Archive | December, 2012

Celebrating a New Year with Champagne Mousse

29 Dec

So many reasons to celebrate this new year with an elegant and festive champagne mousse. Some are small reasons (I bought a new cat-print dress) and some are big reasons (I graduated pastry school!)

Pastry chef

Kelly Poindexter, the pastry chef…no, no scratch that – the world’s BEST pastry chef! Hey, a girl can dream, no? So, after a year of kneading, whisking, flouring and rolling, I’ve graduated from the Escuela de Gastronomia del ISMM with a title of Pastelero Profesional (Professional Pastry Chef). I’m absolutely over the moon about my accomplishment, although it now leaves me with that burning question: What next? Will I look for a job as a pastry chef here in Argentina? Maybe it’s time to go back to the US? So many choices, and all I want to do is celebrate.

And what better way to celebrate than with a champagne mousse? This mousse is very easy to make, and the taste of champagne is subtle but just enough. I highly recommend to play around with different citruses. Orange, grapefruit, mandarine, they really bring out the flavor and pop of the champagne. You’ll need to let this mousse sit for at least 4-6 hours in the cold before serving, so plan ahead! It also freezes beautifully.

I wanted to pair my mousse with a blueberry sauce, which at the last minute I folded into some softly-whipped cream. BAD idea. Not only did it dilute the intense blueberry flavor, it also floated unevenly to the top of the mousse. Next time, I’ll just put the sauce on after the mousse is nice and cold.

champagne-mousse

Champagne mousse

250 cc. champagne or sparkling wine

1/2 squeezed grapefruit

80 grams of egg yolk

125 grams of sugar

10 grams of powdered gelatine

300 cc of heavy whipping cream

Make a sabayon:

Mix the yolks, sugar, 200 cc. of the champagne and the grapefruit juice in a heatproof bowl.

Beat continuously over a bain-marie, until thickened. You can test if it’s done by inserting a wooden spoon into the sabayon and drawing a line on the back of the spoon with your finger. The mixture shouldn’t drip down the line you just created.

Set aside to cool.

Beat the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks have formed.

Dilute the gelatine in 50 cc. of champagne, it always helps me to zap in the microwave for 2 seconds. Add diluted gelatine to the sabayon.

Fold in the whipping cream.

You’ll want to put this in it’s final mold immediately, before the gelatin sets.

Some suggestions on presentation:

Wide martini classes with slices of strawberry and a thin cookie.

Make a single layer of vainilla cake in a springform pan and when completely cool, top it with the mousse and put into the refrigerator. Top with fresh blueberries.

Cherry Clafoutis: Summertime Breakfast

17 Dec

Cherry Clafoutis Recipe

One of the most difficult things about being an American living in the Southern Hemisphere and reading food blogs is the opposite seasons. While everyone in the North is blogging about and posting pics of tree-ripe peaches, green, tender asparagus and juicy raspberries, we in the South, are freezing our butts off and trying to find more uses for oranges and grapefruit.

But summertime in Buenos Aires has finally arrived! And with the hot weather, we also have an abundance of beautiful cherries. Ripe, dark, sweet and juicy. Perfect for a summery breakfast.

Now, I really don’t like to turn my oven on in the summer, but this quick recipe has minimal oven time and minimal supervision. Just set the timer and leave the room. In 18-20 minutes you’ll have a beautiful, puffy cherry clafoutis.

Some recipes suggest eating the clafoutis fresh from the oven, but personally, I like it at room temperature – I feel like the vanilla flavors come out more, and you won’t burn your mouth with bubbling cherry juice.

Clafoutis is easy to whip up, and the texture is like a dense flan – which makes for an indulgent breakfast or snack. You can also bake these up in individual molds and serve them for brunch, just be sure to keep an eye on them in the oven.

Cherry clafoutis

Cherry Clafoutis Recipe

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C)

Cherry Clafoutis Batter:

1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 tablespoosn (25 grams) sugar

3/4 cup (180 ml) milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Set aside to rest.

Cherries:

3/4 pound (350 grams) fresh sweet cherries, pitted

1 tablespoon (13 grams) butter

1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar

Melt butter in oven-proof 9-inch (23 cm.) skillet. Add cherries and sauté until soft, about two minutes.

Sprinkle cherries with sugar and cook until the sugar has dissolved.

Pour the batter over the cherries and bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.

Women who inspire me and their recipes

11 Dec
My Grandma, Suzanne Kagan

My Grandma, Suzanne Kagan

Everyone loves their grandma, there’s no denying that. Their cooking is always the best, they know exactly what to say to cheer us up, grandmas and they are sweetest and cutest people we know. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with a fantastic grandma.

You see, my grandma is not a typical grandma. She is a cool grandma. She texts, she has Facebook, and she swears sometimes (don’t deny it granny, I’ve heard you!) She also happens to be a fashion designer, jewelry maker and amazing cook. You can check out and purchase her fancy purses on Etsy. She’s pretty much the star of the family.

When I was a little girl, I loved her for her endless supply of cookies at Christmas time and when she dressed me up like a doll with the clothes she sewed herself. As a teen, we bonded over iced coffees, thrift shopping and “making beads” as we’d call it, or as my grandpa would call it – covering the dining room table and floor in crystals of all shapes and sizes. Now as an adult, I start to see my grandma as the incredible woman she is: an entrepeneur, an amazing chef, an artist, a diva and an endless source of motivation and inspiration.

To honor her and all grandmothers, I asked her to answer a few questions and also share one of her and my favorite recipe: Secret Kiss Cookies. My grandma got this recipe from her neighbors while living in Milwaukee, WI and has been making them every single year since 1966! This recipe is definitely a family tradition and favorite.

Interview with my Grandma, Suzanne Kagan

When did you start cooking and why?

I cooked with my mother when I was small and enjoyed learning new recipes.

You cook a lot of healthy food and pay attention to what you put in your body. Do you feel this makes a difference in the way you feel? 

I do pay attention to what I put into my recipes and it does make a difference on the way I feel…using less sugar, salt and fats help keep us healthier.

You are a lady of many talents and interests, where do you find your inspiration (and energy!) for new projects?

I love to keep busy and got inspired from my mom and grandmother when it came to cooking and sewing. I love going out and looking for new ideas and that keeps me inspired and energized. You helped too, when the two of us got together and started making the pretty jewelry. One exciting project just leads to another. I’m still looking and finding new things to make. It never ends and you feel a satisfaction when you finish a new project.

What is your favorite thing to cook?

I love to make soups, but I think my favorite is desserts, especially during the holidays!

Who inspires/has inspired you in your life?

As I said, my mother and grandmother got me started and it just goes on down the line and makes me proud when I see how you have been so inspired to keep this love of cooking A family tradition ….you especially keep me inspired with your new and inventive ways and methods .. You make me proud.

Thanks granny, you make me proud too!

Secret Kiss Cookies

Secret Kiss Cookies

Ingredients
1/2 pound butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teas. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans   chopped very fine or use ground pecans.
Hershey kisses (unwrap)
Procedure
Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla.
Add flour and pecans.
Wrap 1 teas. dough around chocolate kiss.
Place on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm.
Makes about 90 cookies.
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