Sunday, February 27, 2011

Creamed Corn Brulee

So after the last post about Austin, I started craving the corn brulee we'd had and researched some recipes. Basically they all called for the same basic ingredients: cream, sugar, corn, and egg. This one was similar to the Cooks Illustrated Creme Brulee, which was my favorite of the ones I tried. I was not disappointed, though I think I might cut down on the sugar in the custard next time.

This made 8 large- 10oz ramekins-brulees

2 ears corn kernels
2 Tablespoons butter
3 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 c whole milk
10 egg yolks
1 cup or less granulated sugar plus
coarse or granulated sugar for dusting tops

First, sautee 2 ears of corn kernels in some butter, until the kernels get golden and a little brown in places.

In a saucepan heat the milk, cream, and  half the kernels - you can save the other half for dividing amongst the ramekins before you pour in  the cream-egg mix. I decided not too and added all the kernels to the cream, but if you like more texture set them aside.Heat until just boiling, stirring constantly. I  sped up this part by heating  the milk and cream in  the microwave until almost boiling, then adding it and the corn to a saucepan and returning to a boil. It also helps limit the chance of burning the cream. Remove from heat and let sit for 15 min.

While it sits, beat the sugar and the egg yolks until creamy. Gradually add the cream-corn mixture.  The recipe called for pureeing the corn mixture before adding to the eggs. I forgot, and pureed the whole egg-cream-corn mix at once.

Set ramekins in large baking dish. Sprinkle kernels, if you saved them, into ramekins. Pour in the cream mixture. Add boiling waterta baking dish  about 2/3 way up the side of ramekins and bake for 30 -40 min.

Mine cooked  about 35 min or so. The center should still be a little jiggly. Cool, then cover with plastic wrap and set in fridge a couple hours so they can firm up. Remove and let sit uncovered for 30 min. Dust tops with a thin layer of sugar

Place under broiler until sugar it melted and carmel colored. Or for added fun, use a blow torch. I do have a small kitchen torch but was out of butane.

On our trip to Austin, I brought some books to read, as Shane would be working several days. I brought The SeaWolf, by Jack London. Which somehow I had managed not to have read before. My only regret was that I read another book first and did not start the SeaWolf until the last day. Then I was so engrossed I forgot lunch and didn't even notice when Shane pulled up to get me on the way to the airport. He was worried as I had told him I'd be waiting and had to park and go inside and look around. I was sitting just on the other side of a pillar, and being somewhere  on the high seas between San Francisco and Japan, didn't hear the rumbling Mustang or my cell phone when he called.  But at least I was very entertained for the plane trip home.

The wine was good, and luckily, did not anywhere near resemble the sailor swill that must have been passed around then. Though I'm not sure how much wine they would have taken. After I finished the book, a fellow passenger pointed out there was an article about Jack London in the inflight magazine. The character Wolf Larsen was actually based on a real captain Jack had sailed with.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lone Star

Shane had business trip to Austin in October, so we decided to extend it a couple days and take a little vacation. I found out what I was pretty sure I already knew. I really like Texas. I liked the geography, I liked the people, and it being October, I liked the weather. And Shane's family having come from there, I felt like we were exploring family history. Only, they were not from Austin.  Matador was too far a drive. But we did see streets and towns with family surnames and I'd love to go and explore more. Someday. At dinner the first night, the waiter told us about some local wineries so the next morning we headed out to the Hill Country try them. Or as many as we could, which turned out to only be two.

This was at Woodrose Winery. It was our second stop and we were very pleased to also sample some meats and cheeses. This one would be so pretty at night with the trees all lit up, and if/when we go again we'll definitely re-visit.
This was Becker Vineyards. I loved all the wood. And the wine was good too. It tasted very much like Texas- big, meaty, and not so formal as to make you feel under-dressed. We got a couple bottles at both wineries. There were a lot more to visit, but they will also have to wait until next time.
We went to San Antonio for a day, walked along the river, and had lunch a little cafe.

