Okay, maybe it’s not an entire month, but it certainly feels that way. All I know for sure is that it’s been a damn long time since I posted anything about the baking I’ve been doing, so much so that I’m not sure I’ll be able to catch up if devote a post to each one. So I’m going to have to cheat a little and post ’em all in one shot.
At least you’ll get pictures and the links to the recipes that inspired them. Hopefully I will be able to go back to my regular bake-then-post model soon, but it just seems like life has had a habit of getting away from me. For example, can you believe it’s already the middle of August?? That just seems so crazy to me!
Anyway, enough stalling – here we go.
The Quest for that perfect French Vanilla Ice Cream, inspired by David Lebovitz’s recipe. Of course. Although, sadly, I’m still in search of that deceptively simple yet elusive flavour. This was a great ice cream, don’t get me wrong, but it just felt a bit too close to frozen custard.
The Quest continues. Anyone have any tried-and-true recipes they care to point me in the direction of, feel free!
Pink Popcorn Candy Balls, made as party favours for a three year old’s birthday party.
Recipe inspired in part by Making Great Candy and also from popcorn machine manual that included a couple of suggested recipes.
Here’s a tip: don’t overlook these manuals. What you may think is just some instructions for use and warranty limitations could be a goldmine of classic recipe inspiration.
Rhubarb Custard Pie with Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream
I’ve begun a whole new love affair with rhubarb. I don’t put any extra sugar on it which allows for that natural tartness to come through.
My mouth is kind of starting to water just thinking about it. The recipe for the pie came from a Women’s Institute cookbook (home of all great pie recipes) while the ice cream – which might just be the very best strawberry ice cream I’ve ever tasted – came from here. I feel it’s important to note that the blogger was inspired by Lebovitz’s book,The Perfect Scoop.
Pate de Choux. My first attempt at making choux pastry.
I have never in my life turned an oven up so high, plus I have the horrible habit of not being able to keep the door closed because I want to see what’s going on (and the inside light doesn’t work right now on my antique Eaton Viking), so not being able to do that for the first ten minutes was agony. But, I suppose, we have to suffer for our art. Sigh…
This recipe comes from a book that has become my kitchen sidekick, The Baking Answer Book.
I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to…well, a lot of things, but I was constantly Googling random things like why the butter and water has to be so cold when using it for pastry (so that it will create pockets of steam that lead to a flakier crust), so this book has saved me from hours of wasted time that would have been better used baking as well as excess data usage on my iPhone!
Blueberry Quinoa Muffins came out of two things: a general curiosity and the lack of oatmeal for Sunday morning breakfast. I have been wanting to experiment with sweeter dishes using quinoa, so I swapped out the water you would normally boil the quinoa in for soy milk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. The result was somewhere between an oatmeal and a rice pudding consistency – it was quite tasty, but thick enough to grout your tile if you let it stand too long.
I noticed that there was quite a bit left over, so not wanting to waste any of it I set about finding something to use the remaining quinoa. Although I look all over the Web for alternatives, I should really know by now that there are generally two sites I can count on for most things: David Lebovitz and Martha Stewart. But I don’t mind – most of the thrill is in the chase, isn’t it?
I used Martha’s recipe for the muffins, swapping out the vegetable oil for butter and the raisins for frozen blueberries. I did have to Google whether it was better to use frozen or fresh blueberries in baking – as it turns out frozen is the better choice as they hold their shape during the baking process and lend a nice extra bit of moisture to the overall texture of the finished product. This is probably common knowledge for most of you, but keep in mind – I’m new to this. Forgive me?
Macarons, since I’ve discovered how to do them, are my new obsession. It seemed only natural to pair it with another one of my latest obsessions: lemon.
The result? A macaron that tastes almost exactly like lemon meringue pie. The ones pictured here deviate somewhat from the typical rounds, but take note: they do indeed have pied and therefore qualifies them as actual macarons. Siames twins and heart-shaped, but macarons nonetheless.
Recipe for both macaron shells and lemon curd filling from another kitchen sidekick of mine, I Love Macarons
Phew… I think that should just about do it. I may have almost got caught up here. I’m sure there’s something missing here, but these are the highlights that have come out of my sweet little kitchen over the past few weeks. I used more of my cookbooks than usual, which is good since that means they aren’t sitting around collecting dust.