Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some Additional Costumes

We came upon a few more pictures of Kami's work to show off:

Kami's first year at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival, as a slightly naughty Mother Superior.

A doublet originally made for Robert Dudley at the Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Festival, but worn by other characters in later years.

A new version of the Queen Elizabeth gown from the Lady of the Lakes festival.

New costumes are being planned for the 2011 Bay Area Renaissance Festival as we speak, so we will be keeping you posted on our non-food projects as well.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Nom Report - Episode 11, Chocolate Cake (of Doom)

This project doesn't really have a proper name, since it was an amalgam of several different recipes in one cookbook.  You see, Marcel Desaulniers' Death by Chocolate cookbook has a beautiful wedding cake in it called "Chocolate Wedlock."  We wanted to make that, but a three tier cake just seemed a bit excessive for an evening experiment.  So Regina cobbled together a smaller cake using similar elements from other recipes. 

The cake would be the speckled chocolate cake from the recipe "Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake." The filling would be the mousse from the "Death by Chocolate" cake itself, as would the ganache topping.  A crumbcoat of white chocolate buttercream would act as a crumb coat between the cake and the ganache.  And then we would attempt to make it pretty. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Nom Report - Episode 10, Glazed Pork with Wine Sauce

Catching up on the last back logged episode of the Nom Report before Kami and Regina attempt another big project - Chocolate Wedlock.  This is liable to make the Yule Log look easy as...well we haven't made a pie yet, so...anyway!  Getting back to last night's nom-spiriment, we made Brown Sugar Glazed Pork with Red Wine Pan Sauce. 
  • 1 whole Pork Tenderloin, Around 1 Lb (nah...see below)
  • 3 whole Fresh Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Montreal Steak Seasoning (nope, again, see notes)
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Divided
  • ¼ (ish) cup Red Wine (we used Pinot Noir)
To start with, it calls for a Pork Tenderloin to be sliced and used that way.  We opted to use four boneless pork chops instead, to save time and money.  Also Regina had no Montreal steak seasoning...and doesn't like it anyway.  So we blended together half the spice cabinet until we had two teaspoons.  The final mix included garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, pepper (not a lot), paprika, rosemary, basil, thyme, a bit of seasoned salt, and a bit of table salt.  Did you get all that?

1. Crush garlic, using a garlic press, into a medium bowl.  Stir in brown sugar and seasoning until well blended.
2. Preheat a large sauté pan on medium for 2–3 minutes.  Place pork slices in the bowl with the garlic and press into the mixture. Turn and press again to lightly season both sides.  Note:  This didn't work so well, so we treated it more like a dry rub.
3. Place 1 tablespoon of the butter in the pan; swirl to coat. Add pork; cook for 5–6 minutes on each side or until well-browned and internal temperature reaches 160°F (for medium). Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness.  (We just cut ours open cause we're lazy like that)
4. Remove the pork from the pan. Stir in the wine and remaining 1 tablespoon butter; simmer for 1 minute, stirring continually.  Note: This is where Regina cocked her head at the pan, frowned at it, and threw another dash of wine in it.  We let that reduce a little longer and topped the pork with it. 

We served it with mashed potatoes, and both of us enjoyed it.  The sauce is very thin, but it's good on both the pork and the potatoes.  Not as spectacular as some of the dishes we've made, but we would definitely make it again.  It was also pretty easy to do, and Miss "I burn water" Kami could even manage it on her own.

Tomorrow - Chocolate Wedlock!  The Wyldehills Ladies attempt to make a cake that is both tasty and attractive!

The Nom Report - Episode 9, Lemon Shallot Chicken

Returning to our previous experiments of seaching for great lemon chicken recipes, we turned to The Pioneer Woman,  We wanted to try the Lemon Shallot Butter, but on chicken instead of sea bass.  The chicken was the basic panko chicken we've made before (Check Episode 5 for the recipe), but the sauce was disappointing.  Kami and Regina like their sauce.  And after following the original recipe, we weren't excited about what was in the pan.  It seemed lacking.  So we improvised.  Regina grabbed a bottle of Riesling and a carton of cream and we tried throwing some of that in.  We decided it looked pretty good and served it like that, over rice.  We were quite happy with the results.  The Nom Inspector was pleased, and Regina found it reheated pretty well the next day.  Yey leftovers! 

