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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Switching to Wordpress

I'm heading over to Wordpress to host this site, I'll try and mirror things but head over to http://www.mouth-brothels.com/ for the latest posts!

(http://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Strawberry-Watermelon Sorbet

On my drive back to New Orleans from Lafayette, I stopped at a roadside stand and picked up a flat of strawberries. Louisiana's strawberries are wonderful and I'm always sad to see the end of fresh, local berries.


I decided to start using them up by making Strawberry-Watermelon Sorbet. I watched John Besh's New Orleans the other day and saw him making this for dessert. It is a super easy recipe and is like eating summer!


WATERMELON-STRAWBERRY SORBET

1 pint strawberries, hulled
1 cup diced, seeded watermelon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
About 1/2 cup granulated sugar



1. In a blender, purée strawberries, watermelon, lemon juice and sugar until smooth. Taste to make sure the purée has the correct amount of sugar. Add more sugar or fruit if necessary.

2. Transfer to the canister of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Keep the sorbet in the freezer until ready to use.
Such beautiful color!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I bought the smallest bag of carrots I could find in the grocery store for a stew I was making and still had plenty left over. I had enough to make a carrot cake. As what I like best about carrot cake is the cream cheese frosting, I decided to make cupcakes so I could get lots of frosting per bite.

If you want to kick it up a notch, replace 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract with 2 teaspoons of Praline Liquor.



Carrot Cake
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Frosting: 
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar 
  • 4 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil. Using a mixer, blend until combined. Add carrots and pecans.
Pour into pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, place on racks and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
Add all ingredients, except nuts, into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy. Stir in the nuts. Spread frosting on top of each cupcake. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Chocolate Pistachio Bark

Ever have one of those days where you're just craving chocolate and are tempted to just open a bag of semi-sweet morsels and dig in? Well, I've got a bark recipe that will go a long way to satisfying even the most massive craving plus do a number on your salt craving as well.

This recipe can be made with bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate. I prefer bittersweet. I've also made it with pecans and my mom likes it with slivered almonds. Just make sure that whatever nut you use, you roast them to bring out their nutty goodness.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pistachio Bark


1 lb of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup unsalted roasted pistachios
2 to 3 pinches of grey salt

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a double boiler set over simmering water, heat the bittersweet chocolate until two-thirds melted. Remove from the heat. Stir the chocolate until it is completely melted.

Spread the warm chocolate on the parchment paper to a rough 13 inch rectangle. Scatter the pistachios evenly over the melted chocolate, gently tap the cookie sheet on the work surface to flatten the chocolate and allow the topping to sink in slightly. Sprinkle on the salt.

Refrigerate for about 15 minutes, just until firm. Cut or break the bark into 2 inch pieces and serve.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Old School Root Beer Glazed Baked Ham

I'm a big fan of Tom Fitzmorris' Root Beer Glazed Baked Ham. The glaze is fantastic and the cooking method makes the perfect crust on the outside.

However, I was in Rouse's grocery store the other day and saw they now have an Abita Root Beer Glaze in a bottle. So, I bought it, a New Orleans Chisesi ham and invited a couple of guinea pigs...I mean friends over to see if the glaze was a decent alternative to the two day process of glaze making and baking.

I scored the meat and squirted on the glaze and then patted on a mix of brown sugar and dry mustard. I cooked the ham at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes a pound until it registered 160 on a meat thermometer.

What came out was tender and delicious with a lovely crust and beautiful color.

Dinner was great but I'm now really looking forward to the ham sandwiches!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mini Soft Pretzels


I had an urge for homemade pretzels yesterday but knew it was a long process with two long rises on the dough. I started it around noon today and finally ate my first pretzel at 4:30. If you want to make larger pretzels, don't divide the dough and roll them out to at least 20".

These are nice and chewy. Best served hot from the oven, they are also delicious warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds the next day.

Mini Soft Pretzels

1-1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey

1-1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

1-1/2 teaspoon salt

4-1/2 to 5 cups bread flour

3 tablespoons baking soda

3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons coarse salt

Stir the water and honey together in a heat proof measuring cup, microwave for 1 minute or until the water is about 105-degrees. Add yeast, whisk together and allow to proof for 5 minutes.

Place the salt and flour and in bowl of standing mixer equipped with dough hook. With the mixer on low, slowly add the honey/water/yeast mixture. Increase the speed slightly and mix the dough for 10 minutes, adding an additional ½ cup of flour if dough is too sticky.

Put dough on a lightly floured counter and form into a smooth ball. Coat a large mixing bowl with oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat in the oil. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and allow rise at room temperature for 1 to 1-1/2 hours (depending upon room temperature) until it has doubled in size.

Gently deflate the dough. Re-cover and allow to continue to rise for another hour until it has doubled in size.

Divide the dough in half and place one half in a bag in the refrigerator for later use (can also be frozen at this stage). Cut the remaining dough into 18 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 6” rope, let them rest while you roll the remaining, then roll them out to about 12 to 18”. This extra relaxation time will make them easier to finish rolling. Shape each rope into a pretzel by holding each end, cross them, twist and press down with a drop of water. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Add 6 cups water into a 12-inch skillet. Stir in the baking soda, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Using a spider gently place around 4 pretzels into the boiling water, top-side down for 30 seconds. Using tongs, carefully flip over and boil the second side for another 30 seconds. Remove the pretzels, drain briefly on wire rack, then place back onto the prepared baking sheet. 


Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with coarse salt and bake for 7 minutes. Rotate the sheet before baking for another 7 minutes, until the pretzels are well-browned.

Let the pretzels from cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and enjoy!




Thursday, May 2, 2013

Venezia Restaurant


Walking into Venezia's one expects red checked tablecloths and wicker basket Chianti bottles with candle wax dripping down the sides. This is old school Italian food (they've been around since 1957) in MidCity. If you're looking for unpretentious and casual Italian for reasonable prices, look no further.

I went there last night after a board meeting with some friends from the Forum For Equality. I had had an eventful day of testifying up in Baton Rouge on a public employment bill that, ultimately, was defeated. You can read all about it on the Forum's blog: Committee Hearing on House Bill 85

On the recommendation from Susan, I ordered the Cannelloni.

It was delicious, with the tight rolls of pasta filled with tender ground veal. The red and white sauces were scrumptious. I used some of the cheese bread to sop up the remainder.

John also ordered the Cannelloni and he seemed to enjoy his as much as I enjoyed mine.


Mickie had the lasagna which was also good - many layers of cheesy goodness to be had there but the amount of sauce was a little overwhelming.

Susan had the Chicken Marsala, which had a good flavor but came with canned mushrooms, so it was a bit of a disappointment. I think I can do better at home.

All in all, a pretty decent place to go back in time for the sort of food that sticks to your ribs without sticking it to your wallet.