Thursday, August 27, 2009

DB August 2009 Challenge: Dobos Torte

This month's challenge was a Dobos Torte, a five-layer sponge cake, filled with a rich chocolate buttercream and topped with thin wedges of caramel. Doesn't that sound fancy?

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.
Overall, this challenge wasn't as difficult as I had imagined it to be in my head. I did forget to add the sugar to the buttercream frosting but I realized it right before I was going to use it so I saved it just in time. The caramel wedges didn't come out as I thought they should. It was pretty hard and chewy. Like I'm-afraid-it-might pull-out-my-teeth kinda sticky chewy. But the cake does look kinda fancy, and my kids were "oooh" and "aaah" when they saw it when they came home from school. ^_^

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mexican Hot Carrots

My brother gave me a bunch of carrots the other day and I wanted to make something other than carrot cake or carrot bread so I tried making some Mexican Hot Carrots. I found a recipe on Recipezaar, I used this one because it calls for more than just vinegar and jalapenos. It has oregano, garlic, and bay leaves in it too, and the oregano specks makes it look like the ones at the restaurants. ^_^

Monday, August 24, 2009

Melon Yogurt

I tried mixing in a little melon syrup when I made my homemade yogurt. The yogurt tastes just like the syrup!

Friday, August 21, 2009

No-Fuss Focaccia

I don't know why but I've never really been successful at making focaccia. I tend to roll them too thin, thinking they will rise and I didn't want to end up with a really thick focaccia. And because it was thin, they end up crunchy and dry. So when I saw this recipe from King Arthur Flour, which was baked in a 9x13 pan (I can't roll out too thin!) and doesn't require kneading, I had to try it. Living at altitude (6100') often means that flour is drier and thus absorbs more liquid. So I usually decrease the flour amount or add more liquid when I bake bread. So I decreased the flour 1/4 cup. Batter looked fine, so I had high hopes. Not sure if that was the reason, or I just overbaked it, but it came out dry. I think next time I'll try making focaccia using pizza dough if I don't try the recipe again. Check out the recipe here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pita Chips

Why does something so simple to make cost so much? I got a bunch out of one bag of pitas, all for under $3. I cut them up, brushed them with olive oil, sprinkled some Italian seasoning and garlic salt, and then bake for 10-12 minutes at 350*F. The flavor wasn't as strong like the ones in the store, so I'll just a little more seasoning next time. The next step will be trying to make homemade pitas. ^_^

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I had a bunch of mint that needed to be eaten so I made some tabbouleh. Very simple, some couscous, tomatoes, mint, lemon juice and olive oil. Now I gotta go get some pita chips to eat this with. ^_^

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mint Wine

Well, not the typical "wine" per say, more like Mint Liquor. In Japanese, this recipe was called Minto-shu, the "shu" part meaning alcohol or liquor. So plum wine is called "ume (plum)-shu". Japanese people make all sorts of "wine" with mainly only three ingredients. The alcohol, usually shochu (a distilled beverage similiar to vodka in the states, but with lower alcohol content, usually around 25%), sugar or rock sugar, and fruit (or in this case, mint.) I've made plum wine many times, as well as others such as concord grape wine and granny smith wine. My parents and their friends have made some with cherries, apricots, pomegranates, kumquats, whatever they have extra of.
This mint wine recipe called for 1 1/4 cups of alcohol (I mixed half and half of 25% alcohol shochu with 40% alcohol vodka since I had a little of each), a handful of mint, and 1 T sugar. In one month I'll be taking the mint out, and in two months I'll be able to have a taste, although it is recommended I wait at least six months (which ain't bad because the plum wines are a ten year wait...not that I'm going to wait that long. ^_^)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mapo Nasu (Eggplant)

Something a little different from my usual mapo tofu. I used Chinese eggplant instead of the tofu. I usually don't see Mapo Eggplant on Chinese menus but it's actually pretty common in Japanese household cooking. Ground pork, eggplant, ginger, garlic, a little miso, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

Curry Korokke

One great way to use up your potatoes is to make Korokke (Japanese Croquette.) I kept mine pretty simple with just potatoes seasoned with salt, pepper, curry powder (both Japanese & Indian) and Japanese pre-made curry roux.