July 27, 2010

DB Swiss Roll Ice Cream Bombe

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

This month's Daring Baker challenge was a layered, Swiss roll covered, ice cream bombe.  Not only was it a fantastic idea to have a baking challenge that included ice cream for the summer but I loved that our host Sunita took a "semi-homemade" recipe and challenged all of us to make it 100% homemade.  Our task included the Swiss roll cake, the cake's filling, two ice creams and a fudge filling.  All were to be made from scratch.

This combination ended up as the biggest smash hit any Daring Baker challenge has ever made with my son!  He flipped over the idea of a rolled up cake, loved the marshmallow frosting I filled it with, and then thought he'd died and gone to heaven when I told him that I was going to add ice cream to this already delicious combination.  Ice cream, whether the homemade kind, from a mix, raw, or Tofutti, is one of his major food groups.

To keep the size of the finished bombe manageable I made the Swiss roll several days earlier then served some of it to friends over for dinner.  It was delicious on it's own and I had to fight off Alex to keep enough of the rest safe to make the bombe.  Over the next few days I sliced and froze the remaining roll and made the two ice creams and fudge.   For the cake I followed Sunita's recipe using half black cocoa, which I will admit to being addicted to.  Since her cake filling was whipped cream based, I replaced it with my own marshmallow frosting.  The cake was chocolaty, spongy and easy to roll without cracking. 

For one of my ice creams I chose to make a strawberry one based on Jen the Leftover Queen's Fruits and Nuts of the Forest Kefir Ice Cream.  I hoped to come up with a probiotic packed version of ice cream that my son would like.  I used So Delicious coconut milk kefir (a favorite in our house for smoothies), a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil + more kefir in place of the cream, only a tablespoon of booze (vodka), strawberries and sugar in place of maple syrup.  I tasted and adjusted the sweetness until I liked the result but after freezing it was fairly hard, more like sorbet.  My son Alex wasn't impressed.  Even with the real sugar, it wasn't rich enough for him.  I'll be making a batch with the nuts, Frangelico and maple syrup next time.  And I won't be sharing!!

For the other ice cream I tried out the "The World's Easiest Dairy-Free and Egg-Free Vanilla Ice Cream" from Speedbump Kitchen.  It definitely lives up to it's name-- melt marshmallows and creamer, cool, freeze-- that's it!  I replaced the soy creamer with So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer in French Vanilla.  I had my doubts because this creamer's flavor has disappointed me in the past.  But combined with the marshmallow flavor it was pretty good, though a bit too sweet for me personally.  Alex thought it was frozen manna from heaven and would have consumed the whole batch by himself had I let him.

Finally, I attempted to adapt my favorite dairy-free fudge topping to get the perfect sticky, gooey texture like in the ice cream cakes of my youth.  I added a little corn syrup to keep it gooey but then cooked it a bit too long. The result was tasty but more reminiscent of a Good Humor candy center, something I should have played off as intentional.   The fudge layer along with the stiffer strawberry-kefir ice cream made the bombe a pain to cut.  A plate was broken, hilarity ensued, and somehow the bombe survived and was served to the guests at my recent food blogger get together.  Add another notch to my Daring Baker bedpost.  

Marshmallow Frosting (Swiss Roll Filling)
Makes ~2 cups, enough to fill one 10 1/2" x 15 1/1 cake generously

4 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar, super fine is best (or whiz regular sugar in a food processor)
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
5 oz coconut oil, liquid
pinch of salt

-Prepare a double boiler with a large bowl.
-Add the egg whites, sugar and vanilla bean seeds to the bowl and beat for 4-5 minutes until smooth, fluffy and hot to the touch.  This is best done with a hand held electric mixer but it can be done by hand, just be prepared to have your forearms aching.
-Remove the hot meringue from the heat and continue to beat until cool, ~5-7 minutes.  Add salt and then the coconut oil a spoon at a time while beating.
-Beat until very smooth and use fairly soon.  There isn't enough fat to keep the marshmallow completely pliable once it starts to set.

-For the complete original recipes for the challenge visit our host at Sunita’s world- life and food
-Sunita's from scratch recipes where inspired by the Swiss swirl ice cream cake from the Taste of Home website.
-The two ice creams I made were:  Jen the Leftover Queen's Fruits and Nuts of the Forest Kefir Ice Cream and the "The World's Easiest Dairy-Free and Egg-Free Vanilla Ice Cream" from Speedbump Kitchen (click to see all her other ice cream flavors.)
-I replaced the soy creamer with So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer in French Vanilla.
-Visit the Daring Kitchen and see other bombes made this month by browsing the Daring Baker Blogroll
A bombe slice
Rolled up cake cooling in a clean sugared dish towel
Unrolled cake
Frosted cake before rolling
*These Amazon links give me a monetary kick back if you buy through them.  They are products I own, use and like.  My endless mentions of So Delicious brand are completely uncompensated. Hey, Turtle Mountain how 'bout some love for this volunteer product tester?

July 24, 2010

Five Spice and Michigan Plum Short Ribs

This week I attempted to connect a few food loving spirits in the area by hosting a food blogger soiree.  For my contribution, I chose to make a batch of short ribs with meat from my quarter steer from Gallagher's Centennial Farm braised with plums from Greenrock Farm and seasoned with Chinese five spice powder.

I had hoped to serve the short ribs as little sliders but the kids found my mini challah buns irresistible and the super muggy weather wilted the formerly crispy fried shallots.  The ribs were still good picked at with fingers and the raucous children seemed to need the carbs.  

Five Spice and Plum Braised Short Ribs
Thanks to Tom Colicchio for his Braised Short Rib recipe which I have used several times and served as inspiration.
Serves 4-6

~3-4 pounds bone-in, flanken cut beef short ribs
2 heaping teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
1 cup diced sweet onion, 1/2 large
2 cups pitted, quartered red plums, ~9 plums
1 teaspoon finely diced fresh ginger root
2 cups rosé wine, because this was in my fridge
salt and pepper

-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
-Liberally salt and pepper the ribs and then pat on the five spice powder, set aside.
-Heat an enameled cast iron Dutch oven over medium high until hot.  Brown the ribs on all sides and then remove from the pot to a rimmed plate or bowl.
-Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the rendered fat and add the diced onion.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is translucent.
-Add in the wine, plums and ginger.  Scape the pot to deglaze with the wine and plum juices.
-Add the ribs back to the pot along with any leaked juices.  Add enough water (or chicken stock) to almost cover the ribs.  Bring to a boil.
-Cover and cook in the lower third of the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours.
-Remove the cover and cook for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning the ribs at once or twice.  The braising liquid should be reduced by half and the ribs should be tender but not falling apart.
-Remove the ribs from the pot and separate them from their bones.  Trim away any large pieces of fat and then set the trimmed ribs in a shallow non reactive dish, like a glass brownie pan.
-Skim as much fat as possible from the reduced liquid and then pour the skimmed sauce over the ribs.  Cover with a glass lid, waxed paper or plastic wrap, not alluminum foil, it will react with the acid in the food!  Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.  Keep in the fridge AT LEAST overnight, ideally for a day or two.
-When you are ready to serve, scrape off any large amounts of solidified fat from the sauce and remove the ribs.  Slice the ribs into 1/2 inch thick slices and lay out on a boiler pan.  Spread a little sauce on each slice and then broil until hot and glazed. Serve hot.
-Resist the urge to lick the pan until your guests have left.

And as for the other food...
Shayne of fruitcake or nuts brought red pepper dip and 
boiled potatoes topped with radishes, sour cream, herbs and pickled herring
Local Stone House bread, fromage blanc from Leelanau Cheese with her own herbed strawberry balsamic jam and strawberry syrup for sodas came from Angela of Notes from a Country Girl Living in the City
Feta and bean dips made by Laura of Laura's Recipe Collection
More Links:
-The buns were made with King Arthur Flour Classic Challah dough
-I also made 101 Cookbooks' Grilled Fava Beans with local favas.  They were ok but maybe overcooked or maybe too mature favas.  The insides were mushier than I expected.

I love that Michigan plum season has started!

July 11, 2010

The girls with their grown-up feathers

This past week the older ducks began to emerge from their ugly teenager stage as their adult chest and wing feathers fill in.  The new feathers are darker and beautifully glossy.  We can start to see Pixie's pattern as her tan chest feathers develop, she is a fawn and white.

We're also coming to realize just how stupid ducks can be.  Despite our regular handling of them and hand feeding them treats they really have little trust in us.  We haven't manage to train them to go into the coop at night and we have to chase them out to get them to wander around the yard even when the dogs are locked away inside.  Maybe it's our inexperience though?   
Pixie's tan chest feathers
The gang out of the coop
Alex herding them out of the weeds
Roxie checking out Pixie
Charlotte, Gypsy and Coco
Enjoying the water
Pixie, Charlotte and Coco
The group in the coop run
Penny got some tummy time
I know I'm just an infatuated mother but I really think she has perfect ears
Roxy snuck in for some dog love
More Dog Hill Duck Photos
More Dog Hill Duck Posts

July 10, 2010

Real Time Farms

This week was all about Cherry Festival traffic, house guests and hot, muggy weather.  

A post on Diana Dyer, MS, RD, a fellow Michigan blogger's site, brought me to a new networking site for farmers markets called Real Time Farms.  There people can share and explore photos of what is available at the farmers markets in their areas.  This week I went to the Friday farmers market at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons and added my shoddy phone photos.  I love the idea of group documentation of what's in season and might just have to start taking a real camera to the market with me each week. 

Read more in this Absolute Michigan Article about Real Time Farms

July 3, 2010

Red Currant-Cornmeal Tart

Around this time last year I found myself in in one of the big box stores, Home Depot or Lowe's.  As their garden centers get picked over and beaten down by the reflected heat of the asphalt you can sometimes come across good bargains.  That day I scored a pair of viburnums, four lilacs and three red currant bushes.  All of them were in sad shape: pot-bound, only a few leaves left, and looking ragged without any deadheading or trimming.

I'm happy to say that all of those plants are doing quite well this year.  The viburnums are almost double in size and the lilacs are growing nicely--despite the fact that the spotted knapweed plants are crowding them terribly.  And I find myself fighting with my son Alex to get my share of the red currants.

The currants are tart, slightly tannic with crunchy seeds inside.  John thought they were a lot like pomegranate seeds but I think that was their bursting quality and seeds more than their flavor.  They don't seem to have a very distinctive taste but they do have a striking red color and look lovely on their stems.  Unfortunately the stems are bitter and you have to be careful removing the berries because they are thin-skinned and delicate.

I thought a cornmeal crust would be good because the seeds are less noticeable against a crunchy dough.  Instead of using a pastry recipe, I decided to adapt a cornmeal cookie recipe I had bookmarked so that I would have a sweeter, sturdier crust.  Here is what I made:

Red Currant-Cornmeal Tart
Crunchy cornmeal shortbread crust with hints of anise and orange filled with tart red currants.  I'd also like to try this dough with an egg added to make thumbprint cookies.
Makes (1) 7 3/4 inch tart

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
7 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground anise seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil, solid
2-3 tablespoons ice water
7 oz (~1 1/3 cups) red currants, washed and stems removed
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

-Mix together the flour, cornmeal, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, zest, anise seed and salt.
-Spoon the coconut oil on top of the flour mixture and then place the whole bowl in the freezer for 2-3 minutes.
-Cut in the chilled coconut oil with a pastry cutter or a fork until there are no pieces of oil larger than a pea.
-Add the water one tablespoon at a time and mix to make a cohesive dough. 
-Press the dough into a tart pan and then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
-When you are ready to bake preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray your tart pan with oil or grease with more coconut oil.
-In a small bowl carefully mix the currants with the cornstarch and remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar.
-Spoon in the currant mixture into the prepared tart shell.
-Bake for ~35 minutes until the center of the currants bubble and the crust is golden brown.
-Allow the tart to cool for at least 5 minutes before attempting to slice and/or remove the outer ring.

Inspirational help:
Feeding Maybelle: Red Currant Mini-Cheesecakes
Simmer Down!: mushroom tart for a bordeaux wine tasting
Martha Stewart's Cornmeal-Cherry Cookies
Maybe next year Alex will share enough to let me make some currant jam.

Red currants on the bush
Lines on the berries show the currant's relation to gooseberries
The whole tart
With the Cherry Festival in town my usual downtown farmers market was occupied by cotton candy stands and tilt-a-whirls, so I went to the Sutton's Bay farmers market instead.  I was excited to find a pastured pork producer near us to try as well as these other goodies. Garlic and potatoes from Bare Knuckle Farm, arugula and eggs from Second Spring Farm, tomatoes and cucumbers from Leelanau Produce, two types of bacon from Jonali Farm and a baguette from 9 Bean Rows.

July 2, 2010

Cavorting in the Coop

This week the ducklings got to try out their new coop.  Since last week Alex has been hunting bugs to feed the ducklings and taking walks around the yard but we really didn't expect how much he loves hanging out in the coop with them.  Every day he's been sitting in the coop, feeding them treats and watching them take their baths.  He's even been a great help in carrying them back into the garage for the night.  Since the ducks are all still so young and it's pretty cool at night here we put them back into their boxes in the garage each night.  I plan on letting the older ones stay outside next week. 

For those interested, we bought our coop from Green Chicken Coop.  They have nice designs and were willing to make some duck specific modifications.  We're happy with the coop so far, though I think we might need to make the ramp wider.  Ya gotta love that they are a Michigan-based company!  John drove down to Bay City to pick up the finished coop so we could save on the shipping costs.
The duck's new coop
Alex testing the doorway
And lounging inside
The whole group sitting together
Alex giving them some grasshoppers.  It looks like Coco is going to be our best forager, she snatches up everything!
They love the big water dish!
Gypsy taking a dip
Chest preening afterwards

Penny was *mostly* content to lounge in the shade on her blanket
More Dog Hill Duck Photos
More Dog Hill Duck Posts