Monday, April 30, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them."

--The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Someone Got All the Photogenic Genes - Prom 2012

This weekend was my sister's prom. She was very excited. I was very excited. I was excited because I have a new lens that I really wanted to try out. It's a Nikon 35 mm 1.8 prime lens. So far I really like it! I wasn't able to really give her as much exercise as I would have liked too because everyone was all antsy to get going but I was able to stretch her legs a little, and I liked what I saw. This little lens is on my camera to stay.

1/125 5.6 ISO 400 

Straight out of Camera

I love photos with greens and yellows in the background. If I had been thinking properly I would have stopped down to really get that nice bokeh in the background.

Straight out of Camera

 This picture I got dangerously close to having branches coming out from her head. There's nothing I hate more than a really ugly/busy background.

Straight out of Camera

SOOC. Is it possible for this girl to take a bad picture?! We tried..

She still doesn't look bad. Wish I was this photogenic! Props to my sister for being a great sport.

I'm participating in Ni Hao Y'all's Sunday Snapshot! Click here to check out some other great shots!

Ni Hao Yall

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tartelette's Gluten-Free Chocolate Truffle Tart

Chocolate, truffles, and tarts. Separately, three of my favorite things, but together they make something so out of this world, you might cry when you eat this. I swear. 

I came across this recipe while searching the web for a gluten-free chocolate pie crust for a boring old chocolate pie. Once I read through the recipe I knew I HAD to make this. It is the most decadent desert I have ever had and it also got me into reading Tartelette's blog.

So to just dive into it: I found the dough to be a little finicky. I did substitute amaranth flour with teff flour but I don't think that was the issue. The first time I tried rolling it out when it was too soft then I left it in the fridge for too long. I've made this a few times now and the most effective way I found is to roll it out between two sheets of wax paper with a little cocoa powder sprinkled on both sides to ease unsticking. I then popped it in the fridge to firm up a little. I unstuck one side of paper and placed it over the tart dish carefully removing the second sheet while pressing it into the dish.

The filling and the ganache are absurdly easy to make. There is no worrying about the chocolate seizing up while on the double boiler because it is never even exposed to heat.

I fudged a little and needed to reheat it. I hate microwaving chocolate so I used a double boiler. So yes I lied about never being on the stove. My bad.

The recipe is rather large for my little tart dish so in the left corner of this picture you can see tiny ramekins. Instead of rolling out more dough, I simply took a little ball of dough and pressed it into the bottom and sides until I liked the thickness.

This recipe is going to majorly knock your socks off and everyone who eats it. I think I received more compliments on this than anything else I have ever made. 

Oh and it really needs to be refrigerated throughly after baking otherwise the truffle and ganache consistency won't be quite right.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quote of the Day

“In Ireland, you go to someone's house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you're really just fine. She asks if you'resure. You say of course you're sure, really, you don't need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don't need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn't mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it's no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting. In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don't get any damned tea. I liked the Irish way better.” 

 C.E. Murphy, Urban Shaman

The Pioneer Woman's Tiramisu *Gluten-Free*

I love tiramisu. It has always, always, always been a family favorite. We tried making it once maybe 6 years or so ago and it came out okay. We overestimated the amount of time lady fingers need to soak in the rum/coffee mixture and consequently produced a torte that would knock even the stoutest fellow off his feet.

Since going gluten-free I have yet to encounter any sort of tiramisu that is gluten-free. It was only recently that I came across Schar Lady Fingers which made me think of how delicious tiramisu use to be. I did a little research and discovered that most store-made tiramisus are really poor substitutions for the real deal. Also since I am obsessed with The Pioneer Woman, whenever I am looking for a new recipe I check if she has a version first. I did a quick Google search for "Pioneer Woman Tiramisu" to see if she has a tried and true recipe. Lo-and-behold, she does!

After reading through the recipe I realized that I had no idea how an authentic tiramisu is constructed. It is truly a labor of love. Several different steps need to be performed before assembling and consuming. You must make a zabaglione and a creamy mixture and soak the cookies and then layer them carefully into a dish. 

As you look through the ingredient list you will realize that to make a tiramisu, especially a gluten-free version, costs an awful lot. The mascarpone cheese alone would have cost over $25. Not to mention fresh brewed espresso. I went with several shortcuts and it still tasted fantastic, your guests will never know the difference. I've listed these at the bottom of the post.

I had never made a zabaglione before so it was an adventure. I had always wanted to try to since seeing a Food Network episode about it but some how an eggy alcoholic mixture never really seemed like something I could persuade my family to eat. Well, I made it and it is good! Not sure if I would eat it alone, but in a tiramisu it was delicious.

Here is the beginning of the zabaglione. Half way through it, I thought it was never going to thicken up, but have no fear, for it does eventually. Mine is also very dark because I used a very dark rum. Making it with the wine or brandy might produce a different color.

You then make a mascarpone cheese,* whipped creamy mixture. Whipped cream happens to be one of the first solid foods I was ever fed. I take that as a point of pride. Who wants to eat baby cereal anyway? Not me, for sure.

You then combine the two to make a scrumptious filling for your tiramisu.

