Friday, August 29, 2014

Jac's Chocolate Silk Pie

I've made this pie several times over the past year. I usually use firm silken tofu. Soft would probably work, you'd just have a softer pie. Silken tofu usually comes in two sizes: 12 oz and 16 oz. If you use a 12 oz block, just use a 8 inch pie pan. I tend toward darker chocolate and desserts that aren't overly sweet. My favorite chips are Ghirardelli Chocolate 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips.

Jac's Chocolate Silk Pie
Ingredients
- 1 9 inch graham cracker crust
- 1 lb silken tofu
- 1 10 oz bag dark chocolate chips
- 6 oz coconut milk (light is fine)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Directions
- Melt chips with coconut milk. If doing this in the microwave, stir several times to keep chocolate from burning.
- Pour off excess liquid from tofu, put in blender. Add melted chocolate coconut mix, vanilla and salt. Blend until smooth, scraping sides with spatula to get everything mixed in.
- Pour mixture into crust. Refrigerate until set (at least 2 hours). Serve with whipped (coconut) cream.

Whipped Coconut Cream
Note: Use a high fat coconut milk or coconut cream. 17g fat per 100mL is sufficient. 6g per 100mL wouldn't work. You want a milk that solidifies when refrigerated.
- Pour one 13.5 oz can coconut milk into a small mixing bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Whip chilled coconut milk on high speed several minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and powdered sugar to taste. Serve on your favorite desserts, especially Jac's Chocolate Silk Pie.

Read on...

Apple Cake Adventure

I tried to make a peach cake. This is what happened.

I'm staying at my cousin Tom's apartment while he and his wife are out of town. His kitchen is somewhat less well equipped then what I'm accustomed to.

Exhibit A: Mystery Measures

I had ripe peaches I wanted to use up, so I thought I'd have a go at this delicious looking peach cake. Changes 1 & 2 Since it's only me here, I cut the recipe in half while upping the fruit a bit since I wanted to use 2 whole peaches. Change 3 I didn't have any sour cream, but plain yogurt should do the trick. Then I discovered I didn't have any eggs. Change 4 I'm reluctant to buy them due to mild but annoying allergies, so I substituted 1 small grated apple and 1 teaspoon of baking powder for the egg. When I set about to put the wet ingredients together, I found Tom's mixer, but no beaters. (I searched the Entire Kitchen. Twice.) So I had to cream the butter and sugar (which I cut by 25%) Change 5 by hand. The dry ingredients went together without a hitch, except that Change 6 I accidentally added the cinnamon that was meant to be reserved for the sugar topping. I mixed the batter together, then went to cut up the peaches. Change 7 Pithy and brown inside. I used my two remaining apples instead. Apples don't cook down when they aren't covered by a topping or layer of batter, and I didn't want a layer of dried apples on top of the cake, so Changes 8 & 9 I put all the apples in the middle of the cake and added a little butter and cinnamon on top. Change 10 I didn't have any nuts so I omitted those, and Change 11 I had to reduce the baking time for the smaller cake. After all that, here's how it turned out.

Delicious.

Double Apple Cake
Ingredients
- 5 tablespoons butter (salted) at room temp., divided
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (low fat) (room temp)
- 1 small apple, peeled and grated
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (I think. See Mystery Measures Exhibit A)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus extra for sprinkling
- 2 large apples, peeled and sliced

Directions
- Grease a 1 quart baking dish.
- Cream together 4 tablespoons butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add yogurt, grated apple, and vanilla.
- Preheat oven to 350
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
- Add dry ingredients to wet a little at a time. Mix just until combined.
- Pour half the batter into the pan. Cover with sliced apples, topped with a few shakes of cinnamon and about 1 tablespoon butter, in pieces spread around the apples. Cover apples with remaining batter.
- Bake for 40 - 45 min, until apples are bubbling and batter is fully cooked. Serve warm.

Read on...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Strawberry Cheesecake Pi Day

With Pi Day rapidly approaching, I went to the local open-air discount produce market to look for affordable filling. I found lightly crushed strawberries, 2 lbs for a dollar. After looking at several strawberry pie recipes, I decided to put a strawberry jello top on a cheesecake bottom with a pretzel crust.

