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Peach and Blueberry Trifle

Chef Karen: The title may sound simple but it bring a whole lot of happiness to the mouth! There are as many trifle recipes as there are chefs. That’s why Chef Jonathan and I decided to use a white cake of some sort, vanilla pudding, fruit and whipped cream and see what we could come up with. I chose to make individual trifles. I used Twinkies as the white cake; I soaked them in rum extract for a more “grown-up” taste, plain vanilla pudding and real whipped cream. Because my peaches were a bit hard, I cut them up, sprinkled some sugar on them and let them set for a few hours. This softened them up and make them quite yummy. I layered my ingredients as a true trifle is layered, added a sprig of mint in honour of great friend, and voila! A refreshing late-summer dessert. Simple but stunning, I’d say 🙂

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Chef Jonathan: I decided to use angel food cake as my base for the trifle, a little unoriginal, I know, but I thought it would best to go back-to-the-basics for this week’s dessert. I then layered with creme chantilly, then roughly chopped peaches. I also whipped up a vanilla custard to go next, then more cake, cream, then the blueberries. I finished off with the whipped cream, and topped off with more blueberries. This is a nice simple end of the summer dessert, enjoy!

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Peach Cobbler

*This week we’ve each used different recipes so for this post you can call us: “Two Recipes, Two Kitchens….”

Chef Karen: I love peaches so I’m pretty honoured to have my Grandma Wibert’s peach cobbler recipe.  This is the one I used this week.  It’s pretty simple and very tasty.  I made it in about 15 minutes; including peeling and cutting the peaches.  I did add blueberries to it for a little twist – I’m sure she wouldn’t care 🙂  Here is the recipe:

2 C peaches, sliced, peeled and pitted

1 1/2 C sugar; divided

3/4 C milk

3/4 C flour

2 t baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 C melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Mix the peaches with 1/2C of the sugar and put them in an 8×8 baking dish.

3. Mix the rest of the sugar, IC, with the milk.

4. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt with a whisk; whisk well.

5. Whisk in the melted butter until it is thoroughly mixed in.

6. Pour the batter over the peaches and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

7. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Enjoy!

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Chef Jonathan: My version of this classic summer dessert was fairly rustic. I cut my peaches into dissimilar pieces, mixed with a touch of lemon juice, almond extract, cornstarch and a few tablespoons of sugar. Thrown into the oven for 20 minutes, this makes the peaches nice and soft and the aroma is amazing! Making the cobbler, consisting of a pâté sucre (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) rub in the cold butter, egg, and cream. Dropping spoonfuls of the cobbler over the peaches, it spreads nicely when it bakes for 15 more minutes. This is the perfect summer dessert, replace your favourite summer fruit for peaches!

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Deconstructed BLT

Chef Karen: The letters “BLT” in our house mean genuine happiness to my husband! Even when I suggested our blog recipe this week was a “Deconstructed BLT”, he was happy. After you read Chef Jonathan’s blog, you will see that he obviously has the more creative cooking mind in this blogging duo. My BLT looked different on the plate but I didn’t move far from the original. I changed my usual “sandwich” into an appetizer. I toasted my bread, cut it into little circles, and cut my bacon and lettuce to size. I cut my tomatoes into little pieces, mixed them with mayonnaise and white wine vinegar (one of my new favs), added some salt and pepper and put it on top of the circles. Although deconstructed, the outcome was a happy grin from my husband. A+ in my book! 🙂

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Chef Jonathan: My approach to this week’s deconstructed BLT was to turn it into something completely different. I wanted someone to eat this and not think “Oh, this reminds me of a BLT”, so I went with pasta. I cooked my pasta to ‘al dente’, then started on my bacon, cutting into 1/2 inch cubes, then sautéing with 1/2 and 1/2 butter and oil, seasoning as it cooks. Then I diced my tomatoes, adding to my prepared pasta sauce, adding minced garlic, my favourite herbs, and salt & pepper to taste. Tossing it all together, with some shredded cheese of course (it wouldn’t be pasta without) I put it in the oven for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, I did a classic chiffonade with my lettuce for a garnish, and voila a BLT pasta!

