Monday, November 29, 2010

Mini Pies

I love finding new blogs. Last week I found The Spotted Fox, it's a super cute blog with recipes, craft project and general adorableness. The authors are two girls from Nashville, which endures them to me even more. After spending the better part of an afternoon combing through all of their posts, I found this idea for making mini-pies with Nutella and banana.

It's just cutting out discs from pie dough
Filling them a slice of banana, a dollop of Nutella and a sprinkling of cinnamon, covering them with another disc of pie dough and ending with a little egg wash. 

They were so good, of course anything with Nuetlla is delicious. I think they'd be perfect with almost any other pie filling. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Making

On Thanksgiving we managed to make it to two locations in two different states despite a total downpour that slowed traffic to around 40MPH on the interstate. We ate a lot too, ham, turkey, potatoes, beans covered in cream of mushroom soup, get the idea. For my part I made two of Dorie Greenspan's My Favorite Pecan Pie, a Pumpkin Chai Cheesecake, sweet potatoes with a praline topping and Proscuitto Dijon Gruyere puffs from Joy the Baker.

The cheesecake recipe came from one of those little magazines companies like Kraft put out around the holidays near the checkout aisle at the grocery store. Normally I don't buy those but this one had recipes from Mark Bittman in it as well as the cheesecake on the front and I'm a sucker for pumpkin cheesecake. As most cheesecakes need hours to cool, I made it Wednesday night. I think it turned out beautifully, especially since it's the first cheesecake I've ever made with no cracks in it! 
The recipe also included a caramel-rum sauce but since we were traveling I left it off. Had I been making the recipe at home I would have included it, although I don't think the cheesecake needed it, it stood alone just fine. 

The proscuitto puffs were something that just caught my eye when I was reading Joy's blog on Wednesday. After work I braved the crowds and ran by Whole Foods for Gruyere and procuitto. Much to my dismay  I couldn't find any proscuitto there and I wasn't willing to risk my sanity at another grocery store so I grabbed some pancetta slices and hoped that would work. Several months ago a couple of my friends drove to Nashville to visit Trader Joe's and brought me back some puff pastry sheets. Trader Joe's puff pastry uses all butter instead of oil and makes the flakiest, butteriest puff pastry. 
My puffs didn't turn out as pretty as Joy's but they were dangerously good. They will find a place on my appetizer menus for a long time.

Hope you had a Thanksgiving filled with goodies!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie: Rewind - Orange Berry Muffins

This week we got to pick a previously made TWD recipe to bake. I wanted to pick something I hadn't made before and as luck would have it I had almost everything I needed on hand to make Orange Berry Muffins. 

Like most muffins these were quick and easy. The batter kind of turned greenish because of the orange juice/zest and my frozen blueberries but it wasn't too bad. My only change was using regular milk instead of buttermilk but I don't think that affected the taste too much.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chez Panisse Almond Torte

I bought Chez Panisse Desserts book months ago. When I got it I thumbed through it and looked at all the elegant desserts. I then promptly set it aside, thinking I'd bake something from it in a few weeks. Weeks turned into months and finally this past weekend I made a vow to make the recipe that caught my eye when I first picked it up - Almond Torte. (recipe found online here)
It's really a simple concoction - eggs, almond paste, sugar, flour, vanilla, salt and some leavening agents. All mixed together well and then poured into a buttered springform pan. The result is a moist cakey creation with the hint of a souffle (there are six eggs in it). The flavor is distinctively almond. We had ours plain, but it's one of those versatile cakes that would work well with a dusting of powdered sugar or maybe a side of raspberry coulis.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Iron & Wine

Last night I finally got to see Iron & Wine aka Mr. Sam Beam, live in Memphis. It was lovely. I bought tickets as soon as I found out he was coming to town back in September. I have loved Iron & Wine for awhile but he had never been to Memphis and the few times he was in Nashville/Atlanta I couldn't make it. 
The concert was at Minglewood and we stood but I loved it. I didn't bring my camera because I couldn't find out whether or not they were 'allowed' so I took craptastic iPhone pictures. 

He opened with Flightless Bird, American Mouth and it was just him on stage with an acoustic guitar, it totally made me cry, but probably more of an emotional reaction to everything that's been happening the last few weeks. 

He also played my favorite song of his, The Trapeze Swinger, 

We did leave before the last song because my back was killing me and it was a 'school night' but I am so glad we went.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie: Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake

I was a little confused as to how this was going to turn out, but I trusted Dorie's instructions. Turns out I had nothing to fear, this turned out so well. It's essentially two layers of softer-than-usual shortbread with a homemade jam of cranberries and orange in the middle.

My only change was to add a little more sugar to cut the tartness. It was a delicious cake and the cranberry jam in the middle can always be exchanged for another type of jarred or homemade jam. Thanks to Jessica of Singleton in the Kitchen for this week's selection.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie: Peanuttiest Blondies

This week's selection was chosen by Nicole of Bakeologie. They have all the essentials - peanuts, peanut butter, chocolate chips - and they are gooey and delicious. I sent them with Doug to take to work but snuck a piece for myself. They aren't the prettiest dessert I've made but they taste good! 

Monday, November 01, 2010

New Month

October was pretty bad for me. School, work and the other thing collided at once, leaving me emotionally and physically drained. October is usually my favorite month, but this year it was a whirlwind of insanity. I'm  dealing with a lot of emotional baggage, courtesy of October, but hopefully I can get back in a regular posting/baking schedule this month. I've made several things but just haven't had the energy to type up the posts or download the pictures.

In the meantime here's some photos from the Dale Chihuly exhibit at Cheekwood Botanical Garden in Nashville.