Ingredients
Crust
- 3/4 cup unsalted pretzels, crushed
- 1/4 cup granola
- 3/8 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 T sugar
- 1/4 T salt
Cheesecake
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 t lemon juice
- 1/4 t vanilla
- dash of salt
- 1 egg
Fruit Gel
- 1 package strawberry gelatin
- 2 1/2 cups strawberries
- 1 cup boiling water
- 3 ice cubes

Directions
Crust
- Combine all ingredients. Press into 9" pie plate.
- Bake at 400°F for 8 - 10 min
Cheesecake
- Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually blend in remaining ingredients, and beat well. Pour into prepared crust.
- Bake at 325°F until the center is set, about 18-20 min. Cool before topping.
Fruit Gel
- Dissolve gelatin in 1 cup boiling water. Stir in 3 ice cubes. Allow to chill for 30 min.
- Spoon fruit onto cheesecake layer. Pour gelatin over fruit. Chill pie until set, about an hour.

The result:

Read on...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Zest and the Art of Bycicle Maintenance

A couple weeks ago, I noticed the housing on my front shifter breaking. Eventually, a piece broke off, and I tried gluing it back together. Didn't work, but I could still shift by pushing the internal lever with what was left of the housing... 'till that broke apart and fell off.

That's one broken SRAM shifter. So today I went to my local bike co-op and purchased a replacement. A friend of mine said he could probably figure out how to install it, but he was busy tonight, and I was not.

The dude who sold me the replacement assured me that it was a simple process, and the new shifter came with installation instructions. After reading through the instructions three times, I got down to work.

First: remove the broken part.
Turns out I was in no way supposed to lubricate the bar, which I did in order to remove the static grip. Oops. After washing the bar with soap and water, I installed the new shifter. I can't say whether I tightened it with exactly 1.7 N-m of torque. I just went until the Allen wrench felt like it was starting to bend. (It was a very small wrench!)

Threading the cable correctly into derailer took two tries. I was thankful for my needle nose pliers with built in wire cutter - made it much easier to grip the wire, pulling it tight as I screwed down the derailer's clamp. I tested out my new shifters out on my trainer. Lookin' good.

I'm actually glad my friend wasn't available to help me tonight. Figuring it out for myself was way more empowering than having someone else show me how to do it. Now I bask in my accomplishment, enjoying a slice of the lemon tart I made from scratch the other day - including candying the lemon zest! Cheers, y'all.

Read on...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cookie Crust Cheesecake

I baked a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but they came out too sweet. I'll give most of them away, but meanwhile, how to salvage what's left... Mmm cheesecake... cheesecake with chocolate chip oatmeal cookie crust... The filling was based off of this recipe, cut in half. The cheesecake was a little less dense, more custard-like than I'm used to, and I had overcompensated when I cut the sugar. Next time I'll try 1/2 cup.

Cookie Crust Cheesecake
1-1/2 cups oatmeal chocolate chip cookie crumbs
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
3/8 1/2 cup white sugar
3/8 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoons maraschino liquor
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Press crumbs into 9 inch pie plate. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla, maraschino, and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dirty Rice (and Meat and Beans)

1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoons vegetable bouillon
2.25 cups water
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 can pinto beans

Sear peppers in skillet with a bit of oil. Set aside. Sear onions until browning. Add garlic, and continue to cook for a minute. Add turkey and spices. Cook until turkey is done. Add water, rice, bouillon and beans. Cook ~40 min, stirring occasionally, until rice is almost done. Add seared peppers and finish cooking.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Quinoa Tabbouleh

I adapted this recipe from the Wheat Berry Tabbouleh recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. I made a couple substitutions and changed the proportions to my liking.

Cook:
2/3 c quinoa
1 T olive oil
1 cloves garlic, minced
I rinse my quinoa and then heat it with olive oil and garlic until the garlic is starting to brown, then I add the 1 c water and simmer it like rice until it's done. Let it cool to room temperature.
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Mix in:
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 large bunch parsley, washed and chopped
1/4 c diced sweet onion
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 c olive oil
1/8 c capers (optional)
salt, pepper to taste
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When you're ready to serve, add:
2 cherry tomatoes, quartered, per 1 c serving

I don't like to refrigerate my tomatoes - they lose all of their flavor, so I just add tomato as I eat it. You might want to adjust the dressing. I didn't measure this, but I think it made around 6 cups. With these proportions, it's about half veggie, half grain.

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