Friday, June 28, 2019

Soufflé For Breakfast.

I like a good breakfast.  And I love a soufflé.
What a wonderful way to start out the day!

Please don't be intimidated by a soufflé.
They're easy to make.
Simple in fact.
 Only one caveat:  Be careful when you separate your eggs.  Keep your egg whites clean.  That means not a trace of yolk in them.  And not a smidgeon of oil or water.  It works best to have your whites at room temperature.  You get more volume when you beat them.  And use a glass or metal bowl to whip the whites - not plastic.  Plastic can retain oil, no matter how well you wash it.  Any bit of yolk or water in the whites will keep them from whipping to the max.  That said, let's get crackin'.

1 TB unsalted butter
1 TB flour
1/2 cup skim milk
3/4 cup cream
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites, room temperature
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup + grated Swiss cheese
1-2 TB grated Parmesan cheese
1  5" diameter  2 1/2" tall casserole dish
Generously butter the casserole dish, then sprinkle the Parmesan on the sides.  The Parm gives the soufflé something to cling to as it climbs up the dish.

Heat oven to 325°.

In medium sauce pan, melt butter.  Add flour and whisk, over medium heat, for a minute or so, to cook the flour.  This is officially a roux.  Slowly whisk in skim and cream, cooking until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, and a fresh grating of nutmeg.  Remove from heat and let sit a bit to slightly cool so you can add in the yolks without cooking them.
After a few minutes, pour the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the yolks, one at a time, incorporating well.  Stir in most of the cheese, saving a bit (1-2 TB) for sprinkling on top of the soufflé.

In a perfectly clean bowl (I use glass.), whip the room temperature whites until stiff peaks form.
Take about a third of the whites and stir into the yolk mixture to lighten it.  Then gently fold in the rest of the whites.  Pour into the buttered baking dish.  Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Being ever the optimist, I make a collar for the soufflé.  Take a long piece of aluminum foil, fold it over, butter it, then wrap it around the soufflé dish so when the soufflé dramatically rises out of the dish, it will keep rising upward, not outward.  Bake for 37 minutes.  Do not open the oven door during baking to check on the soufflé.  When done, serve immediately.  A soufflé waits for no one.

Now, for the step-by-steps:
Melt the butter, add the flour, and cook, whisking.
Medium heat.

You want to cook the raw out of the flour, but not brown it.
A light tan color is fine.

Slowly pour in the cream/milk, whisking and cooking over medium heat.

Keep cooking and whisking until thickened.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

I buttered the baking dish and sprinkled some grated Parmesan around the sides.
The Swiss is grated.

Beat the egg yolks and ...

... add them to your milk/cream mixture.
Mix well.

Add in the Swiss.

Beat the room-temperature whites...
...and beat some more...
...until you have stiff peaks.
And these are stiff peaks.

Now you're ready to combine.

Add in about a third of the beaten whites to the yolk mixture and stir.

This will lighten the mixture a bit.
Plop in the rest of the beaten whites and...

... gently fold into the mixture until evenly incorporated.
You do not want to deflate the whites, so be gentle.
Pour into prepared baking dish.
Wrap the buttered collar around the dish.

I usually run my finger in a circle on the top of the mixture.
Then sprinkle on the rest of the Swiss.

Ready for baking.

Carefully remove the collar.
Oh...  This is perfect.
A soufflé is a beautiful thing.

Scoop out a serving.
It's like a cheese-flavored cloud.

Now, go make a soufflé.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Grit Cups For Breakfast.

I had leftover grits from breakfast yesterday.
So I made Moreover Grit Cups for breakfast today.

Rosie doesn't like the word "leftover."
It has unpleasant connotations.
Like the food should have been left where it was.

 I prefer the word "moreovers." 
 I take what's been made already 
and turn it into something else - something more.
 The "moreover" implies it's something "more" than what went before.

Here's a previous explanation of my "moreovers:"
As you know,
Rosie doesn't do "Leftovers."
Rosie does "Moreovers."
It grew out of necessity because certain Hawthornelets
don't like to eat the same thing more than once.
I know!  
Quel horreur!
So, I had to come up with ways of using
"previously blessed food"
to make it new and exciting and different.
Hence... Moreovers.
 Nothing goes to waste in the Hawthorne Household.
And I don't refer to the remnants as leftovers.
Immediately after writing the word "leftovers,"
I knew I needed another word
that was more real, more definitive, and positive.
First I thought of the word re-do's.
But that implies it wasn't done right
the first time around
when it certainly was.
Then I considered do-overs.
But, of course,
that, too, has a negative connotation.
I've put a lot of thought into this
trying to come up with just the right word which describes
the process of what I do
in the life chain of the produce and viande
I prepare and serve and consume.

