Saturday, March 5, 2011

Limoncello made from a family recipe

My friend Margie and I were very busy bees with all the citrus from the Crest Hill Grove.  Not only did we develop the soon to be released Crest Hill Marmalade but we also spent an afternoon making homemade Limoncello from an old family recipe.

Here are the photos of the first stages.  The entire recipe takes almost three months from start the finish.  The stage photographed here takes 40 days and must sit in a dark place for that long.  When that stage is done we will post the next stage.

Meyer lemons from the Grove:

 Five quarts of Everclear

The rinds of 35 organic meyer lemons.

Now into a dark place for the magic to begin.

First Product from Smoore's Kitchen is in late stage development

Can you say - Caramel to die for?

I have been trying to make the perfect caramel for years and I have found a recipe that does just that.  It is so fantastic and unique that I am going to be developing a way to market it on the internet and at Farmer's Markets.  I am working on the packaging but my inclination is to just keep it simple.  I would be interested in any thoughts that you all might have.

Here is the caramel through its stages:

This is the sugar at the melting stage:

Stage at which you add butter and a secret ingredient

The addition of the third ingredient

Finished product:

This caramel sauce is smooth as silk with a backnote of saltiness.  It is perfect over ice cream, over brownies (especially ones made with a cream cheese filling), cheese cake, lemon pound cake, or just on a spoon for an afternnoon boost!.  As you can see it is a deep caramel color - but not too sweet.

I gave a jar to a friend of mine and she hides it from herself so that she won't eat it all at once.  It is that good.

Stay tuned for release date.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Crest Hill Marmalade

My friend Margie (the one that I started making Christmas baskets with 23 years ago) lives in San Diego.  I came out to visit her after my hip surgery to get away from the cold and start the real physical therapy required to get back into shape.  We have enjoyed lots of laughs, sun in Mexico and lots of exercise (can you hear my muscles screaming?).

Margie's husband - Chris - planted Meyer lemon and Navel orange trees on their property years ago.  They are quite bountiful - so being the creative people we are we decided to do something with all those oranges.  Hence the birth of their new boutique business - "Crest Hill Marmalade".   They will be selling the marmalade at Farmer's Markets in their area.

We started the project by picking their organic oranges from the tree.  They are medium skin and sweet.

After picking the oranges we sliced them thin and then let them boil in water for 40 minutes until they got soft - after that adding the sugar and cooking another 40 minutes until the consistency of the marmalade reached 223 degrees on a candy thermometer.   After that we added our secret ingredient - a teaspoon of triple sec for every 5 oranges.

We then boiled the canning jars for 10 minutes (along with caps and bands)- filled and then boiled for another then minutes to seal.

Here is the finished product

We made 32 jars of orange marmalade - a fabulous beginning!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Back in the Kitchen Again

To all those who were following my blog - I am finally back in the kitchen again.  The last 8 months have been a bit challenging - waiting for hip replacement (in Canada there is a wait list for "elective" surgery") - but I had the surgery and after 5 weeks feel better than I have in a long time.

Yesterday my favorite co-conspirator in the kitchen - Alfee - and I tackled some new recipes.  Alfee was recovering from impacted wisdom tooth extraction and called asking if I felt like baking.  It was just the push that I needed.

In the last eight months I think that I have watched every show on the food channel and the new cooking channel.  And at times when the pain from my hip was too much at 4 in the am I would dream about stuffed brownies.  So the first thing that I wanted to tackle was a chocolate brownie with a marshmallow top and enrobed in dark chocolate.  Can you say decadent?

We started with Martha Stewarts ultimate brownie recipe but modified it significantly.  Below is the basic recipe:_Martha Stewart Ultimate Brownie.    This recipe is so good because it has a very high egg to batter ratio.  The recipe calls for 5 eggs which makes it exceptionally rich but it is worth it.  Where the recipe calls for a 9x13 inch pan we used a half a sheet pan,  The recipe calls for baking the brownies at 425 degrees - we baked them at 400 degrees and the recipe calls for 25-30 minutes of baking time and we baked the brownies for 10 minutes.    I wanted the brownie to be chewy, moist but thin enough so that when I added the marshmallow and the chocolate it would not be too thick!  They came out perfectly.  

We then proceeded to make the homemade marshmallows.  Why anyone would buy marshmallows is beyond me.  Homemade ones are as light as clouds with none of the chemical sweetness that you get with commercials ones.  We again used the Martha Stewart recipe but did not add the vanilla - they were a perfect foil to the brownies.  Here is the recipe: Marshmallow Recipe they set up within 15 minutes and were dry enough to cut after 90 minutes - which is very fast.

This is what the consistency should be when you are finished making the marshmallows!

Half the brownies covered with the home marshamallow and half "au natural"

A side view of the brownie marshmallow creation

Brownies cut into squares awaiting their enrobing in dark chocolate

After we cut the brownies we melted one pound of 65% dark chocolate to cover the brownie/marshmallow.  We gently melted it in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering hot water taking care not to burn the chocolate.  We then ladled the chocolate over the brownies and left it to harden for around an hour.

They aren't quite as pretty as I would have liked - you can tell that I am a bit out of practice and need to get my groove back - but there was nothing wrong with the taste.  I grew up eating Mallomar's - those disgustingly sweet cookie/marshmallow/chocolate cookies.

These are the same concept but are as light as a feather.  When you bite into them they have that crunch of the hardened chocolate that gives way to the lightness and gooeyness of the marshmallow followed by the density of the brownie.

I am glad that I am back in the kitchen again!!