The Humble Gourmet on Cucumbertown

Hello friends!  I hope you are all enjoying your Christmas Eve.  I wanted to drop in and tell you about a fantastic recipe sharing site, Cucumbertown.

Cucumbertown

Cucumbertown is a tribe of chefs, food bloggers and foodies sharing inspiration, recipes and delicious meals.  The lovely Sanaa A’esha, one of the organizers of Cucumbertown, asked to interview me as a “friend of the tribe.”  Of course, I jumped at the chance to talk all things food and share my recipes.  You can check out the profile here.

While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to the Cucumbertown online magazine and check out some of the other cooks.  There are some fantastic recipes and ideas being bounced around that great site.  Thanks again Sanaa!

Chocolate Truffles & Truffle-Sea Salt Caramels

Christmas Candy 2

Well, it’s December 23.  Can you believe it?!  I feel like I just finished off the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers, and we’re already 2 days out from Christmas.  This year has absolutely flown by.  Not only is 2013 nearly over, but next Wednesday will mark the halfway point in my pregnancy.  Yikes!  When did that happen?  We could not be more thankful and excited for what 2014 has to offer us,  but until that comes, we still have one (big) holiday to get through.

Every year for the past several years, I have made some kind of candy or cookie at Christmas time.  Eggnog macarons, candy cane meringues, rum balls.  And for the past 2 years, truffles and caramels have taken center stage.

These are the best gifts to give to people this time of year.  I have a huge extended family, and making treats has always been the best way to make sure everyone gets some holiday love this time of year.  Truffles are fantastic; so, so easy to make, and so easily customizable to whatever flavors you want.  I did one basic truffle recipe with two different toppings: pistachios and cocoa powder.  Truffles dipped in cocoa powder are my personal favorite; so rich and decadent, that I have a habit of eating about 12 before even realizing I’ve consumed that much chocolate.  Whoops. 

;-)

Christmas Candy 1

These caramels are a take off of the Truffled Truffles I did on here awhile back.  Rich, super buttery caramels with that little truffle oil finish, and the bite of the sea salt … these are the best caramels ever.  The main trick that I’ve finally picked up on with caramels is to never stir the sugar; only swirl the pan.  Stirring the sugar can create crystallization, which makes for gritty caramels, very unappealing.  These little babies are smooth as can be, and melt in your mouth immediately.  Before I got everything cut and wrapped, Shawn was surreptitiously taking slices of it off of the brick, he loves these caramels so much.  Ahh, the rush of Christmas sugar.

I love Christmas.  We will be eating fondue and crab Christmas Eve with my family, followed by a Christmas morning of stockings, gifts and a delicious brunch.  This year is particularly poignant, as it is the last year for Shawn and me as a family of two.  This time next year, we will have a little 6-7 month old, and will get to start all of our own traditions to carry on throughout the years.  I can’t wait to see what the coming years have to bring us.

And to you, my lovely readers, I wish all who celebrate a very merry Christmas!  THG

