Freshly Minted

photo(1)

It is girl scout cookie season. Like every other food blogger out there I am now socially obliged to invent a dessert, featuring a cookie, that was sold to me by a 7 year old. AWESOME. It’s a right of passage. I’m walking through a portal, transitioning into hallowed territory.

Naturally, I have to make something out of Thin Mints. To be honest I just walked up to the girl scout table at the grocery store brandishing my money and asked for a box . I could have lingered at their stand pursuing over the cookie selection to iron chef, but making prolonged eye contact with children and or their guardians is awkward, at best. The fact that I didn’t want to interact was probably more creepy for them. Super sorry kids. I want you to get your badge, I think you’re building some great skills, I’m sure you’re an outstanding group of people trying to get money to travel where ever and I’d rather be thrown under a bus than have to make small talk.

I faced a delemia. I hate mint. It’s good in chutneys but that’s the only way I’ll eat it. It’s ok for my tooth paste and mouth wash but I don’t like the leathery herb. I cannot explain why but every time I eat it I sneeze. I don’t have anything against mint. I feel pretty sorry for it most of the time. It’s main feature in American food culture is as a garnish and a few boozie drinks. Ok- I’ll admit there are peppermint candies, gums, chcolates, cookies, truffles, ice cream etc. But, on average, most people don’t ever encounter the herb itself. I’m probably trying to justify why I don’t like it by undermining it’s influence and adoration by others. I guess it’s one of those days: 1) Creep out children 2) demean my audience. I’m on a roll.

I made tart crusts out of them. HOLY GUACAMOLE mint isn’t as bad as I thought it was! In fact, it’s darn right delicious. I left them out to cool etc etc and was going to put the pudding in them for some photos. But my family got to them first. These were the only ones left- there was no more pudding.

Sorry the picture is so crude. I guess I’ll have to go interact with some girl scouts again. More cookies… the mint ones!

Advertisements

Lemon Tart

Lemon tart 3 I have a culinary confession. It is a truth so frightful that I am afraid to share it with anyone that appreciates good food. I had a very perverse flavor palate growing up. Once I ate War Heads until my tongue bled (I’m not joking). I don’t even know how to explain or justify my masochistic need as a child for sour flavors. I remember when I was 9 or 10 I went through an entire summer where I did nothing but read, ride my bike, and eat lemons. I didn’t just eat lemons mind you; I first dipped them in malt vinegar then coated them in salt. Bon Appetite. I remember my lips being in a perpetual state of “pucker.” I don’t know why I loved it. I don’t know why I did it. I’m extremely grateful I never got an ulcer.

Since them my abnormal palate has developed beyond the sickly sour. Lemons are the embodiment of sunbeams in July. So why would I want lemon tarts in November? It’s difficult to describe but it all started with Lemon Tart1rosemary. A few weeks ago my family brought in our massive pot of rosemary and sage to save them from the frost and soon to be snow. Every time we brush against the rosemary bush the air becomes saturated with the savory scent. Rosemary is an intense flavor. It can easily overpower subtle undertones in a dish. I was challenged to think of a dessert that would feature rosemary in a complimentary way. Thus the white chocolate rosemary tart crust was born. Next I needed another flavor that would not only cut the savory factor but also brighten the dish. Naturally, lemon was the best choice.

The tart is potent and delicious. The lemon curd is bright and the rosemary somehow creamy. However, I intend to change the dish next time around to be more suitable for those that aren’t as enthralled with sour. I will add more white chocolate to the crust and add a white chocolate mousse on top. It might be a cold and dreary day but I have a secret stash of sunbeams I can unleash whenever it gets too grey.

Lemon tart 2

 

Some More Tarts Please

I made an absolutely obscene amount of Marshmallows. 3 Ziplock gallon size bags full to the brim post marshmallow abstinence binge. I found myself popping one or two (3 or 4) into my mouth every time I walked into the kitchen. It just so happens that the kitchen is the hub of house. It’s gravitational center. You have to walk through it to get anywhere. After my 5th or 6th aimless walk through of the kitchen I had The Talking Heads Once In a Lifetime stuck in my head on endless repeat, “You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”

Marshmallow TartI gave one of the mostly full bags to my brother and his wife. I then took some to pawn off on the staff at my chiropractors office. This was a smart move on my part. These people crack my back. They have the power to make standing in the kitchen for 10 hours straight possible. They have power. Best to stay in their good graces.

I also took some to the local cake supply store. I need these things gone before addiction rears its fearsome head. “You may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong?” It was too late. I bought more gelatin.

First, I had to get rid of the rest of the initial batch. Easy. What is the dessert most associated with marshmallows? Smores. This is where I hit my first road-block. I have nowhere to create a smoldering smore friendly environment. That’s when it hit me. Make a tart! All I would need is a graham cracker crust, dark chocolate ganache filling, and the marshmallows. Who needs a campfire when you’ve got an awesome torch? Burn baby burn. Ok, I didn’t want burnt marshmallows- that was just for effect.

Unfortunately, ganache has to be made in advance. For one reason or another, I find that people are afraid of making ganache. Maybe the name makes it seem advanced. It’s not. It’s simply equal parts heavy whipping cream (ultra yum) and good chocolate. For this ganache I used 11 oz semi sweet chocolate and 5 oz 60% dark chocolate. I made way more than I needed. I did this so I can use the extra for another recipe I’m making… you’ll see soon! I brought the 16 oz heavy whipping cream up to a simmer then transferred it into the bowl with the chocolate. Let it sit for 5 minutes so the chocolate can melt. Then mix it all together with a spatula or whisk slowly until no more solids are present. Leave overnight in a cool place. In the morning you’ll see that some magic alchemy has occurred and you have a ganache. And people don’t believe in magic!

Graham cracker crusts are ridiculously easy to make. You should give it a try. It’s essentially graham crackers, butter and sugar. I made a chocolate graham crust for a little extra pizzazz.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened coco powder
  • 2 teaspoons GOOD vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  1. Preheat Oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
  2. Pulverize graham crackers
  3. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and chocolate until well blended . Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate. In this case I used 4 medium sized tart pans.
  4. Bake at  for 10 minutes. Cool. If recipe calls for unbaked pie shell, just chill for about 1 hour.

At this point I was getting really excited. I haven’t had a smore in… I can’t remember how long. I think it’s sad that smores seem to be strictly limited to campfire settings and are primarily desserts for kids. Everyone knows the adults love them and use the children as an excuse to stuff their faces.

I constructed my hauté smore, turned my torch on, and watched the marshmallows bubble and brown to perfection. I kind of felt like I was watching a death ray destroy the surface of a planet, but I digress. I made smore tarts for my family and succeeded in finishing off the rest of the marshmallows! “You may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?”