Friday, February 12, 2010

Chocolate Bread and Butter

Lisa Cooper-Holmes from Haute Chocolate in Montgomery was at The Cooking School this week for a decadent Glorious Chocolate Ganache class. Lisa made Chocolate Bread and Butter in class and promised to provide us with a variation on the recipe.

Lisa’s Chocolate Bread and Butter
recipe courtesy of Lisa Cooper-Holmes

2 ½ cups milk
½ cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 ounces butter at room temperature
6 thick slices of bread
3 eggs
¼ cup super fine sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 6 cup shallow baking dish.

Place milk, cream and chocolate in a 2-3 quart saucepan and heat at medium heat on cooktop until chocolate is melted. You are creating a ganache.

Butter the bread. Place the six slices of buttered bread in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the bread slices with the dried cherries.

Whisk the eggs and sugar into the chocolate ganache and then pour this mixture over the sliced and buttered bread.

In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture over the egg mixture in the baking dish.

Place dish in a roasting pan filled with just enough water to go halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 50-55 minutes until custard is set and top is crusty and brown. Serve warm with whipped cream. Serves 6.

Apple Cobbler Variation:
Sauté 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced, in 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon until softened. Add to casserole before baking.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cinnamon Candy Popcorn

A perfect gift from the kitchen! Homemade, sweet and crunchy - everyone loves popcorn. The red color of this corn makes it ideal for Valentine's Day or Christmas giving. You can bake this in a large baking pan, but I always use a huge stainless steel bowl.

The Cooking School was closed today and our class cancelled due to the second winter storm this week. I made this batch of popcorn today for the blog - I'm giving it to my neighbor who cleared our driveway after both snow storms this week.

Cinnamon Candy Popcorn

3 quarts air popped popcorn (1/2 cup before popping)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
9 ounces Red Hots or Cinnamon Imperials (1-1/8 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250°. Place popcorn in a large, ungreased, shallow stainless steel bowl (15 inch diameter).

Combine butter, cinnamon candy, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and add salt, vanilla and baking soda; stir well. Mixture will sputter and become thick and foamy. Pour over popcorn and stir to coat as evenly as possible. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely on waxed paper and break apart. Makes 12 cups.

To bake in a baking pan: Place popcorn in a large bowl. Pour cooked cinnamon mixture over corn and stir well. Turn into a greased 15 x 10-inch baking pan and bake as above.

Cinnamon syrup mixture

As the mixture boils, the candy melts

Popcorn ready for baking

Baked, cooled and packaged for gift giving
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Monday, February 8, 2010

Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry with Tangerine Sauce

Gayle Payton Walls was at The Cooking School last week as the instructor for "Dinner Everyday". The class enjoyed Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry, Chicken with Poblano Sauce, Sweet n' Spicy Rubbed Salmon, Toasted Almond Orzo and Molten Chocolate Cakes.

During class, Gayle talked about another of her favorite recipes, Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry with Tangerine Sauce. Gayle graciously agreed to send us the recipe for all to enjoy.

Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry with Tangerine Sauce

Feel free to substitute your favorite veggies. I’m suggesting Asparagus because I’m looking forward to the season when asparagus is abundant and at its peak. Snow peas, broccoli, sugar snaps and carrots would be a great substitute for the asparagus. I encourage you to try this with fresh squeezed tangerine juice this time of year. You can purchase tangerine juice or substitute orange juice, but please opt for a natural fresh squeezed version.

1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing) or dry sherry
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon white or black ground pepper
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1 pound washed and trimmed asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 ½ teaspoons tangerine zest
¾ cup tangerine juice
¼ cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Toss the shrimp with the soy sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, sugar and pepper. Set aside to marinade with you prepare the rest of the ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, green onions, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon of the toasted sesame oil. Wash and trim the asparagus. Mix together the sauce ingredients.

Heat 1 ½ teaspoon peanut oil in a large (12-inch) not stick skillet over high heat. When hot add ½ of the shrimp, spreading out to a single layer. Do not stir and allow to cook until pink, approximately 1 minute. Turn and cook the second side of the shrimp for about 20-30 seconds or until almost cooked through, remove to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm. Add 1 ½ teaspoons peanut oil and repeat with the second half of the shrimp. Transfer to the bowl with the rest of the shrimp. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil. When hot add the asparagus, stirring constantly until crisp tender, about 2-5 minutes depending on the thickness of asparagus.

Clear the center of the skillet, add the ginger/garlic mixture to the clearing. With a spatula, stir and mash the mixture until fragrant, 30 seconds to one minute. Stir the garlic mixture into the asparagus, mixing well. Add the shrimp and any accumulated juices. Whisk the sauce to recombine and add the sauce to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute or until the sauce is thickened.

Serve over rice. Serves 4.