Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oreo Mint fudge *beta testing

One of my favorite ice cream flavors is Mint Chocolate chip. I had for some years thought about trying to develop a fudge recipe that recreates this flavor combo and the texture combo of hard bits of chocolate in smooth and creamy mint ice cream. I started by googling mint chocolate chip fudge but to no avail. This meant I would have to just guess and experiment.

My first big obstacle was trying to accomplish the texture difference between the fudge base and the mixed in chocolate. I thought for sure that this was going to ground the whole project and just before I declared it impossible my fiancee just says "why don' t you just use oreos".  Well that took care of my main hurdle and now it was time to start experimenting.

My first version came out so bad I am too embarrassed to post a recipe or pic of the it. This is my revised recipe and it was at least edible though it had some flaws that are noted below.

Note this is a triple recipe of what is considered normal size but this size is the size that works best in my fudge pot.
6 cups sugar
3 cups cream
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 tea salt
1 tbl vanilla extract
1 tbl  of mint flavoring (mix of spearmint and peppermint)
6 drops of green food coloring
10 oreos worth of cookie parts without the center cream
In a heavy saucepan combine cream butter and corn syrup over medium-high heat.
when butter is melted lower temperature to medium and add 6 cups of sugar
stir until boiling starts
remove stirring spoon and either wash and dry or use new spoon
wash sides of pan with water using small paint brush to remove any sugar crystals
put thermometer in syrup
cook until 237
once there remove from heat leave in thermometer
let cook without disturbing until it is about 150 degrees
while cooling prepare dish the fudge will be pored into by lining it with aluminum foil
Mix together food coloring vanilla and mint.
When cool add vanilla, mint oreos and food coloring. Stir vigorously until it looses its shine then immediately turn out into waiting pan
Let cool for 1 hour.

Now the notes of what went wrong.
First the cream wanted to boil over and I had to do everything I could to try and prevent it.
Second The oreo bits were too small and not quite enough of them.
Third was fudge was too soft and loose need to lower fat content to have a firmer fudge.

Notes of good things
Amount of flavorings pretty good
good amount of creaminess in fudge

What will try next time
increase oreos to 15 oreos worth
decrease amount of overall fat in end product I will try to substitute out some cream
decrease amount of corn syrup to increase how hard the fudge sets up.

Don't worry this is not the end It is only the beginning. I have lots more experimentation with this recipe to do.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Zea's Copycat part III

Now it is finally time for the entree! And it is Zea's famous pepper jelly spinach salad. I started with going by the local grocer and picking up a bottle of Zea's pepper jelly vinaigrette. The bottle includes the recipe on back. This makes the shopping trip a little easier but I found still the most difficult part. There a lot ingredients in this recipe that I did not keep on hand. (I do now just for this recipe)
3-4 entree sized salads

6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons roasted pecans
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbles (for garnish)
5 kalamata olives (for garnish)
8 oz of grilled chicken.
I altered the recipe by leaving out the olives and cheese and adding the chicken.

I started by grilling and then slicing the chicken. Then I turned my attention to the pecans and sesame seeds. I found the toasting and roasting was critical to get the right flavor. After that it is just assembly. Add everything together except the Spinach leaves. Leave them separate. Otherwise they will wilt and become a mess I would suggest mix and toss only what you will eat in one sitting. I like my dressing mixture warm and the leaves to be nice and cool. The dressing mixture can last about a week in the fridge just microwave it to warm and mix with leaves for leftovers.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Zea's Copycat part II

The second part of the meal I decided to tackle was there famous roasted corn grits. I have been making grits for years but nothing quite like this. They roast whole corn and them to there slow cooked grits that are loaded with butter. Well I knew I wasn't going to be able to exactly duplicate Zea's without much more time then I had so I decided to take some culinary license and experiment a little.This is what I came up with and I am very happy with it. The secret though is to not be afraid.

Yep it grits. One day I will start taking appealing pictures.

1 can cream of corn
2 cups water
1 cup grits (not instant)
1 stick butter
salt to taste

Start by putting the cream of corn in a heavy sauce pot and slightly scorch the cream of corn. This is what will make all the complex smokey flavor that makes these grits so unique. I would suggest trying to go to at least the color of peanut butter on the bottom. Once you are satisfied that you have developed enough flavor add the water, grits, butter, and salt. Cook the recommended time on your package of grits. Yep it really is that simple. I used quick grits in this recipe and was impressed with the results though I am sure the flavor would be topped if old fashioned grits were used.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Zea's copycat part I

This series of copycats was created to recreate the first Dorothy and I had at Zea's grill

We first shared Some Toasted pita bread and hummus for an appetizer.

