Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Salted Caramel Creme Brulee

I've written before about my Mother's love for creme brulee. She is crazy about this delicious dessert. So the last few dinner's we had together, before Wee Bear and I left for Scottsdale, I made her creme brulee. She was in heaven with delight, in fact one night she devoured TWO!! 

 Of course who wouldn't likes this? We all rejoice at the fun in cracking the sugar on top and the caramel is the quintessential trademark of smooth, creamy, vanilla custard, foiled by the ever-so-slightly bitter burnt sugar. 

Wee Bear and I have ordered crème brûlée at restaurants where the custard was rubbery or watery and almost no sugar! Or with a crust so thick I could barely crack through with the provided cutlery. The worst crème brûlée I’ve ever known, was served in Peru, on a trip a couple years ago, I recall wet, hard scrambled eggs. Lacking burnt sugar altogether, it instead held the surprise of cooked quinoa.

Crème brûlée combines sugar, egg yolks and heavy cream to create thick, silky custard, flavored most often with vanilla. With so few ingredients, it is essential to ensure they are of high quality. Using a real vanilla bean will make all the difference! The custard must have just enough body to hold shape. It should taste clean and fresh, if at all possible make the same day or one day ahead. The caramelized, glassy sugar should measure about a millimeter thick so it shatters with a sharp rap..

This recipe is a bit different, I made a caramel, added it to the egg/cream mixture and sea salt.  This is Yummalicious!!

Serves 6

2 c. Heavy cream
1 large vanilla pod
3/4 c. sugar 
5 large egg yolks 
1-2 tsp. sea salt
extra sugar for top 

Your choice in vessel is totally up to you!! Anything from the traditionall brulee ramekin to an over-sized version (Mom's favorite) to a little wide mouth Mason jar for a fun change.

Pre-heat oven to 250 F

Pour the cream into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the cream. Put the pod in too.

Bring the cream to a boil, turn off the heat and put the lid on. Allow this to infuse for 10 minutes.

While vanilla pod and cream are steeping, put the sugar in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat on high and stand by, watch the sugar closely. Swirl pan to incorporate the melted and unmelted areas-but do not stir.

Once the caramel has reached a lovely deep amber color and all the sugar is melted, turn off the heat and pour in the warm cream. Whisk continuously to ensure the caramel and cream are combined....careful as the mixture will bubble up.

Crack the eggs into a large heatproof bowl and whisk well.

Pour the caramel mixture over the eggs in a slow and steady stream, while continuously whisking the eggs vigorously.

Whisk in the sea salt, taste.

Strain the mixture into a large measuring cup or heatproof pitcher.

Place 6 ramekins/bowls/jars in a roasting tray. Fill each one about 3/4 full of custard mixture.

Pour hot water into the roasting tray around the ramekins until it comes halfway up the sides. 

Place the dish in over and bake for 40 minutes to an hour, until they are just set but, still slightly wobbly in the center.

Take the ramekins out of the water bath and allow them to cool to room temperature.

Just before serving, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar evenly over the top of each custard and caramelize with a torch or broil until brown.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. 

I made my brulees in two different vessels, I always make extra, for Mom to take home. It is so cute, she always returns the vessels, hoping I will fill them once again for her!! So sweet!
I have two other recipes for creme brulee I have made my Mom, you can find them by clicking these links, Dark Chocolagte Creme Brulee or Pumpkin Creme Brulee!

How to keep your pumpkin looking fresh

Most people want to enjoy their pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns as long as possible, yet prefer to avoid the decaying pumpkin on the doorstep scenario. So how long can you keep a pumpkin before it rots?
Uncut Halloween pumpkins kept in a cool place, but protected from frost will keep for an average of two months. Depending on the weather (cool and overcast is favorable, hot and sunny is unfavorable), a carved pumpkin will last from one day to one week. You can extend this time up to two weeks by covering every cut surface with petroleum jelly.