Here is the espresso based mixture. It was around ten at night so no Starbucks was open to provide the good stuff, so I went with instant espresso. Tasted perfectly fine and it saved me quite a few dollars. Unfortunately the gluten-free lady fingers are about $4 a carton. I bought mine online and saved a few pennies, but then I realized that they sell them at the Stop & Shop and the Whole Foods right near my house. Also I needed at least two boxes of them for a whole tiramisu, as opposed to the one box the recipe calls for.

The recipe says to use about a tablespoon of the mixture on each lady finder, but since the gluten-free fingers are so much more crunchy than the regular ones, I would recommend at least 1 1/2-2 tablespoons per cookie. I made mine about 20 hours before we would be eating it, but if I make this again I will do it at least 24-30 hours before hand. The gluten-free cookies stand up much better to the moisture than the gluten-full ones do. I also scored my cookies so the liquid would more easily absorb. I would say dunk them, but then you don't have control over the amount of liquid used.

Here is what the final product looks like!  Sorry they are so zoomed in, I was very ready to try it! For the actual recipe click here! I highly recommend this recipe. It was SO good!


For mascarpone cheese:

  • -1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • -1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • -2 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
  • *Do not use low fat/non fat versions of these foods, the texture will not be good!

  • For espresso I just used instant espresso, it was on sale for $1.99! It was usually close to $4.

    I also substituted dark rum for the marsala wine. I had it on hand and I knew it would work just fine.

    As always, if you have any questions feel free to ask! 

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    Quote of the Day

    "I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way." 
    --Pablo Neruda

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    Check In

    Hi all,

    In case you haven't noticed it's April. April 24th. As is the month is almost over. At the end of this month I will be finishing up my last college classes, graduating, and being tossed into the big bad world, whether I like it or not. (Mostly not.)

    People keep asking me if I am excited to be graduating and to be honest, the answer is yes and no. The first couple of years in college were tough for me and admittedly I did not enjoy them very much. It seems like once I have actually got into the swing of things and am finally getting comfortable here, it's time to leave. Last year I wrote about the beginning of my "quarter-life crisis" and I can assure you that I am now completely in the midst of one.

    Sun-spotty Will.

    With only a month left until I have to put on those terrible poly-blend robes (that I have still yet to buy! March 15th deadline? What?) and walk across a stage with four thousand other people I have never seen in my life, reality is starting to rear it's ugly head. I have discovered that I am technically overqualified for many jobs that I'm applying for but that those jobs are being offered to people who are grossly overqualified for them. And keep in mind I'll have student loan payments due six months after May 20th. So yes I'm super excited to be graduating! Please note the sarcasm.

    Anyway, more positive matters: I'm starting a tiny vegetable garden in my backyard. Conveniently located smack dab in the middle of our now defunct playground. All members of my family are thrilled. I am now trying to figure a way to keep Will, our chocolate lab, from munching on the tomatoes and beans. I'm thinking I might have to plant some hot peppers around the perimeter. I lobbied for the purchase of several dwarf chickens to fill our egg void but I was swiftly vetoed. On a related note: farmed chickens are routinely fed things like prozac, arsenic, and caffeine to make them less nervous, make their flesh pink-er, and keep them awake to eat longer, all in respective order.

    Garlic scapes growing.

    I am also in a sling for the time being. I have what my doctor is temporarily calling a cross between tennis and golf elbow. I've been experiencing pain radiating out of my elbow for going on five days so my golf class and weightlifting classes have been put on hold. Only in my world do these things happen. I broke my arm in preschool and had an awesome dinosaur sling but they don't make those things for teenagers, or adults. (I'm still not sure which describes me.)

    All in all life is going well enough. I am trudging through work and school and hopefully better things are in the future. In the words of Dory, I'll "just keep swimming."

    Webb Park two Saturdays ago.

    Quote of the Day

    "We’re as common as rain.” And she was right: to each other, we were as normal and nice as the smell of bread, we were just a family. In a family, even exaggerations make perfect sense; they are always logical exaggerations, nothing more."

    --John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire

    Monday, April 23, 2012

    Quote of the Day

    --John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany 

    If you have been lucky enough to read this lovely novel, the capitalized letters mean quite a lot. 
    "Granite dust falsetto."

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    Something to Celebrate

    1/200 f/7.1 ISO 100 35 mm

    Fenway Park turned 100 this past Friday! We celebrated, did you?

    One hundred years ago, the Red Sox played the NY Highlanders at 3:05 PM on April 20, 1912. To commemorate the day, the Sox played the (now) Yankees at 3:05 PM on April 20, 2012, wearing throwback uniforms.

    They flew a plane over that was from 1912!

    They invited every player that was ever on the Red Sox!

    They threw out three "first pitches."

    They broke a Guinness World Record for the largest toast ever.

    The tickets themselves are collectables.

    They had gluten-free pizza that was SO good! They were frozen and baked individually on their own plate thing so there was no other contact.

    We had a security guard take this picture and it's obvious why he's not a photographer.

    I'm participating in Ni Hao Y'all's "Sunday Snapshot." Click over there and check out some other great pictures!

    <center><a href="" target="self"><img alt="Ni Hao Yall" src="" /></a></center>