One night we got to witness a bi storm, complete with thunder and lightning. The streets were all turned into rivers, with the wind pushing the water up the streets. It was very cozy.

But all the days were sunny and nice.
The last night we ate here. Just as we were coming out, the bats started their evening migration. We were told it is the biggest bat migration in the northern hemisphere. It was pretty amazing how the the long black ribbons just kept coming, and coming. We got to see them every night, but somehow, I never had my camera, until this night.

Not a very good picture, but it was the last opportunity we had so I was glad to at least get one.

Of course we visited the Alamo, which was neat, but sad.

And it wouldn't be a complete post without some tasty picture- really the tastiest eggs Benedict  we've had. So far. But I'll have to do some more research to make sure. I did not get a picture and am going to work on copying the fabulous creamed corn brulee we had with dinner. Two times.

All in all, it was lovely trip, the only hiccup was when I realized as we pulled into the airport, that I had left the girls' gifts in the dresser drawer. Fortunately, other people plan for these things and when I called, the hotel said they'd FedEx them to the following day. We found some stand-ins  at the airport, and the girls had a package to look forward to. So it worked out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Still Here, Old Boy

I love P.G. Wodehouse, which is where the title comes from. And since it has been awhile since I've updated, was happy to steal a title. This might get messy, but here's some of what we've been up to recently. I'll fill in the other months later.

This most recent weekend, we took a trip to see Great Grandma Mac to celebrate her 90th birthday. We actually missed her party by two days, but with us there, cousins and aunts and uncles dropping by, and Grandma Trudy's cooking, every day was a party. The kids were so sad to come home. It is pretty bad on our part, but I realized that was the first time Pippin had met Grandma Mac in person and the  the kids were shocked to find they had cousins they'd never met. They all got along great and are begging to go back again soon.  We will definitely will  not wait so long the next time.

The pictures decided to arrange themselves, so in no particular order:

We got to have a power outage, which it always fun. What's better than eating Grandma Trudy's Chocolate cake with Chocolate Ganache? Eating it by candle light.

 I'm representing Shane in this four generation picture.

  This was supposed to be at the end, along with the recipe. We made this for a big dinner we had with friends and I have been craving and making it ever since. I didn't know kale could be so tasty, But I suppose when you add bacon and cheese with candied nuts, what wouldn't be tasty? Recipe is below.

Kateri was so excited to get Grandma Mac a present. Three actually. She gathered and wrapped them all by herself. She insisted there had to be a balloon. Which by this time, was small enough to be put in a box and wrapped.

Kale and Apple salad with bacon and pecans-  and lots of other tasty stuff.

For the pecans- toast 2 cups nuts in a saute pan with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and some butter. About 8 min on med heat, maybe less.

For the salad,
 cook 8 slices bacon finely chopped until nice and crispy. Remove the bacon, saving the  oil in the pan.
Mix about
 1/4 cup of the oil with
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoon capers brine ( from a jar of capers)
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
some black pepper.

I put it all in  jar with a lid and shake really well.

For the salad:

1 8 oz bunch  kale, stems removed, leaves   finely shredded
1 large head radicchio, shredded- I leave this out sometimes and it's still good
3 Tablespoons snipped chives
1Tablespoon chopped tarragon - this part smells really amazing
2 granny smith apples cut into matchsticks

2 oz shaved pecorino

Toss everything but the cheese with the dressing. Or leave out the bacon and nuts as well to add at the end.  Arrange cheese on top. I like to make a big batch of this without the dressing added. Kale keeps better than shredded lettuce. I love having it for lunch the next day. And the day after that. Then I have to go to the store for more provisions and I start the process all over.

Coming soon: a trip to Texas wine country- yes there is such a thing, I was shocked too
                       a trip to the snow where Kateri made snow angels, in her bathing suit
                       a few birthdays- kids and adults
                       a trip to Japan- Shane, not the family
                       and a few new house furnishing/rearranging