And my word is moreovers.

Think about it:
You've already produced and served
a wonderful, satisfying, convivial repast.
So, what's next?
MORE is next.
When you say "Moreover,"
you're likely going to top what you previously said,
put an exclamation point there,
and/or put it in bold or italics.
So, I have no leftovers.
Whenever we make grits for breakfast,
we always end up with more than we need.
So, let's make some Moreover Grits.

First off, the grits.
I like Lakeside Mills yellow grits.
Cook grits according to package directions
then plop in some butter, add a splash of cream if you like,
and stir in some grated cheddar cheese.
And you have some heavenly grits.

In case you don't know what a grit is,
which explains everything.

Now, these grit cups aren't gonna work
with creamy, runny, freshly-made grits.
You gotta refrigerate them overnight
so they stick together en masse

Butter some muffin tins or small ramekins
then press your grits into the bottom and up the sides -
about 1/4 inch thick.

Place grit cups in a 350° oven 
and bake until lightly toasted - about 25-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes.
Now, you can slide a knife or small spatula along the sides
and pop out the grit cup.
You can fill it with some lovely scrambled eggs
and bacon or sausage and serve it
you can place some cooked bacon strips 
or a cooked sausage patty
in the bottom,
crack an egg in it,
 put some cheddar cheese slices on top,
and pop it back into the oven for another 7-8 minutes 
for a set white and runny yolk,
longer if you want to ruin the yolk.

I cooked some Jimmy Dean sausage 
mixed with chopped red peppers
and added a little extra to the side.
Parsley and/or basil on top for some green flavor.


Now that's a grit!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Scallops And Corn Salad.

Today's lunch is courtesy of Mr. Hawthorne.
It's seared scallops with a corn salad.
And it's pretty darn good.

Rosie Note:  If I were doing the scallops,
I would have pulled that little rubber foot off the side first,
then dried the scallops, then seared them in hothothot butter and oil,
to give them a bit of color.
But I'm NOT complaining.
Somebody else is cooking a meal for me,
so I'll just shut up and eat.

By the way,
Mr. Hawthorne is going out on a limb today.
He's using ingredients he's never had before.
He doesn't know what they are 
and he doesn't know how to pronounce them.
Those ingredients would be
edamame and miso paste.
And yes, Rosie had them both on hand.
For the record,
edamame is fresh green soybeans.
(Mine came from Harris Teeter.)
The miso is soybean paste.
It's made from fermented soybeans 
and koji, which is a mold used in making sake.
You might have had miso soup in Japanese restaurants,
but there are many other applications for this ingredient.
Miso paste comes in different colors,
depending on the fermentation time.
The longer the fermentation,
the darker the color and the more intense the flavor.
Consider the flavor a savory boost of umami.

The lighter misos are fermented for shorter times
and are lower in salt than the darker varieties.
They have a milder, mellow, more delicate flavor
and are suitable for dressings and light sauces.

The darker misos are fermented longer
and have more assertive, pungent flavors,
suitable for heartier dishes,
like rich soups, braises, glazes, and marinades.

This is what I used.
Shiro miso.

I've had a container of miso paste in the freezer
for a while now and I can't remember where I bought it.
What with the miracle of Amazon Prime,
I'm sure you can have it delivered
 to your doorsteps in a couple of days.

Rosie Note:  I've been to Food Lions in Nags Head and KDH,
Publix, and Harris Teeter and I could NOT find any miso paste.
However, I took a trip down to Fresh Market
and was rewarded!
Several different types/colors of miso!

From Fresh Market's website:
Light sweet miso -  made from steamed soybeans, Koji-cultured brown rice, and sea salt.  Good in salads and slaws.
Brown rice miso -  made from steamed soybeans, Koji-cultured brown rice, and sea salt.  Richer and more complex than the lighter miso.  Good for miso soup, marinades, and dressings.
Dark aged miso - darker, rich, aged miso made from fermented soybeans, roasted barley flour, and sea salt.  Good in marinades, glazes, and sauces.
Yuzu miso -  a lighter style of miso, fermented with yuzu fruit and aged for 3 months. Has a floral aroma.
Sesame yuzo - another lighter miso, blended with puréed black and white toasted sesame seeds, aged for 3 months.  Has a savory, nutty flavor.

