Sunday, December 03, 2006

Happy Birthday Paul

Last Friday was a special day. To celebrate Paul's birthday I made him a special meal.

The cooking festivies started Thursday. I made a chocolate bundt cake, from the recipe in the current Cook's Illustrated Holiday Baking magazine.
The cake was fairly easy - but took a while to make - probably because I making it during the commercials in Ugly Betty. I had only two small problems when making the cake. They suggested painting on a mixture of cocoa powder and butter to grease the pan. I had no pastry brush and tried to do this with wax paper. Let's just say there's a reason they say to use a pastry brush. Also, I had to cook the cake another 15 mins. But the instructions on how to test the cake were very clear. Overall I have been really impressed with the recipes I have tried from Cook's Illustrated. The recipe is a keeper and would be good for a large party. I took the leftovers to my family.

To go with the cake I made mocha whipped cream. I modified this recipe.

Mocha Whipped Cream

1 cup whipping cream
3 oz bittersweet (or semi-sweet) chocolate, chopped finely
1 tbsp instant coffee

1. Place chocolate and instant coffee in a small heat proof bowl. (If you don't like doing dishes, use a bowl large enough to whip the cream in later.)
2. Warm cream in a sauce pan until it is close to a boil.
3. Pour cream over chocolate. Let sit 5 mins then stir until mixture is homogeneous.

I let the chocolate cream mixture cool over night and then prepared it the way I would prepare regular whipped cream by beating it and adding about two tsp of sugar.

For the non-dessert potion of the meal I made something I saw on the cooking channel - and lamely, I made the whole menu. Well, not exactly, I made boilled potatos instead of mashed because Paul like boiled potatos better. I don't get it. Additionally, the snow peas and the green beans looked yucky at the supermarket so I got brocolli instead. I steamed the brocolli and tossed it with sesame oil - it was okay, but not something I will do again.

Now, the ribs. You may notice the recipe uses "good ale". I have never purchased beer, so aquiring this "good ale" was somewhat of an adventure. However, the LCBO near my house stocks the brand recommended and besides a sligh mishap when I enquired about getting a leaver to open the bottle the ale was purchased without incident.

Next step, buy the ribs. I had a hazy idea on what beef ribs were - but I wasn't expecting this.
However, they turned out very tender. The recipe was time consuming but easy. I might reduce the sauce a little next time.

Overall, it was a fun night.

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