Lemon Shallot Butter (that became a cream sauce)
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter

  • 1 whole Medium-sized Shallot, Minced

  • 1 whole Lemon, Zested And Juiced

  • 1/3 cup white wine

  • Heavy Cream (we're guesstimating that we used about a half cup)

  • Melt the butter over a medium-high heat. Add in the minced shallot and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes.  When the shallots have become a little softer, squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon. Add the wine, whisk together and reduce the heat to medium.  When the wine has had a few minutes to reduce, add the heavy cream.  Heat through and serve over chicken.

    For dessert, we made Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Pear Crisp.  The only problem with dessert was that we really wanted some ice cream to have with it!  Oh wait, there was one minor change.  It called for nuts, pecans to be specific, and neither Kami or Regina are particularly fond of nuts.  So Regina decided to use granola for a bit of crunch. 

    Cinnamon Pear Crisp
    • 4 whole (to 5) Large Pears (Bosc Work Well)
    • ⅔ cups Sugar
    • ¼ teaspoons Salt
    Topping Ingredients
    • 1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
    • ⅓ cups Sugar
    • ⅓ cups Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
    • ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
    • ½ cup granola (crushed a bit so there are no huge lumps)
    • 1 stick Butter, Melted
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel, core, and dice pears.  Place into a bowl and stir together with 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
    In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Stir together. Drizzle melted butter gradually, stirring with a fork as you go until all combined.  Pour pears into a baking dish; top with crumb topping.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Place pan on top rack of oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.
    Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.  (We didn't do this.  You should.)

    Regina thought the crisp was tasty but bordering on too sweet.  Kami took the leftovers to work however, and there were apparently battles for them.

    The Nom Report - Episode 8, Schnitzel and Spaetzle

    This wasn't really an experiment, as Regina has made this dish numerous times.  But it's tastiness needs to be shared, plus we got to play with a new toy.  Regina grew up with Swabian Spaetzle made by her father, and most of her efforts to make it resulted in "It's just not the same."  So she switched to Bavarian Spaetzle in an attempt to find something just as yummy that didn't taste like a pale imitation of her father's.  For Swabian Spaetzle, the dough is thicker and pieces are chopped or scraped off into the boiling water.  For Bavarian spaetzle, the dough is more like a batter, and is meant to be pushed through a collander.  That part is always a little tough, because Regina didn't have a collander with big enough holes.  However, for Christmas, she got a shiny new food mill that could operate as a spaetzle press.
    And it worked marvelously:

    Then Kami and Regina made the schnitzel and continued our tradition of dirtying every dish in Regina's kitchen and making a huge mess:
    But in the end, we got to eat this:
    And it was delish.  Actually, we forgot to make the usual sauce with it and had to whip up a quick sour cream gravy.  It worked, but the sauce we normally make is better.

    Bavarian Spaetzle:
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 stick butter
    Combine the flour and salt.  Mix in eggs and milk until smooth.  This should not be as thick as bread dough, or as thin as batter.  Place batter in a press or collander and push the batter through the holes into boiling water.  Cook about 3-4 minutes, depending on how thick your noodles are (they'll start floating).  Taste one, and it shouldn't taste doughy.  Scoop noodles out with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl with a tablespoon of butter to keep them from sticking.  When all the noodles are done (you have to do them in batches), melt a stick of butter in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and cook until the onions are translucent.  Add the spaetzle and saute, stirring and flipping the noodles to keep them from overbrowning.  When most of the noodles are lightly browned and a little crispy, remove pan from heat and serve.

    Pork Schnitzel
    • 4-6 boneless pork cutlets
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1-1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
    • 2 teaspoons paprika
    • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream (We never use this much, probably closer to 1/3 cup)
  • Flatten pork cutlets to 1/4-in. thickness. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, seasoned salt and pepper. In another bowl, beat eggs and milk. In another bowl, combine bread crumbs and paprika. Dip cutlets into flour mixture, then into egg mixture, then into crumb mixture.

  • In a large skillet, cook pork in oil, a few pieces at a time, for 3-4 minutes per side or until meat is no longer pink. Remove to a serving platter; keep warm.

  • For sauce, pour 1 cup broth into skillet, scraping bottom of pan to loosen browned bits. Combine flour and remaining broth until smooth; stir into skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Stir in sour cream; heat through (do not boil). Pour over pork.

  • Kami is always a fan of this dish, and it reheats very well.