Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Stollen

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

Ahhh, the stollen. What a wonderful surprise -- thank you, Penny, for a great challenge!

stollen2 v2

Stollen very quickly became our new family tradition. What's not to like -- the sweet (but not too sweet) bread, dried fruits, the looks and, most importantly, that amazing smell of baking bread. In my attempt to make the stollens I used whatever I managed to get my hand on that evening -- pine nuts, dried apricots, cherries, craisins and, of course, orange rum- soaked raisins. Delicious!!! Stollen also proved to be very, very, very forgiving, as I ran out of yeast and it still turned out simply fabulous. I made two mini-stollens and m family devoured the first one in less than 24 hours. We sort of slowed down on the second and it took us maybe 48 hours to finish it off.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

This is probably the latest submission for December Daring Cooks' Challenge but I just had to share...

poached egg1 poached egg

Jenn from Jenn Cuisine and Jill (jillouci) were Daring Cooks' hosts for the month of December! For this month, they decided to focus on a technique that seems intimidating to many, but with a little practice it’s really not that hard at all – poaching. All poaching means is cooking something in simmering (not boiling) water. And what more perfect way to practice the skill of poaching than learning how to poach an egg? They can make a tasty breakfast, or salad accompaniment; there are so many different ways to use poached eggs, and they are used in cuisines from a variety of cultures.

Since poaching technique was the only thing required, I deviated a bit from the suggested recipes but I really wanted to try out Poached Green Eggs & Smoked Salmon from HERE. Absolutely delicious! Smoked salmon taste was a little too strong for otherwise a very delicate combination of the falvors -- avocado, tomato and an egg, poached in green tea. But it was oh-so-good!

Thank you, Jenn and Jill, for a fun and a delicious challenge! Will be definitely making this again!

Russian Christmas Cookies

russian cookies

These cookies is one of our Christmas traditions. They might not be all that good -looking but they compensate by being absolutley delicious. They truly melt in your mouth and don't last more than a day (regardless of the quantity made).

1 cup of butter
1 tea spoon of vanilla extract
6 tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 cups of flour
1 caup of chopped walnuts
powdered sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350F/175C
Cream butter with vanilla and sugar, add flour
Mix in nuts
Roll dough into 1-inch balls
Bake for 15 mins
Roll in the powdered sugar

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tarte Tatin aux Pommes

I don't typically blog outside Daring Kitchen challenges but this tart is simply divine and I just have to share. Out of this world good!


Gazillion thanks to Belonika,, for the recipe and very detailed step-by-step instructions.

A quick recap:
- 220 g of sugar
- 1kg of sweet apples
- 100g of unsalted butter
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- vanilla, cinnamon

- peel, core and half apples
- dissolve sugar until golden brown
- arrange apples in the baking form
- cover with puff pastry
- bake 40 min at 180C/375F
- cool, flip over
- boil the caramel drippings and glaze the tart

Voila! Kick back and enjoy!

Friday, November 26, 2010


And I am back...

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

Thank you for a wonderful challenge, Simona! It's been a while since my last BD challenge and crostata fit the bill -- how can you go wrong with a lemony flaky crust and some delicious filling? By over thinking it... I spent a long time wondering what to use as a filling -- apples? sweet potatoes? pumpkin? cranberries? Until it was the night before Thanksgiving and I needed to bring a desert. After hours of research, I decided to go with caramelized pumpkin. The crust was by far my favorite part of my crostata-- lemony, flaky, utterly delicious. The filling fell somewhat short -- it was too sweet and I tried to correct it by adding lemon juice and zest, quite bland and pumpkin pie spices went in. As some point I was close to giving up and swinging by the store to pick a dessert but somehow, after cooling, the flavor somehow blended wonderfully. I will not be using the pumpkin recipe again, will some more worth while filling.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thai... Satay... and Homemade Peanut Butter

After a somewhat lengthy break from all types of daring challenges, I came back. To my surprise, the daring recipe was satay. Yum. This is the food I can eat every day. So, without much hesitation and before I knew it, I was chopping the onions and garlic and digging through my spice cabinet in search of coriander. Voila! My chicken breast was marinating. Then I started to read comments and got a bit concerned -- is this too simple? What if it does not taste like satay that I love? By the following morning, I decided to put the worries behind and also do shrimp satay while I am at it.