Sunday, October 29, 2006

White Chocolate Mousse with Pumpkin Gelato, Chocolate Triangles.

The pumpkin gelato was heavenly! Unfortunately, the picture came out a little bit darker than I would've liked. Authentic gelato only uses whole milk (so says Wiki), so maybe this isn't a real gelato so much as it is a really creamy ice cream.

Also, for a better mousse, use whipped egg whites instead of whipped cream. The cream is heavier, and results in a product that resembles a smooth cheesecake rather than a mousse.

Pumpkin Gelato

- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 can of Libby's Pumpkin puree (or bake your own pumpkin)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3-4 egg yolks
- All-spice
- dash of salt

  1. Combine the heavy cream, milk, and 1/4 cup of sugar.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, until it achieves a mayonnaise-like texture.
  3. Heat the heavy cream mixture, until it simmers and forms bubbles on the edges. DO NOT BOIL!
  4. Add the heated heavy cream mixture into the egg yolk/sugar paste, in increments, whisking continuously. You must whisk continuously, and add in gradations, or else the eggs will curdle.
  5. Return the heavy cream/egg mixture back to the pot, and continue to simmer. Add in the remaining ingredients; pumpkin, all spice, rest of the sugar.
  6. Continue to whisk until the eggs start to thicken. DO NOT overcook the eggs, or else they will curdle. Whisking is very important.
  7. Remove from heat immediately, and cool off in an ice water bath.
  8. Refrigerate for ~ 1 hour.
  9. Add into ice cream machine (I use a Cuisinart ICE-30BC automatic ice cream maker.)
  10. Churn for ~ 20 minutes, then freeze overnight.
  11. Thaw in refrigerator before use.
Chocolate Triangles

- Dark or white chocolate, preferably 50% caocao content or higher.

  1. Heat chocolate in a bowl placed in a water bath, or in a double boiler. Never heat directly in a pot, as the chocolate will burn.
  2. Heat until melted, then smoothe out onto wax paper.
  3. Refrigerate until semi-hard.
  4. Cut into shapes, or use a knife to make curls.
  5. Refrigerate to harden, keep for future use.
White Chocolate Mousse

- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cups milk
- 1/6 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 4 oz. of chocolate
- vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream

Makes about 6 x 6 oz. ramekins, or 12 mini-cheesecake sizes. Real mousse recipes use uncooked beaten egg whites instead of heavy/whipping cream, but to avoid salmonella, I will just use this slightly less tasty method.

  1. Whisk together egg yolks, milk, sugar, and salt until blended.
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over mixture, and let stand ~ 2 minutes. Add in chopped chocolate.
  3. Cook over low heat ~ 15 minutes until mixture thickens (like the gelato recipe).
  4. Add in vanilla; chocolate should be completely melted.
  5. Remove from heat, let cool, and refrigerate ~ 2 hours.
  6. Whip the heavy cream with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cooled mousse mixture.
  7. Pour into containers, and let sit overnight to harden.

The final product!

Baked Potato Wedges

This is a simple, and delicious dish to make. And much healthier than eating french fries, though just as tasty.

Baked Potato Wedges

- Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, other root vegetables
- Olive oil
- Salt, pepper

  1. Peel potatoes (and other root vegetables if you like), and chop into wedges. Brush with olive oil, use dashes of salt and pepper.
  2. Bake ~ 375 - 400 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour.
  3. Sweet potatoes will taste best slightly cooled.

A plate of baked potato wedges:

Salmon Burgers on a Lightly Toasted Brioche

The parental unit came to visit this weekend, so I had to whip up something fast to sup on. Here was the tentative menu;

However, I ended up dropping the Shanghai Bok Choy stir fry, and went with the Salmon Burgers, Baked Potato (regular and sweet) Wedges, and White Chocolate Mousse with Pumpkin Gelato and Chocolate Triangles for garnish. I'm happy with how the mousse turned out, although I'm not a big mousse fan. The salmon burgers were great, but I didn't add quite enough salt.

Enough chit-chat, onto the recipe.

