Sunday, December 18, 2011

What Pate a Choux can do for you!

Pate a Choux (pat uh shoe) might be my favorite dough to make.  It's unlike any other dough, and almost feels like your making a roux, rather than a dough. It's the doughy part of a cream puff or an eclair and I always assumed it was a dough intended for sweet things, until I got roped into making Gougeres at my friend, Joe's birthday party.  Gougeres are Pate a Choux with grated Gruyere and black pepper added to the dough before it gets piped out onto baking sheets and baked in the oven.  Gougeres are so simple to make and pretty addictively delicious!  What more could you want than buttery bread with cheese and a hint of pepper?! I'm hoping this is just the beginning of Pate a Choux experiments to make all sorts of delicious fluffy savory pastries!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Catching up...

Well, Autumn Quarter happened.  I took 16 credits worth of classes, did some of my own research, applied to graduate school, applied for an NSF grant, scored the Mary Gates Research Scholarship, and ate some tasty food.  Here's one big long post of all the pictures I've been snapping and doing absolutely nothing with until now:

1) Pesto.  I was gifted some basil starts in the spring after I killed the one basil plant I bought.  I babied these basils unlike any plant I've ever grown before. I kept them in black pots so that when it was warm enough to be outside, the sun would warm the soil around there roots.  I talked to them everyday and gently touched them so they would feel loved.  It was quite a labor of love and in the end, I was able to make a pretty significant amount of pesto! I froze the pesto into ice cubes, so we can save some for winter when we're pining for a taste of summer.

2) Tater-tots: BAD idea! Perhaps I did this all wrong, but making home-made tater-tots turned into an inferno of spontaneous hot-oil explosions.  That tater-tot on top of the stack is one of the culprits - they basically popped like popcorn in the oil.

3) Decibel Festival is a 5-day electronic music festival in Seattle that just so happened to fall precisely in line with the first week of school this year.  Alex and I discovered that Breakfast For Dinner was the fuel required to sustain five-days of non-stop dancing and school.  We had black tea, pancakes, Skagit River Valley Ranch breakfast sausage, and veggie omelets with fresh avocados that I smuggled back from California.  Nothing like an avacado fresh off the tree! mmmm!

Also, North Hill Bakery was right down the street from the Decibel in the Park show, so we could eat amazing ham-and-cheese croissants while groovin' to some delicious music.

4) Duck.  Every once in a while Stokesberry Farm sells duck, and we can't resist.  It's best to do as little as possible to it, it's perfect just the way it is! Here it is roasted on a bed of itty-bitty onions, which, if you've never had tiny onions roasted in duck juices, I highly recommend it!

5) Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Curry.  It's brilliantly delicious and cranberries go surprisingly well in curry! I took Alex to Market Spice several weeks ago, and he was so inspired by all the spices there that he turned into a curry-making machine!