Monday, December 31, 2012

Classic Creme Brulee

Classic Creme Brulee - ButterYum
In our family we have a traditional of celebrating birthdays with a special meal - the guest of honor picks all their favorite foods, including dessert.  Now that our oldest is engaged, I thought it was appropriate to include our future daughter in law in this tradition.  When asked, she didn't hesitate listing the items she wanted for her special dinner.  Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Black Cherry and Raspberry Reduction, dinner rolls, and her childhood favorite green bean casserole.  Oh, and for dessert - Creme Brulee.  I love Creme Brulee so I was happy she asked for it.  Yes, it's rich and super high in calories, but it's so delicious I don't mind splurging every now and then.  

Note:  If you're like me and prefer your creme brulee to have a crunchy caramelized top layer over a COLD creamy custard, be sure to use deep ramekins (shallow ramekins will allow the cold custard to get very warm during the torching process).

Classic Creme Brulee
makes six 8-ounce servings
Printable Recipe

4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split (*or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
Turbinado Sugar

Preheat oven to 325F. In a medium sauce pan, heat the cream and vanilla bean* until the mix simmers.  Remove pan from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. In a bowl whisk together the sugar and yolks until they are a pale yellow. Whisk cream into the egg mixture and pour into 6 custard dishes. *If using vanilla extract, whisk it into the egg and sugar mixture (don't heat it with the cream).

Place 8-ounce ramekins or custard dishes in a large baking dish lined with a towel. Pour boiling water into baking dish so the level of water reaches half way up the ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes or until custard is firm but still wiggles. Chill for at least one hour. Top with an even layer of Turbinado sugar and use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar.  Alternately, you can caramelize the sugar under a broiler, being careful to not allow the cold custard to warm too much.

Note:  Pure vanilla extract may be used instead of splitting a vanilla bean, but the vanilla bean gives a much better flavor.

My Top 10 Recipes of 2012

Wow, it's hard to believe this year has come to an end, but here we are.  I was checking my blog stats and thought I'd share with you my 10 most popular recipes for 2012.  Be safe if you plan to be out this evening - designated drivers are super cool people!

#10 -- Lemon Cupcakes with French Vanilla Buttercream

#9 -- 5-Star Ham and Potato Soup

#8 -- Chocolate Chip Cookie Sticks

#7 -- Best Ever Blueberry Muffins

#6 -- Pains d'Amande

#5 -- Homemade Gnocchi Tutorial

#4 -- Biscoffee Cake (and a cake tip)

#3 -- Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

#2 -- Skinny Cream of Broccoli Soup

#1 -- Spaghetti and Meatball Pie

 I hope each and every one of you have a very safe and Happy 2013!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

This Year's Top 25 Cookbooks

The Daily Meal has compiled it's list of this year's top 25 cookbooks.  I have several already, and there are quite a few more on the list that I plan to add to my collection.  Honestly, I don't need any more cookbooks, but I do love them, and I know I'm not alone here.  You can get a sneak peek inside most of the books listed by clicking on the corresponding photo.   Okay, here's we go.

Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays
by Jeanne Sauvage 

Flavor Exposed
by Angelo Sosa

Slow Fire: The Beginner's Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue
by Ray "DR. BBQ" Lampe

by Diane Morgan

Morocco: A Culinary Journey with Recipes from the Spice-Scented Markets of Marrakech to the Date-Filled Oasis of Zagora
by Jeff Koehler

SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine
by Shelley Lindgren, Matthew Accarrino, and Kate Leahy

Grains Mains: 101 Surprising and Satisfying Whole Grain Recipes for Every Meal of the Day
by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

Modern Sauces: More than 150 Recipes for Every Cook, Every Day
by Martha Holmberg

The Country Cooking of Greece
by Diane Kochilas

Japanese Farm Food
by Nancy Singelton Hachisu 

Nick Malgieri's Bread: Over 60 Breads, Rolls, and Cakes plus Delicious Recipes Using Them
by Nick Malgieri

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
by Deb Perleman

Modernist Cuisine at Home
by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet

The Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust
by Ina Garten

Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants
by Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy

Dirty Candy: A Cookbook
by Amanda Cohen, Ryan Dunlavey, and Grady Hendricks 

Canal House Cooks Every Day
by Christpher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton

Great Meat Book
by Bruce Aidells

Food and Wine: Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes
by the Editors of Food and Wine

The Salt Lick Cookbook: A Story of Land, Family, and Love
by Scott Roberts and Jessica Dupuy

The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making
 by Alana Chernila

Bouchon Bakery
by Thomas Kellar and Sebastien Rouxel

Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend's Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer
by Annette Ramke and Kendal Scott

The Food 52 Cookbook, Volume 2: Seasonal Recipes from Our Kitchens to Yours
by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs

Secrets of the Best Chefs: Recipes, Techniques, and Tricks from America's Greatest Cooks
by Adam Roberts