Friday, January 29, 2010

Choco Tacos? Fuck Yeah!

Here's a fun little tidbit you probably didn't know: We don't actually have ice cream trucks up here in Quebec. Yeah, I know, kind of a bummer really. I think it has something to do with the fact that seven months out of the year are spent in soul-crushing darkness and snow. Anyhoo, in order to remedy this, I made some homemade Choco Tacos, which apparently are something of a big thing down in the states, right? Anyway, the original recipe makes 12, but (A) who the fuck needs 12 very brittle Choco Tacos lying about? And (B) this is a bold-faced lie; I halved the recipe and, even after adding surplus ingredients, only ended up with five. But whatever, here's how to make them.

Choco Tacos (Makes 6 5)
(Courtesy of Serious Eats)
For the crepe shells
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 2 Tbl. melted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp of milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 C. flour
For the chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 C. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. Water
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
You'll also need some ice cream (Chocolate Chip or Cookie Dough works well) and some cashews.

Start off with the crepes; mix the sugar and the egg together into a sugary, yellow paste, then add the butter milk and vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Finally, add in the flour and whisk until it's all mixed up.

In a warm, lightly oiled skillet over medium heat, pour off the crepes one at a time, tilting the pan to spread out the crepe as thin as you can. Once it looks set (which WILL happen quickly, so stay on your toes) carefully flip it over so that you don't rip it. Because that would be bad.
Here's the fun part: In order to shape the tacos, grab a clean, hardcover book with a dustjacket, maybe around 200-250 pages thick (I used books from Chelsea Handler, Sarah Vowell and Christopher Moore if that gives you an idea) and drape the crepes over the spines of the books. Then, stick your crepe-covered books in the freezer and let them harden for about ten minutes.

While those freeze up, whisk together cocoa powder, sugar and water and boil for one minute (I simply used the frying pan I used for the crepes). Feel free to boil it for a little longer if you want it to be a bit thicker. From there, I just popped it in the fridge to cool it off. Once cooled, just add the vanilla and stir it up.
Once the shells are hard and the sauce is fixed, CAREFULLY brush the inside of the shells with the sauce, and throw them back into the freezer until the sauce hardens up. Once everything has set, start spooning in the ice cream (once again, carefully) into the shells, and once they're all stuffed, put them back in the freezer again to set. Yes, I know, there's a lot of freezing to be done here. Just suck it up.

Anyway, take them out of the freezer again, pour any remaining chocolate syrup on top and sprinkle with nuts. From there, you can either devour them straight out of the gate or store them in a freezer.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning?

...Unfertilized! (Hold for Laughter) Today's post is about Breakfast, which, according to Arrested Development, is the most important thing after family. Because simply put, everyone loves breakfast. I've never met a person who doesn't love breakfast, if only because they were probably killed by an angry mob of people who really, really, really like breakfast. It's just that good.

  • 4 Eggs, lightly beaten with a table spoon of milk
  • Half a chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • Basil to taste
  • Oil to grease a pan
I got this one from the guys over at Jack Manly, and I had to do it because, well, it looked amazing, and I'm a total sucker for onions. Love 'em. Anyway, start off by evenly coating a six inch frying pan and putting it on medium heat. Dice an onion and fry the onions until soft and warm, but not full-on caramelized.

Once that's done, take them off the pan, making sure to keep as much oil as you can on the pan. Pour half the egg mix into the pan, and once set, sprinkle half the cheese, onions and basil over the eggs. Top it all off by pouring the rest of the egg mix over it and sprinkle the remaining cheese, onion and basil over it.

Here's the fun part: in order to fully cook the frittata, you have to put a lid over the top of the pan. I'm not sure what the exact science is, but I'm assuming the steam cooks the top of the egg and the whole thing will rise like a souffle. Just keep peeking until the top looks solid and the frittata looks puffy. Once that's done, just slide it onto a plate. Don't worry if it deflates a bit, that's just what happens when you take it off the heat.

Personally, I loved it. I'm a big omelet person anyway, but I've never been able to flip one without completely tearing it to shit, so this kind of takes the possibility of totally fucking up out of the equation. The only thing I'd suggest is maybe doubling the amount of onions and cheese, since you can't really taste them that much in the eggs.

