasco and pat onto top of the tenderloin.
Place pork in roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes. Mine took much longer to bake. I baked it till it was 145 degrees.

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