Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two For The Price Of One

I have 15 year old son...who is 6'2" tall and weighs in at 212 pounds, none of which is fat.  As such, when I cook I make enough to feed a small army and its host nation.  I still rarely have leftovers for more than two days.

Bren is currently in a phase where he doesn't particularly appreciate the incredible edible egg.  However, when I bust out the Quiche Lorraine, he starts salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs the second I start putting ingredients on the counter.  He doesn't stop until he's eaten half of one dish and is lying on the couch in a savory egg custard coma.  I threw in the cakes because I was feeling like a bit of kaffeezeit.

Quiche Lorraine (adapted from The Best of Baking by Annette Wolter and Christian Teubner)
For the Pastry:
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
7 tbs butter, cold and cut into small cubes
3 to 5 tbs ice water

For the Filling:
1/2 - 1 lb of Black Forest ham, finely cubed
8 oz extra sharp Vermont white cheddar cheese, shredded or finely cubed
6 eggs
2 cups of heavy cream
ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and salt together in a medium bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers (I've never been able to get the two knives technique to work for me).  Mix in 3 tablespoons of ice water with a fork.  If dough does not start to pull together add another tablespoon of water.  Remove dough from bowl and knead as briefly as possible to bring dough together into a ball.  Pat into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Remove pastry dough from the refrigerator, dust a clean counter with flour and roll pastry to fit a 10-inch pie plate. Wrap dough around rolling pin and gently pat into pie plate.  Place pastry in freezer.

Break the eggs into a 4 cup measuring cup and beat with a fork until whites and yolks are mixed. Add heavy cream to eggs and mix together until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to incorporate. Finely cube the ham and the cheese. Remove the pastry from the freezer and sprinkle the ham and cheese over it evenly. Pour the custard mixture over the ham and cheese. Sprinkle top lightly with nutmeg. Place in the middle of preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until center is barely set and top is browned. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting.  The above recipe can be doubled (see picture).

Fruited Spice Cake (Recipe makes 2 cakes)
Dry Ingredients:
6 cups flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:
6 eggs
2 cups applesauce
1 1/4 cups mashed banana
2 - 15 ounce cans pear halves, finely diced
1 cup canola oil
1/3 cup molasses

3 cups powdered sugar
2 tbs melted butter
3 tbs strong coffee, preferably espresso
1/2 tsp rum extract

Preheat oven to 340 degrees.  Grease and flour two 10-cup bundt pans.  Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.  Mix wet ingredients thoroughly in a medium bowl.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir together until moistened through.  Evenly pour batter into bundt pans and bake for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

Sift powdered sugar into a medium bowl.  Stir in melted butter, coffee and extract until glaze is smooth.  It should fall in a thick ribbon, if it is too thin add a bit more powdered sugar.  If it is too thick add a bit more coffee.  Drizzle over cooled cakes and let the glaze set for about an hour before serving.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sind Sie Verrückt?

A request was made by RamenBoy for an update on the insane title, so here we are.  (Don't think this means I won't talk about food again see post below)

Rep Update:
Bloodsail Buccaneers: Honored
Darkmoon Faire: Friendly (3225/6000) (can't do anything about this until 10/3)
Ravenholdt: Revered (224/21000) (give me a break, my rogue is only lvl 56)
Shen'dralar: Exalted
Booty Bay: Exalted
Everlook: Exalted
Gadgetzan: Exalted
Ratchet: Exalted 

*btw, if you add another r to his name, he would be Bicycle, Grand Mater Rogue..hehehe

Study Break

When I'm bogged down with the books and I'm feeling kind of peckish, I like to grab something a little more substantial than a bag of Cheetohs.  Don't get me wrong, Cheetohs rock, it's just that if I have gotten to a stage of peckishness while doing homework or studying it usually means I've forgotten to eat dinner...and possibly lunch.  Most times this happens I go for a good hearty sandwich (turkey breast, havarti, giardiniera, and cream cheese on rye) with pickled beets and cucumbers on the side (my mother makes the best pickled beets ever *sniff* I could live on them I think).  Other times I get to have leftovers.  And sometimes those leftovers are better than they were the first night we had them for dinner.  

That was the case about a week and a half ago when I ate this delicious bowl of lentils and sausage.  They were divine.

Lentils and Sausage
To Start:
1 pound dry lentils (any color will do, mine were just ordinary greens)
2 smoked pork neck bones
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt

To Add:
1 pound bacon
2 medium onions
2 tbs minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 cups chicken stock

To Embellish:
1/2 pound polish sausage
1/2 pound andouille

Rinse the lentils and put them in a 4 quart stock pot.  Add to the pot the neck bones, bay leaves and salt.  Pour water over the lentils to cover by about an inch.  Place stock pot over medium heat until boiling.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft, but firm to the bite.  Add more water if necessary to keep lentils covered.