Brown Sugar Brie
  • One wheel of brie cheese
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of chopped almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
This one I got from Mama Feist again, with whom I share a mutual love of all things cheese. Anyway, bit of a simple, albeit not all that accurate recipe. Start off by slicing the brie like you would a bagel. In a bowl, mix together the brown sugar, almonds and mustard into a sort of paste, then spread half of it on the inside of the brie, and the rest on top of the brie, so that it's layered brie-paste-brie-paste.

Place the brie in a ramekin or any other oven-safe bowl that can fit the brie. Bake it on whatever heat you want for however long you want until it's delicious and melty. Honestly, I never got an exact amount either way on this thing, so you're going to have to wing it. All I know is, when it melts, it's good. Serve it with some sliced up french bread.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Me & The Minibar

You know, I've been running this blog for a while now, and I STILL haven't done a post on the fine art of boozin'. I have seriously dropped the ball on this one, haven't I? Well worry no more, gay porn loving foodies, because I have for you this week three cocktails you can try at home, including the infamous McNuggetini. Read on to see how that ended.

Mama Feist's Cosmopolitans
  • 2 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • 2 oz. Vodka
  • 2 oz. Triple Sec
  • 1 oz. Lime Cordial
As Kate so eloquently put it, "Cosmopolitans are like Christianity. Wonderful in and of themselves, yet embarrassing to admit liking due to ties with obnoxious crazy people." And it's entirely true. Cosmos were the first drink my mother ever taught me how to make, and ever since they've been our go to drink whenever we see each other. Hers especially are a thing of beauty: They're tangy, refreshing, and so loaded with booze that anymore than two will have you flat-out drunk.

Anyway, not much to do to make these. Just pour the juice, vodka, triple sec, and cordial into a shaker with ice, shake vigorously, and then pour into a martini glass. Be careful though, because these things are strong as fuck. My mother is Irish, and believe me when I say the bitch does not fuck around with her booze.

Maple Syrup Cocktail

(Stolen from Steph Auteri at Nerve)

  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

I pretty much only took this one because I needed to find the most Canadian cocktail out there, and this seemed fairly Canadian, didn't it? Anyway, pretty simple set up, just pour everything into a shaker with ice, shake shake shake, pour into a cocktail glass and garnish with a slice of lemon.

To be honest with you, I wasn't really feeling this one. I followed it to the letter, but it just wasn't very good. For only half an ounce, the lemon juice was overpowering, the bourbon had barely any presence aside from the slight burn of alcohol, and the the maple syrup could barely even be sensed as an aftertaste. Not huge on it. Maybe if you use more maple syrup, it might be okay, but even then, it's just not that great.

The McNuggetini

Watch this video and weep for humanity. Also, try to ignore the fact that it chose the most unfortunate looking screencap of me possible. Just...yeesh.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cake Wreck'd

One thing you should know about me: I'm not perfect. I make mistakes almost constantly really. This should be indicative of exactly how well my attempt at baking a Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake (Recipe helpfully supplied by Vince Lambert).

Anyway, here's the thing: I initially took to the recipe because I like Vince and because Nutella happens to be a Canadian dietary staple, outranked only by maple syrup. True story. Anyway, here's how it's supposed to go:

Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake

(Courtesy of Lauren Chattman at Food & Wine)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • One 13-ounce jar Nutella
Start off by preheating the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and greasing and flouring a 5x9" loaf pan, shaking off any of the excess flour. Whisk together the eggs and the vanilla in a glass measuring cup (why that is, I'll never know), and in another one, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Push those off to the side for now, and with your totally kickass standing mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar together until delicious and fluffy. Mix in the eggs mixture, then add the flour mixture in thirds, beating thoroughly.

Now, to form the actual cake: Layer one-third of the batter into the cake pan, and follow it up by spreading half the Nutella on top. If this sounds, it's because it is. For those of you unclear as to the schematics, imagine trying to spread peanut butter on top of a piece of soggy bread.And the bread is in a four inch deep dish. Good luck with that. Anyway, just do it slowly and deliberately until it's all spread out.

Now, here's where I fucked up: The recipe says that you bake the cake for an hour and fifteen minutes. Obviously whoever came up with this number is a lying liar who tells lie, because that is NOWHERE NEAR close enough. You're best bet is to jab it with a fork every five minutes or so until it comes out clean.

The sad cake was horribly undercooked in the center, although on the plus side, the salvageable parts were pretty damn tasty. I mean yeah, half the cake was a soggy, sunken mess, but other than that? Not too shabbs. Just remember: Toothpick. Or fork. Whatever, just stab your baked goods.