If you're able to find miso in your grocery store, know that there are three basic types -
white (shiro miso), yellow (shinshu miso), and red (aka miso).
White, or shiro miso, is the mildest and your most versatile miso.  Actually light yellow in color, it's made with fermented soy beans and rice and fermented for a short period of time, which makes it milder and sweeter.  This is your best choice to have on hand.  Good for dressings, soups, and light marinades.
Yellow miso, or shinshu miso, is light brown in color and is made from fermented soy beans and sometimes barley.  It's stronger than white miso.  Good for dressings, soups, marinades, and glazes.
Red miso, or aka miso, is the saltiest and most pungent miso, typically made with fermented soybeans, barley, and some other grain.  It ranges from red to dark brown in color and is good for heartier marinades and glazes.

Now that you know probably more than you wanted to about miso, let's eat!
We had corn on the cob,
so Mr. H. cut off the ends,
placed three ears in the microwave,
big end outside,
and nuked them for four minutes.
Then he sliced off the kernels.

Corn Salad
3 ears corn, prepared as above
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 cup sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
(I use an assortment of colors here, for the pretty.)
 1 cup fresh edamame
1-2 TB chopped basil

Coat a medium skillet with oil
and sauté the corn over medium heat for about a minute.
Add in the chopped red onion
and cook for about 30 seconds.
Transfer corn and onion to a bowl
and add tomatoes, edamame, and basil.
Add dressing and toss.

2 TB miso paste
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp lime zest
2 TB lime juice
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 finely chopped jalapeño
3 TB vegetable oil
Whisk all ingredients, except oil, until miso is dissolved.
Slowly whisk in oil in a stream until well-combined.

Pour over corn mixture and toss to coat.
Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

And not to worry.
The corn salad can be served at room temperature or cold.
For the scallops,
pour a film of peanut oil in an iron skillet,
get it hothot,
and add the scallops.
Maybe a minute each side.
Do NOT overcook!

I forgot the toasted sesame seeds.
Rosie smacks head!


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Rosie Reprises Her Favorite Cake - Chocolate Cake With Caramel Filling And Chocolate Icing.

I have a favorite cake I make.
This is it.
It's four chocolate layers with caramel filling
and a decadent chocolate icing.
And it's one of the best things EVER.
I made it for Mr. Hawthorne's birthday 
a few years ago
and now, whenever somebody's birthday
 is announced on Facebook,
I always post this picture of said cake,
with the birthday candle,
and say something very cavalier, like, "Ready for pickup."
Note that most of my FB "friends" are imaginary
and live at least 500 miles away.
So I always felt safe posting the picture.
Until now.
Imagine how I felt when I posted
this picture for a "real" friend
(I'll call her "Everly Ritz."
Name changed to protect the guilty.)
 who lives maybe 4 - 5 hours away
and when I went to my beach sunrise the next day
after posting for her birthday,
Standing on the Lido deck at Avalon Pier.
Hands outstretched.
Ready for pick up.
That'll teach me.

So, I'm making the cake again,
because it's soooo worth it
and I need to get a big slice to my friend, "Everly."

This cake is deceptively easy:
You mix the dry ingredients together.
You mix the wet ingredients together.
Then you combine the two.

But first, my mise en place.

I don't always do a mise en place,
but it comes in handy for something like a cake.
In case you don't chef-speak,
mise-en-place means "set in place."
All your ingredients are prepared, measured,
 set out, ready to go.
All you have to do is read the directions
and grab the ingredients which are right in front of you.
It's a time-saver and it's also a good culinary practice,
 particularly when you're first starting out.
How many times have you gotten half-way through a recipe
and go to get something, then realize, 
"Oh crap!  I don't have 4 newts' eyes!  Only 3!"
Or, "Damn!  Where did I put my frankincense tears?
I could've sworn it was right next to the ras el hanout!"
Or, "I'm freaking out because I can't find my freekeh!"
Basically, when you're looking for your baobab pods, 
your bergamot bitters, your green rooibos matcha,
your shark fin, your ortolan, whatever...
you want to be able to put your hands on it immediately.
Oh, if I only had a nickle for every time
 I've had to run next door for a cup of duck's blood!
Or even this:
 And I live at the beach!
Well, you get the picture.