Chocolate Truffles
Yields 50
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Ingredients
  1. 24 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped and divided
  2. 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  3. 1 cup heavy cream
  4. 1 1/2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  5. 3 Tbsp. good brandy
  6. 2 Tbsp. coffee liqueur
  7. 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  8. 1 cup green pistachios, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. In a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt together 16 oz. bittersweet chocolate and unsalted butter. Stir until just smooth and set aside.
  2. Heat heavy cream and corn syrup over medium heat until bubbles just begin to form along the sides of the pan. Quickly pour over melted chocolate and stir a few times to incorporate. Let sit for 2-3 minutes and stir until mixture is smooth. Add brandy and coffee liqueur and stir to incorporate. Pour into glass baking dish and refrigerate 1 hour to set.
  3. Using a melonballer, scoop chocolate mixture and roll into 1 inch spheres. Place on a parchment sheet and refrigerate another 1 hour.
  4. Melt remaining 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate in a glass bowl over simmering water until smooth. Allow chocolate to cool to about 92-93F. Using two regular teaspoons, roll truffles in melted chocolate until fully covered. Tap on the edge of bowl to release any extra chocolate from around truffle. For cocoa powder truffles: add chocolate dipped truffle to bowl of cocoa powder and gently roll to coat. Tap to release excess powder and set on parchment paper lined baking sheet to set. For pistachio truffles: place chocolate dipped truffles on parchment paper lined baking sheet and quickly sprinkle with chopped pistachios.
  5. Let truffles set with chocolate at room temperature for another 1 hour. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/
Truffle-Sea Salt Caramels
Yields 40
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups white sugar
  2. 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 3 tsp. truffle oil, divided
  5. 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  6. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  7. 2 tsp. pink sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  8. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Line a 13x9 inch glass baking dish with parchment paper. Lightly brush the parchment paper with vegetable oil and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat sugar, corn syrup, water and 1 tsp. truffle oil over medium-high heat. Do not stir the sugar mixture; just swirl as necessary. Allow sugar to bubble and darken in color to a deep golden brown (keep a close eye to make sure sugar doesn't burn.)
  3. While the sugar is caramelizing, bring heavy cream, butter, remaining 2 tsp. truffle oil and sea salt to a boil. Set aside.
  4. Once the sugar mixture has reached a deep golden brown, remove from heat and quickly whisk in heavy cream mixture. Be careful; it will quickly bubble up! Once heavy cream mixture is incorporated, whisk in vanilla and return to medium heat. Heat caramel to firm ball stage, about 250F. Immediately remove from heat and carefully pour into prepared pan. Refrigerate until caramel has set, about 2-3 hours.
  5. Cut up several 3x3 inch squares of either parchment paper or wax paper. Lightly brush vegetable oil on a cutting board and large knife. Remove caramel from the pan and parchment paper and place on cutting board. Sprinkle generously with pink sea salt. Cut into 1 inch wide strips, and then into 1x1 inch pieces. Wrap in parchment paper or wax paper and set aside. Continue to brush knife with vegetable oil as needed. Refrigerate wrapped caramels until ready to serve.
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Dark Chocolate Gingersnaps

cookieswaplogo2013

 

The day has arrived!  The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap has come to a close, and today is the day everyone who participated is sharing their delicious recipes.  

It was so much fun participating in this massive cookie exchange; definitely one to do next year as well.  How it works is this: after signing up, you are assigned 3 random bloggers to send cookies to.  A dozen cookies each, all an original recipe.  In return, 3 different bloggers send you a dozen cookies, so everyone ends up with one dozen of 3 different kinds of cookies.  Too fun, right?

Chocolate Gingersnaps 1

 

I was assigned to make cookies for Brooke from 2 Texas Gals, Crystal from Mrs. Happy Homemaker, and Khandra from Cakes by Khandra.  Let me tell you, trying to decide on one recipe was tough.  I needed to do something that would hold up well to shipping, but I still wanted to do something original and somewhat festive and holiday-like.  I finally decided on gingersnaps, with a little twist: dark chocolate gingersnaps.  I had made something similar years before, but more as a firm, wafer-like gingersnap.  These were soft and chewy, perfectly spiced and that nice rich hit of dark chocolate.  I made an extra dozen to have at the house, which were quickly devoured by both Shawn and myself.  Cookies don’t have a long life in our house.

Chocolate Gingersnaps 2

 

Speaking of which, I can’t forget about the cookies that showed up at my front door!  I don’t know if everyone that participates is this talented, or if I just got real lucky, but we had an absolute sugar feast with our shipments.  Megan from Nutrition Awareness sent maple gingersnaps, with the maple sourced from her family’s farm in Ohio.  Sweet and spicy and simple, perfect little gingersnaps.  Ace from The Toasted Sprinkle sent in “Faux-reos”: chocolate shortbread with white chocolate filling.  I nominate these to take the place of real Oreos, they were seriously that good.  And finally, Nicole from Cooking for Keeps sent us sugar cookies dipped in white chocolate with peppermint candy and pretzels.  I cannot tell you how insanely good these were.  Super soft, buttery cookies, with the sweetness of the white chocolate, the coolness of the peppermint and the salt of the pretzels.  I was deeply disappointed to only get 12; I could have eaten a truckload full of those babies.  So, so good!