Dice the bacon finely and saute in a 10 inch skillet until barely crispy and fat is rendered.  Remove bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Chop the onions into about 1/4 inch pieces; add to skillet and saute until tender and translucent.  Add minced garlic and sweat for about 2 minutes.  Pour onions and garlic from the pan into the cooked lentils.  Add bacon and stock to lentils.  Cook until heated through.  Taste for salt and add if needed.

Brown both sausages in skillet used for bacon and onions.  Either add to the lentils or serve on the side...in case you have someone in your family who has developed an aversion to sausage.  Which will make you question whether this person is actually related to you and may necessitate a DNA test.

**It's been a while since I sent in a post for a blogging event, but as I was perusing the cooking interwebs I  found The Well-Seasoned Cook....and she's hosting My Legume Love Affair 27 which ends day after tomorrow...and I had made these wonderful lentils.  So here I go again.  Nevermind the photography, I still seem to lack the edge I had at my other food blog.  I'm working on it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Non Compos Mentis

When we last joined our heroine, she was diligently plowing her way through Dire Maul over and over and over again.  And then, just for kicks, she ran it again and again.  Crazy, you say? No, folks, not crazy, she's heading toward insane.

Rep Update:
Bloodsail Buccaneers: Honored (this one is still done)
Darkmoon Faire: Friendly (3225/6000)
Ravenholdt: Honored (6240/12000)
Shen'dralar: Exalted (yeah baby, this one is done!)
Booty Bay: Exalted (up yours dire maul!!)
Everlook: Exalted (ditto)
Gadgetzan: Exalted (xerox)
Ratchet: Exalted
(reasonable facsimile)

What really got my panties in a bunch during the last runs through DM was that I had not one, not two, not three, hell...not even four, but TEN pristine black diamonds drop. And I didn't need a single one of them *fume*.  Oh, and to top it ALL off, I had no less than 21 librams drop as well.  

I swear there are days I think I'm cursed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blue Monday

from http://iharthdarth.livejournal.com/

Last week my daughter was having a particularly bad day and I wanted to cheer her up with something warm, hearty and homey.  I scanned the shelves and bins in my kitchen for a while, finally settling on a favourite of both hers and mine; pinhead oatmeal.  As I moved the bag of oatmeal out I saw behind it a bag of spelt flour we had bought some time ago, intending to find wonderful things to do with this ancient species of wheat.  Seeing it again made me think about that and I had an overwhelming urge to use it.  I ended up searching the internet for recipes containing spelt and was happy as a clam when I saw that one of the links was to a category for spelt over at 101 Cookbooks, a blog I use to read quite often when I had my previous cooking site.

After a quick glance at the list, I hit upon her Rosemary Olive Oil Cake.  It sounded delicious as written, but I knew I wanted to modify it to suit our tastes more.  Despite the driving force to make this being my daughter's bad day, I have yet to see my youngest son refuse cake of any kind and wanted to include him as a recipient as well.

What I came up with for us didn't include rosemary, but did include homemade granola.  And oh wow, was this cake fantastic.


Blue Monday Cake
Dry Ingredients
1 cup spelt flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups toasted granola
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients
3 eggs
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup whole milk

7 ounces dark chocolate with hazelnuts, chopped
2 tbs demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 3 inch deep 9 x 5 loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Mix dry ingredients together with a whisk in a medium bowl and set aside.  Whisk eggs in a large bowl until homogeneous, then whisk in oil and milk.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined.  Fold in 2/3s of the chopped chocolate.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Sprinkle the top with remaining chopped chocolate and press into dough very lightly with the back of a spoon.  You want the pieces to be on top, but not to fall off when the cake comes out of the oven.  Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top of the batter.  Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until golden and a metal skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool briefly in the pan, then remove to cool on a rack.  Serve while warm, if possible, or at room temperature. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Check Your Sanity

I've finally gone back to working on my insane title in WoW after the slight distraction of leveling a warlock to 80. She's ultra cute and has minions, what's not to love?

As part of my work on the title I have also started leveling my own rogue (see above). In order to get Ravenholdt rep up to exalted I'll need to turn in something like 1400 heavy junkboxes....boxes only obtainable by pick-pocketing rogues. And since I didn't see anyway I could convince Alex to farm all of those for me on his rogue, I made my own. She's level 40 at the moment and moving up fast. That's because she has massive amounts of BoA gear and can kill mobs around 4 levels above her own without much trouble.

As for the other reps, here's the latest:
Bloodsail Buccaneers: Honored (this one is still done)
Darkmoon Faire: Friendly (2775/6000)
Ravenholdt: Honored (2305/12000)
Shen'dralar: Revered (19000/21000) (four more turn ins until exalted)
Booty Bay: Honored (222/12000)
Everlook: Honored (97/12000)
Gadgetzan: Revered (9982/21000)
Ratchet: Honored (360/12000)