Archive for May, 2008


TWD Delayed

May 14, 2008

TWD Florida Pie is slightly delayed.  I was planning to make it last night, but ended up going to the emergency room with my hubby’s grandmother.  Should be up today or tomorrow!


Yay Chocolate!

May 9, 2008

My chocolate came today! (clap)

My chocolate came today! (clap, clap)

My chocolate came today! (clap)

My chocolate came today! (clap, clap)

I know it’s silly but that’s what was running through my head when I opened my box and found it was the Amano Chocolate from Blake Makes! If you’ve never heard of Blake Makes (where have you been hiding), it’s a wonderful blog that periodically has give-aways of new products. He (Blake) sends them out to fellow bloggers and we all use the item and blog about it. And this time it is Amano Chocolate.

The very generous folks at Amano sent three bars of chocolate.

Amano Cuyagua bar1) Cuyagua – Premium Dark Chocolate with a minimum of 70% Cocao with rich chocolate overtones and notes of spice.

Amano Ocumare Bar2) Ocumare – Grand Cru Dark Chocolate with a minimum of 70% Cocao with rich chocolate overtones and and a well balanced fruity component with hints of plums and other red fruit.

Amano Madagascar Bar3) Madagascar – Premium Dark Chocolate with a minimum of 70% Cocao with strong fruity flavors that include hints of citrus and berry.

About Amano: In 1996, Art Polard decided that there had to be better chocolate than what was available int the U.S. So began his quest for the “ultimate chocolate.” After much research and experimentation, Art developed a process that incorporated both modern and ancient chocolate-making techniques. When the chocolate began getting rave reviews from local chefs, Art’s business partner, Clark Goble, suggested that Art make his chocolate available commercially. Art continued to hone his skills by studying chocolate manufacturing in Europe and traveling throughout Mexico. Then, in 2006, when Art felt his chocolate was comparable to the very best European chocolate, he started Amano Artisan Chocolate.

Over the next week or so you will see some experiments with this fabulous chocolate! Stay tuned!


Peanut Butter Torte

May 6, 2008

Peanut Butter Torte

Well, I have to admit, I was going to cheat on this week’s TWD, because I made this torte for a friend’s birthday a few weeks ago and never got around to posting about it,

Birthday Torte(put it in a Coach box, he was so confused)

but since Derby was this weekend (poor 8 Bells) I decided to make it again to take to a party.

This torte is fantastic! I worship the ground peanut butter walks on, so adding chocolate and whipped cream was just extra. Normally I don’t like hard bits of stuff in my desserts, but the chocolate chips and peanut bits really work. I think that is because there are enough of them that you get a fair amount in each bite. Rather than a nice creamy bite with bits o’ stuff in it.

It came together (both times) very easily. The only time required is the after-assembly chill to set up. This could be skipped, though, as long as you don’t mind it having more of a pudding consistency than a cheesecake.

Torte crustWhipped creamAdding chips and nutsWith whipped creamFinished torteblurry slice o\' torte

This torte is destined to become a staple in my dessert baking. Not only is it peanut butter, and chocolate, and easy, but it is also egg free which mean my dear fellow baker (Beth) who is horribly allergic can eat this! Yay!

As with most of Dorie’s recipes she explains everything wonderfully so that they are difficult to mess up, so go on, dive in, (ignore all the fat grams) and make one for yourself!

Peanut Butter Torte

1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

½ c. mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)

24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender

½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Small pinch of salt

2 ½ c. heavy cream

1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 ½ c salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy)

2 tablespoons whole milk

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped

Getting ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Crape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Scrape the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To Finish The Torte: put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and , working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.

When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


HomeGrown Gourmet #8

May 1, 2008

Homegrown Gourmet Logo

Well, it’s Homegrown Gourmet time again! I must say, I was sooo excited to be chosen! Huge thrill, especially since it was the first time I had participated. The Hot Brown is a very traditional dish in these parts and with it coming up on Derby (2 days!) it just seemed right.

My “Yay” was quickly followed by an “oh, crap” because now I have to pick this month’s ingredient.

I thought about trying to be creative or original and look up something that is only in season in May or see if May was a special month for something in particular, but my stomach won out.

I’m going in with a food that is my most favorite food on the planet.

Something that I can eat anyway you give it to me.

Chunky, smooth, baked, in a sauce, in an ice cream, in a cookie, in a pie.

You name it.

I’ll eat it.

So without further ado.

This month’s ingredient is…

Dancing Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter!

That wonderful, flavorful, creamy, gooey, sticky, scrumdiddliumptious stuff.

And it doesn’t hurt that my hubby is a peanut butter hound as well who has been harassing me for a while to make this idea he has for “the ultimate peanut butter cookie”. We shall see.

So bake it, broil it, mix it, any way you make it! I wanna see!

Nuclear Peanut

Nitty Gritty
1. Anyone can play!
2. A theme will be picked by the host. Participants will make a dish that follows the theme and that somehow represents their home region – town, state, area. Representation can feature a local ingredient, be a traditional dish from your area, or be a creative twist.
3. Participants will have 3-4 weeks (host discretion) to complete their recipes and post them to their blog (or email the pics and text), and notify the host. The host will then post the results and then let everyone know via email or message board the results are up!
4. An explanation of your dish is required; it can be a story about the local custom or ingredient, how you came about eating/making the recipe, or an explanation about how your creative dish fits the theme.
5. Fresh and local foods are encouraged!
6. When the round is done, the host will announce their favorite dish by updating their blog. Favorite is completely subjective to the host- no one expects the host to make and taste test all the dishes, it is just something that strikes the host’s fancy! The creator of the fave gets the honor of hosting the next round, if they so choose!

To participate in Homegrown Gourmet #8, whip up your tastiest dish highlighting the fantabulous joy that is peanut butter! Post about it in your blog and tell the world what makes your recipe Homegrown… be sure to link back to this post. Then send me an email at katieATcassadywebDOTcom with “Homegrown Gourmet 8 in the subject line. Please include the following in your e-mail: your name, your location, your blog name and URL, and a permalink to your entry. Don’t forget to attach a picture (preferably 250 x 250) of your dish to the email. (Not a blogger and still want to enter? Why aren’t you blogging already? Come on, you know you want to do it. All the cool kids are doing it these days… what? still no? Ok, email me all the details and I’ll post for you.)

Deadline for the event is WEDNESDAY, May 28, 2008.
Let the mixing begin!
Peanut Butter resources…

Some inspiration…

EDIT: If you have a peanut allergy or peanut butter is not available in your area, my second choice was raspberries which are coming into season. Hey, if you’re really creative you could combine the two…