Needless to say, in my humble opinion, the Cookie Swap was a great success!  If you are curious about how to participate next year, you can go here for more information.  Happy baking!  THG

Dark Chocolate Gingersnaps
Yields 2
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  3. 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  5. 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  6. 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
  7. 1 tsp. ground allspice
  8. 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  9. 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  10. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  11. 1/2 cup sugar
  12. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  13. 1/4 cup heavy molasses
  14. 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  15. 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  16. 2 eggs, at room temperature
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cream of tartar. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar until thick. Add molasses, fresh grated ginger and sea salt; mix well to combine. Add eggs one at a time to wet ingredients and beat well. Sift dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix to combine. Work together with your hands into a large ball of dough.
  4. Scoop the dough using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop. Roll into balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake in the oven on the center rack for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Leave on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move cookies to cooling rack. Serve at room temperature.
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/

Monday Morning Coffee Break

Coffee Break

 

Good morning!  How was everyone’s weekend?  We did a little Christmas shopping and decorating; our house is so cozy this time of year with the tree and everything.  Now if only this cold snap would let up!  I know it’s not right to complain about 30 degree weather (especially when part of the country is in the negatives) but having lived in the Bay Area my whole life, this is particularly cold weather for us.  Everywhere you look, people are bundled up like their about to embark on a voyage to the South Pole (myself included).  So, let’s all wrap our hands around a mug of hot coffee/tea/chocolate/what have you and dive into some Monday links.

 

This article is a fascinating look at symbolism in literature; what was intended by the author and what we read into it.

How about a collection of real facts that sound made up?  Great trivia for your next cocktail party.

This is an interesting (and sure to be controversial) look at the ever-popular Paleo diet, and it’s validity within a historical and archaeological perspective.

And finally, in theme to the recipe I’ll be posting on Wednesday, the chemistry of cookie baking.

 

Wednesday I will be sharing my recipe and experience with the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  It was such fun to do, and I ended up getting bundles of delicious cookies in return.  Come back on Wednesday to learn more!

cookieswaplogo2013

Rosemary, Lavender and Goat’s Cheese Bread

French Herbed Bread 2

 

So, is everyone ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow?  We’re hosting for the second year in a row, so we are in the process of turkey brining/chestnut roasting/mad prepping before the big day.  Got all of the deep cleaning in the house done on Sunday (yay for productivity!), so on Thursday it’s just cooking, some light cleaning, and some definite parade watching.  Growing up, my family always traveled to Bakersfield to visit my dad’s side for Thanksgiving, so I never watched the parade until I was an adult, but I definitely get the appeal.  But, we always listened to Alice’s Restaurant in the car on the way down, so I insist on continuing that tradition even when we’re staying at home.  :-)

I wanted to post a recipe this week, but was at a bit of a loss of what to do.  I figured everyone is pretty overwhelmed with turkey/potato/green bean/squash/pumpkin/various pie recipes, so I thought I would go in a less traditional direction.  I wanted to do something as a starter, something a less traditional, a little … different.  So, in looking for something new and different, I looked to Rachel Khoo.

French Herbed Bread 1

 

For those of your who aren’t familiar with Rachel Khoo, I insist you get familiar.  She is a culinary creative, originally from London but based in Paris, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu and now has several cookbooks and a show on the Cooking Channel.  She does fresh, modern interpretations of classic French dishes.  She is also one of the most adorable human beings on Earth.  I discovered her cookbook, “The Little Paris Kitchen,” on our trip to Calistoga in May.  I have been working my way through the book, trying as many recipes as I can.  They are all so fresh and interesting and inventive.  I have a full-on food crush.

French Herbed Bread 4

One of the recipes I had been dying to try was this bread: Lavender, Rosemary and Goat Cheese bread.  Almost like an herbed focaccia, with pockets of hard goat cheese sprinkled throughout.  I could hear it calling me every time I flipped through the book.  I could resist no longer.  I had to make it!

Imagine this bread, crusty and warm, straight out of the oven, with a dish of soft butter or good olive oil on the side.  Everyone ripping pieces off, dipping, enjoying the sharp hit of the cheese throughout the soft, aromatic dough.  This would make an excellent starter to an elegant and hearty Thanksgiving.  Or, just a nice afternoon’s lunch.  Or breakfast.  Really, anytime.  This bread is pretty fantastic.  Upon making the bread, I realized that I had run out of dried rosemary.  I decided to use Herbs de Provence instead (a dried French herb mix of lavender, thyme, fennel, savory and basil), which worked beautifully, though I imagine the lavender and rosemary combo would be just as tantalizing.

