Friday, October 31, 2008

Ghost Poo

Well, my first attempt at making a carved caked was a total fail!  Ha ha.  I wanted to make it tapered like a topsy turvy cake.  Well, that sorta worked.  I filled it with a Kahlua mousse and topped it with buttercream.  So far, so good (not great, but good)

Then came the modeling chocolate.  Sounds simple... 10oz chocolate chips melted, 1/3cup corn syrup.  Mix, chill.  Mold.

This stuff turned to goo as soon as I touched it.  Then it hardened as soon as it hit the cake or I put it down.  My original plan for the cake was to have "fondant-type" circles and maybe fondant lollipops or a spider or two.  Simple.  Cute.

When the modeling chocolate failed I decided to go with it.  (Since it was already after midnight and I had work in the morning)  It would have taken less time to just make some marshmallow fondant and do it right.  So, I used the drippy chocolate to "drip" down the side of my cake.  Why?  I don't know.  It was late.  Then I decided I didn't like how the top of the cake looked so I ripped off some of the slime puddles (and cake and icing that had adhered to it)  Now I was left with a big hole.  Hmmmm, I thought, I should make a stand up ghost.

Word to the wise...NEVER MAKE A CHOCOLATE GHOST!!!!  

Now my cake has a giant turd with eyes and a creepy smile.  Great.  Oh well.  It's 1:30 am by now.  I go to put it in the outside fridge...It doesn't fit.  Solution?  Smash the turd down about an inch.  Now I have a smashed turd with smooshed eyes and a creepy smile.
This morning I open the fridge to find the cake has cracked around the turd in two places.  Oh well, I will either make a bit of marshmallow fondant tonight before the party to make a proper white ghost, or I will serve the turd cake in all its glory.

Please, enjoy.  And laugh.  I am!

Friday, October 24, 2008

French Toast Marshmallows

A few weeks ago I found this recipe on 

I had never attempted marshmallows but I had to give them a try.  My first batch were made with vanilla extract and a scrapped vanilla bean.  They were delicious!  Marshmallows are much easier to make than I thought.  

I am not a huge fan of marshmallows in general, or so I thought.  One bite of these babies and I am hooked!  Homemade marshmallows shouldn't even be compared to "JetPuffed" or the like.

So then the wheels started turning.  What kind of flavors could I use?  Chocolate didn't appeal to me since I prefer ooey gooey warm chocolate things than just a chocolate flavor.  With fall approaching I wanted to use a fallish flavor.  (I wouldn't know it was fall by the weather since in South Florida we only have two seasons: blisteringly hot, and hot.)  I decided that I needed maple marshmallows.  I had recently purchased maple extract from Vanilla, Saffron Imports.  I used close to a tablespoon.  I didn't measure.  I just did it by taste (sorry!)  Then I dusted them in the cornstarch/powdered sugar/cinnamon mixture.  

They were a hit!  People told me they tasted like French Toast with the maple and cinnamon flavors.

So thus was born the French Toast Marshmallow
(Don't forget to toast a few with the ole' Creme Brulee Torch!)

French Toast Marshmallows

.75-oz unflavored gelatin (3 envelopes of Knox gelatin)
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon maple extract 

Line 9 x 9-inch pan with plastic wrap and lightly oil it. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil and boil hard for 1 minute.
Pour the boiling syrup into soaked gelatin and turn on the mixer, using the whisk attachment, to high speed. Add the salt and beat for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, add in the vanilla extract beat to incorporate. 
Scrape marshmallow into the prepared pan and spread evenly (Lightly greasing your hands and the spatula helps a lot here).  Refrigerate mixture for about an hour  (or let mixture sit out covered for a few hours, or overnight,) until cooled and firmly set.
In a shallow dish, combine equal parts cornstarch and confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon (or less, to taste) cinnamon. Remove marshmallow from pan and cut into equal pieces with scissors (the best tool for the job) or a chef's knife. Dredge each piece of marshmallow in confectioners' sugar mixture. 
Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 40 large marshmallows, depending on the size you choose to cut them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred (updated 10-09)

I have seen this list on quite a few blogs recently and thought I would give it a go.  This list will reveal howunadventurous I am when it comes to food.  You will also discover that I hate seafood.

100 things every omnivore should eat at least once
Here’s what to do:
1) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.

2) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (or turn red since i dont know how to do a strikethrough on blogger!)

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile 
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (updated 10-09.  raspberry wine.  delicious with really dark chocolate.  would go very well with a souffle.  Just a sipping wine though)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam Chowder in Soudough Bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar 
37. Clotted Cream Tea
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (I'm sure i have unintentionally)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (i have never had a big mac and I don't think i ever will.  Don't get me wrong, I love fast food.  But I usually get chicken nuggets.  Yum!!)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (YUM!)
60. Carob chips 
61. S’mores (homemade marshmallow are a must!)
62. Sweetbreads
63. kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs (when I was young.  I wouldn't eat them today)
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (no, yes, no, yes!)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
71. Gazpacho (sitting on the coast of spain overlooking the mediterranean with a pitcher of sangria...yes)
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost or brunost (looks tasty!)
75. Roadkill (I hope I haven't eaten it.  You never know with some restaurants!)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. 3 Michelin Star Tasting Menu (I wish!)
85. Kobe beef 
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake