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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Baked Alaska

Chef Karen: When I first heard about Baked Alaska many years ago, I remember thinking, “Ice cream? In the oven?” Well, I’ve finally tried it and it was the coolest thing!  I was pretty intimidated to make this dessert but took a deep breath and created it!  I was pleasantly surprised at the turn-out.  A few things to mention: Because  I only wanted to serve 4 people and not have any leftovers, I made individual desserts.  I cut cake rounds out with a cup and used them as my base.  I also put the ice cream in ramekins to make them the size and shape to fit the cakes.  I put cling wrap in the bottom of a ramekin, then put in the ice cream, folded the wrap over to protect from freezer burn and then placed them in the freezer.  It worked perfectly! (I owe this trick to Gordon Ramsey – one of my favourite chefs!)  I used the 8 egg whites but really could have only used 4.  I dumped at least 1/2 of the meringue down the drain because I had too much.  Last thing: don’t worry if you don’t have a small torch to brown the meringue.  I don’t – not YET, anyway- and the oven worked just fine. I was worried it wouldn’t brown on the edges but it did. Last but not least, don’t be intimidated!  It was a very cool experience and one I will try again!

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Chef Jonathan: This is one of those classic desserts that is sort of a rite of passage for every Chef Patissier, and somehow I’ve managed to skip it thus far on my culinary journeys. Thus, I was very happy when Chef Karen suggest that we make it this week. It always sounded like a very challenging recipe, but it’s honestly not if you know a few basic tricks. The cake is easy enough, you can even use a box mix if you prefer, and the ice cream you can buy (if you’re super eager, you can make your own). The fun part of this recipe is the “Alaska”. Like any meringue, just be super careful when separating your egg whites from your yolks, if any yolk gets mixed in, it can ruin the whole meringue. I always make sure my white have reached at least soft peak before adding the sugar. If you add it too early, the whites won’t thicken as they should, and you’ll have to start over. I hadn’t used this recipe for meringue before, so I added a touch more sugar than specified, just to sweeten. I used my special Chef’s torch to darken the edges of the meringue, but a broiler in an oven works just as well, just don’t take your eyes off of it! I really love this recipe, it’s an instant classic and it’s perfect for that dinner party you’ve been dying to plan, enjoy!

Baked Alaska

 

Baked Alaska Recipe

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Simply Sensational Strawberry Shortcake

Chef Karen: (This week I made the blog and Chef Jonathan took the picture and had a taste test…. sometimes there just isn’t enough time in a week.) I saw this recipe in a magazine and knew it was going to have to be made! I love fresh strawberries and I love strawberry shortcake. Enough said. This is a very simple recipe. I made the cake part earlier in the day and put the rest of it together for dessert time. I followed the recipe as directed except for the Cool Whip on the top part…….. I added my own amount! I also reversed the strawberry and cream layers on the bottom to what it calls for. I did cream first and strawberries second. It just made more sense to me. It was very good and a nice change from individual strawberry shortcakes that I usually serve. It was loved by everyone and I’m sure you will, too. A definite must-to strawberry season creation!

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Here is the where to find the recipe: http://www.kraftcanada.com/en/recipes/simply-sensational-strawberry-shortcake-94067.aspx

 

Tortilla Soup

Chef Karen:I must be living under a rock. I’d never heard of Tortilla Soup before.  After I tried it at a church event, I knew we had to try it. It’s very easy to make! This is good news for anyone that’s prone to the “I HATE making soups” mentality. When I made it,  I left out the jalapeno rings. I just wasn’t “feeling” that kind of taste.  I crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of my bowl before pouring the soup into it.  I liked how the soup softened them up.  I also added some hot pepper cheese to the top; just because everything tastes better with either cheese or chocolate on it and this calls for cheese, not chocolate. I paired it with a cucumber salsa.  A recipe for another time 🙂  Enjoy your soup!

tortilla soup

Chef Jonathan: I was excited to make this soup because I’d never made a tortilla soup before, and I was pleasantly surprised. I expected it to be a bit more ‘Tex-Mex’, but I like all of the fresh ingredients in this recipe. I did however spice it up a bit and make chili-flavoured tortilla strips, by drizzling some EVOO to the sliced strips, and sprinkling some chili powder on top, followed by toasting in the oven. All in all, a great soup for a cold day, or just whenever.

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Here is the recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Tortilla-Soup-I/Detail.aspx

 

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