With a little bit of time for rising, this bread is actually incredibly easy to make, and so rewarding to eat.  Make this, either tomorrow or another day, your taste buds will thank you.  :-)

Have a happy and indulgent Thanksgiving friends!  THG

French Herbed Bread 3

 

Rosemary, Lavender & Goat's Cheese Bread
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  2. 1 cup lukewarm water
  3. 3 cups bread flour
  4. 1 1/2 tsp. salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  5. 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  6. 1/2 tsp. dried lavender
  7. 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  8. 3 oz. hard goat's cheese, cut into small cubes
Instructions
  1. Mix the yeast with the warm water, stirring until the yeast has completely dissolved. Mix the flour, salt, rosemary and lavender in a large bowl. Pour in the dissolved yeast and the olive oil and mix to form a dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it forms a sooth, sticky ball. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour, then put into the fridge overnight.
  2. The following day, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until it forms a smooth ball again, then cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll the dough into a large circle and then cut the circle in half. Make a large cut down the middle of each half without cutting all the way through the dough, starting a little way in from the rounded edge and stopping before the opposite side. Make three small slashes on each side of the cut, then use your fingers to gently open out the slashes to look like the veins of a leaf. Place each half on a piece of parchment paper and push the cubes of cheese randomly into the dough. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 475F.
  5. Put a baking sheet in the oven to get hot while oven is preheating. Brush the bread with olive oil and sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt. Once the oven is hot, place the bread on the hot baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400F and bake for another 12-15 mintues or until the bread is golden brown. Serve warm with butter and olive oil.
Adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen
Adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/

Monday Morning Coffee Break: Thanksgiving Edition

Coffee Break

 

Good morning!  I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  I had the great fortune of accompanying my good friend Emily to a special interactive lunch with Chef Todd English at the Culinary Institute in St. Helena hosted by Bing’s new Food & Wine App.  He demonstrated two dishes, sea scallops with chestnuts and orange and rabbit pappardelle.  Afterwards, we went into the school’s kitchens to prepare the scallops for ourselves, then were served the rabbit dish and a spiced pumpkin crème brûlée.  Since Emily and I ended up cooking our sea scallops last (due to a rather pushy patron who did not want to share), we ended up having Todd English give us a one-on-one lesson on proper preparation.  It was a really fantastic afternoon, and we are so grateful that we were able to participate!  A big thank you go out to Katie Musselman from Bing and of course, Emily, for inviting me along on such a great event.

Now, onto our coffee break!  I thought in honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I would do an entirely Thanksgiving themed link up.  Enjoy!

 

Looking for a lovely starter for your Thanksgiving meal?  The Kitchn has rounded up 8 delicious and festive soups to get you started.

Take a look at these Vargas-girl style Thanksgiving pin-ups.  Because nothing says community and family and thankfulness quite a like a saucy pilgrim girl riding a giant turkey.

Buzzfeed has given you everything you never knew about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of releasing the balloons after the parade to float around New York City.

And finally, my favorite Thanksgiving link.  Everyone has that one particular anal-retentive family member, right?  Well, be lucky you’re not in Marney’s family.  Click on this link: hilarity will ensue.

 

I’ll be back on Wednesday with a little recipe to get the weekend of eating started.  Have a great week!

A Lil’ Oven Baking

Well, I promised an announcement on Monday, and I’m here to deliver.  Care to see what I’ve got baking in the oven?

Cinnamon Bun 4

 

Yes, the Humble home is gaining another mouth to feed.  Shawn and I are expecting our first child in May 2014!  We are over the moon, couldn’t be more excited.  We had started trying to get pregnant at the start of the year, and then with all of my health complications, we had to put the whole baby train on hold.  But, in June, my doctor gave us the go-ahead to start trying again, and now here we are!  

I know the picture above is a literal cinnamon bun baking in the oven, but I thought what better way to announce a pregnancy on a cooking blog?  Besides, this cinnamon bun is scrumptious (adapted from The Farm Girl recipe) and you will want to bake it for yourself, with or without baby.

Cinnamon Bun 3

 

For those of you who are curious (because a lot of people are), I’ve been feeling pretty good.  Some nausea, some morning sickness, but very little.  I’ve had some pretty crazy reactions to food though.  Early on, I grabbed a handful of kettle corn for a snack (normally a favorite), and nearly spit it right back out.  It tasted like pennies.  SO disappointing.  Since then, my normally over-active sweet tooth has been seriously depleted, and all I want is cheese, pickles, and all things salty.  I had about 3 weeks where all I wanted to eat was Shawn’s spaghetti (he makes the BEST spaghetti sauce; I will post a recipe sometime for you!) cold, with cornichons.  Weird combo, I know, but it tasted amazing.  I always thought the pregnancy cravings thing wasn’t totally real, but you really do get turned off of foods and combinations you normally love and develop obsessions with other foods.  Very bizarre.