Salmon Burgers on a Lightly Toasted Brioche

Salmon Burgers:
- ~ 1 lb wild salmon fillet
- 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- finely grated ginger
- 1 Tbsp Oyster sauce
- 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1-2 eggs
- diced green onions
- Panko crumbs
- salt and pepper

- Fresh Brioche Rolls from your neighborhood bakery
(I prefer Witherspoon Bread Company)

  1. Remove the skin from the salmon fillet, and remove and bones that you might see. I find that peeling the skin off works the best.
  2. Chop the salmon meat into small pieces.
  3. Add in all of the other ingredients, with the eggs and Panko added last. Don't add too much Panko, because you want the mixture to hold together well without being too dry. If 1 egg is not enough, add in another one.
  4. Form the salmon mixture into patties.
  5. Saute in olive oil, ~ 4-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
  6. Add a dash of butter to a separate skillet, and lightly brown fresh brioche rolls, cut into buns.
  7. Also, lightly sautee and carmelize some purple onions.
  8. Serve salmon burgers fresh with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Individual Apple Crisps with Coffee Ice Cream

I had some extra apples left over, so I thought I'd make good use of them, and use my ramekins to make individual apple crisps. Feel free to substitute berries for apples, and instead of a crisp top, you can make it more 'cake-y' by adding some milk and baking soda.

Individual Apple Crisps

Apple Part
- Apples (enough to cover bottom of baking pan, or ~ 2 for 8 x 8 oz. ramekins)
- Allspice, lemon juice
- Brown sugar
- dash of vanilla, spiced rum

Crumb Topping
- 1/2 cup AP flour or whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup granualted sugar
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 stick semi-cold butter

  1. Peel, core, and dice apples into baking pan/ramekins. Add lemon juice to keep them from oxidizing.
  2. Add allspice, brown sugar, mix to taste. Also add a dash of rum, vanilla. Mix well, and set aside.
  3. For the crumb topping, mix flour, sugar, and oats.
  4. Add small pieces of butter, mash together, until the product looks crumbly.
  5. Add to top of apple mixture.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-45 min.
  7. Serve warm with ice cream, or cooled with coffee. I made my ice cream previously.
  8. Note: If you want to omit the crumbly topping and instead get a more cake-like top, simply remove the oats, increase flour content slightly, add milk and baking soda to achieve a smooth batter like texture.

Apples waiting to get their crumb toppings,

After baking,

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Vanilla Pomegranate Panna Cotta with Strawberry Liqueur Coulis, dash of Milk Foam

First, a few thoughts on this dessert. Ideally, this dessert should be made in a ramekin, with the panna cotta removed afterwards and placed with coulis around it, rather than on top. By placing the coulis on top, it overwhelms the more subtle taste of the pomegranate panna cotta, making the whole thing taste very berry-ish.

Second, don't skip the step of straining the cream/gelatin mixture before pouring into cups/ramekins. This will remove any gelatin sedimentation that may have accrued; you can see that in my picture, I did not have time to do that, so a layer of sugary gelatin accumulated on the bottom.

Third, the ratio of gelatin to cream is very important, as you don't want the texture to be like that of jello. A smooth, creaminess is desired, and after some testing, I think the one I used here works quite well.

Fourth, in this version here, I added a touch of milk foam, to contrast with the heavy cream texture. Although, it's more of a garnish here, since there's so little room on the top of the berry.

Vanilla Pomegranate Panna Cotta

For the panna cotta
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- granulated sugar
- Pom juice
- Vanilla extract or fresh vanilla beans

For the berry coulis
- 1 lb. berries of your choice (strawberries, blackberries, etc...)
- lemon peel
- sugar
- Irish cream liqueur

  1. Dissolve 2 envelopes of gelatin in 1 cup of milk. Let stand ~ 5 min.
  2. Combine heavy cream, sugar, pom juice into sauce pan. Mix to taste. Add vanilla. Bring to a simmer, but do NOT boil.
  3. Add milk/gelatin mixture, and stir to dissolve.
  4. Strain into another container.
  5. Pour into ramekins, and chill in refrigerator for 3-4 hours or until firm. To remove from ramekin molds, use a knife to cut the edges, and dip in a bowl of hot water for 20 seconds, then shake panna cotta loose.
  6. To make the coulis, wash and cut the strawberries. Add a 1-2 cups of water, lemon peel, and sugar, and cook until berries are soft.
  7. Add berry composition to food processor, and pulse until it is a finely processed.
  8. Strain berry mixture. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
  9. If coulis is too liquidy, reduce slightly. Add liqueur for that extra kick!
  10. Bon Appetit!