I cheated a little and just bought a bag of pita bread and a tub of hummus at the local grocery. This does not mean it is unimportant it just means that. This is an appetizer and I have more complicated dishes to prepare. Therefor I only needed to slice and toast the pita bread following the directions on the bag. I cut the pitas into six slices but would cut into eight the next time. This would allow for a better hummus to pita ratio as you can see I also topped with some feta cheese but sun dried tomatoes or olives would also have been welcome.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Zoom and Enhance.

You have all heard the cliché in CSI "zoom and enhance." (If not here you go). Well I decided to try it in real life. I took the instructions from"Whats new cupcake" on how to make a chrysanthemum and decided to apply them to a Giant cupcake. First I went and bought a cheap the cheap giant cupcake mold seen here.

A party, or a giant cupcake Attack!!
The cupcake directions are simple enough to follow just fill and bake with a cake. Now comes the fun part.

Start by cutting giant marshmallows on a diagonal.
Let them rest. (lets the marshmallow expand to correct shape)
Dip in colored sugar and
Stick to cupcake.
Yep that's it.

cutting on diagonal

Resting and dipping

Sticking on the cupcake

Zoomed and Enhanced.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Trying to be a hero!!

My first food competition ever. I am excited. I am entering into cupcake hero. This month's theme ingredient is raspberries.

I knew I wanted to enter the competition but had no idea what to enter. Raspberries seem to play well with just about everything. When I was finally decided. I had chosen a white chocolate chunk and macadamia nut cupcake from Fergal Connoly's book 500 cupcakes, into which I would INJECT raspberry jam. Yes inject, not just hollow out and fill, no I wanted an excuse to use my stainless steel Cajun injector and this was a perfect one. Since I had raspberries and white chocolate I decided to have dipped raspberries adorn the tops.

Here is the final product.

1 cup sweet butter softened
1 cup superfine sugar
2 cups self rising flour
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup toasted macadamia nuts
1/2 cup white chocolate chunks
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1 oz white chocolate coating dip

preheat the oven to 350
combine all cupcake ingredients
in large bowl beat with electric mixer until smooth 2-3 minutes
spoon batter into cups bake for 20 minutes.
After cooled inject a teaspoon of jelly into center of each cupcake frost with jam and top with dipped raspberry.

The result was actually better then expected. The savory shortbread like flavor of the cupcake was just waiting for the sweet raspberry jam to come along. Now comes the hard part, trying to name my creation. I was undecided on if I should have a descriptive name or a fun name and since this is the last day to enter I just choose both! So here it goes these are "Raspberry injected, white chocolate chunk, toasted macadamia nut cupcakes with raspberry jam and a white chocolate coated raspberry on top. (aka white raspberry extravaganza)"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Here it is.

First post.
I know your thinking. "wait wasn't there a already a really awesome blog called kitchen koala run by a pretty lady named Dorothy?" Well yes there is. So now your wondering "why are you stealing her blog name?" Well I am taking her bloging name the same way that in a few months She will be taking my last name. That's right I am the lucky guy soon to be Mr. Kitchen Koala.

Also I ask that you please do not hold me up to my better half's standards. She will be posting more consistently with better grammar, spelling, and conciseness.

I am starting this blog because I have spent some time cooking in the kitchen myself and have a few recipes I would like to share but also so that I have an excuse to experiment and grow in the kitchen as well. The last reason I'm starting this blog is because well after dating a food blogger it just seems wrong not to take pictures while cooking.

Now for anyone who Is still reading all the way down here at the bottom of my first post I have to say that you must be a good fan and therefore would like to reward you with something. Sorry I don't have any money to give you but I do have something nearly as good. It is my one of my brothers favorite recipes of mine. I make it for him frequently or when I want some candy but don't feel like running to the store. (yes this is easier to make then going to the closest store and getting a candy bar.)
Start with one stick of butter and melt in plastic mixing bowl in microwave.
add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and mix together with fork until no big clumps left
add 2 cups sugar and mix with fork until everything is fairly uniform color
add 1/2 cup milk and you got it mix it together.
microwave everything for 3 min watch and make sure it doesn't boil over.
Stir in 1/2 cup Peanut butter a teaspoon of vanilla extract
When Peanut butter is incorporated stir in 3 cups of oats I prefer quick instead of instant or old fashioned but any will do just different amount of chewiness Let mixture cool for a minute and then spoon out onto parchment paper let cool and solidify when solid they can be placed in a Tupperware.