Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Death by Chocolate (Marcel Desaulniers)

Photo by: Bing Ramos

Hot fudge + Brownie + Cold Vanilla Ice Cream (or Yoghurt) = 1 sinful and luscious dessert that is to die for. To love chocolate ... is to love the creations of Marcel Desaulniers.

Eversince I saw Marcel Desaulniers on Food TV I have been entranced by his recipes. He is one talented creator of decadent desserts. Desserts that would make you want to have your cake and eat it too. He is the author of Death by Chocolate, Desserts to Die For, An Alphabet of Sweets, and Death by Chocolate Cookies. He is the executive chef and co-owner of the Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia.

"Death by Chocolate, the luscious book named after the equally luscious dessert he's fashioned out of chocolate and mocha mousses, cocoa meringue, chocolate brownie, chocolate ganache and mocha rum sauce. Not just a little decadent, each heavenly slice contains 1,354 calories. But after all, you only live once". (From Kate's Global Kitchen)

I have combined Marcel's brownie recipe with a hot fudge recipe I got from Bon Appétit to make this treat that will let you enjoy every single bite down to its last morsel.

Death By Chocolate: Simply the Best Chocolate Brownie Layer
Recipe courtesy Trellis Restaurant, Williamsburg, VA

4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
4 ounces chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare the chocolate brownie layer. Coat a 9 by 1 1/2-inch cake pan with 1 teaspoon of butter. Flour the pan with 1 teaspoon of flour, shaking out the excess.

Sift together 1/4 cup flour, 2 tablespoons cocoa, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt onto waxed paper. Set aside.

Heat 1-inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, 4 tablespoons butter, and 2 ounces semisweet chocolate in the top half of the double boiler tightly cover top with film wrap. Heat for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes, remove from the heat, and stir until smooth.

Place 3 eggs, 1 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a balloon whip. Whisk on high speed until slightly thickened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and whisk on medium for 30 seconds. Add the sifted ingredients, whisk on low for 10 seconds, then on medium for 10 seconds. Add the sour cream and whisk on medium for 5 seconds.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to thoroughly combine ( also add and combine 4 ounces chocolate chunks ).

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared cake pan, spreading evenly. Bake the brownie for 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan at room temperature for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a cake circle and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the brownie from the refrigerator and cut in half horizontally. Keep the brownie at room temperature until needed.

Hot Fudge

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
5-ounce can evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
Finely chop chocolate. In a small heavy saucepan heat evaporated milk and sugar over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved.

Add chocolate, butter, and corn syrup to milk mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly, just until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, and gently boil 8 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Fudge sauce keeps, covered and chilled, 3 weeks. Cool fudge sauce completely before covering (any condensation will make it grainy). Reheat fudge sauce, uncovered, over simmering water in a double boiler.

Modified Hot Fudge Recipe

Whisk together 2/3 cups cocoa powder (Hershey's or Bensdorf) & 3/4 cup sugar . Add a 12 oz (not 5 oz) can of evaporated milk, 2 TBSP butter and 2 TBSP light corn syrup. Boil for 8 minutes as the recipe directs. Continue and add vanilla and salt once removed from heat and let cool uncovered as others suggested. This is creamy, not grainy, and plenty chocolate-y

Serve fudge sauce hot over brownie topped with ice cream.

Makes about 1 cup.
Bon Appétit
Two For The Road
October 1998

Monday, July 17, 2006

Leche Flan (Caramel Custard)

Photo by: Bing Ramos

ORIGIN AND HISTORY: Its exact origin is not known. However, this product is very popular all over the PHILIPPINES. It is a specialty served at parties.

Raw material: Fresh milk
Additives: Condensed milk, egg yolk, vanilla extract, lemon zest and sugar.
Type: LECHE FLAN is a dessert similar to a cream caramel. It is a jelly-like product, homogeneous in texture, which has a sweet taste and that smells like vanilla flavor and lemon rind.
Consistency: Soft

TECHNOLOGY: One cup of brown sugar is dissolved in 1/4 cup of water and is heated over medium heat until the sugar caramelises. A suitable size mould is lined with the caramel evenly and it is set aside. Then, 2 cups of fresh milk are heated to the boiling point and cooled to warm temperature. Eight egg yolks and vanilla extract are added to the boiled milk and well mixed. One tin of condensed milk is added to the mixture which is strained through a coarse cheese cloth and poured into the caramel lined mould. The mould is placed in a big pan half filled with water and is baked until the mixture becomes firm. The product is cooked before removing from moulds. In general this product is marketed in the mould covered with a cellophane.

