When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

baking, cooking, and other adventures

Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Piece Montée/Croquembouche May 28, 2010

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

For this months challenge the requirements were that we had to make pâte à choux,  crème pâtissière, and the piece montée needed to be a mounted structure with some height to it.  I figured the challenging part of this would be making the structure, since I have made pâte à choux and crème pâtissière before.  I guess I was right.  My little structure is a fat cone or I guess we could call it a pear 🙂 (more…)


Tuesdays With Dorie: Banana Coconut Ice Cream Pie May 25, 2010

Filed under: Ice Cream,Pie,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 10:47 pm
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This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Spike of spikebakes.  He threw a dart at Dorie’s Banana Coconut Ice Cream Pie, which is located on page 350 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Sorry this is almost late.  I have been working morning and working out when I get home, so I haven’t had much time to do anything.  I think I had time tonight because I am taking a night off working out.  I am also under the impression that working out at night is making me more tired at work, so I am going to try my hardest to start getting up in the mornings and working out before work.  Which is going to be extremely hard for me since I am not a morning person at ALL.

I did cave in and try this lovely dessert.  To make it a little healthier and less tempting, I only made two mini tarts (1/8 of a recipe) and I used Soy Chocolate Ice Cream (that would be the healthier part).  It actually turned out really well.  Since I was in a hurry, I didn’t keep it in the freezer for the required 4 hours after putting it together so it was nice and soft and yummy.

I actually got Mike to eat one of the tarts which is actually surprising since he hates it when I sneak soy into stuff.  I actually put tofu in a chocolate pie and didn’t tell him, until after the fact.  He really liked the pie, but he wasn’t too happy about the fact that he ate tofu without knowing it 🙂


Tuesdays With Dorie: Apple-Apple Bread Pudding May 18, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Pudding,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 11:01 am
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This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was hosted by Elizabeth of Cake or Death?.  She chose Dorie’s Apple-Apple Bread Pudding which is located on pages 408-409 in Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Okay, so if you didn’t already know I LOVE bread pudding, especially if it has a bourbon sauce with it 🙂  I guess it just brings back memories of my childhood.  Wait, not the bourbon but the bread pudding.  If it was bourbon that would be an interesting childhood, that I possibly couldn’t remember.

Ummm, Bread Pudding….yummy.

So, I was a little excited when we were given another chance to make bread pudding.  Like all bread puddings, this was really easy to put together.  Almost like an Apple-Apple sandwich (sauteed apples and apple butter).  I decide to forgo the water bath because I didn’t want to take the time to drag out the roasting pan that is at the bottom and back of the pantry.  So, I just lowered the oven temperature to 300 °F and baked it for 1 hour and 25 minutes, and it turned out perfectly.

I cut a tiny sliver off the bread pudding this morning, so that I could try it because there was noway on earth that none of this was going in my mouth.  It was apply and soft, but I think it was missing something.

Wait I think I know…a huge scoop of ice cream ::day dreaming:: and BOURBON SAUCE.  Also I think a nice addition to this recipe would be raisins, possibly soaked in Cointreau.  All in all, this was a great dessert that I am sure my husband will be enjoying for breakfast for the next few days.

Yes, I said breakfast.  On its own it is like a perfect version of Apple Stuffed French Toast.  Mike has already said he would go as far as warming it up with butter and syrup.  Yummy, a man after my own heart 🙂


Daring Cooks Challenge: Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchilada May 14, 2010

Filed under: Main Courses,The Daring Cooks' — pastrybrush @ 11:54 am
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Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on www.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.

The mandatory part of the challenge this month was to make the enchilada sauce, with homemade corn tortillas being optional.  I decided to just stick with the sauce since I have already made tortillas from scratch before, but of the flour variety.

This months challenge was a nice change in the middle of the week.  Since I have been doing P90X, I have been sticking with just basic foods and this added a little spice to the middle of the week.  For this recipe I decided not to make stacked enchiladas and just rolled the chicken up in the corn tortillas.  I did this for two reasons, 1) I can measure out portion sizes better and 2) I forgot to pick up cheese.  Which I guess the not having cheese worked out in my favor since that reduce the calories per serving, but it would have been yummier with cheese.  As most anything is 🙂

The sauce was pretty straight forward to make, nothing too complicated, and the enchiladas came together pretty quick.  The overall impression of the recipe was that it was lacking something ::cough::


..but I just put a small amount of sour cream on top and that provided a nice creaminess.

Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas


1½ pounds Fresh Anaheim chiles (about eight 6 to 8 inch chiles) 24 ounces 678 grams – roast, peel, remove seeds, chop coarsely. Other green chiles (NOT bell peppers) could probably be substituted but be conscious of heat and size!)
7-8 ounces Tomatillos (about 4-5 medium)212 grams – peel, remove stems
4 cups Chicken broth (32 ounces/920 grams)
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ tsp Kosher salt (add more to taste)
¼ tsp Black Pepper (add more to taste)
2 tablespoons Cornstarch (dissolve in 2 tablespoons water, for thickening)
Hot sauce, your favorite, optional
2 Boneless chicken breasts (you can also use bone-in chicken breasts or thighs)
3 tablespoons Olive oil or other neutral vegetable oil (use more as needed)
Kosher salt and pepper
12 Small Corn tortillas (5-6 inch/13-15 cm). (you can also use wheat tortillas or other wraps)
6 ounces grated Monterey Jack, 170 grams (other cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack, Mexican cheeses) can be used. Just be sure they melt well and complement the filling)
Cilantro for garnish, chopped and sprinkled optional


Roasting Fresh Chiles

1. Coat each chile with a little vegetable oil. If you are doing only a couple chiles, using the gas stove works. For larger batches (as in this recipe), grilling or broiling is faster.
2. Lay the oiled chiles on the grill or baking sheet (line pan with foil for simpler clean-up). Place the grill or broil close to the element, turning the chiles so they char evenly. They should be black and blistered.
3. As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic, or close up in a paper bag. Let them rest until they are cool.
4. Pull on the stem and the seed core MAY pop out (it rarely does for me). Open the chile and remove the seeds. Turn the chile skin side up and with a paring knife, scrape away the skin. Sometimes it just pulls right off, sometimes you really have to scrape it.

Green Chile Sauce

1. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil and remove the papery outer skin from the tomatillos. Boil the tomatillos until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. You can also grill the tomatillos until soft.
2. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor.
3. Return the tomatillos to the saucepan along with the chicken broth, chopped green chiles, minced onion, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 4-5 cups, another 10-15 minutes.
6. Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you want a little more heat.

Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas

1. Heat a gas grill to medium high or build a medium-hot charcoal Coat the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes a side for boneless chicken breasts.
3. Cool and then slice into thin strips or shred.
4. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately.
5. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most).
6. Drain on paper towels.
7. Add oil as needed and continue until all 12 tortillas are done.
8. In a baking dish large enough to hold four separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce.
9. Lay four tortillas in the dish and ladle another ½ cup (4 ounces/112 grams) of sauce over the tortillas.
10. Divide half the chicken among the first layer of tortillas, top with another ½ cup of sauce and 1/3 of the grated cheese.
11. Stack another four tortillas, top with the rest of the chicken, more sauce and another third of the cheese.
12. Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese.
13. Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
14. To serve, transfer each stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.


Tuesdays With Dorie: Quick Classic Berry Tart May 11, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Tarts,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 1:00 am
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Sorry, I have been MIA for a week.  I really wanted to make the Burnt Sugar Ice Cream last week, but I am in the middle of a lifestyle change.  I am actually watching and counting everything that I put in my mouth.  It is a bit of a downer sometimes and I had to really push myself this week to participate because GOD knows I want to have a big chunk of this tart.

I am currently behaving myself, which is a HUGE shocker.

I started P90X last week and today marks the beginning of my second week.  I have this whole theory about loosing weight before Mike and I start a family, so that is what initially motivated me.  I have done Power 90 so I knew what I was getting into.  So far, I have two goals 1) to lose 20 lbs, 2) to be able to do all of the Plyometrics workout without modifications and if I happen to get a little ripped  by the end of 90 days, BONUS 🙂  If you have ever done the Plyo workout modified or not; you know that it kicks your butt every time.  Mike is going on the P90X journey with me sans the nutrition side.

On to the baking 🙂

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Cristine of Cooking with Cristine.  She chose Dorie’s Quick Classic Berry Tart which is located on page 377 of Baking: From My Home to Yours.  When I first saw this tart I thought yummy, then I thought I have strawberries from the Berry Farm in my fridge.

YAY!!! Strawberry Tart 🙂

To reduce the temptation I only made half a recipe.  For a fresher taste, I decided to make the lemon pastry cream.  This just consisted of added fresh lemon zest to the milk and letting it steep after it boils.  I did dip my finger into the cream and it was smooth, yummy, and lemony.  I have had the sweet tart dough before so I know it is tasty, and I have been eating strawberries as part of my breakfast for a week now.  So, if I just put all the flavors together in my head; I can imagine that this is a nice summery dessert 🙂

I hope Mike enjoys in reality while I dream about it.