Thursday, August 27, 2009

Daring Bakers' Dobos Torta, Barefoot Blogger White Pizza with Arugula, and the Barista Competition

It's late on posting day and we've got a lot to cover people, so bear with me. 
The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

It's a fairly long recipe so I won't repost it. Let me know if you desperately need it. This was an interesting dessert. The caramel layer is really lemony which struck me as a little odd on its own. The sponge cake turned out nicely (even if I did cheat and baked it in a well greased round cake pan). Like most baking, this would have worked better in a climate controlled kitchen where everything could have sit up properly without being put in the fridge. It is a visually pleasing cake. I think with a few tweaks this is definitely making it into the rotation.

I must also think my amazing "soup" chef Shannon. My month has been crazy so my only free night to bake this was on the day it needed to be posted. So the most delicious element of the cake, the frosting, was actually all her. 

White Pizza with Arugula 

So this was not my favorite Ina recipe. It takes a long time and I'm adamantly opposed to any pizza that requires the use of a fork. The mix of cheese was delicious. And the vinaigrette for the arugula was tasty too. Bottom line, I didn't really enjoy the dough anymore than I do the frozen stuff we get at the grocery store. 

Barista Competition

Last night was the district barista championship. It was actually kind of exciting. If for no other reason than I got to nerd out with Mo and Robert from Home Office. I actually did pretty decent for my first time. If only I learned how to keep time (I got some major time penalties). I'm looking forward to going back next year and crushing the competition :D

Look of relief once it was over (And just a cute picture of me)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers post: Mango Banana Daiquiris

I should start with a confession. Mangos and I have had a very turbulent relationship. See, I like mango flavored things, but I have yet to taste an actual honest-to-god fresh mango that was at all appealing to me. I'm sorry to say this didn't really help.

Mango Banana Daiquiris

serves 4

2 cups chopped ripe mango (1 to 2 mangos, peeled and seeded)

1 ripe banana, chopped

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (4 limes)

1/4 cup sugar syrup

1 1/4 cups dark rum, such as Mount Gay

Mango slices, for serving

Place the mango, banana,  lime juice, sugar syrup, and rum in a blender and process until smooth.  Add 2 cups of ice and process again until smooth and thick.  Serve ice-cold in highball glasses with the mango slices.

Ina can't really be blamed for any of this. My ability to know when mangos are ripe is non-existent. So no matter how long I blended everything together it never got smooth. It was like super pulpy orange juice. I liked the general flavor of the drink, mostly because I could only taste the banana and rum. Turns out unripe mangos are flavorless pulp. All was not lost, I used the rum and some frozen strawberries to make strawberry daiquiris the next night that were downright yummy. 

Plus we served them with a delicious chicken quesadilla with homemade salsa. I have to say I'm quite proud of the little foodie I spawned. When I got home Shannon had already marinated the chicken in cayenne pepper (her new obsession) and lime juice and had started the salsa. It was really simple, just homegrown tomatoes, jalapenos, some onion, a little white wine vinegar. It was really tasty and totally made up for any disappointment in the cocktails. 

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Farmer's Market and other produce related things

We woke up early thing morning and headed into town for the farmer's market. It isn't like the most amazing farmer's market. It's maybe a third the size of the kind I'm used to in Iowa. But I do get a weird thrill wandering past stall after stall of fruit and veg. 

We picked up some massive carrots, some peaches, some haricot verts, and some gorgeous flowers.   

Speaking of fruit and veg here's a little update on my container garden.
My jalapenos are finally growing and I could not be more excited for fresh salsa.
We have our first little pumpkin. Who knew pumpkin plants were so pretty?
And we have strawberries again. Maybe we'll even get to eat a few this time.