So, that’s my news.  We’re chugging along just fine with our little HB (baby’s in utero nickname: stands for “healthy baby”), and now that we’ve passed the first real milestones, we’re giddy to start sharing the news with all of our family and friends (and you of course!).  I’ll post updates as they happen, and definitely once our little bundle is here, but this will remain a food blog.  I may delve into kid and baby friendly recipes as time goes on (especially if there seems to be a lot of interest), but I’m still here, posting recipes with tons of chocolate, butter and cheese for us all to drool over.  I’m also happy to answer any questions you may have about our lil’ announcement (leave them in the comments).

Thank you for sharing in this exciting news with us.  Now, let’s eat some cinnamon buns!  THG

Cinnamon Bun 1

 

Giant Cinnamon Bun
Yields 1
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Dough
  1. 3/4 cup warm buttermilk
  2. 6 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
  3. 3 large eggs
  4. 4 1/4 cups (21 ¼ ounces) flour
  5. 1/4 cup sugar
  6. 2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  7. 1 1/4 tsp. salt
Filling
  1. 8 Tbsp. melted butter
  2. 1 cup brown sugar
  3. 2 tsp. cinnamon
  4. Zest of 1 large orange
Glaze
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 1 tsp. orange zest
  3. 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  4. 1 Tbsp. milk
For the dough
  1. Whisk the warmed buttermilk and butter together in a large measuring cup. Combine 4 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and eggs. Mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Increase to medium speed and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If after 5 minutes of kneading, the dough is still overly sticky, add a tablespoon at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but has a slight tacky feel when pressed between your fingertips.
  2. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover the top tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, around 2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and orange zest in a small bowl until well mixed and set aside. Grease 1 9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  4. When the dough has risen, gently punch down and roll into a roughly 24X6-inch rectangle. Brush the melted butter evenly over the entire surface. Top with the cinnamon sugar mixture, evenly pressing the sugar mixture gently into the butter. Starting with a shorter side, roll the dough tightly into classic cinnamon roll form, pinching the edge to seal. Gently take the rolled dough and coil it around in one of the prepared baking pans. The layers will want to fall apart a bit, but they will come back together during the baking process. Lightly cover the cinnamon roll with greased plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  6. Bake the roll for 45-50 minutes, until lightly golden on top and cooked through. While the roll is baking, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth. Remove the cinnamon roll from the oven and using a spatula, nudge it out of the pan onto a cooling rack set over waxed or parchment paper. Drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon roll. Slice the cinnamon roll into pie-shaped wedges and serve warm.
Adapted from The Farm Girl
Adapted from The Farm Girl
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/

Monday Morning Coffee Break

Coffee Break

 

Good morning my loves!  How is everyone today?  Anyone get Veteran’s Day off?  Shawn did, and I am positively green with envy that he gets to enjoy an extra day.  Oh well, onwards and upwards!

 

In random history news, some recent findings have been revealed in regards to King Tut’s mummy.  Did you know it spontaneously combusted at one point?  Crazy.

Looking to improve your vocabulary?  Try some of these Victorian slang terms, and delight in the confusion on your friends’ faces.

These realistically colorized versions of historic photographs are simply breathtaking.

Buzzfeed this past week delighted us with 21 of the best things to ever happen in a restaurant.  

It’s persimmon season!  Try out some of these delicious seasonal recipes.

As you get ready to start planning your Thanksgiving meals, check out these simple party hacks.  You will wow everyone with your hosting skills.

And finally, Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker has created a recipe for homemade vanilla extract.  Must try.

 

Also, stay tuned later in the week for a special Humble Gourmet announcement!  Have a great week!

Chocolate Bavarian Cream & An Anniversary

Chocolate Bavarian Cream 2

 

Today is my second anniversary as The Humble Gourmet.  Yay!

I have so enjoyed this journey with all of you, and I look forward to sharing more recipes and stories and life events in the future.  I hope you have all enjoyed it as much as I have.

Reflecting back on the two years, I have accomplishments that I’m proud of, and more that I would like to achieve in the upcoming year.  I’ve shared some personal stories and moved to a new location.  We’ve had Coffee & Doughnuts, the Best Granola Ever, and Christmas Dessert in February.  I haven’t been as productive on the blog as I wanted to this year due to my health issues, but now I’m feeling good and rarin’ to go.  I’m hoping in the next year to have more diverse recipes, I want to develop a new series of posts (in the works now, as a matter of fact), and possibly my first giveaway!  So much more to do, I hope you’ll all be here with me for it!

