Blog Archive

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tasty Toons Town

Emma did it again. She fed seven hungry people a delicious meal. I was the first to arrive, not bragging about my pretty punctuality or anything, and sat around with her while she finalized the finishing touches and drooled at the smell of the chicken roasting in the oven. The table was extended and set up to seat more guests than she has ever hosted for in her new Brooklyn Heights apartment. 

She first set out the delicious Brie and Goat Cheese along with Stoned Wheat Thins and some Table Water Crackers. She also had a little sweet surprise of jam and honey to add to the crackers and cheese. It was delicious! Everyone brought over wine so there was plenty for the entire evening.  

Emma's apartment looked spotless. It was so clean, organized and crisp! Very Emma. 
He apartment is a great space overlooking Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights on the corner of Cranberry. It is a beautiful Art Deco building. The apartment was recently renovated with brand new appliances and stone counter tops. The parquet wood floor has also been refinished and the walls given a fresh coat of paint. 

It is the perfect space for her. It is also decorated very well. She did a wonderful job. Especially with the awesome West Elm bedding that I want for myself! The furniture is also laid out extremely well for the space. It is perfect for entertaining.

After our delicious snacks, we moved to the table for dinner. Emma plated each dish to perfection starting with her wonderful Romain salad with a homemade dressing. 
I got to watch her make it. I didn't want to seem like I was snooping her recipe so I didn't catch everything that went into it. However, I did notice the finely grated Parmesan and olive oil along with a few other spices which were stirred together and drizzled over the lettuce and then tossed. 

We finally got to view the culprit for the amazing smell that filled the apartment. How beautiful is this bird! Wow, I never thought I would say that. I was lucky enough to get one of the few legs. It was so moist and fell off the bone easily. 

She also made an Orzo pasta dish which was so delicious I finished it before I realized I didn't get to snap a shot. So, this pictures was pulled from the web. Her Orzo was very simple and wonderful. 

Of course there was dessert. I was warned she would be serving a delicious dessert (which I believe was a hidden undertone for no diet tonight). They were homemade lemon bars. She said it was quite the task but it was definitely worth it! They were amazing. I believe we all had two. 

Emma is also the one who turned me onto this amazing cookbook! If you don't own a cookbook because you don't know which one you should get, get this one. It is awesome. Their pancake recipe is the best I've ever had! 

Anything you could and would ever want to cook is in here in with more ways to cook it than you would ever need. Not to mention they are also the BEST recipes from the Editors of Cook's Illustrated. I just so happen to be lucky enough to have a subscription to Cook's Illustrated. It was a Christmas present from Aunt Nancy and Uncle Dan. It is also a great magazine. 

by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated
Baking Illustrated(America’s Test Kitchen, 2004)
Makes 16 bars
Lemon bars are pretty easy to make, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get them just the way you want them. Whether from bakeries or home recipes, the crust is often quite soggy, and many versions are too sweet and lack true lemon flavor. The warm filling must be added to a warm crust. Start preparing the filling when the crust goes into the oven. Be sure to cool the bars completely before cutting them.
—the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated

Convert Ingredients
For the crust1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more to decorate the finished bars
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the lemon filling
7 large egg yolks, plus 2 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup from 4 or 5 medium lemons, plus 1/4 cup finely grated zest
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Confectioners’ sugar, optional
Make the crust1. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inch pieces of foil or parchment paper lengthwise to measure 9 inches wide. Fit 1 sheet in the bottom of the greased pan, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of the pan (overhang will help in removal of baked bars). Fit the second sheet in the pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet. Spray the sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a food processor and process briefly. Add the butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then process until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second pulses. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the entire pan bottom. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the crust until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Make the filling
1. In a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together the yolks and whole eggs until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and whisk until just combined, about 5 seconds. Add the lemon juice, zest, and salt; whisk until combined, about 5 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a medium non-reactive saucepan, add the butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency and registers 170°F (76°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the curd through a single-mesh stainless steel strainer set over a clean non-reactive bowl. Stir in the heavy cream; pour the curd into the warm crust immediately.
2. Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil or parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares, wiping the knife clean between cuts as necessary. Sieve confectioners’ sugar over the bars, if desired.
Recipe © 2004 Editors of Cook’s Illustrated. All rights reserved.
© 2009 Leite’s Culinaria, Inc. All rights reserved. 
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