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Lemon-Blueberry Crumb Bars

Chef Karen: Summer and fresh fruit go hand-in-hand.  That’s why this recipe caught my eye; It had the word “blueberry” in it!  I love blueberries.  I love picking them, eating them right off the bush and figuring out how many different ways I can use them in baking. (Yes, yes, I know there are other uses for blueberries but I’m a baker at heart.)  I found the recipe we’ve tested this week very easy to make. I worried about what the crust would taste like and I found it to be pretty good. The bars tasted a bit like cheesecake but weren’t too “cheese-cakey” and I was happy with that.  If you want cheesecake, make cheesecake – don’t make a substitute 🙂  My one comment was that it seemed to dry out easily once I had it in the fridge for a few days.  If you have to keep it, make sure you wrap it tightly to keep this from happening.  I recommend this recipe while you can still go and pick your own blueberries!

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Chef Jonathan: This is a nice summer recipe if you have some nice fresh berries. It can be done with any berries, not just of the blue variety, but we here at ORTK love blueberries! Making this dessert reminded me exactly of a New York Lemon Cheesecake I made in school, except for the blueberries are baked inside the bar, instead of a blueberry coulis……Making the crust, I found that there wasn’t nearly enough to fill the bottom of the pan, and do a topping, so I put all of it on the bottom, and left it Non En Croute which I actually prefer. Again, I love this recipe and I will definitely be making it again, possibly this summer. Enjoy!

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Here is the website for the recipe. It’s from the Kraft website.  http://www.kraftcanada.com/en/recipes/lemon-blueberry-crumb-bars-124041.aspx?cm_mmc=eml-_-rbecaen-_-20130717-_-2066&cm_lm=D5FF970BB300121967A3D6C9693765E2

 

Croissants!

Note: One reason for our blog is to give chefs encouragement to try new things, stretch themselves and maybe even fail. Sometimes the recipes we try work….sometimes they don’t Therefore, we’re pretty honest when we feel something doesn’t work. That”s where we are today.

Chef Karen: I’ve always wanted to make croissants. I love them but was afraid to make them. When Chef Jonathan agreed for them to be our topic this week, I was happy. As I searched for suitable recipes I found there were many choices to choose from. I chose one that I thought looked do-able. We both found out that there were a few challenges with this recipe. Chef Jonathan speaks about some of them so I won’t repeat. One issue was that I found the dough to be dry. Secondly, I found the croissant turned out to be more like a roll than a croissant. They were very dense and not light and crumbly like a croissant should be. Thirdly, the recipe says that the Prep Time is 3 hours. With the rising and waiting, I found it was more like 5 hours. After this experience I’ll never complain about the price of croissants,again. I was very disappointed with the results of this recipe. I think I’ll try another Croissant recipe to appease myself of failure.

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Chef Jonathan: The French Croissant (pronouced Kwaw-son(e) for you non-frenchies….), is one of the most intricate pastries in French Cuisine, along with Profiteroles and Tuile. After making these for the first time, I appreciate the time and effort that a true French Patissier spends each day preparing these wonderful little rolls of dough and butter. This is a pastry that I will likely make once a year, only when I’m feeling super ambitious, because of the time requirement it takes to prepare the croissant. That said, there a few changes to this recipe I would make, of course: first of all, when mixing the dough together, using a hook attachment, I added a few drops of water to bring it together which I then also had to add a tablespoon or two of flour to soak up the moisture I just added. Also, in the method, it states to fold the dough into thirds and refrigerate twice, I only did this once, and afterwards: roll out, spread with butter, fold into thirds and roll out again before slicing into triangles and rolling up. Other than that, not a particularly difficult pastry to make, just a time-consuming one. In the words of renowned French Chef, Julia Child: Bon Appetit!

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Here is the recipe (We don’t recommend it): http://frenchfood.about.com/od/breadandpastry/r/croissants.htm

 

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!

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Baked Alaska Recipe

 

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