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Posts from the ‘Sauces’ Category

Marquise au Chocolat | TWD |Baking Chez Moi

Last week I left the grocery store with a stack of thin chocolate bars, for the Marquise recipe, and they felt like what I image little gold bars to be. While prepping for the desert each time I peel open the shiny foil wrapper of the chocolate bar, I fell back into the excitement I felt as kid, reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“But there was one other thing that the grown-ups also knew, and it was this: that however small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance is there. The chance had to be there.”
Ronald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor 

 This time the excitement for me was trying a new recipe and hoping for the chance that it turns out because I’ve gone and decided to make a new recipe for a special birthday dinner, and I don’t have a back up in the freezer! So, I do believe in luck when executed correctly ;0)  And thank goodness Dorie Greenspan writes beautiful recipes that will make me look like a rock star on the first try.

A frozen chocolate birthday mousse

“Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories”. ~Buddy Valastro

Making this cake was a snap. It has six ingredients; butter, bittersweet chocolate, fresh room temp eggs, sugar, fleur de sel and cold heavy cream. For a chocolate lover one can’t go wrong with this combination and for those of us who enjoy baking or in this case freezing, because you don’t bake this cake, folding the whipped egg and cream mixture into the chocolate creates a decadent marbled effect that makes me smile.

Chicken had shot

Happy Chicken

There was some chatter of concern on the Tuesdays with Dorie site by fellow Dorista’s about the use of room temperature eggs and making a cake that has raw eggs in it. Dorie makes a highlighted note in her recipe to use” very fresh eggs, preferably organic and/or from a trusted local source.”  We were lucky here, since our local source lives in the hen house out back and is named Clucky. Along with her friends they provided the four eggs I needed for my Marquise au Chocolat, bright and early the morning of my cake making. That’s as fresh as you get. Coop to Cake!

Backyard chicken eggs fresh today

From clucky with love

However, if you are pregnant, a young child, have a compromised immune system or if you are concerned about eating anything with raw eggs, you can still make this recipe by using pasteurized eggs or bringing the eggs to 160º. Do this while mixing the eggs to keep from scrambling, in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Another idea I saw that Peggy from Pantry Revisited substituted greek yogurt for the eggs and was happy with the results.

Chicken tucked into bed

not all hens have a clean coop like clucky

Once you’ve made your decision on which way to proceed with the egg choice it’s as simple as mixing and pouring everything into a loaf pan to freeze. While the cake was freezing I searched for a fun topping option. Dorie made me laugh with her side column “Bonne Idée” where one line reads “Crack Chocolate Sauce” as a good idea to drizzle over the marquise. It’s the way the type was set and those three words stand out as one line but of course the real name of the sauce is Hard-Crack Chocolate Sauce. Think ice cream sundae chocolate sauce that goes from liquid to solid once poured atop a bowl of ice cream. This is exactly the sauce I had to make, mainly because the name, it must be that good!

 

coconut oil in a glass dish for Hard Crack Chocolate Sauce

coconut oil + chocolate = happiness

Again her recipe for the sauce was straight forward and easy. With two ingredients; bittersweet chocolate and coconut oil mixed and melted together in a heat proof bowl then poured over the marquise. The cake, just went from two stars of decadence to four. Add a bit of Whipped Cream to top it off  and I confirm it was that good!

No bake Chocolate Cake

It’s all about the cake…

 

This rich no bake chocolate cake can be made ahead of time, kept in the freezer and pulled out ready for serving. Or it can be made in individual ramekins and dressed up with fresh berries. There are so many creative ideas to tweak this chocolate cake that I’ll need to make it again and again to test them out. I’m sure my family won’t complain.

 

 

 

From our kitchen to yours!

Head Shot Rachelle Rachelle @ Caramelize Life
Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

Just right Pear Butter

A large ripe box of fruit, especially pears sitting on the counter is like a heavy dollar in a kids pocket at the candy store.

Fruit is my candy, I love it most when it’s enveloped in a warm layer of sugar and spices fresh from the oven or dried and chewy with its sweet autumn flavors concentrated in each bite.

This year I decided to expand my appreciation and try pear butter. With cold snap of winter ebbing and flowing this November I look to comforts and the smells of mulled cider and chi permeating the kitchen. I like to remember that cozy feeling when I was a kid, coming in from play outside in the cold and smelling the nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves filling the air during the holiday times. So naturally, I put on a pot of hot apple cider with mulling spices warming my memories and continuing the tradition for my family.

I do enjoy apple butter and mostly I’ve purchased it with the only ingredients being apples and apple juice. But for the pear butter I thought it would be nice to add those comforting spices so we can enjoy them even after the cold has gone.

RKW_4282 more pears

Pear Butter with Autumn Spices

yield: 5 half pints

6 lbs of ripe organic pears, peeled, cored and sliced into small pieces
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

RKW_4375

Combine pears, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and spices (ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg) in a heavy pot and bring to a simmer over medium/high heat stirring often. Once at a simmer reduce heat and continue to stir.


Put a spoon in the refrigerator to chill, for use later.

After an hour or so remove the pot from the heat and blend pear mixture with an immersion blender, in the pot. Or use a potato ricer, or if cooled regular blender. Blending until desired consistency.

Once blended, bring pear mixture back to a simmer over medium/high heat for 20 minutes more or until the butter will mound on the back of the chilled spoon.

Prepare your canning bath and supplies…

Ladle pear butter into sterilized jars, remembering to leave 1/4 head space, check for air bubbles with a wooden chopsitck, wipe rims with a sterilized cloth and place lids on top.