REMARKS: It is usually stored in refrigerator to improve its firmness and protect it from insects. Its shelf life is 3-5 days at room temperature and 2-3 weeks if it is kept in refrigerator. (From Leche Flan)

Leche flan is known also known as Créme caramel. Créme caramel is a variant of plain custard (créme) where some caramel syrup is poured into the mold before adding the custard base. After the custard has set, it is turned out, leaving a caramel sauce on top. Creme Bruleé is also almost the same, same creaminess but with the sugar burnt on top

One of my favorite desserts. So easy to make and so hard to resist. There are a lot of variations in making this creamy concoction. Others add the egg whites with the egg yolks while others add cream instead of milk. Any which way, whatever suits your preference is the best choice. I love mine with all egg yolks and condensed milk. I use the egg whites for meringue...and that is another story (coming soon).

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Halo-Halo (Mix-Mix)

Professional Edition Halo Halo, originally uploaded by Hocchuan.

Halo-halo (from "halo" = mix) is a favorite Filipino dessert or snack. It is basically a mixture of sweet preserved beans(red beans, chick peas), coconut meat (macapuno), jackfruit (langka), pounded dried rice (pinipig), sweet yam (ube), cream flan (leche flan), shreds of sweetened plantain (saba), filled with crushed ice, milk (or coconut milk) and topped with ice cream. The halo-halo basically is sweet, creamy, and a filling dessert.

This Filipino concoction is quite popular during the hot summer months (March-June) in the country, just as ice cream is. It is usually served in tall, clear glasses that show its colorful contents that tempt one's taste buds. One's thirst is even made worse by the perspiring ice-filled glass, and the melting ice cream on top.

Halo-Halo Recipe
(Tropical Fruit Melange)
Category: Dessert
Difficulty: Easy

2 tablespoons kaong or...
2 tablespoons nangka (jackfruit)
2 tablespoons macapuno (a variety of coconut meat sold in bottles)
2 tablespoons sweetened kidney beans
2 tablespoons sweetened garbanzos
2 tablespoons sweetened plantains
2 tablespoons ube or yam
2 tablespoons custard or creme caramel (leche flan)
2 tablespoons sweetened corn kernels
crushed ice to fill glass
2/3 evaporated milk
a scoop of ice cream on top
(From Seasite)

Actually there is no exact recipe for halo-halo, the toppings varies according to one's own preference. there are so many possibilities with halo-halo. one can opt for no ice cream topping at all, for a real authentic Filipino halo-halo, like the one's that you can buy from the sidewalk stores. These types of halo-halo though are way much cheaper compared to the ones you can get from fancy places. It consists of gelatin, an assortment of fresh fruits, crushed ice and milk and tastes much better because it is not as commercialized as the ones from the malls.

Cebu Mangoes

Photo by: Farley Baricuatro

Cebu stakes a claim as having one of the finest mangoes in the world. Yes, other varieties in Asia may compete with sweetness, but Cebu mangoes are decidedly not fibrous like the others- just luscious, with roll-in-the-tongue texture. Otherwise referred commercially as the Philippine mangoes. At the Banilad fruit stand, a kilo is about 60 pesos (~$1.1) while it is only 40 pesos in the other dry markets. But guaranteed to be SWEET (not sour) and ripened naturally (without carburo or what we'd like to say, calcium carbide). The Philippines cannot enter into the US market because there are lobbies against it from other countries traditionally selling to the US. Plus there are high insecticidal standards which the Philippines still have to meet. Trade barriers are a complicated issue and unless they are settled, the Philippine mangoes are handicapped due to tariff hence the expensive price.(From Farl)

