Squeaky Peanut

"Dot takes on the Domestic Diva"

Happy Birthday, Julia! August 15, 2010

Filed under: Other recipes — squeakypeanut @ 8:48 PM
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This week we tell Martha to suck it!

Actually, today would have been Julia Child’s 98th birthday, so to celebrate her legacy we cooked several of her recipes, along with some other French food, for some friends.

The Husband made two breads: Julia’s pan de mie, which I topped with Boursin cheese and radish slices, and two loaves of fougasse.

We also made Julia’s Amuse -Gueules du Roquefort, some marinated olives, toasted rosemary almonds, and deviled eggs with caper powder. We got that  recipe from DC restaurant Firefly, published by the Washington Post. We had an amazing smoked whitefish brandade there last week, so we also attempted to recreate it.   We rounded things out with some calf’s liver pate and salami, and a ton of French wine of all sorts.

For dessert, I made the first cake Julia ever had in France, a reine da Saba (‘Queen of Sheba cake), which is chocolate and almond. I couldn’t have any lest I get a migraine, but The Husband said it was pretty good if a bit overcooked. He made the chocolate buttercream frosting. I also made a jalousie framboise, which is a puff pastry tart with raspberry jam.

I am busting out of my pants, so I think Julia would be proud.

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Eviscerated Squab, Part 2 August 1, 2010

Filed under: Other — squeakypeanut @ 3:13 PM
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Today we have a guest reviewer! Miss Pooch has dined on one of Martha Stewart’s new line of dog toys. Here is her review:

*******

1). Act bored on walk around the neighborhood the night before so human will take you to the PARK! in the morning

2). While at park goof off long enough, chewing on sticks and digging holes, that human gets hungry for breakfast. Send thought waves suggesting bagels to human. Bagel store is in the same place as the PET STORE!

3). Stare out window sadly while human gets bagels. Send thought waves requesting the purchase of a doggie bagel.

4). YAY, PET STORE!!! Sniff new Martha Stewart accessories line suspiciously.  Act very enthused when human squeaks bird toy, which tweets rather than squeaks.

5). Wonder why cashier did not offer a treat. They are right there, sitting in the built-in container at the register.

6). Get back in car and attempt to steal lox bagel so doggie bagel will be offered immediately instead of waiting until home. Try to jump out of window of moving car with doggie bagel in mouth, in order to find proper eating location.

7). Go home, eat doggie bagel, take nap.

8). Feign interest in human’s white bean salad at lunch so toy is offered instead.

9). OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!

10.) Find sweet spot in seam, near the tag, and tug at stitches with teeth.

11). Once hole has been opened, pull out tufts of stuffing one by one. Martha’s stuffing lacks seasoning, so spit it to the side. 

12). Find tweeter! YES!

13). Boo. Human takes it away.

14). After chewing for 20 minutes it has not been totally gutted, so pant hard then take nap.

15). Save leftovers for tomorrow.

 

Tiramisu May 26, 2010

Filed under: Recipe Review — squeakypeanut @ 9:32 AM
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We have a guest chef today!  I can’t eat dairy or chocolate, so thankfully my awesome friend Cassandra volunteered to test the tiramisu recipe that went with the pasta shards with egg menu. She is a great cook who also lives in a state capital, but hers is a magical one where you can buy hard liquor in the grocery store (and CVS!). I can find espresso powder at the neighborhood supermarket, but have to buy my booze at the state liquor store. I think we all know which is the better situation!

Here is her review:

To start with, this is probably one of the easiest desserts ever. There is no cooking required, making it perfect for a freak spring heat wave. Plus, it combines three of my favorite things – whipped cream, coffee, and chocolate. How could it possibly be bad? 
 
Now, onto my confessions. In the true spirit of Squeaky Peanut, I cheated. I couldn’t find instant espresso powder at the grocery store so I just made a really strong batch of french press coffee (Arabian Red Sea ). This is to die for coffee, so I don’t feel bad about the substitution. Also, I made the recipe without the brandy. I stood looking at brandy at the grocery store for a good 10 minutes, but they didn’t have any small airplane-sized bottles, and I didn’t want to have a bottle of cheap $10 brandy that no one in my house would ever drink left over. I suppose it could have kept the applejack and the Kirsch company at the back of the liquor cabinet. I didn’t realize that cognac actually was brandy or I might have bought that. But whatever. 
 
So, basically you soak the ladyfingers in coffee, layer them in a glass bread pan with whipped mascarpone/cream/vanilla/sugar and chocolate shavings. Voila! Easy as pie. Much easier than pie, actually. The only complication was that the chocolate got all melty in my hand while I was trying to shave the curls. I put it in the freezer for 10 minutes and that took care of everything. 


 
Now that I’ve sampled it, I’d give it a B+. It is really good, but somehow less than the sum of its parts -I’m not sure why. Maybe after it sits overnight the flavors will have melded more. The whipped cream/mascarpone component is fabulous. 

*****

Thank you so much, Cassandra! By the way, she reports that it was “all kinds of awesome” for breakfast the next day after an hour spent gardening.

Here is the recipe, adapted from Dinner at Home (by Martha Stewart):

Tiramisu

3/4 c boiling water

3 T good quality instant espresso granules (not instant coffee)

2/3 c mascarpone cheese

2/3 c heavy cream

3 T brandy

1/2 t pure vanilla extract

1/3 c sugar

12 store-bought ladyfingers (about 6 ounces)

2 oz bittersweet chocolate, shaved with a vegetable peeler

Mix the boiling water and espresso powder until dissolved. Refrigerate until cool. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together the mascarpone, heavy cream, brandy, vanilla and sugar until soft peaks form.

Trim the end of the ladyfingers so they fit snugly (side by side) in an 8.5″ x 4.5″ loaf pan (preferably glass).  Pour the espresso mixture into a shallow bowl. Briefly dip the ladyfingers one at time into the espresso, turning to coat both sides.

Line the bottom of the pan with 6 cookies. Spoon half the mascarpone mixture on top, then sprinkle evenly with half the shaved chocolate. Layer with the remaining ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture. Smooth the top with an offset or flexible spatula, then sprinkle with remaining chocolate.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least an hour (or up to overnight), or freeze for 30 minutes.

 

 

Losing our heads January 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — squeakypeanut @ 7:35 PM
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Today was a big day in the Squeaky Peanut household: Eviscerated Squab Day!

Luckily I wasn’t in the operating room while its head and feet were removed, but I got a photo of it before it was decapitated. It’s really pretty cute. Poor thing….

I will spare you the photograph of it with its entrails spilling out  so as not to lose any subscribers. (I do have photos I can email to any sickos interested.)

Hubby followed a Julia Child recipe to roast it, and made some sautéed shiitake mushrooms, grilled bread, and split pea soup to accompany it. The bird was good but a bit gamey–it is considered a red meat, interestingly enough. The mushrooms and soup were scrumptious, as was the sparkling white from the Loire region.  Since this was lunch, we split the tiny bird.

Dessert was a lemon charlotte cake from Whole Foods=highly recommended!