Sunday, March 29, 2009

Miller Lite Can Cake

Some girl named Liz must really love Miller Lite.

Creating a cake like this is fairly easy. Round cakes are baked off and sliced into layers just like a regular cake. They they are split down the diameter, and the layers are filled vertically rather than horizontally. If you measure the cuts correctly, and hit the diameter exactly, there is no carving involved. Simple!

See a few more of my sculpted cakes here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna - Daring Bakers Marchd

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

Why don’t I put b├ęchamel sauce on everything? Pizza? Burgers? Raisin Bran? This month’s Daring Bakers challenge reminded me of how simple yet delicious a traditional white sauce can be. Couple it with handmade spinach noodles, Portobello mushroom ragout, and a sprinkling of parmigiana-reggiano, and dinner is a tasty vegetarian feast.

To keep the meal meat-free, I substituted a mushroom ragout for the suggested three-meat sauce. I used a combination of portobellos and white buttons seasoned with fresh sage and simmered in tomatoes. The recipe was adapted from Epicurious.

Mushroom Ragout
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, medium dice
1 pound Portobello mushrooms, caps (halved if large) and stems sliced thin
3/4 pound white mushrooms, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
3 – 28 ounce cans of whole tomatoes, roughly chopped with liquid reserved
Salt and pepper

In a large heavy kettle heat butter and oil over moderate heat until butter is melted and cook onion, stirring, about 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in all mushrooms, garlic, sage, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, about 15 minutes, or until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Stir in tomatoes with reserved juice and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes, or until sauce is thickened.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

None for you, none for me

Isn't this the saddest thing you've ever seen?

All of that melted ice cream could have fed dozens of starving children in third world countries. Or it could have fed one Beth.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Now Accepting Donations

As I've mentioned, I've been doing research about ice cream, and more specifically, about the multiple factors that make it a formula. A fantastic blog entry by Michael Laiskonis, pastry chef at Le Bernardin, has me pointed in the right direction, but it's also left me salivating over a crazy expensive book.

Oriol Balaguer is respected for being one of the finest pastry chefs not only in his native Spain, but worldwide. He's also commanding a hefty fee for his pastry tomb, Dessert Cuisine. I've found it for $175 at The Cookbook Store. It retails above $200 elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the Chicago Public Library doesn't shelf this gem, so if I ever want to set eyes on this book, I have to make it happen. If all of my dear readers donated only $1 to my O. Balaguer's Dessert Cuisine fund*, well, then I will have $3. Maybe $2. Let's make this happen!**

*Does anyone remember Fund My Beetle? I made whopping $1 from that campaign, and still somehow managed to get the VW Beetle! And that Beetle is now long gone!

**I would gladly take excellent care of this book and return it to its rightful owner if any one would be so gracious as to loan it to me. I promise I will copy all recipes to a separate sheet of paper, and will never actually bring the book into the messy kitchen, so as to avoid marring it with chocolate splatters, flour dust, and compote stains. I'll be really careful, I swear!