Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lemony goodness

July's Cookie Carnival challenge was Lemon Ricotta Cookies by Giada De Laurentiis. Wow! these cookies were sooo light and cakey with a tinge of lemon! Sooooo tasty.

My mom brought over some lemons to exchange for some asian pears a few weeks ago. What great timing my mom has.

These cookies went pretty fast at the office. My boss was having a bad day and was looking for some mid afternoon, but came up empty. Any baked goods that are left in the communal kitchen never sits long. Unless its like a bran muffin. You can never diet at my company, it is not possible.

Nabisco got nothing on these!

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

When I saw two choices of cookies I was too excited! When I first saw the post I was soo gun ho about making both of these cookies. Where did the month go folks? Does anyone feel the same as me? Does the months seem to breeze by? How did I end up making only one type of cookie? Sigh!

I decided to make the "Mallowmar" cookies. It looked like a very interesting challenge. Plus I have never made marshmallows before. I stumbled upon a recipe for agave nectar marshmallows. Don't know what agave nectar is?

Agave is
a natural sweetener with a low glycemic index that is made from the wild agave plant; an excellent substitute for honey.

Instead of using refined sugar, I used agave instead to make my marshmallows. It was so easy and super tasty. The best part? Its natural.

I dipped the marshmallows/cookies in melted grain sweetened chocolate chips. The result? Heaven in a cookie format. Nabisco makes these, but they definitely cannot top these!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Molecular gastronomy?

Bill Nye the Science guy would be proud of this month's daring cooks challenge. This month's challenge takes us to the world of Molecular Cuisine. What is that you ask? From what I can gather from Wikipedia the definition is as follows:

"Molecular gastronomy is a scientific discipline involving the study of physical and chemical processes that occur in cooking.[3] It pertains to the mechanisms behind the transformation of ingredients in cooking and the social, artistic and technical components of culinary and gastronomic phenomena in general (from a scientific point of view)."

Still lost? Basically you take foods that you love, but you change the cooking methods that produce different texture than normal.

Our challenge was to take a traditional dish of skate and put a molecular cuisine twist to it.
Skate is a type of fish. I was unable to find it, but I substituted orange roughy instead.

Cilantro and parsley was blanched it hot then ice cold water. The herbs were then placed in a oven along with some red chili peppers to dry. Once they were dry, the herbs went into a coffee grinder and blended till it was a powdery.

It was an interesting dish to make. My slight issue was working on the herb powders. I kept sneezing when I was blending these herbs. Don't worry! I did not sneeze into the herbs nor was the fish contaminated in anyway. :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Gardeney cupcakes...

About a week ago I got a phone call on my cellphone from someone who had some of my cupcakes at a friends birthday party. She called to see if I would be interested in creating some special cupcakes for her friend Hilary. I was definitely excited as this would be my first non family/friend related project. I asked what kind of theme/color did she want. Norvella (the woman who order the cupcakes) indicated pink/green colors and a gardeney type feel. Butterflies, flowers, and green grass. Those words were music to my ears.

Norvella: Thank you so much for letting me make these cupcakes. The butterflies were on my to do list for awhile.

Hilary: We've never met, but I do hope you enjoy your birthday and the cupcakes.

Without further ado, I present to you gardeney theme cupcakes!

Butterflies are made with chocolate! The birthday greeting was written out on a fondant chip by the hubs. :)