Monthly Archives: July 2010

Exposed

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Well, it looks like I’ve been outed. Leave it to Facebook to expose my secret blog. You post a link on one person’s wall and all of the sudden you’re that terrible person who secretly writes about food.

So here it is–my first publicized post! For an explanation on why I’m writing this blog and what I’ll be writing about, please see posts below. I’m not re-explaining that for those lazy people who haven’t blog stalked Ginger Foodie.

Now that I got that out of the way…

This weekend my roommates and I made flatbread pizzas. We bought pre-made crust from Trader Joe’s and got creative with toppings, from goat cheese to heirloom tomatoes. Everything was going well until they came out of the oven and it was time to take some pictures. As a wise friend once told me, my “white balanca is off.” No, she’s not speaking Spanish. She’s just bad at typing.

Exhibit A of the white balance problem:

Ugly. No one wants to look at that.

Or that.

And so I decided that when I get a job, I am going to buy myself a new camera. Fingers crossed this will happen within the next umm… year of my life. Ironically, if I remain unemployed I’ll have plenty of time to write on my blog with my terrible camera.

Anyways, after taking about 37 pictures, I got a good ones.

Whole wheat pizza with heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, onion, mozzarella and fresh basil. My favorite part was the salad–arugula with red onion, fresh tomato and parmesan tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

The moral of the story: don’t waste your time taking pictures on a semi-broken touch screen camera and make sure you roll the pizza crust thin because it really puffs out. Also, if you eat with/near me you may be featured on my blog. That’s more of a warning than a moral, but whatever.

Good Day Sunshine

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It was a good day and a sunny day. My friends from home were here visiting. I took the day off from work. And I went to the farmers’ market.

Then my day got better.

The plan was to go to the Concert on the Square that night–it was a Beatles tribute played by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. And an outdoor concert means-what else-but an outdoor picnic. At the market I decided to pick up a bag of potatoes and a bunch of rhubarb as centerpieces for my meal along with some fresh basil (and zucchini and a cherry muffin but we won’t count that).

With these ingredients and few other items in my kitchen, I went to work on both dishes simultaneously…fortunately I’m better at this than Rachel on that episode of “Friends” when she makes an English trifle with beef and peas. Good episode. Anyways….

Herbed Dijon Potato Salad

I started off by boiling my red potatoes for about 20 minutes in a large pot. I cut them into small chunks (skin on) and tossed them with:

-1/2 red onion sauteed in olive oil and

-about 1 tbsp minced garlic

-mayo (not a lot)

-cider vinegar (or whatever light vinegar you have on hand)

-dijon mustard (preferably trader joe’s brand of grainy mustard)

-a handful of fresh parsley and basil chopped

-salt and pepper to taste

Is this a recipe? Not really…I have problems with measuring these kinds of things. But using these ingredients and slowly adding on the dressing should yield nearly the same result. Keep this potato salad light and summery by avoiding over-dressing it (I get so embarrassed when I’m overdressed…true).

Now for the vanilla rhubarb crumble. I adapted it from a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen. But I would say this is my own recipe with some similar proportions.

topping:

-1 cup flour

-1 tsp baking powder

-6 tbsp sugar

-4 oz butter (I used Brummel and Brown and it worked perfectly)

-1 tsp cinnamon

-about 1/3 cup crumbled slivered almonds

filling:

-about 4 cups trimmed and chopped rhubarb

-1/2 cup sugar

-3.5 tbsp flour

-2 tsp vanilla

-pinch of salt split between the crust and the filling

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the buttery spread in a medium bowl.

2) Mix all of ingredients together, adding the nuts last at the amount you prefer. Then, refrigerate until ready to use (especially since it will get warm in your air condition deprived apartment).

3) In a separate bowl, toss rhubarb with sugar until coated. Then add in rest of ingredients. Layer into any sort of dish you desire. Individual ramekins are cute–I used a deep dish pie pan because it’s pretty.

4) Crumble topping over filling, adding pieces randomly throughout. Then bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

It was good. This good…

Thanks to all who made this dessert possible (pie pan and accessory birthday gift givers, eaters and spectators). Needless to say it was all a success. I was sweating my way through most of the day, but it was worth it.

Birthday Surprises and Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Layer Cake

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My friends know that when there is a birthday coming up (and there usually is) to expect some sort of birthday treat. I’ve made everything from espresso blondies (maya’s favorite) to spinach artichoke dip (don’t ask…some weird people don’t like sweets). A few weeks ago I decided to tackle something new for my friend Abby’s birthday: a double layer cake. This wasn’t just any double layer cake. It was a chocolate cake with a Nutella espresso mousse.