Chocolate Bavarian Cream 1

 

So, in honor of this second anniversary, I’ve made chocolate Bavarian cream.  Haven’t had Bavarian cream, you say?  Well, now’s the time to try it.  Almost like a cross between a mousse and a panna cotta, Bavarian cream is smooth and creamy, but uses gelatin to hold its form.  It’s typically done in a large batch and put into a decorative mold, which is then turned out on a platter and adorned with cream and berries, but I went simple with this one.  We are a household of two, so small ramekins are a better fit for us than a large molded version.  But my goodness, were these delicious.  They were gone almost as quickly as they were set.  A little pink sea salt to bring out the chocolate, a couple of fresh raspberries (the last of the season here…boo!), and a sprig of mint and my friends, we were in business.  I know working with gelatin can be intimidating, but this dessert is practically fool-proof.  Consider it your entry to the gelatinized, set dessert club.  You won’t be sorry.

What sort of things would you like to see on The Humble Gourmet in the upcoming year?  Any recipe suggestions?  Posts?  More stories?  Let me know in the comments!  THG

Chocolate Bavarian Cream 3

 

Chocolate Bavarian Cream
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
  2. 1 1/2 Tbsp. powdered unflavored gelatin
  3. 1/4 cup cold water
  4. 4 egg yolks, at room temperature
  5. 2/3 cup sugar
  6. 1 tsp. pink sea salt
  7. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  8. 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  9. 2 cups heavy cream
  10. Raspberries and fresh mint, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate over medium heat until fully melted and smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, sprinkle powdered gelatin over cold water and let bloom, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, sea salt and vanilla until smooth and thick. Set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat milk until bubbles just begin to form around the edges. Remove from heat. Pour hot milk into the egg yolk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs. Return egg and milk mixture to saucepan and heat over medium, stirring frequently, until mixture coats the back of a spoon (about 5-10 minutes). Do not let it boil. Add bloomed gelatin and whisk to incorporate (it may bubble up; be careful not to let the mixture overflow). Add chocolate and mix until combined. Strain mixture into a clean bowl and set aside.
  5. In a stand mixer, whisk heavy cream until just before stiff peaks form (peaks should be firm, but fold over when lifted). Fold in half of the chocolate mixture until smooth, then fold in the remainder. Continue to gently fold until mixture is completely incorporated. Divide mixture among 6 small ramekins or one large gelatin mold, smoothing the top. Cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator to set, at least 3 hours.
  6. Once mixture has set, remove from refrigerator. To unmold: dip the mold or ramekin in hot water just up the sides for about 5 seconds. Run a butter knife around the edges. Turn a plate over the top and, holding onto the plate and mold, flip over. Carefully pull up the mold, wiggling gently if necessary to release the cream. Garnish with berries and mint and serve immediately.
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/

Monday Morning Coffee Break

Coffee Break

 

Good morning loveys!  I hope everyone had a good weekend.  We had a great Sunday afternoon; the lovely Camille from Planning Pretty threw a “Party for Autumn” at their home, and we had a fantastic time chatting and eating the delicious food that Camille and her husband prepared for everyone.  Emily (Sparkle Meets Pop), Melissa (Serving Seconds), Ana (Fluxi on Tour), and Meredith (Not Merely Living) were all in attendance as well, and it was great meeting up with all of these delightful and creative women.  Now, onto our Monday coffee break!

 

I have a Buzzfeed addiction.  So naturally, this post about things only 90s teenage girls would understand was calling my name.

Do you love Disneyland?  Then check out these little known facts about the happiest place on Earth.

Joy the Baker has been doing a fantastic series on the science of baking.  Here, she talks about large eggs and their purpose in baked goods.  Check out the rest of the series if you get a chance.

Sarah at The Sugar Hit has been doing a series of Japanese foods, starting with homemade gyoza.  I made these the next night; delish.

And finally, this year for the first time I am participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  A huge cookie exhange amongst like-minded bloggers, where all donations go to helping Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, an organization that commits to fund new treatments designed for fighting pediatric cancers.

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Today is the last day to sign up, so if you are interested, follow this link and get entered to participate in the fun.  Hope to see you there!