Process jars in boiling hot water for 10 minutes, remove and let rest for 24 hours.

Extras:

Great on toasted bread, atop oatmeal, ice cream. A great addition to quick breads, muffins and cakes for added moisture.
A wonderful hostess or holiday gift to give, add a tea towel and your favorite recipe, for a gift from the heart.

Enjoy!

Head Shot RachelleRachelle@ Caramelize Life

Caramelize Life Cooking Class @ Sun Mountain Lodge

It was a perfect time of year and a wonderful opportunity to work with a fantastic group of women in a garden to table cooking class.

Caramelize Life was kindly invited by Methow Arts Alliance and  Sun Mountain Lodge  to bring local produce and share simple recipes that could be made quickly at home with a lovely group of women visiting the Methow Valley.

It happened to be perfect timing for the class as the garden was in full production and ingredients were as fresh as could be.  On stage were succulent Heirloom tomatoes, fresh herbs, a selection of creamy chèvre from Sunny Pine Farm and locally sourced salmon

We all had a splendid time whipping up seasonal fair and an even better time sampling from our work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 ~cheers Rachelle@caramelizelife

FIND YOUR MARKET

Spring has sprung literally in the last week, here in the Methow Valley.

We’ve enjoyed the first couple of Farmers Markets held each Saturday 9am to noon. Our early spring heat wave has been kind to all the vendors and welcomed shoppers with a warm embrace.

For years I’ve been a patron to any farmers markets I can find either at home or abroad.  The market can be a unique window into local communities health and its products.  Market atmospheres are lively and festive. They celebrate our earth and what it can produce. Markets highlight and strengthen our ties to how and where our foods are processed and originate. Not everyone can live on a farm and learn from family traditions handed down each generation but most everyone can find a farmers market and take the opportunity to meet and learn from the farmers themselves.

Markets move with the seasons from the beginning seedlings in the early spring to the mounds of apples, spices, jams and jellies in the late summer harvest times.  This seasonal reminder of what our local land provides is something that becomes forgotten in the long outer isles of the mega supermarkets. I know, I love bananas in my smoothies and pineapple too.  I am not ready for a strict change but I do appreciate the fresh reminder to clean out the cob webs in my brain and love the fact that I can challenge myself to finding Saturday night’s dinner at the market.

So tempting…but no she didn’t…really.

If you would like a little help in the area of spring cleaning of the cerebral spider webs there’s an app for that! Ok, not really but if you are tech savvy and have an iPhone, sorry Blackberry and Android, you can download an App to find out what’s in season it’s called NRDC Eat Local.
Wendy Gorden of the Huffington post described the app perfectly in her blog   New App Answers: What’s in Season Near You?  it is worth the read.

I also adore the life lessons the market imparts to our children. They learn from example and experiencing the arts and local agricultural producers at a personal level is such a gift. Taken a little further and the market is inclusive allowing children to try their hand at their own entrepreneurial endeavors. Read my post life lessons a budding entrepreneur at the farmer’s market  to learn more on this topic.

Each Market has it’s own structure and set of guidelines to help it run smoothly so check in with yours before you jump in feet first.

Market Dinner or Breakfast Challenge:

Simple Scramble with Chevre and Spring Greens

Ingredients:

4 eggs
1 Tbsp oil (your choice; coconut oil gives a nice change in flavor, olive or grape seed oil or butter)
1 Tbsp chevre we used organic chevre from sunny pine farms
1 cup spring greens (washed, torn or chopped and stems removed) For a fun you could forage and use Dandelion greens! (remember to properly identify the plant, make sure it hasn’t been sprayed and pick young fresh leaves. Their bitterness will mellow and blend nicely with the eggs).
1 Tbsp chopped fresh seasonal herbs (your choice; chives, rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro etc)
salt and pepper to taste

A slice from a fresh baguette or rosemary bread to toast.

Each market is unique to its region and what it can offer, when in France, I love to add olives to this scramble or capers.

Directions:

~Wash, tear or chop spring greens and herbs and set aside
~Pre-warm two serving bowels
~Slice bread and put in the toaster
~Crack eggs in a medium-sized bowel and beat with a fork until mixed. Then add half of your seasonal herbs, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
~In a preheated nonstick or cast iron saute’ pan add oil, and then the egg and herb mix. Scramble the eggs turning from the outside in.  Right before eggs are fully cooked add the chevre  and remove from heat. Then, divide into equal portions (or as much as you are hungry for)and place in your warmed bowel.
~Next, add a tablespoon or so of water and wilt greens in your saute’ pan turning constantly until wilted and then pour over chevre and egg scramble.
~Sprinkle with the second half of the fresh herbs.
~Add salt and pepper to taste

~ enjoy!

Find your Farmers Market!

Here in the Methow we are lucky to have a few:

Methow Valley Farmers Market Saturdays 9am to noon, April through October
Winthrop Market Sundays 10am to 2pm, Memorial Day to Labor Day
Mazama Market Wednesday afternoons, during the growing season

The folks at Local Harvest. Org make it easy to do just that. Click on the link and enter your zip code or state and they will point you in the right direction. It is a great tool to use especially if you are traveling.

Here are a few more links to help you find a market near you:

The USDA Farmers Markets, Food and Wine articles on the Worlds Best Food Markets, Open Air’s market list, and the Huffington Post Photo’s of the worlds largest farmers markets.

See you at the Market!
Rachelle @ Caramelizelife

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