Chocolate Cake

The best part? I lied. Okay, lying is not good. But in the name of a birthday surprise it is a very good thing. Abby knew I was baking something, but I wanted to save it for her surprise party. So I told her it wouldn’t be ready, and then when she showed up she was shocked to see a beautiful–if I do say so myself–chocolatey birthday cake.

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Layer Cake

Original Recipe from Erica’s Sweet Tooth

I wasn’t quite as ambitious as the original recipe so I decided to bake only two layers instead of splitting them in half after baking.

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cups cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk (note: if you don’t have buttermilk, substitute with sour cream or milk with a few teaspoons of lemon juice)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt and cocoa and mix together.

3) In a separate bowl combine the eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla.

4) Add the wet ingredients to the dry, preferably with a mixer on low.

5) Stir in the coffee.

6) Pour mixture into two 8″ pans or two different size pans in my case. It all works out–just be sure to adjust cooking time depending on cake thickness. Bake for 35-40 minutes depending on your oven.

Important: allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. Otherwise you’ll lose part of the bottom and be forced to eat it. Not pretty. In the event that you do loose a chunk of the cake, don’t stress because the mousse will help even it out.

Hazelnut Mousse and Nutella Coffee Topping

Mousse Adapted from Erica’s Sweet Tooth

*Note: this may not be enough mousse if you decide to do a 4-layer cake.

2 cups or 1 pint heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup Nutella or Hazelnut spread

3 tbsp hot water

3 tsp espresso powder

1) Add the espresso in hot water, mixing until dissolved.

2) Add the Nutella, beating until reaching a smooth consistency.

3) With a mixer (definitely necessary) whip the cream until stiff peaks form. To test for peaks, stop the mixer when the cream begins to get firm and pull the beater gently upwards. If the cream pulls out of the bowl with the beater and doesn’t immediately fall, you’ve got peaks!

4) Gently fold the Nutella mixture into the whipped cream.

It is much easier to put any type of frosting on a cake that isn’t crumbly. Solution: freeze the cakes briefly before mousse-ing them. Otherwise wait until they are thoroughly cooled or the mousse will melt. Put a thick layer of mousse between the two layers and a thick layer on top as well. I decided to do the sides as well, but you can use your artistic vision here.

For the garnish on top, combine about 2 tbsp of Nutella (what you’ll have leftover) and some leftover coffee. Spoon a small amount of coffee into the Nutella until it is thin enough to drizzle but not watery. Then drizzle on top of the cake and down the sides. Finish off with semi or bittersweet chocolate shavings if desired.

On the topic of birthday surprises, happy birthday Mom! I surprised her this weekend by coming home–with homemade granola bars in tow (recipe for those coming soon). I had to promise not to put these photos “on the Internet,” but I’m pretty sure that was a euphemism for Facebook so I think I’m safe. Besides, who knew she looked so glamorous in a sombrero?

Mom in Sombrero

The Custard Bike Ride

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Custard Bike Ride

This picture pretty much says it all. Okay, the obvious is yes, I do like ice cream. A lot. But look a little closer (I’m the ginger-haired one on the left) and ¬†you’ll notice the athletic wear, slightly sweaty foreheads and maybe even a scraped knee (too embarrassing to explain in detail here).

On one beautiful summer day in Madison, my friends and I decided to take a bike ride–my first in my four years at UW-Madison. I always enjoy being outside and being active, but if you know me and how I like to spend my time, you know there has to be a catch. We rode our bikes to Michael’s Frozen Custard to enjoy a (very) early lunch and some outstanding caramel cashew custard.

Was the strenuous 10 minute bike ride worth it? Absolutely. Even if it had been an hour long ride I would have done it, all in the name of love for food. To me, food is worth making the trip for, splurging on at the farmer’s market or wrecking the smell of your kitchen for a week to fry homemade donut holes. The purpose of food isn’t just to satiate–it is to comfort, to celebrate and to cheer.

I like to think I have a more discerning palate than most. I’ve been cooking for years, baking with reckless abandon in my college apartment and food writing for various newspapers for some time. I’m starting this blog because…I like writing, I like food, I like the Internet and I like talking about food. So why not talk about food online? This blog will hopefully be a combination of my cooking/baking escapades, restaurant reviews and redheaded food thoughts. Enjoy!