Posts Tagged ‘“different”’

Lychee Coconut Sorbet

So let me tell you about Boy’s birthday extravaganza!

All-in-all the dinner was a huge success but it wasn’t without its bumps in the road. Also, if I didn’t start the night before and then start the day of at noon we would have eaten at midnight. I’m not a very organized cook. I’m definitely a much better baker.

But so it goes. He loved it anyway.

(And we all know he’d have loved anything I made – or at least said he loved it.)

First course, Momofuku’s Pork Belly Buns adapted from epicurious.

High points: They were absolutely delicious and tasted very much like the original buns that I had with Joanne. (Hi Joanne!) Assembly was quite easy as was the actually pork belly part. Plus, they make for a beautiful looking appetizer. Boy loves him some pork belly!

Low points: I couldn’t, for the life of me, get my bun dough to cooperate. The yeast wasn’t having it, the flour to water ratio seemed off, and a box of dry milk ran me $10. After several attempts, two the night before and one the day of, I ran out to the Asian store for some frozen premade buns which still tasted delicious so I highly recommend it.

Next course, Wine-Braised Beef Short Ribs from No Recipes with Wilted Watercress from epicurious and jasmine rice.

High points: Everything. This was super easy to make. For the beef, you just throw everything into a pot and let it simmer away for a few hours until it’s beautifully tender and dark! I used a cheaper bottle of red wine and it came out perfect. The watercress took minutes and was a perfect side to the beef.

Low points: Nothing!

And for dessert, Lychee Coconut Sorbet from epicurious with Vermicelli Crisps from epicurious and the October Daring Bakers Challenge.

Can’t show you the Challenge dish yet but I thought I’d share the recipe for the sorbet since it was so delicious and super easy.

Lychee Coconut Sorbet
adapted from epicurious

Makes 1 pint.

Ingredients

  • 1 can lychees in syrup
  • 1/2 c well-stirred cream of coconut (Coco Lopez brand preferred; this is NOT coconut milk and NOT coconut cream)
  • juice of one lime, plus more if desired

* also need a pre-frozen ice cream maker

Instructions

Drain lychees, reserving syrup.

Combine lychees, cream of coconut, 1/4 c syrup, and lime juice in a blender until smooth. Strain to remove leftover lychee pulp and taste, adding more lime if desired. Refrigerate until cold.

Freeze in pre-frozen ice cream maker.

Vermicelli Crisps
adapted from epicurious

Ingredients

  • Dried rice vermicelli (rice-stick noodles)
  • Enough vegetable oil for 1 1/2 inches of oil in whatever vessel you are frying in
  • Powdered sugar

*also need a deep-frying or candy thermometer

Instructions

Soak noodles in cold water until pliable. (This took me about an hour.) Drain, pat dry, and spread on paper towels to air-dry for about 30 minutes.

When ready to fry, begin heating oil until thermometer reads 350F.

Gather mounds of noodles (about 1 tbsp) and pull apart slightly to form a loose tangle. Drop tangles into oil and fry until crisp. about 20 seconds. They will sink, the oil will bubble, and then the noodles will rise to the surface for the duration of frying. Use a slotted spoon to pull crisps out of oil and drain on paper towels. Dust with powdered sugar.

Dinner was a lot of work but definitely worth every bit of effort. It was a wonderful birthday for Boy!

Tune in on Wednesday to find out how the Daring Bakers October challenge went!

Black Pearl Cupcakes

Before I go on and on about the glory of these cupcakes, I have to mention how excited I am that CSN Stores has asked me to review a product from one of their websites. They have over 200 online stores where you can find everything from nesting tables to fitness equipment to cookware (personally, I’m all for the cookware). I can’t wait to show you what I do with my new apple peeler/corer/transformer. Look for the post soon!

And now for the cupcakes.

This past weekend celebrated my birthday, first dinner with friends on Saturday and then dim-sum with family on Sunday (my actual birthday). Since I always make birthday cakes for my friends and somehow never for myself, I decided this was the year.

