Friday, April 21, 2006

Poppin' Fresh!

Lets begin with the end result, Goats Cheese & Speck stuffed Croissants baking in the oven and oozing out some goodness!
(yes, I think I discovered the secret to my oven and cooking these guys!)

My dough has been living in the back fridge for a little over the time that I recommend. I usually think 3 days is long enough for a puff pastry dough to stay in the fridge, and this is a yeasted puff dough (croissant dough). I made the Pain au Chocolate on Monday, this dough was reaching its limit.
But 9:00 a.m., the sun was shining and I was thinking already about a little lunch on the patio! I had bought some speck ham stuffed with goats cheese, this comes in tubs from Monoprix, plus I had some Salami and Edam on hand.......Are you getting hungry yet?

The dough was rolled thin, a little 'wet' from condensation of the back fridge, but a dusting of flour soaked up the dampness. The dough was behaving very well, rolling out perfectly, nice and thin! I ran my 'cutter' over the dough and had a bunch of croissants waiting to be stuffed!

I stretched the dough, just like you are supposed to, between your thumb and forefinger, then laid the cheese and ham on top. Rolled up, brushed with egg-wash and gave them a good 'push' for 1 hour in my cool oven that had a pan of hot water underneath!

Just a little cheese leakage, but these 'bad boys' were delish. A quick brunch on the patio, alfresco, with my teenaged son and then off to an afternoon movie.
I love Spring!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Weekend

A few signs of spring in the 'hood'! Slow but sure the cold is giving way to a bit warmer weather!
I've packed away my long-underwear for my morning walks and I'm seeing flowering buds that will soon turn into lovely cherries in my garden. I won't hold my breath, Easter Morning was a typical one, rain! You can't organize an Easter Egg Hunt for an 18 year old, so I greeted the morning with a power-walk with Max. Max would have been happy to hunt for eggs, I remember old T-Bone would find week old eggs in the garden that we missed! Mmmmmm, the smell of eggs rotting in the garden were a real treat to an Old Lab!

Easter Sunday I made a batch of Croissant Dough, to be turned into Pain au Chocolate! A two day event that concluded this morning! See the progress below!

I think the dough could have used another half hour of proofing, but the results weren't bad. Plus I was out of eggs for the egg wash. Oh well! I have the other half waiting in the fridge for another try!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Burn Baby Burn!

This photo gives meaning to the phrase 'flame broiled'.

Let me back-track in my story! My 'mentor/friend' has put the word out that I should start thinking about what we will be cooking for the Fall Lineup. My grilling classes seem to be a good seller.......Unless a student stops in to read this blog post!

I bought some Cedar Planks over the summer while in the states. We love grilled salmon and this method seems like an ideal way to impart some smoky flavor while keeping the salmon moist. I dug out the recipe on the package and double checked what Steve Rachlin said about plank'd food and was good to go!

You soak the plank for 2 hours, then Steve said to put it on the grill to heat up. I noticed that my plank immediately warped! Hmmmmm, well, this was an experiment!

The recipe I was using could not have been simpler, salt and pepper the salmon and sprinkle some brown sugar on top.
Smoky & Sweet!
You might notice that I have a battalion of grills! I have inherited, at very good prices, one large Weber Kettle from a dear friend who moved to Chicago. The gas grill you see was another good buy from a dear friend who moved back to California.
I wasn't a fan of gas, but I do admit, great for fish and quick Sunday lunches.......Yes......Even grilled pizza works great on this old gal!

I wasn't too worried about the smoke, the Pompier weren't called in.
I did, however, need that spray bottle of water that Steve recommends!
You are only supposed to leave the salmon in for 10 minutes, but in about 8 minutes I was Up in Smoke, and nothing like those old Cheech & Chong movies. (check top photo)

Without the water bottle, my reusable plank was in cinders!

So, it is back to the drawing board for another try. The result was
delicious, but I'm sure I had the gas grill too hot, and needed that
spray bottle of water. Live & Learn and grateful for 'a next time'!