Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Here we go!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
This week is Dr. Seuss week at Cloe's school, so the boys and I joined in on the fun! One of our favorite books by Dr. Seuss is One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish! Our other favorite book is Green Eggs and Ham. We'll have to see what sort of fun that one leads to!

Then it was time to get serious...cream puffs were calling my name! Caitlin came over and we got started right away on our treat for Bible Study tonight. Unfortunately, something was not working right. Our cream puffs were more like cream cookies...no puff! I even tried making the recipe again but to no avail. Caitlin graciously helped me prepare our little flat pillows with a fluffy pudding mixture (2 boxes of pudding, 3 c. milk, 1 container whipped topping, sliced strawberries) and we sort of gave up.

Here's where I think I must have a little OCD in the baking area. After the kids were in bed, I called my mom (again) and had her walk me through the directions. We decided my water/butter mixture must not have been hot enough. Sure enough, I added flour to a boiling mixture and it worked like a charm. Too bad I was the only one around to enjoy one of the most delectable treats I've ever had...if I can say so myself! Here's the recipe! If you're water's hot, this recipe is so simple and the end results are beautiful!

Cream Puffs [Chouquettes]

1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Glaze: 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon milk
Toppings: decorating sugar and/or miniature chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a cookie sheet with a reusable nonstick baking mat or parchment paper.
Heat the water, sugar, and butter in a medium saucepan, stirring, until the butter is melted and mixture is just coming to a boil. (This is the step that is pretty important for success!!!) Remove the pot from the heat heat and dump all the flour in at once. Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Let the dough cool for five minutes, then briskly beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the dough is smooth and shiny. [At this point you can cover the pot and chill it in the fridge for up to a day.]
Using two spoons scoop the dough into walnut-sized mounds spaced evenly on the baking sheet.
Brush the top of each mound with some of the egg glaze then press coarse sugar crystals or miniature chocolate chips over the top and sides of each mound. You want to be generous because the puffs will expand a lot, and you’ll want that area to be covered.
Bake the cream puffs for 20 to 35 minutes, or until puffed and well-bronzed. (Yes, this is a rather long range in baking time but baking times can greatly vary depending on the heat of an oven and how fast it browns the top of items. Watch for that nicely bronzed color rather than a precise cooking time.)
Do ahead: Cream puffs are best the day that they’re made. I find if they’re stored overnight in an airtight container, they get damp on top and the sugar and chips will slide off, though you can easily re-crisp them in the oven. If you can deal with them being a bit dryer on day two you can leave them out unwrapped. Chouquettes can also be frozen in a freezer bag for up to a month, and re-crisped in the oven once defrosted.In addition, you can store the unpiped/scooped dough in the fridge for up to a day.

These are the salvagable ones from the first and second batch that we made. They looked pretty but were a little flat and heavy!

For supper, we had a fun little fondue meal! Rachael Ray had made this meal a couple of weeks ago on her show and I had really been looking forward to trying it! It was super yummy! I love how fondue makes everyone eat vegetables like they're going out of style!

Welsh Rarebit Fondue
Ingredients (tweaked to our liking, but use any vegetables, meats or breads that you prefer)

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
About 1/2 loaf pumpernickel bread, cut into large cubes
1 lb. round steaks cut into cubes (season how you like and cook in a little olive oil)

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon hot sauce
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pound shredded extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese

Fondue forks or additional long skewers for dipping

Place a medium-size saucepot filled with water over high heat and bring up to a boil
for the cauliflower and broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain and keep warm. Season meat cubes and saute in olive oil. Arrange the cubes of bread on a baking sheet and lightly toast them in the oven, about 7-8 minutes.
Once you have all the dippers ready make the fondue: Place the yolks in a mixing bowl and reserve. Place a heat-safe fondue pot or a medium saucepot over medium heat with the flour and butter, cook for a minute, then whisk in the Dijon, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and milk.
Right before the milk comes up to a simmer, turn the heat down to medium-low and add in the cheese, slowly stirring in figure-eight motion.
Once all the cheese has melted, remove a ladleful of the hot cheese mixture and whisk it into the egg yolks then whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the hot cheese mixture. Remove the pot from the heat.
To serve, place the pot on or alongside the platter of dippers. Using fondue forks or more long
skewers, dip in and munch away!


une autre mère said...

What a fun idea with the Red Fish Blue Fish crafts you made! And I love the recipe for those puffs. It's actually all cheap stuff that I have in the house! I'm excited to try them. Hopefully I can get it right! And now you also have me wanting a fondue set. I've always thought it would be fun, but never knew if I would actually use one. But with that recipe, I know I would!