Ganache, you’re great!

My son turned 5 on Wednesday. I’m still in shock and sugar coma. He loves chocolate cake, actually he just loves cake and anything that I bake. Each year I ask him what he wants for his birthday and his answer is always chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Sometimes the chocolate cake will be mixed with pumpkin or filled with a cranberry cream, this year it was chocolate on chocolate.

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This hardest decision is whether I make a buttercream or ganache frosting. Buttercream is great, but the sugar can put me over the edge and the kids up the wall! I asked Milam what he wanted, yes my son knows the difference between both. He opted for the creamy stuff, ganache.

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I have been making ganache for several years now and have had some really not so good turn outs. Cream and chocolate are delicate ingredients and must be handled with care. Do you melt the chocolate and then add the cream or do you heat the cream and then add the chocolate? How much cream to chocolate, every recipe changes to the cooks taste. Some have a higher ratio of cream to chocolate or just the opposite. I don’t use milk chocolate for anything I bake. It has too much sugar and milk already added, making it difficult to control sweetness.

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Don’t rush your ganache or you’ll be disappointed. I prefer to heat the cream and then have a bowl of chopped up dark chocolate waiting to be melted. Once you pour the hot cream over the chocolate, be patient and let the melting magic happened. You don’t want to stir it too much. Just let the chocolate be heated up by the cream and gently give it a stir to help the melting process.

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As the chocolate melts it will turn glossy. Gently stir the mixture to incorporate the bottom pieces of chocolate. If there are lumps, don’t worry. Simply put the heat proof bowl on top of a pot of boiling water, don’t get the mixture too hot, you only want to heat up the bottom of the bowl.

A ganache, once cooled, can be poured, whipped, or pipped. If your desired consistency is for pouring, then you’ll need to add a tablespoon of corn syrup to the finished product (it helps with the smoothness).

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So here’s my recipe.

Chocolate Ganache

makes 2 whipped cups

You’ll need:

8 oz heavy whipping cream (it’s best to use non ultra pasteurized, but it can be hard to find or if you don’t eat dairy you can substitute in any non-dairy milk)

8 oz chocolate; chopped into small pieces

Measure chocolate and set aside in a bowl. Heat the cream in a pot on the stovetop until it comes to a boil. Keep an eye on it and stir frequently. Don’t burn the cream! Once it’s steaming and boiling around the edges pour over the chocolate and gently stir.

Now this is going to be challenging but do not stir the mixture for at least ten minutes. Stirring too frequently will incorporate too much air, which slows down the melting process. After 10 minutes, give it a good stir and watch the magic happen. Gently fold in the bottom bits to ensure an even melting.

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Ganache, you’re great!

Decolonize Your Diet

A friend, who is a currently a graduate student at UC Berkeley, posted this link to an awesome website/blog about decolonizing your diet. Food talk is the talk at the moment, particularly at UC Berkeley. Given that my interest also is in food I thought I would share this blog post with you to show one slice of the larger pie of food talk.

Decolonizing Your Diet

Also, this semester there is a course titled Story Telling in Food and Agriculture which is part of the Edible Education series put on by Alice Waters and Michael Pollan. The classes are open to the public, but they are also recorded and put on youtube. Check them out! They have a rotating series of speakers covering all aspects of the food justice and education spectrum.

UC Berkeley Edible Education Series

 

Decolonize Your Diet

The simplest chocolate fudge recipe!

Chocolate fudge: you either love it or hate it. If you hate it, then stop reading now.

I am about to give you the simplest fudge recipe I have ever encountered. I actually found it rummaging through some old cookbooks about 6 years ago. I had never read an Amish cookbook before, but I was incredibly impressed by their recipes. This one was a keeper. I like to use super dark chocolate, but that’s just me. Trader Joe’s sells a 1 lb chocolate bar that ranges from milk chocolate to 87% cocoa. Use whatever chocolate you prefer.

This photo is of a recipe that had been doubled and cooled in a 11 by 7 rectangle pan.

Easy Creamy Chocolate Fudge a la Amish

  1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler
  2. Stir in milk
  3. Add salt, vanilla, and nuts
  4. Pour into a greased 9 in square pan.
  5. Cool; cut into squares and serve!
The simplest chocolate fudge recipe!

Under the Avocado Tree

This past weekend my best friend of 14 years got hitched! It was a beautiful and homegrown kind of wedding at the Fairview Gardens in Goleta, CA (right outside of Santa Barbara). I was the maid of honor, cake lady, and piñata candy maker! It was all the sweet little homemade touches that really pulled the whole event together. I was incredibly impressed by all the hard work and detail that my gal put into the wedding. The location was magical. The ceremony and reception were in the avocado orchard. It felt like stepping into a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, where magical realism shapes every cervice and touch.

Homemade chocolate fudge for the piñata. Individually wrapped with love.

(Check out the simplest fudge recipe ever here)

A farm fresh dinner made by the bride upon our arrival.
fresh organic flowers we picked up at the farmer’s market to make our bouquets and flower arrangements.
Home made caramels! First time ever making them too! I would say they came out tasting like butter!

(Check out the caramel recipe!David Lebovitz ‘s Salted Butter Caramel recipe is so yummy! It was my first time making caramels so I was a tad nervous, but I love his recipes and commentary and they were a crowd pleaser!)

Organic strawberry jam made by the bride with strawberries from the urban farm. They were the filling for the cupcakes too!
The beautiful San Ynez Mountains.
Home brew anyone? Beer and label made by the best man.
Picking up flowers the day before the wedding!
Looking through the avocado tree to where the ceremony would be held. The sun shimmered through the branches like little burst of sun kisses.
The bride spent 3 days making this pinata!
The Bride and Groom crafted these awesome pint glasses as party favors for all the guests!
Our very talented friend and the second bride’s maid hand painted each ceramic pot to hold the table numbers. She even flew them all the way from Costa Rica!
The ceremony was breath taking. The colors, the dresses, the lighting, the love, and the couple were all perfect!

(In case you were wondering, our dresses were handmade in Mexico by the talented Aida Coronado. Her embroidery is colorful and immaculate.)

Just pronounced husband and wife!
The delicious cupcakes! Sun kissed lemon-strawberry cupcakes. The strawberries were picked the day before the wedding by our kiddos. Talk about local and sustainable.
The ‘day of the dead’ cake topper.
Who doesn’t want to dance under an avocado tree?
The couple’s first dance… again the lighting was perfect!
Yay! Cake time!

All in all every part of the wedding was as vibrant and colorful as the bride and groom. I feel so honored to have been invited and to have contributed to the wedding.

Under the Avocado Tree