So, as you all know, I looked around and asked you all for help and I ended up with two front-runners. Both of which looked delicious. Both of which came with good references. Both of which I had to make at some point in time except I wanted both of them NOW.

So that’s what I did.

I made one full recipe for my birthday dinner and one half recipe transformed into cupcake version for after dim-sum food coma. (PS Is my family the only family who eats themselves into coma at dim-sum?)

I had been staying in NYC for an elective month when I came across this recipe for Black Pearl Cake on epicurious. The inspiration for it is a Vosges Haut-Chocolat bar and as I read up on the recipe I realized I had just picked up a bar by the same company at the Whole Foods I happened to live next door to at the time. So what did I do? I ran right over to Whole Foods again and looked for the Black Pearl bar in question. And what do you know?

LOVED IT.

What’s in this elusive Black Pearl bar/cake?

Chocolate. Lots of it.

Wasabi.

Ginger.

Black sesame seeds.

I know it sounds strange but it’s actually a wonderful combination of flavors. The spices are subtle and yet very much present. Anyone who tastes it can’t identify what makes the chocolate taste so rich and delicious but if you tell them what it is they’re able to suddenly taste every ingredient and it becomes even more delectable with every bite.

If you’re looking for a cake to wow a crowd, this is it. It’s a bit involved with multiple components but worth every bit of effort. Also, I was afraid as I made and tasted the ganache that it would be too much flavor and/or “kick” because I took the advice of other users and used wasabi paste and doubled the amount. However, a little bit of it with a lot of cake created the perfect balance. I may have forgotten to use the ginger syrup to coat the cakes for added moisture. I think this could help as the cake is a tad bit dry but it isn’t necessary. It’s up to you. I do, however, definitely recommend using the whole amount of ground ginger for the whipped topping suggested in the recipe as I turned mine down a bit and the flavor was barely there in the end.

Coincidentally the theme for Regional Recipes this month is Japan so this recipe is perfect for it! Yay!

Black Pearl Cupcakes
adapted from epicurious

Makes 12-16 cupcakes. Double recipe for a 3-layer cake.

Ingredients
For ganache:
  • 3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp butter, room temperature
For ginger syrup:
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
For cake:
  • 1 c boiling water
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 c + 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
For whipped topping:
  • 1 c chilled heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • black sesame seeds for garnish
Instructions
*Make ganache 1 day in advance so it can set overnight.

For ganache, place chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream, ginger, and wasabi to a boil in a small pot and the pour mixture over the chocolate. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes then whisk together until smooth. In the meantime, mix sesame seeds and corn syrup in a small bowl to coat. When chocolate is ready, stir into chocolate and allow to cool to lukewarm. Stir in butter. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.

For ginger syrup, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, stirring over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 2 minutes, remove from heat, and allow to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Strain syrup (which can be used later on to coat finished cake for added moisture) and chop ginger. If making this the day before as well, refrigerate ginger and syrup separately until ready to use.
For cake, preheat oven to 350F and prepare baking pans either with cupcake papers or lining 3 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper (must also double recipe).

Whisk together boiling water, cocoa powder, and reserved ginger from the ginger syrup in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using an electric mixer, cream sugar and butter together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat just until incorporated. Add in vanilla and mix until combined. Alternating, add flour mixture in 3 additions and cocoa mixture in 2 additions. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If making cakes, bake approximately 30 minutes. Allow to cool. If making 1 day ahead of time, wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

For assembly, make whipped cream topping by beating cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, vanilla, and ginger and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Cut out a cone from the top of each cupcake and fill each cupcake with about a teaspoon for the set ganache. Replace top. Here is where you can coat the top of the cupcake with the ginger syrup if desired (but I forgot). Spread whipped cream topping and garnish with black sesame seeds. The recipe then says to refrigerate until the ganache is set followed by allowing to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.. but we just ate them and had zero complaints.

Lookout for my other birthday cake to be posted soon. Happy noshing!