If you want a longer-lasting, hassle-free display, consider purchasing artificial pumpkins. Long gone are the cheap plastic imitations of yore. Many of today’s designer pumpkins are strikingly realistic and can even be carved. For the greatest convenience and enduring spook factor, look for faux jack-o’-lanterns that are pre-lit or light yours with a battery-operated pumpkin candle.

Pumpkins are a member of the squash family and, like most fruits and vegetables, come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. To create an eye-catching visual display, scour your farmer’s market or local garden center for orange, white, red, and bluish-green varieties. Some are smooth, but you also are likely to find gnarled specimens that are downright ghastly.
As an alternative to fresh, faux pumpkins are a mess-free way to decorate season after season. You’ll find variety here, too, with both solid, patterned and carved options in assorted sizes and colors. Some carved pumpkins come pre-lit with mini lights for added convenience. Newer animated jack-o’-lanterns are a fun and frightening twist on this traditional Halloween decoration.
Giant or miniature, oblong or round, smooth or nubby, real or faux, fill your porch or patio display with an extensive variety of pumpkins that will allow you to create the most festive or frightening look you desire.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Five Pepper Cookies!

I still remember the first time I made these remarkable cookies. I was in my late 20's. My father had taken the Summer to go to Montana and find where he was born. He had given us a address to write letters to him, so, I not only wrote letters, I sent him cookies. This cookie was the one he talked about the most. He described his first bite like this, " ahhhh, this is nice- then, without warning his entire mouth was on fire!" However, he couldn't stop, he told me, "these cookies are addictive"!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Super sticky royal icing for - Haunted Ginger Bread House!

A gingerbread house is only as good as it's glue. If you want an A+ on your gingerbread house, you need the best gingerbread house icing. When planning your gingerbread house, the icing is the most  important part. Gingerbread houses are a great way to set the scene for the holidays and WOW visitors to your home, whether it be Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Penuche Frosting


Penuche was a popular frosting when I was growing up. So last week end when my Grandchildren and I made a "Spiced Pumpkin Pecan Quick Bread" I thought the perfect frosting for it would be one of my old favorites, Penuche frosting. My Mom made a version of this recipe, however, I have changed it up, making it richer for "Julia and Emma's Spiced Pumpkin Pecan Quick bread"!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Beecher's Tomato Soup!

I have told you many times how I shop at the Seattle Public Market, well friends, there is this fabulous cheese maker.............Beechers. Beecher's is a local favorite cheese, restaurant and snack shop! Beechers started as a idea right here in our Seattle Public Market in 2002, by Kurt Beecher. Beecher's opened it's doors in November of 2003 Beecher's has two cheese making locations now, Seattle and the Flatiron District in New York.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Risotto with leeks, shitake mushrooms and freshly shaved truffles

The truffle is well-loved in our family and gets featured quite often, when any one of us can get our hands on them. My daughter-in-law, Amy and son Dustin were able to purchase a black truffle at the Seattle Public market last week and oh boy, did we have a feast!! Dustin shaved the fresh truffle over his perfectly grilled steaks and I created a new risotto using shitake mushrooms, shallots and leeks. Making mushrooms and truffle the hero of your dish means big bang for your buck because they were made to ooze flavor, and are best friends with good old staples such as pasta, risotto and ciabatta. And also, risotto is made for feeding people you love, and that’s just what we needed when we had a merry rabble of family round for dinner and a Seahawks game on Sunday afternoon.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Grilled Baby Bok Choy with Miso butter

Last week we had friends fly in from Scottsdale to go with us to Lake Chelan. We had a great time touring wineries, hiking and eating. One night we ate in and watched the Seahawk football game. I made a marinated flank steak, fried rice, and gave Ruth some baby Bok Choy to grill. Oh boy was it good! We didn't have the Miso and improvised, however, I have given you the recipe with the Miso. I had brought some Schilling Monterey chicken seasoning, and we used that to make the butter for the Bok Choy, it was good, but, the Miso is much better. I recreated the dish again with the Miso a day ago. I bought "Brown rice Miso", you can use which ever suits you or you have in your refrigerator. I wrote about each of the Miso's below.