Mise en place!
Mise en place!
Mise en place!
I can't emphasize it enough.

Where was I?
 Oh, yes...  The cake.
And the mise en place.
Are you still with me?

This is your end result.

Here's my mise en place:

Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz.) flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 oz.) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz.) sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Rosie Notes:  For flour, cocoa, and sugar amounts, I went by weight, not volume.
For eggs, I used room temperature.  I set them in warm water while I assembled my mise en place.
To prepare the cake pans, I buttered them and, instead of flouring them, I cocoa'd them.  No white flour showing, plus I have extra chocolate flavor!
For the cake:
Heat oven to 325°.
Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Sprinkle cocoa in the pans and shake to lightly coat.

In a large bowl, sift flour and cocoa.  Whisk in sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

Whisk buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until smooth batter forms.  Don't overmix.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

Rosie Note:  Whenever I have a cake batter, I always tap the pans on the counter top several times, to get the air bubbles up to the surface.

Bake about 20-25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool pans on wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove cakes and let cool completely.

Now, for the step-by-steps:
First, I buttered, parchment-papered, buttered, and cocoa'd my pans.

Then I mixed the dry ingredients (left) and the wet ingredients (right).

Add wet to dry.
And combine.

Pour into prepared pans.
Tap on surface to get air bubbles to the surface.
I set them on a baking sheet, then pop into the oven.

Remove from oven.  This was about 23 minutes.

Let cool in the pan a bit, then invert, peel off parchment, and let cool completely on the rack.

Now for the caramel filling:
Mise en place!

Caramel Filling
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 oz. sugar)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
8 TB unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp kosher salt
Rosie Note:  Again, I measured the sugar by weight, not volume.  And once you start making caramel, you must stand over it and not be distracted. Caramel is not something you can just leave on top of the stove to take care of itself.  You have to stand there and watch the sugar change color until it's the proper shade of amber.  And if you don't have an instant-read laser thermometer, now is the time to get one.  Immediately if not sooner.
For the caramel filling:
Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. 
Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in medium saucepan.  Bring the mixture to boil over medium heat and cook, without stirring, until mixture is amber colored.  8-10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, swirling saucepan occasionally, until dark amber - about 375°.
Remove pan from heat and stir in cream, butter, vanilla, and salt.  Mixture will hiss and steam at you.  Return pan to medium heat and cook, stirring, until smooth and caramel registers 240°.  
Pour caramel into prepared pan and let cool about 30-40 minutes - until 100°.
Preparation of layers:
 Slice each cake layer in half.
Using an offset spatula, spread 1/3 of caramel on first layer to within 1/2 inch of edges.
Top with cake layer.
Repeat with remaining caramel and cake layers.  (Three cake layers should be topped with caramel.  Top layer has no caramel.)

Step-by-steps for the caramel:
Sugar, corn syrup, and water.
Add to the pan and leave it alone.
Bring to a simmer.
And wait...
Simmer and wait...
Simmer and wait...

That's about the right color.

Add in the butter and...
... the cream.
Hiss!  Spit!!  Sputter!!!

Stir to melt butter and combine.

Bring to simmer and up to temp.

Gettin' close.
Pour into prepared pan.  (Buttered 8 x 8.)

Let it cool down.

Slice the cakes in half and start assembling,
pouring caramel between layers.

Gotta lick the pan.

Now for the frosting.
And this is Killer Frosting.
Here's my mise en place:
Killer Chocolate Frosting
16 TB unsalted butter, softened (That's two sticks.)
3/4 cup (3 oz.) powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz.) unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Rosie Note:  Again, I went by weight, not volume.
To make less of a mess when frosting, line edges of cake platter with 4 strips of wax or parchment paper, placing cake layers on top.  After frosting, carefully remove paper strips.
For frosting:
In food processor, process butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Add corn syrup and vanilla and process about 10 more seconds.  Scrape down sides of bowl, then add chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy.  Spread frosting over sides and top of cake.  Feel free to swirl with abandon.
Stand back and admire your handiwork.
Try not to drool.
 Process until smooth.


   Oh yeah!

And swirl.
Oh...  The caramel!
Ohhhhh...  The chocolate!!