Mangoes (Mangifera indica) probably originated in India, have been cultivated for over 4000 years, and are one of the most widely consumed fruits on the planet today. Cebu'’s mangoes have an incredibly thin and fine skin or peel and feel somewhat like a baby'’s bum (the top mangoes are individually wrapped as they ripen to prevent bugs and unsightly markings), their flesh is just the right consistency and density (not too watery, fibrous or heavy), and their flavor and sweetness superb. (From Market Manila)

The fruit flesh of a ripe mango contains about 15% sugar, up to 1% protein, and significant amounts of vitamins A, B and C. The taste of the fruit is very sweet, with some cultivars having a slight acidic tang. The texture of the flesh varies markedly between different cultivars; some have quite a soft and pulpy texture similar to an over-ripe plum, while others have a firmer flesh much like that of a cantaloupe or avocado, and in some cultivars the flesh can contain fibrous material. Mangoes are very juicy; the sweet taste and high water content make them refreshing to eat, though somewhat messy. (From Wikipedia)

I just love mangoes. I can make a lot of things out of mangoes, from ice cream to mango float to mango shake to toppings on oatmeal or as an accompaniment to suman. Mango is a very versatile fruit. Nothing can quite compare with the mangoes that we have here in Cebu aside from the Mangoes that the Guimaras Island produces.

Mango Float
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 8 Servings

1 pack 200g handypack MY San Grahams Honey
3 tablespoons MY San Grahams Honey, crushed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose cream (1 cup = 250ml brick)
3/4 cup condensed milk
2 cups mangoes sliced

1. DO FILLING. In a bowl, combine chilled cream and condensed milk.
2. LAYER. Lay 8 pieces of crackers in an 8 x 13 rectangular pan. Pour cream on top and top with sliced mangoes. Repeat process to make 2 or 3 layers, ending with the cream and sliced mangoes on top.
3. FINISH. Sprinkle crushed grahams on top of cream.
4. CHILL and serve.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sweet Corn...Lots of It!

*From World Community Cookbooks

What to do when you are faced with what is left of a box full of corn? 5 corns left that are already starting to dry out. My answer came from the internet. Turning it into cornmeal was one choice that could lead to a lot of possibilities. I patiently scraped the kernels of the cob and dried the corn kernels for 3 days under the sun. After the span of 3 days I had a finely ground cornmeal, I did it with the help of a blender attachment that is used in making peanut butter.

Dried Corn Kernels

I made pancakes with it for the kids snacks when they arrived from school.

Cornmeal Pancake
(from Mr. Breakfast)
Category: Cooking/Frying
Style: Southern American
Servings: 4 servings

1 and 1/4 cups flour
1 and 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 eggs - beaten
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in the cornmeal.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla (if desired).

Add liquid mixture to dry mixture.

Drop by heaping tablespoons on a greased hot skillet or griddle. Cook until edges are brown and bubbles are in the middle. Turn and cook on other side. Serve with butter and maple, sorghum, molasses or other syrup.

This is a pancake with substance. The cornmeal provides a great flavor and a hearty texture.(my kids used honey).

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dining at The Forum

The Forum

The building, located on Archbishop Reyes St., houses China Trust Bank, Asian Spirit ticketing office, Body and Sole Spa, Ceilo Italian restaurant-bar, an Internet Café, Revoir beauty salon and Kenya Kaffe Lounge, among others.

The Forum, a 1,000-square meter commercial complex is owned and developed by Jo Realty Corp., the owner of Ultra Vistarama and Seven Arts theater.

What I love about this place is the Kenya Kaffe Lounge. The food is very healthy and well-balanced. The ambiance is very nice. Dining out nowadays has become about so much more than the meal but in the end it’s a relief to find a cafe/resturant that gets your food to you in 15 to 20 minutes at the most. Kenya Kaffe Lounge in The Forum is one of our favourite because of the great value for money, main courses range from around PhP150+ to PhP250+ and are served with your choice of soup (backyard greens or chicken soup). They also serve various cakes, bibingka, suman with hot chocolate, and coffee.

The Ngorongoro Chicken Breast comes highly reccomended and so as with the Apple Crabstick Salad…their peppermint iced tea concoction goes well with this meal.

Excellent food, great prices and lovely family atmostphere and friendly service - perfect. Maybe a little expensive but you are paying for the views as well as perfect food and service - excellent venue for a special occasion.